Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Why Evangelicals Just Don’t Care


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

Apocalyptic worldviews like Dispensationalism teach that in the end God is just going to torch the world and start over again, so there’s no point in trying to change the way the world works today. Are you troubled by the lack of financial and political equality in the world today? Fret not, dear ones, God is going to make all things new when the time is right. He’s going to wipe the slate clean and start over again from scratch.

It’s easy to see how such a pessimistic view of current events could excuse an apathetic posture toward injustice even among a people claiming to follow a man who valued the poor and the weak over the rich and the strong. But Chris Ladd is right – the roots of this incongruity don’t trace back only to the Civil Rights Movement or the Scopes Monkey Trial but to the Civil War itself. The seeds of this way of thinking were sown into the very roots of this entire theological tradition from its beginning.

Christianity in the American South became obsessed with Jesus coming back at any second because it enabled them to disregard the inequities woven into their cultural DNA. That’s why today white evangelicals are still so tone deaf to the persistent social problems of American life, and it helps to explain why they care so very little about the character of one Donald Trump. …

godlessindixie evangelicals-just-dont-care

Southern Baptist Convention


The Exodus Debunked: Archaeological Issues


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

We must first remember that ancient Egypt was a very literate context with a huge amount of recording of events and, well, an awful lot of things. As with any sort of Bayesian approach to history, we can do away with claims such as absence of evidence is not evidence of absence because when we would expect evidence and it is not there, then we genuinely do have a problem when assessing the overall probability of a given interpretation of data being true.

In this case, we would definitely expect to see some evidence of the Exodus as described in the Bible because it was such a massive supposedly historical event. The rebuttal so often heard is that, since history is written by the victors, the Egyptians were interested in rubbing out this embarrassing set of events from their recorded history. However, the ramifications of the Exodus would have been so huge that there simply would be no way that this event wouldn’t be referenced in some manner.

In fact, the only appearance of Israel as an entity in all the texts and inscriptions and is artefacts of Egypt’s is in a very brief reference dated to the end of the 13th century BCE. This is, of course, the famous Merneptah Stele, a victory stele of the Nineteenth Dynasty. It is on one-line postscript to some detail all is of some victories in Libya. As Bradley states, it is a sort of “meanwhile, back in Canaan” (p.267):

“Ashkelon has been overcome; Gezer has been captured; Yano’am is made non-existent. Israel is laid waste and his seed is not.”

And that’s it. That is the totality of reference to Israel in Egyptian history at the time. …

tippling 2018/03/16 archaeological-issues

Finkelstein, Silberman: The Bible Unearthed

Wikipedia: The Bible Unearthed

The Real Lessons from the Story of Joshua


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

The lack of historicity of the Bible is rampant. To take just one example, there is no evidence for the triumphalist story of Joshua leading the Israeli soldiers, just returned from their (also fictitious) captivity in Egypt, in one victory to another over the various towns in Canaan. The most famous battle is the one for Jericho. But archeological excavations reveal that far from being a big fortressed city whose walls fell under a military onslaught that was favored by their god, Jericho was an insignificant little town that was unwalled.

Such stories, even if fictional, are not harmless. Because they are told to children as something glorious (and praised in song about even today), they serve to indoctrinate young children with the tribal mindset that atrocities are acceptable as long as they are done by ‘our’ side (by definition good) against ‘their’ side (evil).

The real lesson from the story of Joshua is that people are most dangerous, and can be most cruel, when they think they know the mind of god and believe that he is on their side. …

singham 2011/05/19 joshua

Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld: Battle of Jericho

Hallucinating the Archetypes


(RMP ZBlog) – Robert M. Price:

Jung said about God, that he didn’t need to believe in God. As a modern Gnostic, Jung said he knew God existed. But where? Inside. In the Collective Unconscious, flanked by the Archangels, er, Archetypes. That’s the only relevant place God could be. Where else would you like “him” to be? Orbiting the earth like a satellite, causing rain storms and orchestrating plane crashes? That’s superstition.

One more comparison: I think that hallucinogenic revelations are kind of like Pentecostal speaking in tongues. Traditionally, Pentecostals have believed that the Holy Spirit was inspiring them to speak God’s praises in foreign languages they had never learned (whatever the point of that might be). But linguistic studies have made it plain that they are simply spouting gibberish. Pentecostals are threatened by such results (like Mormons disturbed at the DNA tests proving that American Indians have no Semitic genes and thus do not qualify as expatriate Israelites).

But they needn’t worry, because shortcuts to foreign language proficiency are hardly the point.

zblog hallucinating-the-archetypes

Collective Unconscious

More Than a Man


(RMP ZBlog) – Robert M. Price:

Our Unconscious is hardwired with a galaxy of images: numbers, geometric figures, mythic types, etc. These last include the Crone, the Axis Mundi, the Hero, the Wise Man, etc. Sometimes an individual comes to identify with one of these archetypes to the point where it defines him. The danger is that such an individual may become completely consumed, or subsumed, in the archetype, and then you have a nut who thinks he’s Napoleon. …

zblog more-than-a-man


The Exodus Debunked: Chronology


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

“… In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 6:1 KJV)

There has been much written about the chronology of ancient Egypt and it is still very much a work in progress. Young Earth Creationists and Biblical Maximalists (those who try to maximise the veracity of the Bible in and through archaeology by using it circularly as a foundation to benchmarking dates, as opposed to Biblical Minimalists) try very hard to massage and co-opt in order to harmonise. Trying to tie in the enslavement of the Hebrew people and the position of vizier that Joseph took on with the utter lack of evidence for such things outside of the Bible is a difficult pastime. …

tippling 2018/03/07 chronology

John Loftus: Christianity in the Light of Science

The Exodus Debunked: Camels


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

The Exodus account is one of the key stories of the Bible, creating a foundation upon what so much else in the Bible is built. Without the truth of the Exodus, the truth of Moses, the Mosaic Law and any number of other claims are brought into suspicion.

Previously, I have shown you the ridiculous notion of the Exodus account.

I am going to revisit this subject with a number of articles, this first one concerning camels. There are several anachronisms in the Bible and this is a major example. …

tippling 2018/03/02 camels

Moses parts the Sea

Evolution Is A Descriptive Model, Not A Prescriptive One


(Patheos::ATP) – Jeremiah Traeger:

Evolution isn’t as simple as the strong beating out the weak; it selects fit populations within specific environments. Many fit populations include social species of animals (including us), and it is beneficial for those populations to select against antisocial behaviors. These include behaviors like cheating, stealing from, and killing other members of the population. By producing a social species, evolution has selected for behaviors that are predisposed towards helping other members of the species, strengthening the population as a whole. …

tippling 2018/02/23 evolution

Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller 2014-07-31: The Evolution of Sentience

Satanic Temple “Taking Equality Too Far”


( – Valerie Tarico:

Do conservative politicians believe in freedom of religion as a unified principle, or do they merely believe in the freedom to practice their own religion in public places and on the public dime and impose their religious directives on others? The Satanic Temple, a non-supernatural spiritual communion, has set out to find out – by asking for the same religious privileges granted to more mainstream sects.

If you have a society that grants religious privilege and exemption and you’re willing to give privilege and exemption to certain groups, then it’s unacceptable to give that only to people who believe in the supernatural.”

Lucien Greaves, cofounder of The Satanic Temple

valerietarico 2018/02/23 equality

The Satanic Temple

The Ugly Face of Billy Graham


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

The famous evangelist died recently at the age of 99 and we are now going through an orgy of official mourning that would have delighted the adulation-seeking Graham. I have been sickened by the fawning praise that has been rolling in from all quarters for the so-called ‘America’s pastor’, ignoring the many bad things he said and did. So it was a relief to read this article by Bob Moser that paints a very different picture of the man. …

singham 2018/02/24 billy-graham

Billy Graham