Ten Bible verses on family values

It appears that some people are in doubt as to how the Bible says one should treat their own children. Someone “highly doubts God would condone murdering a 19 month old baby for not saying AMEN” and thinks that I should reread the Bible, praying before and after every single passage. Someone else complains about verses being taken “out of context” and others just say that they don’t “live by Old Testament ways,” despite Jesus’ firm command to the contrary.
One of the many cultural myths with which I would like to do away is the notion that the Bible is somehow a sturdy moral foundation for our lives, particularly where families are concerned. To that end, I have compiled ten of the meatiest verses from both Hebrew and Christian Testament on the treatment of child and family. Of course, as these are the rules of an extinct ancient theocracy and not a modern society, they are appropriately barbaric. They are so over-the-top crazy that no sane person should assent to them, and I sincerely doubt any “Biblical literalists” are so evil as to obey them, if they are even aware of them:
10. God deems it good to punish Babylon by smashing her infant children to bits on the street, so right off the rod we know that the slaughter of children cannot be a priori an evil thing in Biblical morality. (Isaiah 13:16)
9. Jesus himself will cause your family and your household to be torn apart, so now we also know that it can’t be a priori an evil thing to ruin families in Biblical morality. (Luke 21:16)
8. The sexual enslavement of thousands of children (32,000, to be exact) is OK, as long as God has already told you to murder their families, so we also know that neither genocide or the sexual torture of children is a priori an evil deed in Biblical morality. (Numbers 31:17-18)
7. If you mock or disobey your parents, the birds-of-prey will devour your eyes right out of your head, so the disfigurement of your own children also cannot be a sin. (Proverbs 30:17)
6. If a ruthless dictator doesn’t manumit his slaves at the request of a single random soothsayer, the morally good response is to murder the children of everyone in the nation, even if they have never even heard of Moses or his god, so for the Bible moralist it is morally good to punish people for deeds in which they took no part. (Exodus 12:29)
5. A superficial (read: literal) reading of the story of the binding of Isaac makes it clear that your moral duty to obey a pernicious command from above far outweighs any love you might have for your own offspring. In Bible ethics, then, standing up for your own bloodline is not a priori a morally good action. (Genesis 22:2-13)
4. If children make fun of your bald head, the appropriate response is to have them massacred by bears. This way, we know that in Biblical morality, punishments need no proportion to the crimes. (2nd Kings 2:23)
3. If you don’t hate your mom, your dad, your siblings, your children, and yourself, Jesus is wrong for you. So in Biblical morality, a cohesive family unit is a moral aberration. (Luke 14:26)
2. If a child is disobedient and doesn’t listen to his parents, have the entire town get together and execute him The Lottery-style. There is no exception made here for “19 month old babies who don’t say AMEN.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
1. And of course the most famous father-son relationship in the Bible is God’s own: God loves us so much that he would torture and murder his own son to save us from God’s own wrath.
So, we have learned (1) that the murder, torture, rape, disfigurement, and ritual execution of children is morally permissible in certain cases, (2) the very existence of a loving family structure is morally impermissible, and (3) and annihilation of entire cultures is OK so long as the young children are spared to fulfill the victors’ sexual lust. All this is the case, unless either God is not good, or God is not the author of the Bible.
We are very fortunate indeed, then, that virtually all so-called “Biblical literalists” are either unaware of or too morally good to follow the commands to slaughter and torture written about in the Bible. While I have a great deal to say on this question, particular on the pertinence of these arguments to the Euthyphro Dilemma, I feel the point has been made so I will let it rest.

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Where is the beef? Jesus is missing

Christians love Jesus and their bible. They believe the bible is the word of God, and to be taken as true. It is perfect to them. I ask ….. where is the beef? Jesus is missing from history. We must find him. Someone has stolen Jesus from all historical records. We need Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The bible being the foundation to Christianity. It is true and perfect as the one true word of God. Is it? There is no mention of Jesus from historians around early 1 AD. Why is that? You would think that the Lord and Savior/Miracle worker would have made hundreds if not thousands of documents. There is none. Of all real important people from that time period there are written records from multiple sources proving their existence. Jesus by any stretch of the imagination was a very important figure during that time. Where is the documentation? Could it be Christians are worshiping the mystery deity.


Christians often like to point to Josephus and his miraculous paragraph of Jesus. That is known to all but a few as being tampered with, and written 60 years after Jesus died. Jesus spent 30 years in Bethlehem you would think some one the 25 plus families would have known they were in the presence of a young god. Someone might have made a note of something he did. 30 years of the greatest living god on earth is missing. Where did it go? What did he do? He proclaims himself a god at 12. Jesus is from Nazareth, or was he? Nazareth did not exist at 1 AD. The first historical mention of the town of Nazareth was in late 3rd or early 4th century. There are sources from ancient times listing up to 63 Galilean towns. Not one mention of…. Nazareth. Hmmmm. Makes you think huh? No sign of the greatest man to walk the earth or his city.

The Gospel of Philip says ‘The apostles that came before us called him Jesus of Nazarene the Christ and …”Nazara” is the “truth”. Therefore ‘ Nazarene’ is “The one of the truth” The Nazarene was a Christian sect off the Essenes. The Nazarene had nothing to do with a made up city of Nazareth. It was in the Gospel of Mathew that Jesus was deceitfully called a Nazarene. He decided to use the name of a new town (Nazareth) for his Jesus.

How about which Jesus was this written about? Apparently a lot of Jesus’s were running around proclaiming to be the messiah too. None were the Jesus of Nazareth. How about the biblical account were Pilate offered the Jews the release of just one prisoner and the curse race chose Barabbas instead of Jesus. In the records in turns out Barabbas first name was Jesus. His last name means Son of the Father. So this shows that Pilates had Jesus Son of God, and Jesus Son of the Father in his prison. Are your getting the feeling nothing is true in that bible?


Crucified? Jesus ben Stada was a judaen agitator who pissed the romans off around the 2nd century. He was crucified. What about Jesus of Nazareth? Hmmm. His records of being crucified are …. missing. Similar story though.

Jesus was created by many people. His story of dead then rising 3 days later is known to be from the story of Inanna.

They can not even cross reference their own bible to make sure their lies are straight. Simple things that should not be screwed up.

Things like:

  1. What time did the women visit the tomb?
  2. Who were the women?
  3. What was their purpose?
  4. Was the tomb open when they arrived?
  5. Who was at the tomb when they arrived?
  6. Where were these messengers situated?
  7. What did the messengers say?
  8. Did the women tell what happened?
  9. When Mary returned to the tomb, did she know Jesus was ressurected?
  10. When did Mary first see Jesus?
  11. Could Jesus be touched after the ressurection?
  12. After the women, who did Jesus first appear?
  13. Where did Jesus first appear to his disciples?
  14. Did the disciples believe the two men?
  15. Did Jesus stay on earth for more than a day?
  16. When did ascension take place?


Jesus is missing, his city is missing, his bible stories are fabricated, we know lots of Jesuses ran around deluded being the one true god. The word of God that is true and perfect, needed an editor that could read. The whole book is full of lies, mistakes and plagiarized stories. Look how many mistakes there are in just the easter story.

Follow the link. Check your bibles. This is a main foundational support to Christianity, I hope this at least gets Christians thinking where is the beef?

Maybe with a few more posts I can pull the whole building down.

Source: NoGuyInTheSky.com

Did a historical Jesus exist?

by Jim Walker

originated: 12 June 1997 / additions: 10 Jan. 2008

Amazingly, the question of an actual historical Jesus rarely confronts the religious believer. The power of faith has so forcefully driven the minds of most believers, and even apologetic scholars, that the question of reliable evidence gets obscured by tradition, religious subterfuge, and outrageous claims. The following gives a brief outlook about the claims of a historical Jesus and why the evidence the Christians present us cannot serve as justification for reliable evidence for a historical Jesus.

ALL CLAIMS OF JESUS DERIVE FROM HEARSAY ACCOUNTS

No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings. Although one can argue that many of these writings come from fraud or interpolations, I will use the information and dates to show that even if these sources did not come from interpolations, they could still not serve as reliable evidence for a historical Jesus, simply because all sources about Jesus derive from hearsay accounts.

Hearsay means information derived from other people rather than on a witness’ own knowledge.

Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay provides no proof or good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it.

If you do not understand this, imagine yourself confronted with a charge for a crime which you know you did not commit. You feel confident that no one can prove guilt because you know that there exists no evidence whatsoever for the charge against you. Now imagine that you stand present in a court of law that allows hearsay as evidence. When the prosecution presents its case, everyone who takes the stand against you claims that you committed the crime, not as a witness themselves, but solely because other people said so. None of these other people, mind you, ever show up in court, nor can anyone find them.

Hearsay does not work as evidence because we have no way of knowing whether the person lies, or simply bases his or her information on wrongful belief or bias. We know from history about witchcraft trials and kangaroo courts that hearsay provides neither reliable nor fair statements of evidence. We know that mythology can arise out of no good information whatsoever. We live in a world where many people believe in demons, UFOs, ghosts, or monsters, and an innumerable number of fantasies believed as fact taken from nothing but belief and hearsay. It derives from these reasons why hearsay cannot serves as good evidence, and the same reasoning must go against the claims of a historical Jesus or any other historical person.

Authors of ancient history today, of course, can only write from indirect observation in a time far removed from their aim. But a valid historian’s own writing gets cited with sources that trace to the subject themselves, or to eyewitnesses and artifacts. For example a historian today who writes about the life of George Washington, of course, can not serve as an eyewitness, but he can provide citations to documents which give personal or eyewitness accounts. None of the historians about Jesus give reliable sources to eyewitnesses, therefore all we have remains as hearsay.

THE BIBLE GOSPELS

The most “authoritative” accounts of a historical Jesus come from the four canonical Gospels of the Bible. Note that these Gospels did not come into the Bible as original and authoritative from the authors themselves, but rather from the influence of early church fathers, especially the most influential of them all: Irenaeus of Lyon who lived in the middle of the second century. Many heretical gospels existed by that time, but Irenaeus considered only some of them for mystical reasons. He claimed only four in number; according to Romer, “like the four zones of the world, the four winds, the four divisions of man’s estate, and the four forms of the first living creatures– the lion of Mark, the calf of Luke, the man of Matthew, the eagle of John (see Against the Heresies). The four gospels then became Church cannon for the orthodox faith. Most of the other claimed gospel writings were burned, destroyed, or lost.” [Romer]

Elaine Pagels writes: “Although the gospels of the New Testament– like those discovered at Nag Hammadi– are attributed to Jesus’ followers, no one knows who actually wrote any of them.” [Pagels, 1995]

Not only do we not know who wrote them, consider that none of the Gospels existed during the alleged life of Jesus, nor do the unknown authors make the claim to have met an earthly Jesus. Add to this that none of the original gospel manuscripts exist; we only have copies of copies.

The consensus of many biblical historians put the dating of the earliest Gospel, that of Mark, at sometime after 70 C.E., and the last Gospel, John after 90 C.E. [Pagels, 1995; Helms]. This would make it some 40 years after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus that we have any Gospel writings that mention him! Elaine Pagels writes that “the first Christian gospel was probably written during the last year of the war, or the year it ended. Where it was written and by whom we do not know; the work is anonymous, although tradition attributes it to Mark…” [Pagels, 1995]

The traditional Church has portrayed the authors as the apostles Mark, Luke, Matthew, & John, but scholars know from critical textural research that there simply occurs no evidence that the gospel authors could have served as the apostles described in the Gospel stories. Yet even today, we hear priests and ministers describing these authors as the actual disciples of Christ. Many Bibles still continue to label the stories as “The Gospel according to St. Matthew,” “St. Mark,” “St. Luke,” St. John.” No apostle would have announced his own sainthood before the Church’s establishment of sainthood. But one need not refer to scholars to determine the lack of evidence for authorship. As an experiment, imagine the Gospels without their titles. See if you can find out from the texts who wrote them; try to find their names.

Even if the texts supported the notion that the apostles wrote them, consider that the average life span of humans in the first century came to around 30, and very few people lived to 70. If the apostles births occurred at about the same time as the alleged Jesus, and wrote their gospels in their old age, that would put Mark at least 70 years old, and John at over 110.

The gospel of Mark describes the first written Bible gospel. And although Mark appears deceptively after the Matthew gospel, the gospel of Mark got written at least a generation before Matthew. From its own words, we can deduce that the author of Mark had neither heard Jesus nor served as his personal follower. Whoever wrote the gospel, he simply accepted the mythology of Jesus without question and wrote a crude an ungrammatical account of the popular story at the time. Any careful reading of the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) will reveal that Mark served as the common element between Matthew and Luke and gave the main source for both of them. Of Mark’s 666* verses, some 600 appear in Matthew, some 300 in Luke. According to Randel Helms, the author of Mark, stands at least at a third remove from Jesus and more likely at the fourth remove. [Helms]

* Most Bibles show 678 verses for Mark, not 666, but many Biblical scholars think the last 12 verses came later from interpolation. The earliest manuscripts and other ancient sources do not have Mark 16: 9-20. Moreover the text style does not match and the transition between verse 8 and 9 appears awkward. Even some of  today’s Bibles such as the NIV exclude the last 12 verses.

The author of Matthew had obviously gotten his information from Mark’s gospel and used them for his own needs. He fashioned his narrative to appeal to Jewish tradition and Scripture. He improved the grammar of Mark’s Gospel, corrected what he felt theologically important, and heightened the miracles and magic.

The author of Luke admits himself as an interpreter of earlier material and not an eyewitness (Luke 1:1-4). Many scholars think the author of Luke lived as a gentile, or at the very least, a Hellenized Jew. Many modern scholars think that the Gospel of Matthew and Luke came from the Mark gospel and a hypothetical document called “Q” (German Quelle, which means “source”). [Helms; Wilson] . However, since we have no manuscript from Q, no one could possibly determine its author or where or how he got his information or the date of its authorship. Again we get faced with unreliable methodology and obscure sources.

John, the last appearing Bible Gospel, presents us with long theological discourses from Jesus and could not possibly have come as literal words from a historical Jesus. The Gospel of John disagrees with events described in Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Moreover the unknown author(s) of this gospel wrote it in Greek near the end of the first century, and according to Bishop Shelby Spong, the book “carried within it a very obvious reference to the death of John Zebedee (John 21:23).” [Spong]

Please understand that the stories themselves cannot serve as examples of eyewitness accounts since they came as products of the minds of the unknown authors, and not from the characters themselves. The Gospels describe narrative stories, written almost virtually in the third person. People who wish to portray themselves as eyewitnesses will write in the first person, not in the third person. Moreover, many of the passages attributed to Jesus could only have come from the invention of its authors. For example, many of the statements of Jesus claim to have come from him while allegedly alone. If so, who heard him? It becomes even more marked when the evangelists report about what Jesus thought. To whom did Jesus confide his thoughts? Clearly, the Gospels employ techniques that fictional writers use. In any case the Gospels can only serve, at best, as hearsay, and at worst, as fictional, mythological, or falsified stories.

OTHER NEW TESTAMENT WRITINGS

Even in antiquity people like Origen and Eusebius raised doubts about the authenticity of other books in the New Testament such as Hebrews, James, John 2 & 3, Peter 2, Jude, and Revelation. Martin Luther rejected the Epistle of James calling it worthless and an “epistle of straw” and questioned Jude, Hebrews and the Apocalypse in Revelation. Nevertheless, all New Testament writings came well after the alleged death of Jesus from unknown authors (with the possible exception of Paul, although still after the alleged death).

Epistles of Paul: Paul’s biblical letters (epistles) serve as the oldest surviving Christian texts, written probably around 60 C.E. Most scholars have little reason to doubt that Paul wrote some of them himself. However, there occurs not a single instance in all of Paul’s writings that he ever meets or sees an earthly Jesus, nor does he give any reference to Jesus’ life on earth. Therefore, all accounts about a Jesus could only have come from other believers or his imagination. Hearsay.

Epistle of James: Although the epistle identifies a James as the letter writer, but which James? Many claim him as the gospel disciple but the gospels mention several different James. Which one? Or maybe this James has nothing to do with any of the gospel James. Perhaps this writer comes from any one of innumerable James outside the gospels. James served as a common name in the first centuries and we simply have no way to tell who this James refers to. More to the point, the Epistle of James mentions Jesus only once as an introduction to his belief. Nowhere does the epistle reference a historical Jesus and this alone eliminates it from a historical account. [1]

Epistles of John: The epistles of John, the Gospel of John, and Revelation appear so different in style and content that they could hardly have the same author. Some suggest that these writings of John come from the work of a group of scholars in Asia Minor who followed a “John” or they came from the work of church fathers who aimed to further the interests of the Church. Or they could have simply come from people also named John (a very common name). No one knows. Also note that nowhere in the body of the three epistles of “John” does it mention a John. In any case, the epistles of John say nothing about seeing an earthly Jesus. Not only do we not know who wrote these epistles, they can only serve as hearsay accounts. [2]

Epistles of Peter: Many scholars question the authorship of Peter of the epistles. Even within the first epistle, it says in 5:12 that Silvanus wrote it. Most scholars consider the second epistle as unreliable or an outright forgery (for some examples, see the introduction to 2 Peter in the full edition of The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985, and [3]). In short, no one has any way of determining whether the epistles of Peter come from fraud, an unknown author also named Peter (a common name) or from someone trying to further the aims of the Church.

Of the remaining books and letters in the Bible, there occurs no other stretched claims or eyewitness accounts for a historical Jesus and needs no mention of them here for this deliberation.

As for the existence of original New Testament documents, none exist. No book of the New Testament survives in the original autograph copy. What we have then come from copies, and copies of copies, of questionable originals (if the stories came piecemeal over time, as it appears it has, then there may never have existed an original). The earliest copies we have came more than a century later than the autographs, and these exist on fragments of papyrus. [Pritchard; Graham] According to Hugh Schonfield, “It would be impossible to find any manuscript of the New Testament older than the late third century, and we actually have copies from the fourth and fifth. [Schonfield]

LYING FOR THE CHURCH

The editing and formation of the Bible came from members of the early Christian Church. Since the fathers of the Church possessed the scriptoria and determined what would appear in the Bible, there occurred plenty of opportunity and motive to change, modify, or create texts that might bolster the position of the Church or the members of the Church themselves.

The orthodox Church also fought against competing Christian cults. Irenaeus, who determined the inclusion of the four (now canonical) gospels, wrote his infamous book, “Against the Heresies.” According to Romer, “Irenaeus’ great book not only became the yardstick of major heresies and their refutations, the starting-point of later inquisitions, but simply by saying what Christianity was not it also, in a curious inverted way, became a definition of the orthodox faith.” [Romer] If a Jesus did exist, perhaps eyewitness writings got burnt along with them because of their heretical nature. We will never know.

In attempting to salvage the Bible the respected revisionist and scholar, Bruce Metzger has written extensively on the problems of the New Testament. In his book, “The Text of the New Testament– Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Metzger addresses: Errors arising from faulty eyesight; Errors arising from faulty hearing; Errors of the mind; Errors of judgment; Clearing up historical and geographical difficulties; and Alterations made because of doctrinal considerations. [Metzger]

The Church had such power over people, that to question the Church could result in death. Regardless of what the Church claimed, most people simply believed what their priests told them.

In letter LII To Nepotian, Jerome writes about his teacher, Gregory of Nazianzus when he asked him to explain a phrase in Luke, Nazianzus evaded his request by saying “I will tell you about it in church, and there, when all the people applaud me, you will be forced against your will to know what you do not know at all. For, if you alone remain silent, every one will put you down for a fool.” Jerome responds with, “There is nothing so easy as by sheer volubility to deceive a common crowd or an uneducated congregation.”

In the 5th century, John Chrysostom in his “Treatise on the Priesthood, Book 1,” wrote, “And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived.”

Ignatius Loyola of the 16th century wrote in his Spiritual Exercises: “To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it”

Martin Luther opined: “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”

With such admission to accepting lies, the burning of heretical texts, Bible errors and alterations, how could any honest scholar take any book from the New Testament as absolute, much less using extraneous texts that support a Church’s intransigent and biased position, as reliable evidence?

GNOSTIC GOSPELS

In 1945, an Arab made an archeological discovery in Upper Egypt of several ancient papyrus books. They have since referred to it as The Nag Hammadi texts. They contained fifty-two heretical books written in Coptic script which include gospels of Thomas, Philip, James, John, Thomas, and many others. Archeologists have dated them at around 350-400 C.E. They represent copies from previous copies. None of the original texts exist and scholars argue about a possible date of the originals. Some of them think that they can hardly have dates later than 120-150 C.E. Others have put it closer to 140 C.E. [Pagels, 1979]

Other Gnostic gospels such as the Gospel of Judas, found near the Egyptian site of the Nag Hammadi texts, shows a diverse pattern of story telling, always a mark of myth. The Judas gospel tells of Judas Iscariot as Jesus’ most loyal disciple, just opposite that of the canonical gospel stories. Note that the text does not claim that Judas Iscariot wrote it. The Judas gospel, a copy written in Coptic, dates to around the third-to fourth-century. The original Greek version probably dates to between 130 and 170 C.E., around the same tine as the Nag Hammadi texts. Irenaeus first mentions this gospel in Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) written around 180 C.E., so we know that this represented a heretical gospel.

Since these Gnostic texts could only have its unknown authors writing well after the alleged life of Jesus, they cannot serve as historical evidence of Jesus anymore than the canonical versions. Again, we only have “heretical” hearsay.

NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES

Virtually all other claims of Jesus come from sources outside of Christian writings. Devastating to the claims of Christians, however, comes from the fact that all of these accounts come from authors who lived after the alleged life of Jesus. Since they did not live during the time of the hypothetical Jesus, none of their accounts serve as eyewitness evidence.

Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus’ short accounts of Jesus (inAntiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus’ birth in 37 C.E., well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.

Pliny the Younger (born: 62 C.E.) His letter about the Christians only shows that he got his information from Christian believers themselves. Regardless, his birth date puts him out of range as an eyewitness account.

Tacitus, the Roman historian’s birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a “Christus” in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus’ mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

Suetonius, a Roman historian, born in 69 C.E. mentions a “Chrestus,” a common name. Apologists assume that “Chrestus” means “Christ” (a disputable claim). But even if Seutonius had meant “Christ,” it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus. Just like all the others, Suetonius’ birth occurred well after the purported Jesus. Again, only hearsay.

Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Yeshu, according to scholars depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus or it may refer to Yeshu ben Pandera, a teacher of the 2nd centuy CE. Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud didn’t come into existence until the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion. At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian or Jewish legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

Christian apologists mostly use the above sources for their “evidence” of Jesus because they believe they represent the best outside sources. All other sources (Christian and non-Christian) come from even less reliable sources, some of which include: Mara Bar-Serapion (circa 73 C.E.), Ignatius (50 – 98? C.E.), Polycarp (69 – 155 C.E.), Clement of Rome (? – circa 160 C.E.), Justin Martyr (100 – 165 C.E.), Lucian (circa 125 – 180 C.E.), Tertullian (160 – ? C.E.), Clement of Alexandria (? – 215 C.E.), Origen (185 – 232 C.E.), Hippolytus (? – 236 C.E.), and Cyprian (? – 254 C.E.). As you can see, all these people lived well after the alleged death of Jesus. Not one of them provides an eyewitness account, all of them simply spout hearsay.

As you can see, apologist Christians embarrass themselves when they unwittingly or deceptively violate the rules of historiography by using after-the-event writings as evidence for the event itself. Not one of these writers gives a source or backs up his claims with evidential material about Jesus. Although we can provide numerous reasons why the Christian and non-Christian sources prove spurious, and argue endlessly about them, we can cut to the chase by simply determining the dates of the documents and the birth dates of the authors. It doesn’t matter what these people wrote about Jesus, an author who writes after the alleged happening and gives no detectable sources for his material can only give example of hearsay. All of these anachronistic writings about Jesus could easily have come from the beliefs and stories from Christian believers themselves. And as we know from myth, superstition, and faith, beliefs do not require facts or evidence for their propagation and circulation. Thus we have only beliefs about Jesus’ existence, and nothing more.

FAKES, FRAUDS, AND FICTIONS

Because the religious mind relies on belief and faith, the religious person can inherit a dependence on any information that supports a belief and that includes fraudulent stories, rumors, unreliable data, and fictions, without the need to check sources, or to investigate the reliability of the information. Although hundreds of fraudulent claims exist for the artifacts of Jesus, I will present only three examples which seem to have a life of their own and have spread through the religious community and especially on internet discussion groups.

The Shroud of Turin

Many faithful people believe the shroud represents the actual burial cloth of Jesus where they claim the image on the cloth represents an actual ‘photographic’ image left behind by the crucified body.

The first mention of the shroud comes from a treatise (written or dictated) by Geoffroi de Charny in 1356 and who claims to have owned the cloth (see The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi De Charny). Later, in the 16th century, it suddenly appeared in a cathedral in Turin, Italy. (Note that thousands of claimed Jesus relics appeared in cathedrals throughout Europe, including the wood from the cross, chalices, blood of Jesus, etc. These artifacts proved popular and served as a prosperous commercial device which filled the money coffers of the churches.) [See The Family Jewels for some examples.]

Sadly, many people of faith believe that there actually exists scientific evidence to support their beliefs in the shroud’s authenticity. Considering how the Shroud’s apologists use the words, “science,” “fact,” and “authentic,” without actual scientific justification, and even include pseudo-scientists (without mentioning the ‘pseudo’) to testify to their conclusions, it should not come to any surprise why a faithful person would not question their information or their motives. Television specials have also appeared that purport the authenticity of the shroud. Science, however, does not operate though television specials who have a commercial interest and have no qualms about deceiving the public.

Experts around the world consider the 14-foot-long linen sheet, which has remained in a cathedral in Turin since 1578, a forgery because of carbon-dating tests performed in 1988. Three different independent radiocarbon dating laboratories in Zurich, Oxford and the University of Arizona yielded a date range of 1260-1390 C.E. (consistent with the time period of Charny’s claimed ownership). Joe Zias of Hebrew University of Jerusalem calls the shroud indisputably a fake. “Not only is it a forgery, but it’s a bad forgery.” The shroud actually depicts a man whose front measures 2 inches taller than his back and whose elongated hands and arms would indicate that he had the affliction of gigantism if he actually lived. (Also read Joe Nickell’s, Inquest On The Shroud Of Turin: Latest Scientific Findings)

Walter C. McCrone, et al, (see Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin) discovered red ochre (a pigment found in earth and widely used in Italy during the Middle Ages) on the cloth which formed the body image and vermilion paint, made from mercuric sulphide, used to represent blood. The actual scientific findings reveal the shroud as a 14th century painting, not a two-thousand year-old cloth with Christ’s image. Revealingly, no Biblical scholar or scientist (with any credibility), cites the shroud of Turin as evidence for a historical Jesus.

The Burial box of James

Even many credible theologians bought this fraud, hook-line-and-sinker. The Nov./Dec. 2002, issue of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine announced a “world exclusive!” article about evidence of Jesus written in stone, claiming that they found the actual ossuary of “James, Brother of Jesus” in Jerusalem. This story exploded on the news and appeared widely on television and newspapers around the world.

Interestingly, they announced the find as the “earliest historical reference of Jesus yet found.” Since they claimed the inscription on the box occurred around 70 C.E., that would agree with everything claimed by this thesis (that no contemporary evidence exists for Jesus). (Note that even if the box script proved authentic, it would not provide evidence for Jesus simply because no one knew who wrote the script or why. It would only show the first indirect mention of an alleged Jesus and it could not serve as contemporary evidence simply because it didn’t come into existence until long after the alleged death of Jesus.)

The claim for authenticity of the burial box of James, however, proved particularly embarrassing for the Biblical Archaeology Review and for those who believed them without question. Just a few months later, archaeologists determined the inscription as a forgery (and an obvious one at that) and they found the perpetrator and had him arrested (see ‘Jesus box’ exposed as fake and A fake? James Ossuary dealer arrested, suspected of forgery).

Regrettably, the news about the fraud never matched the euphoria of the numerous stories of the find and many people today still believe the story as true.

Letters of Pontius Pilate

This would appear hilarious if not for the tragic results that can occur from believing in fiction: many faithful (especially on the internet) have a strong belief that Pontius Pilate actually wrote letters to Seneca in Rome where he mentions Jesus and his reported healing miracles.

Considering the lack of investigational temper of the religious mind, it might prove interesting to the critical reader that the main source for the letters of Pilate come from W. P. Crozier’s 1928 book titled, “Letters of Pontius Pilate: Written During His Governorship of Judea to His Friend Seneca in Rome.” The book cites Crozier as the editor as if he represented a scholar who edited Pilate’s letters. Well, from the title, it certainly seems to indicate that Pilate wrote some letters doesn’t it? However, unbeknownst or ignored by the uncritical faithful, this book represents Crozier’s first novel, a fictionalized account of what he thought Pilate would have written.

During the first publication, no one believed this novel represented fact and reviews of the day reveal it as a work of fiction.

Crozier, a newspaper editor, went to Oxford University and retained an interest in Latin, Greek and the Bible. He wrote this novel as if it represented the actual letters of Pilate. Of course no scholar would cite this as evidence because no letters exist of Pilate to Seneca, and Seneca never mentions Jesus in any of his writings.

The belief in Pilate’s letters represents one of the more amusing fad beliefs in evidential Jesus, however, it also reveals just how myths, fakes, and fictions can leak into religious thought. Hundreds of years from now, Crozier’s fictionalized account may very well end up just as ‘reliable’ as the gospels.

WHAT ABOUT WRITINGS DURING THE LIFE OF JESUS?

What appears most revealing of all, comes not from what people later wrote about Jesus but what people did not write about him. Consider that not a single historian, philosopher, scribe or follower who lived before or during the alleged time of Jesus ever mentions him!

If, indeed, the Gospels portray a historical look at the life of Jesus, then the one feature that stands out prominently within the stories shows that people claimed to know Jesus far and wide, not only by a great multitude of followers but by the great priests, the Roman governor Pilate, and Herod who claims that he had heard “of the fame of Jesus” (Matt 14:1)”. One need only read Matt: 4:25 where it claims that “there followed him [Jesus] great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.The gospels mention, countless times, the great multitude that followed Jesus and crowds of people who congregated to hear him. So crowded had some of these gatherings grown, that Luke 12:1 alleges that an “innumerable multitude of people… trode one upon another.” Luke 5:15 says that there grew “a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear…” The persecution of Jesus in Jerusalem drew so much attention that all the chief priests and scribes, including the high priest Caiaphas, not only knew about him but helped in his alleged crucifixion. (see Matt 21:15-23, 26:3, Luke 19:47, 23:13). The multitude of people thought of Jesus, not only as a teacher and a miracle healer, but a prophet (see Matt:14:5).

So here we have the gospels portraying Jesus as famous far and wide, a prophet and healer, with great multitudes of people who knew about him, including the greatest Jewish high priests and the Roman authorities of the area, and not one person records his existence during his lifetime? If the poor, the rich, the rulers, the highest priests, and the scribes knew about Jesus, who would not have heard of him?

Then we have a particular astronomical event that would have attracted the attention of anyone interested in the “heavens.” According to Luke 23:44-45, there occurred “about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, and the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.” Yet not a single mention of such a three hour ecliptic event got recorded by anyone, including the astronomers and astrologers, anywhere in the world, including Pliny the Elder and Seneca who both recorded eclipses from other dates. Note also that, for obvious reasons, solar eclipses can’t occur during a full moon (passovers always occur during full moons), Nor does a single contemporary person write about the earthquake described in Matthew 27:51-54 where the earth shook, rocks ripped apart (rent), and graves opened.

Matthew 2 describes Herod and all of Jerusalem as troubled by the worship of the infant Jesus. Herod then had all of the children of Bethlehem slain. If such extraordinary infanticides of this magnitude had occurred, why didn’t anyone write about it?

Some apologists attempt to dig themselves out of this problem by claiming that there lived no capable historians during that period, or due to the lack of education of the people with a writing capacity, or even sillier, the scarcity of paper gave reason why no one recorded their “savior.” But the area in and surrounding Jerusalem served, in fact, as the center of education and record keeping for the Jewish people. The Romans, of course, also kept many records. Moreover, the gospels mention scribes many times, not only as followers of Jesus but the scribes connected with the high priests. And as for historians, there lived plenty at the time who had the capacity and capability to record, not only insignificant gossip, but significant events, especially from a religious sect who drew so much popular attention through an allegedly famous and infamous Jesus.

Take, for example, the works of Philo Judaeus whose birth occurred in 20 B.C.E. and died 50 C.E. He lived as the greatest Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher and historian of the time and lived in the area of Jerusalem during the alleged life of Jesus. He wrote detailed accounts of the Jewish events that occurred in the surrounding area. Yet not once, in all of his volumes of writings, do we read a single account of a Jesus “the Christ.” Nor do we find any mention of Jesus in Seneca’s (4? B.C.E. – 65 C.E.) writings, nor from the historian Pliny the Elder (23? – 79 C.E.).

If, indeed, such a well-known Jesus existed, as the gospels allege, does any reader here think it reasonable that, at the very least, the fame of Jesus would not have reached the ears of one of these men?

Amazingly, we have not one Jewish, Greek, or Roman writer, even those who lived in the Middle East, much less anywhere else on the earth, who ever mention him during his supposed life time. This appears quite extraordinary, and you will find few Christian apologists who dare mention this embarrassing fact.

To illustrate this extraordinary absence of Jesus Christ literature, just imagine going through nineteenth century literature looking for an Abraham Lincoln but unable to find a single mention of him in any writing on earth until the 20th century. Yet straight-faced Christian apologists and historians want you to buy a factual Jesus out of a dearth void of evidence, and rely on nothing but hearsay written well after his purported life. Considering that most Christians believe that Jesus lived as God on earth, the Almighty gives an embarrassing example for explaining his existence. You’d think a Creator might at least have the ability to bark up some good solid evidence.

HISTORICAL SCHOLARS

Many problems occur with the reliability of the accounts from ancient historians. Most of them did not provide sources for their claims, as they rarely included bibliographic listings, or supporting claims. They did not have access to modern scholarly techniques, and many times would include hearsay as evidence. No one today would take a modern scholar seriously who used the standards of ancient historians, yet this proves as the only kind of source that Christology comes from. Couple this with the fact that many historians believed as Christians themselves, sometimes members of the Church, and you have a built-in prejudice towards supporting a “real” Jesus.

In modern scholarship, even the best historians and Christian apologists play the historian game. They can only use what documents they have available to them. If they only have hearsay accounts then they have to play the cards that history deals them. Many historians feel compelled to use interpolation or guesses from hearsay, and yet this very dubious information sometimes ends up in encyclopedias and history books as fact.

In other words, Biblical scholarship gets forced into a lower standard by the very sources they examine. A renowned Biblical scholar illustrated this clearly in an interview when asked about Biblical interpretation. David Noel Freeman (the General editor of the Anchor Bible Series and many other works) responded with:

“We have to accept somewhat looser standards. In the legal profession, to convict the defendant of a crime, you need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, a preponderance of the evidence is sufficient. When dealing with the Bible or any ancient source, we have to loosen up a little; otherwise, we can’t really say anything.”

-David Noel Freedman (in Bible Review magazine, Dec. 1993, p.34)

The implications appear obvious. If one wishes to believe in a historical Jesus, he or she must accept this based on loose standards. Couple this with the fact that all of the claims come from hearsay, and we have a foundation made of sand, and a castle of information built of cards.

CITING GEOGRAPHY, AND KNOWN HISTORICAL FIGURES AS “EVIDENCE”

Although the New Testament mentions various cities, geological sites, kings and people who existed or lived during the alleged life of Jesus, these descriptions cannot serve as evidence for the existence of Jesus anymore than works of fiction that include recognizable locations, and make mention of actual people.

Homer’s Odyssey, for example, describes the travels of Odysseus throughout the Greek islands. The epic describes, in detail, many locations that existed in history. But should we take Odysseus, the Greek gods and goddesses, one-eyed giants and monsters as literal fact simply because the story depicts geographic locations accurately? Of course not. Mythical stories, fictions, and narratives almost always use familiar landmarks as placements for their stories. The authors of the Greek tragedies not only put their stories in plausible settings as happening in the real world but their supernatural characters took on the desires, flaws and failures of mortal human beings. Consider that fictions such as King Kong, Superman, and Star Trek include recognizable cities, planets, and landmarks, with their protagonists and antagonists miming human emotions.

Likewise, just because the Gospels mention cities and locations in Judea, and known historical people, with Jesus behaving like an actual human being (with the added dimension of supernatural curses, miracles, etc.) but this says nothing about the actuality of the characters portrayed in the stories. However, when a story uses impossible historical locations, or geographical errors, we may question the authority of the claims.

For example, in Matt 4:8, the author describes the devil taking Jesus into an exceedingly high mountain to show him all the kingdoms of the world. Since there exists no spot on the spheroid earth to view “all the kingdoms,” we know that the Bible errs here.

John 12:21 says, “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee. . . .” Bethsaida resided in Gaulonitis (Golan region), east of the Jordan river, not Galilee, which resided west of the river.

John 3:23 says, “John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim. . . .” Critics agree that no such place as Aenon exists near Salim.

There occurs not a shred of evidence for a city named Nazareth at the time of the alleged Jesus. [Gauvin] Nazareth does not appear in the Old Testament, nor does it appear in the volumes of Josephus’s writings (even though he provides a detailed list of the cities of Galilee). Oddly, none of the New Testament epistle writers ever mentions Nazareth or a Jesus of Nazareth even though most of the epistles appeared before the gospels. In fact no one mentions Nazareth until the Gospels, where the first one didn’t come into existence until about 40 years after the hypothetical death of Jesus. Apologists attempt to dismiss this by claiming that Nazareth existed as an insignificant and easily missed village (how would they know?), thus no one recorded it. However, whenever the Gospels speak of Nazareth, they always refer to it as a city, never a village, and a historian of that period would surely have noticed a city. (Note the New Testament uses the terms village, town, and city.) Nor can apologists fall on archeological evidence of preexisting artifacts for the simple reason that many cities get built on ancient sites. If a city named Nazareth existed during the 1st century, then we need at least one contemporary piece of evidence for the name, otherwise we cannot refer to it as historical.

Many more errors and unsupported geographical locations appear in the New Testament. And although one cannot use these as evidence against a historical Jesus, we can certainly question the reliability of the texts. If the scriptures make so many factual errors about geology, science, and contain so many contradictions, falsehoods could occur any in area.

If we have a coupling with historical people and locations, then we should also have some historical reference of a Jesus to these locations and people. But just the opposite proves the case. The Bible depicts Herod, the Ruler of Jewish Palestine under Rome as sending out men to search and kill the infant Jesus, yet nothing in history supports such a story. Pontius Pilate supposedly performed as judge in the trial and execution of Jesus, yet no Roman record mentions such a trial. The gospels portray a multitude of believers throughout the land spreading tales of a teacher, prophet, and healer, yet nobody in Jesus’ life time or several decades after, ever records such a human figure. The lack of a historical Jesus in the known historical record speaks for itself.

COMPARING JESUS TO OTHER HISTORICAL FIGURES

Many Christian apologists attempt to extricate themselves from their lack of evidence by claiming that if we cannot rely on the post chronicle exegesis of Jesus, then we cannot establish a historical foundation for other figures such as Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Napoleon, etc. However, there sits a vast difference between historical figures and Jesus. There occurs either artifacts, writings, or eyewitness accounts for historical people, whereas, for Jesus we have nothing.

Alexander, for example, left a wake of destroyed and created cities behind. We have buildings, libraries and cities, such as Alexandria, left in his name. We have treaties, and even a letter from Alexander to the people of Chios, engraved in stone, dated at 332 B.C.E. For Augustus Caesar, we have the Res gestae divi augusti, the emperor’s own account of his works and deeds, a letter to his son (Epistula ad Gaium filium), Virgil’s eyewitness accounts, and much more. Napoleon left behind artifacts, eyewitness accounts and letters. We can establish some historicity to these people because we have evidence that occurred during their life times. Yet even with contemporary evidence, historians have become wary of after-the-fact stories of many of these historical people. For example, some of the stories of Alexander’s conquests, or Nero starting the fire in Rome always get questioned or doubted because they contain inconsistencies or come from authors who wrote years after the alleged facts. In qualifying the history of Alexander, Pierre Briant writes, “Although more than twenty of his contemporaries chronicled Alexander’s life and campaigns, none of these texts survive in original form. Many letters and speeches attributed to Alexander are ancient forgeries or reconstructions inspired by imagination or political motives. The little solid documentation we possess from Alexander’s own time is mainly to be found in stone inscriptions from the Greek cities of Europe and Asia.” [Briant]

Inventing histories out of whole cloth or embellished from a seed of an actual historical event appears common throughout the chronicle of human thought. Robert Price observes, “Alexander the Great, Caesar Augustus, Cyrus, King Arthur, and others have nearly suffered this fate. What keeps historians from dismissing them as mere myths, like Paul Bunyan, is that there is some residue. We know at least a bit of mundane information about them, perhaps quite a bit, that does not form part of any legend cycle.” [Price, pp. 260-261]

Interestingly, almost all important historical people have descriptions of what they looked like. We have the image of Augustus Caesar cast on denarius coins, busts of Greek and Roman aristocrats, artwork of Napoleon, etc. We have descriptions of facial qualities, height, weight, hair length & color, age and even portraits of most important historical figures. But for Jesus, we have nothing. Nowhere in the Bible do we have a description of the human shape of Jesus. How can we rely on the Gospels as the word of Jesus when no one even describes what he looked like? How odd that none of the disciple characters record what he looked like, yet believers attribute them to know exactly what he said. Indeed, this gives us a clue that Jesus came to the gospel writers and indirect and through myth. Not until hundreds of years after the alleged Jesus did pictures emerge as to what he looked like from cult Christians, and these widely differed from a blond clean shaven, curly haired Apollonian youth (found in the Roman catacombs) to a long-bearded Italian as depicted to this day. This mimics the pattern of Greek mythological figures as their believers constructed various images of what their gods looked like according to their own cultural image.

Historical people leave us with contemporary evidence, but for Jesus we have nothing. If we wanted to present a fair comparison of the type of information about Jesus to another example of equal historical value, we could do no better than to compare Jesus with the mythical figure of Hercules.

IF JESUS, THEN WHY NOT HERCULES?

If a person accepts hearsay and accounts from believers as historical evidence for Jesus, then shouldn’t they act consistently to other accounts based solely on hearsay and belief?

To take one example, examine the evidence for Hercules of Greek mythology and you will find it parallels the “historicity” of Jesus to such an amazing degree that for Christian apologists to deny Hercules as a historical person belies and contradicts the very same methodology used for a historical Jesus.

Note that Herculean myth resembles Jesus in many areas. The mortal and chaste Alcmene, the mother of Hercules, gave birth to him from a union with God (Zeus). Similar to Herod who wanted to kill Jesus, Hera wanted to kill Hercules. Like Jesus, Hercules traveled the earth as a mortal helping mankind and performed miraculous deeds. Similar to Jesus who died and rose to heaven, Hercules died, rose to Mt. Olympus and became a god. Hercules gives example of perhaps the most popular hero in Ancient Greece and Rome. They believed that he actually lived, told stories about him, worshiped him, and dedicated temples to him.

Likewise the “evidence” of Hercules closely parallels that of Jesus. We have historical people like Hesiod and Plato who mention Hercules in their writings. Similar to the way the gospels tell a narrative story of Jesus, so do we have the epic stories of Homer who depict the life of Hercules. Aesop tells stories and quotes the words of Hercules. Just as we have a brief mention of Jesus by Joesphus in his Antiquities, Joesphus also mentions Hercules (more times than Jesus), in the very same work (see: 1.15; 8.5.3; 10.11.1). Just as Tacitus mentions a Christus, so does he also mention Hercules many times in his Annals. And most importantly, just as we have no artifacts, writings or eyewitnesses about Hercules, we also have nothing about Jesus. All information about Hercules and Jesus comes from stories, beliefs, and hearsay. Should we then believe in a historical Hercules, simply because ancient historians mention him and that we have stories and beliefs about him? Of course not, and the same must apply to Jesus if we wish to hold any consistency to historicity.

Some critics doubt that a historicized Jesus could develop from myth because they think there never occurred any precedence for it. We have many examples of myth from history but what about the other way around? This doubt fails in the light of the most obvious example– the Greek mythologies where Greek and Roman writers including Diodorus, Cicero, Livy, etc., assumed that there must have existed a historical root for figures such as Hercules, Theseus, Odysseus, Minos, Dionysus, etc. These writers put their mythological heroes into an invented historical time chart. Herodotus, for example, tried to determine when Hercules lived. As Robert M. Price revealed, “The whole approach earned the name of Euhemerism, from Euhemerus who originated it.” [Price, p. 250] Even today, we see many examples of seedling historicized mythologies: UFO adherents who’s beliefs began as a dream of alien bodily invasion, and then expressed as actually having occurred (some of which have formed religious cults); beliefs of urban legends which started as pure fiction or hoaxes; propaganda spread by politicians which stem from fiction but believed by their constituents.

People consider Hercules and other Greek gods as myth because people no longer believe in the Greek and Roman stories. When a civilization dies, so go their gods. Christianity and its church authorities, on the other hand, still hold a powerful influence on governments, institutions, and colleges. Anyone doing research on Jesus, even skeptics, had better allude to his existence or else risk future funding and damage to their reputations or fear embarrassment against their Christian friends. Christianity depends on establishing a historical Jesus and it will defend, at all costs, even the most unreliable sources. The faithful want to believe in Jesus, and belief alone can create intellectual barriers that leak even into atheist and secular thought. We have so many Christian professors, theologians and historical “experts” around the world that tell us we should accept a historical Jesus that if repeated often enough, it tends to convince even the most ardent skeptic. The establishment of history should never reside with the “experts” words alone or simply because a scholar has a reputation as a historian. Historical review has yet to achieve the reliability of scientific investigation, (and in fact, many times ignores it). If a scholar makes a historical claim, his assertion should depend primarily with the evidence itself and not just because he or she says so. Facts do not require belief. And whereas beliefs can live comfortably without evidence at all, facts depend on evidence.

THEN WHY THE MYTH OF JESUS?

Some people actually believe that just because so much voice and ink has spread the word of a character named Jesus throughout history, that this must mean that he actually lived. This argument simply does not hold. The number of people who believe or write about something or the professional degrees they hold say nothing at all about fact. Facts derive out of evidence, not from hearsay, not from hubris scholars, and certainly not from faithful believers. Regardless of the position or admiration held by a scholar, believer, or priest, if he or she cannot support their hypothesis with good evidence, then it can only remain a hypothesis.

While the possibility exists that an actual Jesus lived, a more likely possibility reveals that a mythology could have arrived totally out of earlier mythologies. Although we have no evidence for a historical Jesus, we certainly have many accounts for the mythologies of the Middle East and Egypt during the first century and before. Many of these stories appear similar to the Christ saviour story.

Just before and during the first century, the Jews had prophesied about an upcoming Messiah based on Jewish scripture. Their beliefs influenced many of their followers. We know that powerful beliefs can create self-fulfilling prophesies, and surely this proved just as true in ancient times. It served as a popular dream expressed in Hebrew Scripture for the promise of an “end-time” with a savior to lead them to the promised land. Indeed, Roman records show executions of several would-be Messiahs, (but not a single record mentions a Jesus). Many ancients believed that there could come a final war against the “Sons of Darkness”– the Romans.

This then could very well have served as the ignition and flame for the future growth of Christianity. We know that the early Christians lived within pagan communities. Jewish scriptural beliefs coupled with the pagan myths of the time give sufficient information about how such a religion could have formed. Many of the Hellenistic and pagan myths parallel so closely to the alleged Jesus that to ignore its similarities means to ignore the mythological beliefs of history. Dozens of similar savior stories propagated the minds of humans long before the alleged life of Jesus. Virtually nothing about Jesus “the Christ” came to the Christians as original or new.

For example, the religion of Zoroaster, founded circa 628-551 B.C.E. in ancient Persia, roused mankind in the need for hating a devil, the belief of a paradise, last judgment and resurrection of the dead. Mithraism, an offshoot of Zoroastrianism probably influenced early Christianity. The Magi described in the New Testament appears as Zoroastrian priests. Note the word “paradise” came from the Persian pairidaeza.

Osiris, Hercules, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus and others compare to the Christian myth. According to Patrick Campbell of The Mythical Jesus, all served as pre-Christian sun gods, yet all allegedly had gods for fathers, virgins for mothers; had their births announced by stars; got born on the solstice around December 25th; had tyrants who tried to kill them in their infancy; met violent deaths; rose from the dead; and nearly all got worshiped by “wise men” and had allegedly fasted for forty days. [McKinsey, Chapter 5]

The pre-Christian cult of Mithra had a deity of light and truth, son of the Most High, fought against evil, presented the idea of the Logos. Pagan Mithraism mysteries had the burial in a rock tomb, resurrection, sacrament of bread & water (Eucharist), the marking on the forehead with a mystic mark, the symbol of the Rock, the Seven Spirits and seven stars, all before the advent of Christianity.

Even Justin Martyr recognized the analogies between Christianity and Paganism. To the Pagans, he wrote: “When we say that the Word, who is first-born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven; we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter (Zeus).” [First Apology, ch. xxi]

Virtually all of the mythical accounts of a savior Jesus have parallels to past pagan mythologies which existed long before Christianity and from the Jewish scriptures that we now call the Old Testament. The accounts of these myths say nothing about historical reality, but they do say a lot about believers, how they believed, and how their beliefs spread.

In the book The Jesus Puzzle, the biblical scholar, Earl Doherty, presents not only a challenge to the existence of an historical Jesus but reveals that early pre-Gospel Christian documents show that the concept of Jesus sprang from non-historical spiritual beliefs of a Christ derived from Jewish scripture and Hellenized myths of savior gods. Nowhere do any of the New Testament epistle writers describe a human Jesus, including Paul. None of the epistles mention a Jesus from Nazareth, an earthly teacher, or as a human miracle worker. Nowhere do we find these writers quoting Jesus. Nowhere do we find them describing any details of Jesus’ life on earth or his followers. Nowhere do we find the epistle writers even using the word “disciple” (they of course use the term “apostle” but the word simply means messenger, as Paul saw himself). Except for two well-known interpolations, Jesus always gets presented as a spiritual being that existed before all time with God, and that knowledge of Christ came directly from God or as a revelation from the word of scripture. Doherty writes, “Christian documents outside the Gospels, even at the end of the first century and beyond, show no evidence that any tradition about an earthly life and ministry of Jesus were in circulation.”

Furthermore, the epistle to the Hebrews (8:4), makes it explicitly clear that the epistle writer did not believe in a historical Jesus: “If He [Jesus] had been on earth, He would not be a priest.”

These early historical documents can prove nothing about an actual Jesus but they do show an evolution of belief derived from varied and diverse concepts of Christianity, starting from a purely spiritual form of Christ to a human figure who embodied that spirit, as portrayed in the Gospels. The New Testament stories appears as an eclectic hodgepodge of Jewish, Hellenized and pagan stories compiled by pietistic believers to appeal to an audience for their particular religious times.

A NOTE ABOUT DATING:

The A.D. (Anno Domini, or “year of our Lord”) dating method derived from a monk named Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Little), in the sixth-century who used it in his Easter tables. Oddly, some people seem to think this has relevance to a historical Jesus. But of course it has nothing at all to do with it. In the time before and during the 6th century, people used various other dating methods. The Romans used A.U.C. (anno urbis conditae, “year of the founded city,” that being Rome). The Jews had their own dating system. Not until the tenth century did most churches accept the new dating system. The A.D. system simply reset the time of January 1, 754 A.U.C. to January 1, of year one A.D., which Dionysius obliquely derived from the belief of the date of “incarnation” of Jesus. The date, if one uses the Bible as history, can’t possibly hold true. *

Instead of B.C. and A.D., I have used the convention of B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) as often used in scholarly literature. They correspond to the same dates as B.C. and A.D., but without alluding to the birth or death of an alleged Christ.

* Dionysius believed that the conception (incarnation) of Jesus occurred on March 25. This meant that the conception must have occurred nine months later on December 25, probably not coincidentally, the very same date that the Emperor Aurelian, in 274 C.E., declared December 25 a holiday in celebration of the birth of Mithras, the sun god. By 336 C.E., Christians replaced Mithras with Jesus’ birth on the same date. Dionysius then declared the new year several days later on January 1, probably to coincide with the traditional Roman year starting on January 1st. Dionysius probably never read the gospel account of the birth of Jesus because the Matthew gospel says his birth occurred while Herod served as King. That meant that if he did exist, his birth would have to occur in 4 B.C.E. or earlier. He made another mistake by assigning the first year as 1 instead of 0 (everyone’s birthday starts at year 0, not 1). The concept of zero (invented from Arabia and India) didn’t come into Europe until about two hundred years later.

QUOTES FROM A FEW SCHOLARS:

Although apologist scholars believe that an actual Jesus lived on earth, the reasons for this appear obvious considering their Christian beliefs. Although some secular freethinkers and atheists accept a historical Jesus (minus the miracles), they, like most Christians, simply accept the traditional view without question. As time goes on, more and more scholars have begun to open the way to a more honest look at the evidence, or should I say, the lack of evidence. So for those who wish to rely on scholarly opinion, I will give a few quotes from Biblical scholars, past and present:

When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up.

-Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.
-Moncure D. Conway [1832 – 1907] (Modern Thought)
It is only in comparatively modern times that the possibility was considered that Jesus does not belong to history at all.
-J.M. Robertson (Pagan Christs)

Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as “letters of Paul.” Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen “Pauline” letters now included in the New Testament. collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus– letters written in a style different from Paul’s and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul’s own letters. About the authorship of Ephesias, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the “deutero-Pauline”– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters.”

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (Adam, Eve, and the Serpent)

We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

Some hoped to penetrate the various accounts and to discover the “historical Jesus”. . . and that sorting out “authentic” material in the gospels was virtually impossible in the absence of independent evidence.”

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

We can recreate dimensions of the world in which he lived, but outside of the Christian scriptures, we cannot locate him historically within that world.

-Gerald A. Larue (The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read)

The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

Far from being an intimate of an intimate of Jesus, Mark wrote at the forth remove from Jesus.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.

-Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36)

The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.

-Bishop John Shelby Spong

Many modern Biblical archaeologists now believe that the village of Nazareth did not exist at the time of the birth and early life of Jesus. There is simply no evidence for it.

-Alan Albert Snow (The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read)

But even if it could be proved that John’s Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who “John” was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person.

-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

It was not until the third century that Jesus’ cross of execution became a common symbol of the Christian faith.

-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

What one believes and what one can demonstrate historically are usually two different things.

-Robert J. Miller, Bible scholar, (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p. 9)

When it comes to the historical question about the Gospels, I adopt a mediating position– that is, these are religious records, close to the sources, but they are not in accordance with modern historiographic requirements or professional standards.

-David Noel Freedman, Bible scholar and general editor of the Anchor Bible series (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p.34)

It is said that the last recourse of the Bible apologist is to fall back upon allegory. After all, when confronted with the many hundreds of biblical problems, allegory permits one to interpret anything however one might please.

-Gene Kasmar, Minnesota Atheists

Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them.

-Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College (Bible Review, June 1994)

A generation after Jesus’ death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large number of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.

-Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College (Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 37)

James Dunn says that the Sermon on the Mount, mentioned only by Matthew, “is in fact not historical.”

How historical can the Gospels be? Are Murphy-O-Conner’s speculations concerning Jesus’ baptism by John simply wrong-headed? How can we really know if the baptism, or any other event written about in the Gospels, is historical?

-Daniel P. Sullivan (Bible Review, June 1996, Vol. XII, Number 3, p. 5)

David Friedrich Strauss (The Life of Jesus, 1836), had argued that the Gospels could not be read as straightforward accounts of what Jesus actually did and said; rather, the evangelists and later redactors and commentators, influenced by their religious beliefs, had made use of myths and legends that rendered the gospel narratives, and traditional accounts of Jesus’ life, unreliable as sources of historical information.

-Bible Review, October 1996, Vol. XII, Number 5, p. 39

The Gospel authors were Jews writing within the midrashic tradition and intended their stories to be read as interpretive narratives, not historical accounts.

-Bishop Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels

Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “Who Wrote the Bible,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Once written, many experts believe, the Gospels were redacted, or edited, repeatedly as they were copied and circulated among church elders during the last first and early second centuries.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The tradition attributing the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is first noted by Irenaeus in A.D. 180. It is a tradition based largely on what some view as the writer’s reference to himself as “the beloved disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Current objection to John’s authorship are based largely on modern textural analyses that strongly suggest the fourth Gospel was the work of several hands, probably followers of an elderly teacher in Asia Minor named John who claimed as a young man to have been a disciple of Jesus.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Some scholars say so many revisions occurred in the 100 years following Jesus’ death that no one can be absolutely sure of the accuracy or authenticity of the Gospels, especially of the words the authors attributed to Jesus himself.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Three letters that Paul allegedly wrote to his friends and former co-workers Timothy and Titus are now widely disputed as having come from Paul’s hand.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The Epistle of James is a practical book, light on theology and full of advice on ethical behavior. Even so, its place in the Bible has been challenged repeatedly over the years. It is generally believed to have been written near the end of the first century to Jewish Christians. . . but scholars are unable conclusively to identify the writer.

Five men named James appear in the New Testament: the brother of Jesus, the son of Zebedee, the son of Alphaeus, “James the younger” and the father of the Apostle Jude.

Little is known of the last three, and since the son of Zebedee was martyred in A.D. 44, tradition has leaned toward the brother of Jesus. However, the writer never claims to be Jesus’ brother. And scholars find the language too erudite for a simple Palestinian. This letter is also disputed on theological grounds. Martin Luther called it “an epistle of straw” that did not belong in the Bible because it seemed to contradict Paul’s teachings that salvation comes by faith as a “gift of God”– not by good works.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The origins of the three letters of John are also far from certain.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Christian tradition has held that the Apostle Peter wrote the first [letter], probably in Rome shortly before his martyrdom about A.D. 65. However, some modern scholars cite the epistle’s cultivated language and its references to persecutions that did not occur until the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) as evidence that it was actually written by Peter’s disciples sometime later.

Second Peter has suffered even harsher scrutiny. Many scholars consider it the latest of all New Testament books, written around A.D. 125. The letter was never mentioned in second-century writings and was excluded from some church canons into the fifth century. “This letter cannot have been written by Peter,” wrote Werner Kummel, a Heidelberg University scholar, in his highly regarded Introduction to the New Testament.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The letter of Jude also is considered too late to have been written by the attested author– “the brother of James” and, thus, of Jesus. The letter, believed written early in the second century.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality.

-Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Quran, and Science)

The bottom line is we really don’t know for sure who wrote the Gospels.

-Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Most scholars have come to acknowledge, was done not by the Apostles but by their anonymous followers (or their followers’ followers). Each presented a somewhat different picture of Jesus’ life. The earliest appeared to have been written some 40 years after his Crucifixion.

-David Van Biema, “The Gospel Truth?” (Time, April 8, 1996)

So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that “we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus.”

-Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg, the foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926

The Synoptic Gospels employ techniques that we today associate with fiction.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

Josephus says that he himself witnessed a certain Eleazar casting out demons by a method of exorcism that had been given to Solomon by God himself– while Vespasian watched! In the same work, Josephus tells the story of a rainmaker, Onias (14.2.1).

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

For Mark’s gospel to work, for instance, you must believe that Isaiah 40:3 (quoted, in a slightly distorted form, in Mark 1:2-3) correctly predicted that a stranger named John would come out of the desert to prepare the way for Jesus. It will then come as something of a surprise to learn in the first chapter of Luke that John is a near relative, well known to Jesus’ family.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

The narrative conventions and world outlook of the gospel prohibit our using it as a historical record of that year.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 54)

Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.

-C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy)

The gospels are very peculiar types of literature. They’re not biographies.

-Paula Fredriksen, Professor and historian of early Christianity, Boston University (in the PBS documentary, From Jesus to Christ, aired in 1998)

The gospels are not eyewitness accounts

-Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

We are led to conclude that, in Paul’s past, there was no historical Jesus. Rather, the activities of the Son about which God’s gospel in scripture told, as interpreted by Paul, had taken place in the spiritual realm and were accessible only through revelation.

-Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.83

Before the Gospels were adopted as history, no record exists that he was ever in the city of Jerusalem at all– or anywhere else on earth.

-Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.141

Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one any more. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern remythologizings of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction.

-Robert M. Price, “Jesus: Fact or Fiction, A Dialogue With Dr. Robert Price and Rev. John Rankin,” Opening Statement

It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last.

-Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute (Deconstructing Jesus, p. 260)

CONCLUSION

Belief cannot produce historical fact, and claims that come from nothing but hearsay do not amount to an honest attempt to get at the facts. Even with eyewitness accounts we must tread carefully. Simply because someone makes a claim, does not mean it represents reality. For example, consider some of the bogus claims that supposedly come from many eyewitness accounts of alien extraterrestrials and their space craft. They not only assert eyewitnesses but present blurry photos to boot! If we can question these accounts, then why should we not question claims that come from hearsay even more? Moreover, consider that the hearsay comes from ancient and unknown people that no longer live.

Unfortunately, belief and faith substitute as knowledge in many people’s minds and nothing, even direct evidence thrust on the feet of their claims, could possibly change their minds. We have many stories, myths and beliefs of a Jesus but if we wish to establish the facts of history, we cannot even begin to put together a knowledgeable account without at least a few reliable eyewitness accounts.

Of course a historical Jesus may have existed, perhaps based loosely on a living human even though his actual history got lost, but this amounts to nothing but speculation. However we do have an abundance of evidence supporting the mythical evolution of Jesus. Virtually every detail in the gospel stories occurred in pagan and/or Hebrew stories, long before the advent of Christianity. We simply do not have a shred of evidence to determine the historicity of a Jesus “the Christ.” We only have evidence for the belief of Jesus.

So if you hear anyone who claims to have evidence for a witness of a historical Jesus, simply ask for the author’s birth date. Anyone who’s birth occurred after an event cannot serve as an eyewitness, nor can their words alone serve as evidence for that event.

Evolutionists Flock To Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain

Darwin Stain
Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic.

DAYTON, TN—A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwin—author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movement—made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.

"I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits," said Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed "Scopes Monkey Trial" and is widely considered one of Darwinism’s holiest sites. "Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested."

Added Freiberg, "Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!"

Since witnesses first reported the unexplained marking—which appears to resemble a 19th-century male figure with a high forehead and large beard—this normally quiet town has become a hotbed of biological zealotry. Thousands of pilgrims from as far away as Berkeley’s paleoanthropology department have flocked to the site to lay wreaths of flowers, light devotional candles, read aloud from Darwin’s works, and otherwise pay homage to the mysterious blue-green stain.

Capitalizing on the influx of empirical believers, street vendors have sprung up across Dayton, selling evolutionary relics and artwork to the thousands of pilgrims waiting to catch a glimpse of the image. Available for sale are everything from small wooden shards alleged to be fragments of the "One True Beagle"—the research vessel on which Darwin made his legendary voyage to the Galapagos Islands—to lecture notes purportedly touched by English evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace.

"I have never felt closer to Darwin’s ideas," said zoologist Fred Granger, who waited in line for 16 hours to view the stain. "May his name be praised and his theories on natural selection echo in all the halls of naturalistic observation forever."

Despite the enthusiasm the so-called "Darwin Smudge" has generated among the evolutionary faithful, disagreement remains as to its origin. Some believe the image is actually closer to the visage of Stephen Jay Gould, longtime columnist for Natural History magazine and originator of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, and is therefore proof of rapid cladogenesis. A smaller minority contend it is the face of Carl Sagan, and should be viewed as a warning to those nonbelievers who have not yet seen his hit PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Still others have attempted to discredit the miracle entirely, claiming that there are several alternate explanations for the appearance of the unexplained discoloration.

"It’s a stain on a wall, and nothing more," said the Rev. Clement McCoy, a professor at Oral Roberts University and prominent opponent of evolutionary theory. "Anything else is the delusional fantasy of a fanatical evolutionist mindset that sees only what it wishes to see in the hopes of validating a baseless, illogical belief system. I only hope these heretics see the error of their ways before our Most Powerful God smites them all in His vengeance."

But those who have made the long journey to Dayton remain steadfast in their belief that natural selection—a process by which certain genes are favored over others less conducive to survival—is the one and only creator of life as we know it. This stain, they claim, is the proof they have been waiting for.

"To those who would deny that genetic drift is responsible for a branching evolutionary tree of increasing biodiversity amid changing ecosystems, we say, ‘Look upon the face of Darwin!’" said Jeanette Cosgrove, who, along with members of her microbiology class, has maintained a candlelight vigil at the site for the past 72 hours.

"Over millions of successive generations, a specific subvariant of one species of slime mold adapted to this particular concrete wall, in order to one day form this stain, and thus make manifest this vision of Darwin’s glorious countenance," Cosgrove said, overcome with emotion.

"It’s a miracle," she added.

Source: TheOnion.com

The Historicity of Jesus: the Making of a Myth

So often I see it written on blogs or internet communities where the historicity of Jesus is being discussed where the Christian apologist will respond to those skeptical of a historical Jesus by reminding them that very little evidence exists to support the historicity of figures like Socrates, Alexander the Great, etc. While this may be true for the former, it is a bit less realistic a statement for the former. Nonetheless, the difference lies in the fact that neither of these figures has supernatural claims surrounding him to which millions of people are expected to behave in a certain manner in support of. Nor does my belief about life or the universe depend on either of these two actually existing in history. So the argument amounts to nothing more than a straw man, but it is a straw man that I see many atheists and non-believers get stuck on when they debate the historicity of Jesus with this would-be messiah’s apologists.
Historians don’t use the “empirical evidences” of chemists and physicists, but they do make predictions based upon the evidence they actually obtain. Evidence for historical figures and events comes in the forms of primary and secondary evidence. The written artifacts of the subject constitute primary evidence: bills of laden, manifests, deeds to property, signed orders, correspondence, etc. Secondary evidence comes in the form of documents written in an era after the subject’s period, usually written about the subject, describing his deeds, actions, or ideas about the world.
With regard to historical figures like George Washington, there exist many primary documents that conform to the period contemporary to the man. Occasionally, a forged document emerges (documents related to George Washington are valuable, after all) and is detected by some inconsistence when compared with other documents. Or, in the case of a document I recall being discussed once, the forger used the wrong ink, which when empirically analyzed, showed to be of a 20th century variety.
What exists with the Jesus account amounts to only secondary evidence. The only sources we have to say that Jesus existed in history are the Synaptic Gospels and a few apocrypha. Each of which offer conflicting accounts in some cases or appear to be derived from a single source in others. None of Jesus’ personal correspondences exist; not a single account of his life exists that was written while he was alleged to exist; not a single artifact is produced that can be empirically linked to Jesus; etc.
Apologists for the Jesus myth will often respond with, “what artifact would be good enough?” A blood-soaked piece of wood that tests to only have 23 chromosomes comes to mind, but, realistically, I’m reminded that many historical figures contemporary to Jesus or before are accompanied by artifacts that are in their name: effigies, murals, tapestries, sculptures, trinkets, jewelry, songs, poems, stories, cities and streets named after them, and so on. Jesus Christ has none of these things that were created during his life or even just after. It isn’t until about 50 – 70 years after he was alleged to have been executed that the newly emergent Christian cult created documents detailing the life of this person.
If Jesus Christ did not exist, we would expect to see only post-mortem accounts of his life. We would expect to see the creators of this mythical character use existing mythology to flesh out the character they’re creating. We would expect to see a borrowing of text, as was common for the day, from existing religious texts to create the new myth. We would expect to see mistakes in things like geography and contradictions between authors of the new mythical character if they weren’t collaborating close enough –or if they were competing with one another! We would also expect the Jesus myth to conform to the hero archetype as well.
And you know what, we see all these things.
Existing Mythology and Borrowing of Text
In Daniel 7:13, we find, “[a]s I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven.” In Mark 13:26, we see, “[t]hen they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.”
This direct word-for-word borrowing of Old Testament text by gospel author is something that was done throughout Near Eastern cultures. Anyone who’s read in Near Eastern texts ranging from Gilgamesh to the Egyptian stories from the earliest writings to well after the alleged time of Jesus will see examples of this literary “borrowing.” One of the only time this literary practice of ancient texts is ignored is with Judeo-Christian and Islamic myths.
As another example of so many, the crucifixion scene in Mark is clearly based on Psalm 22. The first lines of Psalm 22 read “my god, my god, why have you forsaken me?,” which is a lamentation song supposedly written by David. In Mark, Jesus quotes this as he “dies” on the cross. Those deluded by the spell of Christianity will cite this as “prophecy fulfillment,” even though this isn’t a “prophecy” at all. It’s a song. A song of lament and there is no indication in Psalms that this is any sort of prophecy. We are left to accept that either the alleged “son of God” lacked imagination or originality in this and dozens of other sayings and speeches.
Indeed, the obvious explanation of so-called “prophecy-fulfillments” is that they are all* written by authors who were writing with these prophecies and sayings in mind.
Geographical Problems
In this section, I’m directly quoting the work of a skeptic in an internet community, and I’ve linked the passage at the end of this post. I won’t say that he’s 100% accurate in the information, but I did a quick look at the biblical passages in question as well as a map of the region and it looks like this gentleman is spot on.
1. The author of Mark states that Jesus cast out demons from a man and into a couple thousand pigs while in Gerasa. The pigs then ran down a steep place and into the Sea of Galilee. Galilee is about 30 miles from Gerasa.
2. Matthew’s author changed the earlier Mark to Gadara, which is still 5 miles from the shore of Galilee. The earliest manuscripts are Mark, which state Gerasa. But even if it were Gadara and Mark’s author was wrong (leaving one to wonder why we should trust “as gospel” the word of either since they cannot agree -one is obviously deluded), did Mark’s author run to keep up with the pigs for 5 miles just to watch their fate?
3. The author of Mark also wrote that Jesus traveled from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee, about 30-50 miles (depending on the route) in order to reach Sidon, which was back on the Mediterranean coast, yet another 40-50 miles! The wisest of wise men took a 70 mile journey, on foot, to reach his destination. Talk about taking the scenic route. A more likely explanation is that the gospel was invented by an author that was simply ignorant of Palestinian geography (in other words, had never been there; in other words, wasn’t an ‘apostle’) and thought Sidon was on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. [1]
Inter-Gospel Contradictions
The contradictory genealogies of Matthew and Luke are probably the first that come to mind for most. Even the most deeply deluded of Christian apologists seem to have difficulty reconciling this difference. Though I have seen one or two lame attempts, the worst of these being the excuse that one of the genealogies is actually that of Mary. There shouldn’t even be a genealogy of Joseph going back to David since he isn’t Jesus’ father… yet Paul writes in Romans 1:3 that Jesus was born of the seed of David. This is evidence of a bit of editing and footwork done by the early Christians who were reconciling OT prophecy to create their “messiah.” This bit gets written in to the Jesus mythology to help create the character and flesh out his part.
But, speaking of Jesus’ birth, only Luke and Matthew seem aware of the fact that it is supposed to be a “virgin” birth (complete and utter nonsense to begin with). Luke and Matthew also disagree on the date that he was born. Luke has him born during the first census of Israel during the period in which Quirinius was governor of Syria. Matthew says he was born during the reign of Herod. Herod died in 4 BCE and the census took place between 6 and 7 CE. The authors of Matthew and Luke both agree on the *place* of Jesus’ birth, however, putting it at Bethlehem. Incidently, the author of Matthew seems to be quoting Micah (5:2) when he writes of it, more “borrowing” from the OT. Luke, on the other hand, has Joseph and Mary leave their home in Nazareth to go to Bethlehem for the birth for census purposes (which doesn’t make any logical sense, since Romans were interested in taxing people where they actually lived). The contradiction between Matthew and Luke is regarding their home, apparently Luke’s author thinks they lived in Nazareth before Jesus’ birth, whereas Matthew’s author says it was only after JC’s birth that they moved there because they were afraid to return to Judea.
There are many, many other contradictions between these alleged “synoptic” gospels (such as who bought the field of blood, how the field got its name, how Judas died, trials of Jesus, his death, the alleged “resurrection,” etc.), enough that it is apparent that “synoptic” is the last adjective that should be applied to these fables.
The Hero archetype.
The modern mythical archetype is as follows:

  1. The hero usually suffers a great loss, which makes him set off on a quest.
  2. The hero generally has a mentor or helper who helps him on his quest.
  3. The hero must face a set of trials, which allow him to overcome “evil”.
  4. The hero narrowly escapes death, usually more than once.
  5. The hero escapes the “evil villain’s” stronghold or destroys him.
  6. The hero is then reintegrated into society with a new status, wealth, or marriage to the princess.
  7. There has to be a happy ending.

Such modern heroes include Luke Skywalker, Superman, Batman, etc. But the hero archetype is nothing new to storytellers. Joseph Campbell outlined the “hero’s journey” in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces [2] and noted that this journey is shared by mythical heroes throughout history:

  1. A call to adventure, which the hero has to accept or decline
  2. A road of trials, regarding which the hero succeeds or fails
    Achieving the goal or “boon,” which often results in important self-knowledge
  3. A return to the ordinary world, again as to which the hero can succeed or fail
  4. Application of the boon, in which what the hero has gained, can be used to improve the world

To quote Campbell, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
So why “Jesus Christ?”
The theology the group of believers that became Catholics held that a new covenant could only be made with a blood sacrifice. Therefore, Jesus had to exist and real, actual blood had to be spilled in order to form a new covenant. Catholics, the folks that voted on what texts were going to be “biblical” and which were not, voted in a new covenant along with the New Testament texts added to the earlier Judaic texts like the Torah. A new covenant exists. Therefore, Jesus existed. All very circular.
But why the name “Jesus” and not “Yeshua: as it is written in Hebrew. And why “Christ?” Yeshua, meaning “god saves” already existed and was very prominent in the newly voted on Bible. He’s better known as Joshua, the mass-murderer who is alleged to have committed genocide on Canaanites and other innocent people of the land he and his band of terrorists wanted to take. Of course, biblical mythology paints his deeds as acts of heroism (one man’s hero is another man’s terrorist), but rest assured, this hero is quoted directly in biblical mythology as having “devoted the city [Jericho] to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys (Joshua 6:21).” That is, every living thing *except* his favorite prostitute.
So the Catholic editors of their newly voted on biblical texts saw fit to change the name ever so slightly. Jesus, was also among the most common names of the time. And, since “christ” is from the Greek khristós, meaning “anointed one,” the functional equivalent of “messiah,” we are left with an “everyman name.” He might well have been named *Joe Messiah* if the story were to have unfolded in 20th century Ohio instead of the Iron Age.

101 Contradictions in the Bible.

1. Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?
* God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)
* Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)

2. In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?
* Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
* One million, one hundred thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

3. How many fighting men were found in Judah?
* Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
* Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

4. God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?
* Seven (2 Samuel 24:13)
* Three (I Chronicles 21:12)

5. How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
* Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26)
* Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)

6. How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?
* Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)
* Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)

7. How long did he rule over Jerusalem?
* Three months (2 Kings 24:8)
* Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)

8. The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?
* Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8)
* Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)

9. When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?
* After (2 Samuel 5 and 6)
* Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)

10. How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?
* Two (Genesis 6:19, 20)
* Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)

11. When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?
* One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4)
* Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)

12. How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?
* Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26)
* Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)

13. In what year of King Asa’s reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?
* Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 – 16:8)
* Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)

14. How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?
* Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2)
* Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)

15. Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?
* Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26)
* Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)

16. Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of Pahrath-Moab?
* Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6)
* Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)

17. How many were the children of Zattu?
* Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8)
* Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)

18. How many were the children of Azgad?
* One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12)
* Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)

19. How many were the children of Adin?
* Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15)
* Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)

20. How many were the children of Hashum?
* Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19)
* Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)

21. How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?
* Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28)
* One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)

22. Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:
* 29,818 (Ezra)
* 31,089 (Nehemiah)

23. How many singers accompanied the assembly?
* Two hundred (Ezra 2:65)
* Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)

24. What was the name of King Abijahs mother?
* Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2)
* Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20) But Absalom had only one daughter whose name was Tamar (2 Samuel 14:27)

25. Did Joshua and the Israelites capture Jerusalem?
* Yes (Joshua 10:23, 40)
* No (Joshua 15:63)

26. Who was the father of Joseph, husband of Mary?
* Jacob (Matthew 1:16)
* Hell (Luke 3:23)

27. Jesus descended from which son of David?
* Solomon (Matthew 1:6)
* Nathan(Luke3:31)

28. Who was the father of Shealtiel?
* Jechoniah (Matthew 1:12)
* Neri (Luke 3:27)

29. Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ?
* Abiud (Matthew 1: 13)
* Rhesa (Luke 3:27) But the seven sons of Zerubbabel are as follows: i.Meshullam, ii. Hananiah, iii. Hashubah, iv. Ohel, v.Berechiah, vi. Hasadiah, viii. Jushabhesed (I Chronicles 3:19, 20). The names Abiud and Rhesa do not fit in anyway.

30. Who was the father of Uzziah?
* Joram (Matthew 1:8)
* Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1)

31. Who was the father of Jechoniah?
* Josiah (Matthew 1:11)
* Jeholakim (I Chronicles 3:16)

32. How many generations were there from the Babylonian exile until Christ?
* Matthew says fourteen (Matthew 1:17)
* But a careful count of the generations reveals only thirteen (see Matthew 1: 12-16)

33. Who was the father of Shelah?
* Cainan (Luke 3:35-36)
* Arphaxad (Genesis II: 12)

34. Was John the Baptist Elijah who was to come?
* Yes (Matthew II: 14, 17:10-13)
* No (John 1:19-21)

35. Would Jesus inherit Davids throne?
* Yes. So said the angel (Luke 1:32)
* No, since he is a descendant of Jehoiakim (see Matthew 1: I 1, I Chronicles 3:16). And Jehoiakim was cursed by God so that none of his descendants can sit upon Davids throne (Jeremiah 36:30)

36. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?
* One – a colt (Mark 11:7; cf Luke 19:3 5). And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it.
* Two – a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7). They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon.

37. How did Simon Peter find out that Jesus was the Christ?
* By a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17)
* His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41)

38. Where did Jesus first meet Simon Peter and Andrew?
* By the sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22)
* On the banks of river Jordan (John 1:42). After that, Jesus decided to go to Galilee (John 1:43)

39. When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus daughter already dead?
* Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, My daughter has just died.
* No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, My little daughter is at the point of death.

40. Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?
* Yes (Mark 6:8)
* No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3)

41. Did Herod think that Jesus was John the Baptist?
* Yes (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16)
* No (Luke 9:9)

42. Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus before his baptism?
* Yes (Matthew 3:13-14)
* No (John 1:32,33)

43. Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus after his baptism?
* Yes (John 1:32, 33)
* No (Matthew 11:2)

44. According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness?
* If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true (John 5:3 1)
* Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true (John 8:14)

45. When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?
* Yes (Matthew 21:12)
* No. He went into the temple and looked around, but since it was very late he did nothing. Instead, he went to Bethany to spend the night and returned the next morning to cleanse the temple (Mark I 1:1- 17)

46. The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?
* Yes. (Matthew 21:19)
* No. It withered overnight (Mark II: 20)

47. Did Judas kiss Jesus?
* Yes (Matthew 26:48-50)
* No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12)

48. What did Jesus say about Peters denial?
* The cock will not crow till you have denied me three times (John 13:38)
* Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times (Mark 14:30) . When the cock crowed once, the three denials were not yet complete (see Mark 14:72). Therefore prediction (a) failed.

49. Did Jesus bear his own cross?
* Yes (John 19:17)
* No (Matthew 27:31-32)

50. Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?
* Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark lS:37-38)
* No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit! And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46)

51. Did Jesus say anything secretly?
* No. I have said nothing secretly (John 18:20)
* Yes. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything (Mark 4:34). The disciples asked him Why do you speak to them in parables? He said, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given (Matthew 13: 1 0-11)

52. Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?
* On the cross (Mark 15:23)
* In Pilates court (John 19:14)

53. The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus?
* Yes (Mark 15:32)
* No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43)

54. Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?
* Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)
* No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later, I have not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17)

55. When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with him hear the voice?
* Yes (Acts9:7)
* No (Acts22:9)

56. When Paul saw the light he fell to the ground. Did his traveling companions also fall to the ground?
* Yes (Acts 26:14)
* No (Acts 9:7)

57. Did the voice spell out on the spot what Pauls duties were to be?
* Yes (Acts 26:16-18)
* No. The voice commanded Paul to go into the city of Damascus and there he will be told what he must do. (Acts9:7;22: 10)

58. When the Israelites dwelt in Shittin they committed adultery with the daughters of Moab. God struck them with a plague. How many people died in that plague?
* Twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:1 and 9)
* Twenty-three thousand (I Corinthians 10:8)

59. How many members of the house of Jacob came to Egypt?
* Seventy souls (Genesis 4 & 27)
* Seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14)

60. What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?
* He bought a field (Acts 1: 18)
* He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5)

61. How did Judas die?
* After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5)
* After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)

62. Why is the field called Field of Blood?
* Because the priests bought it with the blood money (Matthew 27:8)
* Because of the bloody death of Judas therein (Acts 1:19)

63. Who is a ransom for whom?
* The Son of Man came…to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all… (I Timothy 2:5-6)
* The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright (Proverbs 21:18)

64. Is the law of Moses useful?
* Yes. All scripture is… profitable… (2 Timothy 3:16)
* No… . A former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness… (Hebrews 7:18)

65. What was the exact wording on the cross?
* This is Jesus the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:37)
* The King of the Jews (Mark 15:26)
* This is the King of the Jews (Luke 23:38)
* Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews (John 19:19)

66. Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?
* Yes (Matthew 14:5)
* No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him. But Herod knew that he was a righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20)

67. Who was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve?
* Thaddaeus (Matthew 10: 1-4; Mark 3:13 -19)
* Judas son of James is the corresponding name in Lukes gospel (Luke 6:12-16)

68. Jesus saw a man sitat the tax collectors office and called him to be his disciple. What was his name?
* Matthew (Matthew 9:9)
* Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27)

69. Was Jesus crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal or the daytime after?
* After (Mark 14:12-17)
* Before. Before the feast of the Passover (John 1) Judas went out at night (John 13:30). The other disciples thought he was going out to buy supplies to prepare for the Passover meal (John 13:29). When Jesus was arrested, the Jews did not enter Pilates judgment hail because they wanted to stay clean to eat the Passover (John 18:28). When the judgment was pronounced against Jesus, it was about the sixth hour on the day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:14)

70. Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?
* Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42)
* No. (John 12:27)

71. In the gospels which say that Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, how many times did he move away from his disciples to pray?
* Three (Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42)
* One. No opening is left for another two times. (Luke 22:39-46)

72. Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus went away and prayed three times. What were the words of the second prayer?
* Mark does not give the words but he says that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark 14:3 9)
* Matthew gives us the words, and we can see that they are not the same as in the first (Matthew 26:42)

73. What did the centurion say when Jesus dies?
* Certainly this man was innocent (Luke 23:47)
* Truly this man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39)

74. When Jesus said My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me ? in what language did he speak?
* Hebrew: the words are Eloi, Eloi ..(Matthew 27:46)
* Aramaic: the words are Eloi, Eloi .. (Mark 15:34)

75. According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?
* Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit! (Luke 23:46)
* “It is finished” (John 19:30)

76. When Jesus entered Capernaum he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally to request Jesus for this?
* Yes (Matthew 8:5)
* No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3,6)

77.
* Adam was told that if and when he eats the forbidden fruit he would die the same day (Genesis 2:17)
* Adam ate the fruit and went on to live to a ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)

78.
* God decided that the life-span of humans will be limited to 120 years (Genesis 6:3)
* Many people born after that lived longer than 120. Arpachshad lived 438 years. His son Shelah lived 433 years. His son Eber lived 464 years, etc. (Genesis 11:12-16)

79. Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven?
* No (John 3:13)
* Yes. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11)

80. Who was high priest when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread?
* Abiathar (Mark 2:26)
* Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar (I Samuel 1:1; 22:20)

81. Was Jesus body wrapped in spices before burial in accordance with Jewish burial customs?
* Yes and his female disciples witnessed his burial (John 19:39-40)
* No. Jesus was simply wrapped in a linen shroud. Then the women bought and prepared spices so that they may go and anoint him [Jesus) (Mark 16: 1)

82. When did the women buy the spices?
* After the Sabbath was past (Mark 16:1)
* Before the Sabbath. The women prepared spices and ointments. Then, on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:55 to 24:1)

83. At what time of day did the women visit the tomb?
* Toward the dawn (Matthew 28: 1)
* When the sun had risen (Mark 16:2)

84. What was the purpose for which the women went to the tomb?
* To anoint Jesus body with spices (Mark 16: 1; Luke 23:55 to 24: 1)
* To see the tomb. Nothing about spices here (Matthew 28: 1)
* For no specified reason. In this gospel the wrapping with spices had been done before the Sabbath (John 20: 1)

85. A large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. Where was the stone when the women arrived?
* They saw that the stone was Rolled back (Mark 16:4) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb (Luke 24:2) They saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1)
* As the women approached, an angel descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and conversed with the women. Matthew made the women witness the spectacular rolling away of the stone (Matthew 28:1-6)

86. Did anyone tell the women what happened to Jesus body?
* Yes. A young man in a white robe (Mark 16:5). Two men … in dazzling apparel later described as angels (Luke 24:4 and 24:23). An angel – the one who rolled back the stone (Matthew 16:2). In each case the women were told that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5 footnote)
* No. Mary met no one and returned saying, They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him (John 20:2)

87. When did Mary Magdelene first meet the resurrected Jesus? And how did she react?
* Mary and the other women met Jesus on their way back from their first and only visit to the tomb. They took hold of his feet and worshipped him (Matthew 28:9)
* On her second visit to the tomb Mary met Jesus just outside the tomb. When she saw Jesus she did not recognize him. She mistook him for the gardener. She still thinks that Jesus body is laid to rest somewhere and she demands to know where. But when Jesus said her name she at once recognized him and called him Teacher. Jesus said to her, Do not hold me… (John 20:11 to 17)

88. What was Jesus instruction for his disciples?
* Tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me (Matthew 2 8: 10)
* Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God (John 20:17)

89. When did the disciples return to Galilee?
* Immediately, because when they saw Jesus in Galilee some doubted (Matthew 28:17). This period of uncertainty should not persist
* After at least 40 days. That evening the disciples were still in Jerusalem (Luke 24:3 3). Jesus appeared to them there and told them, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). He was appearing to them during forty days (Acts 1:3), and charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise … (Acts 1:4)

90. To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph?
* To the Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:28)
* To Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (Genesis 37:36)

91. Who brought Joseph to Egypt?
* The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and then took Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 37:28)
* The Midianites had sold him in Egypt (Genesis 37:36)
* Joseph said to his brothers I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt (Genesis 45:4)

92. Does God change his mind?
* Yes. The word of the Lord came to Samuel: I repent that I have made Saul King… (I Samuel 15:10 to 11)
* No. God will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent (I Samuel 15:29)
* Yes. And the Lord repented that he had made Saul King over Israel (I Samuel 15:35).

Notice that the above three quotes are all from the same chapter of the same book! In addition, the Bible shows that God repented on several other occasions:

i. The Lord was sorry that he made man (Genesis 6:6)
I am sorry that I have made them (Genesis 6:7)

ii. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people (Exodus 32:14).

iii. (Lots of other such references).

93. The Bible says that for each miracle Moses and Aaron demonstrated the magicians did the same by their secret arts. Then comes the following feat:
* Moses and Aaron converted all the available water into blood (Exodus 7:20-21)
* The magicians did the same (Exodus 7:22). This is impossible, since there would have been no water left to convert into blood.

94. Who killed Goliath?
* David (I Samuel 17:23, 50)
* Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19)

95. Who killed Saul?
* Saul took his own sword and fell upon it…. Thus Saul died… (I Samuel 31:4-6)
* An Amalekite slew him (2 Samuel 1:1- 16)

96. Does every man sin?
* Yes. There is no man who does not sin (I Kings 8:46; see also 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; and I John 1:810)
* No. True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are the children of God. Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.. (I John 5:1). We should be called children of God; and so we are (I John 3: 1). He who loves is born of God (I John 4:7). No one born of God commits sin; for Gods nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God (I John 3:9). But, then again, Yes! If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8)

97. Who will bear whose burden?
* Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2)
* Each man will have to bear his own load (Galatians 6:5)

98. How many disciples did Jesus appear to after his resurrection?
* Twelve (I Corinthians 15:5)
* Eleven (Matthew 27:3-5 and Acts 1:9-26, see also Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14 footnote; Luke 24:9; Luke 24:3 3)

99. Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?
* After his baptism, the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days … (Mark 1:12-13)
* Next day after the baptism, Jesus selected two disciples. Second day: Jesus went to Galilee – two more disciples. Third day: Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee (see John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11)

100. Was baby Jesus life threatened in Jerusalem?
* Yes, so Joseph fled with him to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died (Matthew 2:13 23)
* No. The family fled nowhere. They calmly presented the child at the Jerusalem temple according to the Jewish customs and returned to Galilee (Luke 2:21-40)

101. When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?
* They worshipped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God (Matthew 14:33)
* They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:51-52)

Source: ThinkAtheist.com