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Religion Within the Context of Human Development—Organization/Togetherness Bipedalism and

Religion Within the Context of Human Development—Organization/Togetherness
 
Bipedalism and the use of some primitive tools came first, followed by an expansion in the number of tools designed for many more purposes; then came tools to erect impressive structures and large buildings, to fashion boats or small ships, to provide water conveyance and new weapons, etc. Meanwhile early writing required… hieroglyphics, followed by cuneiform; and finally alphabets were created to provide maximum utility by dividing each spoken word into phonic segments that correlate with written symbols called letters.
 
A flourish in religious development was next, mainly to facilitate people working together well, and to do so in larger groups than before, which requires something for compelling individuals to conform—a basis for order or some consistent means that the public can begin organizing around, which early Judaism was meant to provide. But competing concepts for how best to accomplish that would have arisen also. And whatever it was that might be employed, it would have to be presented as the truth, which meant it would need to be extremely well crafted, that is, if it were to have much chance of being effective—which is why, today, in the face of an enormous amount of evidence against the factualness of Judaistic literature, most still can’t gain mental freedom from its superincumbent grip.
 
Christianity’s original leading form was essentially Judaism which had been much improved; then Catholicism was a customization of that, so that by the first half of the fourth century, at least according to Rome, Christianity looked like a good upgrade from Paganism… and then before the end of that same century forced conversions, ordered by Theodosius The Great, were being imposed. Which practice continued under others such as Charlemagne, then morphed into the Inquisition of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which impelling was expressed by the Spanish Inquisition of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries also. Protestantism, however, still managed to emerge during that time: For some influential Catholics began to protest that Catholicism clearly failed when compared to the New Testament standard, while hoping and hypothesizing that if Christianity were practiced correctly (according to its scriptures) then the Hebrew Creator might be well pleased—assuming, of course, that the much storied Hebrew deity was unabashedly for real. Meanwhile, the rise of Islam in the seventh century helped many Arabs who were living in that arid Middle Eastern region to unite, therefore become more organized so they could begin working together far more effectively—which is the real reason (or secret) why Islam has been so successful. -DL
 
Please check out the following facebook pages: Atheist Standards For Children, Atheists Who Love, Reaching The Evangelical Mind, Secular Solidarity, and If Matter Were Eternal. This post relates to human evolution, as I see it, which doesn’t seem like a topic that would have much to do with physics (as If Matter Were Eternal is a page on physics). Meanwhile, if matter has always existed and if there is no spiritual realm whatsoever, then physics ultimately answers every topic.
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John Shelby on the Gospel of JohnThis looked

John Shelby on the Gospel of John

This looked like good work to me: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shelby-spong/gospel-of-john-what-everyone-knows-about-the-fourth-gospel_b_3422026.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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Absurdity Folder: NT Miracle Criterion No Longer Applies 

Absurdity Folder: NT Miracle Criterion No Longer Applies
  Have Others Observed this and Made Some Notes Also?
  (Part 5 of Coping with Evil and Other Problems)

Problem: The New Testament claims miracles happened in the first century and not exclusively through Jesus, while the kind of eyesight and hearing that he must have given (to fulfill prophecies) would have been the metaphoric/spiritual type—…spiritual understanding as explained in Isaiah 6:9-10 and Jeremiah 5:21, and is mentioned in the Gospels themselves (in Mark 4:12, etc.)… which are a few of those places where the BIBLE ITSELF lets/allows some of the cat that really happened out of the bag, so to speak.

The NT claims Jesus’ disciples (who became apostles), including some other Christians, worked miracles also; and did so rather similarly to Jesus after he was gone. And there is much reason to believe—if one takes several NT statements seriously regarding this—that miracles were to continue happening after those initial apostles were gone. In the first place then, what would be the purpose of Jesus having worked miracles? Wouldn’t the performance of miracles have been predicated on a person’s close association with a Supreme Power? And wouldn’t that be based on how someone who works real miracles couldn’t be a mere pretender? Therefore, wouldn’t miracles be a way for us to tell which Christian ministers are the real McCoy also?

But here is the first clue that something about this is incredibly fishy. Astonishingly, Matthew 7:21-23 doesn’t follow that kind of logic by making a case that miracles can be a means for discerning which ministers are truly from God and which are not, even though that criteria was used to show the world that Jesus was unquestionably God’s Messiah; and even though miracles were originally used to verify Jesus’ agenda continued through his disciples. Even so, Matthew 7:21-23 shows Jesus telling people who felt sure they were Christians to “depart” from him… thus enter everlasting torment—people who it says “prophesied” in his name and “cast out devils,” people who in his name did “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS” also! So why would the criteria for deciding that Jesus was special, including the criteria for determining that his disciples/apostles were the correct ones, suddenly change? So what are we supposed to do when we might choose the wrong group or belief, therefore end up in hell? Will Jesus and God just laugh because we weren’t able to figure all of this out, what’s correct and what isn’t?

Now fast-forward several hundred years from the first century: Baptists, much like Protestants, have had churches where miracles are never expected to occur. Instead, people there would just pray for God to intervene, and sometimes he may (some believe) and other times, for whatever reason, sometimes he doesn’t, with prayer having roughly a 50% chance of success. Today, following the affects of the charismatic movement, there are rare occasions when a church having the name Baptist might emphasize miracles as ongoing; but that would be a church hybrid.

So let’s consider a run-of-the-mill Baptist church from some 45 years ago roughly speaking, one that invites people to accept the Christian gospel for their salvation from hell and bent toward sin, which kind of church would baptize those converts also. Keep in mind, once again, that no miracle event of any kind is ever expected in this kind of church. People there only read about such incidents in the NT and hypothesize that even though some of those acts were performed by Jesus and his disciples, those are no longer necessary since the point now is for people to be saved from their sins and hell, which is far away the most important facet of Christianity!

Yet the NT does indicate in several places that miracles, in principle, should continue after Jesus and his apostles were no longer present. Therefore, during a rather long Christian era wherein Catholicism, as the state church for more than a thousand years, may or may not have carried the torch for authentic Christianity—while no small number broke away from Catholicism to start their own kinds of churches (in a time when people were needing some way or means to recognize which form of Christianity must be the religion’s bona fide standard-bearer, as opposed to those forms which could not be, so that people would be able to pick the correct group, which would have to be the one that best “contends for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” [i.e., the real thing, WHICH FORM, we are told by Jude 3, was DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS DURING THE FIRST CENTURY)—then why wouldn’t miracles occurring, or not occurring, be an obvious indicator that one group is verifiably connected to God while another type isn’t?

Now think back some 40 years from the present, to when Pentecostals and the charismatic movement were beginning to infiltrate those ranks in other churches to show the world what NT Christianity is really supposed to look like, and how that miracles should be frequent occurrences. For charismatic believers were wanting Baptists, like myself, to speak in tongues and become fans of their ministers who were working numerous miracles—aggressively pushing that on Baptists (like me) who were already saved… which might lead a believer to begin wondering whether his or her salvation was suddenly not as important. Or was it instead that Baptists were not actually bringing salvation to any sinners since miracles were never present in our kind of church. While God’s veritable presence may very well require the inclusion of some signs and wonders, as ministers who bring ongoing miraculous events may be the genuine type after all; therefore genuine salvation may come via their agency instead of it coming through a Baptist type since they never display any deducible evidence—i.e., miracles—that God is most certainly with them. Do you now see what kinds of problems the Bible ends up creating? And what insane problems we have been allowing all kinds of ministers, fresh from their training, to smooth over?

Now fast-forward one more time from 40 years ago (which was 1973) to 1990, a year in which three charismatic minsters were exposed as frauds on the ABC News magazine, Primetime Live; and many more of that type of minister have been exposed as frauds since then. Yet Baptists still do seem powerless. So what should a person do? Well at least Baptists won’t pretend to work miracles?

This, and several more issues that are similar, should lead us to conclude that the story of Moses is absolute fiction, and that Jesus never worked one miracle… while those who wrote the New Testament were carrying forward those same sort of social engineering practices initiated by the Abrahamic religions’ first architects—the authors of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus… and that there is no God of any kind whatsoever. -DL

I consider Part 4 my best work: https://www.facebook.com/AtheistStandardsForChildren/posts/321847851281383

Constructing The Real Jesus Series: Messiah Blueprint and Self-fulfilling Prophecies

 The Old Testament’s messianic prophecies were the blueprint for the Jewish Messiah. For if anyone were to imagine himself as being that nation’s MUCH-LONGED-FOR coming great leader and mighty conqueror, those prophecies described what that person must do and what he must be like—all of which represented a confluence of WHAT WAS BEING LONGED FOR by that chronically subjugated nation, therefore WHAT WAS BEING IMAGINED by that nation’s prophets with respect to their future leader… and then for anyone who felt they might have what it took to be that person, WHAT THAT PERSON MIGHT ACTUALLY BE LIKE.
Those prophecies, more than anything else, describe a Jewish conqueror who would bring an extravagantly copious prosperity and peace to the Israel Nation, even beyond those descriptions of David’s and Solomon’s reigns; and this time it would apparently need to include the purpose for man, or human beings, on the Earth as well as everlasting life somehow being delivered to humans. That’s what was LONGED FOR by these prophecies and that was what they have called for. Of course if Jesus received enough education to become literate, due to some innovative efforts to secure that for him by his mother, then he would have been able to read quite a number of those prophecies in what would have been the Greek Septuagint collection of the Jewish scriptures… and then he could begin to form his plans.
If so, he would have run into a fairly difficult problem soon enough: Not only was the great Messiah of Israel supposed to be a great conqueror, but someone who was similarly great was supposed to die as a sacrifice for the nation, including that sacrificial death being for what could even become extra-Jewish nationals. For at least one of those prophecies of the future described such a sacrificial death (Isaiah 53) while Jeremiah 31 says that the first covenant God made with the Jews would be replaced by another covenant that would become permanent and would be much better—which all had to be factored into his plan as Jesus began to read these passages perhaps in his late teens and then continued to read those throughout his twenties… all while forming his plan from the blueprint of what all of those prophecies described. This is how prophecies like this become self-fulfilling: For people like Jesus, which do pop up once in a while, of course not with the regularity of much more typical type people, can feel they have a responsibility or duty to discharge in relation to his people’s greatest aspirations and so that person begins to put some sort of plan into action.
But how in the world could prophecies about a mighty conqueror be harmonized with one of those prophecies that’s about someone who is also great dying an abusive death—i.e., while seeming to have no impulses or at least no expressions of retribution as that’s described in Isaiah 53—at the hands of his enemies? How could that work? So were two different great persons supposed to come in Israel’s future? Then this eureka moment must have occurred to him: The Messiah would come as a lowly person initially, preach his wisdom to the people, which doing so is described in some of those prophecies, then following that die as the nation’s sacrifice. That would be the first part of the scenario. For coming as a lowly person would also be something easy to fulfill, just like dying as a sacrifice by provoking Rome and the Sanhedrin with messianic statements of grandeur that would be interpreted as treason or sedition, would be easy to bring on at the appropriate time—that is if one can bravely face the pain of that kind of death. But if it’s God’s will then that pain will only be temporary… Then he would come back as that Mighty Conqueror Messiah after he rose from the dead, to conquer whoever was disobedient and evil while humans could at that time also begin a palpable entry into eternal life! Voila! Everything would fit! By that everything would be harmonized and all of those messianic aspirations by his people would finally be answered; and Rome would get off their backs! So maybe the God of Israel does live after all! And Maybe he did, in fact, inspire all of those prophecies! Ingenious! And so everything can in that way be fulfilled even as there would be no other way for all of those prophecies to fit together if they are certifiably divine, viz. genuine.
Of course those who wrote all of those messianic prophecies were simply trying to wrap their heads around what a great future Jewish leader would be like, and many wanted to contribute their ideas to that portrait. And whoever wrote Isaiah 53—while that book of 66 chapters most likely received ongoing entries by Israel insiders, and then later by its priests (in much the same way Daniel looks to have been written over the course of 2½ centuries, with Daniel being composed between circa 250 [or perhaps as late a 200] and 65 AD)—those authors were most likely wrestling with the debut of a temple sacrifice system via the first appearance of the *Pentateuch in circa 630 BC under Josiah, as described in 2 Chronicles 34:14-33.
* For more on that: The first three books of the Pentateuch were most likely envisioned by some associates of David around 1000 BC; then the work on those would have begun under Solomon, his son, in circa 960 BC, which the enormous effort of writing those could have lasted till 660 BC, and then at least Genesis through Leviticus were finally debuted some 30 odd years after that—in 630 BC under Josiah which debut looks to have been reported in 2 Chronicles 34 (all while Bible “history” apparently has a habit of employing half-true storytelling). A little more on this: Numbers and Deuteronomy are essentially redundant in relation to Exodus and Leviticus, and there are reasons to believe (based on patterns in how those were written relating to authorship) that a couple of the books of the Pentateuch may have been produced by the Northern kingdom of Israel, which was a competitor to the Southern kingdom of Israel, which this excerpt from my first book produced in 2006, The Turning Tide, refers to: “Those four [authors of the Pentateuch] are now described [by scholars] as ‘J,’ ‘E,’ ‘D,’ and ‘P’… [while] ‘J’ was the one who always used the name Yaweh [for God], ‘E’ was the one who used the name Elohim [for God], ‘D’ the one who wrote Deuteronomy, and ‘P’ was a priest.” For you can’t really solve the puzzle of the real Jesus without knowing how earlier Jewish history must have realistically unfolded first. One more note on this: The prophecy cited by the NT, and perhaps by Jesus also in this case, regarding him rising from the dead on the third day, is Hosea 6:1-3, which isn’t necessarily a messianic prophecy at all, but was used for that purpose anyway… sort of like how Peter in Acts chapter one is shown using Psalm 109:17 to refer to the fate of Judas, which passage in that Psalm indicates the meaning intended had a far more general application.   -DL

No Historical Jesus Whatsoever Creates These Absurdities which Include Certain Travesties

  •  The Big Problem of Roman Emperors Persecuting Christians and One Example Christian Concept: Listed here are the dates of the reigns of each emperor who persecuted Christians, though their persecutions didn’t last for the duration of most of those. Nero (54-68), Domitian (89-96), Trajan (98-117), Marcus Aurelius (161-180), Decius (201-251), Valerian (253 -260), Diocletian (284-305), and Galerius (305-311) all persecuted Christians. So if the Jesus Christ character was constructed in its entirety by Romans wanting a new religion some 300 years after Jesus’ alleged lifetime in the 1st Century then what beliefs about Jesus were being held by those many Christians in a period spanning those three centuries in order to cause many of them to be persecuted by Rome? Even how Christians should properly view the Trinity, which perhaps got much more ironing out in the 4th Century, was already being explained in books that came much earlier, books that would become the New Testament… while the Trinity, for example, definitely wasn’t plagiarized from any previous culture, even as most NT books either refer to or allude to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; yet it apparently was a bit difficult to standardize just how such a deity could be characterized as God, which by the religion’s narrative he would have still had to be in heaven while Jesus was on Earth… and then you would also need an invisible spirit deity who would be with Christians after Jesus left. So there you have the Trinity, a uniquely Christian concept that was pragmatically formed well before the 4th Century. And even though Christianity is indeed a conspiracy, it’s not of that scale which some have recently been suggesting. For if we atheists lose the argument of Christian Religion validity by allowing a no-real-Jesus-ever-existed concept to commandeer the movement, by that we risk being hamstrung from having the ability to reach a vast number of Christians (and more especially potential Christians) about the actual falsehood which this religion is.
  • The Big Problem of Josephus’ Writings of History: If the 125-word (in English) Testimonium Flavianum (which praises Jesus as being the Christ or Messiah) was written by Josephus, then he was a kook and anything he wrote can’t be trusted, which those who purport that no-real-Jesus-ever-existed concept need people to buy into regarding Josephus before anything else so they will be able to mislead them into believing they have done enough homework on this topic. (But in their defense, they are unaware that their homework is deficient on this topic.) Before thinking or buying into that, please consider that the rest of Josephus’ works are the genuine article—carefully pored over and written out by that man himself! Yet sometime around 300-325, Eusebius (or another who was much like him), apparently commissioned new copies of Josephus’ works be produced having that Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18.3.3, capsule included. If so, then Josephus’ account of John the Baptist was most likely very accurate, and what he wrote about James the brother of Jesus was most likely accurate as well, which if the brother of Jesus actually existed then the no-real-Jesus-ever-existed concept quickly collapses. So they need to discredit all of Josephus to get away with suggesting that, which is a travesty.
  •  The Big Problem Due to the Existence of the Nag Hammadi Library: The Nag Hammadi Library contains a list of over 50 lower quality early Christian books that were found in a sealed jar or pot in the Upper Nile region of Egypt in 1945. These were early books by authors trying to interpret who Jesus was and what his story was supposed to mean, which were the type of books that the Catholic clergy once customarily burned while favoring that collection which the Council of Nicaea (in the year 325) and subsequent councils, essentially decided would serve as that religion’s belief standard. In other words, what these lower quality books contained, even though some liked them during the early Christian time, wasn’t considered to be of the required quality needed to inspire the widespread trust in the religion that its clergy was aspiring for it to procure… with the Roman Empire following behind that inner group of theologians who were at that time making all of the decisions in such matters. Not only does much of the Nag Hammadi collection appear to have most likely come from the middle to latter part of the 1st Century, but several of those are attestations to the existence of real people who were named Peter, Paul, John, Philip, Thomas, and James. And why, if the no-real-Jesus-ever-existed scenario is true, did the Catholic clergy apparently destroy most all of those lower quality books (except perhaps only this few that were found hidden in a clay pot in Egypt), if that clergy invented Jesus entirely like that scenario proposes? For apparently, the Catholic clergy didn’t like how certain individuals or groups were believing in Jesus, which for the no-real-Jesus-ever-existed scenario to be true would require others inventing him from thin air as well… or as I believe that there was indeed a real person behind all of these stories. So which view do you think is more realistic? Without question it’s much easier to believe that a real Jesus existed—one who thought he was the Jew’s Messiah, just like many other would-be Messiahs who were described by Josephus during his 1st Century time, which that occurrence of would-be Messiahs was reported as being fairly common then. But the no-real-Jesus-ever-existed advocates would tell you to completely disregard Josephus, simply due to one small redaction that was most likely added (or entered) under Eusebius’ direction (since that short paragraph also appears in three of Eusebius’ writings verbatim)… which dismissing Josephus in such a way looks quite uncalled for.
  • The Big Problem of How Messianic Prophecies Are What Molded the Christian Narrative, Therefore Not Plagiarism of Former Cultures: Isaiah 61:1-3 is the messianic prophecy which says that Jesus (or whoever the Messiah would be) would preach to the meek while also essentially giving the concept of a gospel message to the entire New Testament. Isaiah 29:18-19, 35:5-6, and 42:7 say that the Messiah would be a healer who would open the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf, heal the lame, and cause the dumb to speak—and that the poor would be his primary audience. 2 Samuel 7:12-17 tells us that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David, that he would build God’s house or temple (in the New Testament, that temple is taken to mean the Church/church instead of an actual brick and mortar type building, also that God would chastise offending people in God’s preordained/predestined body, i.e., members of that body), since he surely wouldn’t chastise Jesus who’s held as perfectly sinless, and that this Messiah’s throne would last forever… which also, by the way, means that its subjects (its people) would live forever—thus the NT’s eternal life concept. Most all other messianic prophecies are almost certainly an outgrowth or further development from what’s found in 2 Samuel 7. That he is in some ways analogous to the Sun is found in Malachi 4:2. One of the main things he would say while on the cross is claimed to come from Psalm 22:1. Isaiah chapter 53 says that he would die as a sin sacrifice for the whole nation, which later is to include the whole world, or at least those who were predestined by this all-knowing God to be saved. And there are many more prophecies considered messianic which are thought of as contributing bits of information to the story of Jesus as the Messiah so that even the historical Jesus himself probably had a number of those in mind as well, which he would have needed to make a few arrangements for so that things went as those prophecies described, at least with regard to a certain number of their key notes. This is all uniquely Jewish and Christian for the most part, or the vast majority of it anyway, even though some foreign concepts may have helped shape some of the Jewish concepts several centuries before Jesus; but the Romans of the 3rd or 4th Centuries certainly did not write Psalms, Isaiah, Malachi, 2 Samuel, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, etc. Then Jeremiah 31 contains a prophecy about a new covenant replacing the old one—i.e., the NT replacing the OT—which is referred to in Hebrews [most likely written by Paul]; and Deuteronomy 18 contains another major messianic prophecy about the Messiah being in many respects like Moses, which prophecy is, by the way, alluded to many times in the Gospel of John. Even how Jesus returns one day is supposed to be derived from Jewish messianic prophecies, which I won’t bother to go into any more of those right here since that should be enough to make the point. The no-real-Jesus-ever-existed concept, which tells us that the Romans created Jesus entirely from thin air to become their empire’s new God/god by them plagiarizing from other ancient cultures, that hypothesis doesn’t take into account what any of these messianic prophecies contain… whereas most serious Christians have acquired a decent level of knowledge about a good number of these prophecies and so think the religion is legitimate based on those; but each can be shown as natural Jewish aspirations in relation to the predicament of their subjugated nation.
  • The Big Problem of Paul’s Epistles Being Far too Genuine: The apostle Paul is another huge problem for the no-real-Jesus-ever-existed concept, which concept apparently holds Paul’s letters to the various churches he allegedly started as being complete fiction—supposedly created in the 3rd or 4th Centuries just to get a needed replacement for Paganism. That hypothesis might work with some who have never read Paul’s epistles much, but not me. I won’t even bother to explain too much about this one since anyone familiar with the detailed problems that Paul faced and tried to address in his letters, regarding those churches—how those were very involved and in great detail—it would be impossible for a clergy from any time to create those out of thin air. To anyone who knows Paul’s writings well, to suggest that someone else after him created those would look preposterous! However, with a historical Jesus whose story was greatly embellished, which is what I believe, Paul most certainly would have needed to fabricate his own conversion story in order to inject himself into the new religion as a person who had a divine commission to become one of its leaders, which essentially made that a business decision by Paul in relation to his training, expertise, and apparently narrowing options during that early Christian time.
  • The Problem of the writings of the Church Fathers, dating back to Clement of Rome (who flourished in AD 96), shows how Christian thought developed from its inception and then moved ahead… as Clement was then followed by other similar leaders of the religion, namely: Ignatius of Antioch (35-110), Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155), Tertullian (160-225), Iranaeus of Lyons (fl. in 180), Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria (185-254), Asthanasius of Alexandria (293-373), John Chrysostom (307-407), Hilary of Poitiers (300-368), and Augustine of Hippo (354-430); and there are several more whose writings are available today to those who want to take the time to see how Christian thought continued to evolve or develop from the 1st Century through the 5th Century regarding those mentioned here—all of which started from the existence of a real person who was named Jesus, as well as a real person named Peter, a real person named John, a real person named James, and a real person named Paul, including a few more. I know atheists would like the easiest and quickest route for making this false religion please go away—the simplest way possible to dismiss it—but to claim that the Romans invented Christianity in the 3rd or 4th Centuries to replace their empire’s Paganism will not work since that cannot hold up.

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