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Imagine you’re some unfortunate chap scraping out a living as a shoemaker in some remote Sorbian village in the center of Europe. You’ve been hearing about mass deaths in far-off Vienna, and your priest has been darkly hinting of a coming End of Days. Doctors have their leeches ready, ever prepared to use the latest alchemy to treat illness. Someone says it’s the Jews poisoning wells; others say it’s the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; you say your prayers and hope for God’s protection.

plague2As it happens, the plague comes to your house and kills your entire family: six children and your wife. You alone are left alive, to grieve and mourn and ask of God, Why me? No answer comes back from the sky. No answer comes from within you; there are hundreds of voices in your head and you can’t dipshitsdecipher any of them. Slowly, one thought rises above the others and sticks in your throat like a rose-twig: God did this to you and others like you because you are a sinner. You might not know what sins condemned you in God’s eyes, but that’s not for you to know. Meanwhile, your neighbor, also a sole survivor of his family, has come to a different conclusion: he believes that he was specially chosen by God to re-establish a lawful, God-fearing community.

You both go to the same church, where, a year later, a new priest is invested. He warns of a new scheme by the Jews to steal the first-born child of every Christian household so they can perform their obscene blood-thirsty rituals on babies. Everyone in your Sorbian valley believes that Jews are responsible for the plague, for didn’t the plague pass over the Jewish quarter? Surely! No Jews died, is what you hear from every tongue. How can you let them live in your midst, these killers of Christ? So you and others go out one fine April day, determined to exterminate the Jews who, so you’ve been told, are all set to poison your crops. After setting fire to a Jewish settlement (which curiously is rather empty of people, fancy that!) and crucifying resisters, you settle down again in your Sorbian village, content that you’re doing the will of God at last. You’re so hoping not to sin again, because the consequences last time were so devastating.

Nearly 700 years later, imagine your brother has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A man who is larger than life, who loves his family with an all-encompassing dedication, is struck down within months to life in a wheelchair. There is no etiology, there is no cure. There is no God to ease the pain, no God to answer questions, no God to blame nor reward you. Someone tells you how God works in ways we can’t understand his wonders to perform, and you hit this someone in the face with a frying pan.

No, I do not want eternal life with a God that would kill my family by plague; I do not want eternal life with a God that would visit such a horrific illness on the best of men; I cannot tolerate anyone speaking of this God as if it actually existed. To do so is to belittle our suffering here on Earth, and I want everyone to know it is real, it is painful, and it is indelible.

God loves Ebola.

God loves Ebola.  God loves all viruses.  He made them.  Given that there are billions upon billions more viruses than humans, is it not conceivable that your god — yes, your god — created viruses in his own image?  In which case, Leo Tolstoy was indeed right: the kingdom of god is within you!

No Adam and Eve? No Jesus

Hey Christians, ————– well, okay, only two people on the planet read this blog and they’re both agnostics ———– have you ever wondered at the ultimate creativity of modern members of religious sects who have a decidedly modern outlook on the age of thadam and evee Earth, the existence of dinosaurs, even some, the likelihood of the evolution of species, yet believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection having anything whatsoever to do with ‘conquering sin and death’?  Given that Jesus lived to 30 and Adam lived to 800+, having a child at age 500.  If these two people did not exist, God would never have demanded a sacrifice to overcome the disobedience of the first man and first woman.  If you think that’s mean, sexist, and primitive, you’re right.  But something had to compel God to want to murder his son — and it wasn’t that Jesus was getting the last of the coffee in the mornings.  Nope:  It was two real persons, one named Adam, the other Eve.  Without their physical presence on this planet, there could have been no sacrifice demanded, else it would have been indiscriminate revenge. 

Bumbling idiots

Don’t Christians ever wonder why the Apostles struggled so long in recognizing Jesus as God?  Hmmm.  In Mark, Matthew, and Luke, they never do.  They keep falling down, saying things like, “Jeez, we’re gonna get caught!” or “How in the world did you do that, man?”

dipshits

Either they were the dumbest people on the planet at the time, or they were really good actors.

If they didn’t feel invincible with God walking with them, then maybe they didn’t think he was God.  And they’d know best, yes?

 

 

Decline and Fall

Halfway through reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, and I can’t help but be struck by the thought that it should be absolutely impossible for anyone with a decent knowledge of the first five centuries of Christianity to be a Christian. Theology students all have to know the works of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine; they have to be familiar with the earliest controversies such as Arianism, Donatism, Manichaeism. They know that the suppression of these alternate faiths was ferocious, and that the agent of that suppression was the very church to which they claim adherence. They know that what we now know as the core of Christianity — the New Testament — was created by the orthodox faction, and that this orthodoxy was the first belief system that required all people to confess the same faith.

How can anyone who has studied these things still believe there is any legitimacy to Christian tradition? The closest parallel we have is the history of communism, except in that case, its founder actually wrote something, and was photographed. But Stalinism, Maoism, and crazy North Korea all required (and in the latter case, still require) citizens to have a common belief about things that could not be proven. It is very, very difficult to find a person self-identified as a communist these days who would gladly volunteer that the Soviet Union under Stalin represented the purest Marxism and should be emulated. Rather, it seems to be universally understood that those countries that experimented with communism never really were experimenting with communism, that it was more a nationalist movement cloaked with the disguise of internationalism. There is no legitimacy granted to those failed configurations. Yet there are those who would freely admit that the first, oh, say, 1,800 years of Christianity were not really representative of Christ himself, but what they’re doing NOW sure is. Really? Can you really focus on the good St. Ambrose but ignore his rabid anti-Semitism? Can you revere Augustine but overlook his joy at the lethal suppression of Donatism?

Christianity had long enough to establish itself as a faith that was self-evidently worthy of one’s belief. It did not. In not doing so, it became nothing but a faith of clay, which can be molded into any shape and put to any use its owner sees fit. But nothing, nothing will alter the mind of someone who has subscribed his or her belief to such a venerated system. It is nothing short of an intellectual obscenity, but so it is.

Do not ignore the Old Testament

New Testament Verses Which Demand Following the Old Testament and Law Contradictions:

   One will often hear Christians speak of the New Testament as superseding the Old Testament.  But then they’ll mention the Ten Commandments and Isaiah and, well, let’s remember that Jesus would not have been necessary had Eve not bitten an apple and thus created the original sin that had to be washed away by god creating a copy of himself to be killed.  (Got that?)

Well, the fact is, there just isn’t enough meat in the New Testament.  Basically, it’s four variations on a theme, letters interpreting them, and some bizarre science fiction.  Christians need the Old Testament, much as they’d like to think they don’t.  (Thomas Paine once remarked, “The Old Testament! As if there could be two wills of the Creator!”)

 

1) “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)  Clearly the Old Testament is valid  until the end of human existence itself.  Jesus said so.

2) All of the vicious Old Testament laws will be binding forever.  “It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.”  (Luke 16:17 NAB)

3) Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets.  He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament.  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”  (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

3b) “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness…”  (2 Timothy 3:16 NAB)

3c) “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” (2 Peter 20-21 NAB)

4) Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law.  Mark.7:9-13  “Whoever curses father or mother shall die”  (Mark 7:10 NAB)

5) Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating.  He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”  (Matthew 15:4-7)

6) Jesus has a punishment even worse than his father concerning adultery: God said the act of adultery was punishable by death. Jesus says looking with lust is the same thing and you should gouge your eye out, better a part, than the whole.  The punishment under Jesus is an eternity in Hell.  (Matthew 5:27)

7) Peter says that all slaves should “be subject to [their] masters with all fear,” to the bad and cruel as well as the “good and gentle.”  This is merely an echo of the same slavery commands in the Old Testament. 1 Peter 2:18

8) “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law” (John7:19) and “For the law was given by Moses,…” (John 1:17).

9) “…the scripture cannot be broken.” –Jesus Christ, John 10:35

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With thanks to evilbible.com

Pope Francis Brings Christmas Cheer To Rome’s Children’s Hospital PHOTOS

Pope Francis Brings Christmas Cheer To Rome’s Children’s Hospital PHOTOS.

How terribly sad.  It’s sad that the children are sick; it is my belief that suffering children are evidence that any god that may exist is certainly not benevolent.  It’s also sad that people think the Pope has special magic power to heal people because he’s a top religious fellow.  More illusions.

And yet, I feel sorry for the Pope.  He most likely believes he does have special power to heal, and when it doesn’t work, it must hurt like hell.