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April 29th, 2014
12:35 PM ET

New clues cast doubt on 'Gospel of Jesus' Wife'

Opinion by Joel S. Baden and Candida R. Moss, special to CNN

(CNN) - It seemed real; it seemed fake; it seemed real again; now we’re back to fake.

"It” is the controversial little scrap of papyrus, written in Coptic, that seems to have Jesus referring to “my wife,” in contrast to the traditional stance that affirms Jesus’ perpetual bachelorhood.

The quick backstory: In 2012, a Harvard professor, Karen King, brought this papyrus to the attention of scholars and the public.

Both the material and the script looked authentically ancient at first glance, and though the notion of Jesus having a wife was remarkable, these “lost” Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels, are full of unorthodoxies.

It was good enough for King, who is widely respected in the scholarly world.

From the beginning, there were doubts, however, beyond the unlikelihood that the tiny scrap that survived the centuries would happen to be the one that contained the reference to Jesus’ wife.

The papyrus, along with a few other ancient papyri of lesser novelty, had been passed to King by an anonymous figure.

Anonymity, in the world of antiquities, is often a bad sign, compounding the inherent uncertainty when dealing with texts that are bought and sold rather than discovered in a firm archaeological setting.

Then there were aspects of the text itself that seemed suspicious.

For a fragmented scrap of papyrus, it seemed to have an awful lot of important content on it. Not only did Jesus refer to “my wife,” he also potentially described a certain Mary – perhaps Mary Magdalene? – as “worthy” and capable of being a disciple.

It is (almost) too good to be true.

At the same time, the handwriting seemed surprisingly sloppy.

Then again, other scholars noted that just because a scribe has poor handwriting and a text is informative does not make it a forgery. Perhaps we just got lucky this time.

More specific issues arose in the perceived familiarity of the document.

The text of the Jesus’ wife fragment is remarkably close to published editions, available online, of another Coptic Christian text, called the “Gospel of Thomas.”

So close, in fact, that one of the typographical errors in an online edition of the “Gospel of Thomas” is replicated, uniquely, in the Jesus’ wife fragment.

What are the chances of that?

Yet some would say that the fact that there is considerable overlap with the wording of the “Gospel of Thomas” isn’t a problem: Christian authors regularly copied word-for-word from other texts.

The canonical Gospels of Matthew and Luke, for example, reproduce much of the Gospel of Mark, with only slight alterations. And the vocabulary used in the papyrus is remarkably common.

The most compelling argument for authenticity is the flip-side (or verso) of the manuscript.

There are faint traces of ink on this side that have been worn away, suggesting that they are truly ancient.

It would be highly unusual for a modern forger to get his hands on an ancient papyrus written on only one side and equally difficult to imagine how the verso might have been made today.

Yet for all the arguments and efforts, there was no smoking gun - on either side.

And so the papyrus was submitted for testing: carbon-dating of the papyrus itself as well as chemical testing of the ink. Just last month, those test results came back.

It turns out that the papyrus is genuinely ancient. The ink has the chemical composition of ancient ink. The news spread, including here, that the papyrus was the real McCoy.

Of course, tests like those can’t really prove authenticity; they can prove only potential authenticity. And they are hardly foolproof.

Once we started carbon-dating papyrus, forgers started using authentically ancient papyrus. Once we discovered how to identify ancient ink by its chemical composition, forgers started creating precisely the same ink.

Like steroids in sports, it’s safe to assume that the best bad guys are always one step ahead of the science.

And yet, the dating of the papyrus and ink did shift the burden back on to the doubters. And just this past week, they seem to have discovered something as close to proof as we can really expect in cases like this.

Although we knew in 2012 that there were other papyri in the same group that included the “Jesus' wife” fragment – the batch the anonymous donor gave King - none of them had been seen.

That changed with the release of the test results, which used some of these other papyri for the purposes of comparison.

One of those papyri was a fragment of the canonical Gospel of John. For all the uncertainty about the Jesus’ wife papyrus, this text of John evoked no such indecision. It is a forgery.

How do we know? This Gospel of John purports to be a version in a relatively rare ancient dialect of Coptic known as Lycopolitan.

Just such a Lycopolitan version of John was published in 1924 and is now available online. And this newly revealed gospel fragment just so happens to look awfully similar to the 1924 (now-online) version of John. How similar? Here’s how similar:

Herbert Thompson's "Gospel of St John," page 7 (left); Coptic John fragment recto (right), illustrating how a forger could have copied every second line of this text.

Whoever created this new Gospel of John fragment simply copied the beginning of every other line from the online version.

Turns out that if you check the other side of the fragment against its online parallel, the same thing is true (though with the end of every line rather than the beginning, logically enough).

Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.

So what does it matter to the Jesus’ wife fragment that this scrap of John is forgery?

Well, it’s never a good sign for a text of doubtful authenticity to be found in the company of a sure forgery.

More directly: Multiple experts agree that the fragment of John and the Jesus’ wife papyrus are written in the same hand, using the same ink and even the same writing instrument.

Simply put: If one is a forgery, they’re both forgeries.

Although 100% certainty is never achievable in such cases, given everything we know now (lab tests included), the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” never existed — or, rather, it never existed, for all intents and purposes, before 2012.

There are no great revelations to be gleaned from this text, no astounding new information about Jesus or Mary.

What the entire episode does, rather, is remind us — scholars included — that science might not always have all the answers.

This forgery was detected not through lab analysis but through good old-fashioned humanities-based detective work. This was Sherlock Holmes, not "CSI."

There remains no substitute for deep, thorough, scholarly expertise in ancient languages and texts.

Even in a case that ended up wasting such time and energy in the academic community, that community, and its collective body of knowledge, have rarely been more valuable and necessary.

Joel S. Baden is an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. Candida Moss is a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden and Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: archaeology • Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (1,337 Responses)
  1. speediejoe

    I didn't realize how sophisticated the forgers can be, using ancient papyri and ancient inks, thus making it nearly impossible to know for sure.

    April 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • Alias

      Sophisticated and resourseful.
      2,000 year old paper/papyrus is in short supply.

      April 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  2. Alias

    "new-man
    it is ridiculous and it doesn't matter how well you explain, they'll come back with their stupid "points" as though no one ever said a word."
    It is ridiculous to believe in a book the DNA has disproven. No Adam and Eve, so no original sin.
    It is ridiculous to believe in a book that claims a global flood, with one family and two (or seven) of every animal as the only survivors.
    It is ridiculous to believe in a book that says the world is flat.
    Or are these some of the 'points' you want to discard as though no one ever said a word?

    April 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • speediejoe

      Indeed!

      April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
    • new-man

      thanks for making my point!

      April 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
      • Alias

        You're welcome, you pro-slavery biggot.

        April 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
  3. Doris

    Letting go of superstition

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo&w=640&h=390]

    Speakers in order of appearance:

    1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
    2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
    5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
    6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
    7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
    8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
    9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
    11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
    12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
    13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
    14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
    15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
    16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
    18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
    20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
    21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
    22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
    23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
    24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
    26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
    27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
    28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
    31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
    33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
    34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
    36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
    37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
    39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
    41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
    42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
    45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
    46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
    47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
    49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
    50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    FEATURED MUSIC:

    Mozart – Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 – 1. Introitus 00:03
    Massive Attack – Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
    Max Richter – Embers 05:13
    Ludovico Einaudi – Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche 13:13
    Max Richter – Vladimir's Blues 29:21
    Ludovico Einaudi – Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16

    April 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  4. unsername1

    his married or single status is not going to change the life we live.

    April 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    Jesus...
    long hair, great tan, six-pack abs, hung out with 12 dudes, never got with a woman...
    yeah, pretty sure Jesus wasn't married...
    to a woman anyway.

    April 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Alias

    Theo seems to have gone silent on his pro-slavery stance.
    I wonder if his daughters were ever sold to other men. Or maybe just rented for a while.
    Perhapse if he had a sister who had to move away because his father accepter money for her he would understand.
    Maybe if he hides behind some line about not having children a neice may be available for purchase? If the buyer promisses to love her?

    April 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      but jesus himself said to beat disobedient slaves. doesn't that make it okay?

      April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • new-man

      totally reprehensible and uncalled for behavior. leave people's family out of your hate.
      yes, it's obvious, you hate the God of the Hebrews. move on.

      April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • Alias

        I call somone out for thinking slavery is okay, and you call me reprehensible?
        I do not hate god. I hate people who accept the mistreatment of other human beings.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • new-man

          I call your behavior reprehensible for bringing his family and his personal life into your argument. you can make your point just as effectively without doing this.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • Alias

          Your bible clearly says who it is okay to sell your daughters to.
          I cannot make the point that this is evil without mentioning the children.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        It's OK dude, I'm not offended. I've been threatened by people FAR more intimidating than the people on THIS forum, and some of them even had weapons. This is nothing but words...

        Oddly enough, it's only been in THIS country, where we have the freedom of religion that I've had weapons pulled on me.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You're saying that someone pulled a gun on you because they disagreed with your religious beliefs? Any details such as what were you doing, what were they doing prior to the gun-pulling, any police or newspaper reports?

          April 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • Alias

          Since when is questioning your morals and judgement a threat?
          I think slavery is evil. You seem to dissagree.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Didn't Dalahast tell us that, too?

          The second paragraph is almost word for word what Dalahast wrote.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          more stories to add to all your other stories ...

          April 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Theo was probably doused by a kid with a Super Soaker, but in his deluded mind that equates to having been threatened with a weapon.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
      • Doris

        Where's the hate. Theo finds beauty in slavery...

        April 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      I went silent on it because it's getting ridiculous. If people would actually read the Bible in its historical context instead of cherry picking verses out of their context in order to prove a point or two, then folks would understand. The problem is that it's nearly impossible to get some people to make a paradigm shift.

      April 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • Alias

        Historical context?
        Where does your bible say it was time to stop owning slaves?
        When exactly did it become wrong?

        April 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • Doris

        But which would you propose someone adopt Theo?

        Should I join the sect who professes the Pope an antichrist?

        Should I join one of the sects who still sacrifice people?

        Should I join a sect who lets their children die rather than seek medical attention?

        Should I join a sect who already marries gays?

        Should I join a sect who promotes disease by taking an unrealistic stance on contraception?

        Should I join a sect who travels to Africa and incites violence and the killing of people there?

        Which one, Theo?

        April 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Your exactly right Theo, it is difficult. You are a perfect example. The paradigm has been shifting slowly but surely away from religion and towards science and morals. You are on the wrong side of the shift, but if you open your mind, you can be a better person some day.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • new-man

        it is ridiculous and it doesn't matter how well you explain, they'll come back with their stupid "points" as though no one ever said a word.
        it's the goodness of God that leads people to repentance-change their mind about God. clearly these people don't have a revelation of God's goodness, plus they're determined to hate God and see Him negatively, so let them have at it. their hate destroys them first.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • Akira

          Because there is no justification for victims of the Holocaust deserving it, and the Bible never condemns slavery. OT OR NT. All the sick rationalizations have been used before concerning these two topics, and they are simply immoral. If you want to preach how sick our society supposedly is, stop justifying these events as somehow Godly.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Dang those stupid "points"! It sure makes it hard to argue a pro-belief position when you don't bring any of your own logical points to the table, isn't it? Here's an idea – embrace the side that has the logical points and it will be a lot easier to be right!

          April 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Alias

          So please take a few minutes and tell us how well you treat your slaves.
          I'm sure that will bring a lot of us closer to knowing your god.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • speediejoe

          When you day that God is "good", what specifically do you mean? That is a harder question than you might immediately realize. There is the Euthyphro dilemma, "Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" Some Christians or other theists try to sidestep the delemma by saying God is inherent in His nature. That of course has its own problems. So, what is your answer?

          April 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
      • Akira

        Slavery is all right and not sinful in context.
        The 12 million victims of the Holocaust deserved it.

        Everyone else has it wrong. Okay.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I'm sooo frustrated. If people would actually read the Harry Potter books in their historical context instead of cherry picking verses out of their context in order to prove a point or two, then folks would understand.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        the hypocrisy is that the bible is supposedly the perfect word of god and unquestionable. yet slavery is promoted throughout the bible, which gives rules for beating slaves, which countries you can take slaves from, how to sell slaves, including your own daughter into slavery... when you read things like this in the bible, it's very hard to believe it is the perfect word of god and not just the words of men who were victims of their times when it comes to morals/ethics. you wonder how god could have missed the greatest evil man can inflict upon man: slavery. slavery means degradation, r.ape and murder, which is why it's worse than any one of those things - it's all of them in one. you would think god would have told people not to own other people. it doesn't matter whether slavery was viewed as the norm - a compassionate and loving god would tell people it is wrong and not to do it. how did he miss slavery in his 10 commandments? yet god ordered the taking of slaves himself in the bible - so god obviously doesn't think slavery is as bad as i do.

        so is the bible the perfect word of god? it seems unlikely, as there are glaring errors. or was it a book written by men that were victims of their times when it comes to ethics/morals? seems very likely.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Great post Bfunk....

          April 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • jbhollen

        You are absolutely right. That drives me nuts about apologists.

        April 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • otoh2

          jb,

          Which "that" are you referring to? Sometimes large spaces between replies cause the reference to be lost.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • jbhollen

          It was in response a comment about cherry picking scripture and absolutely refusing to consider changing their views

          April 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • otoh2

          jb,

          Thanks, I certainly agree.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
  7. Alias

    Let's try this story and see if it fits the facts:
    A jewish carpenter had a son that turned out to be gay. Not only was that bad for business, but it was potentially dangerous as well. So they sent their oldest son off to become a rabbi. After instructing the child as well as they could about god, the young man was still attracted to other men. The church threw him out, and he started preaching on his own. He was a bright young man, so he preached a bright, cheery, hopeful message and attracted a pack of loyal followers.
    All was going well, until the festival where they were using the temple inappropriately. He got mad and turned over some tables. The local government didn’t like troublemakers, so they made an example of him to discourage others.
    His loyal followers decided to make him sound even bigger and better than he was in real life so they could get paid for preaching instead of going back to their old jobs fishing.

    April 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • gregoryjwiens

      Unless of course you went and got a brilliant young man who also happened to be a medical doctor to interview the living eye wintriness of whom where his mom, his half brothers, his earliest followers, who then complied what he found and wrote it down.
      I think that sounds like a much better idea instead of the one you just made up.

      April 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • Alias

        Do you have any idea what kinds of things Medical Doctors did 2,000 years ago to try to 'cure' people?
        I'm not so sure that really adds much to his credibility.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          I think that you have your times in history mixed up. Medical doctors in Roman times did amazing things. They did surgery with pain medicine. They boiled their tools before each surgery. They strongly believed in prevention.
          These were not medieval doctors, they were trained learned men.
          Google Roman Doctors and you will be amazed.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Luke is as much a fraud as the rest of the bible. See my reply below.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          Luke was a great historian, see my answers to you below.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
      • samsstones

        Hey greg, and you do not think those supposed "eyewitnesses" may not want to embellish the story and present a figure larger than life? Shake your head that is how the unreal stories about George Washington were made.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
      • igaftr

        caliming someone was a medical doctor from that time period is deceiving. He would not even be a nurse today. He was a man of medicine but by todays standard, he was no doctor.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
      • speediejoe

        FYI, you are not reporting what Luke claims. Luke says what he is reporting was "handed down" from the first eye witnesses. He NEVER ever says he interviewed them. Secondly, you conveniently ignore the fact that he copy and pasted much from Mark, Matthew (and possibly Q). Not really what one would expect of someone who was supposedly doing original research.

        April 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          Come on Joe, that is about as weak of an argument as you can get.
          That is about as obvious as can be what he said and what he meant!
          He got his information from eyewitnesses. Later in the story he showed up as an eyewitness himself.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • otoh2

          " Later in the story he showed up as an eyewitness himself."

          Those "we" passages are highly disputed.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • otoh2

          p.s.

          They are even formally called the "we passages" - a simple Google search brings up tons of things about the debate on them - including entire books on the subject.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • speediejoe

          gregoryjwiens,

          Actually, no, it is your response that is weak. If Luke meant he actually talked to eyewitnesses, he would have said he talked to eyewitnesses. If he actually talked to eyewitnesses, and doesn't tell us that, that makes him a BAD historian. Not a good one, like a the Christians claim. The fact is, Luke never tells us his sources, other than a few ancillary sources. He does a copy and paste job, and yet does not tell the reader he did a copy and paste job. Basically, the ONLY thing Luke tells is is a claim that he investigated carefully. And I'm sure if you talked to early Muslims they would say they investigated carefully. And early Mormons, etc. Simply somebody who is otherwise totally unknown to us making a claim of careful investigation is insufficient to conclude everything is accurate.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      AMEN!!! The truth at last! Hallelujah!

      April 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  8. gregoryjwiens

    The Book(s) of Luke/Acts was written by a medical doctor who interviewed living eye witnesses of Jesus and he shows up personally in the last 12 chapters of the story in Act 16.
    He wrote before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, while Paul was in Prison waiting for trial before Nero (AD 61-2).
    Some of the people he interviews were: Mary mother of Jesus, James, Jesus half brother, Peter and also others like Paul, Silas and Barnabas.
    Mary would have been in her mid 70's at this time.
    Luke shows up personally in the story in Acts 16 as a companion of Paul and Silas's. So from that point on he wrote in first person.
    These books write about historical facts that living eye witnesses were interviewed and testified to.
    The stories are collaborated by secular sources such as Josephus and Pliny (Elder and Younger).
    My faith is based on the historical accuracy of these books. Unlike Islam and Mormonism which are based on Revisionist History, or Hinduism which is based on mythology, or Buddhism which is based on philosophy, my faith is based on the real historical accounts of Jesus as recorded by his eye witness followers.

    April 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Luke

      The traditional author of Luke-Acts is supposedly a physician and traveling companion of Paul named Luke. Neither Luke nor Paul is a witness of Jesus even by tradition so I suppose I could stop right there but I think I'll take the time to point out that even the tradition which does exist is dubious.

      •First of all, the author of Luke-Acts never claims to have known Paul.
      •The earliest known claim for this tradition comes from Irenaeus in the late 2nd century who probably based his conclusion on the "we passages" from Acts as well as a stray mention of someone named Luke in Philemon (the name turns up in a couple of the non-authentic Pauline letters as well but the authentic corpus only mentions the name once in passing).
      •There is no reason whatever to suppose that the Luke mentioned by Paul has anything to do with either GLuke or Acts.
      •The "we" passages in Acts are those passages during which the narrative voice changes from third person to first person plural. This is the source of the supposition that the author of Luke-Acts was a companion of Paul's but Vernon Robbins has shown that this was merely a Greek literary device for describing sea voyages.
      •Furthermore, Luke knew Josephus, which puts that Gospel into the mid 90's CE at a bare minimum and probably later. This means that Paul had been dead 30 years before Luke-Acts was written.
      •Furthermore, Luke is dependent on both Mark and Q which (contrary to some Christian folklore) means that Luke had no access to first hand accounts from other witnesses.
      •There are also historical inaccuracies in Luke as well as contradictions with other Gospels

      It is highly unlikely, then, that the book was written by a companion of Paul and there is absolutely no reason to connect the "Luke" who is so casually mentioned by Paul in one letter to the composition of Luke-Acts.

      So, to sum up Luke, it is an anonymous Gospel whose author makes no claim to first hand knowledge and no claim to knowledge even of Paul. It was written more than a half century after the crucifixion, is dependent on secondary sources and contains numerous historical errors and contradictions with the other Gospels. The fable of a physician named Luke who traveled with Paul comes from a claim made 150 years after the crucifixion and is corroborated by nothing in the text itself.

      April 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
      • gregoryjwiens

        Mark was written around 55 AD (7Q5 fragment Dead Sea Scrolls) so no problems with Luke using Mark

        Read the story, it is clear that Luke shows up in Acts 16. Your explanation needs some serious acrobatics of the third to first person switch.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • otoh2

          Acts 16 switches from "they" to "we" midstream and back again to "they".

          Those "we" passages are roundly disputed.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
      • speediejoe

        I'm an atheist. However, I think the sea voyage literary device for the "we" passages is not well accepted, even among other skeptics. I'm not sure that is a good argument.

        April 30, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • Alias

      Clasic case of "I know the bible is right. It says it is. If you don't believe me I'll quote it for you as proof".

      April 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • gregoryjwiens

        I did not say that, I said that the author claimed to interview living eye witnesses and showed up in the story himself 3/4 the way through the story.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • Alias

      The only purpose of the book of Acts was to make christianity marketable to non-jews.
      Only those poeple who were born into the jewish faith could have been expected to abide by all those stupid rules. Once Acts was inked, all those rules were instantly intended for somone else and it became easy to be a christian.

      April 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • gregoryjwiens

        Unless it was written before the fall of the Second Temple.
        As for proving it with using the Bible, I mention Josephus and Pliny the Younger and Older.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • Akira

          Josephus mentioned Hercules. Why do you deny him as half-man, half-god?

          April 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          Wouldn't it have been nice to have a well educated man go back in time, interview living eye witnesses of what they saw Jesus say and do and then after he did is research he compiled it into two books?
          Wouldn't it have been good if he had not been originally been a Jew but rather a non-believer but then converted to Christianity after the evidence spoke for itself. That he chose to follow because of the evidence?
          Wouldn't that be great?
          Oh wait other than the going back in time, that is the book of Luke/Acts

          April 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • jbhollen

      Not known. Your guessing.

      April 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
  9. Reality

    Joe Smith of Mormon infamy started the papyrus con. Are some of his followers following in his footsteps?

    April 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
  10. Doris

    (from the article on the Holocaust):

    [observer]: "The Bible NEVER said it was wrong to OWN another person.
    It also NEVER said you couldn't BUY slaves or SELL slaves, including young girls."

    Theo: "Because it wasn't sinful in EVER case. Dude, we've been over this... Some slavery was in place in order to protect women and young girls. In a society that often viewed women as little more than a means of creating other men, being owned by a family and working in their house kept them out of poverty and off of the streets [..]

    Again, it wasn't sinful in every case. In many cases, it was actually quite a beautiful relationship."

    Myyyyyyy goodness.

    April 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Your views are sadly skewed by Western culture and American history. Just because the word "slave" is used in scripture, it does not automatically connotate what happened here. Do your research before you attempt to slander that which you clearly know nothing about.

      April 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
      • Alias

        Theo
        Admit the truth and quit making up lies for your religion.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        dodge, dodge, slide, evade, reinterpret, twist, contort, lie, re-read, reinterpret ... see!!! the bible says exactly what I told you it says!!!

        April 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • igaftr

        theo
        Slander is spoken....LIBEL is written.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • jbhollen

          And your vile beliefs spewed....

          April 30, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • Akira

        Is it even possible to slander a Machiavellian liar?

        April 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Alias

          Acuse them of belonging to the wrong christian sect and they will take it as slander.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Akira

          Oh, yes. I've seen that.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • samsstones

        Phileoidiotism. The condition that allows a person to reject any knowledge that does not agree with his/her a priori beliefs. (also known as Toperism).

        April 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Doris

        Lol – it doesn't sound like Theo is disagreeing with observer – only trying to give an excuse for agreement. Where's the attempted "slander" anyway?

        April 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Akira

          That you dated question The Great And Powerful Theo?

          Theo prides herself on being humble. That's so very nice.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • Doris

        Yes – Topherism samstones.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • samsstones

        Theo
        You say you studied theology for 30 years and still came out a nutter, what a waste. You should have taken up a useful trade, say carpenter. You may have made some nice furniture in that 30 year period.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I am also a carpenter. I build wooden archery bows, furniture, wooden toys, I worked for a short time as a boat builder, and I used to build houses.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Well you certainly have a large resume, you have claimed some rather amazing qualities about yourself, but the one I have deduced is the most reliable is that you are a more than competent liar.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Not that you'll believe me, but I didn't lie...
          I actually just finished an adult sized rocking horse for our target archery events so that we can simulate horse archery without a horse! As to the rest, well, I grew up in Eastern NC, and if you know anything about the area, everybody there builds boats, it's in our blood, and backyard boatbuilding there is as common as backyard grilling anywhere else. And as for the home builder, I used to work for a home builder in Raleigh... What's so unbelievable about all that?

          April 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Akira

          The Messiah Complex grows ever stronger.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • fintronics

          Oh no!!!!!! we live in the same state!!!!

          May 1, 2014 at 9:58 am |
      • sam stone

        Corn Pone: you think the jews deserved the holocaust because they disagree with that comic book you've have jammed up your rectum the last 30 years. You should be ridiculed every time you blather your drivel. And, I am going to be there to do so as much as I can. You are a punk

        April 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Indeed, some forms of slavery were a result of a loving relationship between master and servant.

      Exodus 21:5-6 – But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

      April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • Akira

        "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." Diogenes

        April 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • Alias

        So if someone voluntarily submits to a person they love, then it is always okay for a father to sell his daughters into slavery.
        Love that bible logic.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • G to the T

        "I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man"

        If I had a choice between freedom and abandoning my wife and child to slavery, I'd tell the master how much I love him too.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • Reality

        There was no Exodus just more myths created by the Jewish scribes. Details were previously presented.

        April 30, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        THE POINT IS ... that all this sounds a lot more like what an iron age man would write rather than what some all seeing, all knowing god would write.

        An all seeing, all knowing god who was trying to get his ONE message across to the human race wouldn't be so endlessly focused on slavery and primitive crops and primitive technologies and misogyny and swords and shields ...

        April 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Every time I think Theo couldn't be any more disgusting of a human being, he proves me wrong. I knew he thinks the Holocaust was justified by his insane religious beliefs and now slavery too! So sad how immoral religion can make some people.

        April 30, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
      • jbhollen

        This guy is bating you. Don't respond. Actually if he is serious, don't respond.

        April 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
      • observer

        Theo Phileo,

        Yes. If your wife and children are going to be slaves for the rest of their lives, it's great that a husband would make such a sacrifice to stay with his family. That shows a lot more class and morals than the God who supports the system.

        April 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • sam stone

          observer: theo doesn't have kids. looks like "god" got something right

          April 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • Akira

      I fail to understand how the actual owning of another human being can be called anything but wrong.
      And all of Theo's very wordy posts do not negate the fact that neither God not Jesus condemns it.

      "No, I won't give you a paying job in my household, but I'll take you on as a slave. Whattya say? I'll be very loving and I promise to make the rape beautiful before I decide you didn't "serve" me well enough and sell you."

      April 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • speediejoe

      Exodus 21:20 KJV "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money."

      So, if you kill a slave and he immediately dies, you should be punished, but, if he lived a day or two, well, its okay, he is your property. Though, in NIV, it is reversed, where it is okay of the slave recovers after a day or two. In either case, basically, it is okay if you *almost* beat your slave to death.

      So, that's not sinful, and actually quite beautiful, eh???

      April 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
  11. justpro86

    What this Article tells me that people are always trying to taint Jesus' image and yet again fail... Making up useless mumbo jumbo.. Jesus never was married and did not have the time to marry. He spent all his life teaching and preaching and died at a young age of 33...

    April 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • lewcypher

      allegedly

      April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • igaftr

      " Jesus never was married and did not have the time to marry"

      And this is based on?????
      Oh, that's right, you are just making it up like the writers of the bible. You think he never had time for relationships, that he was continuously preaching...absolutely ridiculous. I suppose he never took time to relieve himself either.

      April 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • justpro86

        Its based on common sense. Jesus' purpose was to be the sacrficial lamb to save mankind from eternal death to spread the news of Gods law and love to every man that wants to hear or can hear. No time for women and lust/ satan did tempt him but he tossed temptation aside because he is God..

        April 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • G to the T

          But being married and having a wife isn't a sin is it?

          And 33 in those times was a decent lifespan. Most people in his day and age would have been married long before they reached their 30's.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Doris

          Common sense?? Just how often are you cooking lamb?

          April 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          Trying to claim common sense while also making wild baseless claims of "god" does not make any sense at all.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      The Legend of King Arthur is not evidence for Merlin.
      The Greek Myths are not evidence for Heracles.
      The Epic of Beowulf is not evidence for Grendel.
      The American Folk Tradition is not evidence for Paul Bunyan.
      The New Testament is not evidence for Jesus.
      The Old Testament is not evidence for Yahweh.

      The miracles happened ... in the story.
      The prophesies were fulfilled ... in the story.
      The character was emotionally appealing and morally right ... in the story.

      Get out of your stories.

      April 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • justpro86

        The Bible is not a myth DERP wad its History, its science, cosmetology,Geology all rolled in one... Atheists still trying to debunk the bible today continue to fail and discover more reasons to believe in God... Sorry your post fails

        April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          cosmetology! were you a beauty school dropout?

          April 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • G to the T

          Santa – was that a Grease reference? Great. Now I've got that Frankie Avalon song stuck in my head...

          April 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • Doris

          LMAO w/Santa.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • mvrunner

          Cosmetology? Did Jesus teach his disciples how to apply eye shadow? That would explain a few things. It always seemed a little funny that all those guys spent all their time hanging out together. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • mvrunner

          BTW, you are free to believe whatever you want, even when there is such a minuscule amount of evidence for most of it. Isn't that the definition of faith?

          But don't pretend that it's all factual. You don't know, I don't know.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          @justpro: Your previous statement "Jesus says in the bible because it was written by someone who sat with Jesus and heard his teachings." is historically and factually incorrect. You are either ignorant or a liar.

          and thanks for the "cosmetology" reference. I like a laugh.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I'm still trying to figure out what a DERP wad is.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Could you clarify some of the cosmetological hints given in the bible?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • fintronics

          "Geology" ??? Is that some sort of reference to the great flood that never happened?

          April 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Right, Pi equals 3, 3 million animals on one boat, talking snakes. Sounds like science to me.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
    • joey3467

      Why would being married taint Jesus' image? and if being married does taint Jesus' image then why wouldn't it also taint the image of everyone who has ever been married?

      April 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • justpro86

        Jesus never got married no time. He preached teached, and died he had no purpose for marriage

        April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • joey3467

          Great, but that didn't answer either of my question. The question was why would it taint his image?

          April 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Jesus never got married no time"

          Sorry but wasn't there about 20 years unaccounted for in his biography? By what criteria are you determining he never had time?

          I'm not saying he did or didn't, but your certainty on this point is interesting to me.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Akira

          Thank you. I was just about to post the same thing.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Doris

          Yes, G to the T and Akira. Twenty years is a long time in a young man's life. He could have tried relations with a woman, even marriage and found that it wasn't his cup of tea during that time. He might have bought and sold a popular pebble-throwing team and who knows how many other things before he was a bit older and wiser...

          April 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • jbhollen

          "Jesus never got married no time". I think the miracle here is that you are actually using a computer.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
    • speediejoe

      Speaking of just making up useless mumbo jumbo, that's an apt description of the entire Christian religion....

      April 30, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
      • justpro86

        LOL I don't agree more like Evolution

        April 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Why do Christians on this blog persist in posting that "jesus said this" or "jesus said that" when any words attributed to jesus in the bible are at best unverifiable hearsay written down decades or centuries after jesus was said to have existed and written by people who had never seen or heard jesus. That's AT BEST! Most likely, these words are fiction written by men in a religious cult trying to further their own power.

    How do you justify saying these are jesus' words when you plainly know that they are not? Is it just a habit? Is it a little white lie every time for the 'greater good'? Cognitive dissonance? Wishful thinking? Denial?

    April 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • justpro86

      Why do atheists even care about anything in the belief blog? Why does it compel you to come on here and trash Christians? By the way Jesus says in the bible because it was written by someone who sat with Jesus and heard his teachings... The Bible is the most real and truthful book you can read that stood the test of time... So go on with your useless life...

      April 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Insult me if you wish. Whatever makes you feel more secure.

        Your statement "Jesus says in the bible because it was written by someone who sat with Jesus and heard his teachings." is historically and factually incorrect. You are either ignorant or a liar.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • justpro86

          No you are just an idiot... Mark was a disciple... Luke was an ancient historian one of the best historians that could be arguably lived. John, Disciple, Matthew, Disiple the authors of Jesus' life walked with Jesus talked with Jesus followed Jesus day and night and recorded everything... So historically correct and your an arrogant and a liar

          April 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • joey3467

          The authors claim to be disciples, but that doesn't mean they actually were.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          The Gospel of Mark: The book was probably written c.66-70 CE, during Nero's persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt, as suggested by internal references to war in Judea and to persecution. The author used a variety of oral sources, including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative, which he rewrote (scholars debate by how much) and connected with introductions and conclusions; possibly the first connected narrative was not the gospel we know but an earlier proto-Mark, which underwent one or more revisions before the modern version was produced.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Luke, who was not an eye-witness of Jesus' ministry, wrote his gospel after gathering the best sources of information within his reach (Luke 1:1–4). Traditional Christian scholarship has dated the composition of the gospel to the early 60s, while other critics date it to the later decades of the 1st century.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          By what you are exactly saying about Luke is the evidence of historical accuracy.
          Luke wrote both in the third person and first person. He shows up in the story himself in Acts 16.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          @gregoryjwiens
          Luke was written between 60 and 120 years after jesus. Any accounts are therefore hearsay. I am sure everyone said they knew jesus by that time and I'm sure they all had great stories to tell. Great, enhanced, gilded, expanded, modified stories.

          To get someone to remember a few words a week after they are spoken is near impossible. We are talking 60+ years!!!

          What a joke.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • igaftr

        "The Bible is the most real and truthful book you can read "

        Still lying I see.
        That is simply absurd.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • justpro86

          Still being ignorant and dumb I see

          April 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          You are the one who was caught lying and stealing by me and others. You are the one with no cerdibility

          April 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Atheists (and others) are concerned with the way that believers push their delusions into public life, for example the well-funded campaign to have creationism taught in schools as science.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • justpro86

          Creationism is science... Its the combination of theology and Science... Everything God has done to create this Universe has used Science to prove Gods existance

          April 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Doesn't hold water. Science debunks every miracle and most claims made in scripture. Evolution can not coexist with a creation myth that the earth 6000 years old. Regardless how bad you want it to.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Justp...creationism is not science....it is conjecture. You are rationalizing that since some element of science can't be explained as yet, then a sky wizard must have done it. That is not deserving of being categorized with science.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Creationism is science"
          False. It begins with a conclusion and attempts to make reality bend to the conclusion.

          Creationism is the opposite of science.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          justpro: Creationism is pseudo science. There is a valid reason that Ken Ham's little Ponzi scheme creation of the Creationism Museum is failing miserably for him and his ilk. It hold no validity in this world against all the updated information that science gives us-nothing of which points to a god.
          This article explains a little and may make you rethink:
          http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/10/16/is-the-creation-museum-in-decline/

          You can try to claim a god gives us all this stuff but until you provide evidence that that god even exists, there is no justification to accept it. It is truly ignorant to depend on science as it suits you but deny it otherwise.

          May 1, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • jbhollen

          TruthPrevails1 – I have a follow-on comment to your post. In many of the discussions on this blog there is a leap of logic that is significant but overlooked. Believers in an omnipotent god and creation often call out any area of science where we are lacking or even completely ignorant. Unknowns such as what exists beyond the boundaries of the universe (or what existed before the big bang for the more enlightened) or how did life spontaneously occur on earth are pointed out as holes or failures of science. The leap that is made is that anything we don't comprehend yet is automatically held out as proof of the existence of an omnipotent deity and by association creation. Unknowns are not indications of anything other than we have not figured it out yet. The leap that unknowns are proof of the supernatural does not hold water.

          My point is applicable to the discussion of evolution vs creation. Although evolution passes every litmus test as a scientific fact, let's assume for a moment that it doesn't or better yet that the concept never existed. In that event we would have a void of knowledge. Just because there is a void it does not mean that creation wins. Creation would continue to be an absolutely unprovable idea that does not have enough substance to even begin to form a credible hypothesis. Creationists continue to futilely attack evolution because it contradicts the creation myth and they believe if they are successful creation succeeds evolution. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

          May 1, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          jb: You've said it far better than I could.

          May 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • lewcypher

        justpro86 <<<<<< idolizes the huckster Lee Strobel

        April 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          How is Lee a Huckster? Before he became a Christian he was an award winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
          After coming to faith he is only really acknowledged by the Christian community. He is mocked by secularists and instead of remaining a famous reporter, he became a Christian Apologetist.
          Huskers usually gain something if they are a Huckster. What did Stroble get?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • G to the T

          A sense of certainty and an audience almost gauranteed to buy his books?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          Many atheists have a "sense of certainty" don't they?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Many atheists have a "sense of certainty" don't they?"

          True – but I think they are fewer and further between than you believe. And they're just as wrong. I know very few atheists that would say that "god" is completely 100% not possible. Yahweh on the other hand...

          April 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hey Justpro,

        Atheists claim that they have no religion, but they just don't have a named religion. They are just as religious as theists, but their religion consists of an ever-changing set of "facts" that they piece together from various sources. When something sounds nice to them, they believe it. When it sounds bad, they don't believe it.

        While they claim to be anti-religion, they are some of the most zealous and fervent believers that I have met. Whenever you promote Christianity, it is like a slap in the face to them because they have built up an ideology that is fervently anti-Christian.

        They want their morality to propagate through society and see Christianity as a threat to that. They just don't see how similar they are to the people they hate.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • justpro86

          Thank you best post I ever heard on this site... Its all true... Atheists like to waste their time spewing their hate for Christianity and proof is that they are on this page all day trying to sound smart poking fun of the bible but fail everytime and make themselves sound more immature..

          April 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • jbhollen

          ...said the guy who believes in talking snakes.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • guidedans

          Yep. I am always so intrigued by their decision to spend a good portion of their finite life on a site just screaming about how they don't believe in something.

          In their theology, they believe that this is the only life they have, yet instead of living it and trying to enjoy the little time they have here, they are just sitting around on a blog trying to get others to stop believing in their faith.

          We Christians are on this site because we want to spread the good word and bring people up, out of their sin. It makes sense for us to invest time in proselytizing. I have no idea what motivates them to proselytize so much.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • G to the T

          I'm sure believing that makes you feel better about your position, but to be fair, everyone has biases. I acknowledge mine and try to work past them, do you? Or do you also ignore/explain away evidence that doesn't support your beliefs?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • guidedans

          G to the T,

          You act like biases are a bad thing. Biases are not a bad thing if you are using them correctly. For instance, I am biased against Murder. No matter what you say or what anyone says, I will always be biased against murder. Biases allow you to have beliefs because biases determine what you stand out against. If you are constantly removing/creating new biases, than you are not stable in your beliefs.

          As a Christian, I am biased against sin. I will not work to remove those biases because they are what God has called me to be biased against. Do I fail sometimes? Yes. I am not perfect. But we should all strive to better align ourselves with God's will as outlined in the Bible and as demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Alias

          guidedans
          Biases are a bad thing – in any appropriate context.
          I will never get tired of the way you bible thumpers puting things in the clearly wrong context to try to make a point.
          LOLOLOLOL

          April 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • G to the T

          Thanks Alias – I'm not sure what definition of "bias" that guidedans is using but it sure it ain't mine.

          Would it help if I said "cognitive biases"? Biases are built in suppositions that we use to support our beliefs. Confirmation bias, investment bias, etc.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It amazes me how christians claim that they follow the bible, yet that entire "thou shalt not bear false witness" thing is entirely forgotten when they want to invent things about people who don't believe exactly what they do.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • fintronics

          Yup, here they go again, the dishonest Christian word twisters changing word definitions to suit their personal delusion.
          There must be something in the bible about that...

          Once more for the ignorant..... atheist = lack of belief in god. Nothing more, no matter how much you pi$$ and moan about it.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • guidedans

          Here's the definition of "Bias" I am using:

          "Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective, often accompanied by a refusal to even consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. "

          It is from Wikipedia. There are other, similar definitions from Websters and the like.

          I hold biases against certain actions like theft, or murder, or se.xual assault. I am not interested in hearing other points of view on the subject. Honestly, any time you hold ANY opinion you are demonstrating a bias in that direction. e.g., I don't like horseradish. I am not interested in your POV on horseradish, it will not change my opinion of horseradish.

          In the same vein, I do not like sin. I really do not care if you think it is OK to sin or not. I will not change my opinion on sin.

          You all want to live in a relativist world where everything is OK in the right context. Somethings, however, are never OK, no matter how much you wish they were.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • QuestionsEverything

          @guidedans –

          What is the purpose for trying to change the meaning of the word "religion"? By claiming that atheism is a religion only minimizes the meaning of the word and detracts from the various religions of the world.

          religion
          n.

          1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

          2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

          3 the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • fintronics

          Yea, except for the simple fact that atheism only refers to belief in god. Of course atheists may have beliefs or disbeliefs about many other things which you may or may not call "religious"... .but again, atheism is only a lack of belief in god.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • G to the T

          As I said before – that is not the usage of "bias" I am referring to. I am referring to cognitive bias.

          May 1, 2014 at 9:30 am |
      • speediejoe

        Just FYI, not even the Gospels themselves ever claim to be by eyewitnesses. Mark never says it was written by Mark. Matthew never says it was written by Matthew.

        April 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • justpro86

          Of course not heres the thing you miss they don't have too because its COMMON sense that they traveled all over with Jesus being his disciples. THey were eye witnesses not to hard to understand

          April 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • speediejoe

          LOL. Even if we accept that there was a Jesus who had disciples, how is it "common sense" that the books we have are in fact written by those disciples? Especially when the books never say it. Try this experiment. Go to Biblegateway.org or similar, and search for "Matthew" in the book of Matthew. Mathew is only mentioned a couple of times, in the third person, and copied from Mark. Are you really going to tell me that Matthew, when writing of his OWN meeting of JESUS for the VERY FIRST TIME, he copied a sentence of what somebody else said, word for word and left it in third person. Do you really think it is "common sense" that someone would do that???? Would you have???

          April 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
    • lewcypher

      Because religion depends on the perpetuation of willful ignorance

      April 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • gregoryjwiens

      The author of the book of Luke 1:1-4 Luke claims to have interviewed living eye witnesses and wrote them down.
      This same author shows up in first person from Acts 16 as part of the story. He introduces himself as Dr. Luke.
      So we have at least one book written down by somebody who purposefully interviewed living eye witnesses and personally took part in the last ten years of the story.

      April 30, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • jbhollen

        Most theologians don't buy this. Mark was the first gospel written and it makes no mention of eye witnesses.

        April 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • speediejoe

          Though I do agree that the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, I think that there are still a lot of "conservative" theologians that hold to traditional authorship.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • jbhollen

          So you mean John written by John, Matthew by Matthew, etc?

          April 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • speediejoe

          Yes, I think lots of conservative theologians still say that Mark was written by Mark, Matthew was written by Matthew, etc. Of course I don't believe that for a second. I'm just saying that it isn't correct to say that all thologians agree it is false.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • jbhollen

          I understand. It's like the fact you can still find a few climatologists that deny man made global warming. It is a fools errand to say "everyone" agrees regardless of the topic. If I said that I was wrong.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
      • speediejoe

        In your question about how is Strobel a huckster, what does he gain, tell me, just exactly how much money do you think Strobel rakes in with his books?

        As it so happens, debunking Strobel is a hobby/passion of mine. Check out my website caseagainstfaith. I don't sell anything, I don't make a single dime. Yes, I'm an amateur. But, then, so is Strobel, within the domains he writes about.

        You might think he is being honest when he claims to try to investigate the skeptic side. And that he tries to give the skeptic side the best possible chance. if that is true, then why do all of his books have ZERO skeptical interviewees? Well, except for Case for Faith, where he has ONE skeptical interview. All the rest have ZERO. Do you *really* think that is what someone who is really trying to investigate does?

        Ive actually written to him, he's never responded, despite the fact that my reviews are well read. Zondervan press even gave me a pre-release copy of The Case for the Real Jesus to review. Strobel never responded even though his own publisher gave me the book to review!

        So, try it, read my critiques. It won't cost you a dime. Unlike your hero Strobel who has several of your dollars in his pocket.

        April 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
  13. Michael Pakaluk

    "What the entire episode does, rather, is remind us — scholars included — that science might not always have all the answers."

    Really, that's what it tells us? How about: Harvard has been shameless in the promotion of this fraud? How about: Harvard professors apparently have little of the scholarly judgment they used to have? How about: There is a huge disconnect between the reputation of places like Harvard and the reality? How about: "Veritas" is far from an appropriate motto for Harvard?

    "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife"! Please!

    Michael Pakaluk, Ph.D., Harvard University

    April 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • gregoryjwiens

      Thank you. I so Agree with everything that you just said.

      April 30, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  14. noahsdadtopher

    Is anyone really surprised this is again thought to be bogus?

    April 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • samsstones

      Topherism. A condition that allows a person to reject any knowledge that does not agree with their a priori beliefs. (also known as Philioidiotism).
      So how is my fundie jesus freaking nutter fellow poster today? Prepared to tell all sorts of lies to defend your delusion?

      April 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  15. revrickm

    Quoting from the article: "Both the material and the script looked authentically ancient at first glance, and though the notion of Jesus having a wife was remarkable, these “lost” Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels, are full of unorthodoxies."

    Duh! Orthodoxy (and orthopraxy) are what the "church authorities" say they are, but it's a case of the fox guarding the hen house. The early church fathers got to decide which Bible books were orthodox, and they actually destroyed or at minimum, suppressed, any competing "gospels" that did no conform to their view of orthodoxy.

    I suspect that if the existing New Testament gospels (M, M, L & J) had just recently been discovered, we would be having the same arguments over what's forged and what's real. We already know that many (if not most) of the current New Testament books are forged, but fundamentalist "believers" don't seem to mind that, or much less could care. In fact they get downright hostile when confronted with the facts. I don't have a problem with putting my faith in something, but at least I have the courage to admit that, at times, my conviction is based on faith, and not necessarily on the facts.

    April 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Yes, orthodoxy is important. Why should we have let in texts that would have been contrary to Scripture? But that's not the only problem with the Gnostic Gospels. For instance, they were all written way too late and thus couldn't have been written by who they were claimed to have been written by.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
      • joey3467

        The same is true of the Gospels so there is no reason to consider them to be any more reliable than the books they didn't let in the bible. In the end they just picked the ones that told the story they wanted to tell, and tried to burn and destroy all the ones that didn't.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • gregoryjwiens

          The 7Q5 Mark Fragment that was deposited in the Dead Sea Scrolls Collection before 69 AD and therefore written before then.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • revrickm

        Because the texts under review are the scripture. Even the "original" New Testament texts are in some cases several centuries old, and are copies of copies. And some of the copies don't match each other. Same problem in the end.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Of course some of the copies don't match. There's spelling and copy errors. There's even some translation errors. But not one of them changes the meaning or authority of the original. And guess what. We know what they are. And because we have so many copies of the texts (nearly 6000, more than any other historical doc.ument) we know what they should be and thus know the Bible we have today is the same as the early church fathers.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          You failed to mention all the contradictions and plain unbelievable supernatural stories. Well don't bother you would just lie your way through them until backed into a corner and then run away like the coward you are.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • joey3467

          So then Topher, you must have a very early copy of the Gospel of Mark with Mark 16:9-20? Otherwise you are lying. As those verses aren't in any of the earliest copies we have so there is plenty of reason to believe that they were just added long after it was originally written.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Don't forget John 7:53-8:11. Added in the 5th century

          April 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher
          you are part of the problem. You already 'know' what it is supposed to say, so you go ahead and translate it that way.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • revrickm

          Actually Topher, even the existing New Testament contradicts itself. There is more then one story of the resurrection in the New Testament – they are different. There is more then one story of the tragic end of Judas in the New Testament – they are different. Even the apostle Paul appears to contradict himself in books he allegedly wrote. James the brother of Jesus believed that the Jewish law should be upheld to be a good Christian. Paul (who never met Jesus, sans in a vision) believed the Jewish law was nullified by Jesus' death and resurrection. Who would you believe? James who was Jesus brother, and a disciple of Jesus? Or Paul who didn't know Jesus personally, nor followed Jesus during his ministry? The list of contradictions goes way beyond grammatical errors, misspellings and mistranslations. It strikes at the very heart of Christian theology.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          @rev, that's perfect!

          April 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          revrickm

          "Actually Topher, even the existing New Testament contradicts itself."

          No. I know it can seem that way. Until you study it.

          "There is more then one story of the resurrection in the New Testament – they are different."

          Nope.

          "There is more then one story of the tragic end of Judas in the New Testament – they are different."

          Nope. One just gives additional details.

          "The list of contradictions goes way beyond grammatical errors, misspellings and mistranslations. It strikes at the very heart of Christian theology."

          You might be correct if there were contradictions. There aren't any.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • samsstones

          Well it didn't take long to back Topher into a corner, it will be interesting to see how he handles it. Probably looking through his favorite apologist sites right now.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          joey3467

          True, those few verses aren't in the earliest copies we have. But they do not alter theology, meaning, orthodoxy or doctrine.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Ok. Try this on for size. When translated from Hebrew to Greek the word "alma" or "Almah" was mistranslated to mean virgin when it should have meant young woman. Does that change your theology?

          April 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          I already asked you if you were willing to lie all day, thanks for that answer.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • revrickm

          @ Topher – all I can say is: No, Nope, and Nope are not very convincing answers. As an ordained minister myself, I have studied the Bible. I understand its strong points and where it offers hope. It is also understand that it's a very human book – it is a book written by humans, interpreted by humans and defended by humans. By it's very nature it is flawed. But I don't lose any sleep over it, or worry about the fact that it's imperfect. I accept that as fact and move on with my faith. Trying to convince yourself that your not drowning while at the same time gasping for air is foolish.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          revrickm

          "all I can say is: No, Nope, and Nope are not very convincing answers."

          Fair enough.

          "As an ordained minister myself, I have studied the Bible."

          Very cool! In which religion ... and what flavor?

          ""By it's very nature it is flawed. But I don't lose any sleep over it, or worry about the fact that it's imperfect."

          So are you saying God is a liar?

          April 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • joey3467

          Yes Topher, and that is the problem. Once the theology had been decided someone went back and added the ending so that it would mesh. To me that raises serious issues.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          My born again fundie jesus freaking nutter when are you going to get it through your head that it is not the word of god but what men would like god to be. That is why almost every version of god suits the culture in which men created the god.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • revrickm

          Topher, FYI – I was raised as a Southern Baptist, converted to Catholicism, but then left Catholicism because I wanted to enter the ministry. Obviously priests can't be married (except under very unusual circu.mstances).

          Now, why are you trying to put words in my mouth? God is a liar? Did I say that? Show me a book of scripture written in God's (or Jesus') own handwriting and we'll discuss your accusation.

          Topher, I admire your faith and devotion, but you are naïve and lack depth of understanding.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • samsstones

          revrickm
          It is about now that Topher will tell you that you are not a christian, you do not meet his standards, as all catholics are not christian in his mind. You are dealing with a very judgemental fundie here although Topher will deny that he judges anyone. Good luck.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          revrickm

          "God is a liar? Did I say that?"

          Basic theology is that Scripture is God breathed (thus He wrote it) and the Bible claims to be infallable and inerrant. Thus you should trust every last word it says.

          So are you currently practicing? And you never answered my question of what denomination or religion you are ordained in.

          Would you say you are born again?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • samsstones

          revrikm
          Now you are into the third phase of Topher's silly game were he will ask you a barrage of rather inane or plain stupid questions, that may wear you out. This is a pattern that Topher uses every day, just so you know.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • revrickm

          I think I responded in the wrong thread so I am reposting here as a follow-up to Topher:

          @ Topher said:

          "Basic theology is that Scripture is God breathed (thus He wrote it) and the Bible claims to be infallable and inerrant. Thus you should trust every last word it says."

          Yes, the Bible claims to be infallible, but given the proven fact that it is not, should we believe it is infallible? I would say, no.

          "So are you currently practicing? And you never answered my question of what denomination or religion you are ordained in."

          Why is denomination and my religion important to you, Topher? Is it important because it will enable you to pin a label on me? So you can judge me, and judge my faith? I thought the Bible said "judge not lest you be judged". Or don't you believe your own Bible? What you think of me, or of my denomination, is none of my business. But, to fully answer your question, Topher – I am a Christian by tradition. However, I am not a traditional Christian.

          "Would you say you are born again?"

          Again with the judgments, Topher? I was saved and baptized when I was 8 years old, if that helps you in your "judgment" of me and my beliefs. If God exists, and I believe God does exist, He is the God of all: Jews, Christian, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists and everything in between. God could care less about what denomination we belong to. God does not belong to any of those "religions" because religion, and even theology, are man-made concepts, just as scripture is man-made. Scripture may be divinely inspired, but it is not inerrant. The Bible itself is so full of contradictions that to reason that it is infallible is itself a contradiction.

          May 1, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • samsstones

        Topher
        Forever pompous and arrogant, "why should we.." who the fvck gave you the authority over anything gets into or is left out of the book of silly?

        April 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Why should we have let in texts that would have been contrary to Scripture?"

        I think you've put the cart before the horse on this one. The question is by what criteria were books included/discarded to create what is now known as "Scripture"?

        April 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Texts were given several tests and had to pass every one of them. I don't remember what all they were (there are several books on this subject, though), but some of them included ...

          – Date text was written (because the Gnostics were written way too late to have been written by who they claimed to be)
          – Author of the text (had to be an eyewitness or someone who sat at the feet of one)
          – The teachings ... couldn't contradict what was already established as Scripture

          April 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Alias

          So you would reject something as authentic based on what it said.
          THAT is a problem. Don't you see it?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • G to the T

          Texts were given several tests and had to pass every one of them. I don't remember what all they were (there are several books on this subject, though), but some of them included ...

          – Date text was written (because the Gnostics were written way too late to have been written by who they claimed to be)
          Possible, I doubt people actually knew when accounts were written. It's only in the last couple centuries that we've been able to get a good approximation of this. It also ignores all of the other books written during the same time as the accepted gospels.

          – Author of the text (had to be an eyewitness or someone who sat at the feet of one)
          Assumption – There is no good evidence (unless you can provide some?) that the attributed authors are who we say they are and decent evidence that they were not. You would also be left with a conundrum because many of the non-canonical books also claimed authorship by disciples (Apocalypse of Peter for example).

          – The teachings ... couldn't contradict what was already established as Scripture
          And here we have an example of circular logic. What "scripture" existed before the books of the NT were defined? By what criteria could you say this is Scripture or not when no scripture (other than OT I suppose) existed yet?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "So you would reject something as authentic based on what it said. THAT is a problem. Don't you see it?"

          Depends. We believe the Bible is the Word of God. So if it doesn't agree with Scripture, of course I reject it as coming from God.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          G to the T

          "Possible, I doubt people actually knew when accounts were written."

          One answer to this is that we have the writings of the early church fathers who tell us what books they had/used and many of which were students of the apostles themselves; thus acknowledging who the authors were. I think it would throw up a flag if we had a book that no one from that time held as Scripture.

          "It also ignores all of the other books written during the same time as the accepted gospels."

          Well, even if we had a book from the accurate time period ... that alone wouldn't qualify it as Scripture. For instance, let's say we found a book we KNOW was written by Paul. That doesn't mean it is Scripture. Scripture must be God-breathed.

          "Assumption – There is no good evidence (unless you can provide some?) that the attributed authors are who we say they are and decent evidence that they were not."

          Early church fathers. Many of these men knew the authors and some left us their own writings testifiying to that.

          "You would also be left with a conundrum because many of the non-canonical books also claimed authorship by disciples (Apocalypse of Peter for example)."

          See above.

          "What "scripture" existed before the books of the NT were defined?"

          Every book of the Old Testament.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • Doris

          "Scripture must be God-breathed."

          Well how then would we know that any thing at all Paul wrote was "God-breathed"? Where's the evidence for that?

          April 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • joey3467

          Well Doris, I think it goes something like this: We know it is god breathed because it is in the Bible, and the Bible says eveything in it is straight from the mouth of god. How anyone can doubt that logic is anybodys guess.

          April 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • jbhollen

          How do you make two statements – both of them absolutes and neither of them factually supportable and call that logic?

          This is how is sounded to me. "All circus clowns have two souls and I know it's true because I read it in my alpha-bits this morning which is always how my god, the Flying Spaghetti Monster talks to me. How some people can not understand the infallibility of my logic just amazes me

          April 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
      • revrickm

        @ Topher said:

        "Basic theology is that Scripture is God breathed (thus He wrote it) and the Bible claims to be infallable and inerrant. Thus you should trust every last word it says."

        Yes, the Bible claims to be infallible, but given the proven fact that it is not, should we believe it is infallible? I would say, no.

        "So are you currently practicing? And you never answered my question of what denomination or religion you are ordained in."

        Why is denomination and my religion important to you, Topher? Is it important because it will enable you to pin a label on me? So you can judge me, and judge my faith? I thought the Bible said "judge not lest you be judged". Or don't you believe your own Bible? What you think of me, or of my denomination, is none of my business. But, to fully answer your question, Topher – I am a Christian by tradition. However, I am not a traditional Christian.

        "Would you say you are born again?"

        Again with the judgments, Topher? I was saved and baptized when I was 8 years old, if that helps you in your "judgment" of me and my beliefs. If God exists, and I believe God does exist, He is the God of all: Jews, Christian, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists and everything in between. God could care less about what denomination we belong to. God does not belong to any of those "religions" because religion, and even theology, are man-made concepts, just as scripture is man-made. Scripture may be divinely inspired, but it is not inerrant. The Bible itself is so full of contradictions that to reason that it is infallible is itself a contradiction.

        May 1, 2014 at 9:07 am |
  16. new-man

    Jesus, Your Good Shepherd And Door

    John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

    Jesus said that He is the “door of the sheep”. What did He mean? Well, a sheepfold during Jesus’ time had no door which could be opened and closed. The door of the sheepfold was just an opening. In this kind of sheepfold, after the sheep had entered it, the shepherd would sleep at the entrance. The shepherd became, effectively, the “door” of the sheepfold.

    When Jesus told His disciples, “I am the good shepherd,” (John 10:11) He also assured them emphatically that He was the “door of the sheep”. He was telling them and us, “Inside My sheepfold, My sheep are always safe, completely protected and kept close under My watchful eyes. And since I am just at the entrance of the sheepfold, nothing, not even the muffled bleat of one of My own, can escape My ears. Also, nothing evil outside the sheepfold can enter and touch My sheep without first coming through Me for I am the door of My sheep.”

    So when the fight of life comes knocking on your door and when panic threatens to rise within you, see yourself doubly protected! He is both the good shepherd and the door of His sheep. As your good shepherd, He gave His life for you to redeem you from poverty, sickness and every other curse.

    As your door, He keeps out everything evil that He has redeemed you from. Because He shed His blood for you, you are covered and protected within the sheepfold by a blood-stained door. Disaster, destruction and death must pass over you and your family because of His blood on your door. Remember that on the night of the first Passover in Egypt, the destroyer could not enter the houses of the Israelites because of the blood of the lamb on their doors. (Exodus 12:13, 23)

    Today, you can live life untroubled and unafraid, knowing that Jesus, your good shepherd and door, protects and preserves you and your family. No evil will befall you or your loved ones because He is your dwelling place and refuge!
    fr:JPM

    April 30, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • otoh2

      A shepherd guards and protects his sheep for a few reasons:

      - Profit from their fleece
      - Profit from their flesh, skins and body parts at slaughter time
      - A tasty dinner

      The guy who thought up that ana.logy was pretty silly.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
      • new-man

        you've shown that man's carnal thoughts and ways are absolutely not God's ways.

        The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not want. He's my provider, my protector, my healer, my salvation ... you get the picture.

        I understand He's not these things to you, because He is not your God; but He's mine and His goodness and mercy surrounds me like a shield. He gave His life for Me out of Love.
        You need to change shepherds. The one you described isn't worthy of praise and worship.
        I recommend the good shepherd, Jesus.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • samsstones

          new=man as a born again fundie jesus freaking nutter your opinion is duly noted. Jesus wants you, hasten to join him lest you fall off your pedestal and actually get carnal and get laid.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          newman
          "you've shown that man's carnal thoughts and ways are absolutely not God's ways."

          Then why did god make the $ex drive the most potent force of life...go forth and multiply. You are hard wired to seek $ex. To think that your god does not want it that way is simply silly.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Then why did god make the $ex drive the most potent force of life...go forth and multiply. You are hard wired to seek $ex. To think that your god does not want it that way is simply silly."

          Aha, that would explain why religious people hate gays. The fact that some people are wired to seek $ex without the ability or desire to reproduce disproves the idea that a god gave us this urge for the purpose of reproduction, at least not a perfect god.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Seavik....nah, they just hate gays because the religious right is nuts!

          April 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • bchev

      new-man,
      And yet, Christians throughout the world constantly face and fall to sickness, hardship, and death. Perhaps this is why Jesus was a carpenter and not a shepherd or farmer?

      April 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • new-man

        bchev: "And yet, Christians throughout the world constantly face and fall to sickness, hardship, and death."

        your observation is correct. the question then should be why is this so.
        believers are awakening from Adam's sleep and into their new ident.ity in Christ. It's highly observable outside of the scope of mainstream media, but I assure you it will become common place very soon.

        Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

        The above just means the breach between the spiritual and the carnal, or once the veil of the carnal is fully removed; so while it may seem like the enemies are prevailing against the saints, make no mistake, they will not and cannot win.

        April 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
    • lewcypher

      Anyone "quoting" someone named Jesus from the christian bible should always preface it with "allegedly".

      Regardless, quoting the bible is like an 8 year old stabbing at you with their pretend Star Wars light saber.......... cute and ineffective.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • justpro86

        God performs miracles every day. Just recently a little boy got kidnapped and that little boy started singing a gospel song and something touched that kidnappers heart and he freed the little boy... My mother walked down an alley one night and muggers attacked she screamed JESUS! and the attackers fled with nothing.... God does help the faithful so you can shut your mouth with your posts...

        April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • joey3467

          I can't really blame him for letting the kid go. Gospel songs are extremely annoying, and if I kidnapped someone and they started singing them I would have to let them go as well.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • G to the T

          I think your bar for "micraculous" events is very low.

          April 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • fintronics

          Kiss my azz with your shut up comment... this is a blog you friggin nut job, don't like it? hit the big OFF switch.
          God is nothing more than your IMAGINATION. what a big joke..

          April 30, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Well that settles it. You put us in our place. Yes ma'am, we will shut up......Or not.

          First off I assume that you are quoting email spam that tells you to forward this everyone you know!

          Let's see if I can debunk your miracles. Miracle one – the kidnapper changed his mind. Miracle two – Jesus (hay-zeus) was a bad man from a rival gang and the muggers fled thinking he was coming. Or they just changed their mind.

          April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • speediejoe

          Justpro, I hear you are a Lee Strobel fan. As it so happens, debunking Strobel is a hobby/passion of mine. Check out my website caseagainstfaith. I don't sell anything, I don't make a single dime. Yes, I'm an amateur. But, then, so is Strobel, within the domains he writes about.

          You might think he is being honest when he claims to try to investigate the skeptic side. And that he tries to give the skeptic side the best possible chance. if that is true, then why do all of his books have ZERO skeptical interviewees? Well, except for Case for Faith, where he has ONE skeptical interview. All the rest have ZERO. Do you *really* think that is what someone who is really trying to investigate does?

          Ive actually written to him, he's never responded, despite the fact that my reviews are well read. Zondervan press even gave me a pre-release copy of The Case for the Real Jesus to review. Strobel never responded even though his own publisher gave me the book to review!

          So, try it, read my critiques. It won't cost you a dime. Unlike your hero Strobel who has several of your dollars in his pocket.As it so happens, debunking Strobel is a hobby/passion of mine. Check out my website caseagainstfaith. I don't sell anything, I don't make a single dime. Yes, I'm an amateur. But, then, so is Strobel, within the domains he writes about.

          You might think he is being honest when he claims to try to investigate the skeptic side. And that he tries to give the skeptic side the best possible chance. if that is true, then why do all of his books have ZERO skeptical interviewees? Well, except for Case for Faith, where he has ONE skeptical interview. All the rest have ZERO. Do you *really* think that is what someone who is really trying to investigate does?

          Ive actually written to him, he's never responded, despite the fact that my reviews are well read. Zondervan press even gave me a pre-release copy of The Case for the Real Jesus to review. Strobel never responded even though his own publisher gave me the book to review!

          So, try it, read my critiques. It won't cost you a dime. Unlike your hero Strobel who has several of your dollars in his pocket.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • justpro86

          LOL your funny sorry there is no case against faith and many people try but they fail. Sorry there is no evidence for Evolution. No I am not a big fan of Strobel but I am a big fan of Dr. Hugh Ross who like me likes to combine the Bible with science. For the most part The Bible is the only religious book that got science right and it has been written well over 2,000 years ago. I have read many well written articles about how evolution was so deliberately smashed too pieces so really there is too many holes in evolution to be fact over the bible.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • jbhollen

          You are either ignorant or disingenuous to make such statements.

          April 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • justpro86

          No I just see and know the truth and just Smacking my head of his ignorant rants

          April 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Keep smacking. It might help.

          April 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • speediejoe

          In your research of evolution, did you try reading, you know, SCIENCE books, not just quotes from science books? And, something more than a gradeschool biology book that has to cover lots of very basic information to a gradeschool audience. In other words, have you ever actually taken some biology at a university level?

          April 30, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • justpro86

          Yes some aspect I believe but for the most part the biologists there forget one key to everything. Its creator

          April 30, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Your opinion. Not substantiated.

          April 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • speediejoe

          Hugh Ross is certainly better than the Young Earth Bozo's I'll give you that! But, even with Ross' contortions of Genesis, you STILL do not get a creation story that matches with science. Even Ross' mutilation gets the actual order wrong.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • justpro86

          Hes not wrong and I seen how he destroys evolutionists in majority of his debates compared to Ken Ham and Kent Hovind but I do give Hovind some credit he is a ruthless debater if only science aspect can bring him towards Ross's side more the better... Besides Science does not tell how the earth was created. Its a theory and Ross is right the Big bang explains how God did it. Science only discusses a big bang but forgets how that big bang happened by the hand of God. No other way.

          April 30, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • speediejoe

          Read Answers In Genesis' article "Hugh Ross' Dubious Apologetics". I of course do not accept AiG generally in matters of science, but, this particular article does demonstrate the issue, even with Ross' contortions, they Genesis still does not match science. Read the article. And, it is rather telling that you think that someone utterly wrong, is yet useful to helping people to Christianity. Doesn't it strike you as rather absurd that someone who is DEAD WRONG, in YOUR opinion, is more helpful to your religion the people who are NOT DEAD WRONG??? Seems like that might be a clue for you.

          April 30, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • speediejoe

          I'll give you the important section from the article here:

          "Another major problem is that the ordering of the events of Genesis does not even agree with the pronouncements of modern science, with which day-age theorists are so eager to harmonize. To answer this difficulty, Ross appeals to overlapping days. 19 For instance, the creation of plants was on the third day, before the creation of animals on days five and six. But the plants that are specifically mentioned as being created on day three are flowering plants, plants that according to most scientists appeared very recently. This would seem to place these plants during day six when creeping things were created. Ross explains this by claiming that it is the first appearance of plants that is important, hence their mention so early on day three. On the other hand, Ross claims that birds and fish are mentioned on day five, despite the fact that this makes no sense in terms of the usual order that modern science claims. Does Ross reject modern science on this? No, he argues that day five overlaps partly with days three and four, and probably six as well. It is interesting that the details of Ross’s teaching on this are not found in references 2—5. His latest book contains some details,20 but the greatest details are found in his audio tapes and pamphlets, which enjoy far less circulation and publicity than his books.

          Ross repeatedly shuffles the events of creation to claim that those events that occurred on different days did not, while those events that occurred on the same day actually happened at different times. Under such contrived rules of interpretation the motif of a six-day creation, if you will, begins to collapse. "

          April 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Sorry there is no evidence for Evolution."

          Positive supporting evidence for evolution: the progressive order of the fossil record complete with a nice progression of hominid and pre-hominid forms; phylogenetic analyses of extinct and extant forms which corroborate the order of the fossil record; biogeographical analyses which corroborate the distributions within the fossil record; the presence of forms bearing traits which bridge the alleged specially-created "kinds" (e.g. Tiktaalik with both fish and tetrapod features, Archeopteryx with both dino and bird features); the presence of anatomical and molecular vestigial features (e.g. the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the defunct human gene for egg-yolk protein); direct observation of speciation events; direct observation of the ability of mutation and selection to yield new and additional "complex and specified" genetic "information"; validation of the theory of evolution in disciplines ranging from medicine to agricultural to engineering; etc, etc.

          Negative supporting evidence for evolution: no observations of confounding fossils (i.e. no rabbits in the pre-Cambrian, no humans alongside dinosaurs); no observations of true chimeras; no observations of forms appearing ex nihilo; no observations of truly "irreducibly complex" structures; etc, etc.

          May 1, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • speediejoe

          redzoa, that isn't "evidence". It is only "evidence" if it is written by goat hearders thousands of years ago, of course. LOL. Seriously, your one-paragraph summary is a rather nice summary for one paragraph. Thanks.

          May 1, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • speediejoe

        redzoa, that isn't "evidence". It is only "evidence" if it is written by goat hearders thousands of years ago, of course. LOL. Seriously, your one-paragraph summary is a rather nice summary for one paragraph. Thanks.

        May 1, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • samsstones

      new-man
      No evil will befall you, tell that to the bible belters that are suffering from the tornados. Jesus doesn't give a good god damn about the welfare of anybody. The survivors thank their mythical god for saving their lives, why, there life here on earth is precious to them because deep down they know the whole paradise idea is BS.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • samsstones

        their life on....

        April 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  17. Doris

    From Science News Daily:

    Underwater archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric caribou hunts that provide unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organization of early peoples in the Great Lakes region.

    An article detailing the discovery of a 9,000-year-old caribou hunting drive lane under Lake Huron appears in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    "This site and its associated artifacts, along with environmental and simulation studies, suggest that Late Paleoindian/Early Archaic caribou hunters employed distinctly different seasonal approaches," said John O'Shea, the Emerson F. Greenman Professor of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the article.

    "In autumn, small groups carried out the caribou hunts, and in spring, larger groups of hunters cooperated."

    According to O'Shea, who is also Curator of U-M's Great Lakes Division of the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, the site was discovered on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, under 121 feet of water, about 35 miles southeast of Alpena, Mich., on what was once a dry land corridor connecting northeast Michigan to southern Ontario.

    The main feature, called Drop 45 Drive Lane, is the most complex hunting structure found to date beneath the Great Lakes. Constructed on level limestone bedrock, the stone lane is composed of two parallel lines of stones leading toward a cul-de-sac formed by the natural cobble pavement. Three circular hunting blinds are built into the stone lines, with additional stone alignments that may have served as blinds and obstructions for corralling caribou.

    Although autumn was the preferred hunting season for caribou, the orientation of Drop 45 shows that it would only have been effective if the animals were moving in a northwesterly direction, which they would have done during the spring migration from modern day Ontario.

    "It is noteworthy that V-shaped hunting blinds located upslope from Drop 45 are oriented to intercept animals moving to the southeast in the autumn," O'Shea said. "This concentration of differing types of hunting structures associated with alternative seasons of migration is consistent with caribou herd movement simulation data indicating that the area was a convergence point along different migration routes, where the landform tended to compress the animals in both the spring and autumn."

    The structures in and around Drop 45, and the chipped stone debris for repairing stone tools, provide unambiguous evidence for intentional human construction and use of the feature, O'Shea said. And they also provide important insight into the social and economic organization of the ancient hunters using this area.

    "The larger size and multiple parts of the complex drive lanes would have necessitated a larger cooperating group of individuals involved in the hunt," he said. "The smaller V-shaped hunting blinds could be operated by very small family groups relying on the natural shape of the landform to channel caribou towards them."

    April 30, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Alias

      But that didn't allow enough time for the person cursed at the tower of bable to get there from the middle east and populate a civilization.
      Your Science must be wrong or the bible would be flawed.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • joey3467

      You shouldn't post anything about underwater findings as Theo will just use it as evidence of a global flood.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Doris

        LOL – true enough joey – I'll have to be more careful.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • jbhollen

      That's interesting but are sure you posted on the right blog?

      April 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  18. blakenaustin

    Just another thinly veiled slam on Biblical Christianity by our far left friends at CNN. Try news reporting for a change.

    April 30, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • observer

      blakenaustin,

      Can't think of anything new, so you just SPAM the same nonsense.

      Well done, troll.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • bchev

      How exactly is this a slam at all?

      April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • Akira

      It's a blog, and this is an opinion piece, slick. If you want news, go to the news section of CNN.

      How stupid.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • jbhollen

      Yes, those pesky facts and "what ifs" can really raise hell with ancient belief systems.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  19. HeavenSent

    You atheists promote only the evil of satan, your father, and spread his lies on these articles. My camel-toe was “Good Samaritan of the Month” for housing stray puppies and fish, but then the police came. The Bible is 100% true. Read it and begin your journey to an eternity with God.

    Amen

    April 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • mmgrant73

      What a load of BS. Atheist do not believe in your god and by extension do not believe in you Satan. Thus, we are not promoting Satan. The only think that atheist promote is that we use logic to determine reality rather then relying on some ancient book of fairy tales. Furthermore, just because you want to believe the bible is 100% real does not make it true. As far as reading the bible and beginning my journey, that is what I did and because I read the bible and realize how stupid it was it lead me to being an atheist. So I encourage everyone to read the bible.

      April 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • samsstones

        mmgrant73
        I think you missed the sarcasm. HS is just trying to show what a christian nutter maybe like, the center sentence is the key.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
  20. Doris

    Bart Ehrman: "These lots and lots of copies are from many centuries after Mark was written. How could we know that these copies stemmed from a correct copy, instead of an errant copy? Our earliest ones are all highly errant."

    And so it goes with those Gospels of unknown authorship.

    Of course there are millions of Christians who feel that they have a religious right to marry people of the same se.x:

    "A coalition of clergy members filed a novel federal lawsuit Monday against North Carolina's consti.tutional ban on gay marriage, saying it violates their religious freedom. The clergy members said that they'd like to perform same-se.x marriage ceremonies in their congregations, but that they can't because of the "unjust law." Their attorney, Jake Sussman, says it's the only case to bring the First Amendment religious freedom claims among the more than 60 marriage equality cases pending in the nation's state and federal courts. Along with United Church of Christ, which has more than 1 million parishioners, a dozen clergy members and same se.x-couples who want to marry were listed as plaintiffs. " (AP)

    April 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • Akira

      North Carolina. Suppressing equal rights since 1789.

      April 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • Doris

        I know Akira. And wasn't it just last year that someone in the NC legislature put forth some bill that if passed would allegedly have allowed NC law to not be bound by the (US) 1st Amendment? I know it was squashed early, but still, it says a lot about certain members of the legislature there.

        April 30, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Akira

          Yes, they wanted to make Christianity the state religion, IIRC.

          They truly sound like a different breed of nonsense. As do the folks who keep electing them.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • jbhollen

          And next door in South Carolina the effort to make the Mastodon the official state fossil was held up as they argued how to give god credit for the beast. They ended up inserting that the Mastodon was created on the sixth day. Unbelievable – literally.

          April 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Akira

          Oh, my. How completely ignorant.

          Btw, Theo is on the Holocaust thread, now saying that not all forms of slavery is sinful. If you want some mental excercise, but don't mind feeling as if your mind fell down a rabbit hole with all the pretzel logic, check that out.
          A warning, though: Theo is wordy and doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word brevity.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • jbhollen

          Thanks but I'll pass.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Alias

          So long as the correct people are the owners and not the owned, slavery is right up there with peanut butter!

          April 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • jbhollen

          As believerfred posted yesterday in a long discussion on slavery......"Try not to get hung up on the whole master/slave relationship...". Said the master to the slave.

          April 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Akira

          Sure, tell that to the slave, Fred...eye roll.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • southerncelt

        Happy to oblige:-). Whatever keeps the left wing Yankees out.

        April 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Akira

          Common sense has no political bent.
          Apparently, xenophobia does.

          April 30, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Yankee"? Really? You still call it the "War of Northern Agression" too?

          April 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • fintronics

          Wow! a southern bigot! what a surprise!. I moved from NY to North Carolina years ago so you can kindly kiss my azz.

          April 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.