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June 6th, 2014
08:28 AM ET

Does Islam really condemn converts to death?

Opinion by Abed Awad, special to CNN

(CNN) – Last month, a Sudanese court imposed a death sentence on Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year-old pregnant mother, because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Ibrahim says she was raised Christian by her mother after her Muslim father abandoned them when she was 6 years old.

But this week, a man claiming to be Ibrahim’s brother said that she was raised a Muslim and that if she does not return to the faith, she should be killed.

Both the Sudanese court and the man who claims to be Ibrahim’s brother say the Islamic faith is clear: Apostasy, renouncing the religion, is a capital crime.

But is it really?

The idea of apostasy as a crime within Islam begins with the Quran and the Sunna, the faith’s foundational texts.

The Quran is Muslims’ holy scripture, believed to be revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammed. Because Muslims believe the Quran contains God’s will, it is the most authoritative source of the law – the final word.

The Sunna is the example of Mohammed, embodied in stories about his sayings and conduct.

Two centuries after the death of Mohammed, Muslim scholars collected and sifted through hundreds of thousands of narratives (called hadith) attributed to him, accepting a few thousand as likely to be authentic.

Together, the Sunna forms the second most important source of legal guidance – but their application to modern life isn’t always clear, and at times, one lesson from Mohammed seems to contradict another.

What does the Quran say about apostasy?

The Quran warns apostates, except those who later repent, that a severe and painful punishment awaits them in the afterlife.

They shall forever be the companions of hellfire, the holy book says.

But nowhere in the Quran does God command earthly authorities to execute anyone who has converted from Islam.

That omission is key, because the Quran says, “The Lord neglects nothing, nor does he forget.”

In other words, if God wanted apostates killed, he would have said so.

Instead, the Quran’s message is: The apostate is accountable to Allah in the hereafter, not to judges on Earth.

As one passage says, “It is God who judges.”

What did Mohammed say about apostasy?

Unlike the Quran, there are conflicting stories and opinions about the prophet’s stance on apostasy.

According to several sayings attributed to him in the Sunna, Mohammed did call for apostates to be killed. “He who changes his religion, kill him,” the prophet said, according to one hadith, or story about his life.

But other stories contradict that teaching.

In the seventh century, for example, Mohammed, as leader of the growing Muslim community, brokered a truce with the Qurayshites, a competing religious tribe.

In the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, Mohammed agreed that if any Qurayshite came to join the Muslim community, he would not accept them.

On the other hand, Muslims were permitted to join the Qurayshites, no questions asked, no executions threatened.

Moreover, lots of Muslim coverts abandoned Islam during the prophet’s life, and he never sentenced one to death.

The Sahih al-Bukhari, one of the most famous collections of Sunna, contains an illustrative example.

A Bedouin man pledged allegiance to God and the prophet, only to later inform Mohammed that he wanted to cancel his pledge.

After the prophet refused three times to accept his cancellation, the Bedouin simply moved to another town.

The prophet did not order his execution despite such clear and undisputed apostasy. And there are many other examples like this in the Muslim historical literature.

The conflicting stories and lessons from Mohammed's life is one reason why the Sunna is not considered as authoritative a source of Islamic law as the Quran.

So, why is apostasy a capital crime in countries like Sudan?

Mohammed preached a message of unity and social justice, and his religious community welcomed believers regardless of tribe, color, race, ethnicity, social status or gender.

At the same time, the prophet’s growing tribe frequently battled outsiders, from competing Arabian religious tribes to Jewish groups.

That means a Muslim who decided to abandon his religion was not simply making a personal choice to follow another God. He was turning his back on his tribe at a time of almost perpetual war.

So, you can see why early Muslim jurists and leaders wanted to discourage conversions. To them, it was an act of treason against the community. It was a political crime and not a restriction upon one’s freedom of conscience.

A majority of early Muslim jurists thus concluded that male apostates should receive the death penalty. For women, the main schools of Islamic law don’t agree. Some say female apostates should be killed. Others argue that she should be imprisoned until she returns to Islam.

Still, many prominent contemporary Muslim scholars have argued that apostasy should never carry the death penalty except in cases where converts take up arms against Muslims.

That doesn’t mean that nations like Sudan have gotten the message, though. And while Meriam Ibrahim is undoubtedly the victim of harsh human judges, there are also larger cultural forces at play.

But at the end of the day, the fact remains that the Quran without a doubt supports religious freedom. Allah the most merciful and wise said it best: “There is no compulsion in religion.”

And that should be last word.

Abed Awad is an attorney, a national Islamic law expert and an adjunct law professor at Rutgers Law School and Pace Law School. The views expressed in this column belong to Awad. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Death • Foreign policy • Islam • Islamic law • Muslim • Opinion • Religious liberty • Religious violence • Sharia

soundoff (650 Responses)
  1. midwest rail

    Nonsense. Were it only for "his eyes", you would have contacted him at Rutgers.

    June 7, 2014 at 7:22 am |
    • gruphy

      Did someone say nonsense? Thats reality spelt backwards!

      June 7, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • Reality

        Only for the eyes of gruphy, Midwest rail and Abed:

        From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

        The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

        ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

        Are you ready?

        Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

        The First Five of the 77 Branches:

        "1. Belief in Allah"

        aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

        "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

        Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

        "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

        A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

        "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

        Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

        Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

        Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

        "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
        be upon him) alone."

        Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

        Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

        Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

        June 7, 2014 at 10:01 am |
    • Reality

      Then I would have to identify myself and risk the terror and horror of Islam up close and personal.

      June 7, 2014 at 9:58 am |
      • midwest rail

        More nonsense. There are numerous ways to make contact anonymously. The "reality" is that this is a vanity post, nothing more.

        June 7, 2014 at 10:08 am |
      • midwest rail

        Create an e-mail account on the library's computer system, using an alias. Or one of hundreds internet cafe's.
        Besides, you ignore the obvious. If your premise had any validity, Billy Connolly would be dead. Jeff Dunham would be dead. Pretending that your criticism of Islam has put at risk is the height of arrogance. And still nonsense.

        June 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • midwest rail

        "... Abed has probably already read my comments..."
        ROFL

        June 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • Akira

        Paranoid much, Reality? Is that an old age symptom?

        June 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
      • Reality

        We await Abed's response. Regarding fear of Islam's reign of terror and horror:

        An update:

        The terror and horror of Islam via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

        As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

        The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

        ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

        and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

        and more recently

        1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

        1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto (in Pakistan) and Theo Van Gogh (in the Netherlands)

        2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

        3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

        5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

        6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

        7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

        8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

        9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

        10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

        11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

        12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

        13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

        14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

        15 The DAILY suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

        16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

        17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

        18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

        19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

        20) two American troops killed in Germany by a radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

        21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

        22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

        23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

        o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
        o
        BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.

        The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

        25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

        (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

        26 ) September 12, 2012
        U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
        Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

        27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life. A
        Continued below:

        June 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
  2. noahsdadtopher

    “There was a day when I died, utterly died — died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends — and since then I have only to show myself approved to God.” — George Mueller

    June 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Delusional and dangerous.
      a. He still is making a judgement concerning what his brain processes work out that :"will " is, so HE is still cooking it up.
      b. If he's given up responsibility, then if his Jebus tells him to do something bad, he can say "The voices in my head told me".

      Face it. He's nuts.

      June 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’”
      Then the priests answered and said, “No.”
      And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
      So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”
      Then Haggai answered and said, “‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. Haggai 2:11-14

      – they are unregenerate, spiritually dead, unclean. touching them will not make them holy, however, if they are able to touch us we could become unclean. pray for His grace, that this does not happen.

      June 6, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        I see you think you're all "superior" too Chuch Lady.
        Too funny.

        June 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
  3. thefinisher1

    Hello?

    June 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
  4. HeavenSent

    It is a proven fact that the Bible is 100% true. Studies have proven believers are more intelligent than atheists. The puppies go in the tub but I just rinse it down. Keep walking down the wrong path and see where your road leads.

    Amen.

    June 6, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well, since you supported you lies with no evidence, I guess everything you say can be taken to be lies then. Liar in one, liar in all. Here's the proof you are wrong. (And everyone knows the Bible has countless errors and mistakes).
      http://guardianlv.com/2013/08/atheists-more-intelligent-than-religious-believers-says-new-study/

      June 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        HUGE difference betwwen intelligence and wisdom..and HUGE thing about how one USES their intelligence.....sorry to say...that's pretty arrogant

        June 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          HS was speaking of intelligence, not wisdom. Try to keep up.

          June 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I KNOW hew was speaking of intelligence ..I was adding that there is ALSO wisdom.....maybe YOU should try to keep up...sheesh

          June 8, 2014 at 2:19 am |
  5. HeavenSent

    The atheists on this blog seem to think throwing rocks at Christians will please their father satan (the devil). My camel-toe voted but the pencil had to be discarded. Keep believing the lies of the Talmud and see where the Lord takes you to lunch.

    Amen.

    June 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Lucky you weren't in Egypt or Syria, that ink makes such a mess.

      June 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
  6. Alias

    Islam and christianity are actually the same.
    Made up stories used to unite and control the masses.

    June 6, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      So if Islam and Christianity are false, what is true?

      June 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • HeavenSent

        @Topher

        Christianity is true Topher, you know that. The devil worshippers on this blog will have their own personal worms in hell for all eternity feeding on their fat drippings. The police returned my pillow cases but they still have a weird odor. Stay strong for God.

        Amen.

        June 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
      • Alias

        The truth is that there is no supernatural.
        There are no gods.

        June 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
      • igaftr

        topher
        What is true, is that men imagine gods, then they imagine what those gods want, and they imagine why god wants, and they write down stories about their gods.
        That is true, and it is also true that your religion is likely just the same as all the rest...made up by men to answer their own ignorance.

        June 8, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Christians come on these articles to teach the Truth about Jesus, the Lord and Savior. Meanwhile atheists spew their hatred for God. My 12-year-old daughter showed me how the pipe works. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus.

      Amen.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        So you judge. I thought someone told you not to do that. Why is it, YOU think you don't have to do what he told you ?

        June 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." – John 7:24, NKJV
          – pretty sure he's got you pegged correctly.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks Church Lady. I need a dose of your self-righteousness every day to remind me why religion is so idiotic.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      That is fairly close to the truth. The religion of the Hebrews was also used, (the "Persian Imperative") to create a cohesive society when the Persian Emperor (Artaxerxes) decided to allow the return from Exile, (to set up a buffer state between his and the new invaders into the Levant),. As part of the "return" process, we know he caused the Torah of Moses to be assembled (the Docu'mentary Hypothesis), and when Ezra introduced it for the first time in human history as recounted in Nehemiah, it was the first time the texts of what we call "The Bible" were ever read in public. The reason he had it written was because the older family structures from before the defeat and exile had been disrupted, and the society needed a cohesive "national story", and a law code. Thus what today is thought of as Judaism, was in many ways the political invention (just as Christianity was invented by the Roman Emperor, and Islam was cooked up for control of that empire), of the Persian Emperor.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
      • transframer

        Christianity was not invented by the Roman Emperor, by the contrary the first Roman Emperors tried very hard to get rid of it.

        June 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Constantine was responsible for the Council of Nicaea, in 325. The ONLY reason he called it, was to unify he waring factions. Read the proceedings of the council. At that council they cooked up "orthodox" Christianity. He was responsible for that. The reason he did that, (and he did say he didn't care what they cooked up, as long as they agreed to agree about it, so he could use it as a political tool to unify his disparate empire. He was responsible more than any other person for the success of a cult on the fringe. He chose to USE it for political unification. It worked. No historian disputes that.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • transframer

          Yes but that doesn't mean that Constantine invented Christianity. He just legalized it

          June 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          He did not "just legalize" it. He PROMOTED it, and UNIFIED it for ONE reason. For political gain. That was the REASON he called the Council. He didn't call a council to "legalize it". He did so to UNIFY his tool, and make it useful.
          He claimed to have "converted". We know he kept worshiping his old gods till the end of his life.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Roman Emperors don't need councils of arguing old men to "legalize" anything.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
        • transframer

          OK, so does it mean he invented Christianity? And how do you know he worshipped the old gods?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          RBB
          the council convened because a great heresy arose concerning the Son and His relationship to the Father, this was the apostasy of Arianism which taught that Christ was not deity (this heresy still exists today in Jehovah's Witness and other fringe groups who call themselves Christians yet deny His deity). They didn't "cook" anything up, they were responding to a direct attack on the church and you don't know what you're talking about.

          June 7, 2014 at 12:06 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Nope. You drank the Kool-aid, and are completely drunk on it. I see you are totally unable to look at history except through the eyes of the indoctrinated. You obviously never read the proceeding of the Council. Constantine could have cared less about "heresy". Stay deluded.It's your loss.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:22 am |
        • realbuckyball

          There was no "great heresy that had arisen". Orthodoxy had not even been cooked up yet. How could there BE a "great heresy" about what had not even been cooked up and VOTED on by humans yet ? I see you have never studied the history of your cult. How typical.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:24 am |
      • awanderingscot

        So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. – Nehemiah 8:8, NKJV
        – Since the Aramaic language replaced Hebrew after the captivity, it was necessary to explain many words of the Hebrew Scriptures.
        – those without understanding would do well to just keep their mouths shut.

        June 6, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Nice try. There was no "book". They were scrolls. No scholar disputes that. I see you also have never studied scripture. There is no reason to take ONE word of it literally, as the truth, as the many many conservative religious scholars said in the introduction to "The Interpreters Bible". It would be really nice if you cultists actually took a class on the history of your cult.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:27 am |
    • transframer

      They are actually quite different but yes, they were/are used to control masses. Here is the first major difference: Islam was created precisely with this goal in mind and was imposed from up (leaders) to bottom (peasants). Christianity was heavily oppressed in the beginning but made its way up, from bottom to top.

      June 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        You have no evidence Christianity was "oppressed", just because they "claimed" there were martyrs. Actually the new cult was a convenient scape-goat, (as we know Nero used them) for things in the empire that were going wrong. You have no evidence they were "persecuted" for their beliefs. Some few, (and the "persecutions were VASTLY exaggerated) may have been *used*, but it was for political convenience, not the content of their beliefs.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • transframer

          There is a lot of evidence that Christians were oppressed and there are plenty of martyrs See here for example;
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/christianityromanempire_article_01.shtml
          As scape-goats, for their belief or not doesn't matter, the point was they were persecuted.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Oh it matters a great deal. Christians claim it was for the content of their faith they were oppressed. It's a completely different matter if they were used as political tools, because they were a marginal fringe group, and easy to blame, for political reasons. The POINT is, it's all about politics, not about religions.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • transframer

          Of course they were persecuted for their faith but you are talking about two different things: the cause of this oppression (their faith) and the effect (the legal/political/popular reason invoked which could be anything they wanted).
          But the question here was the difference between Islam and Christianity, what is the point your trying to make?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          You don't know that. They were persecuted. You have no evidence for why. The fact is they were persecuted because they were a fringe group, and convenient as scape goats. Not for the content of their beliefs. You have presented NO evidence for WHY they were persecuted. The POINT is religion is and was a political tool. It's why Christianity is where it is, Islam is where it is, and why Judaism is where it is.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Persecution-Christians-Martyrdom/dp/0062104527

          June 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          RBB
          that assertion is absurd and you pit yourself against 99% of all credible NT scholars. oppression and persecution were major factors in the spread of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean. i will give you this though, your silly assertion will undoubtedly be passed on to my friends as good joke fodder.

          June 7, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • transframer

          I just showed and I can show plenty more evidence of the reasons why Christians were persecuted: the faith. As I said, the fact that faith alone or some aspects of it or some particularities of Christians groups were used by the Romans as reason to persecute is a different thing and it doesn't matter. But what I really don't understand is how was Christianity a political tool when they got oppressed? A tool for who? Yes it was used by political leaders to solve other problems (throwing Christians to lions was a great spectacle for masses) but what else? It's like saying slavery for black ppl was a political tool.
          And you also contradict yourself, one post you agree they were persecuted, the other you say it was a myth

          June 7, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • awanderingscot

          RBB
          you really can't be serious. you really believe the pagan Romans were going to give up their rites and rituals, their own gods without a fight?

          June 7, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • realbuckyball

          I see you know nothing about history and power. There was no question about "giving up". They were the VAST majority. You really need a class ot two in History. Try not to take "A Third Graders Guide to History" taught at your local Babble College.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:29 am |
        • realbuckyball

          BTW, "NT scholars" don't talk about "persecutions". I see you have no clue who teaches what in the field you pretend to knw about. You also have no poll of scholars, so you also clearly are making that up, from nothing.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:05 am |
        • realbuckyball

          But what I really don't understand is how was Christianity a political tool when they got oppressed? A tool for who?"
          \
          a. a convenient scapegoat when they needed one.
          b. a unifying force when that was needed. Try taking a class in Political Science when you get done with Bible 101, and History 101.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:07 am |
    • Vic

      Christianity is the only belief system that proclaims "Time Dispensation and Redemption by Grace." Islam's belief system proclaims merit-based redemption that leads you into a state of unrest, constant contemplation of keeping scores, self-righteousness, and adherence to a barbaric law. "Salvation by the Grace of God" in Christianity puts Jesus Christ center stage and leads the believer into a state of rest, peace, constant reverence for, and personal relationship with God.

      June 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Vic
        thank you, you've just described the return of worship in spirit and truth that Protestantism gave us. salvation by God through grace and not by works brings peace to His sons. amen.

        June 7, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • realbuckyball

          As Martin Buber explains in Part II of "Good and Evil", (the famous Jewish Torah scholar), "salvation" makes NO sense in Hebrew culture. The messiah was NOT a "spiritual" messiah. Christianity is all revisionism. Saul of Tarsus cooked up the "salvation" paradigm to compete with the Greek mystery cults. Even he did not believe in immortality for everyone. Just the "saved". Jesus, (if he existed, and you have no proof he did), was a JEW. Jews thought all souls went to Sheol, (which was the "Biblical" concept). Yahweh did not live in Sheol. There is no reason a Hebrew "shade", (a dead Jew) needs "salvation". Again. Try taking a class in religion some day. And learn about your cult and how idiotic it is.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:34 am |
  7. Akira

    Was that meant to be a reply to someone else? Or as a response to the article?

    June 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • Akira

      Misfire; meant as a reply to Kermit and properly placed below.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  8. Woody

    The deafening silence in the background is the protest of the "moderate" Muslims of the world.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." – Edmund Burke

    It seems as if the "moderate" Muslims are experts at doing nothing when incidents such as this occur. Good men? I think not.

    June 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      VERY well said!

      June 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Exactly. Are they all afraid of their Muslim brothers ? Why are no fatwahs being pronounced against this nonsense.

      Quran (2:216) – "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."
      Quran (2:191-193) – "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing...but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

      Stop lying. Islam is a violent cult, and the world would be FAR FAR better without it.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
  9. kermit4jc

    nice presupposition.....cantprove that since even those born in Muslm countries become Christian....I did not choose to be Christian cause IM ina Christiannation..I did cause I studied the Bible andknow Godpersonally

    June 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • otoh2

      Did you study The Bible allruntogether and dotty like that? You expect us to believe that you understand & correctly interpret ancient Hebrew, Greek and other languages when you can't even master English?!

      June 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        EXCUSE me for not being FORMAL in an iNFORML blog..and excuse me for trying to respond to others in a short oamount of time (I DO have a life..I DO work you know)I don't sit in a basement all daylong doing this

        June 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Akira

          Blog format has nothing to do with effective communication. It takes but a moment to make a point clear.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • otoh2

          It's fine, kermit; don't change a thing about your presentation (heh heh heh).

          June 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "I DO work you know"

          Getting lots of hours at McDonalds, are you or is that work standing on the street corner?

          June 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Doris

          Maybe not for McDonalds, but it could be both, TP, if he has to dress up as a chicken or a hamburger.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:08 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      "I know god personally"

      I can't think of a more arrogant, more self involved, more narcissistic statement.

      but Christians love to trot that one out.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        whats so arrogant about knowing God personally?

        June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Madtown

          "Facepalm"........

          June 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          oh my.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It actually takes humility, not arrogance, to know God. If you are spending hour after hour, day after day looking for answers from religious blogs – or spending hour after hour, day after day insisting you have all the answers you need on a religious blog – try seeking humility. There are certain practices you can embrace that can encourage humility in your life.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Dala: You say that but yet kermi is extremely more arrogant than you. His interpretation and what he thinks the Christian god 'wants' usually comes across differently than what you speak here. kermi is far more bigoted, uneducated and intolerant than you. The more honest thing to say is "I believe..." not "I know..".

          June 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          "...spending hour after hour, day after day insisting you have all the answers you need on a religious blog – try seeking humility."

          This seems odd to me when it is the believer who claims all the answers are in the Bible, despite the evidence, while the non-believer is often the first to admit "we don't know", e.g. origin of the universe, origin of life, etc.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • igaftr

          what's so arrogant?

          Once again Kermit, you show a complete lack of understanding of basic psychology.

          June 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uhh.YOU lack it..not me....if you say delusions...you are pretending to base it on one thing...that NOT how psychologists and psychiatrists diagnose and determine the mental state of a person.....sorry..you lack the basics..not me

          June 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
    • Akira

      Nice presumption of what?

      June 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        presupposition that I believe inwhat I believe simply cause I was born inUSA

        June 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Madtown

          English seems to be your second language.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          stop attacking my typing and attack the issues ifyoudare..IM a published writer..and my English is very good..I work in psychology field writing up progress notes daily! seems you cant attack m arguments..so youhave to attack my typing....for shame...

          June 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Akira

          Kermit,
          Was that a reply to someone else's post? Or the article? It's a stand alone post. (I do that often. I did it just above, lol.)

          You are published? Where can I read your works at?

          June 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Akira.....that was to otoh...he was attacking my typing...an I think another person

          June 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Akira

          I meant your original OP about supposition. Apologies for the ambiguity.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Alias

          So parents and society have no influence on religion.
          Right kermit, I'll make a note of that.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I di dnot say that..you said its Only about where one is born....there are MANY factiors in it...parents..sure..but see..I am a HUMAN being who can make INFORMED choices..I do nto do as MANY do (pick and choose cause mom and dad are of same-that is dishonest I think)

          June 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          So if your belief merely has to do with studying the bible-a sincere joke that that is and it certainly doesn't make you any more an expert than it does anyone else....explain to us what it was that introduced you to the book or the concept? Beliefs are taught, they are not inerrant. We do know that it is usually those who are a weak point or most vulnerable (ie; innocent children) that get picked up by religion-in this case Christianity...it offers hope in what can sometimes be an extremely bitter world (it's part of why it has held on for so long)...so what was that point for you? What it does is give you the disease (the religion virus-false promises) and the cure (believe or else)...it leads people to stop dealing with the real issues (recent studies show that the 12 step programs set up by Christianity are failing).

          June 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      While there obviously cannot be a 100% correlation to where a person was raised vs thier religion, the correlation is going to be significant. Most people born in Christian nations become Christian. Most people born in Muslim countries will become Muslim. As I said that is not 100%. Some people will convert. I was born in raised in the Bible belt as a Christian and am no longer a Christian. I know people who converted from other religions to Christianity, but surprise surprise, that was after they moved from India as a Hindu to the U.S. and are now Christian, coincidence? Maybe. Or they moved from Turkey to U.S., Muslim to Christian. Their is a religious majority in most countries for a reason. But think of the consequences of denying this logic. If there is no correlation to ones upbringing and what religion they choose, you might as well not expend any energy trying to raise your kids as your religion, I mean obviously that has nothing to do with it. Maybe it is an assumption, but not one that isn't founded in statistics.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Kermit,

      Knowing your religion requires reading what the experts in your religion have concluded. Still waiting for you to peruse the references on the historic Jesus. Again, until you do your commentaries are moot.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      I have an invisible friend too, just like you. I tend not to admit it in public though.
      (Your god exists in your head, nowhere else). The Bible demonstrates nothing about deities, except the one the Hebrews picked for themselves out of the large pantheon in the ancient Near East, was a jealous one.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        BTW, you didn't "study the Bible". You approached it with your presuppositions. You never actually considered it was not true, did you ?

        June 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ realbucky BTW, you didn’t “study the Bible”. You approached it with your presuppositions. You never actually considered it was not true, did you ? certainly not me..MY approach was to find truth....I try to be as unbiased as possible..but in reality..NO ONAE is perfectly unbiased..even in science....the philosophy in science does try to get rid of as much bias as possible..but as I said..we are humans and we WILL bring in some amount of bias...

          June 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @kermit4jc,
      "know Godpersonally"

      Unless you are claiming to have had actual conversations with an alleged God, then the most that you can claim would seem to be that you 'know personally what you think God is." or that you 'believe you have experienced God personally', but to "know God" doesn't seem defensible.

      June 7, 2014 at 10:46 am |
      • kermit4jc

        well gosh oh gee....of course! If I know God personally..it means I have experienced his presence and spoken with him..helllooooooooooooooooo

        June 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Technically, I think it means you believe that you experienced his supposed presence and that you attempted to speak to him, unless he spoke back, that is.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          that you attempted to speak to him<–I don tattempt..I do talk with God..He speaks back..as I said..I know God personally..we have spoken, I have expeirnced his presence...

          June 8, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @kermit4jc,
          "I don tattempt..I do talk with God..He speaks back..as I said..I know God personally..we have spoken"

          Wow, that's quite a claim. What exactly did God say to you?

          June 8, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • kermit4jc

          @ midwestken Wow, that’s quite a claim. What exactly did God say to you?<–you mean what does God say? I mean cmone in..it isn't a one time deal..I been in contact weith God over 25 years...its like asking me what does my best frined of 25 years say to me....we talk all the time....

          June 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Kermit4jc,
          reposted at top of comments

          June 8, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @kermit4jc,
          "I been in contact weith God over 25 years...its like asking me what does my best frined of 25 years say to me....we talk all the time...."

          Ok, just fill me in on the latest chat you had with God. What's he up to lately?

          June 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    A muslim saying that islam is the "religion of peace" is on a par with a FOX News talking head saying that they are the home of "fair and balanced news".

    The LIE would be laughable if it wasn't causing so much damage to the world.

    June 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  11. noahsdadtopher

    "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." — John 14:6

    June 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      Amen Noah....cant get there thru Mohamed or Buddha

      June 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        So certain are you. Always with you what you think is. Hear you nothing that we say?

        (Yoda, paraphrased)

        June 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          I'm more interested in what God says than man.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Madtown

          I'm more interested in what God says than man
          -----
          You've stopped reading the bible?

          June 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Nope. I read God's Word every day.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Madtown

          Oh. I thought you said you weren't interested in what men have to say? That's precisely what you get with the bible, but you know that.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          We'll see.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
      • otoh2

        kermit,

        Muslims believe and preach the same Noah schtick as you do (they just think that they are the correctly preaching descendants).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_in_Islam

        June 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • transframer

          Islam has the same roots as Christianity and share most of OT (but pretty distorted). Noah is part of it

          June 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh,.I already know that...so what?

          June 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          Ah, I misunderstood your reference to "Noah" when you seemingly meant noahsdadtopher. You don't communicate very well, you know.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • Madtown

        cant get there thru Mohamed or Buddha
        -----
        LOL! The entertaining irony is, had you been born in a country where they were the predominant religious figures, you would think the exact opposite.

        June 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        This person is better known as Topher...him and his wife recently brought a sweet little man in to this world and named him Noah. This just proves that you don't read much on this blog or you would have known that, given how long you've been here spreading your bigotry and hate.

        June 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          My God you are stupid truthprevaiukls..I KNOW the sons name is noah..I am using the NIC itself...and the person knows who I am talking about anyways...go try to make trouble elsewhere..yuore thre one being the hypocrite...being blinded and pretending thewre is one way to see things (You are playing semantics and really it is boring..this is why I really don't ever respond to your posts...when yo uclean up your act (I been trying to clean up mine) then maybe I will addres your posts more often ok?

          June 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Doris

          Based on the way you attempt to communicate here, I think it's pretty obvious who is the stupid one, wordVomit4jc...

          June 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ doris..you mean to tell me you got no brains to figure out when IM responding ion Topers blog that when I said Noah....you guys couldn't figure out who I was saying it to? of course I know cause of the name...naihs DAD topler...I chose to say noah as if you all seen my pattern I use the first part of the nics in here when I type at certaion ones.....geez...tell me..WHERE is there a law that says I could nto do that??? you people are playing semantics and it is silly

          June 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • Doris

          Reading comprehension issues, kermie? Was I specific about your reference to Topher's son? You have some nerve talking about semantics when you write on here like a dumb-a$$.

          June 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my, that's too funny! You expect people to know what you meant when YOU CALLED topher Noah??? Sorry decoding the hidden meaning in your posts is not easy. As for stupid, this is coming from the one who denies evolution even though there is vast amounts of evidence supporting it...such a hypocrite. I think you're ignorant and I think your belief is stupid but I, unlike you, WOULD NEVER call another person stupid....it's beyond rude and very childish!

          June 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          when I responded to tophers b;log..and I said noah...of course Id expect you to know it..Id expect you had a brain (doesn't seem like you do then) and figured it out without much of a strain on yur brain at all...if you also noticed that when I address the people in here by name..youd see a pattern of me using the first part of the nic..instead iof typing it all out...I know that even tpoher knew who I meant...as I see no correction from him..only you people who don't seem to use your brain (if you had one) and playing semanticsw...youre the one bring too funny...nudist your brain and try uising it..thanks

          June 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          not nu dist but undit your brain-siorry..am taking break frommowing yard and have alolergies bothering my eyes...

          June 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: Try following the Golden Rule!

          June 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • evolveddna

        Kermit..oh I see you kind of leap frog over the other two then?

        June 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Budha isn't a god...and Mohamed is a false prophet..I don't consider him or Buddha as having any truith in getting to heaven or about God (for most part..Buddhism doesn't have any deities...its principles of living)

          June 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my kermi; the people who believe in those other deities think the same of you and your god-funny thing is that not one of you have managed to provide evidence outside of holy books to support your claims.

          June 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      It's a delusional statement really. We have absolutely NO idea of anything your book character "jesus" may or may not have said or done. In a time when stories were passed on verbally and people had no idea of how the world worked and so wanted their "god" to be bigger and better than the next man's god, the stories just got better and bigger and more far fetched. You couldn't trust the accuracy or the authenticity of a story written down a month after the supposed happening, much less something written down the staggering 60 years, 100 years, 200 years after all the "jesus said" and "jesus did" parts of the bible supposedly happened. And even more laughable is that the "jesus" parts were written by people who weren't even there when it was supposedly said or done!!!

      And to add to that, the stories have all been changed countless times by theologians (i.e. men who say they know something about this book) and rulers and governments and committees. All people with reasons to influence the story based on their own interpretations and/or their own need for power and money.

      It's all just so stupendously, mind numbingly asinine. And yet Christians keep saying "jesus said ...", either lying or in denial or delusional.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        @ dyslexic DO you believe any reports of Alexander the Great? (without the embellishment) the earliest reports are FOUR hundred years AFTER Alexander! You couldn’t trust the accuracy or the authenticity of a story written down a month after the supposed happening, much less something written down the staggering 60 years, 100 years, 200 years after all the “jesus said”<-false and old news.....the latest of the Gospels were writtenabout 70 at rhe latest....that's a mere 40 years after Jesus.....youre calculations are wayoff

        June 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          No I don't even believe all the reports of Alexander. He paid scribes to write about him so the stories were no doubt embellished. But there is physical evidence of many of his achievements. And his achievements apparently were mortal achievements. No claims of divinity. No magic. No suspension of the laws of the universe.

          There is no evidence of anything your jesus character supposedly said or did, outside of your story book. No evidence. None. Nada. Zip! And the stories of jesus are chock full of things that defy the laws of the universe. Magical tales. Fantasy tales. They should be grouped with magical stories of any other god and/or pixies, fairies, santa, the easter bunny and so on.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sir..yuo don't get the point....the earoiest writings about Alexander are 4ooyears AFTER the fact...yet YOU however dismiss Jesus because of a mere 60-200 years....seems likedouble standard to me..and as I pointed out..the evidence shows the earliest Gospel (Mark) was written before 70 AD! only a mere 40 years after Jesus..MUCH less than your made up calculations

          June 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          No, it isyuo who doesn't understand D doG's post.,,raeditagin.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          no..maybe YOU should read my FIRST post to dog..he is being double minded..yes...there ws embellishment of Alexanders story....yet he accepts that Alexander existsed....EVEN with 400 years betwenthe time of his life and when his story was written! then dog turns around hypocritically and says the stories of Jesus cannot be true csuse they were written from 60=200 years AFTER Jesus...with embellishment......he is clearly using a double standard

          June 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • otoh2

          kermit,

          We generally accept the stories of Alexander the Great as very interesting, and allow for possible embellishments to be discounted.

          Bottom line: If anything substantial that was attributed to Alexander has been verified to be valid and useful, such as a particular battle strategy or something like that, fine. Similarly, if anything attributed to Jesus has been verified to be valid and useful, such as it's nice to love one another, fine. Not a one of the supernatural claims attributed to Jesus has been verified to be valid or useful - no matter when they were written.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          that's fine otoh..however, dog seems to be thinkinganother way....saying that because Jesus' story was "embellished and written centuries after him..we cannot believe any of his story...yet he wouldhave us believe that the stories of Alexander (excepting the embellishments) are true...and even though it was written LOBNG after Dog says that Jesus; stories were written....if that's the case..it is a double standard

          June 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Apart from a few inscriptions and fragments, texts written by people who actually knew Alexander or who gathered information from men who served with Alexander were all lost. Contemporaries who wrote accounts of his life included Alexander's campaign historian Callisthenes; Alexander's generals Ptolemy and Nearchus; Aristobulus, a junior officer on the campaigns; and Onesicritus, Alexander's chief helmsman. Their works are lost, but later works based on these original sources have survived. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid-to-late 1st century AD), Arrian (1st to 2nd century AD), the biographer Plutarch (1st to 2nd century AD), and finally Justin, whose work dated as late as the 4th century.[15] Of these, Arrian is generally considered the most reliable, given that he used Ptolemy and Aristobulus as his sources, closely followed by Diodorus.

          So no, I don't believe stories about the minutiae of what he said or did on a daily basis. I do believe that which I have evidence for which is evidence of his military conquests Hellenizing much of the known world.

          Again, all you can prove is that a man named jesus existed and was crucified. EVERYTHING else in your story book is without any proof. No-one knows what he said or did. Many of the stories are copied from earlier deities of earlier civilizations so that makes them even more obviously not real.

          Kermit, your belief system is based on a story book. So sad.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Kermit, your belief system is based on a story book. So sad.<-so sad you ASSUME that is all I got it from....cannot be further from the truth....of course you wont accept my sources.....since you still show a double standard

          June 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ".<-so sad you ASSUME that is all I got it from"

          But yet your entire religion is built upon that book! Without that book, your belief system crumbles. You might have studied the origins of the book but even you have studied the true origins...those are in languages so far translated that it is the best of the best who study them. Original authors are hard to determine and we know without question that the gospels are written by unknown men-making them even more unreliable. Everything circles back to your bible, no matter what you may think-that is reality, so given that your bible is the book that defines your god and its apparent words ( no evidence that it is), it is circular reasoning at best.
          You claim to be educated but your extreme belief shows something entirely different. Pull your head out of the sand.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote " DO you believe any reports of Alexander the Great? (without the embellishment) the earliest reports are FOUR hundred years AFTER Alexander!" Alexander the Great lived from 356 to 323 BCE. Plutarch wrote his "Life of Alexander" in 75 CE, 398 years after Alexander's death, but he is not the first to reference Alexander the Great. During his Asian campaign he was accompanied by Callisthenes of Olynthus (circa 360 – 328 BCE), a Greek historian who was the son of Hero, the niece of Aristotle. Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great. Callisthenes was appointed to accompany Aristotle on his campaign as a historian. Callisthenes wrote an account of the campaign up to about the time of his own death. He became disenchanted with Alexander's adoption of Persian customs, including requiring those who appeared before him to perform the ceremony of proskynesis, i.e., the traditional Persian act of bowing or prostrating oneself before a person of higher social rank and was accused of being part of a treasonous conspiracy against Alexander. Callisthenes work did not survive, but the Greek historian Polybius (circa 200 BCE – circa 118 BCE) was aware of Callisthenes work and used it for his own writings regarding Alexander the Great. Polybius wrote of Alexander's achievements in his "Histories". The Greek historian Cleitarchus, who wrote in the mid to late 3rd century BCE, also wrote of Alexander the Great. His "A History of Alexander" is now lost, but other later historians such as Plutarch used his work.

          Certainly, one should discount Alexander's claims to be the son of Zeus, a claim to which Callisthenes did not object, just as one should discount the claim that a 1st century Jew, Jesus, was the son of the Jewish god Yahweh.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and my argument still stands...the earliest we HAVE is 400 years after Alexander..still..the point is..we DO have the NT which is MUCH earlier to the time of Jesus..than what we have available of Alexander..to sdismiss anything of Jesus cause of the time is to dismiss even MORE abou Alexander! thus again....he is using double standards

          June 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          I meant "Callisthenes was appointed to accompany Alexander', but wrote "accompany Aristotle" by mistake.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "and my argument still stands...the earliest we HAVE is 400 years after Alexander". That claim in incorrect. As I mentioned, Polybius writes of Alexander the Great in his "Histories", which he began writing after he came to Rome in 167 BCE. He continued the work through 129 BCE. Alexander died in 323 BCE, i.e., about two centuries before not four hundred years before Polybius wrote his "Histories". You can find references to Alexander in "The Histories of Polybius, Vol. II (of 2) by Polybius" online through Project Gutenberg at gutenberg.org/ebooks/44126

          Outside of Greek and Roman writings, a contemporary account of Alexander the Great's defeat of a large Persian army commanded by king Darius III Codomannus, the last Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire at Gaugamela is mentioned in a Babylonian cuneiform tablet now in the British Museum in London. I.e., a tablet created at the time of the battle not centuries later.

          But though Alexander the Great may have identified himself as the son of Zeus, I've never encountered anyone who claims that one must believe that to be true or be damned to eternal torture upon death, yet I've encountered many Christians who insist that there is a god who will subject any who do not believe that Jesus is the son of God to a terrible punishment upon death, merely for finding tales with no credible historical evidence to be implausible, to such a fate. If Jesus was Yahweh's avatar in the first century why did Yahweh not leave more credible evidence that he incarnated himself in human form in the person of Jesus? There is a saying "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence", yet the evidence for even the existence of Jesus is questionable, let alone evidence that he was a divinity. When Christians point to some historical figure, e.g., Alexander the Great, and say well there's no more evidence for him than Jesus, I always wonder why it never occurs to them to ask why isn't there more credible evidence for Jesus' existence.

          You say that tales of Jesus' life were written as early as forty years after he died, which is plenty of time for tales passed from storyteller to storyteller to be greatly embellished to the point the main character in the tales is turned into a god. But who committed the tales to paper? We don't know who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of John appears to have been written by a Johannine community rather than a single unknown individual. The Gospel of Mark was likely used as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but its author is also unknown.

          And if some of the tales were written forty years after Jesus supposedly died, where are the original writings? One would think that a god who insists that everyone must believe the stories regarding Jesus or he will torment them for all eternity would have taken care to at least preserve the original writings. The dates when they were actually written are subject to debate, but the earliest surviving complete copies of the gospels date to the 4th century. And even for just small fragments of the Gospels, none are known from earlier than the 2nd century, e.g., see the Wikipedia article ti_tled "List of New Testament papyri". So what we have as "evidence" are copies of copies of copies, etc. with discrepancies between early versions. We have the Codex Bezae, Codex Vaticanus, Sinaitic Codex, the Alexandrian Manuscript, Textus Receptus etc., which don't all contain the same material, but not even one original Gospel. There's disagreement among early New Testament manuscripts about what material should be considered canonical. E.g., the Epi_stle to the Laodiceans is found in the Codex Fuldensis, a New Testament manuscript based on the Latin Vulgate, but not in modern Bibles. The god, apparently, also has much lower standards for consistency and cohesion than people would expect of a human copy editor.

          And if we look at modern Bibles, there's no one standard Bible for all Christians. The number of books in Catholic Bibles does not match those in Protestant Bibles. And neither Catholic nor Protestant Bibles contain exactly the same books as Eastern Orthodox, e.g., Greek Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, e.g., Syriac and Coptic, Bibles. And even Protestant versions of the Bible differ from one another with disagreement regarding which biblical verses are authentic and which are interpolations by later scribes. E.g., there is disagreement regarding the Comma Johanneum (John 5:7), the Pericope Adulterae, (John 7:53-8:11), etc.

          The Bible's tales seem remarkably similar to the myths and legends of other cultures with many appearing to even have been borrowed from other cultures, e.g., the Sumerians and Babylonians for the Old Testament, and Greek myths for New Testament miracle stories. Yet nonbelievers are told by Christians that the Christian god will mete out a terrible punishment to them upon death if they question the veracity of such tales. If so, why did the god choose not to provide incontrovertible evidence for his existence, but, instead, force people to believe on "faith", which is a suspension of rational judgment to believe what one wants to believe despite a lack of evidence and even evidence to the contrary? As Robert Heinlein wrote in "Stranger in a Strange Land", "I've never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith – it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe."

          June 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          You say that tales of Jesus’ life were written as early as forty years after he died, which is plenty of time for tales passed from storyteller to storyteller to be greatly embellished to the point the main character in the tales is turned into a god.<-however there is no evidence of this occurring.plus that it is still at a time when eyewitnesses would still be alive..and would correct the embellishments if there were any

          June 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "that it is still at a time when eyewitnesses would still be alive..and would correct the embellishments if there were any", but nonexistent witnesses can hardly step forward to counter tales of an event that never happened. And people of the first century couldn't just take the next plane to Jerusalem to look for possible witnesses to such tales, whose distribution was fairly limited until many decades afterwards, if they had heard them.

          And the Gospel tales do show a progressive embellishment and mythologizing of Jesus' life over time. The earliest written sources are the epi_stles of Paul which were likely written in the sixth and early seventh decades of the first century. Paul in his account of Jesus' resurrection in his First Epi_stle to the Corinthians makes no mention of an empty tomb nor of its discovery by the women, which is inexplicable, if the discovery of the empty tomb was the essential proof of Jesus' resurrection. Nor is there any bodily resurrection story in the Epi_stle to the Hebrews, also written before the Gospels, but rather an exaltation of Jesus to heaven at the time of his death.

          The unknown author of the Gospel of Mark, which might have been written as early as 70 CE did not have access to first-hand witnesses, but likely based his material on oral tales, including miracle stories, and material from the Hebrew scriptures to compose a story for Jesus in the traditional biographical model of Aristoxenus, a Greek philosopher who was a pupil of Aristotle, i.e., a miraculous or unusual birth followed by revealing childhood epi_sodes, a summary of wise teachings and wondrous deeds and then a martyrdom or noble death. Mark is the first writer to introduce the empty tomb story, but he has no resurrection appearances, neither the appearances related by Paul, nor those in the later Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. The final verses describing appearances of the risen Christ in Mark 16:9-20 are widely regarded as an interpolation by a later scribe as the verses are not found in the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark and since they employ a different writing style. Why would the author of the Gospel of Mark ignore resurrection appearances described in the later gospels, if they were known at the time he wrote his gospel? Doubtless because that embellishment to the story had not yet been invented.

          The authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke wrote later. They used material from the Gospel of Mark, adding embellishments to his material. The unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew adds a guard at the tomb. He also has an angel at the tomb relaying the message of Jesus' resurrection while Luke has two men and the Johannine community that created the Gospel of John has two angels at the tomb. The author of the Gospel of Matthew claims there was an earthquake at the time of Jesus' death with dead people coming out of their graves to walk around Jerusalem, but, apparently, such events weren't remarkable enough for any historian of the time to have heard of them. The other Gospel authors, such as the Gospel of John, have no knowledge of such remarkable events, either. The author of the Gospel of Matthew was obviously engaged in myth-making and euhemerization not recording historical events.

          We see the same process of myth-making in the stories of Jesus' birth as well. The author of the Gospel of Mark makes no mention of a miraculous birth. And in the Gospel of Mark the author has Jesus himself, in Mark 12:35-37, appear to reject the belief that messiahship was dependent on Davidic descent. But the authors of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew come up with contradictory genealogies to make it appear he is descended from King David, although the author of Matthew also claims that he has no human father, but is, instead, the son of the god.

          And, in an attempt to create a parallel with the birth of Moses to show the importance of Jesus' birth, the author of the Gospel of Matthew describes a massacre of the children of Bethlehem by King Herod in an attempt to kill the infant messiah. No secular source of the period knows anything of such a noteworthy event nor is it mentioned by the author of the Gospel of Luke. And because ancient peoples believed that the birth of important personages were accompanied by remarkable signs in the heavens, the author of the Gospel of Matthew also creates the implausible tale of the star of Bethlehem. But we know that no star can shine only on a particular town, let alone on a specific house as the author claims in Matthew 2:9-11. We know from astronomy that no star could rise in the east, move west to Jerusalem, and then turn south to Bethlehem where it would then remain stationary over one house. But the author needed to fulfill the conventions of the time for a momentous heavenly event to mark Jesus' birth.

          June 8, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          No secular source of the period knows anything of such a noteworthy event nor is it mentioned by the author of the Gospel of Luke<--secular historians do not record every single event in the ancient world..and as for Luke..WHo cares? That was not of Lukes priority..he had other things he wanted to bring forth.....and he knew of the other Gospels (since his is one of the later ones) who already reported it

          June 9, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • kermit4jc

          We know from astronomy that no star could rise in the east, move west to Jerusalem, and then turn south to Bethlehem where it would then remain stationary over one house. <-Bible does not say it did that...it did not rise from the east (from the east refers from the DIRECTION these people were..not the star itself

          June 9, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote in regards to my comment about no 1st century historian living at the time some of the miraculous events reported in the Gospel of Matthew supposedly took place that "secular historians do not record every single event in the ancient world." Josephus, a Jewish historian, born and raised in Jerusalem, who recorded 1st century events and wrote extensively on Jewish history and who served as a commander of Galilean military forces fighting the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73, knows nothing of an earthquake at the time claimed for Jesus' death as the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew claims. Nor did he know of dead people coming out of their graves to walk around Jerusalem at that time as that same author claims occurred. Granted, Josephus lived after Jesus reputedly died and was resurrected, but not long afterwards. He lived from 37 to circa 100 CE. Yet tales of such remarkable events never reached him. Do you think people would have forgotten such momentous events a few decades later?

          The unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew also describes the "Massacre of the Innocents" of Bethlehem by King Herod in an attempt to kill the infant messiah. Such an action would likely have fomented resistance and political unrest among the Jewish populace of Bethlehem, but you believe it wasn't noteworthy enough for any historian of the time to note it? Herod had a reputation for viciousness in dealing with anyone who he perceived as an opponent. Josephus records that he had 200,000 of his opponents killed. He also records that Herod has his own sons killed. And, since he even murdered family members who he thought posed a threat to him, Augustus Caesar remarked "It is better to be a pig in Herod's house than a member of his family", since as a Jew he would not slaughter and eat pigs, but had no compunction about slaughtering family members. Yet, somehow, though other instances of his brutality were recorded, a massacre of male children two years of age or younger in the vicinity of Bethlehem was never recorded, appearing only in a story by the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew. The story appears to be creative hagiography in keeping with the style of that author to make the story of Jesus' life appear as the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy.

          And as to why the author of the Gospel of Luke makes no mention of such noteworthy events, you state "he knew of the other Gospels (since his is one of the later ones) who already reported it". On what do you base the assertion that he had read the Gospel of Matthew? The two-source hypothesis lists the Gospel of Mark and the Q docu_ment as the sources for the Gospel of Matthew. Material unique to the Gospel of Luke may have come from the L source, derived from an oral tradition. The Gospel of Matthew was likely written between 80 and 90 CE, though it could have been written possibly as early as 70 CE or as late as 110 CE. Many scholars believe the Gospel of Luke was written between 80 and 90 CE as well, though some modern scholars argue for a date between 60 and 65 CE, i.e., before the Gospel of Matthew.

          In regards to another element of pious fiction in the Gospel of Matthew regarding the Star of Bethelehem, you wrote ".it did not rise from the east (from the east refers from the DIRECTION these people were..not the star itself". We find in Matthew 2:1-2 (King James Version):

          "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

          And then in Matthew 2:9-10 (King James Version):

          "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."

          Do you think you can look up at a particular star in the sky and use it to guide you to a particular house? Do you really believe a star appeared in the east and then moved about the sky until it stood above a particular house in Bethlehem? And why would a star be needed to guide the Magi from Jerusalem, 10 kilometers down a road to Bethlehem? And why would it lead them to stop and talk to King Herod first, prompting him to attempt to trick them into revealing Jesus' location. No other Gospel author knows of such a momentous stellar occurrence nor of the Magi.

          This plot element in the story seems to have been introduced by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, as were others, to make Jesus' birth seem in keeping with earlier Jewish prophecies. He wants him to be born in Bethlehem, since it was the city of David, through whom the author claims descent for Jesus, since it was from the royal house of David that the messiah was expected. But though the Gospels often describe Jesus as "of Nazareth," none describe him as "of Bethlehem". Both Matthew and Luke trace the ancestry of Jesus back to the Jewish king David, but they differ on the geneaology. The author of the Gospel of Matthew places 28 generations between David and Jesus, while the author of the Gospel of Luke has 41 for the same period of about 1,000 years. In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph's father, i.e. Jesus' paternal grandfather, is said to be Jacob (Matthew 1:1-17), while in Luke it is claimed that he is Heli (Luke 3:23).

          The momentous stellar event was likely deemed needed by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, since at the time he was writing miracles were routinely associated with the birth of important people, such as Greek and Roman heroes. In 66 CE, shortly before the time the author of the Gospel of Matthew was likely composing his tales, there was also a spectacular appearance of Halley's Comet. There was also a visit of magi, led by King Tiridates of Armenia, to Rome at the time of the appearance of the comet. King Tiridates was coming to Rome seeking confirmation of his ti_tle from the Roman Emperor Nero.

          June 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          The unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew also describes the “Massacre of the Innocents” of Bethlehem by King Herod in an attempt to kill the infant messiah. Such an action would likely have fomented resistance and political unrest among the Jewish populace of Bethlehem<--Bethlehem was a small town..how many children were killed? mostly likely less than 5 you think its going to be big stuff. Especially among Romans who were used to this kind f thing anyways? this was not something new...as for the earthquakes..those were common in the area..nto big news like today.....again youre bringing the people into the 21st century.

          June 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Herod had a reputation for viciousness in dealing with anyone who he perceived as an opponent. Josephus records that he had 200,000 of his opponents killed.<,exactly..business as usual for Herod..nothing new, especiallyin a small town of less then a couple hundred rresidents with very small number of children under age of 2

          June 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Both Matthew and Luke trace the ancestry of Jesus back to the Jewish king David, but they differ on the geneaology. The author of the Gospel of Matthew places 28 generations between David and Jesus, while the author of the Gospel of Luke has 41 for the same period of about 1,000 years. In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph’s father, i.e. Jesus’ paternal grandfather, is said to be Jacob (Matthew 1:1-17), while in Luke it is claimed that he is Heli (Luke 3:23). <-there is always two genealogies for a person...LMatthew is of Jospeh..and Luke is thru Jospehs IN laws (look at the words "begat" in Matthew vs "father of" in Luke..and also in Luke was this phrase "so it was thought," which correctly translated is a law term...basically a father in law/son in law relationship..thus this would actually be MARYS geneology, even though her name isn't mentioned (again if an inlaw..then obviously the spouse's genegolgy

          June 16, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, your resolution of the discrepancy between the genealogy given in the Gospel of Matthew versus the one given in the Gospel of Luke by stating that the one in Luke is the genealogy through Mary contradicts what modern translations of the Bible state. You wrote "Matthew is of Jospeh..and Luke is thru Jospehs IN laws". That doesn't match what I've seen in any Bible translation. E.g., you can find twenty-one different parallel Bible translations for Luke 3:23 at biblehub.com/luke/3-23.htm . All indicate that Heli is Joseph's father, i.e., Jesus' paternal grandfather, not Jesus' maternal grandfather. I pulled another, the Good News Bible from my bookshelf. It agrees with all those others as well stating "When Jesus began his work, he was about thirty years old. He was the son, so people thought, of Joseph, who was the son of Heli..." There is no indication in any that Heli was Joseph's father-in-law. All indicate Joseph was the son of Heli, not his son-in-law. You can argue that they translated it wrong, of course, but then should we suppose that verse is the only one incorrectly translated? And there's no indication by the author of Luke that he is dealing with Mary's genealogy; that is supposed by those seeking for a way to harmonize the genealogies.

          The attempt to reconcile the two genealogies by that means, making Heli Jesus' maternal grandfather, appears to have come from John of Damacus (675 or 676 – 749 CE) around the 8th century. E.g., from Women at the Beginning: Origin Myths from the Amazons to the Virgin Mary by Patrick J. Geary, an American medieval historian and Professor of Western Medieval History at the Insti_tute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, (c) Princeton University Press, page 71:

          Elsewhere, however, the idea of making Joseph Mary's own grandfather did not find resonance. However, an alternative version of how the Lucan genealogy could become that of Mary was offered by John of Damascus (ca. 676-787), who likewise saw Luke's genealogy as that of Mary, but astonishingly added to this genealogy the name of the very Panther who had been in some Jewish traditions identified as the Roman soldier who was the father of Jesus. “Thus from the chain of Nathan son of David, Levi begat Melchi and Panther; Panther begat Barpanther This Barpanter begat Ioachim. Ioachim begat the holy mother of God.” This tradition entered the Latin West in the mid-twelfth century through Burgondo of Pi_sa, was incorporated into texts as widely diffused as Jacobus de Boragine's Golden Legend, and became an alternative means of Mary rather than Joseph being the bearer of Jesus's Davidic heritage.

          The Nativity: History and Legend by Geza Vermes goes into detail about differences in the genealogies and other differences between the two Gospels, if you are interested. The author was one of the first scholars to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls after their discovery in 1947 and is the author of the standard translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls into English: The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1962). He was of Jewish descent, but became a Roman Catholic Priest; he was also a member of a Jewish synagogue later in life and was also the first professor of Jewish studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University.

          In regards to your downplaying of the impact Herod's massacre of boys under the age of two would have in a small town, though later church history puts the number killed in the thousands, even if the "Massacre of the Innocents" did occur those figures are likely a gross exaggeration. E.g., Syrian tradition puts the number at 64,000 while the Martyrdom of Matthew puts the number at a more modest 3,000. But there are far more modest, and probably more realistic, numbers posited for the population of Bethlehem and the number killed. The English divine Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821 – 1891), who became dean of Wells in 1881, stated "The population of Bethlehem could hardly have been more than two thousand, and the number of children under two years of age in that number would be between twenty and thirty." Another estimate I've seen referenced is twenty infants from a population of 1,000 in Bethlehem at that time. William F. Albright, an American archaeologist and biblical scholar estimated a much lower number of 300 for the total population. If that number is accurate, the number of male children two years old or younger in Bethlehem would have been about six or seven according to Paul L. Maier, former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University.

          Granted, the fact that Josephus doesn't mention it can't prove it didn't occur, but I grew up in a small town with about a population of 1,000. A slaughter of of even 5 young boys two or younger would have been known by everyone in the town. I've found people in a small town tend to know others family relationships fairly well, identifying someone not only by personal characteristics, but through associating the person with his extended family. Though they didn't have telephones or newspapers, I think news of such an event would have been widely circulated by word of mouth just as it would be today. And I think it would be long remembered.

          As for the earthquakes they would have been no more common then in that area than they are today. And, since at that time people usually associated such events with a god, e.g., Poseidon, the Earth-Shaker, or the action of Yahweh for the Jews of the area, I think they would have definitely been noteworthy. And even if an earthquake wasn't noted, I think dead people arising from their graves, wandering the streets of Jerusalem, and being seen by many people, as the author of the Gospel of Matthew claims, would definitely have been noteworthy, if it had actually happened. Yet not only does no historian of the time know of either the earthquakes nor the zombies wandering the streets of Jerusalem, the other Gospel writers don't note such an extraordinary event, either.

          In the story in the Gospel of Matthew, "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people." Many early Christians believed that, though bodies normally decay quite rapidly, the bodies of truly holy people would remain uncorrupted, which would explain Matthew's mention of many holy people who had died being able to come back to life and walk the streets of Jerusalem as part of the mythos he was creating for Jesus.

          June 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          All indicate that Heli is Joseph’s father,<–apparently you did not read my post fully...in LIKE there is a Greek word.. NOMIZO..its a LEGAL term...for by law....so in other words..this is Jospehs IN laws....you said you look up tranlsations..but you forget to use a Greek dictionary and concordance...you have to understand the ways words are translated fofrom one language to English (NOT just the bIble, but any literature)
          FURTHER..again DIFFERENT words used in the genealogies...Matthew had the people BEGAT...whereas Luke ONLY says SON of...They do NOT use the word GENAO as Matthew does...this and MUCH more to give context that it is thru Marys lineage that Luke is listing....sorry..you are showing ignorance here

          June 18, 2014 at 2:08 am |
        • kermit4jc

          but I grew up in a small town with about a population of 1,000. A slaughter of of even 5 young boys two or younger would have been known by everyone in the town<-you are trying to superimpose OUR culture today and what is consider Newsworthy of Biblical times..it does NMOT work..again..for THAT time is was not unusual..especially for a person like Herod..to go out and do such...in YOUR town it WOULD make news cause this does NOT happen often! DUH..so your attempts to make anaology today does not reflect the times of Bible....They did nOT have the Chicago SUn Tribune..or such at the time...

          June 18, 2014 at 2:11 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "apparently you did not read my post fully" and "you said you look up tranlsations." I did read all of your post. I think you missed the point of my comment. When I mentioned translations of Luke 3:23, I provided a link at biblehub.com/luke/3-23.htm to the Bible Hub site which provides 21 translations of Luke 3:23 into English. I also mentioned another translation of the passage into English from a Bible translation not provided through that site. I stated that all of those translations use the word "son" not "son-in-law" for the translation of the original Greek into English. So your claim that the genealogy in Luke 3:23 is the genealogy of Jesus through Mary and so Heli is Jesus maternal grandfather does not match the plain English words in any of those translations.

          You can, of course, make the claim you are making that if one understands the original Greek and also Jewish customs one can harmonize the two genealogies, though I think that claim is dubious. I.e., you can claim that by using "son of" in all those English translations that the translators have mistranslated the original Greek and are misleading English readers to think that Joseph was the son of Heli when he was, instead, the son-in-law of Heli. That implies that the average person, who does not know Greek and is unaware of ancient Jewish customs, can't understand the Bible without help of an intermediary. That was once the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which insisted that the Catholic clergy was the intermediary between God and man. So it seems then that only a small group of scholars can truly understand what the Gospel authors meant by the words they wrote in their Gospels, if someone will misunderstand such passages if he relies solely on the plain English found in them.

          Luke 3:23 (King James Version): "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli"

          How is the average English reader of the Bible to know when he sees "son of" that in only the case of Luke 3:23 is he to interpret that to really mean "son-in-law". E.g., should he use the common understanding of the phrase in Genesis 7:13 (KVJ) and all the other Bible verses which refer to "sons of Noah":

          "In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Ja_pheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark"

          In Genesis 11:31, it mentions "Lot the son of Haran". Does it mean Haran is Lot's father there or could it mean father-in-law there as well?

          And supposing one does have to refer to the Greek of the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew. You state "there is a Greek word.. NOMIZO..its a LEGAL term". According to the BibleStudyTools.com site at biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/nomizo.html , "Nomizo" can mean "supposed", but that doesn't imply a son-in-law to father-in-law relationship. Isn't "supposed" in the case of Joseph's paternity of Jesus to mean that he's not the real father of Jesus, but that, instead, Yahweh is his father? What can you point to in the Greek language in Luke 3:23 that clearly points to that type of relationship, since Mary is never mentioned in Luke's genealogy? If the author of the Gospel of Luke is relating Mary’s genealogy, why mention that Joseph is the supposed father of Jesus and not mention Mary herself? And why write the genealogy in a way that many, even many Biblical scholars, would be led to seek other means of reconciling the two Gospel genealogies? E.g., other Biblical scholars in the past posited Levirate marriage as the reason for the discrepancy, but that would require many such marriages among Jesus forebears, since the two genealogies differ so widely. E.g., from The Nativity: History and Legend by Geza Vermes, one of the first scholars to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls after their discovery in 1947 who is the author of the standard translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls into English, which I referenced in my prior comment:

          A final remark on the two genealogies. The substantial differences between Matthew and Luke are beyond dispute and have always puzzled the theologians and the Bible interpreters of the Church. New Testament scholars have attempted since time immemorial to iron out the discrepancies and reconcile them, but without visible success. We encounter the first major effort to solve the dilemma as far back as the early third century. It is attached to the name of Julius Africanus, a learned Palestinian Christian. In his opinion the contradictions between the lists of Matthew and Luke must stem from the Jewish law concerning leviratic marriage. Leviratic, or brother-in-law, marriage entails the moral obligation of a brother to marry his deceased brother's childless widow.

          Augustine of Hippo (354 – August 430), one of the most important Church Fathers in the West, also connected leviratic marriage to the Gospel of Luke's genealogy.

          Others speculated that Jacob and Heli were the same person, though that notion is less accepted.

          It seems, instead, that some read the interpretation that the Gospel of Luke is offering Mary's genealogy into that genealogy because they need a means to harmonize the two discrepant genealogies. There are others who have tried to reconcile the two discrepant versions of Jesus' genealogy by claiming that it is, instead, the Gospel of Matthew that uses Mary's genealogy. E.g., from In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture edited by Steven B. Cowan, Terry L. Wilder:

          Some (like Tertullian, c. 160-225) suggest that Luke gives Jesus' genealogy through Joseph's lineage and Matthew gives it through Mary's lineage. Conversely, (2) some (like Martin Luther, 1483-1546) suggest that Matthew gives Jesus' genealogy through Joseph's lineage and Luke (with his tremendous interest in Jesus' mother) gives it through Mary's lineage.

          You claim I am "showing ignorance here" by not accepting your method of reconciling the discrepant genealogies. If so, I think I'm in good company, not just the company of all the translators who produced the translations into English I referenced, but many modern Biblical scholars even many who, still wishing to claim that the Bible is the inspired word of a god, claim that the author of the Gospel of Matthew had a "theological purpose", etc. for his stories which may not reflect actual historicity, i.e, they can't quite bring themselves to admit he engaged in pia fraus, even when they recognize his stories can't be true. E.g., from Matthew: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 by Frederick Dale Bruner:

          The frequently heard view that Matthew's infancy narratives come from Joseph and his family and that Luke's come from Mary and her family (e.g., by Bengel) has been called by the most thorough student of the birth stories as, at best, "pious deduction" (Brown, Birth, 35), and by another respected scholar as "Verlegenheitauskunft" (roughly, "the desperation of embarrassment," Gnilka). Matthew's and Luke's infancy narratives are not only different but, as Brown, Birth, 36, shows with docu_mentation, "contradictory to each other in a number of details." We may say, then, quite openly, that Matthew's genealogy is a work of theological craftmanship more than it is a simple historical list. It is not only genealogy, it is theology; it is not only archive, it is doctrine; it is not only history, it is sermon.

          The Brown referenced above is Raymond E. Brown (1928 – 1998), a prominent Biblical scholar of his time who was professor emeritus at the Protestant Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York, the first Roman Catholic professor to gain tenure there, and one of the first Roman Catholic scholars to apply historical-critical analysis to the Bible, who wrote The Birth of the Messiah. The Gnilka referenced is Joachim Gnilka, a German theologian and renowned exegete who served for 15 years on the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Biblical Commission.

          There are many other discrepancies in the Gospel Of Matthew, e.g., a reference to Rahab as the mother of Boaz, etc. where Matthew appears to be using the Rahab from Joshua 2:4-5. Some references on other discrepancies for the biblical genealogies are the book I mentioned by Geza Vermes, The Nativity: History & Legend or you can visit http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/genealogy-luke.html

          In regards to the Massacre of the Innocents that is found in the Gospel of Matthew, the standard Christian response as in so many cases is "Just because there is no historical evidence for it", doesn't mean it didn't occur. That is true; just because no historian of the time knows of it, doesn't mean that it could not have occurred. And just because, unless one starts with the presumption that everything in the Bible reflects actual events and people, the fact that we find no credible evidence for Jesus' existence outside of the Bible doesn't prove the stories weren't based on the life of an actual person. We also have nothing outside of the Bible to show that Jesus performed the miracles attributed to him, which are so reminiscent of those performed by Greek deities. And despite the claim that Yahweh once made himself known to humans thousands of years ago, but now remains hidden, I hear Christians proclaim "You can't prove he doesn't exist!" But do you never wonder why if Yahweh has a rule that no one can enter heaven unless he believes those Biblical tales and believes Yahweh incarnated himself in human form in the first century that all those who fail to believe those stories, despite a paucity of evidence for them, will be tortured by Yahweh for eternity, didn't Yahweh provide more undeniable proof of the veracity of those tales? Why did he not even preserve the original versions of the tales? Why don't the earliest versions of the entire Greek Bible that remain, i.e., the four great uncials Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus contain the same material? The British textual critic Herman Charles Hoskier (1864–1938) found, without counting errors of iotacism, 3,036 textual variations between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in the text of the Gospels alone. Why can't all Christians even agree on what books should be part of the Bible? E.g., Catholic and Protestant Bibles don't contain the exact set of books nor do either Catholic or Protestant Bibles match those of Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Christian traditions. E.g., see the tables for the Old and New Testaments at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Canon . And even Protestant Bibles don't all agree what material was in the original versions of the Gospels and what passages are interpolations by later scribes when making new copies.

          And why, when the god could have communicated his existence in so many ways did he only convey his words of wisdom, when he decided to move beyond being just a national god for the Jews in the first century, only to a group of 1st century Jews? Obviously, there are many problems in translating text from one language to another even when translating literature that no one claims is the word of a god. Yet the god relied upon unreliable human translators and copyists, though he could have spoken from heaven to everyone in the world at once, if he is as all-powerful as Christians claim. With the advent of radio and TV, he could have broadcast his message instantly to everyone in the world at once. Instead, Christians claim that anyone, such as myself, who looks at the evidence for Christianity's claims and finds the evidence lacking, will be tortured for eternity upon death simply because of the paucity of evidence for those claims. Is that what you believe? That anyone who doubts the veracity of such claims must be tortured for eternity by your god?

          June 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I looked uptyhe site you posted..but sorry to say..it is not suffcient....the author of the website is not propficient in Jewish geneologies..it is very widelty known by scholars that Jewish geneologies do NOT always have every single generation named..but will sometimes include a number of generations under one name..... Matthew goes thru the line of Natahn, while Matthew goes thru line of Solomon..Matthews point is King....so thus hed go thru Solomons line

          June 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you also wrote in reply to a question I posed previously about why the Christian god did not reveal himself to people outside the Ancient Near-East for many centuries after his avatar supposedly walked the earth in the first century that "God has revealed Himself anyways..innature". People elsewhere in the world just like the ancient Jews, tried to understand the world around them and the forces of nature they observed. They, too, imagined a god or gods were responsible. But when they looked at nature they did not see the Jewish god Yahweh, instead nature revealed to them other gods with different rules. You also commented in regards to why Yahweh waited many centuries to let people living elsewhere know they had to believe he incarnated himself in the first century that "God knows their hearts..God knows that even if he revealed Himself plainly to them, theyd still reject Him" Do you believe Australian aborigines, Chinese, Ja_panese, and Native American peoples are inferior races? I wonder because you suggest that all of those peoples who lived before and for many centuries after Yahweh supposedly begat himself through a Jewish woman in the first century were incapable of accepting Yahweh, which was why he did not reveal himself to them. It seems you believe it was not until 7th century CE when Christian missionaries arrived in China that anyone there was capable of accepting the Christian message. And that no one in Ja_pan was worthy of hearing that message until the 1540s when the Roman Catholic missionary Francis Xavier arrived there. And not until 1494 when the Spanish carried Christianity, along with slavery, to the Dominican Republic was anyone in the New World worthy of hearing the tales of Jesus. And, apparently, every single Iroquoi Indian that ever lived would have rejected Christian dogma until 1653 when Father Simon Le Moyne arrived to Christianize them.

          Is not a more plausible explanation that Yahweh was a Jewish tribal god as the oldest portions of the Old Testament portray him who was later elevated to the status of a national god and then later envisioned as a universal god? And that Yahweh is but one of the thousands of gods mankind has invented in an effort to explain the world around it. Otherwise, you must continue to believe all the rest of mankind was unworthy of his notice for millennia.

          June 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well see..here we attempt to blame God again...as if people are not the problem..god knows their hearts...its the people with problems..God doe snot coerce people into believing..He rreveals himself plainly, if they CHOOSE to not truly look into it...and just be naive and such about it...thats their problem. God reveals Himself to those outside of ancient near east..they choose not to beleive.....they become kind of like you people (they like idea of Godm but dont like idea of hell, so thus this god really dont exist)

          June 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "He rreveals himself plainly, if they CHOOSE to not truly look into it...God reveals Himself to those outside of ancient near east". On what do you base that claim? How did Yahweh reveal himself to such people? Did he incarnate himself in human form in those lands as well?

          June 21, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • jbhollen

          alonsoquixote and christopherkwun: guys, you are waisting your breath (figuratively) with Kermit. The guy is not stable. I chose to stop repying to him when he explained that when god killed all the infants and babies in the big flood out of love and that everyone else had it coming. He hides behind "context" wether any exists or not and claims to know what the ancients were thinking when he needs to in order to twist scripture from what it says to what he would like it to say. In previous forums he claimed to be a psychologist and then referred to others as retards. He isn't worth the keyboard time. You should join me in ignoring him.

          June 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you lie so much..I get to9 know what thery think through contrext..IM so sorry you hate context..I give it..and yet YOU claim I hide behind it..you done nothing to disprove the context..you play silly games...tell me..WHY do you hate context so much? do you not like to communicate properly? do you want to make up your own communication as you go along?

          June 22, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          Some people can be induced to reconsider at least some aspects of their beliefs. I recognize that others can not be reasoned out of their positions and are unlikely to even consider that it might be possible that they are mistaken in their religious beliefs. Though I am not a psychologist, I am interested in the psychology of believers and the defense mechanisms some use to ignore anything that might pose a challenge to their beliefs. So I am interested in the types of mental contortions they will employ to continue to regard the biblical tales as credible accounts of actual events and the extent of cognitive dissonance that can be tolerated.

          In regards to the use of insults against those who hold opposing views, I find that sometimes the use of such insults against others is brought about by those others first belittling the intelligence of the person who responds in like fashion. Other times, though, it seems consistent with the behavior described in Religious fundamentalism as Narcissistic personality disorder at kbp1970.livejournal.com/82872.html

          June 22, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • jbhollen

          I read the post for which you provided a link. Pretty interesting even considering I saw a trait or two of my own listed. Not all the author's sources were solid but just considering the traits drawn from the APA and the Mayo Clinic he or she shows a solid correlation between Narcissistic and conservative religious behavior. You mention that you are interested in the mental contortionism of the apologist. Are you going to write something on the topic? I would read it. Along the same lines I have noticed that when I am conversing with an apologist/contortionist I find that the tone of my discourse can erode to a level below where I want it to be. Your comments on the use of insults hits home as I have gone there, usually in response to the like. Have you ever tracked the behavior of those conversing with the contortionist?

          June 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God made Himself plain vbefore becoming incarnate...Adam didn't have a Bible...neither did Eve and others that followed..Moses had God reveal himself plainly in the burning bush and the following miracles....God will revweal himself to those who truly seek and want truth...he knows their hearts..heknows those who uwould accept and reject him

          June 22, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, Adam, Eve and Moses, though prominent characters in the Jewish sacred text, were unknown to people in other parts of the world for millennia until Christian missionaries brought tales of them with them. Peoples in other parts of the world knew of other creator gods, other creation myths, and other heroes. You say "God made Himself plain vbefore becoming incarnate…Adam didn’t have a Bible…neither did Eve and others that followed..Moses had God reveal himself plainly in the burning bush and the following miracles….God will revweal himself to those who truly seek and want truth…he knows their hearts..heknows those who uwould accept and reject him", insisting that Yahweh did not reveal himself to people in other parts of the world for millennia because they would have rejected him, essentially claiming that Yahweh didn't even need to give them an opportunity to hear tales of his exploits, such as creation of the universe, dealings with his chosen people, the ancient Jews, and impregnation of a Jewish woman in the first century to give birth to a son, who is really himself as well for trinitarian Christians, because even at their birth he had already consigned them to hellfire upon death as he knew beforehand they would reject such tales.

          Since you appear to believe your deity is omniscient, do you believe humans have free will? As one of the most influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides put it: "Does God know or does He not know that a certain individual will be good or bad? If thou sayest 'He knows', then it necessarily follows that man is compelled to act as God knew beforehand he would act, otherwise God's knowledge would be imperfect."

          June 22, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          claiming that Yahweh didn’t even need to give them an opportunity to hear tales of his exploits,<--God can be known personally...all others don't..in fact.hardly any other religions admit that their gods can be known personally...second....yes, God is omniscient..but that does not infringe on free will...for first of all..God is outside space and time..he created it...and we would be looking at free will vs all knowing from a different angle. People still have free will and they make choices...even when Jesus was on earth. many people rejected Him...

          June 22, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, in regards to gods being known personally by their followers, many cultures believed their gods came down to Earth and interacted with men and women, e.g., see the works of Homer in regards to the Greek gods. Many cultures also believed that an appropriate animal sacrifice or prayer could induce a god to change his mind on a matter to be more in their favor; the view that someone could personally influence a god certainly isn't something unique to Judaism or Christianity. And many cultures did see their gods as being as anthropomorphic as the god portrayed by the Yahwist in the Garden of Eden story and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah where Yahweh states he has come personally to find out whether what he has heard regarding Sodom and Gomorrah is true.

          Genesis 18:20-21 (King James Version):

          And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

          And adherents of other religions have believed that people could not only personally interact with their gods but bargain with those gods, just as Abraham bargained with Yahweh in Genesis 18 over Sodom and Gomorrah where he was able to change Yahweh's mind from his initial position that he would slaughter all of their inhabitants if he found they had "done altogether according to the cry of it" to a position that if he could locate a few righteous individuals he would spare the cities, though in the end he does slaughter all the inhabitants of the two cities anyway.

          In Hinduism, belivers have an opportunity to select from any of 330 million representations of God, so one can select a very personally accessible representation of the divine. In World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery the author, Jeffrey Brodd, uses the following analogy:


          The divine is thought ultimately to be one essence. And yet Hindus subscribe to polytheism, believing in many gods and godesses (traditionally 330 million!). We can best understand this apparent contradiction by continuing to think of the ocean. Though we speak of different oceans that fill separate areas of the earth's surface, there is in reality only one body of water. One person could be surfing in the Pacific while thousands of miles away her cousin is sailing on the Atlantic, each apparently enjoying a different ocean. But if you look at a map or a globe, you will see that the oceans of the world are not divided by any continuous landmasses; ultimately they form one body of water.

          Hinduism generally regards its 330 million deities as extensions of one ultimate reality, many names for one ocean, many "masks" for one God. Because the divine reality of Brahman or Atman is beyond the reach of the senses and of thought, humans need accessible points of contact with the divine. Ultimate reality needs to be revealed if it is to affect the individual. Hinduism's many deities provide these points of contact, each with its own personal characteristics. Hindus can freely worship whichever gods and goddesses they like. Given the vast number of deities, at least one will surely provide an effective point of contact with the divine.

          According to the Hindu theologian Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE), Brahman is personal and is the supreme person, the creator and Lord who leads souls to salvation. And the ti_tle Svayam Bhagavan, i.e., "The Lord", is used exclusively in Krishna-centered theology to designate Krishna in his personal feature.

          In regards to how others have viewed the notion of a personal god as envisioned by Christians, Albert Einstein's view can be found in Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941:


          Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

          You also wrote "God is omniscient..but that does not infringe on free will…for first of all..God is outside space and time." A counter to that argument is as follows:

          God timelessly knows choice "C" that a human would claim to "make freely".

          If C is in the timeless realm, then it is now-necessary that C occurs.

          If it is now-necessary that C occurs, then C cannot be otherwise (this is the definition of “necessary”). That is, there are no actual "possibilities" due to predestination.

          If you cannot do otherwise when you act, you do not act freely.

          Therefore, when you do an act, you will not do it freely.

          And in regards to Yahweh being both omniscient and peronal, I'll refer you to Dan Barker's comments on the matter during a January 5, 2003 debate on the existence of God held at the Islamic Insti_tute of New York, Woodside, New York. Dan Barker was a Christian preacher for 19 years, preaching in an Assembly of God and an independent Charismatic church before coming to the conclusion that he could no longer believe in Christian dogma.


          God is defined as a "personal being." To be a personal being you have to be able to make decisions. Which means you have to have a potential of uncertainty. Tomorrow I am going to decide something, but before then I could change my mind, right? So I am a free, personal being because I have the ability, at least in principle, to change my mind. If I didn't have that ability, then I would not be a free agent, a personal being. But god is also defined as "all-knowing." He is defined as "omniscient," which means that not only does he know about the past, present and the future of everything, but he also knows all his own future decisions. If god knows all of his own future decisions, and if the set of future facts is fixed by his omniscience, then that puts some limits on his power, doesn't it? He is not able to change his mind between now and then. He has to go like a robot or a computer program. He is stuck. If he knows the future he can't change it. If he goes ahead and proves his power by changing it anyway, then he was not omniscient in the first place, was he? So this is a short-hand version of saying that a god who is defined as "personal" and "all-knowing" not only does not exist: such a god cannot exist. He either has freedom, or he doesn't. And if he knows the future, he has no freedom. I call this the Free Will Argument for the Non-Existence of God, or FANG for short.

          You can find a transcript of the entire debate at ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/item/18387-does-god-not-exist?

          June 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          OK..first off....your examples don't show similarity...When I say God can be personally known..its not merely people in the past..but TODAY and future..by US..not people in past only..which you gave examples of. Secondly, again your argument does not consider the perspective from another realm...thus it is not relevant in this case. Thirdly....personal being..by that I mean he can be known by us personally.

          June 23, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, there are over 1 billion Hindus on Earth today. I mentioned Krishna devotees, also; the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a branch of the monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism, has a quarter of a million members. And there are Pagans today worshiping the old gods that antedate the creation of the triune Christian god. There are also about 1.6 billion Muslims, 28 million Sikhs, 4.2 million Jains, 5 to 7 million Bahá'ís, 145,000 to 2.6 million Zoroastrians, etc. Followers of those other religions believe they have personal relationships with their gods as well. Their gods are as real to them as the Christian god is for Christians. Adherents of many other religions believe they have a personal relationship with their god as well. As but one example, devotees of Krishna worship Krishna as the Supreme God and believe that they can attain a personal relationship with Him. One of their "Nine Processes of Devotional Service" includes sakhyam, which is developing a close personal and intimate relationship with God. These are not beliefs only of the distant past, but beliefs that members of other religions hold today and will hold tomorrow.

          Adherents of other religions can offer the same support for their beliefs that Christians offer. They can point to miracle stories and personal experiences of their gods just as do Christians. Many have sacred texts affirming their beliefs. You can find sacred texts for many other religions at sacred-texts.com. The Teaching Company also offers a downloadable course "Sacred Texts of the World" taught by Professor Grant Hardy, Professor of History and Religious Studies and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, at their website thegreatcourses.com .

          Most Christians, as many pastors lament, seldom read the Bible with many never reading it. E.g., here's an excerpt from a ChritianityToday magazine article ti_tled Why Johnny Can't Read the Bible from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/may/25.38.html:

          Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they keep them in pristine, unopened condition. Or, as George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in a widely quoted survey finding, "Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don't read it."

          Anecdotes abound. Time magazine observed in a 2007 cover story that only half of U.S. adults could name one of the four Gospels. Fewer than half could identify Genesis as the Bible's first book. Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert have made sport of Americans' inability to name the Ten Commandments—even among members of Congress who have pushed to have them posted publicly.

          Among Christians who do read the Bible, few have studied the writings of the theologians of other religions or the sacred texts of other religions. Most have arrived at their belief in Christianity the way most believers in other religions arrive at their beliefs from the religious beliefs handed down to them by their parents or from one popular in the surrounding culture. Yet many Christians will claim all those other believers are wrong and worship false gods, though they have no more proof that their god is the only true one among the many thousands imagined by humans since time immemorial, when people could imagine no other cause for the world around them and the forces of nature that affected them.

          Many Christians will claim that their god will condemn all those billions of other humans to torture upon death merely for not believing that the Christian god is the true god and the Biblical tales regarding the god assuming human form in the first century. Yet they have no more reason to believe those tales are true and their god exists than do believers of other religions. Few have arrived at their beliefs through any careful comparison of the beliefs of the world's religions. For most, their religion is the religion handed down to them by their parents or one embraced by a large portion of the surrounding populace. Most are Christians because they happen to live in lands where Christianity is the predominant religion with its beliefs having been inculcated into them at a very early age when they accepted much of what was handed to them uncritically. Christianity's dominance among religions in an area often owes much to its imposition by force in the distant past. Yet many Christians are assured that because they were born into a Christian land, and so are Christians, that their God will grant them a blissful afterlife while horribly punishing those in other lands where other religions predominate, because those others were not Christians while they lived.

          You claim that your god never made himself known to people in other lands in the distant past, because he knew they wouldn't accept him and would reject the Biblical tales. But that is preposterous. If the god had spoken to people out of heaven in a mighty voice letting people know that they must perform certain animal sacrifices to appease him, the god's existence would have been obvious to people in other lands and they would have done so. If he had told them, as he told the Jews in Exodus 34:20 in the second set of ten commandments, the Ritual Decalogue, he gave Moses, after Moses broke the first set, that "The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.", they too would have complied, if they had donkeys or lambs, or would have slaughtered other animals in his honor. If he impregnated a maiden in those other lands with his son/self and then as the god incarnate had raised people from the dead, calmed storms by rebuking the wind, etc., surely many would have believed what he told them. Yet you would have us believe that he refrained from demonstrating his existence because no one in those lands would have accepted him even if he would have performed such deeds. And you would have us believe that he performed such deeds in the first century and that when he died dead people issued from their graves and walked the streets of Jerusalem, though there is no more corroboration for such stories than there are for the miracles of saints and gods in other religions. And you would have us believe that he will torture the billions of those now living who are not Christians though he could sway millions, if not almost all of those billions, to become Christians merely by speaking out of heaven or visiting Earth, as he supposedly did in the past, and performing incontrovertible miracles. What type of god refuses to provide convincing evidence for his existence, yet threatens all those who doubt his existence and a tale of virginal birth of the god through a human woman and then resurrection from the dead, little different from similar tales in other religions, yet threatens horrible punishment for any who might doubt such a tale, yet will reward others with a blissful afterlife for believing such unsubstantiated tales on "faith", merely because they happened to be born into an area where such beliefs are predominant over the beliefs of other religions? One as imaginary as all the thousands of other gods invented by humans.

          You wrote previously that "God is outside space and time" and again claim your god exists in some unknown realm beyond time. But as I mentioned, if you claim that your god timelessly knows the choice "C" that a human would claim to "make freely" and that your god is omniscient and thus can never be wrong, then if a human can make no other choice than the one the god already "knows" will occur, does the human really have free will?

          Another way of looking at your claim of an enti_ty outside of time who knows everything is to ask whether such a being could ever be unaware of anything or surprised. Obviously not, if the being knows everything that has happened and will happen. Yet passages in the Bible imply that the Biblical god is not all-knowing, e.g., the passage I earlier cited from Genesis 18:20-21 regarding Sodom and Gomorrah where the god comes to Earth to "see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me". Yahweh than goes on to bargain with Abraham on what will happen depending on the results of Yahweh's investigation of the matter.

          In Jeremiah 26:3 (International Standard Version), we find "Perhaps they'll listen, and each of them will repent from his evil way. Then I'll change my mind about the disaster I'm planning to bring on them because of their evil deeds." Does the god not know beforehand how they will act?

          And in Jeremiah 3:6-7 (New International Version) we find Yahweh can be surprised:

          During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

          And again in Jeremiah 3:19-20, we find that events don't occur as the god expected:

          I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me, declares the Lord.

          Much of the Bible consists of myths and legends. Such stories can provide a guide for people in how to live their lives, but, unfortunately, many want to treat Biblical tales, no matter how improbable they may be, as actual historical events. As the American mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote in "Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation":

          One might reasonably define mythology as other people's religion. The definition of religion is equally uncomplicated: it is misunderstood mythology. The misunderstanding consists typically in interpreting mythological symbols as though they were references to historical facts. And this problem is particularly crucial in our tradition in the West, where the whole emphasis has been on the historicity of the events on which are churches are supposed to have been founded.

          June 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          in none of thos example did God actually show surprise or no knowledge.. basically there are hypothetical quesiotns and whatnot....remember..we are getting it from out perspective...God knows all..period...you need to get context

          June 25, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, in regards to your comment regarding hypothetical questions and context, you can claim that Abraham's questions regarding what Yahweh might do if he found certain numbers of righteous individuals in Sodom and Gomorrah were hypothetical questions, but are we to believe that an omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe would bargain with a lowly human over such matters? You seem to have focused only on Abraham's questions and not why Yahweh had to visit him as Genesis 18:20-21 (NIV) relates:

          Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know

          I.e., you ignore the context in which the questions were posed.

          In regards to context, I find some Christians seem to automatically reply "you need to understand the context" whenever presented with morally repugnant verses from the Old Testament or verses that don't match what they want to believe while providing no context that changes an obvious conclusion one can draw from certain passages in the Bible. Some likely assume there must be some context that changes the understanding one should reach from reading the verses without actually reading those verses themselves. It is enough for them to reassure themselves that there must be some context that makes the verses less reprehensible or more believable. Other believers will see such comments and likewise reassure themselves.

          What is the context for the passage in Genesis 18? The ancient Greeks had a concept of xenia, the hospitality due to strangers far from home. Zeus was regarded as a protector of travelers and denying travelers hospitality was an offense against him. In Judaism there is a parallel in the principle of Hachnasat Orchim, or "welcoming guests" with hosts expected to provide food and drink for guests even when those guests are strangers. In the rabbinical literature, some rabbis regard hospitality more highly than the reception given to the Shekinah (Divine Presence) while others make it superior to visiting the house of study. Many assume that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of ho_mos_exuality, but the inhabitants also violated the principle of hospitality towards strangers and care for the poor.

          Not all Jewish myths and legends are contained within the Bible. The Legends of the Jews, which was compiled by Rabbi Louis Ginzberg (1873 – 1953), who was a Talmudist and leading figure in the Conservative Movement of Judaism of the twentieth century who taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in New York City for half a century until his death in 1953, contains a compilation of a vast amount aggadah, i.e., exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism from the Mishnah, the two Talmuds and Midrash. In it there is an explanation for the outcry that has reached Yahweh causing him to descend to Earth to ascertain matters for himself:

          The cruelty of the Sodomites went still further. Lot had a daughter, Palt_it, so named because she had been born to him shortly after he escaped captivity through the help of Abraham. Palt_it lived in Sodom, where she had married. Once a beggar came to town, and the court issued a proclamation that none should give him anything to eat, in order that he might die of starvation. But Palt_it had pity upon the unfortunate wretch, and every day when she went to the well to draw water, she supplied him with a piece of bread, which she hid in her water pitcher. The inhabitants of the two sinful cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, could not understand why the beggar did not perish, and they suspected that some one was giving him food in secret. Three men concealed themselves near the beggar, and caught Palt_it in the act of giving him something to eat. She had to pay for her humanity with death; she was burnt upon a pyre.

          The people of Admah were no better than those of Sodom. Once a stranger came to Admah, intending to stay overnight and continue his journey the next morning. The daughter of a rich man met the stranger, and gave him water to drink and bread to eat at his request. When the people of Admah heard of this infraction of the law of the land, they seized the girl and arraigned her before the judge, who condemned her to death. The people smeared her with honey from top to toe, and exposed her where bees would be attracted to her. The insects stung her to death, and the callous people paid no heed to her heartrending cries. Then it was that God resolved upon the destruction of these sinners.

          The passages I cited from the Book of Jeremiah were declaratory statements attributed to "the LORD"; they weren't questions of any kind. The Book of Jeremiah is attributed to Jeremiah, one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. Some believe he was born in 627 BCE dying sometime after 586 BCE, presumably in Egypt where he had fled after Gedaliah, a governor of Judah appointed by the Babylonians was killed along with a contingent of Babylonian soldiers. The Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II had conquered Judah in 597 taking its king and many of its elite citizenry into captivity in Babylon. The Book of Jeremiah was written during this devastating period for the ancient Jews. It underwent many revisions by the Deuteronomists during the period of Jewish captivity in Babylon with changes to it continuing into the post-exilic era. There are two versions of the Book of Jeremiah. A shorter Greek version found in the Septuagint, which is actually the earlier version, though a translation of an earlier Hebrew version, and a longer Masoretic version in Hebrew. The shorter Greek version became canonical in Greek Orthodox churches while the longer version became part of the canon of Western Christian churches. Another instance of the differences of material contained in various versions of the Bible is the inclusion of The Letter of Jeremiah, aka the Epi_stle of Jeremiah, in Catholic Bibles, but not in Protestant ones.

          The ancient Jews had expected their god to protect them, yet the Assyrians conquered Israel, the northern portion of the United Monarchy established by Saul, in 722 BCE and then later the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and conquered Judah in the time of Jeremiah. The Book of Jeremiah provides a rationalization for that defeat. The author and the later redactors attributed the defeat to the Jews angering Yahweh causing them to lose favor with the god.

          But I don't see how the context for those passages changes the meaning attached to the words attributed to Yahweh in the passages I cited from the Book of Jeremiah which imply Yahweh is not omniscient.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          read the WHOLE context..did God find enough people who had faith> it wasn't for GOD in this case..btu Abraham.....God still destroyed the cities.....try using context....again....God said IF there is that many...and He shows Abraham there are none.....get the picture now?

          June 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, why did your god need to descend to Earth to ascertain matters for himself and why would he bargain with Abraham? In those passages in Genesis 18 we see the very anthropomorphic god envisioned by the Yahwist/Jahwist (commonly abbreviated as "J").

          In fact, when God is described by J, God is pictured as a participant in the terrestrial sphere. It is the Yahwist's concrete, agricultural terrain that J's deity inhabits and in which he appears to be largely at home. J's God, a strongly anthropomorphic figure, lives a very earthly life. he plants the Garden of Eden, walks in it, and talks to its residents whom he has fashioned from the ground He meets Cain in the field, closes the door of the ark behind Noah, smells the fragrance of his offering, and eats dinner with Abraham. The line between divine and human beings is so indistinct at points that divine beings appear wholly human (e.g., Gen 18:2, 32:24).,

          ~ The Yahwist's Landscape : Nature and Religion in Early Israel by Theodore Hiebert Professor of Hebrew Bible McCormick Theological Seminary, Oxford University Press (c) 1996

          June 26, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Agaiun not for Gods sake//but ours...God did this to show that he is near and concerned for us...it was fully manifested as Christ. God made it real..tangible for Abraham and Lot.....

          June 27, 2014 at 1:58 am |
        • kermit4jc

          The ancient Jews had expected their god to protect them, yet the Assyrians conquered Israel, the northern portion of the United Monarchy established by Saul, in 722 BCE and then later the Babylonians conquered the Assyrians and conquered Judah in the time of Jeremiah.<-apparently you have nOT read the whole of the first five Books (Genesis thru Deuteronomy) because God said on a NUMBER of occasions that This is a COVENANT! DO you undersdtand what a covenant is? It is an oath between TWO parties (in this case God and Israel) and God promises this ONLY if Israel obeys and stays with God..and if yo uread especially through the Book of Kings and Chronicles youd see Israel STAYED from god! thus it made the covenant BULL and void! ALso...if you read in Joshua and Judges, you will see that every time Israel disobeyed God, they lost battles (see Joshua 8 for the battle at Ai, where the Israelites did not seek God and they lost, but once they looked back to God, they won the next day!)

          June 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you complain of others ignoring context, but you appear to ignore the historical context applicable to the Books of Kings and Chronicles as well as the Book of Jeremiah.

          Like the Book of Jeremiah, according to Jewish tradition, the Book of Kings was written by Jeremiah. Look at the last verses in 2 Kings, which refer to King Jehoiachin of Judah. He was a king of Judah deposed by the Babylonians and taken captive to Babylon.

          Chronicles was probably composed between 400 to 250 BCE. As I mentioned, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II had conquered Judah in 597 taking its king and many of its elite citizenry into captivity in Babylon. Read 2 Chronicles 36, it details the Babylonian capture of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. The last events in Chronicles take place in the reign of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity.

          You are citing material written after the Babylonians subjugated the Jews and took them captive to Babylon. That was a wrenching period in Jewish history and Jewish religious beliefs underwent extensive changes at that time. If the religion was to survive, an explanation was needed for their utter defeat and humiliation if Yahweh was their protector. Their defeat was rationalized by claiming that some among them had angered Yahweh causing him to abandon them.

          The views of the Jews regarding their god, death, and the afterlife changed considerably during the period of the Exile when they were exposed to Babylonian and later Zoroastrian religious beliefs. The contact with Zoroastrians during that period appears to have affected Jewish notions of a coming savior. In Zoroastrianism, the Saoshyant (savior) brings about the final renovation of the world, the Frashokereti, when evil will be destroyed, and everything will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda). Ahura Mazda will be triumphant over evil and the Saoshyant will resurrect the dead, whose bodies will be restored to eternal perfection and whose souls will be cleansed and reunited with God. Time will then end, and truth/righteousness (asha) and immortality will thereafter be everlasting.

          Since they could no longer perform the animal sacrifices in the Temple of Jerusalem, once so important to them, their rituals changed, also. E.g., from Jews, God, and History (2nd Edition), which has sold over a million and a half copies, by Max I. Dimont (1912 – 1992), a Finnish American author and historian:

          With the ideas supplied by the Prophets, the Jews in Babylonian captivity set about renovating their religion and giving it a "new look." The Temple had been tied by law to Jerusalem and sacrifice had to be offered in it according to rigid ritual and formula. By having undermined the value of sacrifice, by having made morality superior to ritual, the Prophets freed the Jewish religion from the confinement of time and place.

          On the soil of Babylon the Jews created two new ideas which have since become the possessions of mankind. Instead of a temple for sacrifice, the Jews built synagogues for religious assembly; instead of rituals for God, the Jews offered prayers to God. The synagogues became the prototype for the church of the Christians and the mosque of the Muslims; prayer became the universal symbol of devotion to God.

          Through synagogue and prayer, the Jew no longer was tied to any specific priesthood, temple, or country. He could set up shop in any land and be in direct communication with God—without intermediaries. The Jewish religion, which had been immobile and rigid, now became an exportable commodity, resilient and invisible. Survival of the Jews in captivity and in dispersion was assured.

          By the time Jewish exiles returned from Babylon the changes to Judaism were so extensive that Samaritans came to claim that their religion is the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile.

          In regards to the Israelites winning battles when Yahweh favored them and losing them when they incurred his disfavor, see Homer's Iliad regarding stories of the Greek gods influencing the outcome of battles. Though you may be disinclined to read material that relates to other religions and other gods, the Iliad is one of the great classics of Western literature and commonly regarded as the greatest work of Greek literature.

          June 26, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NO I am not..MOSES prediected that the Israelites would fall to the other nations if they did not stick with Gods covenant..fond in Deuteronomy...that is very clear..thus Israel failed and were held captive by the Babylonians and Assyrians....Jeremiah was telling prophecy of what would happen in those times..as for Homer..it is irrelevant to the discussion

          June 27, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, I mentioned Homer's Iliad in regards to your prior comment to point out that it was quite common in ancient times for people to attribute success or failure in battle to the intervention of a god. If victory was achieved, it might be attributed to a god's favor while defeat might be attributed to a god siding with the enemy, perhaps because something had been done to anger him. Even today many will attribute success in battle to the favor of God and natural calamities are still attributed by some, e.g., people like the televangelist Pat Robertson who in 2010 blamed the Haitian earthquake on the Haitians angering god through a pact their ancestors made with the devil, to God being angry with some portion of a country's population.

          In regards to Jeremiah's prophecy, the works attributed to him, such as the Book of Jeremiah were being revised through the exilic and even into the post-exilic period, so prophecies of events that had already occurred related to the subjugation of the Jews by the Babylonians are not surprising. Other prophecies did not prove true, such as the one in Jeremiah 33:17, where it is written "For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel" and the one in Jeremiah 46:1-13 where the author of the Book of Jeremiah predicts that the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt claiming in Jeremiah 46:25-26:

          The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. I will give them into the hands of those who want to kill them–Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers.

          June 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          nice way to take jeremiah 33:17 out of context..read the verse s before and after...this refers to the MESSIAH!..WHo is on davids throne..btu not the EARTHLY throne....And Nebechunezzar did conquer Egypt..yuo have to get the updated facts here...youre looking at old school stuff...

          July 1, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          I see no reference to a messiah in all of Jeremiah 33. I'm aware some Christians read that into the text, but even if you want to insert Jesus into Jeremiah 33, the prophecy is still a failed prophecy.

          Jeremiah 33:17-18 (KJV):

          For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

          Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

          If you posit Jesus as the man sitting upon the throne of Israel, who sat upon that throne between the time of Zedekiah and Jesus? Zedekiah was installed as king of Judah by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, likely in 597 BCE, to replace Jeconiah. We also know that from a Babylonian chronicle that states:

          The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king. A king of his own choice he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon."

          However, Zedekiah allied himself with Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar prompting Nebuchadnezzar to lay siege to Jerusalem around 589 BCE. The siege lasted about 18 months, ending some time between 588 to 586 BCE (there is some dispute over the reckoning of the dates). When Zedekiah eventually tried to flee Jerusalem he was captured. His sons were killed before his eyes and then he was blinded and taken in captivity to Babylon. There is about a 600 year gap between Zedekiah sitting on the throne in Judah and Jesus birth.

          You write " Nebechunezzar did conquer Egypt..yuo have to get the updated facts here…youre looking at old school stuff… " In Jeremiah 46 the author predicts Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt and turn Memphis into a desert, "a ruin where no one lives", but that did not occur. You may have encountered Christian apologists claiming Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt in order to avoid acknowledging those verses as a failed prophecy, but he did not. Egypt prospered under Pharaoh Amasis II and was not laid waste by the Babylonians. On what do you base a claim that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt?

          Another failed prophecy in Jeremiah is the one in Jeremiah 36:30 (Good News Bible):

          So now, I, the LORD, say to you, King Jehoiakim, that no descendant of yours will ever rule over David's kingdom. Your corpse will be thrown out where it will be exposed to the sun during the day and to the frost at night..

          Yet in 2 Kings 24:6 (NIV) we find:

          Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

          Jehoiachin, also known as Jeconiah, succeeded his father on the throne in 598 BCE. His reign was short, lasting only three months and ten days until Nebuchadnezzar II seized Jerusalem taking Jehoiachin and three thousand Jews to captivity in Babylon, but he did rule over Judah for a time.

          July 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sorry..btu you are still taking it out of context..plyus..the son did NOt realy rule at all! He wasn't even oon the throne for even a fewmonths!..that's not ruling....sorry.you failed..not the Bible..youare misunderstanding and taking things out ofcontext

          July 2, 2014 at 2:33 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          What version of the Bible do you use? All of the below versions state that Jehoiachin succeeded Jehoiakim as king in 2 Kings 24:6:

          New International Version
          Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

          New Living Translation
          When Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

          English Standard Version
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.

          New American Standard Bible
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.

          King James Bible
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          Holman Christian Standard Bible
          Jehoiakim rested with his fathers, and his son Jehoiachin became king in his place.

          International Standard Version
          Jehoiakim died, as did his ancestors, and his son Jehoiachin became king in his place.

          NET Bible
          He passed away and his son Jehoiachin replaced him as king.

          GOD'S WORD® Translation
          Jehoiakim lay down in death with his ancestors, and his son Jehoiakin succeeded him as king.

          Jubilee Bible 2000
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin, his son, reigned in his stead.

          King James 2000 Bible
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          American King James Version
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          American Standard Version
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          Douay-Rheims Bible
          And Joachin his son reigned in his stead.

          Darby Bible Translation
          And Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          English Revised Version
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          Webster's Bible Translation
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

          World English Bible
          So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.

          Young's Literal Translation
          And Jehoiakim lieth with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son reigneth in his stead.

          Good News Bible
          Everything that Jehoiakim did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king.

          July 2, 2014 at 8:05 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Alons.....only 20 interpretations showing Kermit how wrong he is? I'm guessing all of them must have the context wrong.

          July 2, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • kermit4jc

          not at all.....for someone who doesn't know what it means to be king in Israel, the process and also not reading the whole story

          July 2, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          doesnot matter whichversion..you only read part of it..read the rest of the story...he onlylasted a few months!thats hardly ruling as king! Further....usually when one succeeds another as king, they are not actually on the throne for a time....I doubt Jehoiachin ever got to actually rule. please don't read part of the story..but all of it before you make hasty conclusions

          July 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, in regards to Jehoiachin reigning as king of Judah for 3 months, you claim that 3 months doesn't qualify as reigning as king. You state that when someone succeeds another as king he is usually not actually on the throne for a time, yet according to 2 Kings 24:6 he assumed the throne upon his father's death. To believe as you claim, one would have to assume that even with the prior king dead in a time of great peril for the kingdom of Judah that the throne was unoccupied for months after the death of Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin's father. And one has to suppose that the translators are misleading readers of the Bible when they state Jehoiachin assumed the throne at his father's death. But suppose I was to accept your attempt to harmonize 2 Kings 24:6 with Jeremiah 36:30, which states:

          So now, I, the LORD, say to you, King Jehoiakim, that no descendant of yours will ever rule over David's kingdom. Your corpse will be thrown out where it will be exposed to the sun during the day and to the frost at night..

          Then you've just shown that no one sat on the throne of Judah after Jehoiakim's death and we're now back to a contradiction between Jeremiah 36:30 and Jeremiah 33:17-18, which states:

          For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel

          Who is sitting on the throne after Jehoiakim's death then? Even if you want to claim that when Jesus appears he assumes the role of a heavenly king rather than an earthly one, remember, Jesus won't be born for about another 600 years.

          And if you are going to claim Jehoiachin was hardly ruling as king because he was only in that position for 3 months, then what of Jehoahaz who the Bible says succeeded his father, Josiah, as king of Judah? The Egyptian Pharaoh killed Josiah at Megiddo. 2 Kings 23:30 states that then "the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months." Will you apply the same standard to Jehoahaz and claim that he wasn't really king, either, because his reign also lasted only 3 months? 2 Kings 23:34-35 states:

          Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.

          So we are then at Jehoiachin's father, Jehoiakim and an empty throne at Jehoiakim by your reckoning and, possibly, an empty throne after the death of Josiah, if you apply the same standard to Jehoahaz that you want to apply to Jehoiachin. And who was on the throne for the next 600 years after Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin who was installed on the throne of Judah when Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, deposed Jehoiachin?

          July 10, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ONe does NOT need to compare.....If I find truth..why compare? People who work in banks..they learn how to know TRUE money from FAKE ones...NOT by coparing..but by knowing the REAL money....there are too many ways ot make counterfeit money...no one can keep up with comparing with all the wways..the best way is to know what the REAL nCcoy is..what it looks like, feels like..and anything that doesn't look or feel like it is automoatically rejected.

          June 25, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • jbhollen

          The world is flat and I know it to be true. Why inquire further? The sun revolves around the Earth. Everyone knows that. Why would I enquire otherwise? Why look beyond what I know is true? Once I have these truths in hand further investigation is futile. Don't bother me with evidence and facts. It just interferes with what I decided the truth is in advance. I have the truth – just leave it alone.

          June 25, 2014 at 2:41 am |
        • kermit4jc

          huh? you talking of the Bible??

          June 25, 2014 at 3:09 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, in regards to your analogy regarding tellers never being exposed to counterfeit money to learn to differentiate legitimate from fake currency, I'd point you to "Fake money masquerades as real" at napavalleyregister.com/news/local/fake-money-masquerades-as-real/article_de7f23d8-2df3-11e2-bab3-0019bb2963f4.html regarding a seminar conducted by U.S. Secret Service personnel in which counterfeit money was used for training.

          But your use of such an analogy is telling. You offer a standard fundamentalist excuse for a woeful ignorance of other religions. The analogy is used by fundamentalists, while claiming they alone have the "truth", to rationalize their refusal to even acquaint themselves with other religions. What the analogy really shows is that fundamentalists believe it’s not necessary to ever study another point of view other than the one held by other like-minded fundamentalists.

          The adherents of other religions can offer the same excuse for remaining ignorant of the teachings of Christianity. They can as boldly announce, "My religion is the only true one, as I've always been taught, so why compare?" If it is not irrational for Christians, such as yourself, to make such proclamations, why should it be unreasonable for them to do likewise? In many Islamic countries the punishment for apostasy, proselytizing for another faith other than Islam, or criticism of Islam is death, so one can understand the reluctance of Muslims in such countries to seek for any truth outside what they've been told by their clerics is "truth". Christians in Christian countries face no such penalties, yet many choose to remain ignorant of any other religions, except for the biased view of competing religions presented by their own clerics.

          One of America's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Poor Richard's Almanack in 1758: " "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn." The American author and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov put it more harshly in The Roving Mind:

          Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.

          I don't see his statements as applying to all Christians, just the brand of fundamentalists who insist they alone know the "truth" and worship the only "true god", with all others doomed to be tortured for eternity by their god, because they've locked their minds against any knowledge that could conceivably cause them to doubt the dogma which has been poured into their brains by their own clerics.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          your statements may be true for some..but not all..I have knotting against knowledge..I already found truth..why look any longer? what can be more true? as for the money thing....your statements also show ignorance..though you seemed to look it up, you don't seem to realize there are countless ways to make counterfeit money! thus when a new banker is taught, they cannot POSSIBLE show them every type of counterfeit money! the BEST way is to learn the True money! SInce I know the true God I can discern the fake ones, why? cause I have knowledge of the true God..personally

          June 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you have personal knowledge of the "true god", just as do Muslims, Hindus, etc.

          " Allah is the personal name of the One true God." – Islam101: Concept of God at http://www.islam101.com/dawah/02_concept_God.html

          "The only true faith in God's sight is Islam. . . . He that denies God's revelations should know that swift is God's reckoning" (Koran 3:19).

          "Thus all disinterested giving even of a leaf or flower is a true sacrifice to the one true God through Brahman, the means and intermediary of the sacrificial ritual itself. – The Bhagavad-gītā Oxford University Press edited and translated by Robert Charles Zaehner

          Doubtless other fundamentalists find your counterfeiting analogy appealing, but for others it merely confirms the very negative view of fundamentalists as closed-minded, whose certainty in the validity of their own beliefs and the wrongness of all others is underlain by an ignorance of the beliefs of other religions.

          As for your comment about ignorance, I've included a few quotes on that subject from Baron d'Holbach, an 18th century philosopher of the French Enlightenment:

          "If we go back to the beginning of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture, and deception embellished or distorted them; that weakness worships them; that credulity nourishes them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favors them in order to profit from the blindness of men."

          "Ignorance of natural causes created the gods, and priestly impostures made them terrible."

          "All religions are ancient monuments to supersti_tion, ignorance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies rejuvenated."

          June 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sorry.but you don't seem to understand knowing God personally...the "personal name" Allah does not mean he is personally known in a relationship! I am speaking of a personal intimate relationship...as one has with a father..a parent...that their presence is experienced..even Muslims admit hey don't experience this! When I say I know God personally.I experience His presence..we talk..not a one sided conversation (such as Muslims have) etc etc....you are not understanding what it means to have a personal relationship with God..and Judaism/Christianity is the oly one that has this..in FACT..Mohamed did NOT even speak to Allah personally! He spoke thru a messenger (Gabriel) so you need to brush up on your history

          June 27, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • jbhollen

          Correction: You should have said study up on your "mythology" not "history"...

          June 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, different groups of believers feel they have a "personal relationship" with a god. I mentioned as an example previously Krishna devotees who:

          worship Krishna as the Supreme God and believe that they can attain a personal relationship with Him. One of their "Nine Processes of Devotional Service" includes sakhyam, which is developing a close personal and intimate relationship with God.

          It wasn't clear to me previously that your definition of a personal relationship with the deity is one in which a believer may hold a conversation with the god in his or her head. Muslims believe God speaks to them through the Koran, but, yes, they do not hold conversations in their heads with their deity as some Christians do. Though believing they are conversing with their god can be comforting for Christians, unfortunately, that internal conversation can sometimes lead Christians to do terrible things. Deanna Laney, a member of an Assemblies of God church, bashed in the heads of three of her children with a rock, killing two of them and permanently damaging the third.

          Files said Laney believed that God had told her the world was going to end and "she had to get her house in order," which included killing her children.

          "The dilemma she faced is a terrible one for a mother," Files said. "Does she follow what she believes to be God's will, or does she turn her back on God?"

          ~ Attorney: Woman thought God told her to kill sons at http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/29/children.slain/index.html?iref=newssearch

          There is, of course, the Akedah, i.e., the "Binding of Issac", story in Genesis 22 in which Abraham is supposedly ordered by Yahweh to kill his son, though in that story, Yahweh at the last moment declares it was only a test and Abraham then slaughters a ram to honor Yahweh, instead, and also other Old Testament verses in which Yahweh declares children should be killed for various offenses, so an order by Yahweh to a parent to kill her child is not without a biblical basis.

          Believing you are conversing with the god in your head doesn't, of course, mean you actually are conversing with a god as juries recognize; Deanna Laney was acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to a maximum security state hospital.

          Many others have also heard God speaking in their heads telling them to kill and some, of course, have carried out the instructions, just as we are told in 1 Samuel 15 that Saul heeded the instructions that Yahweh gave to Samuel for Saul to "go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." When Saul spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, Samuel cried unto the LORD all night and again heard Yahweh speaking in his head. Convincing Saul that Yahweh was really angry that, though he had been willing to slaughter women and infants as Yahweh directed, he had not killed everyone, Samuel then hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal to please the LORD. Some still hear similar commands; in 2008 Christopher Lee McCuin killed Jana Shearer hewing pieces from her body. He claimed "God told me to do it."

          Though a substantial portion of the Old Testament was written to provide justification of Jewish slaughter and enslavement of neighboring peoples, verses in 1 and 2 Samuel don't appear to be consistent regarding the elimination of the Amalekites, since though 1 Samuel 15 implies all put Agag were slaughtered, 1 Samuel 15:33 implies his mother was still alive while in 1 Samuel 27:8 we find David attacking the people of Amalek a few years later killing all the men and women and taking their livestock as booty and then even later killing Amalekites again in 1 Samuel 30:17, though it is written in that verse that 400 young men escaped that time. Then in 2 Samuel 1 1:8-10, Saul is killed by an Amalekite who David later slays.

          Others hear other voices in their heads and carry on conversations with dead loved ones, spirits, etc. E.g., Fire in the Brain by the neuropsychiatrist Ronald K. Siegel lists a number of examples. And schizophrenics may have auditory hallucinations in which they believe God is talking to them. In Religious delusions in patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia authored by Ronald Siddle, Gillian Haddock, Nicholas Tarrier, and E.Brian Faragher published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 03/2002 Volume 37 Issue 3, the authors note that the most common type of religious delusion found in the schizophrenics participating in the study was a secondary religious delusion in which the patient heard a voice or had some other hallucination attributed to be that of God or the devil. The study found that the religiously deluded had more conviction in their delusions than the non-religiously deluded schizophrenic patients studied and were more likely to indicate more certainty in an external cause for their voices than an internal cause. The paper also mentions a 1991 Gallup and Newport poll that found that 10% of non-psychotic Americans asked believed that they had personally talked with the devil.

          I presume you would say Deanna Laney, Christopher Lee McCuin, and the schizophrenic patients didn't truly hear the voice of God and those claiming to be able to converse with dead loved ones, etc., are merely imagining they are speaking with those others, but how do you know the voice you hear in your mind is more real than the voice others have claimed to hear? I'm also curious if you believe that those 10% of Americans who reported in the poll that they have conversed with the devil could be correct. I was raised in a tradition that believed in "speaking in tongues" and emphasized the use of the King James Bible. I'm curious if you accept that practice as evidence of believers receiving the Holy Spirit and also if you believe that version of the Bible is the only valid version.

          June 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ok..first of all..it seems you did not read the whole of my posts..it is not merely conversations..btu the experience of the presence..second..its sad you would bring in people whos actions were Never csuported by the Bible! PLUS...these people ALREADY had mental issues.....cant blame that on "talking with God" and you cannot dismiss OTHERS who GENuinly speak to God cause of a few bad apples....that's not good reason and logic...as for the Krsihnas...they do not have personal intimate relationships...there is no sign of it

          July 1, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          I read all of the comments you posted in reply to me. In regards to sensing a divine presence, adherents of other religions believe they have experienced a divine presence as well. They do not interpret their experiences to be an encounter with the Christian god, however. E.g., from Basics of Hinduism at http://www.himalayanacademy.com/readlearn/basics/god-and-gods-of-hinduism:

          "You can feel the presence of these divine beings, and this radiation from them is known as shakti."

          Modern Pagans may also speak of experiencing a divine presence. E.g., from Who is She? The Existence of an Ontological Goddess By Molly Meade at feminismandreligion.com/2012/09/29/who-is-she-the-existence-of-an-ontological-goddess-by-molly-meade/

          I do feel Her presence directly in my life—call it an energy, call it the sacred feminine, call it the divine, call it source, call it soul, call it spirit, call it the great mystery…I perceive a web of relatedness and love within the world and I choose to put a feminine form to that energy—to name it and know it as Goddess.

          Followers of many other religious paths write of experience of a divine presence. E.g., from Zoroastrian Mysticism I: The Mysticism of the Gathas at http://www.pyracantha.com/Z/mysticz4.html:

          Therefore before I write anything about Zoroastrian mysticism I must define my terms and what I am working with. A mystic is someone who believes, or is believed, to have had a direct experience of the Deity, or God. I define mysticism as an ongoing life lived in the presence of God, a God to which the mystic relates as a Beloved as well as a Source of Wisdom. This mysticism is rationally tested but transcends any rational explanation. Some of the basic factors of the mystical life, as cited by mystics and mystical writings are: a powerful sense of a divine Presence, with which one can sustain inner dialogue and prayer (in the imagination, mentally), the loving and friendly quality of that Presence, the increase in intelligence and alertness it brings – which is often related to a concept of God as Divine Wisdom – a feeling of happiness and peace, and, as a sign, the inner perception of brilliant light. These experiences can be simulated, or counterfeited, by various mind- altering techniques or drugs, but the true experience can be measured by its power to bring about personal and moral transformation towards what is good and constructive – what Zoroastrians call the path of ASHA, or Righteousness.

          I believe that the mystical life is universal, and that, in varying contexts and varying degrees, such contacts with the God of Light happen to people in every religion and in every time. But each mystic, of course, describes his/her experience in the context of his/her own faith. The Gathas of Zarathushtra, in my opinion, show that Zarathushtra, their author, is speaking from just such an authentic mystical experience.

          July 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          oh..and don't think I get all this cause some cleric says so......

          June 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Akira

          Kermit, so the only evidence at all about the Slaughter of the Innocents is the Bible?

          June 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          who says it has to be in more than one place? and besides..as I mentioned already....what..like perhaps 5 babies killed..not going to make sensational news..especially by a ruthless tyrant like Heord ..to whom for him this is business as usual....

          June 17, 2014 at 2:18 am |
        • Akira

          Kermit, I am assuming from your snarky response, which you seem quite unable to control, that the answer is "no."

          June 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          the answer to which question?

          June 18, 2014 at 2:12 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      I wonder if Jesus ever used the phrase "over my dead body".

      June 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Madtown

      "...No one comes to the Father except through me."
      ---–
      "I wonder why God even bothered to create me? I've never heard of this guy, and God hasn't allowed for a way for me to learn. Curious."

      – human with no access to christianity

      June 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Reality

      In reality, Jesus said no such thing. The details about John's gospel being historically nil were previously presented.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
    • alonsoquixote

      When I hear Christians repeat John 14:6 claiming that belief in Jesus is necessary to escape eternal torment after death, I always wonder if they've ever given any thought to what that implies for the millions of people who lived and died before the first century when Yahweh was still but a Jewish tribal god unknown to people in Australia, China, Europe, Ja_pan, the New World, etc. And I doubt that they've given any thought to the fate awaiting people at death who lived elsewhere in the world after Jesus' supposed death and resurrection who for many centuries afterward lived and died never having heard of the protagonist of the New Testament stories.

      Christian missionaries didn't arrive in China until the 7th century C.E. Does that mean that anyone living there prior to that time was doomed to eternal suffering after death, but if they did believe the missionaries tales, once they arrived in the 7th century, they could go on to a happy afterlife after they died?

      Christian missionaries arrived in Ja_pan with the Roman Catholic missionary Francis Xavier in the 1540s. But the government came to view Christianity as a threat to national unity and suppressed it in 1587. Ja_panese Christians became Kakure Kirishi_tan, i.e., "hidden Christians", keeping their beliefs secret in order to survive. So what of their countrymen who for even centuries afterward would live and die never hearing tales of a 1st century Jewish avatar of a god who supposedly lived and died for their sins unbeknownst to them?

      In the New World, the Spanish carried Christianity to the Dominican Republic in 1494 when they set about enslaving the native populace. If the natives accepted the biblical tales the Spanish brought with them, along with enslavement, they too would be vouchsafed a blissful afterlife, but prior to 1494, since the god did not deign to reveal himself to them before that date, they were doomed to eternal punishment for being born in the wrong part of the world or at least the wrong time for that part of the world?

      And what of all those living in Muslim lands today where Christians are forbidden to proselytize and apostasy from Islam is punishable by death, not only in Sudan, but Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Mauritania, Qatar, and Somalia. If they hear only of Christianity from clerics of their own religion critical of Christianity are they doomed to eternal punishment at death?

      If a Christian believes Yahweh will make allowances for such individuals, then the question becomes the one posed by the Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, 'If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?' 'No,' said the priest, 'not if you did not know.' 'Then why,' asked the Eskimo earnestly, 'did you tell me?'

      June 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        @ Alonso...Hebrews 11 pretty much says it.....the people BEZFORE Jesus time had faith that GOD would send the Messiah! They knew it was not their own deeds...but by God for salvation

        June 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "Hebrews 11 pretty much says it.....the people BEZFORE Jesus time had faith that GOD would send the Messiah!" What people? The members of the Jewish tribes? Millions living elsewhere in the world lived and died knowing nothing of the Jewish tribal god Yawheh and his rules nor of a promised messiah. And millions continued to live and die for centuries after the Jewish god supposedly impregnated a mortal woman, as humans were wont to imagine gods did from time to time, to incarnate in human form.

          The Old Testament makes it clear that Yahweh was originally a tribal god with the Jewish tribes as Yahweh's "chosen people". Yahweh worship probably started sometime after the 14th century BCE in southern Canaan. He likely was given the role as a national god when Saul created the United Monarchy some time between 1020 and 930 BCE making Yahweh the god of all the tribes that were united in that kingdom, though worship of other gods continued among those tribes for centuries thereafter. It was much later, during the period of the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE, that the ancient Jews came to view their god as a universal god.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God knows all people..he knows their minds....also..those before the Bible even existed..God revealed himself to them...Abraham did not have a Bible..yet He knew God not only cause his parents..but God revealed himself to Him..those who don tknow have no excuse as the Psalms and Paul says in Romans that God reveals himself in nature..in the Creaiton...people will choose as they please....

          June 8, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • kermit4jc

          actually..that is false..about the universal God thing...right from the very start God reveals that there is salvation NOT only for Jews..but the world...certainly in Egypt, when theIsraelites left, there were others among them who were not Hebrews....God did not say only the Hebrews would leave..but anyone who had faith in the True God

          June 8, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, you wrote "God knows all people..he knows their minds....also..those before the Bible even existed..God revealed himself to them...Abraham did not have a Bible.." and "God reveals himself in nature..in the Creaiton". Those statements in no way change the fact that the Jewish god Yahweh was unknown to millions of people living outside the ancient Near East who lived and died long before Christian missionaries carried tales of that god to their lands.

          They knew nothing of the edicts regarding all those whom the god wanted his followers to slaughter nor that he needed holocausts, i.e. animal sacrifices, performed in a certain way using only certain animals. They looked at the world around them and imagined quite different gods from the one imagined by the ancient Israelites. They had quite different stories and gods to explain creation.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Those statements in no way change the fact that the Jewish god Yahweh was unknown to millions of people living outside the ancient Near East who lived and died long before Christian missionaries carried tales of that god to their lands. <–I did not say they changed that...those millions who never heard of Christ still have no excuse..they are sinners and even if God revealed himself they would reject Him...doesn't matter....

          June 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, I wrote "It was much later, during the period of the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE, that the ancient Jews came to view their god as a universal god." You responded with a claim that the statement was false and said "certainly in Egypt, when theIsraelites left, there were others among them who were not Hebrews." I don't think the mention of a "mixed multi_tude" leaving Egypt with the Israelites (Exodus 12:38) implies the Jewish god is a universal god. And as I mentioned the Babylonian exile had a profound impact on Jewish theology necessitating many changes in their religious views. The composition of the Book of Exodus was started in the 6th century BCE during the Babylonian exile by the Yahwist and put in close to its final form by the Priestly Source during the post-Exilic period, but with some minor revisions continuing even into the 4th century BCE.

          E.g. from the "Exodus" article by William D. Johnstone, Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at the University of Aberdden in Aberdeen, Scotland, on page 72 of "Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible" edited by James D. G. Dunn and John William Rogerson, (c) 2003 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.:

          *** begin quote

          A strong case can be made for the composition of a first draft of Exodus during the Babylonian exile of the sixth century BC. It is the moment of national catastrophe, when every agency supporting national life has been destroyed – temple, monarchy, political independence through possession of land – which has precipitated the reappraisal of all the earlier traditions and practices and the attempt to produce a new synthesis. Superimposed upon that first draft is the final edition of the work, which is a response to the actual attempts to re-create national life in the postexilic period. Hopes for the future, which only God can bring about, are here expressed through an idealized portrait of Israel's origins; this is what the journey through the wilderness must be like of Israel is successfully to enter the promised land.

          The presentation of Exodus in the following pages as a combination of two major editions may come as a surprise to some readers. To those schooled in the academic tradition of the past hundred years and more it has come to be accepted that the Pentateuch represents the combination of four "sources." The view taken here is that there is no doubt that, behind the older of the two versions identified below, lie preexilic traditions; but it is doubtful whether earlier written accounts of these traditions, which were preserved after all in a vast reservoir of living religious practice, can be recovered by the analysis of the extant literary account. The "older version" of the exilic period is a free literary composition and digest of preexilic traditions, not (or not only) the elaboration of inherited written "kernels." ...

          *** end quote

          Incidentally, the Exodus story is a legend not a historical event, but is, instead an origins story for the Jewish people. There is no historical nor archaeological evidence to support the tale. The number supposed to have left Egypt led by Moses is wildly implausible, since according to Exodus 12:37-38, the Israelites numbered about 600,000 men on foot along with women and children, plus many non-Israelites and livestock. Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,500 men twenty years or more of age who could serve in Israel's army, excluding the Levites whom Yahweh directed Moses should not be counted. The more than six hundred thousand men twenty years old or older who could serve in the army, plus, wives, children, the elderly and the "mixed multi_tude" of non-Israelites would have likely numbered some two million people. The population of Egypt in 1250 BCE was around 3 to 3.5 million. Yet there is no historical nor archaeological evidence that Egypt ever suffered such a demographic and economic catastrophe or that the Sinai desert ever hosted, or could have hosted, such a multi_tude of people and their livestock. The archaeological evidence points to the Israelites having Canaanite origins rather than coming to the area from Egypt. The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their early cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains reflect the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.

          The Old Testament's references to the Israelites as being Yahweh's chosen people favored above all others by the god, i.e., a tribal or national god, is in keeping with views among other cultures in the region during the early period of Yahweh worship with particular cities in Mesopotamia having a patron god to protect the inhabitants. The Old Testament makes it clear that not only is Yahweh a god of the Jewish tribes, but only certain members of those tribes are allowed to perform the requisite animal sacrifices so important to Yahweh.

          When the Assyrians conquered the northern portion of the United Monarchy, the Kingdom of Isrel in 722 BCE, and then the Babylonians conquered the southern portion, the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE, taking its ruler, priests, and other elite citizenry into exile in Babylon, the Jews were forced to come up with a reason for why their god did not protect them from such catastrophe. The explanation developed was that some had angered the god, but, since they could no longer perform the animal sacrifices demanded by their god in the same way as they had in Jerusalem, many other changes were needed in the religion as well. The changes were quite substantial by the time the exiles were allowed to return to their homeland, which is why Samaritans claim their religion is the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile as opposed to the altered religion brought back by those returning from the Babylonian exile.

          June 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kermit4jc, when you write ".those millions who never heard of Christ still have no excuse..they are sinners and even if God revealed himself they would reject Him...doesn't matter...." Do you believe in "absolute predestination" and the Calvinist notion of "reprobation". As expressed by Loraine Boettner in "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" (Eerdmans, 1932)

          "The doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms “elect” and “election” imply the terms “non-elect” and “reprobation.” When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter. This, too, is of God. We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam’s posterity in their sins, and that the decisive factor in the life of each is to be found only in God’s will. As Mozley has said, the whole race after the fall was “one mass of perdition,” and “it pleased God of His sovereign mercy to rescue some and to leave others where they were; to raise some to glory, giving them such grace as necessarily qualified them for it, and abandon the rest, from whom He withheld such grace, to eternal punishment."

          It seems from your statement that for you they were doomed from birth to damnation, so there was no need for Yahweh to reveal himself or the tenets of Christianity to them to give them an opportunity to accept or reject Christianity's view of the god. Otherwise, why would they be left in ignorance of the Jewish god and his avatar, Jesus.

          June 8, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @Alonso Do you believe in “absolute predestination” and the Calvinist notion of “reprobation”.<-I don tknow how she describes it..never heard of her..I don't hold to predestination though...as I said cleary..God knows their hearts..God knows that even if he revealed Himself plainly to them, theyd still reject Him...

          June 9, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          If God is all-knowing, then he KNOWS what would persuade everyone on the planet. If he is all-powerful, then he could do so with ease. Before you claim the free will argument, I'm talking about PERSUASION. Have you ever persuaded anyone of anything? Did you violate their free will by doing so? So, God knows how to persuade me, even if I didn't know–he knows. And he has the means to do so, being all-powerful. It would be nothing to him at all. Being all-good, he would do so rather than punishing anyone for not believing.

          Therefore, an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who punishes people for their honest disbelief does not exist.

          I've brought this up before, and you always ignore it.

          June 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          If God is all-knowing, then he KNOWS what would persuade everyone on the planet. If he is all-powerful,<-that's to assume EVERYONE is persuaded...but as I look around I see it is not so...it is about the human will who wants to deny and reject God...its the humans who want to live their lives Their way..not Gods way..im sorry..but you pretty much made an assumption that isn't fitting with reality

          June 10, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit...actually, Dan is very in touch with reality. And the reality is....no god would want his creation to fail. He would have made himself a lot less ambiguous if he really wanted us to succeed. Because of that, only 30% of his people believe in him. He is a miserable failure at his job.

          June 10, 2014 at 7:53 am |
        • kermit4jc

          no god would want his creation to fail<-I would quite agree..but the True God also doe snot make us into puppets.He gives us the mind to use and to CHOOSE..and again as I said..People CHOOSE to reject God....this afterlife thing is NOT merely about getting to heaven...the Christian/Judao doctrines are about RELATIONSHIP with God....He does nto coerce us into a relationship.....do you coerce people into a relationship against their will? if you do..its called r a p e

          June 10, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....no, I don't coerce anybody. But, I sure give them enough information in order to make a rational and logically informed decision. That is not the case here, or more than 30% of people would believe in your god.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • kermit4jc

          and here we go again playing the stupid blame God....God does give enough info..and people STLL willfully make a choice to reject Him.....stop blaming God..stop being arrogant..and accept choice you make...you have no excuse

          June 10, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....I'm really not looking for excused. I completely reject your god, for many reasons, and am extremely content with that choice. The god of the bible has proven over and over again how heartless, cruel, worthless, and incompetent he is. Yet you believers eat it up. Congratulations on your ignorance, and I hope you are as happy with your p-rick of a god as I am without him.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:10 am |
        • kermit4jc

          sounds to me youre theone who is ignorant....God is such that He is JUDGE..it has nothing to do with being heartless..on the contrary..He made a way so we don't HAVE to go to hell...he didn't wait forus to makeourselves better (we cant) as Romans says "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" so really the claim of yours is out of ignorance of the True God..plus..just because you don't LIKE something..doesn't meanits bad..our feelings don't determine truth all the time...youthink the judges in courts ENJOY sentencing people to jail????

          June 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....nope, he is not my judge at all. I am completely and utterly rejecting the notion of any and all gods. They are not real, so I have no fear of any retribution. Life is random and I know that scares you believers to death, but I really am very content with my decision.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          life don't scare me

          June 11, 2014 at 1:50 am |
        • dandintac

          What does scare you Kermit?

          Have you ever doubted for one minute? What if you're worshiping the wrong god? What if you've done something that will make God burn you in Hell forever? What if we were right, and God does not exist–would you then fear death? Just curious.

          Is there anything involving this topic that scares you?

          June 11, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Have you ever doubted for one minute? What if you’re worshiping the wrong god? What if you’ve done something that will make God burn you in Hell forever? <–certainly none of those..I know God personally...its been over 25 years and nothing can shale me from that truth...however..what does scare me? physical pain....I don't like it....like getting in a car crash, fire..or something.....death in of itself does not scare me as I know what happenes afterwards.

          June 12, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • kermit4jc

          and life in of itself does not scare me..in fact IM having a wonderful life even though I am in heavy debt over college loans, even though I have some physical disabilities (eyesight, hearing, migraines....and a host of other things) I love life...I live the life...

          June 12, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          You seem to be asserting that billions of people world-wide are beyond all-powerful God's power to persuade. Sorry, but I don't buy it.

          June 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          right..yuo want a God who coerces people....you live in a fantasy world where you think people would be persuaded by an all powerful God....I don't buy that..I see reality..yes..billions simpy choose not to accept..no matter how much God persuades....people are fickle

          June 11, 2014 at 1:52 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I’ve brought this up before, and you always ignore it.<-as of right now..IM looking at 450+ posts that's been sent to my email from this blog..I cannot go thru every single one of them..and you know I answer most of them...don't assume IM ignoring it willfully....ok? suck it up and let it go

          June 10, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • kermit4jc

          It seems from your statement that for you they were doomed from birth to damnation, so there was no need for Yahweh to reveal himself or the tenets of Christianity to them to give them an opportunity to accept or reject Christianity’s view of the god. Otherwise, why would they be left in ignorance of the Jewish god and his avatar, Jesus.<-and again God has revealed Himself anyways..innature..in their consciousness when they "follow the law"

          June 9, 2014 at 1:54 am |
        • Akira

          Kermit, uncheck the button that asks if you want to be notified by email when someone replies to a thread.
          This way you avoid all of the replies not directly addressing you. Reply to the posts button at the top of this page only. You'll avoid a lot of headaches that way.

          June 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          This way you avoid all of the replies not directly addressing you. Reply to the posts button at the top of this page only. You’ll avoid a lot of headaches that way.<-still nt sure what you mean with the posts button at the top of the page...Id love to get rid of those that are not directed at me....what I do is click on post and the "notify me of follow up comments"

          June 12, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit–you truly believe that billions of God's children on this world are utterly unreachable by all-powerful God? Come on! ALL-POWERFUL God can't even persuade at least some of these people? Maybe 50% of them? You truly believe that every non-believer in your religion cannot be persuaded by an all-powerful God? Well then, it's safe to say that God is NOT all-powerful if that is the case.

          But I tell you now–I swear to you in fact, that I am indeed reachable. All I need is hard evidence. Evidence that is verifiable, reliable, testable, non-trivial, and compelling. This should be child's play for an all-powerful God. Let me tell you how God could do it for me, and I'm positive–almost every single person on Earth.

          First, get priests of different religions to pray for this, so we know which one is right. When the priest of the correct religion prays, God appears to everyone, everywhere–maybe a giant face in the sky or something, and his voice is heard everywhere–including on TV, radio, iPhones–everything, and in the sky and in our minds–all at once.

          Have some amputees lined up, or some other ailment that is known to never ever be cured or go into remission, and ask God to grow the limbs back. Make sure they are all good deserving people, and include some innocent children. This would be done in front of scientists and professional Magicians who can watch for tricks, and under controlled conditions, and then this is repeated until scientists and everyone else is satisfied.

          Then, God could enclose the Earth in a protective but transparent envelope–and send the Earth plunging right through the sun, protected by God's glory of course, and out the other side, and then he pulls the Earth back through again, and returns the Earth safely back to its original orbit, with all life completely protected and unharmed.

          After this demonstration, I guarantee you (after we all clean out our shorts) that no rational person will doubt God's existence. He then could settle all religious controversies, who is right, and who is way off, and so on.

          June 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Kermit–you truly believe that billions of God’s children on this world are utterly unreachable by all-powerful God? Come on! ALL-POWERFUL God can’t even persuade at least some of these people? yes..exactly..again many wont even go for the "hard evidence" cause they are such a skeptic they will only find excuses...as for you? your enot dead yet,..there is still hope..its good you still keep an open mind...but for many..they don't keep an open mind..they will still reject God no matter what..itsnot about power..Gods power does not coerce people..its about people themselves..thats reality....look at how you people think we wont change about evolution! YOU all claim there is hard evidence! yet we don't believe in it.....see what I mean? Its a fact of life....and again this is nore than justgetting to heaven..this is about a relationship with God..and many don't want that

          June 12, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Doris

          kermie: "I know God personally"

          Good. Send him right over – I have some yard work for him to attend to.

          June 12, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Akira

          Kermit, un click the "notify me of follow up comments" near the post button and just use the WordPress posts button at the top of the page near you name.
          Your email account will thank you.

          June 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
  12. bostontola

    People in religion A find religion B, religion C, etc. obviously false.

    People in religion B find religion A, religion C, etc. obviously false.

    People in religion C find religion A, religion B, etc. obviously false.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    Atheists find all religions false. Not that much different.

    June 6, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • niknakk

      Yeah, but if you don't have at least one god you follow, then you will be stoned to death.
      Why doesn't god(s) have a twitter account so it's peeps can follow it?

      June 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod

        June 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Akira

          Funny...if I were on Twitter, I might follow him...

          June 7, 2014 at 11:31 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    Muslims: Allahu akbar!
    Christians: Deus vult!
    Jews: Oy vey.

    June 6, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Atheirsts: "you're ALL crazy!"

      June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  14. transframer

    So, according to this article, Allah condemns the apostasy, but apparently doesn't say anything about executing the guilty. Then, Mohammed who is God's messenger comes and says: execute them. It's pretty clear that, by any standards, Islam does indeed say to execute converters. The Sunna passages which show otherwise are not conflicting but just temporary and local leaks which in no way send another message

    June 6, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Akira

      Reminds me a lot of the Old Testament.

      June 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • transframer

        There is no commandment in OT to kill

        June 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • Madtown

          From Deuteronomy 7:

          "23 But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them."

          June 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • niknakk

          That is all there was in the Old Testic_le Transformer, killing.
          Mostly done by your evil sky wizard.
          Which is why your ancestors had to rewrite the thing.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • transframer

          These are orders for Israel people in specific circ-umstances, not for anybody else

          June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • nojinx

          "These are orders for Israel people in specific circ-umstances, not for anybody else"

          This was the author's point regarding Islamic writings.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • transframer

          Yes, except that this is not true for Islam where this is not an order given to some ppl in some circ-umstance but a commandment for everybody, in any place or condition

          June 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Madtown

          These are orders for Israel people in specific circ-umstances
          -----
          Right, because God plays favorites, and develops convenants with some of his equal human creations, just not all of them. It's almost as if those passages were written by an Israeli.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Akira

          The same can be said for the verses in the Quran. Killing is killing, no matter what book commands it.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • transframer

          @Madtown
          Yes, God played favorites, and Israel was his chosen people. All the killing orders were for his people only, in some circ-umstances. He did not address to all humans, all times, this were not laws/commandments.
          Unlike Islam, were this is a commandment

          June 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • transframer

          Yes killing is killing. However is one thing when you tell some ppl to kill in some conditions (such as kill 100 ppl and stop, never do it again) and other thing when you tell all the ppl to kill, in any condition (kill an infinite number of ppl, never stop)

          June 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Akira

          If killing is wrong, it is wrong no matter what book is commanding it.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Madtown

          transframer
          @Madtown
          Yes, God played favorites, and Israel was his chosen people.
          ----
          Oh really? And you know this how? Because you've read some writings crafted by ancient Israelites? How convenient that they write that God had "chosen" them as his people, but of course. I'd just bet that other tribes believed they were the chosen ones, and not Israel. Why would you choose to worship a God that willingly played favorites, and didn't treat his creations equally? Playing favorites certainly doesn't seem like a Godly quality, it seems a very HUMAN quality. Which of course is why it's written that way in the bible, because the bible is a human creation.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • transframer

          Killings in OT no longer are in effect today, they are history. Unlike Islam where still work.
          And not any killing is wrong. Do you think killing Hitler before starting the war would have been wrong?

          June 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • transframer

          @Madtown
          It is Godly quality when you are God (omniscient) and you have a plan.You know what's the best, not for now or short term (which is the only way humans can understand) but for eternity

          June 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well put trans..especially that last part about the short term vs long term

          June 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " And not any killing is wrong. Do you think killing Hitler before starting the war would have been wrong? "
          Are you equating Job's family with Hitler ? Seriously ?

          June 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Akira

          Trans,
          I think Hitler was nuts, and bringing him up is a red herring best served with mustard.
          It is also clear that interpretations of different books being different meanings to those that are interpreting them.

          As I said all along, cherry picking from either book is disingenuous, and comparing the two is quite the endeavor in futility. So why do it?

          June 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Madtown

          It is Godly quality when you are God (omniscient) and you have a plan
          -----
          How do you know for certain this is God's plan?

          June 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • transframer

          @midwest rail
          I don't know what you are talking about

          June 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • transframer

          @Akira
          Hitler is just an obvious example to make an idea. There are countless others that we can see and even more that we can't see but God can
          Nobody is stopping you to show full context here and so show that those cherry pickings have in fact different meanings.
          And no, comparison with Islam is not futile, Islam is the opposite of Christianity and we can show it.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • Akira

          Okay, trans, I read you loud and clear; it is perfectly justifiable for you to cherry pick, but it isn't for anyone else. Got it.

          June 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • transframer

          I didn't say that and let me repeat: it's not justifiable to cherry pick if the pick is part of a context which changes the meaning of the picks.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • Alias

          aka "The bible couldnt say THAT or it would be wrong. Therefore you are reading it wrong."

          June 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • Akira

          Trans,
          And yet Russ did. In the context of the other verses accompanying that surah, he absolutely did. Which is what I pointed out.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          transframer, when you wrote "There is no commandment in OT to kill", anyone who has read the Old Testament knows that statement is obviously incorrect.

          Kill witches – Exodus 22:18
          Kill gays – Leviticus 20:13
          Kill those who worship other gods than Yahweh – Deuteronomy 17
          Kill people who don't obey Yahweh's priests – Deuteronomy 17:12
          Kill infants – 1Samuel 15:3
          Kill adulterers – Leviticus 20:10
          Kill stubborn and rebellious sons – Deuteronomy 21:18-21
          Kill those who work on the Sabbath – Exodus 31:15
          Etc.

          Most of us have heard the excuse, "that only applies to the Jews when they were Yahweh's favorites", but once Christians became his new favorites and the god rejected his prior favorites, the Jews, because they didn't believe the New Testament tales which contradicted Jewish theology, e.g., see "Why Don’t Jews Believe In Jesus?" at simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewsandjesus/ , Yahweh rescinded the old edicts he levied upon his followers to kill so many people. But you believe the god wanted his followers at one time to kill those people, but once he incarnated himself in human form in the first century to be a sacrifice to himself in the form of the "Son" to himself in the form of the "Father" as atonement for the first couple eating of the fruit of the "one forbidden thing" he placed in a garden with them, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that he no longer deemed it necessary for his followers to kill all of the above people? That makes sense to you?

          June 7, 2014 at 11:06 am |
  15. neverbeenhappieratheist

    The general idea this article pushes is that there is a "right" way to be a Muslim and there is a "wrong" way, and this author thinks he knows the "right" way, much like the 42,000 different versions of Christianity, he has his own version of Islam.

    But the fact is that as long as there are those who use those "misunderstood" sunna passages to inflict violence on others the religion should be rejected in whole. Either stand up for the rights of humans and stop excusing murderers in the Islam community or burn your disgusting religion and all of its books to the ground.

    June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  16. Vic

    Gosh, if I only had some references handy.

    I believe this article is farfetched. The Quran directly instructs the killing of 'infidels' and those who refuse to convert to Islam, to mention a few. The 'death penalty' for renouncing or conversion from Islam is a well established and globally known tenet.

    Also, Merriam Ibrahim is Christian by confession of Faith —Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior— and NOT by what she was born and/or brought up into!

    June 6, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • Madtown

      "The Quran is direct revelation from God. It is the inspired word of God. You christians follow a false path."

      – signed, a human being God created and placed by birth in Egypt

      June 6, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • Science Works

      Hey Vic

      And one of your favorites is – Hagee the end times are coming right Vic ?

      June 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  17. Russ

    Jesus says: Peter, put down your sword (Mt.26:52). Love your enemy (Mt.5:44).
    Mohammed says: slay your enemy (Surah 2:191; 5:33).

    And why does this article not address Surah 4:88-89?
    Isn't that a direct answer to the article's question?

    June 6, 2014 at 9:50 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Jesus says: Pick up your sword. If you don't own one, sell the clothes off your back and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
      Mohammad says: Grant asylum to those pagans who ask for it (Surat At-Tawbah 9:6)

      June 6, 2014 at 10:05 am |
      • Russ

        @ Doc:
        really? is that how you read that verse?
        1) it's calling Christians to expect persecution, but not to go kill people
        2) when Peter (who is obeying in having a sword) whips his out, what did Jesus say? your interpretation here requires assuming Jesus is simply self-contradictory.
        3) again, Jesus clearly says things like "love your enemy" and dies for people who were his enemies
        4) for the first 300 years after Christ, Christianity spread WITHOUT any such violence or political maneuvering, but rather through the purposeful, aggressive yet non-violent evangelism of the Roman Empire.

        SUM: your read here requires ignoring the context, the overall teaching of Christ, his death, and the immediate historical actions & methods of his followers. i'm not overstating the facts. Jesus taught a radically different approach to 'spreading' the faith.

        Consider Islam's historical 'spread' for comparison: the immediate centuries following Mohammed were full of Islam spreading at the edge of a sword. No where is there "love for the enemy." Come on, Doc. even a basic 'comparative religion' class has to note the radical difference here.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          Russ, you wrote "for the first 300 years after Christ, Christianity spread WITHOUT any such violence or political maneuvering, but rather through the purposeful, aggressive yet non-violent evangelism of the Roman Empire." There certainly was plenty of political maneuvering during the first centuries of Christianity's existence as various sects with quite different views contended against one another, e.g. the Judaizers versus the Pauline Christians, Arians verus Trinitarians, etc. When Constantine I (272 – 337 CE), aka "Constantine the Great", an emperor who reigned from 306 to 337 CE and who had his wife, Fausta, smothered to death and his son, Crispus, executed as well as a nephew and countless friends, decided to use Christianity to unify the Roman Empire under a common religion, Christians then gained access to the power of the state. Before that time they had no capability for large-scale persecution and killing of members of rival religions. What happened once they gained that power? Why persecution of members of rival religions of course.

          Constantine I ordered the pillaging and destruction of pagan temples during the latter stages of his reign. His son, Constantius II, who reigned from 337 till 361 CE, ordered the closing of all Pagan temples and mandated the death penalty for any Pagans who continued to practice their religious rites. Christians were free to vandalize the ancient Pagan temples, tombs, and monuments and did so. Under the influence of the Bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, Theodosius I, the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire, who reigned as Roman Emperor from 379 to 395 CE, issued decrees that effectively made orthodox Nicene Christianity the official state church of the Roman Empire and removed non-Nicene Christians from church offices. In 393 CE he issued a comprehensive law that prohibited any public non-Christian religious customs. He also authorized the killing of pagan priests and the destruction of Pagan temples and holy sites. He also persecuted the Gnostic Manichaeans who could be executed.

          Gratian, who was emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 375 to 383 CE, also under the influence of the Bishop of Milan Ambrose, appropriated the income of the Pagan priests, forbade legacies of real property to them, confiscated the personal possessions of the colleges of Pagan priests, and declared that all of the Pagan temples and shrines were to be confiscated by the government. Valentinian II assumed the office of Emperor in the Western Roman Empire in 388 CE. Also under the influence of Ambrose, he issued a law in 391 CE forbidding anyone from visiting the Pagan temples and then shortly afterwards issued another law decreeing that Pagan temples must be closed, i.e., in essence outlawing Paganism.

          After Theodosius I, there were a long series of Christian emperors who persecuted Pagans, including Arcadius, Honorius, Theodosius II, Marcian and Leo I, aka "the Butcher", and Justinian. Paganism wasn't wiped out but Pagans had to practice their religion in secret to avoid persecution. Laws were passed against blasphemy and apostasy from Christianity. E.g., from "Christianity and its persecution of Apostates, Humanists, Pantheists Deists, Atheists and others", which can be found at http://heretication.info/_atheists.html :

          "The codification of Roman Law carried out by the Christian Emperor Justinian in the sixth century was clear. According to his Corpus Juris Civilis, famine, earthquakes and pestilence were attributable to God's wrath, induced by a failure to punish blasphemers. This was exactly the opposite of what had been believed three hundred years earlier, when Christians had been blamed for the wrath of the gods. The difference was that now the punishment for blasphemy, fixed by Justinian's code, was death. This code would be influential not only in the East but also in the West. By the time the Holy Roman Empire came into being in AD 800 such ideas were accepted throughout Europe."

          The foundation for the Holy Roman Empire was laid by Charlemagne, who in 800 A.D. became the first emperor in western Europe, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier and who was a pivotal figure in the Christianization of Europe, issued the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, which prescribed death for Saxons who refused to convert from their native Germanic paganism to Christianity. In 782 A.D., at the Massacre of Verden, he massacred 4,500 captive Saxons who had rebelled after his invasion and subsequent attempts to forcibly convert them to Christianity.

          There were other instances of Christian rulers using fire and the sword to Christianize the populace. E.g., Olaf Tryggvason who was King of Norway from 995 to 1000 A.D. routinely used force to compel conversions to Christianity, including executions and torture of those who refused. The Norse Seiðr priest and warrior Raud the Strong refused to convert. As an example to others who refused to convert, Olaf had a drinking horn inserted in Raud's mouth and a snake inserted into the horn. The snake wouldn't cooperate and go into Raud's mouth, so Olaf had a hot poker applied to the snake to force it into his mouth and down his throat. Another who refused to convert was Eyvind Kinnrifi. Olaf had him killed by placing a brazier of hot coals on his belly. According to Heimskringla, one of the Old Norse kings' sagas, Olaf also had völva (shamans) tied up and left on a skerry, i.e., a small rocky island, which was above water when the tide was low, but many many feet beneath it when the tide was high. By such examples Olaf converted the Norwegian Vikings, at least ostensibly to Christianity. Archaeological records show that many still adhered to the old religion for almost another two hundred years, however.

          There were also the Northern Crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden against the Pagan peoples of northern Europe in the 12th and 13 centuries. Pope Celestine III proclaimed a crusade against the Baltic heathens in 1195.

          Sigmundur Brestisson brought Christianity to the Faroe Islands by taking a contingent of armed men to the residence of the chieftain Tróndur í Gøtu. They broke into his house at night and offered him the choice between accepting Christianity or beheading; he chose the former.

          The spread of Christianity in the New World and Africa was accomplished by the enslavement and subjugation of peoples in those lands. E.g., Columbus brought Christianity, warfare, and enslavement to the Taino of the Caribbean after his arrival in 1492. The Taino were forcibly converted to Christianity. Of the Taino, Columbus wrote "They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will...they took great delight in pleasing us..They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal...Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people...They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing." But, of course, they weren't Christian, an unallowable offense. The Spanish historian and Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas (1484 – 1566), who accompanied Spanish conquistadors to the New World wrote of the atrocities committed by the Spanish Christians against the native peoples, including the slaughter of women and children.

          From "Essentials of Cultural Anthropology 3rd Edition" by Garrick Bailey and James Peoples:

          "Forced conversions, the use of force or the threat of force, characterized the early Spanish policy in the Americas. Priests accompanied the conquistadors. Temples were destroyed together with sacred manuscripts and/or ritual items. Priests of the old religion were forbidden to perform rituals and were frequently killed if they did. Even after the initial conquest, priests were usually accompanied by soldiers who forced the native peoples to build churches and attend religious services. It was not just the indigenous peoples of the Americas who suffered from forced conversion. African slaves were also forced to convert to Christianity by the Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French."

          Of course, Christians often turned on one another as well in an effort to stamp out competing Christian sects. E.g., Pope Innocent III, who launched the Fourth Crusade to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem, also launched the twenty year Albigensian Crusade in 1209 against the Cathars, a Christian dualist sect, with roots in the Paulician movement, in Southern France. The Cathars viewed the god of the Old Testament as an evil god.

          There were also the Hussite Wars from 1419 to circa 1434 in which the Roman Catholic Church went to war against followers of Jan Hus, a priest, philosopher, and master at Charles University in Prague who had tried to reform the Church, condemning its sale of indulgences, which were the equivalent of a "get out of jail" card in the game of Monopoly in that the Church sold them as a means for believers to get out of Purgatory.

          In the next century there were the French Wars of Religion (1562–98) between French Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots. Of course, there were many other conflicts between Protestants and Catholics as well. Internecine conflicts between Christian groups goes all the way back to Constantine I, the first Christian Roman Emperor. He issued an edict calling for the seizure of Donatist property, though later in 321 A.D., he asked the "catholic" bishops to show toleration towards them.

          So, though it may be true that "for the first 300 years after Christ", Christians had to rely, for the most part, on nonviolent means of converting others, since before that time Christians were an essentially powerless minority, but once Christians gained control of the apparatus of state and armed power they used it to suppress competing religions and to persecute and kill adherents of competing religions.

          June 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Russ

          @ alonso:
          again, i'm not here to defend the many mistakes in Church history – notably which the Bible itself calls out.

          but as i said before, the first 300 years (note well: Constantine did not "convert" [a debated topic] until AD 312).

          moreover, note well HOW the apostles all "fought" against their enemies – just as Jesus did, at great cost to themselves, not bloodshed of others.

          and that was my point: in so far as Christianity reflects HOW Christ used his power (at great cost to himself for the sake of others), it stands in *direct contrast* to how Mohammed encouraged his followers to exercise theirs (take military power at the expense of those who stand in your way).

          or as Yale scholar Kenneth Scott Latourette put it:
          "Why, among all the cults and philosophies competing in the Greco-Roman world, did Christianity succeed and outstrip all others? Why did it succeed despite getting more severe opposition than any other? Why did it succeed though it had no influential backers in high places, but consisted mainly of the poor and slaves? How did it succeed so completely that it forced the most powerful state in history to come to terms with it, and then outlive the very empire that sought to uproot it? It is clear that at the very beginning of Christianity there must have occurred a vast release of energy perhaps unequaled in our history. Without it, the future course of the Christian religion is inexplicable."

          A helpful primer here:
          Rodney Stark, "The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries"

          June 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Russ, thanks for the book recommendation. On the topic of the rise of Christianity, there's also "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years" written by John Philip Jenkins, who is a colleague of Rodney Stark at Baylor University and who thanks Stark for his help with his book in his acknowledgements for the book.

          A quote attributed to Mohandas Gandhi is "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.", though that may be a paraphrase of something he actually said. Many clerical and political Christian leaders throughout history seem not to have given much weight to one of the sayings attributed to Jesus mentioned in your original posting, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (Matthew 5:44). The saying attributed to Gandhi seems applicable to many of them.

          Mithraism was popular in the first century, especially among the Roman military, which does lead to the question why did Christianity and in particular Pauline Christianity come to be a dominant religion whereas Mithraism, the Serap_is, and a host of other religions current at the time failed to persist. Mithraism only lasted until about the 4th century. Mithraism lacked the centralized authority and common creed that Constantine I helped establish for Christianity in the 4th century with the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. The Constantinian shift towards Christianity combined with that lack of a central authority and a well-organized religious hierarchy greatly favored Christianity in competi_tion between religions by the time of the 4th century.

          The Serap_is persisted into the 4th century as well, but after Constantine I embraced Christianity as a unifying religion for the Roman Empire allowing Christians to gain power they became vulnerable to attack. A Christian mob led by Theophilus of Alexandria, the twenty-third Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, destroyed the Ser_apeum of Alexander some time between 385 and 391 CE. And Theodosius I decrees issued near the end of the 4th century effectively making Nicene Christianity the official state religion and proscribing the public practice of other religions was, of course, a significant blow to their ability to compete with Christianity.

          It is also in the 4th century we find Christian leaders endorsing violence against other Christians holding to different doctrines. Athanasius of Alexandria, the twentieth bishop of Alexandria, who was on the winning side when Constantine I gave his support to the trinitarian version of Christianity, believed that violence was justified in dealing with heretics, such as the non-trinitarian Arians. And in 385 CE, Priscillian, bishop of Ávila in Spain, became the first person in Christianity to be executed for heresy, though not for deviancy from trinitarianism. Priscillian welcomed women as equals of men and encouraged them to participate in ministry; among other decrees, the synod that was convened to condemn him decreed that women were forbidden to join with men during the time of prayer. Priscillian was tortured and beheaded, along with a number of his followers.

          The book you recommended covers a topic of interest to me and I've added it to my list of books to read, but since the list is already long and I don't have the time available to me that I would like to have for reading, it will probably be some time before I get to it.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        slandering the Lord once again D0C. your hate must be consuming you by now.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • doobzz

          Quoting the bible is slander?

          June 6, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          It is when you point out a scripture that refutes their ideology and they have to back pedel to come up with excuses and stutter "C.. C.. Context! Things were like different and stuff back then so anything we don't like doesn't apply!"

          You cannot have a reasoned debate with someone who won"t accept the world as it is but deeply wishes the world was as they want it to be. When a believer reads Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." they can't help but think in their heads "That's me! I'm meek, right? Of course I am! So it's all mine!"

          June 6, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • awanderingscot

          NBHA
          Meek = considering a brother in Christ to be better than oneself. (it does not mean to be a wimp). again you display your utter lack of comprehension of God and His ways.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • Madtown

          Entertaining irony alert.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Meek: quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.

          You are welcome to invent new definitions if you want to but if you do I get to as well. How about this one:

          Insane: a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill especially found in Christians, Muslims and virtually all religious persons.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • observer

          Killing non-believers was a command from God, but the perfect and "unchanging" God changed his mind.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
      • transframer

        Doc: your picks need a context, Russ' picks don't any context, they are exactly what they say.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I love it, arbitrary context adviser to the rescue! Thanks for your opinion you dishonest rube.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Akira

          Numbers 31:17-18 says exactly what is says, too.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bob

      Russ, nice pick there, but let's take a look at other, less pleasant instructions purportedly from your "god" in your Christian book of nasty AKA the bible. From both foul testaments of your mythbook:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      1 Timothy 2:11
      "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

      Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 6, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • awanderingscot

        try providing some context next time, you know nothing about scripture, history, God, or His ways. your hatred of God must be consuming you by now.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:29 am |
        • Bob

          Actually, lostscot, my post speaks directly to your context issue. Again, since you have reading and comprehension difficulties:

          And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

          So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          June 6, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • awanderingscot

          blah-blah-blah-blah .. so you hate God, so you hate religion, so you hate people who worship God, what else is new? no man of God is wasting his breath on you anyway. why are you so conceited? did you think the message was for you? LOL.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • doobzz

          "your hatred of God must be consuming you by now" LOL.

          Your hatred of Zeus must be consuming you by now.

          Your hatred of Santa Claus must be consuming you by now.

          Your hatred of the Loch Ness monster must be consuming you by now.

          Your hatred of Harry Potter must be consuming you by now.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Bob

          No, lostscot, actually, I am doing a public service by pointing out the hate and guidance to violence and horror that is in your mythbook. Again, here are some direct quotes that show just how nasty the guidances in your Christian instruction manual really are. Note also the comments about context amd interpretation:

          Numbers 31:17-18
          17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
          18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

          Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

          1 Timothy 2:11
          "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

          Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

          Leviticus 25
          44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
          45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
          46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

          Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

          Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

          And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

          So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          June 6, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Akira

          awanderingscot, Russ did the sane thing by taking those Quran verses out of context.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • transframer

          Akira: what is the Quran context?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Akira

          The sane context that you wish one to read the Old Testament, trans.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • transframer

          Could you be more explicit please?

          June 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Akira

          I don't know how to make it any clearer: read the verses in context. For any Scripture.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          A tune for a awanderingsnot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYM4jIxCJ14 I believe it's suitable for him.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • transframer

        Bob: those who God addresses in OT are not Christians

        June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Right, because if there is one thing their God isn't it's consistent. Different rules for different people, why would the creator of the universe make just one set of laws for humans, he likes to change it up on the fly.

          "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." Deuteronomy 13:13-19

          But then he got over his jealousy and has now changed the message to "But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39

          Vile is their message and dishonesty their trade. You cannot have a NT without the OT and to even suggest such a thing shows how frantically they will dance around their own bibles words when it doesn't suit them.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • transframer

          Yes, you cannot have a NT without the OT but the rules are the same. Those quoted from OT are not rules but orders for some specific groups of ppl in some specific conditions

          June 6, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "not rules but orders"

          Whatever lets you justify your continued belief. You are basically saying that if Muslims live by some code where you should kill anyone trying to worship other Gods they are inherently evil, but when YOUR God commanded his people to murder not only the individual who strays but the entire town, that was a "special circvmstance" and should not be considered "rules but orders".

          June 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • transframer

          You may have a point if Jesus ordered to kill and not in some conditions but any time. But he didn't, by the contrary, he ordered to love our enemy, something you won't find in Islam, so there is no comparison with Islam

          June 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Do you believe Jesus is God? If so do you believe that God divinely inspired the OT and the NT? If so, then would not the command "If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act (that of worshiping other Gods) has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock" found in Deuteronomy 13 be divinely inspired instruction from Jesus? Do you understand the meaning of the word "destroy"?

          Backflips and cartwheels are all I see coming from every single bible and quran apologist.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • transframer

          "You" in that quote is that group of pre-christian people, not you and me. God didn't speak to/ you, me or anyone else. This is not a commandment

          June 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I like how you decided not to answer a single one of my questions, I must assume they were too difficult for you.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • transframer

          Oh, sorry, I thought it's obvious, sometimes I forget it's not for atheists. Yes, I believe Jesus is God and NT and OT were divinely inspired by God

          June 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          So what you are saying is that you believe Jesus inspired those words and approved of the actions of those ancient Hebrews who would murder an entire town if they found people were worshiping other Gods, but nowdays he's changed his mind and isn't so harsh so he wants you to just show love to your neighbors. I feel bad for you having to make excuses like this for your own deity, I mean, it's really sad. The only difference you have suggested between these Muslims wanting to murder this woman for changing her faith and your own Gods commands to murder people who change from his faith is time. Somehow that is supposed to make a difference but I don't see why, were people less human then?

          June 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • transframer

          First of all I'm not excusing, just trying to explain. Jesus as a man was not involved in approving those killings. Anyway, as I said, they were specific circ-umstances, they don't happen anymore and they were necessary to achieve the great plan of God. God didn't change his mind, it's all according to his plan, it's up to us to see it.
          The difference is that Islam's commandment is not part of such plan, and it's working on full power, affecting everybody today.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
    • Akira

      With all due respect, Russ, are you not cherry-picking?

      June 6, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • transframer

        Yes he is. But he is just picking the most important ones, who are also self-explaining, don't need a context and are definitory for the whole Christianity

        June 6, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • Madtown

          LOL. Yes, it's only those more minor points that are subject to interpretation.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • Akira

          Why is cherry picking permissible when bashing another faith's Scripture?
          Why is it not when someone criticizes yours?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • transframer

          It Is permissible if you provide the context that can change the meaning of the picks when read all-together.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Akira

          That is a double-standard.
          Look at the verses directly before what Russ posted for the same context. This is what you ask of others concerning the Bible; it should be done for all faiths as well.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • transframer

          OK, I look. How it does change the meaning of "love your enemy" ?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Akira

          Oh, I'm sorry; I thought you were talking about the Quran verses.
          That's the context I was talking about being cherry-picked.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • transframer

          Yes, I wasn't clear. And yes, you are right the Quran needs a context. However, as far as I know, in this case the context doesn't change the meaning of the pick. This can be discussed

          June 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Akira

          awanderingscot,
          Just referencing Russ OP:
          2:188
          And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].
          2:189
          They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, "They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj." And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may succeed.
          2:190
          Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.
          2:191
          And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
          2:192
          And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
          2:193
          Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah . But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.

          Are there not similar instructions in the Old Testament?
          Of course. Atheist Bob posted some out of context, the same as Russ did.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Akira

          Okay, transframer: how is
          Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death” any different than
          4:89
          They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper....?

          June 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • transframer

          Same thing. A specific order for some ppl, at some specific time, issued to make sure Israel ppl preserved their inheritance. No longer in place

          June 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Akira

          Sure. So what is the problem?

          My whole point is that taking things out of context no matter what Scripture it is coming from, Christian or Muslim.
          Championing it when a Christian does it to Muslims, but denouncing it when an atheist dies it to a Christian is disingenuous.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ akira Championing it when a Christian does it to Muslims, but denouncing it when an atheist dies it to a Christian is disingenuous.> problem though is I RARELY ever see atheists show context to Christians.....all I seen these past couple of months is atheists crying foul...and nothing more

          June 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • transframer

          As kermit said. It is strange that atheists accuse Christians of cherry picking when they do it all the time

          June 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Alias

          The bible does have a lot of wisdom in it. It is also true that it has flaws.
          I can't understand why christians chery-pick the good parts and try to ignore the rest.
          If you really think it is god's words, you should embrace all of it.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          we don't cherry pick...no one has shown that we have done so...

          June 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Akira

          I don't know how to make this any clearer: cherry picking isn't appropriate, no matter the religion/non-religion doing the picking.
          If you don't like it being done to your Scripture, refrain from doing it to another's.

          I don't care if it's the dreaded atheists. I don't care if it's the devout Christians or Muslims.

          Using the context mantra applies for ALL scripture, whether relating to Judaic, Christian, or Muslim.
          How much plainer do I have to state it?

          June 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • Akira

          And Russ did the same cherry picking of the Quran, as they were not stand alone verses. But since Russ is Christian, that excuses him? Nope.

          June 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • transframer

          @Akira
          You are right (again when cherry picking is not changed by context) but don't forget the practical side: we can't type anything here, we have limited time and words to express, so we just show the main idea/quote from some book and then we can comment. And, again, atheists are doing it much more frequent than Christians

          June 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • Akira

          Trans, I am well aware of the time and word constraints; my point is that cherry-picking is cherry picking, no matter who is doing it. And as you conceded yourself some posts back, Russ was indeed cherry-picking the verses from the Quran. Those that he took out of context.
          Who does it more is irrelevant to the argument I am making. It is done. Period.

          June 6, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Akira
        the teaching of Qital in the Quran is that Muslims are ordained to engage in physical combat to defend themselves and their rights. the Lord Jesus did not teach this. and thus Russ is correct and not out of context.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • Akira

          The Old Testament is a lot like the Quran; I realize that Muslims are not living under the New Covenant, but again, it is still cherry picking to showcase a religion in the worst possible light. It is unfair to chastise those who cherry-pick verses when Russ is doing the same with another faith.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Akira
          you do understand that with Christ we live in a different dispensation of God don't you?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Akira

          Yes; did I not just state that?

          June 6, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Akira
          i think he was pointing out the difference on a very specific point in response to an ignorant comment posted by someone. that could hardly be considered cherry-picking.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Akira

          He neglected to post the preceding or the following verses in the Quran in his OP. That is indeed cherry-picking, and if it is wrong to do it with the OT, it is indeed wrong to do it with other faith's scripture, as well.
          That's my only point.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Akira
          it might be helpful if you read the surrounding context and supportive scripture in the Quran on this very point. you will see that he did not take the verse out of context. now to consider the point Jesus made and his advice to sell the cloak and buy a sword, when you read the context and all supportive scripture you'll find the command was not given to kill another person.

          June 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Akira

          awanderingscot, I placed my post wrong. (I'm good at that, unfortunately.)
          Read my 2:28 response, and know that I am not defending anything but the cherry-picking and out-of context verses that is used as arguments; it is done by all.

          June 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Akira

        I don't know how to make this any clearer: cherry picking isn't appropriate, no matter the religion/non-religion doing the picking.
        If you don't like it being done to your Scripture, refrain from doing it to another's.

        I don't care if it's the dreaded atheists. I don't care if it's the devout Christians or Muslims.

        Using the context mantra applies for ALL scripture, whether relating to Judaic, Christian, or Muslim.
        How much plainer do I have to state it?

        June 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
      • Russ

        @ Akira: i come back to find that over & over again on this page you claim i have cherry-picked the verses from the Quran out of context. it makes me wonder if you've actually read it. i own a copy of the Quran. i've read these surahs. i actually re-read it because you so repeatedly claim i took it out of context. it only convinced me that you HAVE NOT read them – at least not purposefully for the big picture.

        1) you claim i cherry picked – but you only responded to ONE (Surah 2) of my THREE given references. that IS cherry picking.

        2) you cited quotes that Allah is 'merciful' – but you seem to overlook WHAT is being said. Allah is merciful... how?

        a) Surah 2:161-163 speaks of Allah's mercy TWICE, when it simultaneously says "infidels who die unbelievers shall incur the curse of God... their punishment shall not be lightened." his mercy is contingent on those who relent/repent.

        now, while you may point out that the Christian God says similar things in an eternal sense, note well that Jesus tells them to LOVE their enemies in this life – not treat them as less than human... and on that note...

        b) Surah 2:171: "unbelievers are like beasts..." – and how do you TREAT beasts?

        c) Surah 2:174-75: "those that suppress any part of the Scriptures... theirs shall be a woeful punishment." and yet while this speaks directly of Allah's judgment on the "day of Resurrection" (eternity in view), just a few verses later says openly: (2:178) "believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed..." (immediate in view)

        over & over again, full human status is given ONLY to those who would believe in Islam, but NOT to those who disbelieve. that is radically different than Jesus' explicit command.

        d) even the direct verses you challenged, Surah 2:190-191 – "God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed." HELLO! it's a rather DIRECT call to kill *anyone* who ardently disagrees with you in the faith.

        then it qualifies: "if they attack... kill them. if they desist... relent." but WHO defines "attack" here? that's a substantial point of debate – exclusively militarily or OTHERWISE (metaphorically, socially, etc.)? and note well: EVEN if you only take it literally, that's STILL the direct opposite of what Jesus calls Christians to do (turn the other cheek).

        and right after that, (2:192-93) "thus shall unbelievers be rewarded... fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme."

        SUM: after re-reading the chapter, it seems abundantly clear that YOU cherry-picked references to mercy WITHOUT actually engaging the primary thrust of what was being said. it only supports my original statement.

        3) now, i'd challenge you to do the same with Surahs 4 & 5 – especially 4:88-89. read the passages around it. ask yourself: what is his plan for non-believers? Mohammed may use the same term, but he means something radically different than Jesus.

        for instance, Surah 4:92 points out that "it is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident." the theme here is there is one standard for treatment of believers & a LESSER one for nonbelievers. Jesus explicitly calls for the opposite: Christians should expect suffering while treating their non-believing neighbor as BETTER than themselves.

        OVERALL: go read what I wrote in response to Doc originally. note well the immediate context of both adherents: the following 300 years demonstrate the point (Christianity spread through Christian self-sacrifice; Islam spread through military conquest & bloodshed). this is NOT a matter of 'picking & choosing' – it's inherent to the central theological claims:

        a) Islam: a singular, eternal God can only relate to its temporal creation via power. not surprisingly, Islam literally means "submit."
        b) Christianity: an eternal Trinity that relates *within Himself* through love shares that love with us. He comes – at cost to HIMSELF – to save those who have made themselves his enemies... even to make them his own family.

        It's comparative religion 101. Islam is primarily about power (submission), while Christianity is primarily about love (the cross) – BOTH directly reflecting their central theological self-understanding.

        the resulting, radically divergent, methodological spread of each faith reflects that central point of division.
        it's not "cherry-picking." it's simply READING IN CONTEXT.

        June 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Akira

          Russ,
          It is with regret that I tell you that I disagree that you weren't cherry-picking.
          It is done by both sides; I consider it wrong no matter who is doing it.

          This is the last thing I am going to say on this subject; the horse has been thouroughly flogged, and it is dead.

          June 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira: so it's ok for you to accuse me of it repeatedly, but once i actually respond... you're done talking about it.

          again, we agree that reading in context IS essential.
          you accused me of it REPEATEDLY.
          i responded ONCE by *demonstrating* the context.
          now you want to claim the subject is dead.

          June 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Akira

          Doesn't change my opinion that cherry-picking is wrong.
          Today you have fleshed out your OP, but your OP, IMHO, was cherry-picked.

          June 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • observer

          “Whoever does any work on a holy day: put to death”
          “anyone who blasphemes: stone him.”
          “worship other gods: stone the guilty ones to death”
          “stubborn and rebellious son: stone him to death.”
          “man is found lying with a married woman: both of them shall die”
          “virgin engaged to another man and he lies with her: stone them to death”
          “Whoever strikes his father or his mother: put to death”
          "Anyone who says cruel things to his father or mother: put to death.”
          “anyone who curses his father or his mother: put to death”
          “man who commits adultery with another man's wife: they shall be put to death.”
          "man or woman who is a medium or a fortune-teller: stone them to death"

          From the Quran? Nope. From the Bible

          June 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Akira:
          EIGHT times (searching this page) you claimed i took things out of context.
          your opinion, repeatedly stated... and completely unsubstantiated.
          only once did you actually engage any of the content of the passages.

          i respond – ONE time – with the context... engaging your only remark with actual content.
          and now
          1) you claim the conversation has already run its course... without any rebuttal.
          2) you want to label everything as opinion.

          that is ridiculously convenient – if not purposefully taking things... ahem... out of context.

          June 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: as i've pointed out to you many times before, the Bible rather demonstrably states we ALL deserve death.
          but the point of the conversation is the major difference between how Christianity & Islam address those under judgment.

          note: the cross tells Christians two things very clearly...
          1) we are much worse off than we want to admit (we ALL deserve death)
          2) we are much more loved than we ever dared to hope (God himself was willing to die in my place)

          June 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....most Congressional Medal of Honor winner died while sacrificing themselves for their fellow man. Couldn't we just give Jesus the CMH and move on?

          June 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • observer

          Russ

          "(God himself was willing to die in my place)"

          It was Jesus, not his father who died. Remember "hast thou forsaken me"?

          June 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ observer Jesus IS God..He is not the Father...there are three PERSONS Father SON and Holy SPirit..all of whom makes up one God

          June 8, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          1) in some ways, that analogy really works.
          i wonder if you'd find a single veteran for whom a CMH winner died who wouldn't challenge your logic. "just move on"?

          2) as extreme as the CMH is (and it is!), that still does not match what Jesus did for us.

          the CMH is awarded to a man who equally was under God's judgment, yet gave his life in the hopes of seeing his fellow soldiers live a little while longer before death comes for them.

          Christ (as the only perfect person in history) was not under God's judgment, yet gave his life not simply to 'buy some more time' before death, but to reverse the curse of death... permanently.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....if you buy all that stuff, yeah. But, if you realize that he was just another regular human being, it was a little bit of a crazy thing to do.

          In reality, since, after 2000 years, Christianity still only occupies about 30 percent of the belief systems in the world (and dropping) I'd say the entire Jesus thing was a miserable failure. You would have thought that god would have had a better plan....or at least a plan B.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: i think we've talked about the Trinity before.
          regardless, Christians believe Jesus IS God.
          that's a central tenet of the faith.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • observer

          Russ

          Christians believe Jesus IS the son of God, who resulted when God impregnated an engaged woman. That's why they celebrate his BIRTHDAY. That's why the religion is called Christianity.

          that's a central tenet of the faith.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Christians..in saying that Jesus is SOn of God say He IS God.....this SOn of God isn't a BIOLOGICAL thing as you assume

          June 8, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • Doris

          I think the problem here is that Jack Nicholson is not here to slap everyone silly until the truth about the incest comes out.

          June 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: i'm going to do something i'm loathe to do... and yet this is so obvious that i can't believe we're even having the conversation:

          google it.
          just go look around & see what is historically true.
          do Christians believe Jesus is God or (the false dichotomy you're suggesting) 'just' the Son of God?
          ask 2 billion followers of Christ: is Jesus God?

          here's one of many helpful primers...
          http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/christ-divinity.htm

          or just a quick overview of some verses on the matter:
          http://carm.org/bible-verses-show-jesus-divine

          historically, theologically, biblically, practically – this is what makes Christianity Christianity.
          you can object to the notion, but it's simply a denial of reality to claim Christians do not believe Jesus is God.

          June 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          You said that man killed the omnipotent God. So who ran the universe for those 3 days? Who decided where people would go (heaven or hell) if they died during those 3 days?

          Still trying to figure out why Jesus spent so much time talking to himself and referencing himself in the 3rd person?.

          June 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Plus....what was the purpose of waiting 3 days? Is there some significance for 3 days?

          June 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          actually thereis significance...we also see this in the story of Lazarus....to the Jewsih people...three days after having been dead ensures that the person is fully dead..not half alive or such....that is what makes significance in the story of Lazarus as well..Jesus waited till the third day to raise Him up from the dead..to show that He truly is God and is the Ressureciton and the Life

          June 8, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Again Three persons..ONE God....JESUS died...The Father and Holy SPirit did not die

          June 8, 2014 at 2:06 am |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          you are asking these questions as if "gotcha! Christians never thought of that!" when they have been answered for millennia.

          1) Jesus was fully human and fully God. He died a fully human death – which AT NO POINT meant he stopped being God (a la 'death of God' type comments).

          2) Furthermore, it sounds like you are reading Trinitarian views through a modalist lens. 1 God in 3 persons (3-in-1, 1-in-3). The second person of the Trinity was crucified, dead, buried and resurrected. Not the 1st & 3rd. I understand that might sound ridiculous to you – but that's why I'm encouraging you to actually read what it is that Christians believe.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....I'm guessing that you think the story of Joseph Smith reading gold tablets out of his hat is crazy. And, I suppose that you think that the concept of Xenu in the Scientologists religion is a bit nutty. Now, I certainly hope you understand that the bizarre stuff that Christianity forces you to believe is easily lost on some of us. All religions seem man made to me, and none of them seem plausible.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          there are various debated meanings to the three days, but the most obvious biblical ones are:
          1) he was really dead (not resuscitated after a few minutes/hours of being clinically dead)
          2) the sign of Jonah

          your question carries a hint of quantifiable value for the quant.ity of days – but the whole point of Jesus being not simply the only perfect human in history but also God (the God-man, if you will) is that he
          a) as a fully human being: fully heals everything that is wrong with us (making humanity what it should be)
          b) as fully God: overcomes death in a way we never could

          'b' most directly addresses what you are intimating. as God, he categorically has an infinitely greater value than us. 3 days is not the critical criteria for 'paying' for our debts. the fact that his life is worth infinitely more than ours is what makes his death powerful enough to pay for ALL of humanity.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....not mine. I have no need or desire for any god, and I am guessing I never will. But, if it makes you sleep better at night, good for you.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Telling most Christians that Jesus was NOT the son of God will usually result in angry Christians, but you can claim otherwise. It's your OPINION.

          I really have no argument for anyone claiming that Jesus most famous quote was asking why he had forsaken himself. Again, it's your OPINION, however nonsensical.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: as frustrated as i was with Akira today, this was the first time she apparently purposefully took me out of context. you have a penchant for this in our history of dialogues.

          go back & read what i said above... especially the "false dichotomy" reference.

          and again – read a quick primer on the Trinity (or even just wikipedia on Sabellianism & modalism). it is a complex topic, but (knowing our past discussions at length) you seem to continually, purposefully ignore the classic articulations of orthodox Christian beliefs. it has all the makings of a straw man.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible: so for you, the fact that something transcends your understanding necessarily leads you to eliminate its possibility?
          a) do you do that with advanced scientific or philosophical concepts?
          b) would you expect that the fullness of a Supreme Being (infinitely greater & more complex than you) would necessarily be EASY for you to comprehend – or that there would be concepts that pressed you to the brink of your faculties?

          June 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....not at all. I don't understand a mult-itude of things. However, there are things that I do understand. A guy reading golden tablets out of a hat is nuts. A space overlord dropping frozen corpses into volcanos is nuts. A 600 year old man building a boat and piling on all the animals of the world is nuts. A all loving god purposely killing everything on a planet, simply because his creation didn't turn out to be what he wanted it to be, even though he knew they were going to turn out that way because he knows everything....is nuts! I really don't have to understand all things to know that those things are crazy. I've looked at a mult-itude of religions, and every one of them have nutty aspects, proving to me that they are all man made. That's just my opinion of course.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          1) but for you, order from chaos is completely logical? that seems disingenuous at best.

          2) and why don't you operate with the same consistency when it comes to scientific theory and other disciplines? plenty of nutty things there... string theory, chaos theory, quantum physics, multiverse theory...

          June 7, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....actually....yes, its very plausible to me. I already told you....I don't fully understand string theory, quantum mechanics, and a boatload of other things. But I understand enough about the concept of a 600 year old man building a boat and loading it with 2 of every animal on the planet to know that the concept of that is completely nuts. And the funny thing is...there are about 100 stories in your book with the same nutty flavor.

          I'm always amazed at how the believers have managed to exclude all other 'gods' as their creators.....now that seems disingenuous to me.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          1) the Hebrew doesn't require believing in a worldwide flood – nor a commensurate loading of every animal on the planet.

          but more to your point: the resurrection is the most preposterous belief in the Bible. i readily embrace the historical facts there. a good read along those lines: NT Wright, "the Resurrection of the Son of God."

          2) you mock "believers", but seem unaware of your own "scientism." science does not address the underlying metaphysical realities we're discussing here. in so far as you regard science as an answer to those questions, you are no longer doing science, but you're doing religion/metaphysics/faith & calling it science.

          or, as one prominent atheist put it:

          "Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science “without any presuppositions”…a philosophy, a “faith,” must always be there first of all, so that science can acquire from it a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist…It is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science."

          -Friedrich Nietzsche

          SUM: you are making the very leap of faith you are mocking.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....no...I'm not making any leap of faith at all. I would much rather say "I don't know" than "some god did it". There is absolute proof for neither philosophy, so since we don't know everything as yet, I would much rather deal with the scientific facts that we do know (evolutionary principles, which are proven) and hold off judgment for any other answers until we do know, rather than proclaiming that an invisible sky wizard waved a magic wand. Because of that, I feel free to mock the silliness of every religion proclaiming that they, and only they, have the answers.

          June 8, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • Russ

          again, that's a disingenuous comparison. this is not science vs. religion, but your religion/faith/metaphysical grid vs. mine.

          in calling that "science", you're proving my earlier post from Nietzsche. your lack of awareness that there is "no such thing as science without any presuppositions" is the reason this discussion is going nowhere.

          i have no objection to science. i heavily object to your *presuppositions* about science – which IN NO WAY are scientific. they are taken as givens (by definition)... and as such are a leap of faith – which, again, is the very thing you are mocking.

          June 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....sorry, but I have to disagree with you once again. I am taking no leap of faith at all. Every scientific law has a mathematical basis behind it. If you are saying that it is a leap of faith to trust in the most basic of scientific theories, then you are right, this discussion is going nowhere. Those same laws have been applied to send men to the moon....why would I not believe that they know what they are talking about?

          You are trusting that 2000 years ago, a bunch of superst-itious men wrote some text, which was later compiled by a small group of religious men, carefully excluding the texts that did not meet their expectations. You have no idea of their motivation at all.

          That mess and belief in science is not even close. One is a leap of complete blind faith and the other is one step up a stepladder.

          June 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Russ

          @ gullible:
          you are failing to hear my critique. i have no problem with science. my problem is that you are conflating science with metaphysics – and it increasingly sounds like you don't even realize you're doing it.

          by appealing to science as an answer to religion, you are *assuming* science addresses metaphysical questions (something it EXPLICITLY does not). you are not admitting your metaphysical foundations.

          from what you are arguing, it sounds like you are a naturalist. but note well: naturalism IS a metaphysical (philosophical, not scientific!) system. it has philosophical presuppositions WHICH SCIENCE CANNOT TEST (and which you are *taking as givens*). again, that was Nietzsche's point. i'd encourage you to read his quote again (and remember: he's an atheist exposing the flaw in naturalist's thinking).

          an example:
          naturalism takes as its basic litmus test: "only what is empirically verifiable is true." problem: THAT VERY TEST fails its *own* criteria. the foundational statement here is overtly self-refuting. no matter how great the walls look, if the foundation is fatally flawed, the building collapses.

          science in this case is the 'walls.' we actually agree on the walls. but you're pointing at my foundation & comparing it to your walls. it tells me you aren't even aware of your foundation.

          case in point, science purposefully uses what it calls "methodological naturalism" (operating *as if* there was nothing else) as distinct from philosophical naturalism (actually assuming there isn't anything else). science carefully avoids making the assumptions you are – which, again, proves my point: you are doing metaphysics and calling it 'science.'

          SUM: i have no objection to science. i'm objecting to the metaphysical grid you are using to apply science (making assumptions science necessarily doesn't).

          June 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Jesus is either God or he ISN'T God. Can't have it BOTH ways.,

          "Why have I forsaken me"
          - Jesus, in the Russ Bible

          June 7, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: are you really going to turn this into a "who's on first?" routine?

          Jesus IS God.
          Christians believe in the Trinitarian God: 3 persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), 1 God.
          on the cross, the Father forsook the Son.

          again, you are presenting modalism. look it up. that's not the Trinity.
          if you're going to mock Christianity, it's better to mock what we actually believe.

          June 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • observer

          “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have YOU forsaken me?"
          - King James translation of the Bible (Matt. 27:45-46)

          "Me, me, why have I forsaken me?"
          – Russ translation

          June 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: glad you're actually engaging the Bible. sorry to see that you choose mockery over substantively engaging the point.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          No mockery. That is you basic claim. You claim that when Jesus called out God's name and referred to "YOU", he was actually talking to himself.

          Your points are ridiculous and irrational. If you want to argue that Jesus was LYING when he referred to "YOU", go right ahead. Claim he was talking about HIMSELF all you want. It seems to be the best you can come up with and that helps explains why there are so many atheists and agnostics who find so much NONSENSE in believers comments.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          if i take you at face value, you want me to believe you are that dense.

          but your blunt refusal even to look up modalism, engage any of the content of my responses, and persistent desire to misrepresent me nonetheless leave me no choice but to see this as mockery (which is giving you the benefit of the doubt).

          so... either prove me wrong by engaging the idea of modalism (something i have now *repeatedly* pointed out you are falsely ascribing to me & Christianity in general) or come right out & say it: you don't know how to google 'modalism', much less read & comprehend what it written once you get there. or maybe even admit: 'hey, i'm a little scared of theological terms i don't know.' that would at least be honest.

          but don't say "no, it's not mockery" when that requires you being very, very dense or lying outright.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ observer No mockery. That is you basic claim. You claim that when Jesus called out God’s name and referred to “YOU”, he was actually talking to himself.<-apparently you don tlisten or read what Russ is saying....THREEpersons....Jesus is speaking to the FATHER..NOT Himself,,you are presenting modalism as Russ pointed out NOT Trinity

          June 8, 2014 at 2:11 am |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Speaking of dense, you are still arguing that when Jesus said "YOU" he was referring to HIMSELF as God.

          ONE GOD you claim, but then argue that he was questioning his other mode.

          It's FOOLISH arguments such as yours that helps create non-believers. You are just hurting your OPINIONS.

          June 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          you said: "...then argue that he was questioning his other mode."

          again, we DO NOT believe in modalism. you are describing modalism.

          Jesus (2nd person of the Trinity) was speaking to his Father (1st person of the Trinity). 3 distinct persons (not modes of one person!), 1 God.

          June 7, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
        • observer

          Jesus (2nd person of the Trinity) was speaking to his Father (1st person of the Trinity). 3 distinct persons (not modes of one person!), 1 God.

          "3 distinct PERSONS" and so 3 distinct gods since they didn't know what the other was thinking.

          June 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ observer: now you've fallen off the other side of the fence. you're describing tritheism.

          well, at least i know you actually *heard* what i was saying since you corrected your former argument. now i think it'd help you to look up BOTH modalism & tritheism – two heresies the early Church rejected in clarifying the biblical conception of God.

          seriously, if you look those two up – even from a cursory understanding – it will act as "guide rails" to keep you out of the opposite ditches that misrepresent the Trinity.

          June 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ observer Jesus (2nd person of the Trinity) was speaking to his Father (1st person of the Trinity). 3 distinct persons (not modes of one person!), 1 God.

          “3 distinct PERSONS” and so 3 distinct gods since they didn’t know what the other was thinking. That is a very dishonest reply observer..you changed the words..in NO way did we say jesus is A god..Father is ANOTHEr god...we say three PERSONS..ONE God.....youre getting yourself all confused here

          June 8, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • Vic

          The Holy Trinity, One Godhead Three Persons—Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit—has three distinict "Persons" of One Shared Existence, hence "Hypostases." The use of the word "Person" is but a translation for the lack of a better term. Nobody knows the nature of the "Hypostases" form.

          Jesus Christ was pleading with God the Father at the Garden of Gethsemane becuase, when on earth, He was fully God and fully man, and that was not at random. The death in the flesh that is without a blemish was the requirement for atonement—for the remission of sins, the once and for all sacrificial "Lamb of God," the "Penal Substitution," all the sacrifices before were temporal. Accordignly, Jesus Christ always supplicated God the Father as a man, including at the Garden of Gethsemane, right before His Passion, and in fulfilment of the Scriptures. Jesus Christ did the same thing supplicating God the Father on the Holy Cross as a man, and in fulfilment of the Scriptures, when He cried out "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me."

          Please see Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46, John 1:14, Colossians 2:9-14, & Hebrews 4:15,16

          June 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Vic

          God's Incarnation in the Flesh, fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ, went through the entire earthly life and "Ultimate Sacrifice" as the fully man part—hence the pleading with God the Father at the Garden of Gethsemane. The Passion of Christ was in the flesh, the fully man part, for the "remission of sins." The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was in the flesh, the fully man part, for bringing us "eternal life." No human can resurrect in the flesh without Jesus Christ having had to resurrect in the flesh, the fully man part of Him while on earth.

          See Colossians 2:9-14 & Hebrews 4:15,16 for example references from Scripture.

          We are told in Scripture about the Holy Trinity in separate verses that describe God the Father, God the Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit. Those verses are for specific purposes, and from them we obviously see the Holy Trinity. Otherwise, humans cannot possibly come up with that concept on their own. The Holy Trinity is imponderable to the human mind.

          June 8, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • observer

          Russ

          June 8, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Nothing has changed. You are still completely DEFENSELESS to explain why the "ONE GOD" in Jesus didn't know what the ONE GOD was thinking.

          It all goes back to "MY GOD, have YOU forsaken me". Give it one more try. This inane discussion needs to end.

          June 8, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • Russ

          @ observer: it is an inane discussion. i've repeatedly asked you to look up modalism & now tritheism to help you understand the parameters here – as well as what Christianity has been saying for 2000 years.

          in response, you simply repeat your same point. so yes, on the earlier mockery vs. dense debate...

          if you want to continue the discussion intelligently, let's talk about why Christianity does NOT believe in either modalism or tritheism (despite your repeated criticisms along those lines). then i'll know you are actually serious about not purposefully misrepresenting our faith.

          if you're willing to even *try* to understand/read about those misconceptions, you'll pretty quickly recognize why your criticisms are straw men.

          June 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Russ, VIc, et. al.,

          Out of curiosity, how is it possible for some enti.ty to be "fully" 3 persons and "fully" 1 god at the same time?

          Additionally, while the whole Modal, Trinity, Tritheism, spectrum may be relevant to your view of religion, the question of what each person/aspect/attribute/whatever in your theology knows versus another person/aspect/attribute/whatever of the Trinity, is a valid question is it not?

          June 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          1) how 3-in-1 and 1-in-3? at least you're asking a legitimate question that does not misrepresent our beliefs. for that, thank you.

          short version: the Christian articulation of the Trinity is not something we made up (who would fabricate such a difficult to defend concept? Occam's razor...), but is simply in response to what God has revealed about himself.

          does it break the bounds of our logic? absolutely. would you expect a Supreme Being simply to fit every human category neatly?

          what is incredibly intriguing here: the unity and community of God (something we believe is intrinsic to human existence as we bear his image).

          consider a contrast: a purely monotheistic conception (say, Islam) of an eternal God means the only way such a transcendent being would relate to his/her/its creation is by power. certainly not love, since love would not be an eternal trait for an eternally *solo* God (no such relationships).

          the Trinity, on the other hand, is one God who is simultaneously in community. it's the reason we say "God is Love." He always has been.

          does this easily fit philosophical or mathematical categories? no. but would you expect a Supreme Being to be readily reducible & easily comprehended?

          again, the primary criteria is not "what works for us?" but "what has God revealed about himself?"

          2) yes, the question is valid (what does one person of the Trinity know that the other does not?). but that has not been how observer has posed it.

          there's been a lot of ink spilled on these subjects over 2000 years, so i'm only touching the tip of the iceberg here...

          Jesus makes it clear that when he comes as fully human, he has a fully human experience: tempted in every way as we are, etc. (which necessarily means not advocating his omniscience, etc.).

          a geometric analogy: a square can be considered a rectangle, but a rectangle isn't necessarily a square. in like manner: God can enter a fully human existence (w/o violating its parameters or being changed) while a normal human being could not enter divine existence without being utterly changed. in that manner, Jesus was fully human while yet being fully God.

          key clues from Scripture:
          Jesus grew in stature & wisdom, and says even he doesn't know anything but what the Father tells him (and *does not* know the dates of the end of time, which the Father does).
          contrast that with his pre-existent status as God seen in Php.2:5f. note well: he "emptied" himself of his glory in becoming human.

          for a lot more on this: google "immanent Trinity" vs. "economic Trinity." that's the distinction underlying what it appears you are asking.

          June 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          I have repeated the same point because you are helpless to defend it.

          The Bible says that the "God" in Jesus didn't know what the "God" in God was thinking. Same ONE God? Get some logic. This only makes sense if Jesus was NOT God, but an offspring. You know, like a son.

          June 9, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Russ

          @ observer:
          the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over & over & expecting a different result. i've answered you repeatedly – yet you refuse to engage the content (esp. modalism & tritheism). since you're not, you have effectively ended purposeful dialogue.

          i'll be glad to talk further when you decide to stop simply repeating a straw man – especially after hearing that straw man repeatedly exposed as such.

          June 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Alias

          This is a pointless discussion.
          Th RCC calls this whole 3 gods in one a 'mystery' that we will not understand in this lifetime.

          June 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Th RCC calls this whole 3 gods <–it is pointless when you twist what the Trinity teaches and change words (three PERSONS-not three GODS)

          June 10, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • Russ

          @ Alias:
          seems you have overlooked one obvious fact... the councils I'm referencing (the first seven ecu.menical councils: especially Nicea & Constantinople) are central RCC teaching.

          June 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • observer

          Russ,

          Come back IF you can find any EXCUSE why the "ONE God" in Jesus had no CLUE what the "ONE GOD" in God was thinking.

          Babbling "straw man" and "modalism" over and over doesn't answer my repeated question. Why are you so AFRAID to answer? Still waiting for YOU to give an EXCUSE. Why doesn't the ONE GOD's right hand know what the ONE GOD's left hand is doing?

          June 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          “short version: the Christian articulation of the Trinity is not something we made up (who would fabricate such a difficult to defend concept? Occam's razor...)”

          Actually, the razor cuts at the line of Christians attempting to reconcile contradictory scripture. The natural consequence of human behavior being the simplest explanation of that particular component. Which almost directly leads to statements like:

          “... but is simply in response to what God has revealed about himself.”

          You may think that the Bible describes this apparent logical impossibility, but if it does it is anything but “simple”. Case in point this very thread. Alternatively, where does the Bible state explicitly the doctrine of Trinity?

          “does it break the bounds of our logic? absolutely. would you expect a Supreme Being simply to fit every human category neatly?”

          A couple of points here. Logic is not a human category. Our descriptions may be human, but logic is either true or it is not. And, I have read multiple times on this blog and other places the scorn with which is answered questions such as, “Can God make a rock so big that he can’t lift it?” or “Can God make a square circle?” And the scorn is deserved usually because those things are logical impossibilities which, I’ve been told before, God does not violate (by choice or inability depends on the speaker). My point being that either God doesn’t violate logical principles, laws of logic, or he does, which is it?

          “it's the reason we say "God is Love." He always has been.”

          Ah, another logical impossibility. How can a being “be” an abstract idea?

          “does this easily fit philosophical or mathematical categories? no. but would you expect a Supreme Being to be readily reducible & easily comprehended?”

          Does he violate math as well? Can God make 2 + 2 = 5? Or is that just a human conception?

          “2) yes, the question is valid (what does one person of the Trinity know that the other does not?). but that has not been how observer has posed it.”

          Unimportant now, since you’ve raised much more interesting ones. Can God violate the laws of logic and math?
          If so then, how can you even have any idea what is meant by “God is love”? how can you be certain that “God is truth”, if he can violate logic, he can redefine anything to mean anything at any point… even faith itself?
          If not, then how can it be true that “God is love” or “God is triune in nature”, both being logical impossibilities?

          “God can enter a fully human existence (w/o violating its parameters or being changed) while a normal human being could not enter divine existence without being utterly changed. in that manner, Jesus was fully human while yet being fully God.”

          Simple question, if that is true then how could Jesus be “fully” human while at the same time being capable of entering “divine existence without being utterly changed”? Are not the limitations of man part of being man?

          You raised some interesting question here. Thanks.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Simple question, if that is true then how could Jesus be “fully” human while at the same time being capable of entering “divine existence without being utterly changed”? <-Jesus did nto enter into divine exostance.he always existaned....he did not start out as human..He is God manifested into human flesh

          June 10, 2014 at 2:06 am |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          you said: “You raised some interesting question here. Thanks.”
          I’m glad you think so. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your responses as well.

          breaking these responses up along the lines that you raised them…

          a) your application of Occam’s razor to the notion of God’s self-revelation appears to presuppose his non-existence. Your answer is *not* the simplest explanation – especially since it discounts the most readily proposed answer. Your presupposition (of a closed system/no god/etc.) decided the answer for you.

          Now, I fully anticipate a reciprocal critique (that I simply did the opposite: presupposing God’s existence), and that actually drives at the deeper issue here. When Occam’s razor is applied to existence itself, the fact that we exist is ample evidence of – at the very least – something greater, if not directly God.

          However, existence itself is not enough to tell us everything about God. For that, we have to hear from God… (in theological terms, I’m talking about the difference between natural and special revelation – in case you’re familiar).

          SUM: Regardless, you are applying Occam’s razor with your underlying assumption. I’m willing to go there, but the particular occasion still holds: why would Christians fabricate something so complex? You blame Scripture’s “contradictions” (another point of debate), but that is simply kicking the can down the road.

          b) you said: “where does the Bible explicitly state the doctrine of the Trinity?”

          most theologians consider John 14-17 (the Upper Room discourse, the last day before Jesus’ death) the central place to find a broader exposition on the Trinity. But as with *many* doctrines, there is not a singular place to find it fully expounded.

          Interestingly enough, when the self-described “Pharisee of Pharisees” Saul encounters Christ on the road to Damascus, he is seeking to kill Christians because he is sure they are theologically wrong. He is a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” who only regards God from a classical, purely monotheistic stance. The notion that God would become human is blasphemous in his thinking. Yet when Jesus reveals himself, he doesn’t ‘explain the Trinity.’ He simply states who he is.

          It’s not the *logic* of the Trinity that changes people, it’s the fact of what God has done in history.

          c) you said: “logic is not a human category… logic is either true or it is not.”

          Your metaphysical underwear is showing. You mean something here – and maybe you wouldn’t call it religion or faith, but it certainly is not scientific. It is an assumption(s) about objective reality. If I’m hearing you correctly, you believe there is an Objective reality of some sort – external to human conception – upon which logic is based.

          Moreover, once you enter the realm of “truth” – it is primarily a philosophical conversation. To be pointed: on what basis are you arguing for ‘truth’ – or what is it in particular? I’m not asking that in a vacuum. I think it’s immediately germane to the question.

          For example, many naturalists conflate science and their metaphysical claims about science without thinking about it. You seem to be something similar here with logic (God must answer to logic… as though logic was not dependent on God, but rather God on logic). I’m openly admitting my metaphysical foundations. What are yours?

          d) you referenced the old adage: “can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it?”

          not only is that poor logic (attempting to bypass a debate on epistemological foundations by finding a ‘loophole’ – when the ‘loophole’ itself fails to address the question at hand), but Christianity rather directly addresses that question. Jesus was nailed to a cross. If you read the Bible carefully (Col.1:15-23, for example), it claims Jesus holds all things together (not as a substi.tute for physics, but rather as the Creator & Sustainer of physical existence itself – the underlying principle by which physics exists, if you will). That means Jesus himself held together the nail which pierced him, the very people who murdered Jesus only existed by his leave, etc.

          to be blunt, God made a nail so hard it could pierce him – or rather, God made himself vulnerable… killable… for the sake of taking what I deserve… in my place.

          e) the geometry analogy was just that. if you press it to its breaking point, like all analogies, it fails. But the logic still holds.

          Mathematically speaking, a square is a better rectangle… it can be a rectangle without violating its properties. Though a rectangle (w/o equal sides) cannot be a square unless it is changed.

          In the same way, the Infinite can make himself finite (entering the time & space he created). Yet the finite does not – in and of itself – have the ability to be infinite.

          f) even your “2+2=5” is an example. Numbers are arbitrary. Math is arbitrary. Are we operating in base 10 numbers?

          SUM: you are thinking about it backwards. (in basic philosophical terms, you’re using Aristotelian logic instead of Platonic. Bottom up instead of top-down.) The finite does not define the Infinite but vice versa. We are contingent, dependent beings. We’re attempting to understand the only truly Independent Being in existence. Yes, he defines logic, truth, love, good, etc. (note: If you presuppose there is no god, then apply that presupposition to a theistic discussion – then yes, everything will be illogical, even in your hypothetical consideration of a theistic system of belief.)

          For that matter, ‘love’ is not an abstract idea. God himself defines Love. That’s why our conceptions of ‘love’ (which are abstract or often corrupted) are answerable not merely to some platonic form or concept, but to the tangible Being who defines love because he *is* Love. Love is a person, not a concept.

          June 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,

          “a) your application of Occam’s razor to the notion of God’s self-revelation appears to presuppose his non-existence. “

          I don’t see how. I am using experience that many would, i think, agree with, in that often people can create extremely complex concepts in order to rationalize certain ideas that they hold true, e.g. Ptolemeic model, humors, most if not all religions in general. Given that people are known create such elaborate concepts, is it not simpler to assume, by Occam’s razor, that such is the case here, instead of a much more complex system in which a highly complex being exists outside of our immediate universe that some how created it all.

          You claim that I discount the most readily proposed answer without showing how such an easy answer is not just quickly proposed but actually simpler as required by said razor.

          As to why Christians would fabricate something so complex, I would again point to the behavior of humans along with an already complex system, the Hebrew Bible, upon which to build their seemingly contradictory belief system.

          b) My point about the Trinity in the Bible was simply to dispute fallacious claims about such “revelations” being obvious. Not that I’m saying the claims are fallacious, but claiming it’s obvious is a fallacy. Widely accepted in Christianity perhaps, but not obvious ergo the councils of Nicea, Constantinople, etc.

          c) What I was saying was simply that logic, as our description of how things work, is either conceptually correct or incorrect. I was not claiming an Objective reality, although one would make sense. My point was that either logic is correct and God cannot violate logic or it is not correct and the universe is ultimately unreliable and arbitrary based on the whim of God, in which case how can you trust even your faith in God as being “true” or existence even existing for that matter?

          d) As I said, “ And the scorn is deserved”. I was not asking that question, but asking you why is it an invalid question. If ‘God is logic’ then would he not be capable of logical impossibilities?

          Simply stating that “God made a nail so hard it could pierce him” is begging the question by presuming the existence of God that is in fact the question at hand.

          e) You miss my point, I think. How can a god in any sense be “fully” human, which necessarily includes limitation, and still be “fully” which supposedly does not have limitations. My point is that while a supposed god could emulate being human or perhaps be partially human, but how can he be “fully” human when a human has no possibility of ever being a god? Does not the alleged fact that Jesus existed prior to birth and would exist after death exclude his experience from being “fully” human? What human existed prior to their own birth?

          f) An assumption of base 10 numerals seems reasonable in this forum.

          SUM: I posit that you are thinking about it backwards. Why must there be a Platonic ideal upon which to base every concept? Do you think there really is an ideal rose that defines all other roses? Or do you think that there are many different flowers/plants/organisms/arranged atoms/etc, some of which we call rose because they have many characteristics in common.

          Does not your presupposition of Platonic forms/ideals lead you directly to an ideal ‘good’, an ideal ‘love’, an ideal ‘logic’ to which you ascribe an ideal ‘God’?

          June 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
  18. colin31714

    The manner in which Christianity broke away from Judaism and the subsequent manner in which Islam broke with Judeo-Christianity are both fascinating historical events. One of the principal theological disagreements that caused both schisms was the Christians’ insistence that Jesus be considered a part of a three faceted god – i.e. God.

    This was anathema to Jews who thought the Christians’ attempts to portray him as the Messiah were absurd. In their minds, the Messiah would be a great, towering figure who would throw off the yoke of Roman rule and restore Israel to its past greatness. Jesus, of course, did nothing of the sort. Claiming Jesus, a nobody from nowhere who was executed as a common criminal was the Messiah was as shocking to the Greco-Roman Jews as a claim today that David Koresh was the Messiah would be to modern American Christians.

    The Muslims hedged their bets, regarding Jesus as a great prophet who had some magical powers (he was born talking in the Qur’an, like Buddha was) but believed (and still believe) he escaped death on the cross because Judas was executed in his stead. But the idea of Jesus being a part of Allah was abhorrent to them as polytheistic. They reject the Trinity outright. In this sense, Allah is much more like Yahweh than God is.

    An interesting question is, how different do the characteristics we ascribe to a god have to be before it becomes a new god. Are Allah and Yahweh the one god or two different gods? Is God the same as Yahweh? It is hard to argue that God and Yahweh are the same god, given the presence of Jesus and the holy Spirit in the Christian god, but a case can be made that Jews and Muslims worship the same god.

    June 6, 2014 at 9:34 am |
    • bostontola

      This has always fascinated me. Christians ignore the foundation of their own religion, the OT. In it, Yahweh, God 1.0 defines the messiah. The criteria are all directly observable, not poetic, in the eye of the holder stuff. Jesus failed to meet that criteria. That is papered over with tortured interpretations, other prophesy that was not part of the criteria at all, etc. the entire Chistian religion is built on sand.

      June 6, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • colin31714

        Yeah, I put it this way:

        The belief that an infinitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, chose a small nomadic group of Jews from the 200 million people then alive to be his "favored people," performed magic acts for these people to save them from their enemies and promised them the only piece of real estate in the Middle East with no oil under it, provided they followed some rural laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine equals Judaism.

        Judaism PLUS a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made equals Christianity.

        Judeo-Christianity PLUS a belief that the secrets of the Universe were revealed to a violent pedophile in a cave, that a man can ride magic white horsey from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night, that Jesus was born talking and that women are second class citizens equals Islam.

        I guess Islam take the gold for utterly stupid beliefs. One can imagine Mohammed standing on a pedestal, accepting his medal and humbly proclaiming, “If my beliefs are even more ridiculous than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:03 am |
      • awanderingscot

        blah-blah-blah-blah .. so you hate God, so you hate religion, so you hate people who worship God, what else is new? no man of God is wasting his breath on you anyway. why are you so conceited? did you think the message was for you? LOL.

        June 6, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • bostontola

          Scotty,
          How did you conclude that? I don't hate God any more than I hate lord voldemort. As for hating religious people, that is absurd. Most people I know are religious. I like almost all of them, and love some of them. You are quite presumptuous and very judgmental.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          It's because he believes we're all Muggles and he is a member of the wizard community that has special powers like a telepathic connection to the almighty wizard in the sky. So when we tell him we don't hate Voldemort he shrieks in fright saying "Don't say his name! Aghhh!" because he gives power to his fears and shakes and shivers in the darkness like a scared child hoping to be saved from the Death Eaters.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • awanderingscot

          how can one claim not to hate God or not hate His people when they don't believe in Him. your own words judge you.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • bostontola

          Scotty,
          Do you hate Zeus? I don't accept your personal notion that if you don't believe something you hate it. That is absurd.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "how can one claim not to hate God or not hate His people when they don't believe in Him"

          You sir, are taking idiocy to new heights. Not a single atheist hates your God. They may hate the actions of the people who follow your imagined deity, but that is a far cry from hating something that doesn't exist. If someone in my town tried to put a law on the books that would fund Bigfoot crossing signs I wouldn't hate the supposed Bigfoot, I would hate the attempt to take my tax dollars to pay to prevent car vs Bigfoot accidents which have never ever actually happened.

          Injecting your religion into the schools, courthouses, local governments and the federal government is offensive to me and I hate it. But much like a paraphrased version of a Christian saying, I hate the act not the actor.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • niknakk

          Why would someone hate something that is imaginary Transformer?
          Do you hate the tooth fairy?
          Or the loch ness monster?
          I bet you don't.
          Why?
          Because you know those things don't exist.
          Same for us atheists.
          We don't hate god(s), because that would be insane to hate something that is imaginary.

          Does that clear it up for you now?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      blah-blah-blah-blah .. so you hate God, so you hate religion, so you hate people who worship God, what else is new? no man of God is wasting his breath on you anyway. why are you so conceited? did you think the message was for you? LOL.

      June 6, 2014 at 10:35 am |
    • awanderingscot

      Colin
      Christianity was not a schism with Judaism. Islam was also not a schism from Judaism. your premise is false from the get-go.

      June 6, 2014 at 11:19 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Fact: Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come from the same root, Abraham, and all three believe they have usurped the covenant made with Abraham by God.

        June 6, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • awanderingscot

          what you have just stated unhappyatheist is totally irrelevant, both Judaism and Islam have never believed Christ is who He said He was. no schism.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          For the half brained:

          Abraham was supposedly had a covenent with the creator who promised him that from his lineage God would produce the savior for mankind. Abraham lept with his wifes slave girl Hagar and had a son who he named Ishmael, then, about 14 years later Abrahams elderly wife supposedly gave birth to another son, Isaac.

          In Islam, Ishmael is the important lineage and he is considered the forefather of Muhammad who they believe is one of many prophets God will send along the lines of Abraham. Most believe Jesus was also one of those prophets.

          In Judaism, Isaac is the important lineage and is considered the forefather of the coming messiah or savior though the line of King David. They are still waiting for the arrival of the messiah.

          In Christianity, Isaac is the important lineage and is considered the forefather of Jesus who they believe was the messiah and the fullfilment of the Abrahamic covenant as well as Mosaic law. Since they believe much of the prophecies have already been fulfilled they now pick and choose which scriptures they want to adhere to and reject anything that seems to harsh as "OT" and no longer valid.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Abraham supposedly had...

          June 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • colin31714

        well, what was it?

        June 6, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • awanderingscot

          colin
          you might try actually reading the bible.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Highlander II – The Quickening is not based on the original movie, and neither is Highlander III.
        There can be only one.

        June 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • Alias

          But if they all are based on the same prophecies and the same concept of immottality, and have some common characters, then they must be an original movie and sequals.
          Godzilla is stronger, He has more movies – both based and not based on the original.
          All Hail the Fire Breathing Dino!
          This ia obviously where all cultures developed their dragon myths, and therefore proven to be the one TRUTH.

          June 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  19. colin31714

    As with the Bible, any view on the death penalty can either be supported or opposed by contradictory verses in the Qur'an and inconsistent examples from the Hadiths. As with Jesus, we have only the foggiest notion of what Mohammed really said or did, given how long after his death the first attempts to capture his life (about 100 years) were made.

    Both religions are based on alleged historical occurrences (the resurrection of Jesus, the revelations to Mohammed) for which there is simply no credible evidence. But for the fact that they are considered "sacred scripture" by so many, those who believe the supernatural elements of the Jesus and/or Mohammed sagas based on the Bible and/or Qur'an would be dismissed as every bit as kooky as the Area 51 or 9-11 conspiracy nuts.

    June 6, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • awanderingscot

      blah-blah-blah-blah .. so you hate God, so you hate religion, so you hate people who worship God, what else is new? no man of God is wasting his breath on you anyway. why are you so conceited? did you think the message was for you? LOL.

      June 6, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        I'm getting tired laughing at you aws, it's just so precious to see you get your panties in a bunch. Keep it up you sad little snarky child.

        June 6, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • awanderingscot

          no man of God is wasting his breath on you anyway. why are you so conceited? did you think the message was for you?

          June 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          NBHA....There are certain supposed 'men of god' that are just too ignorant to really respond to. If they are dismissing intelligently made comments like Colin just made or preaching uncontrollably, they are dancing around valid points or doing that stupid 'blah, blah, blah' thing. These people are such a waste of time. Colin used to post here all the time, but I'm guessing he has figured out how useless it is to comment on some of these posts.

          June 6, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In the 1 1/2 years or so I've been posting on here, I've only seen the blog editor interrupt and ask someone to tone it down:

          1. Recently with TheFinisher1 and his derogatory remarks about atheists.

          2. A while back with Colin and his derogatory remarks about Catholics.

          3. A while back with a troll and his/her derogatory remarks about people of differing s.xual orientations.

          Colin seems a bit to hypocritical to be applauded for his intelligence. He often uses circular reasoning, but attacks others for circular reasoning. Point this out to him he either:

          a. disappears

          b. resorts to personal attacks

          I take it you've never been on the receiving ends of one of his temper tantrums?

          June 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I never would be. I actually agree with every one of his posts. While they are extremely derogatory, if you look at them in a true light, you would see that they are completely true. The craziness of the actual religion of Christianity borders on the insane. Belief in god is one thing, but all the surrounding dogma is another.

          I'm sure you know the story of the Mormons. The very idea that a man read some golden tablets out of his hat, and to this day, nobody in that religion thinks it is nuts makes them questionable as thinkers, but not as people. My Mormon friends are some of the nicest people that I know. Scientologists are really over the edge crazy with what they believe. I don't know any personally, but what they have to believe is so crazy that I really don't want to associate with any of them.

          My Christian family are all really good people, as long as we don't bring up the subject of religion. I can certainly do without the constant "We'll pray for you" c-rap, as their hearts are in the right place.

          But...the militant reaction I have seen from some of the Christian posters here goes beyond what one would expect from so-called followers of Jesus. You listed some cases that the editor has stepped in, but that does not mean he is paying that close of attention. If so, salero would be banned, finisher1 would be banned, because both are absolute tools and bring nothing of value to the party. There are others, too numerous to mention that preach instead of discuss. Colin is one of those guys that starts out civil, but stupidity seems to make him nuts...I suffer from that myself sometimes.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not surprised you enjoy Colin's posts. He generally agrees with your beliefs. You may employ better tactics in communicating with people than he does, which does demonstrate a higher level of sophistication than he has demonstrated.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I do like it when people are able to eloquently point out the craziness surrounding the bottom line belief system that people adhere to. There are several here that can do that really well. Of course, the belief system of Christianity is rife with inconsistencies and easily open for ridicule, as most belief systems are. Belief in god is one thing, but suspension of all belief in reality in order to justify that belief is quite another. It is archaic and deserves all the Colin type ridicule as possible.

          June 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is nothing eloquent about using derogatory slurs and demeaning language.

          bigot – a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

          June 6, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          That is true about derogatory language, but I have no problem with pointing out the incredible idiocy surrounding bronze age myths and being able to devalue notoriously crazy belief systems based on outdated propaganda.

          June 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think what people practice says more about them than what they preach. Or actions speak louder than words.

          June 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I do as well, but when those actions include imposing rules geared towards any religious belief, I am passionately opposed to it. Religion has no place in the creation of secular laws.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Actually, the US provides freedom of religion. I'm allowed to vote my religious beliefs in elections – my Christian beliefs encourage me to allow equal rights and to give a voice to those who typically are not heard. Individual freedom and responsibility through the separation of church and state are 2 ideals that many Christians cherish.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Yes you can....but what should not be happening is a law that makes it ok to start a government meeting with a Christian prayer. Vote all you want, but don't bring your religion to my secular government meeting.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I wouldn't imagine doing such a thing – unless everyone has an equal opportunity to do their own. A moment of silence is more appropriate. Jesus says we should pray in private, not in public like the religious hypocrites do. I can take that religion to our secular government meeting (it is not just yours).

          June 6, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I actually did not mean you personally....I was referring to laws made in the name of any religion.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Both the civil rights and anti-slavery movements were Christian, not secular.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Oh goody.....that should excuse the fact that slavery and the extermination of the Indians was tethered to Christianity.

          June 6, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • observer

          Dalahäst,

          It was the heavily religious southerners who used the Bible as justification for slavery and discrimination.

          June 7, 2014 at 12:07 am |
  20. bostontola

    Good article. Informative, well researched, and made many points that were easy to follow.

    "Two centuries after the death of Mohammed, Muslim scholars collected and sifted through hundreds of thousands of narratives (called hadith) attributed to him, accepting a few thousand as likely to be authentic.

    Together, the Sunna forms the second most important source of legal guidance – but their application to modern life isn’t always clear, and at times, one lesson from Mohammed seems to contradict another."

    The resemblance to Christian doctrines and interpretations is striking. It is man that decides, not God. And other followers execute the man derived laws.

    June 6, 2014 at 9:06 am |
    • Russ

      @ bostontola:
      you said: "it is man that decides, not God."
      that is exactly the opposite of how early Christian leaders understood themselves.

      "Humans did not determine the canon, they *responded* to it."
      – Michael J Kruger

      http://michaeljkruger.com/ten-basic-facts-about-the-nt-canon-that-every-christian-should-memorize-8-the-nt-canon-was-not-decided-at-nicea-nor-any-other-church-council/

      June 6, 2014 at 9:31 am |
      • bostontola

        Russ,
        I can't know what early Christians thought or understood, it can be inferred. It is clear that men constructed the NT Canon out of many optional bodies of work centuries after Jesus died. Most were left out, all were written decades after Jesus died. These were all man made decisions.

        June 6, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • Russ

          @ bostontola: you make several assumptions here that ignore the scholarship.

          1) you said: "I can't know what early Christians thought or understood, it can be inferred."
          that's simply a refusal to read the sources. it's not something to be inferred. it is explicitly stated otherwise.

          2) you said: "It is clear that men constructed the NT Canon out of many optional bodies of work centuries after Jesus died."
          the same way that archeologists 'construct' history from the facts they find? it seems you are certainly implying a very different approach here (pursuing facts vs. creating a story). again, how did they understand what they were attempting to do?

          3) you said: "Most were left out, all were written decades after Jesus died."
          you seem completely unaware of the criteria used.

          a) "most"? many *obviously later & unreliable* writings were left out. but MOST of the earliest resources were included (unless you buy into the fringe opinion of the Jesus Seminar).

          b) "decades" – you seem to be implying these were not eyewitnesses. I'd recommend reading Richard Bauckham's "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses." all were written within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses – with demonstrated knowledge of the exact setting.

          c) "all man made decisions" – it's clear here that you are taking as a given a closed system (God does not influence such things). that begs the question.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • bostontola

          Russ,
          If these weren't man made decisions, then those men didn't have free will. Which is it?

          I have read much of the scholarly writings. They are inferring things. Do you think scholars know?

          You can discount the works left out for whatever reason you want, but more were left out than included. That is the definition of most. The important point is, men made those decisions.

          June 6, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • awanderingscot

          bostonola
          you really should stop while you think you're ahead. there are many prophesies and inferences in both the gospels and the epistles that reference the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. you might try actually reading the bible instead of professing to know it and if you need some help with your math let me know, from the time of Christs' death to 70AD was less than 40yrs.

          June 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          It is clear that men constructed the NT Canon out of many optional bodies of work centuries after Jesus died<-may I suggest "Why 27?" by Brian H Edwards...the NT really did not take centuries..in FACT....there was a list found from about 150 AD that had almost ALLthe NT books that was considered canon....the remaining few (2 Peter, 3rd John, etc) were not widely distrubted and Initially doubt was cast by SOME of the early church fathers....but after careful studies they then accepted them and we have what we have today..the others were never considred for canon. The first 3 generations of the early church fathers were already arguing against the heresies put forth bythe pseudo Gospels, which they say were nhot of the disciples or apostles (some had glaring inconsistencies as to the Jewish and Roman culture of the time of Jesus. thus were deemed not genuine)

          June 6, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          bostonola
          It is not what you state concerning the heretical writings, that somehow it was the will of man that kept them out of the holy canon; but rather left out due to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Satan began his attack on the church as soon as it was born and apostasy beset the early church even as the apostles were writing letters to the congregation. The heretical writings were left out of the holy canon because God would not permit their inclusion.
          "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us." 1 John 2:18-19

          June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. – 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 – the perfect did come with completion of the Holy Canon when John finished the book of Revelation.

          June 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Russ....archeologists do not discard any of the bones they find...they use everything to try to figure out the past. Throwing out anything because it did not fit the definition of their belief at the time is dishonest at best and criminal at worst. It did not allow future generations to make rational decisions based on all the information.

          June 6, 2014 at 5:30 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.