February 6, 2016
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
The New Testament actually provides two answers as to when Jesus was to arise from the dead.
In the one instance, Jesus tells his disciples:
“They will kill him [i.e.,the Son of Man], and ON the third day he will be raised to life.” (Matthew 17:23 – NIV; emphasis mine)
and in another, Jesus says this:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and ON the third day be raised to life.” (Luke 9:22 – NIV; emphasis mine)
Thus, it seems pretty clear that since Jesus was crucified on (Good) Friday, his resurrection was to take place on the following Sunday, i.e. the “third day”.
But elsewhere we read this:
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and AFTER three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31 emphasis mine)
The passage above is paralleled in both Mark 9:31 and 10:34.
Now, interestingly enough, scholars fully recognize that Mark was the first written gospel, and that both Luke and Matthew used Mark’s gospel as an exemplar as each was composing their version of events. So it seems rather odd that Luke and Matthew would both chose to alter the text of Mark to read “on the third day,” instead of keeping intact Mark’s original “after three days.” Why do such a thing remains quite the mystery; a mystery we will attempt to solve later in this article.
Short of midway in Matthew’s gospel, we also find Jesus declaring :
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days AND three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40 – NIV; emphasis mine)
Thus, even Matthew’s gospel points to a fourth day! That leaves us with two clearly conflicting indications as to when Jesus was to arise from the dead. The question now becomes: How have Christian apologists managed to ” resolve” this thorny issue?
The Christian Apologists Respond
The most accepted explanation put forth by Christian apologists―when they’re brave enough to even tackle the issue at all―is that “On the third day,” and “After three days’ actually mean the very same thing!
A Christian apologist over at the popular website, Apologetic Press,* claims that both phrases are simply Jewish “idiomatic expressions” used on the part of Jesus to signify the very same day. Eric Lyons first cites Matthew 27:63:
“Sir,” they [i.e., the chief priests and the Pharisees] said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again,” (NIV; emphasis mine)
which certainly finds full agreement with the statements found in Mark’s gospel. But then he adds the next verse, where we read:
“So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” (Matthew 27:64 – NIV; emphasis mine)
What he does next is remarkable. Eric Lyons argues that since the tomb was to be “made secure” for just three days, and not four, it must surely mean that ON the third day, and AFTER three days both mean the very same day. He writes:
“The phrase “after three days” must have been equivalent to “the third day,” else surely the Pharisees would have asked for a guard of soldiers until the fourth day. Interesting, is it not, that modern skeptics charge Jesus with contradicting Himself, but not the hypercritical Pharisees of His own day.”*
Eric attributes the skeptic’s “misunderstanding” of scripture to a lack of understanding ancient Jewish idiom and how “days” were actually reckoned at the time. He writes:
“While to the 21st-century reader these statements [“On the third day” versus “After three days”] may initially appear to contradict one another, in reality, they harmonize perfectly if one understands the different, and sometimes more liberal, methods ancients often used when reckoning time.“
He then concludes:
“The idiomatic expressions that Jesus and the Bible writers employed to denote how long Jesus would remain in the grave does not mean that He literally was buried for 72 hours. If we interpret the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in light of the cultural setting of the first century, and not according to the present-day (mis)understanding of skeptics, we find no errors in any of the expressions that Jesus and the gospel writers used.”*
End of Part I
Next Time: More apologists, and then an atheist rebuttal.
January 18, 2016
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
“The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (from Latin trinitas “triad”, from trinus “threefold”) defines God as three consubstantial persons, expressions, or hypostases: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit; “one God in three persons.” (Wikipedia)
Just substitute the word “Gods” for “persons,” and you actually have something more in line with what Trinitarian Christians are really looking at: The God Jesus is God, but NOT God the Father; that they’re really separate from each other, but not really.
Trinitarian Christians are taught to believe that the three “persons,” or entities, that make up God are actually ONE entity. “He is three, and they are One” makes just about as much sense as believing in the existence of square-circles. If one could be brainwashed into believing that sort of nonsense, it would prove they’re utterly brainwashed, wouldn’t it?
Claiming that the Trinity is some sort of a “mystery” that the feeble mind of man has to simply accept as the truth is flat-out nonsensical―and an insult to the rational mind. It is patent nonsense. It is as intellectually dishonest as it gets.
Don’t believe so? Let the Trinitarian Christian provide irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
August 30, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
Have you ever asked yourself why Christians feel the need to pray?
The faithful will tell you that they pray for a wide variety of reasons. They may pray to their God to praise Him for being so loving and wonderful, or merely to give “thanks” for the “blessings” He’s bestowed upon them. Some pray to confess their “sins” directly to God and thus make their remorse feel all that more sincere. Many pray to seek God’s Divine help or guidance in some matter. Many Christians even pray on the behalf of others. And many of the faithful pray to their God simply to “commune” with Him. Most Christians, however, pray in hope of receiving material goods of one form or another.
You may wonder how the faithful can come to praise God for being so loving and wonderful, or thank Him for “blessings” received when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that God even exists. (This parallels Christians telling atheists that we “hate” God. Now how can anyone be “mad” at or “hate” a God―or any other imaginary creature for that matter―that we don’t even believe to be real? It is well-nigh impossible to do. Just try it sometime and see. Try truly hating leprechauns, for example.)
The brutal truth is that Christians are actually imagining that they are communicating with deity. Equally brutal is the fact that they cannot possibly prove otherwise either.
Now isn’t that a mind-numbing realization we nonbelievers all have to accept!
On Group Prayer
Many non-Christians are troubled by the extent to which Christians will try and impose Christian prayer on others. If it’s not in the public school classroom, it’s at graduation ceremonies, or during sporting activities and the like. And it is usually Christians using simple peer pressure to coerce others into participating even though genuine sincerity on the part of each participant may be entirely lacking. Such group prayer ends up being nothing more than an “advertisement” for the Christian religion and a bold-faced attempt to indoctrinate non-Christians into the Christian faith.
Yet Jesus―purported to be none other than God in the flesh himself―absolutely opposed staged prayer and the like in his famed “Sermon on the Mount”:
““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven …
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:1, 6, and 5, in that order; NIV; emphasis mine)
As for what prayer truly accomplishes―other than fulfill some psychological or emotional need on the part of the worshiper―Christians are at a loss to prove.
And has anyone ever defined what group prayer is supposed to achieve that individual, personal prayer does not?
God Anticipates Your Needs
But there’s more: Jesus goes on further in the Sermon on the Mount to declare that “Your Father knows what you need [even] before you ask him ,” prayer-wise! (Matthew 6:8; NIV)
Well, if an all-knowing God already knows what you would feel the need to pray for beforehand, what is the need for prayer at all? If it is simply to make make-believe God “punch-happy” and pleased with the level of attention and begging He is receiving, what a hoot! Does it make imaginary God unhappy to deny prayer requests too?
Havoc-Wreaking God and Misfortune
God gets the credit when things go well for the Christian; so much so that Christians feel themselves individually “blessed” by God in a positive way. But then why is not God given the blame when things go disastrously wrong by these very same worshipers―excepting natural disasters? God, instead, gets to remain utterly immune from reproach―regardless of how horrific the disaster! Now that’s retarded in my view. It’s just plain goofy. Is it not?
Look at the number of Christians throughout man’s history that have actually been killed in church or during a religious service of one type or another; killed while praising, adoring, and thanking Almighty God in worship!! Now what on earth did thankful prayer achieve for those Christians?!
Where was Almighty God to “protect” not only His houses of worship, but too, those worshiping inside them, from destruction?
* A recent event reported (here).
What a bizarre form of “gratitude” God Almighty chooses to display to the faithful!!
Was not going to worship and pray that deadly day utterly tragic, not only for the victims, but for their friends, family members, and fellow worshipers alike? Would not the act of protecting all worshipers from harm in places of worship provide a proof that God actually exists?
So what do the grieving survivors, friends, family members, and fellow worshipers do after church-related deaths? Why, they gather together and pray to make-believe God all the more fervently! Now how bizarre is that!! It was their own “loving” God calling the victims “home,” so we are told, by murdering them! So what is further prayer supposed to accomplish?
We all know of people of faith who have prayed to God to thank him for the fact that their hellish existence isn’t even more hellish. But where was God prior to these individuals suffering such hellish conditions? How much praying and veneration is required before God does something, anything, to aid his suffering earthly “children”?
“Your [Heavenly] Father knows what you need before you [even] ask him.”
(Jesus in Matthew 6:8)
So what went wrong?
Starving children just not praying fervently enough these days?
August 14, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
When last we left Mary Magdalene, she and “the other Mary” had returned to Jerusalem to inform Jesus’ immediate male disciples that they met the risen Jesus, and that he was to meet them in person in Galilee.
In Matthew’s gospel, the two Mary’s first encounter a lone angel, at dawn, sitting atop the entrance tomb stone who informs the pair that Jesus has risen from the dead. The angel then gets up off the stone and actually directs the two to the empty tomb―perhaps even having to side-step the “dead-like” Roman guard unit lying incapacitated on the ground to do so (cf. Matthew 28:6). It is only now that Mary Magdalene becomes aware that Jesus’ body is missing.
What, then, are we to make of the fact that Mary Magdalene had already encountered two angels inside the tomb AND met the risen Jesus earlier―according to John, Chapter 20?
It is vitally important to realize that Matthew’s account patently contradicts the Gospel of John as to how Mary Magdalene comes to discover the empty tomb.
In John, chapter 20, Mary Magdalene sees that the entrance stone has been rolled back in the pre-dawn; discovers Jesus’ body is missing; then hurries back to Jerusalem to tell Peter and the Beloved Disciple of it. The three then rush to the tomb with the Beloved Disciple arriving first, but with Peter being the first to actually enter the tomb.
Notice that contrary to Matthew’s gospel there is no angel sitting atop the entrance stone outside the tomb, nor a Roman guard unit lying dazed and confused on the ground at any point thus far. Moreover, Mary Magdalene is certainly not “escorted” to the empty tomb by an angel as in Matthew 28:6, now is she?
Peter and the Beloved Disciple return to Jerusalem when Mary Magdalene, now standing just outside the tomb entrance, peers into the tomb. It is only now that any angels appear on scene in John’s gospel. Two suddenly materialize inside the tomb sitting on the slab where Jesus’ body once lay. Moments later, the risen Jesus appears and asks Mary why she is crying. He then asks who she is looking for. Notice that Jesus does not ask “them,” or who “they ” are looking for. John keeps it purely in the singular here. There is no mention whatever of any other follower of Jesus other than Mary Magdalene on scene. Since this is the case, I will argue that the very questionable “we” passage―used by Christian apologists to maintain that multiple female disciples accompanied Mary to the tomb―in John 20:2,
“So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!'” (emphasis mine),
is either an interpolation inserted by some early Christian attempting to portray at least some semblance of harmonization with the other three gospels, or else Mary simply chose to use the first person plural for the first person singular in this instance.
In any event, it is important to note that “we” does not fit the context of what preceded it in any way. And note too that the Oriental, the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions of this text read, “I know not where they have laid him” (emphasis mine), not “we.”
As stated, John’s gospel reports that both angels and the risen Jesus ask Mary Magdalene who she is looking for. In Matthew’s gospel, however, the angel seated on the entrance stone already knows who Mary is looking for and says so prior to the two Mary’s discovering that Jesus’ body is missing (cf. Matthew 28:6). So too, the angel inside the tomb in Mark 16:6:
“And he [the angel] saith unto them [Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome], Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” (KJV)
(Memo to Christian fundamentalists: You can’t make a square peg fit this round hole. You simply can’t. There is no way to squirm out of these contradictory accounts and remain intellectually honest in doing so. Your “faith” does not make these contradictory “empty tomb” accounts all magically become literally “true.” And no amount of wishful thinking will do the trick either.)
Yet Christian apologists will argue that the four evangelists have recorded mere snippets of what actually took place at the empty tomb: each from their own, unique perspective; with one gospel author adding some bit of information another evangelist fails to reveal; with one gospel author choosing to cite just part of an angel’s remarks, while another cites them in full; with one evangelist focusing on just the “lead” angel, while another feels they both deserve the spotlight.
But try as one might, it is still impossible to mesh all four empty tomb accounts into one flaw-free whole. It’s just not possible.
Christian commentators, therefore, have resorted to two alternative means of “resolving” the matter. The first is to cry that Christians are in a “no-win” situation because we skeptics would cry “foul” if the four gospel accounts actually agreed with each other; citing that we would charge the evangelists with fraudulently “conspiring” to compose a fault-free set of reports.
But that is sheer poppycock and every atheist knows it. The New Testament has far greater problems than finding certain accounts suspiciously made to agree with one another. Besides, this “tack” does nothing to explain away the patent contradictions involved, now does it?
The second approach is to actually agree that trying to mesh the four empty tomb accounts into one cohesive whole is hopeless! So this body of Christians argue that the contradictions matter not one whit: that it is far more important that the four accounts agree in general, and that is what makes the preposterous accounts of Jesus’ resurrection “true“!
So much for the historical “accuracy” of the gospel accounts!
So much for “God” directing “flawless” scripture.
And so much for bible “inerrancy” too.
Next Time: I’ll tackle the topic of “Prayer”.
August 4, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
We ended Part II of this series wondering aloud why none of Jesus’ disciples was prepared for his return from the dead. Not a single one! And this, despite the gospel reports of Jesus actually attempting to explain the Passion to his disciples on several separate occasions! (And one can only imagine how many attempts were made with the apostles on an individual, one-to-one basis!)
Christian scholars, nevertheless, have settled on three possible explanations to account for the disciples’ total lack of understanding:
a) The first being that the disciples were simply too distressed to fully take-in what Jesus was so desperately trying to convey to them (as in Matthew 17:22-23):
“When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief” (NIV; emphasis mine).
b) The second being that Jesus’ words were simply too incomprehensible to fathom (as in Mark 9:30-32):
“They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it” (NIV; emphasis mine).
c) And the third being that “God” deliberately chose to conceal Jesus’ fate from his followers (as in Luke 9:43-45):
“And they were all amazed by the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying” (NIV; emphasis mine)
My first response is to point out that in Mark, Jesus says he will be raised “on the third day” while in Matthew, he says “after three days, meaning on the fourth day.
As to the first argument, I would point out that being “acutely” distressed by Jesus foretelling his imminent death does not necessarily dictate that his disciples would “fail” to comprehend what was told them; rather the reverse can be argued, that the disciples did understand Jesus―only too well―and yet, only up to a point. What is completely overlooked is the “fact” that Jesus was simultaneously assuring his disciples that he would be raised from the dead and be “glorified” by that “other” God, God the Father (see here), as well. Now, where is the joy and jubilation in that being displayed anywhere in the gospels?
And what are we to make of the disciples’ paralyzing fear in asking Jesus to elaborate further in regards to the Passion? Does that make any kind of sense to you ?
The second explanation, if fully embraced, means that we have to accept that every one of Jesus’ disciples was actually so dim-witted that even after the long hours Jesus spent with them trying to clarify precisely what the Passion would entail, and all that time instructing them as to why things must progress in the manner they would, that it still all remained completely incomprehensible to them! If so, what does that tell us about the “intelligence” of “the (supposed) most supremely intelligent being in all of existence”? He consciously hand-picked complete nincompoops to be his earthly followers rather than more “capable” individuals!
As for the third argument: Are we really to believe that God Almighty chose to deliberately cloud the minds of Jesus’ disciples at the very same time Jesus―God incarnate Himself―was attempting to instruct his disciples as to what was about to befall him? Really ? Now how retarded would that be!
Finally, note Jesus’ words in Luke 9:44, “Let these things [in regards to the Passion] sink down into your ears.” Here, Jesus is attempting to use sheer force of will to make his disciples understand him. Are we, then, to accept that an incarnate God has not to ability to convince his own disciples of something so momentous even when employing supernatural power?
What kind of a “God” do Christians have running Trinitarian God’s Christian Universe anyway? Oh, that’s right: there are actually three “Gods” running it, aren’t there?
Next Time in Part IV: The conclusion. (here)
July 28, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
Mary Magdalene is now breathlessly reporting all that she had seen and heard at Jesus’ tomb to the disciples in Jerusalem (cf. John 20:18). And it is here that she happens upon friend and fellow disciple, “the other Mary.” Together, they decide that yet another visit to the tomb is in order and quickly prepare for the return trip; this marking the 3rd visit by Mary Magdalene within the span of a mere hour or so―that’s if we were to rely on the combined gospel reports!
It is still the pre-dawn when the two Mary’s arrive (Matthew 28:1)), and after a violent earthquake has just erupted.
But note that it was after the sun arose when the women arrived, according to Mark16:2!
An angel has come down from heaven and has rolled back the entrance stone to Jesus’ tomb (which had somehow been rolled back into place)! That missing Roman guard has now finally materialized and stationed at the tomb entrance―though shocked out of their senses as a result of witnessing a “real” angel roll back the entrance stone; so much so that they have become like “dead men” (Matthew 28:4).
“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it. (Matthew 28:2; RSV; emphasis mine)
This now third angel (following the two that appeared inside the tomb earlier in John’s gospel) knows that the two Mary’s are looking for Jesus. Yet, in spite of all that has already transpired in John’s gospel, proceeds to tells Mary Magdalene precisely what she already knows: that Jesus has risen from the dead!
(Clearly, the telepathic communication system employed by imaginary God and His imaginary angels back in the “day” was simply not as “reliable” as it is today.)
But what happens next is simply astounding. The angel gets up off the stone and escorts the two Mary’s to Jesus’ tomb. It is only now that Mary Magdalene is made aware that Jesus’ body is missing, according to Matthew’s gospel! Contrast this with John’s account (20:1-18), and the Christian fundamentalist has problems.
By now, it should be rather obvious that the author of “Matthew’s” Gospel knew nothing of Mary Magdalene’s pre-dawn visit to the tomb as recorded in the Gospel of John. But, more striking is the fact that Jesus’ imminent death and resurrection was a “talking point” Jesus himself repeatedly stressed to his disciples (cf. Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:21-22; and parallels). Therefore, is it not incredibly odd that not one disciple is depicted as anticipating Jesus’ imminent return from the dead? Not a single one!
How is one to explain this?
Moreover, it is only now dawn Sunday. Jesus underwent the resurrection quite some time earlier. Ergo, we have Jesus’ “rising’ actually occurring prior to only the second “dawn.”
The apostle Paul claims in I Corinthians 15:3-5 …
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen by Cephas, then of the twelve.”
But Jesus himself “prophesied” the Resurrection would occur on the fourth day in Mark 9:31:
“He [Jesus] said to them,”” the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men,. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
(Emphasis mine, NIV)
and, by inference, Jesus again in Matthew 12:40 where Jesus God declares he will remain in the heart of the earth for “three days AND three nights,” thus equaling the fourth day. (See also Matthew 27:63.) This being the case, one would assume that the disciples were already fully, and gleefully prepared for Jesus’ return from the dead.
Should we assume that the disciples were truly dim-witted beyond all belief? Or, could it be that the disciples never really believed Jesus after all? Even after witnessing the multitude of “miracles” he is said to have performed right before their very eyes?
End of Part II
Part I (here )
Next Time in Part III: The Christian response. Part III (here)
July 24, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
Picture the scene: Mary Magdalene has just arrived at the tomb of Jesus on “the first day of the week”―but while it is still dark (John 20:1).
Mary is stunned to find the entrance tomb stone rolled back and the tomb itself empty. She is further stunned to find that not a single angel (or two) is to be found either inside or outside the tomb as reported in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke!
But what Mary is really taken aback by is the fact that there is no Roman guard lying dazed on the ground as reported by the gospel author “Matthew.” How could that be, she wonders? The gospels are supposed to be error-free! (All said, admittedly, utilizing a wee bit of “artistic license” in this instance―Greywolf.)
So what to do? Why, Mary decides to return to Jerusalem and tell the apostle Peter and Jesus’ most beloved disciple that the tomb is empty, that there is no Roman guard posted, and that she has no idea where Jesus’ body is. Both apostles then race to the tomb, with Mary in tow, and discover she was telling the truth. The beloved disciple then actually comes to “believe” (verse 18), but exactly what is unclear. Meanwhile, time moves on. Peter and the beloved disciple return to Jerusalem. Mary Magdalene, however, chooses to remain; perhaps to ascertain what happened to Jesus’ body.
As she peers into the empty tomb crying, she is startled to find not one but two angels occupying the space above and below where Jesus’ body had once lain (and not the single angel sitting atop the entrance stone as reported in Matthew’s gospel). They both ask Mary why she is crying. She replies that someone must have moved Jesus’ body but she has no idea as to where. (And all said without the slightest trace of the shock, fear, and trembling that she is to later display upon encountering “angels” in the gospels of Mark and Luke.)
Suddenly, Mary is made aware that a figure is standing behind her. She turns toward the figure who too asks Mary why she is crying, but then questions who is it she is looking for. She mistakes the figure for a tomb area gardener who has undergone crucifixion (She must have, for Jesus arose bodily, and not in “spirit” form, according to Church doctrine.) But once the figure says the name “Mary,” she realizes that the individual is not a previously crucified area tomb gardener after all, but dead Jesus brought back to life―and now in full-deity mode! (He must have been, for “Doubting Thomas” actually calls Jesus “God” after seeing him in this precise state later in John 20:28.)
As a joyful Mary starts to embrace Jesus God, he admonishes her not to because he has not yet ascended to God the Father, who, incidentally, is not only Mary’s God, but his God as well (verse 17). Never mind that Jesus is also God―according to the countless Christians who believe in the so-called “Trinity” (but see my “Jesus God versus God the Father.”) And never mind that Jesus God, in a turn-around, does later decide to get touchy-feely with Mary Magdalene, as well as “the other Mary” (in Matt. 28:9), and “Doubting Thomas” (in John 20:27), all before his ascension!
Mary then returns to Jerusalem and reveals to Jesus’ disciples all that had transpired at the tomb.
Now where in blazes do you suppose that Roman guard disappeared to? They’re said to have been on station the entire night―if we are to believe Matthew 28:13, that is.
End Of Part I
Next Time in Part II: The Roman guard finally surfaces! (Part II here)
July 18, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
An Encounter with Gods
A Journey into the Hypothetical
And now, a thought experiment: Imagine that you have found yourself standing near the entrance to a long, sumptuous, palatial corridor. At the far end of this long corridor you spy none other than God the Father seated upon a spectacularly majestic throne. At the very entrance to this eerie passageway, you behold the God Jesus, seated atop a gloriously splendid throne of his own, still sporting his wounds from the crucifixion.
You start to head towards God the Father bent on asking Him every single profound question that has puzzled you about His Almightiness since childhood. But after taking just a few short steps, you are abruptly stopped dead in your tracks by Jesus God, who, in loud voice, and in no small measure, first admonishes you, and then utters the words made famous in John 14:6.
Jesus God: Halt! You are to go NO further! For “No one comes to the Father except through Me!” (NIV; emphasis mine)
Now, focus on precisely what the God Jesus has just said here and you will quickly realize that there are not one, but two Gods on scene in this scenario: one of which you have no access to initially, and the other one of which you do. Moreover, it is Jesus God who permits access to God the Father rather than God the Father Himself ! Without Jesus God’s exclusive approval, it is impossible for anyone to access God Almighty. And God Almighty is in no position to do anything about it either, for it is the God Jesus and not God the Father who is calling all the “shots.’
And so now the obvious question: How can any truly rational individual still cling to the belief that the God Jesus and God the Father are one and the same God? We clearly see one God blocking access to a second, yet both Gods continue to be emphatically proclaimed by Christians who believe in the so-called “Trinity,” “the One true God.”
Remember: If the God Jesus and God the Father are both one and the same being, it would be utterly nonsensical for there to be another being sitting on a throne at the far end of that mysterious corridor opposite Jesus-God who is simultaneously both God the Father AND the God Jesus―who just told you that you cannot come to the God the Father except through him―but who is fully God the Father too! And don’t forget that Jesus God is also God the Holy Spirit too, according to Trinitarian believers.
Got a headache yet?
And note what the “Lord” Jesus tells Mary Magdalene in John’s gospel after rising from the dead:
“Go … to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17; NIV; emphasis mine)
Whose God was that?! A God who is not the risen God Jesus?
Finally, who is Jesus God plaintively lamenting being “forsaken” by in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 when He was God incarnate?
“And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, MY God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34-NIV-Emphasis mine.)
Oh, that’s right, a second God.
Ahhh, isn’t intellectual (dis) honesty in religion just wonderful?
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
It’s a “Mystery”
Rather than provide a blow-by-blow account of what Christian commentators have had to say elsewhere in respect to the issues covered in this series, I will simply focus on the two most resilient “defenses” apologists have had to offer when caught in a particularly difficult exegetical bind.
The first of these I find inherently dishonest and intellectually bankrupt. It is completely devoid of any real quantitative substance. Yet, it is, without a doubt, one of the most frequently used defensive rebuttals atheists have encountered in debate with believers, and the one which usually puts an end to any further discussion. It is the tried-and-true “It’s a Mystery” defense; favored most by Catholic apologists.
What the It’s-a-Mystery defense purports to maintain as fact is that we humans are so stupid (in relation to God) that we cannot even hope to fathom the reason why God did this or God did that―that “something” being anything one finds theologically perplexing to the point of being left wholly baffled by it; such as the question: Why are people of faith made to suffer so? Another one being: Why do we find real contradictions in God’s sacred word? (Such as: Did Jesus actually rise on the 3rd day as per I Cor. 15:4, or on the 4th day as per Mark 9:31?; to cite just one example.)
Therefore, the faithful must accept that any “perceived” theological conundrum; any inexplicable problem dealing with biblical inerrancy issues; or any apparent “ungodly” acts of behavior on the part of God, are “mysteries” only God holds the answers to. In spite of the obvious staring the believer right in the face, the believer is to believe, no matter what!
But what about the skeptic who finds such “blind” faith utterly revolting, even dangerous? Where is the “truth” of the Christian faith supposed to exist if it is entirely unprovable? And why on earth should children be made to pray to, and then worship and adore the actual Creator of everything evil? Out of “love,” or because of the fear that if one doesn’t, one will be made to suffer horribly?
(I would just point out that a real God could just poke his head through the clouds and at least attempt to explain himself in terms we humans could understand; but that it would be just plain knock-down impossible for an imaginary God to do, now wouldn’t it? I would further point out that God would rather an atheist suffer indescribably brutal torment, agony, and anguish for all of eternity (!) for simple non-belief than truly reveal himself as He did to Doubting Thomas and Paul on the way to Damascus, and thus save their “soul.” (Makes you wonder how much the God of Christianity really wants to save souls, doesn’t it?)
Either it is beyond His “limitless” powers to reveal Himself to us moderns, or else He’s really a Supernatural Sadist simply having his way with hapless man. But most obvious is the fact that He’s simply flat-out imaginary!)
The question now becomes, does the It’s a Mystery defense truly provide any real kind of a substantive rebuttal to the skeptic, or is it merely an evasive “cop-out”? We atheists believe it the latter. The statement, “It’s a Mystery,’ for all it’s worth, answers absolutely nothing.
The second, and the most intellectually bankrupt “defense” imaginable for an “out-debated” Christian apologist to resort to, is to simply blurt out: I don’t care what you say! I’m going to believe anyway !! (Followed by a parting, exceedingly pious, “I’ll pray for you” directed towards the skeptic.)
Now how many times has the atheist heard that retort (or some variation of it) at the end of a hotly contested theological debate? And the “clincher” for the apologist? Why Paul’s words in I Corinthians 1:20:
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (NIV)
In other words, a God who has an absolutely astounding inability to prove to skeptics he truly exists, has decided to reinforce that inability by counseling believers to treat logic and reason―in other words, “God-given” intellect―as so much used toilet paper when it comes to matters of personal faith.
And what other passage of scripture do apologists gleefully point to in defense of such irrational belief? Why I Corinthians 1:19, where God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Some kind of “Super Intellect,” that “God,” isn’t He?
We have focused on the decidedly evil nature of God in this series. But not to despair, for God does not really exist. He is purely the invention of man. Nonetheless, it is astonishing to see that Christians worship and adore the true Creator of evil (within the scope of their faith) instead of despise Him. But that’s blind faith for you. It is as irrational as it gets.
Next Time: Jesus God versus God the Father (here)
July 3, 2013
A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
On God’s Evil Power
Have you ever wondered where Satan gets his extraordinary powers from? (Pssst, that’s him in the painting above disguised as Jesus! Damn decent impersonation of him, wouldn’t you agree?)
Okay, enough silliness. Back to the serious stuff.
It is certainly obvious that Satan couldn’t have created his evil powers himself. The Bible clearly demonstrates that it is God who created every single thing in existence: God and God alone.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. (Colossians 1:16; AKJV bible; see also John 1:3; emphasis mine)
Therefore, there could be no other possible source for Satan’s evil powers other than Almighty God.
But there’s one more odious “fact” to ponder: God is continually providing the Evil One with His powers! Think about that. Absorb it. God―if you believe the God of the Bible to be “real”―is actually supplying Satan with the power to lead man into sin. Now why on earth, would the very personification of love; of all that is good, just, moral, and righteous want to do anything like that ?!
It wouldn’t be because God is . . . ahem . . . truly evil, now would it?
As I’ve stated elsewhere (see here): “There can be no greater Evil in all of existence than the Creator of Evil”. Here, we are talking about the very inventor of evil, the Lord Almighty himself (accepting He exists purely for the sake of discussion); this, a rather stinging rebuke to Christians everywhere, to be sure. But am I wrong? Go ahead. Try and think of something more evil. I’ll wait.
A further thought; and one which I’ve also stated elsewhere (see here) “If it happened, God wanted it to happen. If He didn’t, it would never have happened.” Every plague, “natural” disaster, the Holocaust, and every other “evil” to befall man has either been created by, or permitted by God to afflict mankind. Now what does that have to say about the moral character of a “loving” God?
God could have easily uttered three simple words to Adam & Eve after they were tricked into partaking of the forbidden fruit. Just three words would have prevented the fall of man and all the horrific suffering and misery accompanying it. Those three words being a simple: “I forgive you.” And guess what? There would be no need whatever for Jesus-God to pretend to die on the cross for the “sins” of mankind! (Now, you don’t really believe that you can actually “kill” a “God,” do you?)
Think about it: God would have absolutely NO need to have Himself murdered at all!! Hmm. Or was that God-man, Jesus-God simply a “clone” of the Almighty? (I keep losing track of which God is supposed to be which these days.)
Food for thought: God could have easily “forgiven” Adam & Eve and thus ensure man’s continued sublime happiness. God could have also chosen not to plant that “tree of knowledge” in the Garden, or have simply barred Satan from entering it at all (as we have already pointed out). But even with his supernatural omniscience, and knowing the disastrous outcome for us humans, God went ahead and did what he did anyway. So does this not make for a hideously evil and sinful God? Or would “heartless boob” be a more apt byword to describe this entity?
Further Food for thought: If you were to unplug your bedroom table lamp, that lamp would no longer be able to provide light to that room. Correspondingly, if God simply “pulled the plug” on Satan, he would no longer have the “power” to lead man into “sin”. Now, would he? But God has clearly chosen NOT to “pull the plug” on Satan, hasn’t He?
Gives you a very accurate indication as to just how evil, at His core, the God of Christianity actually is, doesn’t it?
Let’s face facts: If God really wanted to create that perfect world he so (supposedly) wanted for mankind, there wouldn’t be anything to prevent Him from doing so―except Himself! After all, He’s “God.”
Next in Part V: Christian apologists play “defense”; the conclusion; Part III (here)