A little slower this month on the Screwball front, quantity-wise. In terms of quality, nothing's changed....they're all as screwy as ever.

From the Mailbag

The MMM MMM Good Tasty Irony Award goes to this email I got:

I read your article Shattering the Christ Myth and links, and found myself asking where's your evidence and how has the myth been shattered?

Even 100 Biblical Scholars known as the Jesus Seminar said the Gospels are only 18% historically accurate. I didn't see that in your rebuttal.

Absent in your rebuttal is any mention of Robert Price (Biblical scholar and Jesus Seminar fellow), author of the Incredible Shrinking Son of Man. He demonstrates that the Gospels are mythology and a rewriting of the Old Testament and other sources.

The Gospels are a conglomeration of mythology and a form of midrash. Zoroaster, Horus, Krishna, Bacchus, Prometheus, Indra and other deities were born by virgin birth. Empedocles was reported as preaching, curing illnesses, controlling the storms and raising the dead. Dionysus had a last supper. Bacchus turned water into wine. Osiris died and was resurrected.

The Gospel stories didn't originate with Christianity. Mithraism, a religion that co-existed with Christianity, but began much earlier, is the best example of this. Mithra was born of a virgin, his birth was celebrated on December 25th, performed miracles with 12 disciples, held a last supper, resurrected after 3 days on the spring equinox and ascended into Heaven.

Easter itself is rooted in pagan origins. The name Easter comes from the Pagan goddess "Eostre."

The proper way to determine historicity is to examine the evidence and then draw a conclusion, not make a decision and then try to justify it. You've done the latter.

In case you don't realize it, these are all things I've written articles about...I told the wit to use my search feature. Next up, this one:

I am sorry that your faith is so blind and fanatical to not be able to read one simple line for what it says. Dan Brown said the descriptions of the artwork, architecture, etc were accurate. If you take those words literally, which you should, then he is saying only the descriptions are accurate, not the dates, or the periodic comical lines, such as a fax came from Heaven. How could you be upset about an exaggerated joke such as that? I am a Christian and a believer in the Bible. This book does not offend me in any way. Of course some things are inaccurate. There isn’t any book in history that can be universally accepted as 100% true. Some believe the Bible is 100% true and some don’t. Any argument supporting a fact can be argued from the other perspective. Don’t take it so personally. I guarantee that God isn’t.

The Deludedly Misplaced Confidence Award goes to this email:

I used to be a Christian, and all my classmates were too, nearly all. Once one of my friends found Jesusneverexisted.com on the internet, we all left the church, and stopped believing in Jesus. Around 600 of us. We now go to a group that teaches us about evolution, and it makes so much more sense. I might only be 14, but I know when I've been taken for a ride, and Jesusneverexisted.com has shown us that Christianity was all a lie.

And the Ultimate Answer to All I Write comes from this genius:

The increasing tolerance toward homosexuals in recent times should not blind us to the fact that gays can be a menace, a destructive force in society. And here's the oens who are: deeply closeted, self-hating gays. Finding the pressure intolerable, they sometimes seek relief by projecting this hate onto others. Being painfully aware of their sexual unorthodoxy, they may overcompensate by being hyper-orthodox in every other way, and by attacking the unorthodoxy of others.

This is what motivated Roy Cohn, the weaselly sidekick of Joe McCarthy. And it also motivated David Brock, right-wing character assassin par excellence, who did more than anyone to whip up the bogus Impeachment Crusade agaisnt President Clinton.

But something happened to David Brock: He admitted to himself that he was gay, and stopped hating himself for it. Once that happened, he no longer felt the need to be a character assassin, and he repented of his evil ways.

YOU can know this same relief. You don't need to pretend anymore. Not in this day and age. There's a lot of tolerant people who will accept you as you are. Stop hating yourself. Stop being a negative force in society, projecting this hate onto others and needing to be a vicious attack dog. The world needs more positive people and that they're gay doesn't matteer to anyone but the negative and ahteful. Why ally yourself with them, with those who hate you and make you hate yourself?

It starts with a single step: Face yourself in the mirror and say,

"My name is J. P. Holding and I'm gay!"

Everything else will follow. You'll feel so much better.

And then we have the Proud to Be Dumb Award Winner:

You amaze me!!! You neither proved anything and after reading your critical ramblings on the trinity teaching of L. Ray Smith, It so reminded me of the church I came out of! You use alot of big words and you proved nothing with all your gobbledygook and I saw a lot of words but did not see that you said anything at all.

Does not the bible say that there is one God and one Son and also it states that God is spirit!

Ray Smith taught this through and by the Spirit of Christ!

Theologians like you still turn my stomach! The knowledge of men is foolishness with God!

Nice try my friend but you have not convinced me on anything nor to many others!


The Apostate Who Isn't All There

A Lifetime Achievement Gold to Brian "The Apostate Who Wasn't All There" Flemming for his latest campaign, the "War on Easter". You can read all about him here, and to give you an idea of the mentality he represents in brief, this is from his "War on Easter" blog:

The zombie has flown into the air, to leave us alone until he comes back in December as a baby. (Which, come to think of it, means God raped Mary a couple weeks ago. UPDATE: A comment informs us that the zombie will actually be walking among us for 39 more days. Keep an eye out. Also, Mary may actually have been raped by an angel, armed with God’s semen. Don’t be shocked. In myth, gods rape humans all the time. Christianity didn’t invent it, just borrowed it.)

And since we're giving out awards to Christ-mythers, one also for Luigi Cascioli, for taking his defeated (in Italy) Christ-myth related case to the human rights court in Strasbourg. Nope, the historicity of Jesus is not about history, it's about human rights. And mind you, Cascioli is demanding "precise evidence"!

Homer's The Bible Scholar in the Family

Abraham Simpson on TWeb wins Gold for such as these:

Scriptural Christianity, which began in 6th century BC Babylon, did not seem to have a particular time table for kingdom resurrection, leading to world peace, other than when the body which watches for the Christ reaches the numbers which would make it viable as a force to take, and hold, the land of the old kingdom of Israel.

No one knows what Paul says flatout, and there is no reason to think that words written in black and white are reliable evidence.

The only thing that is reliable about the bible, is the story it tells, not individual words in individual verses. If the words and verses don't tell a story which lines up with the whole story, then it is a waste of time to refer to them. There is absolutely no record in the written language of Paul, regarding what Paul actually said, and the written Greek language of the Textus Receptus, is unlikely to represent what and first century koine Greek writer said flatout. If your debate will be based on a mutual agreement that seminary written Greek is even anything akin to first century written koine Greek, then the debate will just be an exercise in arguing over the nuances of languages which do not accurately represent the writing of the original authors in the first place.

Rise above the false political correctness of orthodoxy, and debate with the real evidence...the greater context of the whole bible story!!!

God Even Told Him Where to Rent the U-Haul

MichaelCadry can't go a month without winning something. This time:

You are right. This desert is where I belong. God proved me to come here to Phoenix by sending 8 inches of snow back in Michigan. I wanted to go to FL, but upon asking a sign from Him to assuredly direct me, He said Phoenix. I would almost rather be in FL, except for the fact that He told me to come here. I was also told by an angel 6 mos. after I got here that this Valley of Phoenix, which they call 'the Valley', is symbolically the Valley of Armaggedon, and that it is spiritually like Egypt, with the same climate, and heat, and vegetation and animals. And that Phoenix is named after an Egyptian mythological bird called a Phoenix, who rises from the ashes every 500 years. This is what I was told by the angel. You don't know if an angel talked to me and said these things, but you see, I DO KNOW, because I was the recipient. Am I suppose to tell the angel to get lost because you people say so. It's not gonna happen!! I am forever faithful, loyal and indebted to my God and His Son Jesus for making this wild life of mine actually come true. You see, in Revelation 12:5 it says, "and her man-child was caught up to God and to His Throne, and shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, just as it is given to Jesus, so shall you find it true in the future that I will sit alongside Jesus helping to rule the earth. And so will many of you, for it says in Revelation 2:27, "Those who overcome shall I give to you to rule over the earth with a rod of iron. Those who can be chaste and overcome that Jezebel, is what it says. Read the chapter if you like. I have remained a 50 year old virgin so far for Jesus' sake. I was told when I was 18 and horny, not to think of my new girlfriend in the way I was thinking. Once I felt horny towards her, an angel spoke in my ear and said, "No, No". I have remained a virgin ever since.

As a Florida resident, I'd like to thank God publicly for sending Mike somewhere else. My apologies to my Skeptic friend in Phoenix (Kyle Gerkin), however.

On the Virtues of Being Ignorant

Highlighting the virtues of ignorance this time is TWeb newcomer "Lost". First, on Paul:

I wonder why God need Paul at all?

Jesus hand-picked 12 guys and mentored them for 3 years.

They were jews but then so was Paul.

Paul can't have been anymore qualified to preach to the gentiles than the 12 disciples.

How can vision accomplish in a few minutes what couldn't be accomplished in 3 years?

Was Jesus not good at training while on earth but did a refresher course after going up to heaven and was then able to do a fantastic job on Paul but left the rest of the disciples to rot?

I mean how much of the new testament is written by the disciples?

Almost nothing.

Awful lot of sand sitting on top of the rock I think. House must be built on rock - hmmmm.....

We won't explain to Lost about Paul's Greco-Roman literary training or about the ancient literacy rate of 10%, because well, it won't be understood, based on this comment on apologetics sites:

When I try to find rebuttals to skeptic type criticisms of the bible I get lost in their arguments.

Some of the skeptic sites are very easy to understand and laid out in a very easy to read manner.

Even on this board the arguments get way too complex for me.

I'm sure I can't be the only one put off by the complexity of the arguments.

Does anyone know of simpler sites written by christians who have been down the skeptic path and managed to get back again.

I hope to get back myself but atm I can't see how - I am overwelmed with very forceful arguments showing a picture of a nice jesus for whom lots went wrong at the end, followed by a jerusalem church that was much closer to Jesus's teachings than Paul.

Paul it seems unwittingly hijacked the teachings of Jesus and was in turn hijacked knowingly by the Catholic church. This concept seems to make all my problems with scripture fixed in one foul swoop.

Tektonics is too complex most of the time altho I'm sure the author means well and lots of people with a hight IQ than me can follow it quite well.

The skeptics seem to set things out much more simply and understandable.

And then:

I don't consider the new testament to be very reliable evidence - despite all the attempts by apologists - it just doesn't stand up to scrutiny, unless of course you are a one-eyed believer.

Hmmm...is this you, reader?

Not Only That, Peter was Really Emperor Augustus

"honey~combs" wins Gold for this argument for mistaken identity:

So before Paul's mysterious conversion, he wanted to wipe out Christianity. And once he converted, he rebuked Peter to his face, and made Christianity into a different religion. And why should we trust this guy? Because he claims to have had a vision? And dreams that contradict Peter, in fact. I'm not buying it.
It's more likely that Paul was the pagan philosopher Apollonius, the heretic, also known as Simon Magus, and a very famous man from the time period. The Paulican heretics in the Byzantine Empire claimed that Paul was Apollonius, and they claimed to have his true teachings, which are very similar to the biblical teachings. Hatred of sex and women and that sort of thing. Apollonius was a persecutor of Christians. Moses Maimonides, an important Jewish scholar from the 12th century taught that Paul was actually Apollonius. That's the meaning of first Corinthians when Paul says, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." And then, "He who plants and he who waters are one."
What To Do When You Can't Win

Jason Long wins another Screwball for this commentary:

Let us suppose that there is a hypothetical dichotomy that the experts must decide upon. If 90% of the scholars agree with the position that favors Christianity, I would feel extremely confident that about 90% of the scholars came into the field as Christians. The opinion of such authorities, who began with the conclusion before considering the evidence, cannot be trusted simply because they are authorities. One simply cannot trust those with huge emotional investments to be objective on critical issues. You cannot trust a car salesman when buying a car; you should trust a consumer report. You cannot trust an Islamic scholar when studying Islam; you should trust a scholar who had no opinion going in. You cannot trust a Jewish scholar when studying Judaism; you should trust a scholar who had no set opinion going in. You cannot trust a mother of an artist when determining which artist made the best painting; you should trust an art critic with no knowledge of the artists. For this reason, I put little stock in the opinions of people who began studying Christianity years after they accepted the notion of a talking snake.

Another long-winded way of saying, "Let's avoid hard data arguments and just whine about 'bias'." But you CAN of course trust an apostate atheist when studying against Christianity....

Obviously, I Learn About Hypostatic Entities from Comic Books

Twin award for Farrell "Foo Foo" Till and his obsessed fans. One for his unnamed thrall for sending him a link to this statement I made on TWeb to DoubtingJohn, who accused me of being brainwashed by sermons and Bible reading:

Yeah, well, dude, know what I did in church during the sermon 2 weeks ago? I sketched 40 pages of script for Shrike Team #3. Wanna know how often I read the Bible? 5 minutes a day, to the Mrs. in the evening. Wanna know how much I pray a day? 5 seconds at meals. Wow. I've got the brainwash, huh????

And one for Foo Foo himself, for this commentary on it:

I didn't need to hear this in order to know that [Holding] doesn't read the Bible very much, because his limited knowledge of it shines through in his articles, but I was a bit surprised to see him admitting it in a public forum. For some time, I have been working on an article that analyzes the language in [Holding]'s articles to show that he not only lacks any depth of biblical knowledge but also doesn't really believe that the Bible is what he defends in his articles, but I have been sidetracked by other projects that require me to put this article on hold. I hope to finish it someday. Anyway, I thank [Holding] for publicly admitting that he is not what he tries to present himself in his articles. It gives me a link to use when I continue to point out his biblical ignorance and hypocrisy.

Looks like someone doesn't know the difference between devotional reading (which was DJ's obvious point) and serious study via commentaries and reference materials. I spend all day, literally, in the latter. Mega-screwball, dewd -- and inspiration for a new "You may be a fundy atheist if..." entry:

You say that if a Christian reads their Bible a lot, they are brainwashing themselves. But if they don't read it much, you accuse them of being ignorant.
Blather. Rinse. Repeat.

Speaking of brainwashing, "Skepticbud" poppped in again to accuse Paul of being a brainwasher because he used persuasive techniques. Using Skepticbud's definition of "brainwash", though, everyone qualifies as a "brainwasher", especially Skepticbud himself trying to persuade us with his own "propoganda". In the end he admitted that even traffic school was brainwashing. And then he had a few more screwy things to say:

If a person exhibits characteristics universally recognized in modern psychology as those that are expected of mind-controlers, then it really doesn't matter whether those characteristics are exhibited in first-century collectivist Palestine, or 20th century Waco Texas, agreed?

*

Yes, I seriously think it is quite easy to be a Christian and yet be an atheist, here is how:

1 - For you, "Christian", meaning follow of Christ, means you agree with Jesus's view on things, though not on absolutely everything. Just like if you said you were a Pentecostal, this would imply you are a follow of Pentecostal theology, though it wouldn't necessarily imply that you believed that ability to speak in other EARTHLY tongues, as DEMONSTRATED at Pentecost in Acts 1, was necessarily true for today. Therefore you have no problems being identified as a follow of Christ, as long as those you talk to aren't decieved into thinking that mainline protestantism represents anything a Christian could be.

2 - You disagree with Jesus about the existence of God, because you never said Jesus was your Lord and Savior, since you reject the mental shackles of Lordship salvation, and wish only to be called a Christian, a follow of Jesus, not a slave of Jesus, just like you wish to be known as a follow of morals, without it meaning that that you make a moral issue out of every breath you take.

See? Just a little common sense applied to the bible, in an effort to cleave out what doesn't work for you and keep what does, you can very easily be a Christian atheist. The disagreements from other Christians mean nothing to you, since you don't view the bible or Jesus the way they do. The bible is a book that contains principles for social intercourse, and Jesus is nothing more than a great guy.

*

Well, at least we have another proof of a wannabe Christian who says 'Lord, Lord,', even if it means NOT getting to level three of Quake 4 before the rapture. What committment!

Could you be evangelising lost souls during the time that you play video games?

What's more important to God, the preaching of his word and gospel, or you and your selfish indulgence in things that aren't gonna end up saving anybody? Doesn't the bible say do all in the name of the Lord Jesus? how exactly do you play video games in the name of the Lord Jesus, unless you use his name to cuss out your frustration of not winning?

Isn't it true that you could do more for Jesus? Why aren't you doing your best then, if you are a true Christian?

*

Another reason why I think honor-shame societies are stupid is because they falsely assume that dogmatic words should pass for reality.

*

On a comment I made some time ago indicating that inerrancy was not a "sacred cow" to me:

If JP says "it was just sarcasm", then let the reader click the link and then ask themselves whether it looks like sarcasm, or whether it looks like JP Holding is now just trying to cover up his true view of the bible. Was his reference to historical accuracy and Tacitus also just sarcasm?

If JP says he still doesn't care if the bible is inspired, then this would prove a hypothesis that I've had on JP for the last 4 years or so, namely, that he is NOT a Christian, but only goes through the bare minimum of motions to look like he is a Christian, in order to allow the Christian task of apologetics to provide him with a way to deal with his overly aggresive demeanor. This would be proven because if JP is still willing to defend biblical inerrancy, EVEN IF THE BIBLE IS NOT INSPIRED, then the task of Christian apologetics certainly cannot be his primary concern.

If his primary concern really was mere historical accuracy (and so that part of his answer was NOT sarcastic), then we have to wonder he is so concerned to defend the bible as historically accurate and not devote equal amounts of time to other ancient works. Does JP have a website that has the same amount of material of him defending the historical accuracy of other ancient volumes outside the bible? No.

So then why is this non-Christian so concerned with defending the bible? Let it not be forgotten that JP said he didn't care if the bible was inspired or not, which means he wouldn't stop doing his apologetics ministry even if he discovered that the bible was not inspired. That's an awful lot of effort and time to defend an uninspired secular book. I think JP just uses Christianity as a pretext to vent what looks like a very obvious problem with aggression.

Sure, he might go to church, sure, he might have family bible study with his wife and kids. But Jesus said "out of the abudance of the heart, the mouth speaketh", and if we apply that to JP, then JP's heart is devoted 100% to Christian apologetics, without caring if the bible is actually inspired or not, and.

The reason you don't often meet Christian apologists who don't care if the bible is inspired or not is because people can be safely assumed to be more consistent with their own minds than this, usually.

JP Holding likes to mock unbelievers who make errors in their arguments via not knowing what life was like back then. Ok, I know of no instance where a popular speaker or teacher, who knows her writings will be read by thousands if not millions, REFUSES to proofread in order to catch and correct mistakes before it is sent out. So with proofreading being so common-sense, it would seem the only single solitary reason inerrantists would deny such expected behavior of the apostles and their secretaries, is their question-begging concern to maintain their belief that "the originals" were inerrant. After all, if the apostles and their secretaries proceeded to produce the NT in the normal manner that popular teachers and authors prepare writings before presenting them to the masses of their followers, then the inerrancy of the originals, still not yet proved to begin with, would be accounted for by processes totally expected to take place in such circumstances.

That Salad is of the Devil!

"Biblischism" (yep, E. T. from last month) continued his quest for Ultimate Stupidity with some comments:

Is there such a thing as truly “sacred” plants according to Christians? Shamanic cultures have used entheogenic plants and their derivatives to “commune” with God and touch the etheric plane (OK, whatever that means).

Should we fault these cultures for using these sacred plants, especially given that their “trips” give them the unmistakable impression that they are communicating with their Creator?

This is a sore point for biblicists and indeed most evangelicals. On one hand, they must disavow the pursuit of botanical highs since they seem to be so contrary to (parts of) the Bible. On the other hand, the Author of these botanical chemicals bid us to eat His plants, giving no warning of their hyper real, psychoactive effects (which, in many cases, dissolve socially indoctrinated belief systems [like religion] and magnify cognitive dissonance to the point where it must be addressed and not merely regarded as a Beelzebubic tool to deceive the individual.)

*

Hard to take a guy's exegetical advice who weekly posts new Petra lyrics in his signature. (Petra writes music designed to summon a small arenaful of fists into the air. Very heady stuff.)

It's a very basic principle: I judge people according to the quality of their taste; the ones who have good taste tend to be more interesting and, oftentimes, more intelligent.

It's a general rule, but as you see in the case of MM, it's pretty accurate in judging individuals and the merit of their arguments. In other words, if that golden brain of MM's could not find anything more edifying and soul nourishing to listen to than This Means War!!! by Petra, then what are the chances this same brain has successfully contemplated the whole of biblical scripture, properly meditated on its precepts and tenets, and thoughtfully considered the myriad complex issues attached to it? Such a man is a Grade A poser--vainly pretending to know what his Petra-addled mind hasn't the sufficient resources to know.

Ergo, Petra fans are unintelligent people and, therefore, unworthy of serious discourse.

How can I be the only one here who has grasped this? Where are the pure thinkers, fer criminy?!

*

One objection to biblical theism that was a stumbling block for me when I was a churchgoer is Leviticus 21. In that chapter, God shows what can only be described as a bigoted view of the handicapped.

How can the God of Leviticus 21 possibly be the God of the gospels? I always wondered. Granted, Jesus says some harsh things in the NT, and I’m aware that reconciling the OT Yahweh with the NT Yahweh has been a point of debate for quite some time (for good reason), but being handicapped myself, this chapter would be embarrassing to me if I had to witness to the “blemished” (some of whom must daily confront human attitudes that are not unlike God’s inexplicable view in Leviticus 21).

I can even understand sacrificial animals having to be blemish-free--but human beings?

Is it unreasonable to argue that if the handicapped were profane in His sight in Lev. 21, then they are just as odious to Him now? If not, why? Did he take a sensitivity course some time between 1,500 B.C and 33 A.D.?

*

B: Please do continue proclaiming that English Bible translations give an incomplete or inaccurate account of biblical events.

MM: Well, yeah, that's pretty much what I'm saying. Odd that you think simply restating my point suffices as a rebuttal.

B: When it's an unwitting admission that all English versions of The Holy Bible are incomplete and inaccurate and, therefore, errant, it not only suffices as a rebuttal; it is the perfect rebuttal.

Needless to say, the Chicago Statement was never on E. T.'s reading list as a fundamentalist.

And, odds and ends. "NormATive" wins Gold for this comment:

This is my personal belief. I think Paul's letters - besides never having the intention of being published - were heavily edited to suit the wealthy, male-dominated Roman and Greek aristocracy who pushed the "blood and the cross" message as a parallel to fit nicely with Roman culture.

Yup, worshipping St Paul's Palestinian Jew who hung half-naked and most-likely soiling himself on a cross would really appeal to the 1st century Roman aristocracy. Finally, Gold for "Bubbahotep" for quoting to me as an authority the "Blue Letter Bible" and Matthew Henry's ancient commentary.

The Las Vegas Eschatology Award goes to a TWeb user at this location, Science of Time, for the latest mathematical malarkey deciding who the Antichrist is.

The Decontextualized Rant of the Month Award goes to "scisyhp" for this long-winded spiel:

If you're Christian, you have to either oppress women if you're a man, or be oppressed and not question it if you are a wemon.

So you have a daughter. She used to be cute and affectionate, but the older she gets, the more rebellious and disobedient she becomes. Displeased? Of course you are, every father would be! But what to do... hmm, how about selling her into slavery? Sure, not only do you get rid of the ungrateful cow from your home, but you make a few bucks at the same time! A win-win solution! Read all about it in Exodus 21:7-10.

Soldiers of a conquering army have their pick of the women in any captured city. If a soldier "seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her," that soldier can force her to marry him. Whether she wants to or not doesn't really come into the equation. The catch is that once you marry her, you can't sell her to someone else, you have to either keep her as your wife or let her go. Read all about it in Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

Of course, army life isn't for everyone. So what do you do if you don't want to join the army but you do want to force a beautiful woman to marry you? Well, according to Deuteronomy 22:28-29, all you have to do is rape her, then pay her father fifty pieces of silver. Done and done, she's yours forever! What do you mean, a woman probably wouldn't want to marry her rapist, what's that got to do with it, god says she has to, so she has to! Just be careful not to rape a married woman, as that will earn you death by stoning, as outlined in Deuteronomy 22:23-27.

All good christians know that women are only good for one thing, right? That's what god says! According to 1 Timothy 2:15, "... women will be saved through childbearing". So, I guess any woman who thinks for herself and decides not to get pregnant won't be saved, huh?

God hates flirtatious women who wear flashy jewelry and clothing. Women are supposed to be subservient, not sexually aggressive! Isaiah 3:16-26 teaches us what happens to women who flirt. The lord will strip them naked, make them bald, cause them to smell really awful, and make them ugly. Yeah, that'll teach them, way to go, god. 1 Timothy 2:9 backs this up.

If there's anything god hates more than flirtatious women, it's sexually active women. You see, only men are allowed to go screwing around as they see fit, women simply can't do that. Ezekiel 23:19-27 tells the story of one such woman, Oholibah, who was promiscuous with men from a very young age. Eventually, god got fed up and decided to punish her. First he arranged to have her gang raped, then he had her nose and ears cut off, her children sold into slavery, and all her possessions taken away and burned. Yeah, that'll teach her for giving in to those sexual urges you gave her, god, way to go! Leviticus 21:9 puts it a little more succinctly: whores should be burned to death.

14:34-35. Women are not allowed even to speak when in church. If they hear something they don't understand, they have to keep their yaps shut, wait until they get home, and then ask their husband to explain it to them. Another great example along the lines of the above is presented in 1 Timothy

2:11-14. Women are not allowed to teach, nor have any authority over man. Why? Because Adam was created first (making Eve, and by extension all women, secondary), and also because Eve was deceived by the snake (therefore meaning that all women, naturally, are easily deceived).

Yes, god knows how important it is for a woman to obey her man. Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us that a wife must obey her husband the same way she would obey god himself. 1 Corinthians 11:3 reinforces this, and Colossians 3:18 says it yet again.

Are men and women equal? Not according to god! He's even kind enough to provide us with dollar values when comparing the worth of a man to the worth of a woman. Check it out: Leviticus 27:1-7.

God forces women to endure pain during childbirth, and also tells woman that man "...shall rule over thee". Glad I wasn't born a christian woman. Genesis 3:16

How do you justify these things theists? Do you feel that wemon should be treated as though they are worth less than men? DO you believe that men should be allowed to mistreat women and use the bible as justification?

The Twist-an-argument Cinnamon Pretzel Award and the associated grant money to attend BYU goes to Russian Wolfe on the Bible's decrying of necromancy and Joseph Smith's "visits" from Biblical dead folks. Lots of gems, such as:

From all of your scriptures the act of consulting those who claim to communicate with the dead is condemned. It says nothing of the dead communicating with the living.

Ranting fundy atheist "Pitchforkpat" receives the Bible Brainwash Award for constant appeal to Bible translations for his arguments on the subject of Elisha and the two bears, and for such emotional, culturally misplaced tripe as this:

Aaahhh…so now we finally have it. Elisha was defending his honor by having 42 people mauled by a bare. I think the rotting carcasses and the screams of the mothers is a great testament to Elisha’s honor. What an honorable gentleman.
So if a bunch of kids accuse you of lying, then you’d better defend your honor and have them all mercilessly mutilated! That is if “honor” is “important” to you. Boy, I’m glad honor is now only important in SOME parts of the world (as you claim above). Where is it in the world today where honor isn’t important? Empty-headed twaddle.

He also wins for misplaced statements in inerrancy, such as this retort on the Chicago Statement:

The biggest whopper of a cop out yet. Now inerrancy is simply inferred and stated. In other words, it is completely unverifyable and impossible to critique so you'll just have to take our word for it. We're saying it's without error and you can't check. NO original manuscripts exist, so NO accusations of inerrancy can ever stick again. Genius. Pure Genius.
However, it’s also a lie. If they were truthful it would be the Chicago Statement on Original Manuscript Inerrancy (that's the TRUTH). Saying that because no original manuscripts contained error, that therefore the Bible doesn’t contain error is a bald-faced, unscrupulous cheat. The Bible is the book I can walk down to my local Christian Book and Music store and buy – and it contains errors.

"manwithdream" earns the Demonstrated Inconvenience of Coherence Award because of:

I have an unusual explanation about Psalm 22 . I think the writer first says he is a worm and not a man. A worm does not have arms, legs, or bones. Later he says "dogs...have surrounded me like a lion, my hands and my feet I will count , all of my bones they will see" (my translation)." I think at that point he felt strong like a lion, and he was saying that he is not a scared worm anymore. A lion has hands, feet, and bones, so he poetically might have been saying that he is not a worm anymore simply by saying he now has hands, feet, and bones like a lion. I have a more detailed explanation in my own website, but this is the basic idea. I'd like to hear what other people say about this. thank you.

Bagger_Vance wins the Great Expectations from Simplified History Award for this extended commentary:

It has been 2,000 years give or take. What has Christianity accomplished? Has it changed the world in any positive fashion? Has it shifted the world to a better more peaceful place? Has it changed mankind and made him more charitable and loving?

Well why don't we ask the christians themselves? First we'll focus on their views on morality. They decry and lament the moral depravity in the western world...meanwhile they are the predominant religion of the west! If the west is morally decadent and depraved as christians claim then why is christianity the majority religion? In fact with a good 1,000 years as the dominant religion in the west one would expect a return on the investment of enlightened loving humans. Why haven't we seen this? Where is this return on the investment in Christ made by the west? The claims of Christianity are that you accept Christ and he "changes your heart". 1,000 years of undisputed Christian rule in the west we are sliding further if you listen to the christians themselves.

How about we shift from the moral abstracts. Most Christians might argue that we've all fallen or that even some christians are wrong on what constitutes biblical morality. Fair enough. How about how christianity has changed foreign relations and the world in general. Has Christianity helped stop war, famine, poverty, etc? Christians were participants and key enablers of such tragedies as the slave trade, Crusades, genocide of Native Americans, Inquisitions, etc. In 2,000 years what is the return on this Christian experiment for the world? Has it made the world a better place for humanity? Has it changed hearts and made people more compassionate?

One might ask for a point here. The point is that if Christianity is what many claim it is why hasn't it changed anything? The evidence suggests that it is nothing but window dressing. While it says all the right things it has proven absolutely incapable of changing anything in a substantial way. Christians are the majority in the western world yet they claim it is morally decayed. Christians are the richest and most powerful people on the planet and yet millions die of starvation and preventable disease every year.

The real question would be this: If Christianity never existed would we be able to tell a difference in the world today? Would christians argue that things would be worse?

Sevivon1913 on paltalk wins the Excellene in Acharya S Award for his claims that every manuscript that references Jesus is fake, doesn't exist or is kept a secret by the Catholic Church, and that the word "Jew" is a racial slur.

An atheist member for this oldie and goodie wins the Semantic Gyration Award:

Atheism is not a position at all. Its a lack of a position

Plus:

Its funny that context only comes into play when we hit a nerve. Feel free to send JPH after me again. I will ignore his inane rantings as I have done for the last 2 years.

Anton S wins the Apologetics Dispos-a-matic Award for this commentary on the Gospel of Judas:

It is a very bad book. God told me about thids book. Judas Iscariot did not write it. All its content is lie. One man wrote it according to words of an angel who appeared to him, he did not know who that angel was. The angel told him the story, and the man wrote it. This story is a fiction. When he showed this book to priests, the priests did not accept it as truth. It is one the worst of black books.

"honestseeker" racks up the Use Your Fingers Award for this one:

Didn't Jesus use up his second coming, when he converted Paul on that highway, according to Paul and some of his friends?

Jesus: Dang! Thanks to that vision I gave Paul, I now have to go back to Heaven and re-do all the paperwork I need for another "second coming" before coming back and ushering in the final ressurection. This'll take a quite a few millenia. "honestseeker" also had a few more comments:

It seems strange that he didn't convert Paul all of the time that he was here on earth, in front of the other apostles, as he did with the others. Paul could have learned Jesus' teachings as he was teaching the other apostles. Mabe that's why his teachings are so much different from Christ's and John's.

Also, Jesus never mentioned or announced the coming of a teacher who would throw out the Laws of Moses, that David and even Jesus said were eternal ( ps.119:160 & Mat. 5:17-19 ) Deut. 4:2 says not to add to them, nor subtract from them; doesn't that sound alot like that verse in Revelations? Paul says they were nailed to the cross, but Jesus never mentioned that during the 40 days he was here on earth, before he ascended?

Our institutional award to Pensacola Christian College gets more laurels based on reports from here:

The rules at Pensacola govern every aspect of students’ lives, including the books they read, the shoes they wear, the churches they attend, and the people they date. Many of those regulations are spelled out in a handbook sent to students after they enroll, but there are plenty of unwritten rules as well. Demerits are common and discipline swift. It’s all in the name of preserving Pensacola’s “distinctives” — the word the college uses for what sets it apart. But many former students say the enforcement of the rules is often cruel and capricious. Dissent is never tolerated, they say, and expulsions for seemingly minor infractions are routine.

They also complain that Pensacola plays down (or never mentions) an important fact: It is not accredited. For many students, that lack of accreditation has not been a problem; for some, however, it has meant starting college over elsewhere or being rejected by employers.

Someone who witnessed the incident reported Ms. Morris and her boyfriend. At Pensacola any physical contact between members of the opposite sex is forbidden. (Members of the same sex may touch, although the college condemns homosexuality.) The forbidden contact includes shaking hands and definitely includes patting behinds. Both students were expelled.

...There are restrictions on when and where men and women may speak to each other. Some elevators and stairwells may be used only by women; others may be used only by men. Socializing on particular benches is forbidden. If a man and a woman are walking to class, they may chat; if they stop en route, though, they may be in trouble. Generally men and women caught interacting in any “unchaperoned area” — which is most of the campus — could be subject to severe penalties.

Those rules extend beyond the campus. A man and a woman cannot go to an off-campus restaurant together without a chaperon (usually a faculty member). Even running into members of the opposite sex off campus can lead to punishment. One student told of how a group of men and a group of women from the college happened to meet at a McDonald’s last spring. Both groups were returning from the beach (they had gone to separate beaches; men and women are not allowed to be at the beach together). The administration found out, and all 15 students were expelled.

Even couples who are not talking or touching can be reprimanded. Sabrina Poirier, a student at Pensacola who withdrew in 1997, was disciplined for what is known on the campus as “optical intercourse” — staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex. This is also referred to as “making eye babies.” While the rule does not appear in written form, most students interviewed for this article were familiar with the concept.

Well, my toons are from the pit of hell, then....

But we're not done yet...

Pensacola Christian College is “an idea that came from God,” according to its Web site. The college was founded in 1974 by Arlin Horton, who remains its president. It is Baptist but is not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention or any similar organization. Both Mr. Horton and his wife, Rebekah, are graduates of Bob Jones University. While it appears that he copied his alma mater’s demerit system and some of its rules, there is a longstanding rift between the two institutions.

Several years ago, Pensacola publicly criticized Bob Jones University for using translations of the Bible other than the King James Version. (Pensacola’s policy is that the King James is the only divinely inspired English translation.) A group of Bob Jones faculty members fired off a lengthy letter responding to the attack.

When he was a student, Mr. Harding traveled with a singing group that promoted Pensacola. When prospective students asked about accreditation, Mr. Harding says the singers were instructed to tell them that Harvard and Yale are not accredited, either, and so accreditation doesn’t matter. (Harvard and Yale, for the record, are accredited.)

Donald Barber asked about accreditation before he enrolled. The first time he asked, he says, a college representative evaded the question. Then the representative said it wasn’t important. “I had to ask three more times before he said no.”

Other website awards...Paul Ferrel and Kathy Demchuk, for the mass decontextualization in in their "Illustrated Stories from the Bible That They won't Tell You in Sunday School": http://www.illustratedbiblestories.ca/

http://end-timesflag.tripod.com/ for the creation of an "End Times flag".

http://www.pantheism.net/ and http://betterhuman.org/ for just misplaced optimism.

http://www.outrageousmastery.com/ for stuff like:

Hi, I'm Sasha Xarrian, the author and foremost authority of Outrageous Mastery, An Outrageous Xperiment.

I Am The Originator of The Formula That Will Allow You to Harness A Higher Power, Wake-Up to Your Divine Birthright and Create Everything.

I have Xperimented for 30 years to see if there was a Formula to have Powerful Faith.

All holy writings tell us we can do anything if we have faith. I kept wondering why we couldn't create anything. Maybe we didn't know how to really use faith.

Through my 30 years of Xperimenting, I found a formula that works.

It's dirt-poor exegesis of the Bible coupled with New-Age Hippie-Crap TO THE X-TREEEEEEEME!!!

I want to disclose to you:

• How you acquire doubt-free & powerful faith

• How to create money

• How to blast through limitations, fear and worry

• How to heal illnesses

• How to hear answers to prayer

• How to pray effectively

• How to create daily miracles

• How to create outrageous love in your life

Gee. If she can create money then why is she trying to sell her secrets for $147? In fact, if you can create anything, why do you even NEED money? Money is just used to buy things. She should be able to make anything she wanted: houses, cars, food, etc. She should use her powers to make a better looking website.

http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/welcome_home for generally being obnoxious, and such things as:

Another side effect of faith is that it makes you more gullible. We live in a world where deception is common and it's important to figure out who's telling you the truth and who isn't. People need to have good screening mechanisms to survive. You have to be able to test information to see if it's true. When you believe on faith you reprogram you mind to accept information that is untested. It's like having a back door where crooks can sneak in and get you to believe anything they want. All they have to do is cook up a scam and slap a cross on the front of it and Christians are reaching for their wallet. The reason Christians are so gullible is because they have accepted the role of being a follower and doing what their crowd does rather than to think things through themselves. So once they become convinced that their peers are doing it then they are ready to get in on it.

Of course, atheists would never be gullible and accept things like, oh, the "Orpheus Crucified" amulet as genuine.

http://www.raptureready.com is a virtual Screwball Outlet, with stuff like:

Why is Batman just Batman while Robin is the Boy Wonder? The name "Robin, the Boy Wonder" was partly based on the medieval hero of the poor, Robin Hood. The name also fit the flying animal motif of Batman.

In 1940, Robin was introduced as part of an effort by DC Comics to soften the dark broodiness of the Batman character. In time, virtually all of DC's major superheroes wound up with a "kid sidekick" of some sort. Aquaman had Aqualad, Green Arrow had Speedy and Superman had Jimmy Olsen as a vehicle for better plot development.

In the case of Robin, the phrase "Boy Wonder" was simply used as a marketing tool to emphasize his youthful contrast to Batman. The partnering of Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder has been one of the most successful match-ups in comic book history.

This is in their FAQs, for some reason. Also:

To document the decline in the sanctity of the institution of marriage, what better example to use than the Queen of Serial Marriage herself, Miss Elizabeth Taylor. Liz is as known for her revolving door marriages as her acting ability-of course today this might be seen as common place, but surely raised an eyebrow or two during her heyday.

"Hollywood Marriages don't last long. IT'S A SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE!"

An instiutional award goes to Western Christianity because of this list of the 50 Most Influential Christians, which includes a number of people who teach heresy, health and wealthism, and feelgoodism.

And last, Doubting John, for inviting Acharya S to post on his Debunking Christianity blog.

Modalist (replying to question, "Who is the Holy Spirit?"): James or accurately the Church under James' leadership. If we are to believe the Apostle Paul.

Snarf: On the meaning of the word kill, I'm going by the English Bible. If you want to substitute 'murder,' that's fine except that God then told the Israelites that it was OK to murder people too.

Just wondering, the pro-life POV is that abortion is wrong because it is murder of a defenseless human being, and it is always wrong for one person to murder another.

Yet these same consider it OK that God's followers in the OT killed others by stoning, for a variety of reasons like adultery, being gay, disobeying parents,etc. The assumption is that God ordered the killings as a form of punishment, and it is just because He makes the rules and we have to obey.

Question: How do pro-lifers know that God isn't commanding women to have abortions today?

After all, according to pro-life logic, God can do whatever He wants. Therefore, He could also be ordaining abortions. If you disagree and say that it is impossible, then who are you to disagree with God or question His judgement?

Keith Rex on TWeb: So this is really just another Gay Atheist front run by Gay Atheists who call themselves Christians? I suppose in your Bible Jesus taught "blessed are the Gays - because they have all the money."?

Jeannot: These original followers didn't even call themselves Christians. They were known as Ebionites, Nazareans, the Brethren, the Followers of the Way, Sons of Light, and Galileans. In fact, they repudiated both Paul and Christianity, when both began to exert influence in the 50's. James, Peter, and John had been members, but apparently conceded to Paul's growing power at the Council of Jerusalem in 48.

Because of the sway that Paul and his disciples exerted among the Diaspora Jews and the "God-Fearers" (fellow travelers), loyal Jews reacted with hostility to the new cult. The passages in scripture about "being thrown out of synagogues," etc., are a reflection of this period, and can hardly have originated with Jesus. From the Jewish point of view, Paul was an apostate.

The turn toward Hellenism (more or less synonymous with Gentilism) made Christianity less and less Jewish, and more and more pagan, imbibing influence from the pagan mystery cults of Greece, Egypt and Syria, with their emphasis on sacramentalism and achieving states of ecstasy and enthusiasm, as Paul had done himself.

Note that not only were the men who spoke these words never repudiated by the Church, but instead the Church canonized them, made them saints.

And where did these holy Fathers of the Church get this virulent anti-Semitism? In some of the most unfortunate words ever written – one passage in the gospel of Matthew, and the vilification of the Jews in toto throughout the gospel of John.

It cannot be objected that anti-Semitism is an aberrations to Christianity. No, it is at the heart of Christian scripture and teaching.

The final upshot of all this was "the final soluton." The Holocaust has roots in the gospels of Matthew and John.

BibleWheel: "The Bible Wheel is the Rosetta Stone of Biblical Hermeneutics."

Trish: As a Natinve American, it's sad to see how little changes in 150 years, A lot of Xians are still violent haters. They used to burn our villages down and slaughter unarmed people for fun. Then in the re servation years they took away the Indian kids to boarding schools to inculcate them in their alien religion and physically abuse the kids as well. There is a sickness of violence still there in their culture even tho' Jesus was supposed to be the Prince of Peace. Here in CA we occasionally get missionaries at the door. My husband calls them "soul harvesters" to their faces and they don't come back! (might not work as well in*bible belt* country)

Yeah, getting missionaries at the door as opposed to getting your village burned down sure is a small change.

sean: Wow, Orginized religion and the religous in genral never cease to amaze me. Threats of hate and violence from the religous...no.... say it ain't so! Wait a minute, didn't Jesus himself preach nothing but loving kindness towards others no matter what that other beleaves!?! These people are only out to save their own [censored] when the supposed judgement day comes, and you know what the funny thing is and what they will find out... They are more [censored] then we are!!!! Good times, good times. Keep at em Cass! These hypocrates need to be exposed as the fake pieces of [censored]that they are!

Lazy Agnostic: So the fact we're born is an indicator of answered prayer? Why would G_d fashion a fetus to be a dwarf when it is declared that dwaves and other impefectly-formed humans are disqualified from priestly functions?...

(What's so bad about being disqualified from performing priestly duties in the Temple?)

Do you believe in Fatima and Lourdes and many other appearances by Mary? How about Tortilla Mary or Water Stain Mary? Can you guess why an apologist refuses to touch the topic?

Also, for saying that a jpeg is a "graven image".

Griggsy: Why should we atheists be so concerned with exposing the rethreaded arguments of the theists ? ijust love to do so for an intellectual exercise. I realize that logic is the bane of theists and thu,sthey will not fathom our arguments generally. Why otherwise should we care to expose their arguments? Is it important to do so? Has one ever helped a religious person to see the light of reason,the reason that saves. Why?

How do Christians justify their dogmas? How can there be a trinity? If the son is one with the other two, how can he sit at the father's side? Did the third person of the trinity pass on DNA to the son? He and the mother, by not wedding,committed a sin. Since Mary is the mother of the second person,does she make the godhead a quarternity? Is she really a virgin for life?The Bible does not record Joseph as having an other wife,so how was she a virgin after all? The dogma of fee will falters, because if we have to have free will here ,we would have to have it in a heaven, thus more of the same for eternity. If no evil in a heaven,then why evil here. What is with the dogma of heaven? One says that there , we shall learn finally all the whys. But that is to use one dogma to buttress another one. Logic is the bane of the theologian.

SpiritWoman: Do Guns Kill People? No, People kill People. Do Bibles brainwash people? No religious leaders brainwash people. And Paul was a religious leader. Not Jesus.

Guess the Sanhedrin musta missed that....

RaisingPaine: Since when does being pro-choice make one pro-abortion?

Wyzaard: Why should we trust in your judgement on matters of proper context and what it implies? You're investigations are already poisoned by faith from the start.

SAB is the defense attorney who has given evidence, and the judge says "No, that's not evidence at all! Just look at all my unjustified faith-biased counter-evidence built upon a teetering ad hoc ediface... oh, and by the way, you're guilty regardless of any evidence whatsoever, because I have a relation ship with Truth and you obviously don't.

It's a pointless game, if the argument boils down to questionable contexting and predisposed corcordinance. It's the presuppositioning that needs addressing.