Huh. Real slow month for emails, did someone call an exterminator? Catch all the rest of the buggy action that didn't merit Gold here.

From the Mailbag

This email came with the subject heading, "Mithra and the RCC":

J. P.,

You are deluded.

Your soul will be annihilated

Thanks! This one was from the Land of Misplaced Emails:

Dear Customer,

My name is Mr.John Cullen and i have Contact you regarding some of Tyres.Below is the size's that am Intrested.

( Dunlop Tyre)

235/70 R15 102S Grandtrek AT20

Tyre width : 235 mm

Tyre aspect ratio : 70%

Tyre diameter : 15"

Tyre load index : 102

Tyre speed symbol : S 180 km/h

Tyre usage : 4x4

Tyre season : All season

So i will like you to go ahead and let me know the price base on that and also the method of Payment that you do accept.

If possible i may have your Full name and your Contact number so that i may be able to give you a call for any further assistant. Once again thank you for the business.Hope to hear from you Shortly.

Best Regards

Mr.John Cullen

Guess my article on Tyre in Ezekiel got his attention. Next, this happy face:

What a ridiculous article. Does Christian "apology" always mean attack, demean, discredit?

It is so obvious that you are writing from a defensive posture. If you have nothing to defend...if you feels so confident about you phantom historical Jesus....then why the need to attack?

It is blatantly indicative of a mythic-literal fundamentalist mindset.

Neither you nor the propaganda that you virulently espouse on your website can hold a candle to Helen Ellerbe's Dark Side of Christian History.

Helen rightfully communicates the truth and exposes the lies, murder, deception, and crimes against humanity propagated by Christians. The facts of history and the numbers speak for themselves. The shame based behavior of so called Christian leaders and ministers speaks even louder.

Told of their Screwball Award, this one replied:

And you sir are a closed minded bigot and poor excuse for a human being.

You embody everything that is wrong in the world and you are helping no one. God will hold you to account for your lies and deception. You'll gnash your teeth on that day. IDIOT

Your web site sucks and so do you Bigot.

Dumbest email this month, though, came from the Society to Consume Jim Beam in Vast Quantities Before Posting:

I notice that u spend lotza time dizing the idea that Jesus neva exzistid however the same can be sed about u. J P Holding doz not exzist. He iz the invention of bob Turtle n tutle wrize about stuf az someone elze. if j p holding never exzistz then how do we not no that Jesus woz not juz J P Holding all over again? I know jesus neva exzistid like i knowz jp neva exzisted. Take that.
I hear that the Rational Response Squad have challenged you to debate them on their show and you refuse. Coward. Although i don't blaim you,they have a reputation for winning debates. For example look at http://youtube.com/watch?v=knk_st__usM&feature=related and you can see them wiping the floor with the best chrsitianity has to offer. Watch the whole debate - even the christians who have seen it agree that the rrs won it hands down. I supose you only pick on people your own size and leave the intelligent arguing to the big guns.
well how come no other christian will debate them? I know you heard the rrs devestating rebutal in that video and are looking for exuses as to how one of your best got so humiliated. The audience didn't even clap for those christian nincoompoops and were laughing with the rrs and clapping at each argument. the same would happen if you debated them.
I bet you sat there watching those two guys have their argument torn to pieces and thought 'I'm glad i'm not in their shoes'

And last, from a John Loftus fan:

I notice that you are very quick to criticise others lack of qualifications when you don't have any yourself. For example Robert Price is a professor at a top university as it Hevector Avolos. Brian Flemming really knows his bible and on a recent quiz was mistaken for a scholar. John Loftus is a high up on justice and so probably know if gods judgement is fair etc and knows how to weigh evidence. May I ask what your qualifications are?

The funniest thing is that they've mistaken John Loftus the atheist apologist for the John Loftus who used to work for the Justice Department.


The April 2008 John Loftus Collection
Loftus himself wins yet again for an "I Can't Refute the Arguments So I'll Change the Subject" routine:
In Richard Bauckham's book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, the author tries to show the power of testimony and why it is necessary for telling what happened when it comes to the unique events in the life of Jesus. So he uses Holocaust testimonies as examples. Here is page 497 in his book:

Bauckham writes:

" The passage concerns perhaps the most unbelievably inhuman feature of the destruction of Jews in Auschwitz: the cremation of small children alive. I quote first another report of this before turning to Wiesel's account:

" The other gas chambers were full of the adults and therefore the children were not gassed, but just burned alive. There were several thousand of them. When one of the SS sort of had pity upon the children, he would take a child and beat the head against a stone before putting it on the pile of fire and wood, so that the child lost consciousness. However, the regular way they did it was by just throwing the children onto the pile. They would put a sheet of wood there, then sprinkle the whole thing with petrol, then wood again, and petrol and wood, and petrol - then they placed the children there. Then the whole thing was lighted. [From L.L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies (Yale University Press, 1991), pp. 54-55]....

Isn't it strange that Bauckham uses these stories to make a point about testimonies of God's love in Jesus and utterly fails to see in them the horrible nature of God's impotence to help these children? What's with it, Christian?

These stories force Christians to do what theologian John Roth said when trying to justify God's purported ways with us: "No statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that would not be credible in the presence of burning children."

Christian, care to try?

Loftusian Useful Idiot vinny also wins for this comment on Bauckham:

I got the book because I had seen Greg Boyd cite Bauckham as authority for the idea that oral tradition was capable of preserving the stories and teachings of Jesus until someone got around to writing them down. I was interested in seeing how his analysis compared to Crossan's in The Birth of Christianity and I thought it compared very poorly. Crossan discussed the actual evidence that researchers looked at while Bauckham mostly quote-mined conclusions.

Yeah, sure, vinny. When someone you agree with does it, it's "discussing the actual evidence" but when someone you don't like does it, it's "quote-mining conclusions." Not that you could answer any of the conclusions to begin with.

I really don't know what to make of the clues he managed to tease out of the gospels, like inclusio, that supposedly showed who the eyewitnesses were. It seemed like wishful thinking more than evidence to me, but I suppose there could be something to it. Most of what I know about the evangelical arguments for this stuff come from popular apologetics so I did not feel like I had the background to evaluate it.

What can we say? Sorry, you're so stupid, vinny!

Loftusian Useful Idiot Brother Crow wins for this comment, after he tried to say that it was common for ancient Israel to isolate and execute lepers, and then was told that the Bible says nothing about execution, but merely isolation (aka quarantine, to keep the disease from spreading):

Metaphorically, tell me how isolation is not equivalent of execution. And please, no bull**** answer like "for the medical good of the community." The isolation was rejection from the dynamics of the community.

Useful Idiot Harry McCall wins too:

I sometimes tell conservative Christians that, as an atheist when I die and stand before God at the judgment seat, I'm going to shake my fist in the face of God almighty!

This really plays into their belief system of some dumb and angry atheist that really knows what's true and going to happen in the end to him and vindicates their doctrine of Hell.

But then I tell them I plan to kick God off his throne (the Bema Seat) and sit in the seat myself in order to clean up his mess. Now this same dumb atheist who basically supported the doctrine of Hell above is now blasphemous and threatening to both God and Hell.

Hey, I do think I'd make a better and kinder God; even if I say so myself...Oh, the sin of pride! (I'm now ready to receive your prayers and money.)

What's even funnier is that for evangelical Christians, belief in Hell is as important as belief in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, by this I mean that if one does not believe in either Jesus, Hell or Satan one can not go to Heaven. Thus the old evangelical saying: I'd rather scare a soul in to Heaven than to love it into Hell!

Matthew Green celebrates the end of Mental Health Month his way:

I put up only one blog article for this month and that was a prediction about a future screw-up of Tekton's founder, Mr. Holding, in what I am hoping will be the death of Tekton Ministries. This death should be in terms of intellectual credibility but a friend of mine, Edward Babinski, pointed out to me that even sometimes the biggest slip-ups and even outright fraud doesn't stop people from guru-worshipping someone or treating a person like some infallible saint. I am thinking that some Tekton fans will adore Mr. Holding no matter what and I suspect that they would just excuse any error, any ignorance, any blunders on his part and would defend him despite bad behavior and would do anything for him short of drinking poisoned Kool-Aid. Such is the adoration of people like Mr. Holding for whom some Tekton fans probably think is biblical scholarship's intellectual gift and a man who could easily put Einstein to shame in terms of intellectual ability. I have already made a decision to perhaps close the blog or give it to anyone who might be interested in running it.

...Readers don't need me to tell them that Mr. Holding has proven himself to be an extremely haughty, horribly hypocritical, and very nasty and abusive jerk over the years that I hardly see much point to really writing rebuttals to the tripe he will publish.

I believe that the only kind of people whom Mr. Holding can have a good discussion or exchange with are people who grovel to him. I believe that this is exactly what he wants- he wants people who he flogs intellectually to grovel before him as if to acknowledge that he's a mega-intellectual and that they were just so wrong to oppose him or even to do something so despicable as to disagree with him. Personally, I am tired of Mr. Holding. I mean, what is he, really? He's not much more than a bully who thinks he's smarter than he really is (he probably thinks he has genius-level intelligence) who is childish in his demeanor towards others with his pathetic insults and name-calling. He doesn't have any advanced degrees and even a biblical scholar noted this. Holding treated this scholar with utter contempt and was an abusive jerk. After seeing the way he reacted towards Dr. Avalos, I have actually come to hate Holding. This is sad, really. But nothing any non-Christian says will ever do anything to change his mind or change his behavior. Only Christians can shame him into doing so but not without a nasty catfight from Mr. Holding.

I have often thought that if I became a biblical scholar, I would go out of my way to annihilate him. Perhaps that's what he would try to dare me to do. He probably thinks that if I was a biblical scholar and I tried to destroy him, he'd have the upper hand, thinking he was my intellectual superior and would probably try to give me the worst intellectual and verbal flogging any human being has ever suffered in an attempt to force a conversion and make me grovel in complete humiliation. I probably wouldn't deem him worth it but the fact of the matter is that I hate bullies with a bitter passion. I hate them to death. In a way, I think I still carry deep psychological scars from having been bullied in my youth. If I was a biblical scholar, I probably would respond to him, even if it was to completely humiliate him and bury him so deeply that worms would eat his hide before anyone ever found his bones and whatever would be left of his carcass. In a way it would be sweet justice to see him flogged so badly and to kick his **** so hard, he would puke his own *****. In a way, I wish that some biblical scholars would respond to him. How about Robert Price, Hector Avalos, and Bart Ehrman, and others intellectually flogging him so badly that Mr. Holding fades into obscurity? I'd like to see it but I am not expecting that to happen any time soon, or within my own life time.

And he topped it off with this email:

Mr. Holding,

As you know, I have closed my blog. By now most people who have heard of you by now have a pretty good idea of what kind of person you are. My efforts, however, have not seemed to have shamed you into changing your deplorable behavior. I am not even sure that I have convinced other Christians into trying to shame you into changing your despicable character. Come to think of it, I think we both have something in common: we both desire the last laugh! I am determined to have it at your expense! I once read a quote from you in which you have a problem with people trying to deconvert Christians. You wrote the following once:

"If you're in hellfire, that's your choice. Getting disturbed about it won't help, but at least if you want to remain stubborn we can keep you from dragging others with you....deceive others into jumping into hellfire with you? I have a REAL problem with that!"

If I am truly "going to hell" as you believe that I and others are doomed to, I personally plan on taking others with me- not by deception of course. I have decided that out of personal spite for you, I am going to try to destroy the faith of Christians who don't know better. I am going to do whatever I can to damage their faith and "dragging others" with me. If you have a problem with that...good! What is more is that you cannot stop me! I have decided out of spite for you personally, I am going to prey on the faith of the weak, the "frightened sheep" in churches, people who are desperately hurting for answers! I know who they are and I will always think of good ways to damage their faith. I am thinking of sending you postcards through the mail to your address on ------ Avenue in Florida everytime I destroy someone's faith. By becoming a biblical scholar, that will make the atheist evangelism all the more effective!

Cheers, Mr. Holding!

p.s. I am dead serious about this, too! And you have only yourself to blame. Was it really worth it being an ------ all these years? I guess so! Well, who he sows reaps!

Useful Idiot Lee Randolph is on to something:

Here are some hints to Debunk Christianity. Apply your practical principles to your religion. And do your homework. Find your heritage.

Look up syncretism, sumeria, mesopotamia, ancient egypt, indus valley, harrapas, the axial age, greece, minoans, phoenicians, canaanites, hittites, fertile crescent, hellenism, Byzantium, trade between the indus valley, sumeria and mesopotamia, and follow the water, and pay attention to ancient peoples whos culture and religion idealize life as a journey. Key word "Journey" as in spiritual and economic and trade. Learn about World History between 40,000 bce and 500 ce. Learn about what was important to those people. Learn about their religions.

He's either been reading "How to become the expert's expert in 24 hours" or been skimming Wikipedia for the past few years

Useful Idiot and social butterly Joe Holman wins for his essay, "Captain Kirk on Athiesm." vinny (from above) wins for crying like a baby about Bart Ehrman bing trounced by Daniel Wallace:

So what was Wallace's explanation for taking the approach he did? I have to say that your description of it sounds somewhat ad hominem. Portraying an opponent as a flip-flopper in a political debate may be a legitimate tactic, but it is hard for me to see what purpose it would serve in a scholarly discussion.

I would also have to say that your "silver bullet" does not strike me as all that deadly. Couldn't there have been a period of wild copying by untrained scribes before the proto-orthodoxy gained control of the process? Couldn't Irenaeous have been trying to exert such control in 180 A.D. when he identified the traditional authors of the canonical gospels and declared them to be the authentic and exclusive accounts of Jesus' life? I can see how the wild copying and the control could not have happened simultaneously, but there is no contradiction to suggesting they occurred sequentially.

To me, the important question regarding the woman caught in adultery is why the scribes who added the story did so. I think the answer is obvious: it's a wonderful story that perfectly captures the qualities that make Jesus of Nazareth such a compelling figure. Anyone who knew the story would want to see it preserved for all future Christians to read and enjoy. However, the fact that the scribes felt at liberty to add it suggests to me that they viewed the gospels as anonymous collections of stories that might be improved by adding another good story regardless of its historical pedigree. Had they believed the gospels to be historical eyewitness accounts, I think the scribes would have been reluctant to add stories even if the stories were really good.

My point is this: knowing that a culture primarily relies on the oral transmission of historical information doesn't tell us anything about what information they actually transmitted. Examining the mechanisms of oral transmission can tell us what kinds of information it is capable of transmitting and how accurately it can be transmitted, but it can't tell us whether any particular piece of information was transmitted. It is only the written transmissions that are accessible to the historian.

The Random Atheist Collection

From an online chat with a reader, atheist "Dave" wins for such comments as:

i'm not anyone to say anything is correct...i don't know much about religion...but i know there is always more to the story and that you have to see everything from all sides...i don't have any opinions on the truths of religion, or what is correct, or whatever, i don't have any opinions...it's a non-issue for me in my life...if you listen to the freemason videos, you can hear quotes from high ranked freemasons...if you watch that 29 part series on the secret rulers of the world you'll see that something is obviously going on...i don't know if it's misinformation or not...why would he just say all of those things? after 30 plus years, just say a bunch of garbage?...there would have to be at least a bit more to it than it seems...geez they don't just come up with this stuff out of thin air....you can research, that's fine, but each will only have an opinion or his own truth, and that's all...something he is sure of...is it absolute trash? who knows? to him it isn't...that's just what he's found for himself, his own truth, how can anyone expect more from this in knowledge?...with knowledge you find your own truth, not something absolute

Seasanctuary, who is normally sensible, crossed into Gold with this:

Bias against miracles as a historical answer -- until it is generally proven miracles occur -- is the only intelligent approach.

Miracles do not deserve a fair hearing.

freethinker scoes:

Some nine million witches were burned. So the Christian war against women was not a casual and single atrocity. Paul could not have known this would happen of course, nor did other religious misogynists. The defense "I did not know" has in recent times been used in court however and has not prevented defendants from going up the rope.

Your comparison with medical research and science is flawed. There are demonstrable good and bad results for medical research and science. Religion had only bad results for women.

Pitchforkpat does it again:

There's a story from Leviticus 9-10where Moses' brother Aaron loses two of his sons. It's the way he loses his sons that is very telling.

In chapter 9, the boys, Nadab and Abihu, are busily helping their father kill animals to please God. God is really happy with the sacrifices and he makes a special appearance. During his appearance, fire goes out from him and he "consumes" the dead animals. What happens next is more than a little perplexing and a bit disturbing.

Nadab and Abihu offer fire to God. Unfortunately for them, it's not the right kind of fire. It's "unauthorized" or "strange". It's actually quite the mistake because it makes God really angry and he sets them both on fire and burns the boys to death. Apparently they had been pretty good priests up till then. What have you done for me lately?

God's anger is not easily appeased, though and he's soon threatening others. In chapter 10, Aaron is understandably grieving for his two sons, who have just died an agonizing death and whose charred bodies are currently being dragged out of the camp, when Moses delivers more bad news. Aaron is to stop grieving right away, and if God catches him showing any signs of grief, like leaving his hair untidy, God will kill him too.

My question is how this violent, callous behavior is supposed to inspire love and devotion to this being?

ENeGMA picks up some Gold:

If we were to use the same "logic" that Holding uses [in The Impossible Faith], we could easily do something like this:

"Americans, more than anything, love money and consumer goods (source the statement here, not hard to do), but Scientology REQUIRES Americans to forgo consumer luxuries and instead donate vast sums of money to the Church for the purposes of Spiritual Fulfillment. Now since we know that Americans are greedy (studies confirm this. It's obvious) it would be IMPOSSIBLE for this Church to get their money from from them unless they were giving there were some factual basis behind it. I mean, we already know that Americans love spending and love money, so why would they forgo this objection of affection for ethereal benefits like those provided by Scientology? The only answer is that Scientology is true! If people signing up for Scientology were not all but assured it was true, they wouldn't give up their livlihoods for the cause!"

Take some generalizations (Americans like money; people in the ANE found aspects of Christianity unappealing) point out the contradiction (Scientology easily gets people's money for no tangible return; Christianity succeeded) and then explain away the apparent contradiction by saying that Scientology/Christianity could only succeed if they were true, through the Grace of Xenu/God.

These sorts of generalizations can be used to "prove" anything. "Time is money", "Money can't buy you happiness" therefore time can't provide you happiness, therefore time spent with your children can't bring you happiness.

It's the same sort of "logic", tie together some generalizations ("People in the ANE thought THIS") string 'em together and concoct a theory.

So does the_eliot_one:

The usual response I hear to "Why can't we measure/observe/consistently prove etc. God" is that he is outside of space and time, and therefore not subject to the laws or objects we might use to measure, say, a miracle and is therefore not a hypothesis subject to usual scientific inquiry such as the string theory creation of the universe idea (but that's a whole other barrel of fish). Well yes, this of itself seems like a fine response at first, but there are numerous wholes in using this line of reasoning.

Firstly it creates an unfalsifiable hypothesis, something hardly scientific to begin with, but then string theory isn't particularly falsifiable either so we can forgive that in of itself. But this response does more than that it creates a concept in which there can be no evidence or verifiability of the theory other than that of anecdotal evidence. This is where history and miracle tales come in, and yes that's all very nice but God's existence is not a historical claim, it is well and truly a scientific one, and as such to be considered remotely plausible it has to be subject to the scientific method for reasons I will explain in my second point....

Secondly we move on to the matter that without the scientific method being able to prove his existence, or directly observe what are his actions with no contention on the matter, it is just plain wishful thinking.... If he doesn't work on our logic then how on earth can we hope to affirm he exists? The thing that's "wrong" about God as a hypothesis is quite simply there is no valid scientific evidence because he does not lend himself to scientific logic. Surely then it's more reasonable to assume he's quite simply not there.

Thirdly and finally there is the problem of if you dismiss anything from within the universe about him because he is so much more and could not possibly be held by our constraints. Then you also dismiss the concept of intelligence, and so far as I'm aware the definition of God is an intelligent first cause....

Conclusion: Well quite simply surely there can be no intelligent God without evidence in line with the scientific method. If you can present it by all means.

Everytime we leave them alone for 5 minutes we have a new religion popping up. I mean Juadism broke apart to christianty, christianty to Islam, Catholicism, protestantism, anglicanism, orthadox etc. You know I think attacking us is the only thing they ACTUALLY have in common.

LakeGeorgeMan is losing steam:

Is it rude to adopt a bigoted theology that bifurcates humanity into the 'saved' and the 'damned' based solely on what 'creed' they mumble in what church?

I think so.

It's ideas like that, promoted by ignorant, hatefilled bigots like C.S. Lewis, that need to be constantly pointed out.

****

Here's another thing Void, Shakespeare is FICTION, hopefully you realize you don't have to DEFEND what Cornwall did as a GOOD thing, and perfectly in keeping with the CONTRACT he had with Lear and Gloucester...

Maybe someday you will get a CLUE and realize that this whole OT story is also a COMPLETE fiction. But for some odd reason, misguided 21st century OT idolatrists have to DEFEND this entire ancient, misanthropic mythology, and every one of your god's alleged homicides and genocides, because that's part of the twisted memeplex that infects your brain.

You are still young, and you are intelligent, and I sense you are a caring individual. You don't HAVE to be this way, you don't have to mimic these ignorant apologists wannabes. They are a BAD influence on you. Escape their influence and insanity while you can...THINK for YOURSELF.

nickcopernicus, in a thread asking why Thomas wasn't condemned:

My serious take on the matter. If it is true that we are all "one in Christ" and JC had no qualms about giving DT that much evidence, then he'll have no problem throwing back a few beers with me. We can have a chat about a few things, laugh at some of the in accurate descriptions in some of the Biblical writers, and I'd probably not have any problems "serving" him. I'd just have to get to know him better then what some mostly anonymous writers wrote down a few thousand years ago. I don't think that's asking too much.

And if JC is to good to visit me like he did DT, then he's playing favorites. No god worthy of my worship does that.

Suffice it to say that I don't expect a visit from JC.

And elsewhere:

Why do you think that your god would do such a thing? Whosever's name was not written in the Lambs book of life was cast into the lake of fire." "Not everyone who says unto me 'Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my father who is in heaven." JC made it clear that if one wanted to be "saved"---from sin, or hell, or whatever, one needed to be Christ-like. Unfortunately for billions of people, they don't meet that criterion. "Broad is the path that leads to destruction" contrasted with "enter through the narrow gate" <----- indicates that the vast majority of the people will not be saved. By JC contrasting the broad and narrow path, it seems implied that it's difficult to be saved, and easy to be damned. Your god knew that the majority of those exposed to the "Good news" would not meet the criterion (doing the will of his father in heaven, or whatever). Is this a part of your god's "plan?"

In any case, though there are other alternatives, I am convinced that your god if he or she exists, either

1. Was unable to convey his message to the majority of humanity

2. had the means but not the will.

If your god is all powerful and all knowing, it's probably (2). I can only conclude that contrary to what the writer of the Gospel of John wrote, it was indeed your god's will that the majority of people be damed.

I doubt you meant to, but please don't insult my intelligence by claiming that JC made any sort of "sacrifice." A few hours of torture, while undoubtedly painful, is by no means a sacrifice to an all powerful, all knowing, eternally existing being.

A true show of heroism is to sacrifice one's existence for one's friend. JC claimed that there is no greater love than this. A person who has given up not only his or her life, but his or her existence has made a greater sacrifice then JC.

Sorry Pilgrim, but I was a born again, Pentecostal ultraconservative Christian for a long time. And no, at no time did I "demand" Jesus to appear before me. But it would have been a good way for him to ensure that I never become an atheist.

A random fundy atheist comments on Rev. 6 on a reader's blog:

Revelation 6makes absolutely no sense, if the sun turned black then the moon could not possibly appear red, The stars could not possibly fall from the sky to the Earth, because all the stars are bigger than the Earth, if the sky was rolled up like a scroll then the people hiding behind the caves would stop breathing and die

Carpedm9587 shows yet again that apostasy makes you stupid:

You don't KNOW what factors were at work with any degree of certainty. You can't know from outcomes what the underlying motivations for the actions that led to those outcomes were. That's what TIF adherents consistently (and erroneously) try to do.

Christianity was not the impossible faith. It wasn't even the improbable faith.

***

Every bible contradiction can be explained, because all you have to do is interpret the words in a certain way and "poof," it goes away. Interpret them differently and "poof," it's back again.

The exercise has no resolution, which is why I don't engage in it. It's a zero-sum game. It's kind of like playing tic-tac-toe.

***

I'm not saying that every theological statement in the bible is vague to the point of uselessness. I am saying that every theological system has a degree of opaqueness to it - and is subject to interpretation.

"Galilee was a small town in the north" is a mundane fact we can verify (or refute) in a number of ways, and the statement is fairly clear.

"The greatest laws are these: to love your god with all your heart and mind and your neighbor as yourself" is subject to enormous variation in interpretation.

- What is "god" and what is he/she/it like?

- What exactly does it mean to "love god?" Something I do? Something I feel?

- What does "heart and mind" mean? Simply a euphemism for "the entire person" or does it mean emotional love and intellectual love? And what exactly are those?

- Loving my neighbor as myself? Is that a re-articulation of the golden rule? Or does it mean I should proactively do for my neighbor everything I do for myself.

- For that matter - who is my neighbor? The person who lives next to me? Any other human? Only other Christians? And how do I know they are really Christians.

Pick the most mundane of theological (or theologically related) statements from the bible and it is subject to a host of interpretations.

And there is also the phenomenon you reflect: some of the passages seem to flat out contradict each other. Of course, there is always an explanation for this, because there is always a way to interpret things so as to force an alignment. What did they call it... eiogesis?

whizler goes for Gold in the self-made dictionary category:

Yours is an attempt to end-run the rules by confusing testimony with evidence.

Finally, Systemafunk refutes William Lane Craig's website with one stroke:

Being that the entire front of the website is just anti evolution nonsense, that is hardly "reasonable".
The Confused Christian Collection

Nang wins for this comment to the point, "You say God hates sinners, and is pleased to unconditionally damn millions, if not more. I say Jesus died for sinners - all of them":

Right. Which proves my continuous contention, that the core objection to Calvinism is the anger of others against God that He did not universally save all. All non-calvinists are therefore Universalists, in one form and degree or another.

saladfingers perpetuates Christian igorance and vies for Platinum n00b winnings:

TIF proponents claim that in the ancient medditeranean world, any notion of individualism was 100% completely non-existent. Ask someone from the JP Holding School of Ancient Psychological Clairavoyance (APC). "specific quotes" were not what was being preached and you know it! A full and complex esoteric philosophy was what was being preached. And it had appeal for a variety of reasons to the people who were pre-disposed to the resonance of it. This he said in response to HS who had asked for quotes from Jesus about the theology from Him that was supposedly taught. In response to a point HS made about the Resurrection being precisely what was taught: Yes it was. I am not saying that it wasn't. I am saying that all the esoteric philosophy that explained the death, burial and resurrection, in exacting detail, mitigated any perceived shame. In the last sentence here, we see another tactic he learned from his mentor Carpe: Why do you not have any cross-cultural psycholinguistic historians to back up your claims? Or any psychologists who specialize in how the minds of ancients worked? Because this is a field that has not been established as a discipline perhaps? Perhaps because determining what an ancient may or may not have perceived about a given event is impossible without much more evidence that a discipline like this could provide? All you have are a few biased theologians making assumptions upon assumptions upon assumptions!

You guys over-state your "social data" . You guys so go far as to equate preaching the story of Christ in the ANE with preaching pedophilia in todays world. This is utterly ridiculous! If this was the case, then NO ONE would have converted, whether the resurrection happened or not! It's not like that anyone could go and confirm the news. Just read through the book of Acts and you'll see what I'm talking about. Not one person...NO NOT ONE...asks for further confirmation before they converted.

For the record, there is not one....not a single shred of evidence...that would suggest that ANYBODY needed more evidence before they made the decision to convert. They converted on the spot, and all that was needed was to hear the story being preached.

The resurrection was always being preached, as well as being interpreted to the converts in a positive light, with the help of some esoteric theology, rich with mysterious imagery and very powerful, very alluring symbolism.

The events suddenly became honorable in the minds of the converts. And you must bear in mind that "conversion" was a matter of degree. There may be some spiritual consequences as to what degree any conversion has, but what we are talking about is how the religion was sucessful in spite of any social stigma that allegedly would have prevented it.

Yes, and they would interpret and re-interpret the complexities of the Christ story until their rationalizations of everything sunk into the subconscious minds and synergized with the symbolic and metaphorical subtlties of the story (which I think you will agree the Christ story possess in abundance), until whala, a conversion! Now they become "embedded" within the new Christian group, and honor is lavished upon them (again, depending upon the degree of their conversion).

I must be of your type of faith. In today's hi-tech world of [mis]information, most people don't have the time to do exhaustive research, and sift through all the myriad competing claims about the absolute truth in spirituality and religion. The lack of opportunity for leisurely study and research is naturally going to breed doubt and skepticism...and frontal lobe fatigue.

Their's tons and tons of ancient documents to go over, ancient languages to learn, ancient psychological motives to divine,etc. etc.

There you have it, the Professor Emeritus of the University of Christian Ignorance.

jorge gets one:

So, God "needed" the sun in order to be able to define a day; i.e., without the sun He wouldn't be able to tell time . Yeah, I think I got it.

disciplesixelleven too, answering the question, "Which country is Babylon the Great and why?"

Off the top of my head I will state that Babylon the Great is the United States of America. I have not researched the question enough however so as to be able to defend why I believe Babylon the Great to be the United States of America.

Letsargue's answer was not much better:

During the Apostles time and some time before, Babylon was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. By that time, the ten tribes of Israel had taken, and settled in many of the Gentile nations.

Babylon was Babylon, the "Babylonian Empire", was ruled by one of the Tribes of Israel by the time of the Apostles. The King of Babylon was an Israelite.

That's MY FAITH, because my God teaches such things.

Tim Bayly too wins, for this to a blog that teaches a certain thing:

MK and Lizzie, you are not nice smiling Christians who honor the Word of God, but in a different way than the rest of us, but rather deceivers spreading rebellion against the Holy God and His Word. Of course, I could write this in such a way as to make everyone feel like we could continue to be all warm and fuzzy with each other, but then I'd be proving myself indifferent toward my Heavenly Father Who is jealous for His honor and Word. So my affect, here, must match my doctrine.

Thus you are both to be silent on this blog on any matters in which you seek to lead immortal souls into the rebellion you yourselves have chosen, denying God's creation order of the sexes.

This blog is not a salon or living room, but a table of fellowship where those fomenting rebellion against the Master of the house are silenced. And this is out of love, both for the fomenters and those who were in danger of becoming their dupes.

Every college, university, publisher, and major media outlet across the western world, including those claiming Christian foundations, provides a soapbox for your heresy. You'll shouldn't notice the loss of one rinky-dink blog.

What is the issue? Gay marriage? Abortion? The Divinity of Christ? The Resurrection? Salvation by faith or by works? Sorry, none of the above. It's women in ministry!

Facist Pig seconds Tim's motion:

Loving God, His Word, and His people, I've removed some of what MK wrote here since it is untrue, directly contradicting God's Word. David and I have no obligation to allow destroyers of souls ready access through this blog to our precious brothers and sisters who hunger and thirst after God's Truth. Such destroyers have the whole rest of the internet to ply their trade; they don't need this puny little forum for an outlet.

Parrot714 earns Gold and opens for Platinum:

A child would never read any translation. Reading is like a speech, it is an unnecessary link, it is for adults.Even if a baby could read a dictionary, it would be a sinful baby, a baby abandoned by its Creator.

No2Flesh wins Gold and some paranoia medication:

I have a meals on wheels route.

On one of my stops the old ladies grandaughter comes out to get the meal.

She never wears a bra. Her Tshirts are thin. She is not bad looking.

I would rather not be put in this position to where Im tempted to lust. Thats why I quit porn...which I naively thought would end the lust. If possible I would stop going there to avoid it altogether. It is a fenced yard with dogs that bite so I have to meet her to hand her the meals. We cant leave meals because they may not be found in time and would spoil. If the client ate them they could get sick. I have found out that women, and esp. teenage girls, are very insecure about their bodies-even when flaunting their bodies. Many of them flaunt themselves because they are seeking that approval, even if it is only a sexual approval. Every time they can get a man's attention with their body then they feel that much better of their own body. I think it is horrible that women do this to themselves and make us men their unwilling victim. But you can use this to your advantage. Pay little attention to her, or better yet, make any sort of attention you give this granddaughter negative, scowl at her, or look at her like she is a piece of filth-if you can undermine her feelings of security in her body-there would be a good chance she will cover up next time she sees you or better yet, just avoid you at all cost.

CDavidParsons wins for this message to TWeb mods:

Will you explain to me why you allow atheists and evolutionists -- haters of God and His word -- full access to your blog? These antichrist pawns have made it clear that they are not wolves in sheep's clothing; they are wolves out in the open showing blood-drenched teeth from chewing up Christians who inadvertently wonder into your blog.

An atheist site will not allow a single ray of the light, yet you allow darkness in its fullness.

In the unknown beliefs category, just one from passe-partout1 from paltalk:

Jesus mentioned the OT, but there is no evidence that He esteemed it higher than the Zend Avesta, Gita, or Buddhist scriptures.

Jimmy Harrison gets an At-Large Platinum nomination:

On March 8, Harrison was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, Beth Tibbot, in her Ohio Township home. According to a police affadavit, Harrison broke down a door, broke Tibbot's cell phone in half as she attempted to call 911, then slapped her face with an open hand, knocking off her glasses. He was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief and faces an April 3 preliminary hearing before a magistrate in Bellevue...

In Harrison's case, Rooney said the player was trying to take his son to be baptized.

"What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it," Rooney said of Harrison's initial intent with his son. "He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn't want to do it."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dESexJy7yvM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s7ekgjZ8eg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d8vAAhvlo8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7um3rBeKaxM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFXpq0Bh_sk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CIhn3wPFnE&NR=1

http://youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A60CE3C35FB12E0A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzuzXgzgJL8

http://www.davidgilmour.com/

http://www.jameschoung.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/explanation-of-the-big-story-32.pdf

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

http://youtube.com/watch?v=hnMNJnbIsWc

Dumbell Deacon Duncan of "Evangelical Realism" Golds in this post:

This isn't strictly a TIA post, but it is prompted by Vox Day's remarks about what he calls the "bloody history" of atheism, and also by his complaints that it's not fair to blame Christianity for things like the Crusades and the Inquisition and the Catholic/Protestant wars and so on. But first I want to talk about something much, much worse, an evil so vile and corrupt that it has killed, maimed, and tortured more people than atheism and Christianity combined. I am speaking, of course, of asantanism.

Not all Nazis were atheists, but they were all asantanists. Not all Crusaders were Christians, but they were all asantanists. Communists under Stalin, Lenin and Mao? Asantanists all. Witch-burners, inquisitionists, defenders of the faith in whatever form: asantanists. Every mass-murderer, everyone who became famous for the cruelty and inhumanity of his or her atrocities, was an asantanist. Of all the people whose names have become synonymous with injustice and evil, not one of them believed in Santa Claus.

I mention this because you so often hear Christians blame atheism for things like the Holocaust and the gulags, as though lack of belief motivated people to do evil things. But when you look at the history of evil, you will notice that the common thread is not a lack of belief in God, but a lack of belief in Santa. If you're going to blame unbelief for the actions of unbelievers, therefore, you ought to be blaming asantanism, not atheism.

But that's rather silly, isn't it? People are motivated by what they do believe, not by what they don't. Indeed, the whole point of religion is to change how people behave, by changing what they believe. Motivating people to good behavior, and to abstain from bad behavior, is what religion is all about. That's why religion has weekly meetings at which believers are exhorted to turn from sin and to produce the fruits of faith, and why religions have full-time paid clergy to counsel with people and encourage them and rebuke them when they're wrong, and why they have Scriptures and other teachings about how man ought to live to be pleasing to the deity or deities involved.

It's perfectly appropriate, therefore, to look at the behavior of religious people to see if the religion is producing the changes it is supposed to produce. It's no different from someone on a diet weighing themselves to see if the diet is producing the weight loss it promises. When you look at the behavior of religious people, you're just checking to see if the religion is really being effective at what it claims to do. And if it doesn't, if we see religious people burning witches and holding Inquisitions and leading Crusades and so on, then we're justified in taking that as an indicator that religion is ineffective at best, if not an outright fraud.

When people blame unbelief for bad behavior, what they're really claiming is that the person's behavior would be better if they believed. When we look at the actual behavior of believers, however, we do not find this to be the case, because the believers' record is no better. And even if the unbeliever's behavior was worse, how would we know which unbelief to blame for their behavior? Lack of belief in God can be linked to only some of the notable crimes of history, but lack of belief in Santa is common to all of them.

Religion is designed to make a difference in people's behavior. Atheism isn't; it's just the absence of belief in God. That's why atheism does not have churches or preachers or Scriptures or any of the other things religion uses to guide and motivate people's behavior. And that's why it's appropriate to evaluate religion in terms of the behavior of believers, and irrelevant to try and blame the behavior of unbelievers on their unbelief. And if you can't agree with that, it's probably because you're one of those evil, lying, murderous asantanists. So there.

Fictional depiction winners:

  • An etching in Austria that depicts Jesus Christ and his disciples having an orgy during the biblical Last Supper.
  • A "provocative new biblical novel" that turns King David into the bad guy and his jilted wife, Michal, and a much-maligned ruler from a rival dynasty into heroes.

    http://www.sheezyart.com/forum/topic/113278/3/#C115367

    http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=SDxcyqeRc-4&feature=related and AV1611Ireland for this comment under that video, which nominates Platinum:

    Pastor Anderson,

    Thank you for your timely message. I am very disappointed that you kept corrupting the blessed AV1611 by referring to pissing as peeing.

    I trust that God will remind you to stick to His word and not be influenced by the world's boundaries.

    http://www.thefunny.org/easter.php plat

    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/dn13695-evolution-myths-the-theory-is-wrong-because-the-bible-is-inerrant.html

    http://www.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26350684&page=21

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.astronomy/browse_thread/thread/06c3a5381a2ad605/f0b5c629eec1046a?lnk=raot

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/04/might-our-relig.html

    http://www.spirittruth.com/

    http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=v-nse5PZ3vo&feature=related

    http://www.thebiblespeaks.com/

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wins At-Large. She is fond of quoting a particular passage of Scripture. The quote, however, does not appear in the Bible and is "fictional," according to biblical scholars.

    In her April 22 Earth Day news release, Pelosi said, "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.' On this Earth Day, and every day, let us pledge to our children, and our children's children, that they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature."

    http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=q3mDLsyn6ns&NR=1