See all the hot summer screwball action here. But see the best of the best here.

From the Mailbag

We had this pre-paid message from Canards Inc:

I have been raised to believe in the bible... at least to go to church meetings on Sundays. It exists. I think that it is a document compiled from other ancient writings. Huckkleberry Finn also exits. Samuel Clemens' novel has in my estimation not caused much human suffering. Religion has.

So my point here is for you to enunciate why any religion (or superstition... they are same in derivation) is detrimental to mankind. I think I know why. I have read Exodus and Genesis and Leviticus and the Quran. Total nonsense to me. Voodoo.

My thinking is that "religion" or superstition is a method whereby the hi priests of the various beliefs gain control over their flocks.

This was also nutty:

Read your missive re: Michael Baignet and his book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I live in the "Bible Belt" of the United States. This was not my choice, since I rather prefer more knowledgeable people. You nor I nor anyone else knows anything about God, Christ or how any of it works. If you believe, good for you. If you don't, good for you. My objection to all the theological "studies, science" or "whatever" is that it is neither science or faith. The study is of a book that was written over the space of approximately 1,500 years by many, many different people with different ideas and different attitudes. Their writings are based on whatever experience they had encountered or experienced up until that point in their lives.

Unless, and until, you or anyone else can prove, empirically, that Jesus was "God" or that "God" exists, it is a free-for-all in belief systems. There is no 'right' system or 'wrong' system. It is simply what someone believes and what gives aid and comfort to them.

For people to challenge deep thinkers such as Mr. Baignet because they hold a different viewpoint than another, is foolish and says more about the challenger than the challenged. I happen to believe in God. I do not have to 'prove' it to anyone; and by the same token, no one has to 'prove' their belief to me. In fact, if someone tries to 'prove' their belief, I do not believe them. There is nothing to 'prove'.

Having grown up in a family of every type of religion you could think of, I find Mr. Baignet's insights thoughtful, well-researched and mostly true. If there is actually a heaven, I hope that God loves me enough not to send me there. I have taken seriously my responsibilities as a human being toward my fellow man, and I cannot think of a worse reward than being stuck for all of eternity with a flock of "bible belt" christians!

Bless you and may God, in its infinite wisdom, give you and yours what you deserve out of life,

Here's a likely Platinum winner, on my article on the logistics of the Exodus:

You did not use Jewish sources, otherwise you wouldn't have written the article the way you did.

The sources at the bottom of the article are

Sarn.EE -- Sarna, Nahum. Exploring Exodus. Schocken Books, 1986...

The Sarna book is not a Jewish source even if he is Jewish.

This nut also said:

And what is the source for the "Semitic Totality Concept"? It seems Moses was unaware of it, so I'm in good company.

Here's a Platinum nom for Christian email:

Youve lost the plot with that one. Do you think God expects everyone to study Hebrew linguistic nuances to understand Divinity?

It means that God in all His glory is a personification of every mind of Love in the universe (impossible for a man to see), but the Lord God Almighty in His humanity which is possible to see is Jesus, but as Jesus is God in the flesh in human form in that manifestation He is not greater than His Father who is a personfied concept of universal Love.

You also lost the plot telling people to call on a triune Constantine insertion of three titles at repentance which results in the Holy Spirit ignoring them and no one being saved.

We call on the Name of Jesus, we are told that 22 times, just once we are told to call on 3 titles and its a forgery. Amend this immediately, I have spoken with angels.

And here one from the Ive Got My Head Way up in a Dark Place Dept.

In a reply to an article on the Ebon Musings website, you make the statement "an image in ancient thought is not merely something that has an appearance, like a statue or picture, but something that serves as a focal point for the presence and power of a deity".

How do you know with any degree of certainty what the "ancients " thought an image was? I doubt if you were alive back then, so how can you prove this is what they thought? You have no way of knowing, and are only guessing to suit your own purpose.


The June 2012 John Loftus Collection

John wins for playing counselor to Christian college students: http://thepassivehabit.blogspot.com/2012/06/should-christian-college-students-go-to.html

The June 2012 Atheist Collection

Old barn hand Lazy Agnostic wins for suggesting that a reader and fellow YT account holder in the UK is one of my sockpuppets -- which would mean I'm online virtually 24/7, given the vast difference in posting times. Not to mention that the reader sounds nothing like me, and has been on YT far longer than I have.

YT atheist Gunderson002, on Deut. 22:28-29 and rape:

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. It's as simple as that. In Jewish law, if the woman was not raped and consented, she is therefore guilty of fornication. In fact, the same chapter just a few verses earlier talks about women committing 'sexual immorality' and makes it clear in this verse that she is a victim and only the man is guilty of a crime and therefore should be punished, even if it is a punishment which affects the victim negatively psychologically. So, yes, it is referring to rape.

Also, just because the word 'tafas' doesn't necessarilly have to be forceful doesn't mean that that isn't that it's not referring to coercive actions here. I think it's clear from the context that it does mean that.

8:22 ROFL! Because, of course, the state of a girl's hymen affects how maritable she is. I don't think you'll find many arguments that Israelite society placed a high emphasis on 'purity'. I think the argument is more that it was completely arbitrary and unnecessary for them to do so.

YT atheist CheekyVimto08, on my use of scholarship to contextually define agape:

I didn't ask to hear his Orwellian attempts to redefine certain concepts to suit himself.

Other comments of his, demonstrating his propensity to use waving a white flag as a victory parade:

And again, I don't read the bible like anyone because I don't read it at all. But if you mean a literal meaning, it's a more honest approach than twisting everything to suit your agenda, and calling everyone who doesn't agree with your interpretation a fundy. Classic courtier's reply

Whatever way you interpret passages, you are going to run into problems

Turn the other cheek and love your enemy aren't just things I made up. I raised them so you guys could interpret them away to make them insipid and meaningless like you always do, to get around the problem of JPH's behavior.

Now you can say that the translations are bad if you want, but that doesn't get you of of the problem. It just raises more.

But this one takes the crumpet:

I won't comment of Tektontv's apologetics because I'm less than a layperson when it comes to the bible

Basically, this idiot, who has been whining about being "censored" and has complained about my point that any issue I have made a vid on is settled to the point that no cereal-box reading fundy atheist will be contributing anything intelligent -- here ADMITS that he would indeed not be capable of commenting intelligently.

phank? Another wacky Skeptic who still has not grown up:

My first exposure to religion that I can remember was an early presentation (grade school) of the various religions around the world, and I must say the Christian faith (with invisible gods, demigods from alien insemination, miracles always happening offstage, magical floods, etc. etc. etc.) always struck me as one of the more bizarre.

The American Heathen show has a monster truck rally pending:

JULY is going to be BIG on American Heathen®! Join RJ and the Crew on July 7th as they welcome Joseph Atwill, writer and scholar, to talk about his latest book : “Caesar’s Messiah – The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus”! Then, later in July... Documentary film maker Fritz Heede will be our guest. Fritz has made a documentary adaptation of Atwill’s book that will be released soon! AH’s own Ken Humphreys is featured prominently in the film!

crazypills2, YT user and clown, still doesn't get it:

Holding's attempt to show that Jesus lived by the honor code is pathetic. Why would an omnipotent God be concerned with his honor? This is the most laughable rhetoric he has ever spewed. Additionally, if he knew anything about the honor/shame code, he would know that a substantially superior opponent would never engage a substantially inferior one. This would be considered shameful. Also, if Jesus wanted to avoid shame, why the cross?

Brett "Dumbass" Palmer wins: He started his own forum, which he announced on a vid on his channel. The vid has had less than 2000 views in a month, and has only 53 registered users so far. He's finding out the hard way just how little his sub base as a whole really cares about him and his arguments.

JimL's easy solution for things beyond his comprehension:

If God existed before the universe existed, then how can God have created time? Doesn't the fact that God existed "before" his creation and that the universe existed "after" God, imply that time existed with God? Doesn't a universe that did not exist "before" but now exists "after" imply the existence of time previous to the creation of the universe? And what about space? If God created space, where was he before he created it? Seems to me that the more logical argument is that spacetime always existed.

YT atheist McDonaldsDude, on my bat-bird vid:

As an atheist, this "explanation" didn't convince me one bit. In fact, it made me realize just how HUMAN this alleged "word of god" is. "Spread the word of god! Oh, and of course there will be mistranslations because that's the best way to spread the word of god is by giving them the wrong information!"

Alas, we failed to breach the walls of this impenetrable fortress of reason.

YT user Grim5quaker:

The gospel of Judas was excluded because it went against anti-Semitic ideals of the church.... Which is a shame cause it makes a far more interesting story, a develops the characters a little more

Roo Bookaroo (mis)explains high context socieities:

All the facts of Jesus’s biography are thus supposed to have already circulated all around the Mediterranean, at a time when most ordinary people were illiterate, and means of transportation excruciatingly slow and dangerous, and communication required the dispatching of personal messengers by land or boat.

Griggsy says I'm of the same rep as William Lane Craig:

Holding's reputation ranks no better than WLC, whose books sell very well, amongst us critical thinkers, becaue he's dishonest, supercilious and so forth. Loftus practices the presumption of honesty and uses facts and valid interpretations so that one can learn from his comments. Those who doubt that hardly fathom the significations and implications of the Bible and theology: they rest in willing darkness, preferring the woo of the supernatural instead of the wisdom of the World for that more abundant life! Their eyes of faith condemn them to that perpetual darkness,eh, SatantheAlien? Google Holding to find more on why we naturalists hold Holding in contempt! David Marshall fares the same!

The June 2012 Christian and Theist Collection

88keys sums up the problem -- which he is:

This article reeks of arrogance and judgement, in my opinion. Just another person's opinion about what a Christian should be or should do, shared as fact. I notice the author uses no scripture to back up his points. Who are you to tell people how they should read the Bible? Why should they not look for answers to their questions about life in the Bible? Are you suggesting that the Bible is not sufficient, or that it was not given to us to help guide us through life? You say the Bible is about God, not about us, which I agree with. But the Bible WAS given to us, human beings, to help us. God doesn't need The Bible to glorify Him.

So what if someone wants to flip through the Bible randomly? Are you saying that God is not great enough to lead them to the right passage of scripture, or to give them insights they have never had before?

The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, not "study your Bible." The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. I agree with whomever pointed out that the Pharisees knew the Bible better than anyone, yet Jesus chastised them because they had no love for their fellow men. And finally, we are NOT wicked. Once we give our old wicked hearts to Jesus, He makes us a new creation! He gives us a new heart, a heart of flesh, to replace our heart of stone. We are no longer desperately wicked, or just "sinners under grace." Praise be to God for His transforming power in our lives!

So does Jorge:

Hopefully you have not forgotten that reading Scripture is NOT primarily an intellectual engagement but rather a task that requires spiritual discernment that must be facilitated by God Himself.

Amazon loony Anne Grogan defends Colton Burpo's outlandish book with credible testimony:

I'd rather go through life with an "emotionally stunted" view than a cynical and disbelieving one, such as yourself. You are so certain of yourself and your opinions that you leave no room to believe in anything unless you actually experience it yourself. There are too many people who have had near death experiences. Unlike you, I don't believe all of them are liars. And after speaking with a British pilot with 30 years of international flying experience, and other pilots, I even believe in UFO's, as they do, due to their personal experience of what they have seen.

Symph Controversy, an emergent look, still misses the point:

Actually I do have another point, everyone is different man. You may be a man of logic, I am a man of emotion, both kinds of people are needed, but I don't create point after point to say what I mean, I speak from the heart, and always will. So if you prefer to watch someone use only intellect in their debates, sorry man, that's not me.

firstfloor has his own problems:

My point is that Christianity has gone sour when it devotes itself to isms and ologys instead of compassion. This discussion is not the sign of a healthy religion. Metaphysics is just a game with words. Jesus did not need the new testament, so why do we?

raynin, on why he converted to Judaism:

I have no problem answering questions or discussing anything, as far as thining that Jesus is flawed that began about a year ago...when I really began to do my digging. The first thing for me to question was the practice of christians celebrating Christmas and easter. Christians will openly admit Jesus was not born on christmas, or risen on easter. So then I began to think Jehovah's witness had the right idea etc. Further research showed me that those holidays were made to reflect pagan holidays, xmas trees christanity's very own idol that we put up every year and try to say its about jesus. I stopped celebrating holidays like that except when forced to due to family obligations. Further investigation showed that Jesus and horus were extremely similar. to similar....errily similar. coincidence? I was whorshiping a "demi" god...herculces style. Sounds stupid when put that way. Also after reading some interesting articles reflecting that Jewish people have always read the hebrew scriptures first, and then the new testament had to prove its validity through the hebrew bible. Not the other way around which is how christians are taught. Matter of fact we are taught to skip reading the old testment and go straight to the "roman road" When you try to proof the new testament through the hebrew scriptures you realize how invalid they really are. There are two verses in the hebrew scripture that really sold me. There were other things but the two that really did and if you can answer them I would interested to hear your response. 1. God abhorrs human sacrafice especially the sacrafice of the sons. THIS makes no sense when trying to add jesus to the mix. It makes God contradict him self...which well I don't believe. 2. Each man will pay for his own sin according to what he has done. Again? what? how then can jesus pay the sacrafice for all then? and why would god sacrafice his own son when he hates it. There are many more arguments out there but those were my reasons. Not mention he didn't do anything he was supposed to have done...

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/01/un-shoots-itself-in-the-foot-with-mugabe-appointment-as-tourism-envoy/

http://thebarkingatheist.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/letting-kids-make-up-their-minds-on-god/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/nadine-schweigert-woman-marries-herself_n_1546024.html

http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/seven-reasons-why-young-adults-quit-church-8997/

Zondervan wins a Platinum nom for its "Playful Puppies Bible": http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310732956/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=extretheol-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0310732956

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8682378