As the Sanslorian (above) make their rounds again, only one question comes to mind....how many Screwballs does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

From the Mailbag

No Spring Break for these guys; the first comes from Stephen Van Yuck -- er, Van Eck -- who wrote:

It has come to my attention that you have once again been disparaging my intellect in recent days.

I can provide official IQ scores from MENSA. Please provide your scores from a similarly reputable source. And we shall see.

We already know that you are of low character, as is evidenced by your puerile and malevolent little website. I have no reason to believe that your intelligence is any better.

But I thank you, [Holding], for providing such a salient example of Christianity-inspired rottenness. You do my job for me.

Trust Van Yuck to want to play a game of "mine is bigger than yours." Then we had this series of emails from an Already Decided Apostate:

As I recall, the gospel of Mark quotes Jesus as saying that it would have been better for Judas not to have been born. When you say that you are certain that Judas to have been been created, are you contradicting Jesus? Is it true of lots of persons, or just one, that they would have been better off to not have been born?

When I answered with material that is now found here, as well as links to myself and the Christian Thinktank, this was the reply:

Given that 1) you are not God and not infallible; and 2) the statement may be a true statement if understood literally,

what good evidence do you provide for me to believe your claim that the statement of Jesus re Judas should not be taken literally?

After all, if we are going to take this nonliterally, we could also take "Jesus died for our sins," nonliterally, and a host of other statements.

It seems to me as if Adam Clarke takes the statement literally. He uses this verse as a prooftext of the eternity of hellish punishment. If the statement is not truthful, taken literally, then, it is no prooftext of the eternity of eternal punishment. Is that not correct?

According to Clarke, the Jews said this of those whom they knew or believed to have committed flagrant sins, for they believed that such would suffer eternally in hell, and their eternal suffering in hell was the reason for it having been better them not to have been born.

Job cursed the day of his birth, Job 3. He didn't mean only that he had suffered a disaster. What he meant was that he wished he had never been born. To curse the day of one's birth is a poetic way of wishing one had not been born. It is not a figure of speech for having experience a loss or even a great loss. It is the expression of a wish to not have lived, perhaps resulting from having experienced so much and such great loss and to make life not having been worth living.

Also, it was interesting that you seemed to be reluctant, until clearly and plainly pressed, to state that it was better for Judas himself to have been born.

So, this Screwbie wins for:

  1. ignoring the links I gave him to read and asking the same questions after they have already been answered.
  2. using a commentary written in the 1700s as an authority
  3. Blind inconsistency (apparently, that HE is not God and therefore not infallible isn't a problem where it is for me)
  4. Using the panic button technique (so what would "Jesus died for our sins" be a figure of speech for? "Jesus died for some of our sins"?)

    Then this email from the Strain and Gain Department:

    First off, I am a skeptic because I believe that everything must be questioned in order to find the truth. I am by your standards far from a scholar, but I would like to point out that you conveniently ended your rebuttal with a "mixed up" analogy:

    The Flat Earth Society vs The US Geological Survey:

    "What a better way for your readers to get the objective edge on this than to link to our articles? Instead of you prancing around like god and expecting your readers to take your word for it? IF YOUR ROUND EARTH CRITICS ARE STUPID AS YOU SAY, LINKING TO THEIR ARTICLES WOULD PROVE THIS TO YOUR AUDIENCE, RIGHT? DUH!"

    You side believers with the US Geological Survey and Skeptics with The Flat Earth Society. Adventure and science proved that the earth was round. Science is unable to prove the existence of a supreme being.

    The second flaw in your comparison is that when the theory of a round earth was introduced it was argued against by the church.

    History has shown that believers subscribe to the "Flat-Earth Society" way of thinking and not the other way around.

    Then this mail From the Society for the Preservation of Gratuitous Trap-Flapping:

    I was looking through your site, and was wondering where I could find a link to the view of naturalists, evolution, etc... I go to many sites on both sides, and I haven't found one yet from a Christian site to direct me to the alternative view. But when I go to a site that is an evolution site, they almost always offer a link to the alternative view, so a reader can weigh both sides. Do you think that is fair to the readers?

    I have also learned that all Creationist sites are being debunked, because Creationism is not Science. ID is not a Science.

    Come on, be true to the people, and go out and get a better paying job to make up for the monetary funds you will no longer have access to, once they do learn that you're lying to them. They've been lied to for many years, and you just want to continue the lie. But of course, you're not worried, because you're a servant of A god, and will be forgiven anyway, right?

    When told he had won an award, this reply came:

    Like I said, you must also earn the screwball award, with all the typical responses we see from theologians. Any site that doesn't link to a site with an alternative view is totally 100% bias. Especially when they have a Mission Statement, or Statement of Faith to go by.

    There's a link there to the IIDB, I am sure you'll find formidable opponents there, I am only 9 years old. Not bad writing and thoughts for a 9 year old, huh? (wink)

    No, not really. I think that's about right for 9. Then cometh this:

    Hey,

    I just ran across your site, and I'm amazed!

    I didn't know that anyone out there actually took Christian theology that seriously. Couldn't you use your obviously above average analytical skills to do something of value?

    My favorite religious quote comes from Jesus Christ Superstar: "Prove to me that you're no fool; Walk across my swimming pool."

    As a fifty something that has watched the religious right wing in this country trash it, I sincerely hope that you, and your devotees get exactly what you deserve.

    I also got this email in defense of Stephen van Yuck:

    Ya know, you are an a*******! Come down off your high horse and stop using this guy as a spring board to your Ego trip! I came across this by accident and couldn't believe the disrespect you show this man.

    Did you know (no, of course not) that this man spent 6 long years fighting to get a woman out of a Texas prison for a drug possession offense? Yes, in Texas we like to keep our drug abusers locked up for life--we much prefer letting child molestors out! So, this man that you are talking to and about like a dog---has probably done more for humanity than you will do in your entire life. Three children now have a mother after 12 years.

    Who cares who is closest to being correct on these silly issues about Theology. They will never be completely answered in your life time. You should be more concerned with what people are doing with their beliefs or non-beliefs --a person does not fight what he believes is not there.

    Hey that's great! All I have to do is get someone off a drug offense, and I can promote the copycat Christ myth and stuff all I want!

    On the Christian side, this came in from the Ready to Rupture League:

    Friends, please help me. My work is to inspire millions of Christians to unite in prayer on July 7 2007.... 777.. for the return of the savior, Jesus Christ. I'm putting up Billboards and spending my life into this.(Father is in this end days work). I'm praying for an organization that will focus the world's attention on what its only hope is. Christ's return. The day that changed the world. 777 PLEASE JOIN! . prayon777.com

    You know Father will hear us(when 2 are united in prayer!)

    Then this from the Christian Animal Liberation Front:

    I just came across your article "Veggie Tales". You state "I have little doubt that animal cruelty falls in line on the list of sins for which men will be judged."

    The truth is being shown to us. This truth has always been and always will be. You can't say you understand the truth of this "sin" and then not accept it as truth.

    Who are you but just a man to judge God and His Law? Maybe you should be more careful than to place judgment over the words and teachings of Jesus and of God's Law.

    Told he had won an award, this worthy replied:

    God said from the beginning that the herbs and fruits were our food and therefore our meat. The fallen angels taught man many abominable things in the eyes of God one of which is to kill, to sacrifice life, and to drink blood and eat flesh. God said that He alone gave life and He alone was to take life away. In the commandments that God first gave to Moses He was explicit about this. You are promoting what Satan teaches, not what God teaches. Satan uses words such as "animal rights activists" and "vegetarians" and "screwballs awards" to lead the mind to some relegated definition but which takes the mind or conversation away from the truth. It is easy to see that you work for Satan with such trifle words. It's my opinion that God, His teachings, the deliberate workings of Satan to hide the Truth are anything but trifle.

    My hope is that the Truth is seen by many in this time of the great revealing of the truth. Especially those who do believe Jesus to be the Son of God and our Savior.

    By now, many have seen what you have written and what I have written...the truth is always there for anyone who truely seeks to see.

    The following was courtesy of the Wiccan Rant and Rave Club:

    As much as hardcore christians try to naysay other religions and other origins for christianity, there is still no proof other than the christian texts that even support the existence of Jesus Christ. It is the greatest STORY ever told, I would say epic, right along side The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as well as the Harry Potter books. Great stories. Bible is a bit bloody and the God is a bit of an ****hole along with the people he protects in the old testament. E.g.. Noah the drunk unappreciative, Lot the hider of criminals and pimp daddy of daughters as well as incestuous drunk , Abraham the continual liar and wife pimper etc. There is a bit of a split personality come the new testament where God turns all warm and fuzzy through Jesus but it is still just a story, a myth. It's sad when otherwise grown and intelligent people feel so strongly about a story that it turns into a divisive device. All religions are true in the fact that people believe in them. Proof is still to be had for any of them especially those based on a myth (read mostly Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam) but those that are more of a philosophy (Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism); these latter religions are less unigod and more multigod/philosophy as they believe that everyone has individual needs that their particular beliefs will help them fulfill, especially Hindi beliefs who say that their gods have many faces so that all may have a personal god. Whereas in Christianity, there is only one god and you must accept him as your personal savior blah blah blah.

    Christianity is about being a stupid herd animal and blindly following without question whereas other non Abrahimic religions stress personal growth and personal responsibility. Not a big fan of Christianity and their small, closed minded, hypocritical ways.

    Mithra is still the predecessor of Jesus Christ as there is still no proof of either. But you have the freedom to believe what you want as so many Christians do.

    Blessed be.

    When told of his award, this one replied:

    As I stated before, religion only exists because people choose to believe in it. Only those who are small minded believe that they are right.

    I guess he doesn't think he's right then. Much the same here from the Defeated Self-Esteem Convention:

    I have read your web page and I have studied the very subject for which you seem to have such a zealotous passion and have come to the conclusion that you are beneath a logical and well thought out discussion. You are correct in assuming that I do not believe I am correct. I am not so hubristic to believe that I have all the correct answers but believe that there is much more real evidence that needs to be put forward in a theological discussion and that evidence has yet to be determined. The rest of theological discussions base themselves on unproven, disproven or dogmatic belief, none of which actually proves the existence and the correctness of any given belief system. You can continue to call people names but your very attitude toward this theological discussion is the reason why theological history is so full of bloodshed and violence. Small minded people do not give good evidence to support their positions but reduce their attacks to name calling and rhetoric and sometimes, violence.

    You are beneath my notice and I will attempt to contact someone who can discuss this subject more objectively and logically with a better ability to debate the issues. You have specific knowledge but not enough general knowledge to carry an intelligent debate.

    I very much doubt that you have even read the Bible cover to cover yourself much less the Torah and the Qur'an, these are considered the Abrahamic references, by the way, but some debate the Torah has a Zoroastrianist origin while others believe that the origin of monotheism originates with Akhenaten, but you are probably unaware of these issues as these issues are still under debate in academic circles. Further more, I doubt you know anything about ancient cultures and their varying myths and their beliefs, from several Native American shamanistic beliefs and myths, to ancient Chinese animism and the development of Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. You do not have enough exposure to differing belief systems to intelligently support your argument therefore this discussion is mute as their is nothing that you can actually add to it that would further a better understanding.

    Apparently those who add to your web discussion are of the same caliber as you and dwell in name calling and rhetoric with no scientifically supporting evidence, therefore your web page holds no interest to me nor does your opinion on the subject.

    Also, from the Nutsy Conspiracy Wing:

    Might I suggest you ask Dr. Zahi Hawass, head of antiquities in Egypt, to explain what he meant, when he said, "Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Those statues, the temples, this is where it all comes from. No, don't destroy them. This is our heritage."

    Saw this documentary on the discovery channel in 2006.

    While the writings are not identical, they certainly appear to be pre-existing text from which Bible writers copied.

    This came as a reply to my detailed, heavily-footnoted article on Mithraism which quotes leading Mithraic scholars as sources:

    Funny considering here is a Persian that agrees on Mithraisms similarities to Christianity.

    Followed by an article which repeated the same things I'd rebutted.

    Wow...being a Persian makes you more informed than credentialed scholars! Then this in response to my article on the Treaty of Tripoli:

    You've got to be kidding!

    You are so full of ****!

    One nation under god - Iran!

    Maybe you should move to Iran if theocracy is your pleasure.

    I just love these detailed, direct answers, don't you? Now I'm convinced that Washington signed that thing after all. More meanwhile from the Open Self-Contradiction Department:

    I (sort of) enjoyed your article on Calculated Contempt. ...The main article itself was, I thought, rather self-defeating. You stressed that there are no 'experts' who know everything. This means, then, that no-one can state with certainty that the Bible is inerrant or state that it isn't. It comes down to a matter of belief. People either believe in inerrancy or they don't. I doubt that any amount of argument or a million web links would alter this.

    Which really means that the whole debate is a sterile one, doesn't it?

    Mind you there is, some argue, an authoritative arbiter on what the message of the Bible is, and how it should be interpreted. You may wish to cite him as an 'expert' and, therefore, no more reliable than anyone else: there are many who would disagree.

    ********

    If, for example, the Trinity were the subject of discussion, we could listen to the views of, say, the world's leading Christian theologist, Islamic theologist and a Atheist philosopher. A 'Critic' could review these experts' opinions and give credence to one and dismiss the others. But any critic's view is subject to his/her own prejudice and bias. If we extended the example to include 100 more 'experts' including Protestant, Catholic and Mormon theologists; Sunni, Shi'ite and Wa'haabi theologists and some more atheists, the critics would be left with more 'evidence' but none which would actually 'prove the case'. Which would he or she choose and why?

    Of course, it depends on the definition of what a critic is. In general anyone can be a critic and the credence accorded to that critic would depend on his background and reputation. But how often do we read of critics lambasting a book, movie or Broadway hit, only for them to be box office hits? Obviously, the general public often ignore the views of critics.

    I'm not at all sure that there is such a thing as 'a qualified' critic. Qualified in what sense? Apart from, say, being more informed on a particular subject than the layman. But, as you say, they can only be informed to a certain degree and then need to turn to other 'experts'. (Or are there university degrees in Criticism in North America? I'm not aware of any) Certainly, a critic's opinion is, at root, just an opinion, albeit an informed one. It certainly can't be judged as authoritative in any sense whatsoever.

    To paraphrase an old saying: People who can write (paint, sing, act, cook, etc.) - do; those who can't become critics.

    When I busted the contradiction by saying:

    In that case....I grant no authority to your criticisms of my article and will ignore them. See ya around. :)

    The reply was:

    But you believe your criticism is absolutely authoritative and should be believed by anyone who reads it? This smacks of complete arrogance. If this is true, then you are in good company. After all Dawkins believes that anyone who has religious faith is deranged to the point of being mentally ill. (See 'The God Delusion'. Actually a better title might be 'The Dawkins Delusion' but that's another matter)

    That makes two who don't think they're right, but feel they should give is their advice anyway. Finally, from the "Computers Should Not Write EMails" Department:

    Dear Tektonics,

    We are DankeDankeCom Ltd. International Shipping Service (http://www.dankedanke.com).

    We are providing international shipping solutions to people buying on the internet from Japan, receiving and forwarding their shoppings, a worthy service in a country where even big shops do not send abroad.

    Initially, most of our customers were Japanese nationals living abroad, but the increase of requests from other nationals has led us to offer our services in English as well. As of today, we have around 10,000 registered members from all over the world.

    Seeing similarities in both our customers' interests, I would like to offer you to exchange banners or links.

    We are constantly looking for people interested in Japan and Japanese goods, and our links page is visited by many of our customers, all of them in a way or the other interested in Japan and Japanese culture. If you are interested, please fill in the information below:

    This was sent because of my article comparing Biblical and Japanese culture. I also award the "phishing" attempt I got disguised as a PayPal warning. It told me they needed help with:

    "You're Billing Information!"

    If you're gonna pull a con job, you better at least get the grammar right.


    TWeb n00b "stevec" has already got hisself a Platinum nomination for a variety of offenses just too good to choose from. To quote one reader: "I've seen some daft atheists (and christians) in my time, but I am truly gobsmacked at the level of pig-headedness and stupidity present in this individual." One Lifetime Achievement Award for the NZ Version of Johnny Skeptic.

    The March 2007 Loftus Collection

    Every month John Loftus (TWeb's Doubting John) picks up some for himself and his crew, and March 2007 was no exception. Loftus himself wins Gold a time and more, first for this post in his blarg:

    According to many believers Jesus has come back to earth in a man who lives in Texas. See Here. Do Christians really think that if people living in today's scientific world are so gullible to believe this crap that people were different in a superstitious age when it came to the Jesus they worship? If this can happen today, then why are we to think the same thing didn't happen in the 1st century AD? Besides, didn't God supposedly foreknow we would ask such questions as these which would lead us to doubt that the 1st century Jesus was the son of God?

    The "here" is a link to an article on Jose Miranda. Of course, since DJ used to believe in Christianity himself, we've got to ask why he's any less gullible now. He sure isn't when it comes to historical analogy.

    If God exists and if he has foreknowledge, then he can foreknow believers prayers. If he can do this then he can prevent something from happening in the past. So, my challenge is to have Christians pick any event in the past, announce that they are praying to change it, and then watch what happens. It's simple. It could be to prevent the Holocaust, the terrorist 9/11 attacks, or any tragic event reported in the daily newspaper.

    Even if I grant that we probably wouldn't know if God answers such a prayer, it doesn't change anything. For we could still know if God didn't answer such a prayer. And that's the point of my challenge. My bet is that God won't answer any such prayer, and that we can know this.

    Also, Loftus wins for yet another case of uncritical gullibility:

    This is a very well produced British documentary by Dr. Robert Beckford on Who Wrote The Bible? Although he's a believer, there is some very informative stuff here that conservative Christians need to learn. He sums up what he's saying in the last 10 chilling minutes. Definitely some great stuff here and worth a look.

    And what is this wonderful item?

    http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14181.htm Evangelical groups are angry that Who Wrote the Bible?, which will go out at 8.30pm, paints a negative picture of Christian organisations and suggests links between them and the troubles in the Middle East.

    They have also expressed concerns about the presenter, Dr Robert Beckford, a reader in theology at Birmingham University. Beckford's critically acclaimed documentary God is Black, which compared white and black people's interpretation of Christianity, angered some in the Anglican church who accused it of 'racialising' religious issues.

    'Channel 4 has a record of going for the more controversial take on religion,' said David Hilborn, head of theology at the Evangelical Alliance. 'They want to go down the more sensational route to grab people's attention.'

    Beckford defended the provocative timing of the documentary. 'To have faith in the world is to ask dangerous questions. Why not make the question at Christmas when we hear about this son of God who was born in dubious circumstances in a place which was the armpit of the world?'

    In the new documentary, Beckford, a committed pentecostal Christian, describes a journey he made to some of Christianity's holiest places to help him uncover the provenance of the Bible. He calls his conclusion an 'earth-shattering experience' and one that made him doubt some of his most basic Christian beliefs. Of the Old Testament, Beckford declares: 'The so-called law of Moses turns out to be the work of many human hands. What I once thought was the word of God was now beginning to sound like something out of Stalin's Russia.'

    He produces archaeological evidence to suggest the Bible's claims that the kingdoms of David and Solomon dominated the 10th century BC were wrong, an error that raises profound claims about the genesis of Christianity.

    He declares the New Testament a 'masterwork of spin written by people who were nowhere near the events they describe, all gathered by powerful editors who kept out ideas they did not like'.

    The story of the nativity is also doubted. Beckford argues that Matthew added the story to fulfil a prophecy made in the Old Testament.

    So who is this Beckford and what are his qualifications to assess the veracity of the Biblical record? Uh....

    Dr Robert Beckford is Lecturer in African Diasporan Religions & Cultures at the University of Birmingham. Robert read religion and sociology at Houghton College in New York and has taught at seminaries and universities in Britain. As well as teaching and researching he is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and radio presenter (BBC WM). In 2004 he was nominated for a Royal Television Society award. He has written 5 books, mainly in his chief research areas, Black Theology, Rastafari, African American film, reggae, dub and hip-hop audio cultures.

    Oh yeah....all that study in reggae is sure gonna make a dent in the case for the authorship of Luke by Luke. Loftus packs on some more gold for himself by saying how happy he is that he got a 5 star review from a Christian who read his book, who said:

    Actually I changed from a 4 to a 5 star as soon as I began writing this review. While the author makes it an easy read (thank you I am not as intellectual as a lot of others on this board), I have mixed feeling.

    Somehow it never rubs off on Loftus that while intellectual Christians here on TWeb find him a laughingstock, it is those who profess to be LESS intellectual who give him the most credit. But finally on Loftus, this is too funny. I got this email from Amazon.com marketing:

    Dear Amazon.com Customer, We've noticed that customers who have expressed interest in From Minister to Honest Doubter: Why I Changed My Mind by [Doubting John] have also ordered Nosis Revelations: God's Messenger by Nosis. For this reason, you might like to know that Nosis's Nosis Revelations: God's Messenger is now available. You can order your copy for just $16.00 by following the link below.

    And what is this "Nosis" book about? Here's an Amazon description:

    The book is about the disclose present prophecy and divine revelation on our present time and authored by Nosis,the recipient of heavenly messages.

    "In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophecy,and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:17

    This Bible verse acknowledges that in the Last Days people will be gifted to receive prophecy heavenly messages and if this is so it will be the time on the last days.

    In this book the author, Nosis included disclose present prophecies and heavenly revelations such as the revelation of the September 11,2001 terrorists attacks on America;the revelation of the danger posed by the seven returning NASA astronauts on board the space shuttle Columbia last February 1,2003; revelation on the life of Diana, Princess of Wales; the revelation of the return of the Messianic time; the revelation on natural phenomena and man-made calamities on our present human history. And this book revealed the God's will and divine purposes in our present time.

    Proof positive: Stupid people like to order Loftus' book! In addition, Loftus' blarg crew picked up some gold, starting with Useful Idiot #3,465,843 to his stable, Lee Randolph, who says stuff like this from his Amazon reviews:

    Old Testament Parallels: Laws And Stories from the Ancient Near East by Victor H. Matthews Lee Randolph says: "See comparisons of Ancient texts to the Old Testament. The original "Golden Rule" and The Flood story in Gilgamesh etc. Wonder how a woman in Jesus Lifetime could keep a record of her finances preserved but Jesus, I mean God, couldn't manage to write anything down."

    Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth DVD ~ George Lucas Lee Randolph says: "The myth master at the end of his career. Surely he would know if the Bible is mythology or not. Oops, he talks about Jesus and all the other gods and prophets, compares and contrasts them and adores them but regards them all as similar mythology."

    The Secret Origins of the Bible by Tim Callahan Lee Randolph says: "Try to find out where the Bible came from without the presumption (question begging) that it came from God."

    Folklore in the Old Testament Studies in Comparative Religion Legend and Law by James George Frazer Lee Randolph says: "The seminal work, compares folklore around the world with the Old Testament. Enough to fill a three volume set, of which this is the condensed single version."

    Gospel Fictions by Randel Helms Lee Randolph says: "Textual criticism of the New Testament. Mentions the Buddhist "walking on water" parallel. Reminds me of the Brahma and Abraham similarities."

    Randolph also wins for these non-comments on my Tyre article:

    These are my thoughts on the prophecy.

    - Why isn't it possible that the whole thing is 'trash talk'?

    - I looked for and found, as I expected, an instance of equivocation. He disputes towers and columns.

    - This has characteristics of retro-fitting the prophecy to the facts. A lot of the best psychics do that. They make general claims and look for ways to make the outcome fit. The specific claim that Tyre will be no more is kind of hard to get around. Maybe they should just relegate all this to 'trash talk' and give it up.

    - What do his peers think about this? Is he out there on his own or is this the consensus of experts?

    - What kind of a God makes prophecies that are so hard to validate?

    "Darn that God for making me so stupid! Loftusian Useful Idiot Troy Waller also wins for this:

    Despite what the religious-right in the US want us to believe, one of the biggest influences that led to my conversion was pop music. I was very much into heavy metal music as a kid. Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, and the like were always in my Walkman in the early 1980s. The clever marketing behind these bands was rooted in what Sharon Osbourne called 'horror-rock'. Satan, demons, witchcraft and black magic were touted as both real and somehow infused in the music. Of course I no longer believe there was ever any sinister Satanic plot to undermine young people through music, rather I think the image portrayed struck a rebellious chord with teens and sold records. And as a teen, I had no trouble believing Ozzy Osbourne worshipped a very real, literal devil. Because I believed it to a degree, the music scared me, which was part of its appeal I suppose. Nevertheless, a lot of the imagery used in the music and marketing was drawn from a Christian world view. A world view I held to be true.
    Perhaps more influential, were the movies I saw. Horror films like The Exorcist, said to have been based on a true story, filled me with such a fear of being demon-possessed at ten years old that I refused to sleep in my own bed for months. The Omen, which I was told was based on Biblical predictions about the coming anti-Christ, also terrified me. Only the true followers of Christ could resist Damian's control, Regan flailed at the name of Jesus and the heroes in these movies were either priests or used Christianity is some way to defeat the devil. Though the Christian imagery has been toned down in more recent incarnations, the vampire films of my youth showed holy water, churches and crucifixes were among the weapons of choice when fighting the undead. Hollywood taught me that the only defence against the devil was Jesus or Christian icons....
    Once I began to take a critical approach toward Christianity, I realised how much of my faith was based on these tenacious assumptions. The very existence of God, Heaven and Hell, Jesus, Satan and even the Bible were all bred into me and then fed by the world I lived in and the culture I was immersed in. When the Christian evangelists eventually crossed my path and told me I could have the Holy Spirit live inside me, I was thrilled. Not only was I free from my long carried fear of demon-possession or Satanic control, but now I was one of the good guys. I never stopped for a second to weigh up the truthfulness of their claims. Besides being only 13 years old I was already primed, "white unto harvest." I had NEVER tested the assumptions that my conversion and later faith was based upon.

    Summed up: "I apostasized because I wuz stupid." Finally, Gold for Ed "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up" Babinski, who "answers" me and scholar James Dunn, exegeting the meaning of Mark 3:29, with this blabber:

    It's too bad that Jesus didn't have the knack of expressing himself as precisely as Dunn does above, putting each of his sayings in such clear theological perspective. It also appears to me that Dunn might be going beyond what Mark 3 says by adding perhaps an overly elaborate theologically driven explanation, though note that even the author of the Markan Gospel felt that the saying about "an unforgiveable sin" needed a bit of commentary, so he followed it with his little explanation, "He [Jesus] said this because they were saying 'He has an evil spirit.'"

    "Duhhhhhh.....why didn't God make up for me bein' so dumb?" Gems as well:

    I would also add that some scholars view the Gospel of Mark (the earliest written Gospel) as not teaching that Jesus was God, but rather an adopted "Son" of God at his baptism (with which the Markan Gospel begins, i.e., citing a psalm at Jesus' baptism that was recited at the enthronement of Hebrew Kings that said, "You are my son, this day have I begotten you," or adopted you to be my "son"). So what if the earliest view among the first Gospel writer's community was that Jesus was chosen and empowered by God, but not God, and hence, "all manner of words spoken against the son of man [Jesus]" would be forgivable because he simply was not God, but God's chosen adopted vice-regent, chosen at baptism, not birth. But in contrast to the "Son of Man," the "Holy Spirit" was indeed God. Such an interpretation of the saying is yet another one that makes sense for scholars who argue that Mark, the earliest Gospel, was based on an "adoptionist" Christology.
    Lastly, if you believe that Jesus was part of a "Trinity" and all parts of the "Trinity" were equal parts of one whole God, then why make words spoken against Jesus forgivable, but words spoken against the Holy Spirit of God "unforgivable?" Can you really get away with blaspheming some parts of the Trinity but not others? (Or was Jesus, according to the author of the earliest Gospel, not as much "God" as the "Holy Spirit?")
    At any rate, if the verse means what J. P. Holding (quoting Dunn) says it does, then is it speaking about people who reject Holding's and Dunn's Nicean/Chalcedonian/Trinitarian Christian theology? That doesn't sound right either, because Jesus wasn't speaking to an audience that knew of such orthodox creedal statements, but instead was speaking to an audience that merely knew, say, "The Lord's Prayer," which even Jews can pray today.


    Blowing Your Nose is Blasphemy

    TWeb reader reported this one:

    I recieved (along with the check) an envelope with the following bold statement on the front:

    God's Holy Spirit instructed us to loan you this to start turning things around for you. So, here it is.

    Naturally, I assumed that some Christian organization had decided to try its hand at the normally seculary practice of giving me money now in exchange for wringing my blood from me when I finish school. I was going to throw it out, but curiosity overcame me, and I opened it and looked at the contents:

    As a minister for more than half-a-century, I've read and reread, in the Holy Bible, how God instructs ministers to send Bible faith handkerchiefs to people's homes, and, as a result, miracles of blessings occur.

    HERE, I LOAN YOU, IN JESUS' HOLY NAME, THIS PAPER, BIBLE FAITH HANDKERCHIEF FOR SOMETHING GOOD TO HAPPEN FOR YOU (ACTS 19:11,12)...

    Dear...Someone Connected with This Home, Who Needs Prayer and God's Divine Help and Blessings...in The Name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit,

    We've been on our knees, praying over this address and someone connected with it, because we feel someone connected to this home needs God's help and blessings. One of our ministers is over 90 years old, another is 89, and several are in their 70's. Togethor, we have more than 200 years of experience as ordained ministers, helping people who need prayer. And, God is doing great things every day here at this half-a-century-old church.

    As we prayed, the Holy Spirit said, "If you want this home to be blessed, mail a biblical faith handkerchief like the Apostle Paul did, at Acts 19:11,12, where miracle blessings began when people used these blessed handkerchiefs." Here, let me read what God's Holy Word says about these Bible Handkercheifs: "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick H-A-N-D-K-E-R-C-H-I-E-F-S or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." ACTS 19:11,12.

    My father had a bad habit of drinking, and he could not stop. I sent one of these to my Baptist mother, and it flat stopped Dad from a bad drinking habit. It works!

    Because Obviously, He Owned Stock in Microsoft

    stuart shepherd wins Gold for this anachronistic commentary:

    What makes you think that Jesus was poor? Jesus and his father were both "tecktons" "builders." The building trades always pay well.

    But when have you ever heard of a poor evangelist? Ask Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Paul Couch, Jerry Falwell, Dobson etc

    The whole crowd are all millionaires. Jesus was rich just like the great crowd of ministers who are making millions selling Jesus.

    I am sure that as soon as those baskets were starting to fill up in Galilee, Jesus brought his show to the big city, Jerusalem, in order to fill bigger baskets with money. Didn't Paul say "Don't muzzle the treshing ox" concerning the evangelist getting his cut?

    Remember Jim Baker and his air conditioned dog house? Why shouldn't Jesus and his family spend a little on an elaborate family tomb?

    The Teens 4 Cripes Misogynist Collection

    Brother "Ostrich Hed" Randy of Teens 4 Christ wins for this post:

    What we are talking about are the ones who are out 'advertising'. At the beginning of the school year, it seemed like every week or so some college girl went missing. It was true that in every case the girl was last seen leaving a bar in the middle of the night, and the pictures they showed on TV of the missing women were provocative.

    The Bible has been demonstrated to be quite an easy book for His children to understand. God never intended it to be some high and lofty tome that only the deepest scholars could understand, He intended it to be simple. The complexity of the Bible comes from our sinful nature. Men have wanted to make the Bible say different things, and have tried to pervert it to do so. When anyone who is saved examines Scripture with an open mind, compares Scripture to Scripture and seeks the will of God, they will clearly see what God has to say. Notice, though, I did not say everyone would understand. Our understanding of the Word of God comes not from our own intellect, but rather from the Holy Spirit of God which indwells those who are saved. Perhaps you do not understand the Bible because the Holy Spirit does not dwell within you.

    When studying the Bible, there are portions which are poetic in their composition as well as those which are figurative. However, despite the poetic or figurative nature of certain passages, we still must take the literal meaning of those passages.

    He Comes To Our Sunday School, In Fact

    "BurntOffering" wins Gold for this:

    Yes Satan is a Christian, and is the 3rd in Agreement between God, Jesus and Satan. All Satan had to do was wait until Jesus died on the cross, or admit this event defeated the powers Satan had. As such Satan can be reborn, washed in the blood of Christ and be a Reborn Christian, member of his family and body. I say Satan is the espoused wife of Jesus Christ and this was GOD's master plan from the start because Satan has been working for God all along. Jesus and Satan just had different missions. Jesus came to Save and Satan was sent to Deceive up until the last hour. Then Speak or Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help her god this time.

    Yeap, Satan is Risen, Reborn, In Christ and member of the Trinity Family, as the Daughter of God's Sister Spirit and the espoused wife of Jesus Christ.

    Satan is/was created by God and so was the persona of Jesus Christ, which God sent as Her representative in the Flesh. The 3 in agreement from the very beginning were God, Jesus and Satan who came up with this master plan when God said to herself and two kids or Twin Brother and Sister "Let us make man in our own image. God always used Satan to do Her dirty work, Satan is the Angel with the Loud Voice and S/He is also the one God sent to Tempt Jesus in the Wilderness.

    If Satan admits her defeat at Calvary, and that She is now Clean, Washed with his blood, then Satan as the Daughter of God would end up with a New Heaven, A New Earth, A Mansion, Maids and Servants because She's not only Jesus' Wife; but now God's Daughter In Law.

    Satan is the Wisest of the bunch, God sent Jesus first, and now God throws down Satan in Anger like a Trump card God had up He/r sleeve all along.

    While He's At It, Bring Back the Gospel of Judas

    Minnesota gets his TWeb vet Platinum slot for accepting the "tomb of Jesus" as authentic:

    Anyway, as a non-believer and having just watched the program, it looks like the beliefs of some Christians deserve to be modified a bit---not that I believe any will. I leave it to the Christians to reconcile their beliefs with the evidence, which seriously raises the questions:

    Why the bones of Jesus were available for burial if he physically ascended to heaven.

    Why Marianne was found in the family tomb when she was not a blood relative. The implication being, she must have been a wife, the wife of Jesus.

    The huge implication of the ossuary that has the inscription, "Judah son of Jesus"

    I know these questions assume the strength of the evidence is just about incontrovertible, but considering the statistical unlikelihood that this is not the tomb of the Jesus family and of Jesus himself, the doubting Christian is going to have to do a lot of fast talking to overcome it. So, let the pooh-poohing and name calling begin.

    Stephen Carr also wins Gold for the same subject:

    There is already an ossuary with the name of Jesus on it [referring to the James' ossuary].

    The readiness with which Christians siezed upon that as being THE Jesus (if it was a genuine ossuary from 2,000 years ago, is matched only be the speed with which they decry the latest ossuary as being THE Jesus , although the ossuary is almost certainly genuine.

    The Wonderful Thing About This Tigger Is, He IS the Only One

    TWeb vet Scruffy takes a Platinum nomination slot for all around Joseph-Campellite PC pigheadedness, and such posts as:

    When are Christians going to realize that the true biography of Jesus (if there was a historical Jesus) was overlaid with ancient mythology at a later date? None of it should be taken literally. There was no literal resurrection. It's symbolic. Symbolic of powerful inner potentialities.Take a college class in comparative mythology or something.

    Every religion and mythology is true - as metaphorical of the human and cosmic mystery. But if a religion gets dogmatically trapped in it's own metaphors and symbols...interpreting them as historical literal fact, then it's in trouble. Yes, exoteric Christianity has been in trouble for a long, long time.

    Ah, John, We Barely Knew Ye

    Gentleman atheist John Powell seems to have taken a few steps down with comments like these:

    OldManZangetsu: I think the more important question to ask would be, "If these 'extraordinary claims' did not have 'extraordinary evidence' to back them up, how did these claims not kill Christianity in it's early stages, given the type of culture it was birthed in?"

    POWELL: Because the culture was a gullible one.

    ****

    LPOT is wrong. Speculation can count as evidence. I'm confident she does so herself, which would seem to make her comment above hypocritical.

    I guess if I speculate that John Powell is wrong, that makes it true?

    No, I don't believe in pixies under my bed. My medical condition is irrelevant. What I posted is a valid argument regardless whether it's a begged question since it follows the modus ponens form. What definition do you use for "valid argument" that excludes modus ponens under certain conditions such as when it's a begged question? I have answers. Perhaps what I said here you'll think is dumb. Do you concede that what I posted is an argument or do you deny that?

    Nickc rattles into the Compleat Answer Trophy with this:

    I am ignorant Crystal, remember? When you cut my sentences apart like this it's hard for such a "fundy" atheistic "dummy" like myself to remember what you are talking about.

    Ohhh…. Now I remember. <{>I could not care less what faction of Christian Doctrine that you ascribe to. I do know this. If this alleged Holy spirit was real as opposed to imaginary, there wouldn't be like 35 different versions of Christianity. You all can't even decide if there is a hell or not. Tell you what.. Why don't all of you Christians get together and ask the Holy spirit to tell you all who wrote the first 5 books of the bible. While he's at it, perhaps he can tell us who wrote Job and half of the other books of the bible. Maybe he'll tell us why Jesus didn't write the New Testament himself. Was he running short on time or something? Did he have something pressing that he had to attend to within "40 days?" He couldn't magic a new testament out of thin air that automatically translates into whatever language the reader speaks? I got dibs on his job if he gets fired. And god decides to "redo redo" again.

    Fred Phelps goes after satirical Comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and wins the Misplaced Diatribe Ribbon:

    From the Fire and Brimstone Desk: Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred "Kooky" Phelps, also known as the man who single-handedly keeps the "God Hates Fags" sign industry in business, has set his sites on hellbound Jon Stewart and "hooligan sidekick" Stephen Colbert for their little Emmy skit.

    Phelps gets the ball rolling in his latest video sermon with this little gem:

    "Comedian Jon Stewart and his hooligan sidekick Stephen Colbert of the Comedy Central TV network are two mockers and scoffers that like to blaspheme God and Westboro Baptist Church. At the Emmy Awards nonsense last week, Colbert began his silliness by bellowing out at the audience, 'Good evening, Godless sodomites.' America has become a nation of Godless sodomites, who mock and scoff about their Sodomite sins, thereby demonstrating that America is a nation of fag-enabling fools, because only fools make a mock at sin. Prov. 14:9

    easyboy201 takes the KJV Fundy Award for this post:

    THE NIV?!!! You're kidding right. It's EVIL... EVVVVVVIIIIIILLLLLL....

    Sorry, I'm being overdramatic and saying everything in a dark, ominous voice in my head. KJV is the most reliable. NIV really does compromise. I listened to a lecture online where it said that the NIV takes out 64, 000 words! And not arbitrary words either! It changes the meaning of the message to make it more universal, based on unreliable manuscripts that came about in dark historical times.

    Definately go KJV if you want purity. The KJV matches perfectly to the Hebrew Bible the Jews of today use (or so the comparisons I've made with it).

    "Jason" earns the Paranoia Certificate for:

    It's telling that all of these "rebuttals" to godisimaginary.com are ad hominem attacks and, of course, don't offer any proof of the existence of the boogey man they call god.

    I particularly like, "...Harris's review doesn't amount to much...and is merely speaking out of his rear end." Admit it: You're all afraid of Sam Harris because he makes excellent, provable points and you make none.

    Nyah, nyah, nyah, you're ugly and that proves that god doesn't exist. You're stupid and that proves god doesn't exist. Your mother is fat and that proves that god doesn't exist.

    Grow up and face the fact that there is no all-powerful being looking over you. You're on your own.

    Faith leads to suicide bombing.

    Exegetical Bigot of the Week goes to the person described hereL

    BAKERSFIELD - A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look. The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients. Tasha Childress said it's discrimination.

    She said Dr. Gary Merrill wouldn't treat her daughter for an ear infection because Tasha, the mother, has tattoos.

    The writing is on the wall-literally: "This is a private office. Appearance and behavior standards apply."

    For Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, that means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements-all standards Merrill has set based upon his Christian faith.

    The End Times Yet Again Award goes to this group that says "nucular"war would start on 9-12-2006:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sjf4ELVeX8

    After that date passed uneventfully, they had the gall to say that it had been fulfilled, it just wasn't finished yet.

    Rabbi Doniel Hartman wins the Excellence in Chronology Certificate for saying:

    Around [70 A.D], animal sacrifice, as a mode of religious worship, stopped for Jews, Christians and Muslims....Moving back in that direction is not progress.

    Considering that Christians have never practiced animal sacrifice, and that Muslims wouldn't even exist for another six centuries from AD 70, that gets him a Double-Dip Screwie.

    Castorama, from IIDB, picks up the Despicable Defense Trophy for defending kiddie-porn and paedophillia:

    A 'camwhore' is someone of any age, who charges for online sex shows performed in front of a webcam. It's generally accepted that a camwhore knows what they are doing (hence the technical setup, collection of funds, continuation of services, etc).

    An amazing piece of 'child abuse industry' literature, here:

    "Young people often argue with you that what they're doing is what they want to do and the person on the Internet is really their boyfriend, they weren't sexually exploited and they wanted to raise their shirts and show their breasts over the Internet," Prober said. "It takes a lot of debriefing and deprogramming to get those children to view themselves as victims, which they truly are, a compliant victim."

    This, I see as an admisson to the social construction of child sex abuse. It must rank alongside the example in which one of Gary Glitter's Vietnamese girls explained how she felt absolutely fine, until her mother started to traumatise her over the whole affair.

    The Rational Response Squad wins an award for releasing an atheist hip-hop CD soon. Reader reports it is "incredibly cheesy". An award also to the anonymous investor responsible for this travesty:

    With the help of an investor who wishes to remain anonymous the Rational Response Squad is in the process of purchasing a large home to run RRS operations for the next 30 years and beyond. Satisfying a desire to help humanity overcome theism Kelly, Rook, and Sapient have committed to each other to work and live together in a single house so that we can become more efficient and more productive. Rook will be moving to full time status and while Kelly will continue to work part time, it's our goal that at some point she'll be able to work on nothing else other than Rational Response Squad related business alongside of Rook and myself. Words can't express how thankful we are to have helped start such a large, thriving, and helpful community. Although we may be at our computers a little less in the short term as we coordinate the logistics of purchasing a home, moving into it, furnishing it, and outfitting "the bunker" with the highest level of security the industry has to offer, we promise to bust our butts for you in the long term. Your continued support will become more important than ever. A special thank you to our anonymous investor, you have gone beyond the call of duty and we will be forever indebted to you for all of the help and support you are offering us, without you, this wouldn't be possible.

    S'more nutty sites:

    http://www.abovegod.com/

    http://godlessamerican.org/

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

    http://www.sullivan-county.com/nf0/nov_2000/rel_games.htm

    http://www.cfpf.org.uk/articles/background/victoria.html

    http://www.god-101.com/

    http://www.truebiblecode.com/nyc.html

    www.bishopwomack.com

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LQTP6Ad5Og

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1037/1037_01.asp?wpc=1037_01.asp&wpp=a

    http://raptureready.com/time/inventions.html

    http://www.myspace.com/garylenaire -- I'm taking this guy down on Tekton now.

    Institutional award for Tony Bushby and his new book, "The Crucifixion of Truth". Here are the front and back subtitles and a summary:

    "Startling New evidence of Forgery and Fiction in the New testament"

    "The Discovery of Hidden Vatican Scrolls and the falsehoods they Reveal About Christianity"

    "Suppressed Church Manuscripts Published in this Book"

    "The recent publication of ancient scriptures revealed inconvertible evidence of an intrinsic systen of priestly fraudulence operating within Christianity. These writings exposed a church in which false pretences are the basis of its existence and forged texts form the essence of its history and preaching"

    Award also to one Jack Thompson: Thompson is basically a nutjob who has somewhat made a name for himself by targeting the makers of video games with frivolous lawsuits. The video game publisher Take Two recently filed a countersuit citing, among other things, potential damage to their reputation and sales as a result of Thompson's legal actions, specifically "This unconstitutional vagueness will have a chilling effect on Plaintiff as well as Plaintiff's customers. Plaintiff's distributors likely will respond to the uncertainty and fear of penalties by withholding Plaintiff's video games from the public." Here's Jack Thompson's response:

    Dear Gamers and Gamer Publications on the Internet and Elsewhere:

    I have been praying, literally, that Take-Two and its lawyers would do something so stupid, so arrogant, so dumb, even dumber than what they have to date done, that such a misstep would enable me to destroy Take-Two. With the filing of this SLAPP lawsuit last week, my prayers are finally answered.

    This lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is, without a doubt, the single dumbest thing I have ever seen any lawyers do in my thirty years of practicing law--while in continuous good standing to do so with The Florida Bar, I might add, the shock radio and video game industry's efforts notwithstanding.

    I encourage folks to read Psalm 35, a Psalm of David, which is brilliant in its entirety (since God Himself wrote it), but for those who don't own a Bible or who think their hands will catch on fire if they touch one, here is the salient portion that applies to this lawsuit:

    7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

    8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

    9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

    The pit Take-Two has dug for itself will be patently clear next week when I strike back. Oh, and by the way, the entire Take-Two management and board will be gone on March 23, so this pit-digging comes at a very bad time indeed.

    Amen, and Praise be to God Almighty, maker of Heaven, Earth, and yes, the maker even video games.

    Jack Thompson

    More nutsiness pages:

    http://www.thercg.org/articles/abcc.html reaches extreme levels of stupidity with:

    And an institutional award for this bunch:

    The Jesus Project will be devoted to examining the case for the historical existence of Jesus, based on a rigorous application of the historical critical method to the gospels and related literature.

    Unlike the "Jesus Seminar," founded in 1985 by the late University of Montana Professor Robert Funk, the new Project regards the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was an historical figure as a "testable hypothesis." R. Joseph Hoffmann, chair of the Committee since 2003 and former lecturer at Oxford University, said that the project has been called for by a number of scholars who felt that the first Jesus Seminar may have been-for political reasons-too reluctant to follow where the evidence led. "When you have pared the sayings of Jesus down to fewer than twenty, one begins to wonder about the survivors," Hoffmann said.

    According to Hoffmann, the goal is not to "disprove" Jesus or to sensationalize the question of his existence, but to acknowledge the question and examine it impartially-without theological or apologetic constraints. "The Jesus Project is an attempt to evaluate every scrap of evidence for the historical Jesus, but it is also an attempt to evaluate the quality of the evidence itself-something that earlier projects did not do explicitly. This new project will be more inclusive and rigorous in its approach. It will include scholars from a variety of areas outside biblical and religious studies, including archaeologists, social historians, classicists and people in historical linguistics," said Hoffmann.

    Members of the Project include James M. Robinson (senior consultant), editor of the international Q Project and of the Nag Hammadi (Gnostic) Library project; Van Harvey, a leading philosopher and historian and chair emeritus of Religious Studies at Stanford University; Gerd Luedemann, a Jesus Seminar veteran and professor at the University of Goettingen; Robert Price, editor of the Journal of Higher Criticism; and other leading scholars in biblical studies, classics and ancient history, social anthropology and archaeology.

    Finally, a special award for those who made a certain claim...a reader wrote me and asked:

    How do you assess the allegation that Lent is rooted in the 40-day long lamentation for Tammuz? Those who level this point to:

    Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. -- Ezekiel 8:14

    How do I assess thatr allegation?

    By giving it a SCREWBALL AWARD, of course!

    Rootaboogle: Speaking of common sense why do people believe in a book written by sun-worshipping people who believed that every animal in existence lived within walking distance of Moses' house?

    kerryliz:

    Here's something I've written recently. I sent it off to a Christian mag, but they haven't replied so I guess it didn't get in.

    Men, moodiness and the mother complex

    The image of the knight slaying the dragon is typical of medieval mythology. It has been said that this represents the mother complex - the time in a male's life when they are faced with the choice of regressing to infancy or going out to face the harsh realities of life, with the retrieval of the damsel in distress being the reward. Is this really how boys and girls like playing out their roles in society?

    Mythology is a set of slogans about archetypes standing over from time immemorial. On the other hand, science has been concerned with giving us "tools" for reaching new insights about the world. The slogan "water puts out fires" sometimes works, but sometimes doesn't. On the other hand, the statement "fire feeds on oxygen" holds true. Phil 2:6-8 shows that, rather than "grasping at" a string of signs and symbols that would give him equality with God, Jesus "became" obedient.

    It has been said that "if we don't bring up our kids, the streets will". What do "the streets" teach? Mythology is active in all societies - "trim, taut and terrific", "discovering one's feminine side", "don't worry, it's just the hormones", "it's not what you know, it's who you know", "no pain, no gain" etc. It provides impetus to the aspirations of those who put their trust in the power of human thought to make this life bearable - May poles, kisses under the mistletoe, 'lucky breaks', going on a bender. The energy of some people to win converts to this lifestyle is almost unbelievable. Even Nietzsche noted that philosophers have tended to "mummify" their subjects by reducing everything to 'being' rather than 'becoming', leaving procreation and growth out of the ideologies. Matt 23:5, 15 says: "Everything they do is done for men to see… Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are." When the slogans fail for individuals, they have the choice of sticking with them anyway, which results in something like a living death, or going out and slaying that dragon of frustration by being a law unto themselves, or considering God's provisions for a relationship with him through Jesus, the Mediator to all blessings. We see the real importance of the streets of Jerusalem, for example, in Rom 11:28 - "as far as the election is concerned, [the Jews] are loved on account of the patriarchs." People come first!

    So the damsel in distress is never rescued? On superficial terms, men have been credited with the scientific approach to transitions ('streets') in life and women with the aesthetic approach to 'shaping' the same dilemmas. However, in real life terms, women and girls are facing the same dragon of frustration with slogans that attempt to take the place of legitimate science and art. It looks like what people are fighting for is the ability to 'shape' our viewpoint. Acts 5:15 says: "As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by." However, considering that in verse 16 the apostles were arrested and put in jail, it might not be the wisest approach to encourage kids to go out and get their own education when those who seek to do the right thing by them might suffer at the hands of the system as well!

    A beautiful metaphor about the balance between science and art can be found in Prov 30:4 - "Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!"

    I definitely believe that there's more to the Bible than the English translation of it. I think the various supernatural phenomena are grandiose retellings of shamanic journeys. The point of the Bible is that you can avoid illnesses such as epilepsy and seizures (rather than walls of water) by following God's word instead of idolising the creation. I think they might have made up that expression "Pride goes before a fall" about epilepsy. Jesus rebuked the 'demon' (evil spirit or personal problems?) of the boy who had epilepsy. He had been falling into fire and water, pagan symbols of light and dark. There is such a thing as pattern stripe epilepsy.

    I think the physical world is ours to play with. It is God's footstool. He works on the spiritual world. To a pagan (the essence of paganism is parochialism, being different from the next person over simply as identity management, even if it means being wrong), the truth of God's speech can trigger immense and overpowering physical feelings of flooding etc. I don't think the sun literally stood still for Joshua. If God's biggest problem is fiddling with the solar system, no wonder people feel like they want to fix their problems themselves!

    I think some serious secret societies have gotten hold of the original Bible texts. I don't agree with Occam's razor, parsimony (from Latin, to spare) or cladistics. Isaiah 54:2: Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. The apostle Paul specifically warns against endless speculating over genealogies, as these are opposed to faith.

    There's some serious work to be done in the world. I think Judas Iscariot had a diarrhoeic attack in his newly-bought field. I don't think he died. He probably went on to become known for his charitable works in the community. He was already interested in the poor, but only for looks, apparently. How could he help anybody if he didn't realise the cause of his sickness himself? (Maybe this (diarrhoea, not Judas) is the mundane origin of other stories, such as the whirlpools of Odyssey.) Mythology serves purely practical purposes, you know. It's there to make illness look glorious so that those who are suffering as a result of their wickedness can wear it as a 'battle wound'. The apostle Paul said that Christians were "weak, sick and sleeping" because they were disregarding the meaning of the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11.

    Feeding people is one thing, but I think everybody already knows how to do that! The important thing is to remember not to put our reminders BEHIND our doorposts (Isaiah 57:8). We're supposed to be like the Jews - having our scripture on our lips (Psalms 141:3).

    Okieshowedem": Christianity teaches that you must believe in the Creator.You must trust Jesus the Christ as your savior. Satan believes both these. So, Satan is as saved... as all other Christian who believe this.

    John3rd: Since Mary Was Highly Favored , Why Was She Removed As An Original Member Of The Quadity ? An Intentional Alteration Of The ScriptureOriginal Purpose Was Plotted Out And Execured Thus Mary Was Removed And The Original Quadity - 4 Being Became A Trinity - 3 Beings . Although These Religious Denominations That Recognizes The Trinity As Being 1. God The Father - Jehovah , 2 , God The Son - Jesus , And 3 . God The Holy Spirit - Gabriel . Today You Find These Teachings Of A Trinity Which Broke Off From TheOriginal Egyption Quadity And Is A Corruption . They In Fact Placed Gabriel , An AngelicBeing , A Spirit Being Of Luke 1 ; 19 And The Name Gabriel Translates Gebre - El Or Man Of God . From The Hebrew Gheh - ber - -- El '' Mighty , Man Child , Strong Man Warrior '' This Being Gabriel Walked The Earth Daniel 9 ; 21 Where It States Yea , While I Was Speaking In Prayer , Even The Man

    Gabriel , Whom I Had Seen In The Vision At The Beginning , Being Caused To Fly Swiftly , Touched Me About The Time Of The Evening Oblation . There Are Things Happening Here ; a) Gabriel Is A Man , But The Word Used In The Hebrew Is Esh '' Male , Man , Husband '' Distinguishing It From Female , Esh - Shaw '' Female Wife , Woman '' They Knew That This Angel Could Appear In Physical Form '' Male . Man , Husband '' . Even The Muhammandan Faith Which Comes From Christianity , Retained This Belief That The Angel Gabriel Can Come In Human From In . The Word Bashran Used Their In Arabic Came From The Hebrew Word Bawar Meaning '' Body Or Person '' So These Holy Scripture Repeatedly Prove Beyond A Shadow Of A Doubt That This Angelic Being Comes In Human Form As A Male , And That He Is Called The 3rd Part Of The Trinity The Holy Ghost . Even The Old Testament In

    Genesis 6 ;4 So Gabriel As A Gibbore Was A Son Of God And These Sons Of God Even As Far Back As Genesis 6 ;4 . The Word They Have There Is Adamite , Gabriel Was One Of These Such Gibbore Being , Which His Name Applies A Man Of God Used By God For Reproduction . The Fear Or These Long Hidden Facts Is What They Seek To Keep From The Public . So Now You Know Why The Modern Day Christian While Publicly Exalting And Recognizing The Trinity , They Have Intentionally Neglected To Recognize The 4th Member Of The Quad Principle The Blessed Holy Mother Mary As They Call Her And Even Give Here A Corrupt Name Mary / Miriam Which They Translate As '' Their Rebellion Or Rebellious '' If Isaac '' He Laughs '' Received His Name Because His Mother Sarah Laughed When She Heard She Was To Bear A Son At An Old Age Genesis 17 ; 19 , 18 ; 12 . Then Mary ''

    Rebellion '' Must Have Received Her Name Because She Rebelled . What Did Mary Rebel Against When The Bible Don't State Her Reason For Rebelling ? Just Add The Letters Ta To The Name Mary And You Get '' Ta - Merry '' . And That's Another Way To Spell Egipt In Egiptian '' Ta - Mary Or Tama - Re '' http://topics.practical.org/browse/Yosef_Ben-Jochannan . Simply Because The Story Of Mary Was None Other Than The Supreme Being Isis , And Isis Rebelled Against Ra . A Well Known Story Amongst All Egiptologist . The Deception Between Isis And Ra And Trickery For The Sacred Word ( Read The Magic Word Of Ra And Charms And Amulets By Neter ; A'ferti Atum - Re )

    Mastralvado: I am going to provide the negative argument of the article you (Sparko) wrote.

    The trinity is not a blasphemy of the name of G-d which we don't have the exact data of that Name only what the Jewish oral tradition has left us with (YHWH). The trinity is just a concept to diferentiante the G-d that Christians worship so that other gods that other religious groups claim is NOT also their god and so can-not be acceptable as proof of equality with the G-d they (Christians) worship. However, the one key aspect of their G-d which is the Holy Ghost is more important in one respect: The blasphemy against that person in their multipersonal concept of G-d is unforgiveable.

    Given this unforgiveable sin against this singular multipersonal respect of G-d of the Christian Trinitarians is possible, the question is what is the Holy Spirit according to Jesus's own words?

    Adam: Jesus' miracles of healing were often ways to let sinners repent without revealing their sins. His first miracle, turning water into his host's best wine at a wedding feast, was from deducing that his host had disguised that wine as water. Note what he did not do then: he did not expose his host to condemnation for his deception.

    Once he had a reputation as a miracle worker, Jesus could then perform miracles of healing to free malingerers from their deceptions, without revealing those deceptions. Evidence:

    * There was no reliable art of diagnosis in Jesus' time.

    * Even though he appeared to heal many bodies, Jesus said that healing souls was more important than healing bodies.

    * Often those he healed told him in advance that he could heal them.

    * Often Jesus told those he healed that their sins (such as malingering) were forgiven. Why? Because they repented.

    * Jesus said that there is great joy in heaven over sinners who repent.

    * Those he healed were sometimes ungrateful later. Why? Because then they had to earn their living in spite of being weakened by idleness.

    * Jesus implied that the righteous, but previously idle, could have great charisma when seeking employment, like the lilies of the field.

    The secret to Jesus surviving his crucifixion is this: He got Roman soldiers to arrange it. After all, who would know more about secretly surviving crucifixions than men who had carried out thousands of them? The key to understanding this was supplied by Hyam Maccoby, who showed in his book Revolution in Judaea that the Romans arrested Jesus at the fall festival of Sukkot, half a year before they crucified him, at Passover. Thus he had time to plot with sympathetic Roman soldiers, such as the centurion who financed a synagogue and whose servant Jesus healed. Note that the centurion who supervised his crucifixion openly called Jesus the Son of God at that time. And what would be more fitting, according to the cruel Pontius Pilate, than making sympathizers execute Jesus?

    Ralph: Actually the in the original text when God promised Moses a land flowing with milk and honey, the word for honey is synonymous with a slow-pouring oozy substance.

    Nowadays, we know that God promised Moses a land flowing with milk and crude oil, but the prophet had no word for crude oil so he said honey instead. Besides, why would God promise anyone a land flowing with crude oil? However, as spiritual descendants of Moses through Christ, we know now that America is entitled to every ounce of oil that lies beneath the land from Morroco to Kabul. God promised to us thousands of years ago.

    Sevivon1913: Actually, the probability of anybody named "Jesus" (or "Yeshu") existing at that time was 0 in 300,000,000.