March was a busy month for us on most fronts....Screwball collecting was no exception. Who says entertainment isn't out there? It was hard to pick Gold from the larger collection here but have a peek if you're just too addicted.

From the Mailbag

This email came lately from Whine Whine Central:

You would be so much more persuasive if you spent less ink attacking doubters' credentials, motives, and personalities and more addressing specifics of their arguments in language as clear and accessible as theirs.

One should always be wary of an expert commenting on work that treads on his turf by an outsider. I'm referring to Morton Smith on Wells. I am reminded of how physicians bristle when a mere Ph.D. passes judgment on medical practices. To dismiss wells with "I don't think the arguments...deserve detailed refutation" does not address the arguments (see first paragraph), only Wells' credibility (which may or may not be an issue here).

From a wackier source....if such a thing exists:

With all due respect, The old testemant reveals God uses evil people to achieve his punishments on us so we would repent and return to him and do no more evil..

This is obvious if you are aware of the things evil governments and others do to the average person.

After the people repent, then God destroyes the evil ones he has used for the purpose of causing us to repent.

This ploy is used throughout the old testement.

This is the one key to our salvation and peace on earth.

Hum. Is it better to be paranoid like that, or gullible like this?

Hi, I have read 'your' article on http://www.tektonics.org/lp/osteen01.html about Joel Osteen and agree with you on the most, but was just about to quit reading your article because of strong disagreement when quoting H. Hageraaff as below:

1. In his book Christianity In Crisis Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, correctly tells us that W/F is "a deadly cancer [that] is ravaging the Body of Christ" (back cover). He then goes on to say:

2. in the cultic theology of the Faith movement... God is nothing but a "faith being" and man is deemed to be sovereign. God is portrayed as a pathetic puppet at the beck and call of His creation. The faith god has height and weight; he is called a failure; he is bound by the laws of the spirit world and is dependent on the force of faith. This god is impotent rather than omnipotent, limited rather than infinite and omniscient (p.87).

To keep it shortly: W/F is NOT a deadly cancer, rather a need and will of God to reform our thinking so we could do or achieve things similar to Peter walking on water next to Jesus Christ. But then I agree with Hangeraaff in the second paragraph (see my note) how many Christians illtreat our father, the God, applying wrong teaching (yearning for HAPPY-CHRISTIANITY-MESSAGES on their on behalf) of "certain" preachers like Osteen for example. (I have got his DVD from my sister living in Memphis but felt that I should not pay so much attention to it, while asking the lord Jesus for advice if I should unfold the DVD package at all).

I also strongly disagree with you writing negatively about Kenneth Hagin. I have read some books of him and read now the book of Kenneth Hagin Jr. Overflow- living above life's limits. I understand that if Christians should start thinking differently, towards thinking like God does (this should be an ongoing process), then somebody has to give us a starting injection. After that each person has to search for her on way, given or shown by the Lord, not only by reading the holy scriptures but also by ardent prayers and confessions, towards the goal of changing negative circumstaces and achieving prosperity in life. It is also important to live in an each-day harmony with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Finally, it is crucial to accept that miracles will not occur by demanding God to ralize them. Miracles will eventually occur, but in time being and if the believer has chosen the narrow and holy way, but still applying the sound facts of W/F in daily situations.

One problem to many is to reveal those wrong-teachers and not mix them together with those who in fact are still going on close with God and hold to the holy Scriptures. Another more severe problem to Christians is what then is described in 2 Timothy 4:3,which is the conclusion of 1 Timothy 4:1-2(properly elevated in your article).

I hope you have understood my point and where the differences are between my opinion and yours. Due to the fact of applying the profound W/F teaching in my own life, I have experienced miracles from Gud, such as healing power (for myself but also when healing a woman's swelling or tumefaction in her leg through my prayer and hand-laying on it), and the big miracle last year when quitting my profession then as a bus-driver and changing start working as a computer consultant (or a kind of a manager) in a big insurance company in (city).

So much to it, and do not turn down all the W/F and all the preachers

I dunno...let's sample "paranoid" again and see:

I never found it necessary to go outside the Bible to prove that Jesus never existed in the flesh. The fact remains that without the Gospels there is no physical Jesus. Since the earliest writings never mention him as a person, it is very easy to see the manipulation.

Perhaps you have some insight?

OK. Once more with gullible:

your skill at jumping through hoops to keep up the inerrancy claim is exceeded only by your arrogance.

perhaps you'd do well to look at Jesus - remember Him? yeah, He once sat where you've put your Bible.

anyway, it says He was full of truth - and grace.

Christianity doesn't need to match arrogance (or ignorance) with the vocal atheist crowd. when you're done patting yourself on the back, take a few minutes to realize that you're much too pleased with your own wit and brilliance to do the cause of Jesus any good.

I guess it's better to just be incoherent: First of all Osiris, know as Asuar, is Auset, know as Isris, Husband. And Horus, aslo know as Heru, is their son, which is Jesus.

Or maybe self-contradictory:

Lol!!! There's that true Christian spirit showing! I may be ignorant, but at least my arguments are rational. But since you can't seem to show good answer for your belief system, you just throw out an insult. Great apologetics there. Even your insult doesn't make rational sense! Lol!

Nah...I'm thinking gullible after all:

I'm willing to bet that all the research you did were from American literary text. The keepers of the Christian faith. Go to Egypt to the temple of Luxor and see the earliest depictions of the virgin birth. Horus WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE SAME MYTHICAL STRUCTURE as the one you call Christ. And almost everyone pre-dates Jesus' existence. Maybe God sent us numerous saviors to save numerous cultures. But Christianity makes Sheep out of Men by detaching themselves from there personal power and personal responsibility to the affect that God controls everything. Yes, I do believe in a lot of Christian principles and the Bible is not a bad read as long as you take it for what it is. An extremely imaginative Novel that has to do with astrology more than anything else displaying numerous morals that are basically common sense. Not saying there isn't a God. But people need to be able to decide for themselves what to believe and how to live there life instead of worshipping Gods that we do not know to be 100% true. Live your life to the best of your ability. Because at the end of the day all we have is FAITH not TRUTH. Believe in YOURSELF. Trust your experience instead of having someone to tell you not to do something because God said it. That takes away from the Beauty of Life. Experience is the grandest teacher. Not your teachers and preachers that have been proven numerous times to not be free of corruption. In no way am I trying to say your WRONG because no one knows for sure. You could be right for all I know, but be open to other beliefs that may not be yours. That is the beauty of America. I DO respect your passion for your beliefs. And that is rare. God Bless.

And at that, blissfully so:

I think that it very amusing seeing your response to L.Ray. Its very amusing to me that everyone who is so convinced that he is teaching heracy but won't contridict him in the way that he proves that you are the great church just like in Jesus's ministry. Where are your two scriptural witness just has? If he's wrong do what no one else has done yet-put down his scriptural refrences with the ones all of you keep saying there are but you dont tell were they are. Your response to him just lists theory and assumption. Every thing you say he is wrong about you should have two scriptural witnesses to follow. Prove me wrong. Peace be with you ( I hope that you are right that your ability to stop sinning and ask Jesus in your heart really works even though Jesus is your only saviour while your still in sin.) Peace and make it great day.

Many people wish they had their own section here like John Loftus does. It just adds that certain touch.

The March 2008 Loftus Collection

Loftus himself takes some Gold home with his lates "the Bible debunks itself" routine:

"Beating and Spanking Children. This verse has been used by abusive fathers. We now have more enlightened ways of disciplining children.[11]

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son,but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

11. God needed to do some ethnic cleansing and trim the fat from society, the ends justifies the means.

The quotes from awesome scholary sources such as www.evilbible.com and http://www.usbible.com

Matthew Green, his loyal sycophant, needs to get off drugs:

If Jesus had a "natural-looking" body then Jesus would have had to convince his disciples that it only looked natural and that he really had a "spiritual" body of resurrected flesh. In other words, they wouldn't have inferred that Jesus had a "spiritual" body of risen flesh unless Jesus told it to them and proved it.

Um...a "spiritual" body of risen flesh? But wait, there's more. Obsessing over a mistake of mine produced this paean:

However, I am confident that this will not be the last time that Mr. Holding slips up! There will come a time in the future where Mr. Holding will slip-up and make such a damaging error that it will completely destroy a big argument of his for the Christian faith. It may not be on the topic of the resurrection but it will be sufficient to damage, irreparably, his apologetics for the Christian faith. I am predicting that he will slip-up big time again! I am quite confident that this will happen! When it happens, I will e-mail Hector Avalos and show him it! Perhaps with a confident declaration of scholarly expertise, Dr. Avalos will judge Mr. Holding to be not just an amateur but an "intellectual crook" as Schlesinger did of Chomsky. When Mr. Holding makes his slip-up, I will be right here waiting to rub his nose in it. Even if it should happen after I close this blog, I will be happy to submit an article to the "Tekton Exposed!" website and I am sure that whoever runs that website will take no small pleasure in seeing Holding's intellectual fakery exposed!

I guess it'll have to be a bigger slip up than DJ's Big Blog Lie....after all, he's still around after that and still being worshipped by people like Mattchu.

DJ's Useful Idiot Evan has this to say about the account of Vespasian healing people, found in Tacitus and Suetonius:

Remember that Tacitus and Suetonius are considered the verifiers of the existence of the historical Jesus by most apologists. They are used repeatedly as texts to show the veracity of the gospel accounts. I am curious what stance apologists such as Dr. William Lane Craig would make of this multiply attested account of a miracle based on eyewitness testimony. If this is not considered to be a miracle, on what basis do we make that judgment? And if it is considered a miracle, why is there no St. Vespasian?

Um, well, there's no "St Vespasian" because Vespasian didn't do his acts for the sake of YHWH. But Vespasian got his "sainthood" via the emperor cult. Anyway, what's your point? That because you reject miracles a priori, criteria used to affirm historicity (like multiple attestation) should be trashed? And Evan doubles up with "bet you can't jump over that building" retorts like:

What evidence do you have that is outside the gospels that there were Pharisees in Bethsaida between 1 and 30 CE?

Joe "The Jerk" E. Holman wins with this alleged parody:

March 3, 2008 - At the top of the list of debilitating, incurable diseases humankind seeks to eradicate is the disease we call Alzheimer's Disease. In the quest to cure the ailment, an interesting find has been made by Dr. E.J. Jacobson, PH.D, M.D. and Dr. Jesus Christianson, PH.D, M.D. Both men reside and work in the city of Columbus, Ohio, home to the renowned Columbus Center for Alzheimer's Research. In addition to being medical doctors, these men are Baptist ministers and personal friends of fellow pastor and Republican presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee.

When asked about their progress in search for a cure to Alzheimer's, Dr. Christianson said, "Alzheimer's disease is caused by blockages of a certain protein called beta-amyloid that accumulates between nerve cells of the brain. While there is still much to learn, we are confident that one day the disease will be better understood, and possibly even cured." Dr. Jacobson then added: "But physicians for so long have been looking to modern medicine for a cure. We should have been looking to God's Word to consider why the disease surfaced to begin with. The answer was right there all along."

As our investigating team inquired further, the doctors continued to impress us with their immense medical and biblical knowledge. The most memorable moment during the interview came when Dr. Jacobson handed us a letter, in which was explained the position of both Dr. Christianson and himself. The letter was a response to an email inquiry. Reprinted here with permission from the fundamentalist Christian quarterly known as Christian Medicine Today, we have the position of the doctors…

"Dear Dr. Jacobson,

As a woman of faith, I find it especially trying to face Alzheimers disease and what it has done to my family. It stole my mothers' identity over a six year period. She passed away last year at age sixty six. Too early for her to go.

It has been hard on us. It was hard to watch my mother deteriorate like that. Facing the usual trials that come with life, like for example why God allows this to happen, is bad enough.

Can you give me a laymen version of what Alzheimers is and why it attacks some people and not others? And can you tell me how much closer you are to finding a cure? Thank you ahead of time.

In Christian love,

Tina Richards, Lovelady, Texas"

Dr. Jacobson responds...

Dear sister Richards,

I am delighted you took the time to write me about this gravely important topic, and I am more than happy to give you an answer.

Alzheimer's Disease is caused by a build-up of proteins in the brain over time. But there is more to this story than just medical knowledge and terminology. Being that we are not secular, but Christian doctors, we are obliged by God to reject any evidences for anything that even remotely contradicts the Scriptures and any notion not already found in the Scriptures. We have done countless hours of scientific research on this disease, but since we are bound to the Bible as our sole authority, none of the scientific findings are important. Fasting, prayerful meditations, Scripture readings, and supplications to God are all that is important. As we have done on the issue of creation science and determining the age of the earth, so we have done here: we put our research away and just consulted the Bible and let that be our guide. What we found amazed us!

As you well know, Alzheimer's disease takes away a person's knowledge, will, and resolve of moral character, as well as their relationships with their family and everyone they know (or knew). This seems to put God in the position of not being able to judge victims of Alzheimer's for their actions, thoughts, or words. But the Bible says we are always judged by our actions, thoughts, and words (2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 12:37)-and God's Word cannot be wrong at any time (John 10:35). In the Bible, no one is ever unaccountable to God at any point or under any covenant, and that hasn't changed today.

Unaccountability is a myth, just like a so-called "age of accountability," an alleged "grace period" for children wherein God waits to start judging them until they are older. No such grace period exists. It's not found anywhere in the Bible. Everyone is accountable to God at all times. But Alzheimer's wipes out the rational faculties of the brain, so how can those afflicted with the condition still be held accountable? Has God forgotten about these poor souls? No, God forgets nothing. Everything He does is done for a purpose, and what this means is that when someone gets Alzheimer's disease, God intentionally gives it to them for the express purpose of making them unable to repent.

You might be asking, "Where in Scripture do we have an example of God not letting someone repent?" We have a number of examples, one of which we'll look at here that parallels your mother's case closely. It is the case of Hophne and Phinehas, whom God kept in a state of impenitence so he could feel justified in killing them for their sexual perversion…

"Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them." (I Samuel 2:25)

When rebuked, God made sure of it that both Eli's sons would not be receptive to the words of their wise father. Why? Because God wanted them dead-plain and simple. God took away their resolve to repent, and we had the same situation with your mother. She got Alzheimer's and couldn't repent anymore than Hophni and Phinehaz could.

Now your mother sounds like a sweet person. I'm sure she was. But you may have to accept that she had a side to her that you never saw.

Being a Christian, you know the kind of God we serve. The slightest little mistake sends him into a soul-crushing rage. He even keeps a logbook of every single sin we ever committed and won't erase a single one without a holy bloodbath, siphoned from the veins of a Jewish zombie who hung on a tree all day. So it wouldn't surprise me if, like sexually immoral Hophni and Phinehas, God struck your mother with a case of Alzheimer's for an immoral phase, or a single immoral act committed earlier in her lifetime. Perhaps she served as a mild-manored sex-toy for soldiers in the Armed Forces? Perhaps she danced on tables in Reno, shaking her behind for the menfolk to the "hip" tunes of Little Louie and The Shoeshine Boys? I'm afraid we'll never know the specifics-and maybe that's for the best.

That your mother was a promiscuous trollop seems to be the only logical explanation we can draw as to why your mindless mother could no longer respond to the command to repent and confess her sins of go-go girl harlotry from years back (or any other sin for that matter). Too bad for her, just one unwashed sin will be enough to keep her out of heaven. Because she couldn't continually repent and pray for forgiveness like the Bible demands (I John 1:7), and because she no longer had faith to please God anymore (Hebrews 11:6), she left this life to fulfill her destiny of being ripped apart in the ravenous jaws of hungry, Kujo-like demons in the lowermost bowels of Hell.

Nothing can be done for your mother now. It's too late for her. But it's not too late for you to learn from her errors by repenting of any skanky "catting around" you did in your youth before you end up losing your mind and are turned into a hell-bound automaton like she was. But don't despair. Truth be told, we're all in a lot of trouble-with the kind of God we serve, we all better hope we don't die between prayers!

As to how close we are to finding a cure for the disease, we're nowhere close. But that may well be a blasphemous question on your part - just as our trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's may be a work of the devil on our part - since it is a known fact that God very often punishes his people with plagues.

Pray for us and we'll pray for you. The more we beg, the happier God is!

In His Grace,

Dr. E.J. Jacobson

Ed Babinski wins for this comment on Matthew's blog:

According to some of J.P. Holding's fellow Christian apologists such as Steve Hays of Triablogue, James White of Alpha Omega ministries, and a host of fellow Christians at Theology Web with whom he has debated a variety of topics over the years, Holding has indeed "slipped up," time and again.

Does anyone see the broken Humpty Dumpty-like shell of rival Christian theological interpretations ever being pieced together again since there's individual church congregations continuing to divide into rival churches, and even worldwide denominations continuing to engage in schism-producing controversies, and world estimates of 45,000 different Christian churches, sects and missionary organizations with such numbers continuing to rise?

And there's two entire series of books produced by Zondervan and Intervarsity Press in which Evangelicals express disagreements with each other's biblical interpretations on matters from Genesis to Revelation and lots of things inbetween. The series are called the "viewpoints series," and the titles of such books usually begin, "Two views on..." "Three views on..." "Four views on..." even "Five views on..." this or that disputed Christian belief, interpretation, or practice.

And the "viewpoints" series are limiting themselves only to differences between Evangelical Protestants. There's also moderate and liberal Protestant opinions as well as Catholic opinions, Eastern Orthodox opinions, and lots of biblical interpretations that lay further to the right of most Evangelical opinion, from snake-handling Christians to geocentrist Christians (look up Dr. Bouw and geocentrism on the internet as well as "biblical astronomy," a view also taught at some orthodox Jewish seminaries even today), and "King James Only" Christians, to name a few Christian viewpoints whose authors remain just as convinced as other Christians do of their views.

Not to mention a multitude of views of the past and present--from the first century till today--views that lay outside "orthodoxy" but which hold that they are "more Biblical" than the rest, and whose authors claims just as much reverence for the holy Bible as the "orthodox" do.

And on he goes, even longer....

The Miscellaneous Atheist Collection

Here's a Golden (or even Platinum) debate between an atheist named "Kerouac" and one of our readers:

Kerouac: Nobody that spent all that time studying religion would believe in it though: so I don't think it makes sense for them to need that kind of education either.

Me: I think Ben Witherington (PhD, University of Durham), N.T. Wright (PhD, DD, Oxford), E.P. Sanders (ThD from Union Theological Seminary, taught at Oxford), James Dunn (PhD, Cambridge), Larry Hurtado (PhD, teaches at University of Edinburgh) and Richard Bauckham (PhD, Cambridge) would all like a word with you.

Kerouac: Don't your friends from [Tektonics] quote some of them? I can't imagine those people actually studied their fields accurately. You're just a little kid though so you'd never be able to understand what I mean.

Me: You really are an arrogant twit, aren't you? So, because JP Holding quotes Witherington and Wright, they are automatically wrong in your book? No matter what they say?

Kerouac: I'm pretty sure anybody those losers would quote has to be a moron. By the way, who says words like "arrogant twit"? That is the lamest insult I've heard in a while. I obviously can tell where you're getting that from though. The Holding people are a bad influence on you man.

CarpeDm9587 wins the Golder Blatter Award for saying nothing with as many words as possible:

Wow, I have to admit I find most of this a lot less than satisfying. The number of assumptions made in the OP continues to defy comprehension, and it's amazing to me that this remains a serious topic of conversation when the fundamental assumption is so flawed: that the motivations of people can be reliably determined by examining their consequent actions. And we even lack verifiable, contemporary, detailed accounts of what those actions were. The "impossible faith" argument is built upon a tissue of misconception.

That it continues to convince is a testament to the writing skills of the author, not to the validity of the argument. It fails before it even begins.

Add Homonym doesn't quite top that, but does fairly well:

Tolk, you just have to look at Mormonism to realise that the basis of a religion can be completely weird, and it's no hinderance to the believer. When we die, we will all rule planets with our present wives. Jesus went to USA, etc.

Christianity wants you to make your world as small as possible, so you don't step back from it , and see all the other religions. Islam is founded on what one bloke said, and it contradicts the foundations of what Christians think. They don't mind at all. Scientology... no problems.

The world is 6000 years old. It's going to end SOON. There are no other religions. Thats the way all religions want you to think. Keep the blinkers on. Believe what you are told. Make your reality as small as possible. Keep arguing pointless arguments based on things which don't sound right.

For me the assassination of Christ resembles a modern conspiracy theory. You know how tenacious people are today at inventing conspiracy theories? Image back then; same thing. You wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise if you tried.

There's only one gospel and it's copied 3 times. The last one was written by a git.

Have a nice day. That was my drive-by shooting for the day.

HyperBrain has shown for Platinum nominee as TWeb n00b:

historic salve : Jesus is implicitly identified as a descendant of Abraham in Heb 6:13-20.

Hyperbrain: So is the tooth fairy, it doesn't mean they exist

.
Hyperbrain: oh - so we have to bow down and worhip ben witherington and accept everything he says whilst ignoring the views of equally good scholars such as rook hawk. At least everyone as heard of rook hawk so he is more famous.

Also this for thinking himself to be a persecuted genius:

I remember hearing a story about how albert einstein's teacher though he was the most stupid person in the class because somehting he said went over their head. i think histry might be repeating itself.

And, to a question, "The Bible is full of contradictions, huh?"

This is just general knowledge. Do you need to know that new york is the captial of america without going there?

And one more:

YES ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE IS VALID

O.K, stupid, is the fact that I haven't mentioned the fact i have two heads evidence that i don't have to heads? There we go - you accept evidence from silence in msot situations.

M. Talkingsworth has gone apostate and wins Gold almost at once:

You mean where people aren't educated enough to know better? Yeah. That's also where God does all of God's miracles. Haven't you heard. People always come back from Africa with miracle stories (one person told of God multiplying lollipops! No joke. Lollipops! No time to stop the iraq war, or world hunger, but Lollipops, *there* is a priority! Good call!).

But miracles here in the US. Not really very common....

Bagger_Vance still is around: Christianity is like a virus, Jimbo. It isn't really alive so it can't die. It multiplies and multiplies if left unchecked until it destroys everything. Even when you think you have checked it, the whole thing just morphs to adapt to new environments. It is a pesky little bugger. Now most things would've just died when all of it's claims about the natural world turned out to be false, but not religion. They just fell to "God of the Gaps" arguments filled with Intelligent Design and some text about pandas and their relationship to people.

It is hard to understand how a religion survives beyond their repudiation only if you misunderstand the goal. Christianity, like a virus only has one goal. It is right there in Genesis. To multiply. There is no underlying truth. No foundation that can't be compromised. No actions or words that can't be elaborated on, forgotten, or justified in the name of survival. You give people a heavy dose of the Reason antidote and the virus multiplies to the new environment. They'll even incorporate it and become a superbug.

But make no mistake. You can't kill what isn't living. It is just a virus constantly changing and morphing with the times. It is one of evolution's most persistent advancements. Like roaches and rats.

Wisdumb Speaking (yes, that's his name) refutes Mike Licona:

He appears to be of the opinion that "this piece of paper is pretty much my god, and 'he' will never speak to anyone again until judgement." A bit of a naive start for an apologist, don't you think? But that's hardly very bad. Moving on.

Then there's this garbage:

"Trinity. God exists eternally as three distinct persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. These are not different roles, but different persons; not three Gods, but one. Each are fully God and yet distinct from the other."

Say what? Sounds like a contradiction to me. A little clarification would help from him. It may or may not be a contradiction, but that's all he puts in the definition.

This next bit may seem nitpicky, but it shows just how sloppy he is. He Says god is father, son, holy ghost, but he calls them god, son, holy ghost. If they're all god, then why not mention the father as the father instead of god? Not a good start for an apologist.

Then there's the testimonials. I don't like the fact that he seems to need testimonials to support himself. Why not say it in a few paragraphs rather than a ton of the usual blind support and belief that all his arguments are inerrant, non-fallacious, and complete?

In conclusion, no. Not very good. Well, at least he isn't Ray Comfort.

nickcopernicus comes up with another winner when he tries to defend the fact that most abortions are performed in the name of convenience (i.e. are not medically necessary):

Yes, Mountain Man, and the majority of the time your anus is used as a convenience to eliminate your feces. Well, your intestines belong to you do they not? How would you like the US government to deny you the right to take a crap without a signed letter from your parents being submitted to your local courthouse giving you permission to take a crap? (Yes, that was an allusion to the states where it's been proposed that girls under the age of X (varies from 21 - 16) require parental consent._

Jimbo still rants Gold now and then:

Accurate predictions are hard to make, but I personally believe that within 100 years Christians will discard Genesis and most of the Old Testament as irrevelant to Christianity. Even nowadays the NT is often sold seperately from the OT, and new versions of the entire Bible are continually cranked out with more politically correct language and descriptions replacing the harshness or cruelty displayed in the original writing. Let's not scare off potential new recruits by showing them the Bible original misogyny, violence and hate. I believe that the idea of Hell will be almost entirely given up since it paints the Christian god as a sadistic, cruel monster. You will notice that even today Hell is rarely talked about in Sunday sermons--it just isn't deemed a politically correct idea. When it is brought up, it is dressed up in all kinds of soothing, nebulous, vanilla language to make it more palatable to soccer moms and their joe-six pack husbands. Hell is not a fiery pit of eternal torture. Nope, instead it is a place of "seperation" from God, a "free choice" made by the unbeliever where he can "contemplate" the sins of his life.

Western culture has progressed morally and culturally a bit from 2000 years ago, while the Bible has remained mired in the a brutal, primitive past. As a result, the more morally grotesque parts of the Bible-such as those passages dealing with the treatment of women, the use of slaves and the notion of Hell--are glossed over and ignored. As time passes, and as our knowledge and moral views advance, more and more of the Bible will be glossed over and ignored in an effort to preserve whatever can be preserved of Christianity. Ministers and apologists need to eat, after all. Perhaps eventually the Bible will be reduced to one word: "Love" and future "Christians" will be released from their current unenviable and ultimately hopeless task of trying to defend a book packed so full of rank absurdities and primitive cruelties and immoralities.

I mentioned earlier in the thread that I think the Internet plays a part in discrediting Christianity. When I was first having major doubts about Christianity, it was very hard to find any information that supported what I was feeling. I eventually found "The Age of Reason" on some back shelves in the library, and happend across the book "Atheism: The Case Against God" in a bookstore. These books showed me that I wasn't alone in my thoughts. Nowadays, anyone who is started to see cracks in the Christian delusion can simply plug into Google and find entire websites and discussion boards filled with people who are also falling away from the faith. This is very powerful--to know that you are not alone. And these deconverting Christians can easily find the facts and arguments which back up what they feel in their hearts and their minds. It wasn't this easy in the past. I know.

Christianity is going to have to change or die. It is changing, and morphing, and splintering. In 400 years, I doubt that there will be any version of it which will be very recognizable to us.

LGM is just a goldmine this time:

I certainly can rattle off the name of YHWH, Jehovah, Jesus, Paul, the Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa, Satan, Holy Spirit, and all the other countless gods in your pantheon.

If it was up to me, god would be a woman, like Aphrodite, and preachers would all look like Victoria Secret models, and their sermons would be short, sexy and sweet. And after the sermon, instead of a perfunctory awkward handshake, you would get a long slow kiss and warm squeeze.

Zeluvia, who thinks that Paul was crazy, speaks Gold:

Regardless of the Many differences between Paul and Mohammed, they are similar in that they both spoke "for" the spirit, started religions, and in modern times we would treat them medically for their delusions.

BillyWheaton wins Gold, or even Platinum, for chickening out of a debate with "Punkish" on a different forum, after loudly demanding that someone take him on.

Unnamed atheist wins after a reader recommended three books: Jesus and the Victory of God, the Historical Reliability of the Gospels, and Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. To these he said:

"rofl dude look at the title jesus and the victory of god? if its a victory how come i dont believe in him?"

"ok i'll waste my money on this nonse no problem"

"LOL look at this one JEsus and the Eyewitnesse rofl so he witnessed it but couldnt paint a portrait of him?"

"alright look. the problem with your scholars is that there is nothing to go by that would make me say ok thats a solid statement unlike your scholars my scientists ( they dont actuall ybelong to me) have tests that they have done to justify what they are saying"

Another anon wins for this:

Yes Zeitgeist. The reason why you don't believe it is becaue you and all other xtians are brainwashed. The majority beleive zeitgeist's truth. Why don't you? Oh thats right. cuz your BRAINWASHED! The Amazing Atheist pwned you! :)

Andrew Merritt on the Danielle forum wins Gold for this:

I jugde the hebrew god by his actions and by his words.So far he seems to have a deep seeded inferiority problem,anger managments issues,and a dysfunctional few of love.If The bible speaks for him,then he's got real issue problems,mabey he should lisen to doctor Phil or something.

Cartilage wins Gold for telling MrMan1 -- a physics student -- on an issue related to physics:

Study some more.

NWOInquisition wins a quick one:

Kabane, look up The Piso Family.

Thats all I pretty much have to say ever again.

JaggedEdge closes Gold here with this:

P.S. you know shaming language is a form of manipulation and that is the same as witchcraft.
The Undefined Collection

I'm not sure what these people are, other than Gold.

Acceptor gets Gold for quite possibly one of the dumbest things I've ever seen:

I believe each and every WORD is multi-ordinal, meaning each and every word has a different meaning to each and every person because we are all individuals and each and every word can bring ANY-YES ANY- emotion you want to accept, with it... Therefore, "the world coming to an end" can mean an endless number of things to each individual... I read your examples and I really think I understand what you are trying to convey and possibly some of your feelings too...

I will comment on your last statement or question, "am I just thinking too much" and I hope this at least helps you ACCEPT some things..

.

IMO- You can't think too much... Understanding your thought process that brought you to the point of questioning or stating something is essential... We all have "opinions", in fact, that's all there is...

Because we are all individuals, and if you can accept the fact that we ARE individuals, and no one sees ANYTHING the way YOU do, and when you speak you are only telling someone something about yourself, then it becomes easier for YOU to see more about yourself and why you would state or ask questions... It's all relative, only to you, and everything I just said is only relative to me, and I just told you about me! Glad I could confuse you, but if you accept things that can't be changed, then it becomes easier on your personal sanity because YOU are all YOU have...Keep thinking "too much"...

And that's just the other side of the story... I love smart people and you had some great statements and questions!!!

Nathan says in Gold:

well evangelism is a cult, more than it is a religion.

the bible has been used, in the past, to justify slavery, sexism, racism....... it keeps "changing", not because the bible changes, but because societys own moral perceptions change, independent of the bible

rHarryr, on dating manuscripts:

Please go back and read my post about the third above your last one and then please do what I ask. You might find the evidence your looking for. Then, let me know when you have finished and I will then try to give you evidence why a Frenchman who found, not wrote the 29th chapter of acts, might be a little more believeable. Look at the other discoveries even later than that. For example, "The Dead Sea Scrolls", The "Chester Beaty Papyri", "The Magdalen Papyri", and no one is accusing them of writting them. Maybe the "29th Chapter of Acts" should be given the should be given the same consideration since they were found, not written by the Frenchman. No one is asking you to let your brains fall out, just shake enough of the traditional cobwebs out to give the evidence I am trying to give, the benefit of the doubt.
The Christian Collection

Nomination to someone over at GameFAQ, in the Shoot Yourself First Department:

There's all sorts of ways that he could have 'survived' his crucifixion. And I'm not particularly interested in their specifics. Maybe he bribed some Romans to **** the thing up, or replace him with a double when no one was looking. Again, the specifics aren't that important, all that matters is that it was possible. Possible but highly improbable beats (pretty much) impossible every day of the week. And you know something? It's pretty much impossible to come back from the dead.

TyRockwell wins for this:

Wrong, I know well what socialism is. They had it at the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:1-9. God was not pleased.

jwarrend earns a Platinum nomination for this ad hoc drivel in the service of self-centered, self-serving postmodernist "Christianity":

The second concern is that it appears to run the risk of oversimplifying the richness of God and His dealings with us. As an example, perhaps it was reasonable in Paul's day to express the relationship between God and man in terms of the client-patron relationship, since that would provide an easy and convenient model for believers at that time to grasp. But why would that necessitate that such a model exhaustively describe the nature of God's relationship to us, and that there couldn't be more to it?

Put it a different way; everyone knows that contemporary Christianity places a great deal of emphasis on a "personal relationship" with Jesus. The astute reader of the Context Group's writings would presumably point out that a client in the Greco-Roman world would not be on such familiar terms with his patron. Well and good, but how does that imply that such an understanding is erroneous? What if it were the case that the relationship we enjoy with God really is of the "personal relationship" sort; how would the NT writers, lacking the appropriate cultural referrents to grasp such a dynamic, have been able to successfully express this aspect of our interaction with God? Would their inability, in and of itself, render such a dynamic impossible? I don't see the warrant for such a conclusion.

Congratulations, jwarrend -- take your place beside Joseph Smith and David Koresh in the Exegetical Flights of Fancy Department.

Here's a story with Gold:

Banned from Church

On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."

Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff's officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs.

The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.

Kent Hovind wins Gold for a recent blog post. Here he is basically talking to himself and tries to create the setting that he is conversing with God and all of the Old Testament prophets:

http://cseblogs.com/?p=125

David_A_Reed wins the Golden Ostrich Egg:

If you hand the Bible to a theologian and to a truckdriver, and ask them both to read a passage and explain it, the truckdriver is more likely to come up with the understanding God intended.

"You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes." -Matthew 11:25

God wrote the Bible for fishermen and housewives, not for theologians. Of course, He tolerates theologians looking into it, too, but He does not grant them special insight. In fact, their intellectual approach is more likely to blind them to the message.

IncRus keeps his record going:

Your friend is mistaken. The thief on the cross will never be saved! Apostles Matthew and Mark wrote that both thieves reviled Jesus (Matt. 27:44; Mark 15:32).

There is no record in the Bible that Jesus and the thief were together in heaven on the day they both died. There is no record in the Bible that Jesus and the thief both ascended to heaven on the same day (Acts 1:11). There is no record in the Bible that the thief will meet Jesus in the air when he comes (1 Thes. 4:16-17). The thief was never "in Christ."

The only place where Jesus and the thief were together on the day they both died is in the tomb where they both were in a "state of peace."

http://atheistnetowrk/magnify.net

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124898

http://www.rupid.com/view_video.php?viewkey=c67822bcf3679d04369f

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Khs-jtU_-TU

http://youtube.com/watch?v=nIQyzsbcQ3c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxtOFA-13WM

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/wwjebook.html -- And all the reviewers who gave it positive reviews. We were a bit shaken that noted biblical scholar, Harvey Diamond (author of Fit for Life) and the world renowned researcher Barbara Walker (author of The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets) gave it such positive reviews.

Benny Shanon goes Platinum, as reported in this article:

At large plat Benny Shanon, a psychology professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, writes that the ancient Jews may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant when the prophet delivered the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, Reuters reported.

The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet recorded in the Book of Exodus could have been the imaginings of a people in an "altered state of awareness," from two plants found in the Sinai desert, Shanon writes in the British journal "Time and Mind," said Reuters.

http://www.nazarite.net/home.html

A Fundy site warns about fake King James Bibles and nominates Platinum:

http://www.biblebelievers.com/believers-org/counterfeit-kjv.html

Now the very worst of this battle of o-u-r vs. o-r comes when dealing with the only begotten Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The modern day counterfeiters have changed Saviour to Savior. They have given us a six-letter Savior in place of a seven-letter Saviour. In Bible numerics seven is the number of completeness, purity, and spiritual perfection. On the other hand six is the number of man which is earthly not heavenly. Every one has heard of 666. It has a bad connotation and is not highly esteemed in Bible numerics.

The seven-letter Saviour is the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The six-letter Savior is the son of perdition, the anti christ. He wants to be like the most High (Isaiah 14:14,) but not in a good way, but in an evil way. He is not a follower. He's a counterfeiter. Therefore his final destination is the lake of fire. The new versions, along with the new age movement, and some of the King James Bible counterfeits are preparing the way for this six-letter so called Savior. That's the way he will spell his name, S-a-v-i-o-r not S-a-v-i-o-u-r. No thank you Satan. I'm sticking with the seven-letter Saviour as portrayed in the old black Book that I inherited from my forefathers.

One more instant Platinum:

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

The Story of Saul's Christ Jesus is a repeated myth.

Saul was a Roman spy hired by the Jewish High Priests to subvert the true Messianic movement started by the Jew Yeshua, and carried on by his Brother aka St. James, who was one of the pillars in Jerusalem and whom Saul set himself against.

http://satanwrotethebible.com/satan-wrote-the-bible/

http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/tech.html

Personal story from a reader:

Ugh... Here's a little story of mine involving a screwball nomination [I'm honestly hoping that this nomination wins a Platinum Award nomination]:

This week in my Grade 12 English Language Arts [ELA] class, we were presenting speeches that we had been working on for the last week. Today, March 20th, someone presented a speech with the subject, "Should Creationism be Taught Alongside Evolution in Science Class?" The person presenting this speech said she took the side of, "No, Creation should NOT be taught in Science Class." She then proceeded to make a case based upon a False Dichotomy [Religion and Science] and the good old Fundie Atheist Canards such as "Religion is Destroying Us," and "Imagine how far we'd be if not for Religion." After the speech, during the debate period, I asked her some questions [I'm DM, she's AB]... Other than the last one, these are approximates, not exactly how it went [oh, and if it isn't obvious, she's the one being nominated]:

1. DM: "Shouldn't Creation [I consider TE to be a form of Creation, as God still played a part in our origin] and Evolution be taught in Philosophy, rather than Science, as they have more to do with 'What is our purpose?' and 'Were we born of Chaos or Order?' than with the scientific method?"

AB: "No, because Evolution is True, Creationism is a Myth."

2. DM:"You said that Religion is a cause of war, etc. in history, but oftentimes there is an external cause that people used beliefs to mask, such as greed, or they in actuality defy that specific religion's teachings."

AB: [I don't know how to word it, but she alluded to the Holocaust, how the Jews were killed for their religious belief, and agreed with someone when they said that Nazis were Christians]

3. DM:"What do you have to say to Theistic Evolutionists, who believe that God used Evolution?"

AB: "Nothing. They can believe what they want to believe."

4. DM:"How are Science and Religion Opposites?"

AB: "Science deals with what is true and is for smart people, Religion is fantasy and mythological miracles and stuff for ignorant people"

5. DM:"Philosophically, in regards to our purpose, what does Naturalistic Evolution bring to the table?"

AB: "Kiss My Butt" [This is EXACTLY what she said, I kid you not]

The teacher put a halt to the Debate session after that last comment.

Also during the debate period, she replied to someone elses question about the resurrection by saying that Jesus did not exist.

You want to know the most Disturbing part of that statement?

The day before, I had presented my speech on how the Christ Myth Theory was a load of bunk [Actually, I presented my case so well even the teacher, who played Devil's Advocate to every issue presented, couldn't even try to shoot a hole in it].

Ladies and Gentleman! This a sample of What the Generation of Tomorrow Will be Like! If that's the case, someone please shoot me now...

http://unorthodoxatheism.blogspot.com/2008/03/concerned-christian-hopes-i-aids.html

Jesus' sacrifice was worthless, but I imagine it looked impressive. Unfortunately for Jesus, looking impressive and being impressive are two totally different things. Nothing is impressive if it has no level of risk and I've eaten fish that was riskier than Jesus' crucifixion! Jesus risked nothing at all in having himself hanged on the cross. He knew very well that he was going to Paradise, so there was absolutely no risk. He made a big theatrical deal out of hanging up there on his cross, moping and forgiving and doing his Jesus stuff, but it's not impressive in the slightest since he knew exactly where he was going. If someone said they would give you a hundred billion dollars in cash if you chopped off your hand (of course, with a medical staff nearby) and they were absolutely honest about the cash, the hand wouldn't be a big deal at all! With a hundred billion dollars, you can get a new hand and the entire state of Rhode Island. But no one will call you courageous or a martyr. There was no real risk That is exactly what Jesus did. He chopped off his body from his soul (apparently some sort of squishy substance that is what you are or some other deep-sounding, hogwashy thing like that) and received the gift of eternal reign over Heaven (roughly worth $100bil). He's not a martyr, he wasn't courageous and he knew exactly what he was getting into and his reward for doing it.

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/20949/ava-worthington-2

http://www.rationalistinternational.net/article/2008/20080310/en_1.html

http://rationalapologetics.com/?p=23

http://www.starwarsjesus.com/StarWarsJesus.html

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/20995/must-know-stories

http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=jVkHQ6_PCEo&feature=related