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As usual, view all of the nominated Screwballs for May 2010 on TheologyWeb.

From the Mailbag

Here's one from the Conspiracy League:

I was doing research on Matt 28:19 and was linked to the article you wrote. I find it amazing sometimes how complex the arguments can become. Sometimes one gets so focused on the trees, they forget about the forest.

The fact that the terminology of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is only recorded once in all of scripture is rather odd, isn't it? I would think so.

Isn't it rather odd that the Catholic church can perserve a Biblcial manuscript for 1600 years from 400AD to today, and yet, they could not preserve a manuscript for 200-300 years from 100-200 AD until 400AD? That is odd, isn't it?

This causes one to conclude that the *most likely* reason we don't have early manuscripts before the 4th century is that someone deliberately destroyed them, and the someone was the Catholic Church. 1600 or 1800 or 1900 years is not a material difference in years, is it?

This cannot be proven, of course, because no one can prove the absense of evidence destroyed. But the timeframe suggests that they needed to be destroyed so that changes would not be challenged or proven false.

Had the the ordinance of baptism not changed from baptized in His name" to "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit", the correct Hebrew name of the Son of Man would have been passed on by baptism. Thus, today we would not be arguing over what the real "Hebrew" name of the Son actually is -- Yahshua, Yahushua, Yahoshua, Yeshua, Yah'shuah, etc, etc.

With all due respect to your gymastic arguments to retain your belief in a perfect Bible, I suggest the simpler answer is the truth. The Gentile Church wanted to rid itself of the Hebrew roots of the Messiah and needed to change the baptism practice to do it, and then, they baptized infants in the name of the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to effectively erradicate any Hebrew element of scripture.

The fact is 1600 years to 1900 years is not significant, and it is clear the Hebrew element and manuscripts were deliberately destroyed. That is the hidden secret of the Catholic Church. This means that the enemy raised up men who knew what they were doing. Thus, Constantine likely was a Satanist and did what he was told to do, knowing the objective was to change the direction of the church.

Without that model, however, scholars and apologists will write millions of words that turn around in circles...all arguing and debating, never even considering that the blindness and confusiong was most likely deliberately caused by men altaring a few words of scripture at the bidding of their master.

I know you can never publicly teach such an idea...but it is likely the truth, even though it must be suppressed by the "scholars"...to take such a postion is unrational and not scholarly...there is no such thing as "Satanists" who take such a strategy, and who would do such a thing...and our Father in Heaven would never allow such a thing to occur. That is a much "better" assumption by scholars, turning the Bible into an idol of perfection.

And thus, the scholars will continue their debates...forever...ignoring the simplest conclusion in favor of their assumptions that what the Catholic Church has handed to them is accurately presented without "changing" any documents. That pious church would never do such a thing deliberately...those righteous people who favored murdering the Jews and our Hebrew ancestors of the Messiah.

And if they had boldness to change the Biblical text, why not altar other documents such as teh Didache, and also placing historical names on writings in later centuries, with the strategy of promoting their own agenda -- such as Polycarp, Ignatious,and II Peter. Centuries later, no one would know what they did, and history would be changed.

And here's one from the Misdirected Requests Foundation:

Hello Good Day,

This is Rev Raymond.With regards to your Company i am sending this email Regards to order some (Calf Tables`)i will like to know the type and sizes you have in stock and get me the sales price of one so that i will tell you the quantity i will be ordering, and if you accept credit card as a form of payment.hope to read from you soon about my order request....

This one from a Church of Christ music-hater will be on the Platinum list:

I hope this note finds you doing well today. I read your article on CoC and instrumental music. I kindly want to point out that your logic (the study of reasoning) is flawed because it is not factual.

1. Your logic for M.I.M. being OK in worship involves going to the music store to buy a trombone. I can make a musical instrument out of a tree leaf, a piece of paper and a comb, my shoe string, or yet with nothing at all (percussion instrument by clapping my hands). The fact is (key word fact) mechanical instruments have always been available to any social class. If you don't believe it go to a prison, a homeless shelter, or on the streets of New York City (where guys are making music really good music with sticks and buckets!).

2. Your logic involves cultural practices. The fact is (key word fact) culture does not dictate what is truth. But even in light of that you mention "music had sunk to the lowest regions of lascivious amusement.". Is this not the case today? Have you listened to the radio lately? I am sure you will agree, music is terrible, isn't it?

3. If we want to find the truth we need to rely on the Bible. The fact is (key word fact) "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". Let's be indebted to the Bible to see what God wants, not to "Lang's Music in Western Civilization and the Concise Oxford History of Music" which are mere commentaries written about history. The fact is (key word fact) history does not determine right or wrong in regards to religion.

3. Regarding Silence. Is there any authority in what is not authorized in God's word? What about Gopher wood and the ark?? Was God silent about wood? No...he specified Gopher wood! Was he silent about NT Music? No...he specified singing! Your logic doesn't work on that point either. The fact is (key word fact) God was specific about music...it is to be singing!

I hope this information will assist you as you seek to use logic to sort thru all the religious faiths, practices, and ways in the world today, including instrumental music to worship God. I have found it beneficial to stick to the facts. I hope you will as well.

The May 2010 John Loftus Collection
Not much from John this month, though he does win for a post at http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/04/bible-contradiction-quiz-show.html#more where he posted a video where it is harder to know which is worse -- the art or the scholarship. He also wins for proposing to start an online school.

John also wins an Irony Award for accusing opponents of having Dunning's Syndrome. And he wins for this comment in response to a Christian that rated his new book 3 out of 5 stars, and earlier recommended Why I Became An Atheist:

Could it be that the real reason why he rates this book three stars, given the astounding Blurbs it has received from scholars on both sides of the fence, is to appear reasonable, since if he rated it one star then people would see him for what he is, a Christian who is afraid of this book. I can't see any reason why a person who recommends my previous book, WIBA, would not also recommend this present one since this present one is considered an extension of that one.

And this was pretty ironic too:

[What must be the case if Christianity is true?] That God created human beings with rational minds that require evidence before they accept something, and yet this same God does not provide enough evidence but asks them to have faith instead.

The Lunchback of Notre Dumb
There's no need to explain any of these....just enjoy.

You, being a logical person, I find it amazing that you do not see the flaw in your thinking! If God is All-knowing, then He is responsible for the outcome of His actions if He makes a being that He knew would make the wrong choices! He, and He alone, is responsible for that because it was He that put the propensity to error in the creation! That would be like Toyota saying that they were not responsible for bad brakes that left from the factory! It was their failure in quality control for the defective brakes, just as it was God's failure to eliminate the defect in human nature before it left the factory

Many men of science and others who are very busy with their careers, do not have the time, or do not take the time to devote to matters of religion and just go the direction in which their parents or guardians point them. Then don't have the time to examine the facts. Others who do take the time may just pay lip service to being a true believer and stay in the closet for the sake of appearances. I would suspect that there are many atheist that attend church on a regular basis with their families! I even sent my daughter to a private Jewish school and then to a Christian one

**

So God created man...male and female...And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold it was very good..." genesis 1:27,31

"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God..." Matthew 19:17

This is very revealing. On the one hand, Jesus, who said "I and my Father are one", now says that he is not one when it comes to being good! On the other hand, Jesus contradictis Moses who reports that God said that man was "good" and that God was very pleased with His handy work!

Well, what are we to believe here?! Somebody lied!

**

All one has to do is read Genesis 18 to learn the true nature of God! He is visibly seen, heard and talked to by Abraham. He copulates with his wife, Sarah, so that she bears Him a son.

**

Well, didn't it say that God created us in His own image? We have a penis so i assume He has one too! After all, He must have nostrils to do all of that smelling of a "sweet savour.

The May 2010 Atheist Collection
"Lazy Agnostic" (aka Thomas Lynch) is living his usual obsession with me at Amazon Discussions....some samples:

Key terms: Ad hominem, ridicule, personal invective, childish insults, character assassination, sneering contempt, metaphorical lexicons, namby-pamby Jesus, jumping in bed with the atheists, vicious doves, "atmospheric level of my scholarship", prison librarian, quit work, all day in front of computer, living off wife's earnings, morbid obesity...and more.

It's time to renounce your self-described "vicious methods". You'll never be accepted in legitimate apologetic circles until you do. Maybe that's not what you want.

Problem is, Bobby, you won't venture out of the little cocoon at Tweb to discuss your divinely-anointed vicious methods. You have your cadre of pugnacious followers to derail, distract, and run off challengers. (Though LGM has them and you on the ropes, of late)

By the way, "LGM" is an atheist who has been banned from TWeb for several years now, so now Tommy is even fantasizing about debates that aren't happening.

Seanchaidh preserves the No True Scotsman fallacy:

I would go so far as to say that most atheists' preference for observable reality over arbitrary belief is a behavioral influence that acts to prevent heinous crimes against religious people. Killing is, after all, something that happens in the real world. This behavioral disinclination was notably absent in the Soviet Union and Communist China because those places didn't really have a preference for observable reality over arbitrary belief.

myther, on appeals to Josephus to show Jesus existed:

...saying that the passage proves Jesus existence is like saying we can prove Mickey Mouse because we have Minnie.

Comment found on a Youtube video from antonc81:

From a scientific point of view all theistic beliefs are arbitrary positive assertions because there is no evidence for any given one of them. Hence, given no evidence for any of a myriad positions, when presented the choice of assuming one of them is true baselessly, or defferring judgement and not acting as if any given one was a better explanation, the latter is always the more rational choice. In practice this means acting as if None of the assertions are true.

Mavericky, after being corrected for using "argument by outrage":

There is no argument from outrage. I have more emotions toward Catcher in the Rye than I do the Bible. (and I didn't really care for all the teen angstiness of Catcher) If you would care to mention how you would justify the genocide of children with the claim that the Bible is against abortion, I am all ears.

I just found this laff riot of a comment left by Ed "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up" Blabinski, on Ben Witherington's blog, back in 2008. After some rambling about the problem of evil (the subject of With's post, vis a vis Bart Ehrman), Edski just had to go on flapping that yap.

That reminds me, I'd like to ask Ben Witherington what he thinks about being the "favorite author" of someone like J.P. Holding? Holding is a man from whom biblical genocides are no problem at all, and who argues from silence that the young people who called a prophet "baldy" (and who were immediately supernaturally cursed to be eaten by bears) were unspeakably worse young men than the story lets on; and who also argues that when Jesus spoke about being like a dove that "doves can be quite vicious." J.P. Holding defends the use of non-stop insults (that he calls "sarcasm," since he unfortunately doesn't know the difference between the two) during discussions of theology with anyone, Christian or not, who disagrees with him. That fellow claims that "Ben Witherington" is his "favorite writer."

I hope in future that as J.P. Holding reads more Witherington (and he will, since J.P. Holding has admitted he loves Ben's writing so much that even if Ben wrote a book on harmonica playing, he'd give it three thumbs up, his highest rating), let's hope J.P. Holding starts being inspired by Ben's cordial demeanor, especially toward Bart Ehrman, whom Holding holds in derision.

And Ben, I'm curious what you have to say about creationism contra Holding, and about inerrancy as well, since Holding remains a young-earth creationist (his "default position" as he says), and an inerrantist.

And what say ye about Preterism, Ben? Is your view partial preterism? If not, then what's the difference between your view and that of partial preterism? I'm curious. J.P. Holding is quite a staunch preterist of the partial variety.

Witherington ignored him, proving again that no one cares what Edski has to say except Edski.

robertb is still failing Exegesis 101:

James is a sermon that, imo, is a response to a possible belief that could have developed among some early christians that if Jesus had offered the perfect sacrifice, then it was logical to assume that christians could no longer sin.

The epistle makes the point that such is not the case and that only through your works can one's faith be demonstrated.

Obviously, this makes the sacrifice itself kind of pointless, but it did not take long to come up with another justification...

Finally, a personal story from a reader, which brings us an At-Large Platinum nomination:

I entered into a discussion with a man on a facebook who created a poll asking “How bogus is Christianity?” I asked first “Why do you think Christianity is bogus?” Now..I thought this was a joke, but this guys started quoting, extensively, 19th century sources on religion...but he responded: “Firstly, the Bible record inaccurate history. Why doesn’t it mention Atlantis? Why not hyperborea? These were the first great human societies. Hyperborea invented writing for **** sake! Why doesn’t the Bible mention them?”

Me: Are you serious? Hyperborea and Atlantis? Where are the sources?

Next to a few obscure names from the 19th century, he quoted a page from (one of my favorite comics BTW) the Library Edition of Hellboy # 3!!!! Saying:

“look on page 124 where it quotes the famous spiritualist H.P. Blavatsky in the 1800’s. She wrote, through her spirit guide, that the Hyperboreans created the written word.”

And I was done. I walked away and never looked back.

The May 2010 Christian and Theist Collection

Urbanmonk is nuts as usual:

You have cherry-picked it from among hundreds of other books you could have chosen to represent the idea of GOD. You you may as well have written it. It's just words that confirm what you want to believe about God. You're not being honest if you won't take ownership of the choice you made to bow down to this particular oracle of doom.

He also wins for a post here on "Eastern Themes" in the Bible.

barley posts for discipleship...sample:

Personal account of someone who saw a friend post on Facebook:

Just listened to a man in a bar tell him about the Nazi Jew Aliance, which staged the holocaust as a media cout to conquer the North American and Insular European, film and radio Industries. Dagnabit the things they keep from us in history class.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7668448/Christian-preacher-arrested-for-saying-homosexuality-is-a-sin.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/26/philip-pullman-jesus-gospels

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0504/christian-leader-caught-rent-boy-needed-luggage/ -- Famous Christian Platinum nomination to George Rekers

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local-beat/Students-Wearing-American-Flag-Shirts-Sent-Home-92945969.html

Book nomination for Francesco Carotta's Jesus was Caesar....here's a sample from the review I'm writing....

On particularly vehement strain for a parallel requires Carotta to argue that Jesus was actually already deceased when he was placed on trial before the Sanhedrin. His primary evidence for this: Jesus is silent before his accusers; the real reason he said nothing was because he was already dead. (In actuality, Jesus' silence reflects a common way of shaming one's opponents, by indicating that they are beneath reply. Naturally, Carotta excuses the few words recorded as said by Jesus at this time as merely inventions.) His second best evidence: Mark says that Jesus was brought to Golgotha, and the word used, pherousin, Carotta says means "carried" -- so this must mean Jesus' corpse. (Not quite: The word also has connotations of being conveyed by force or somehow assisted/directed; cf. Mark 1:32, 2:3, and 7:32 for examples of sick persons being "brought" for healing.) With "evidence" like this at the fore there is little need for a more detailed refutation.

Screwball to America for making an article about Playboy's new 3-D centerfold the most widely read piece on Google News.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1273919/The-Japanese-ninja-dress-turns-Coca-Cola-machine-ward-attackers.html

http://docrampage.blogspot.com/2010/05/banality-of-atheism.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/7704213/Man-dressed-as-Snoopy-in-worst-attempted-jail-break-ever.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/7723418/Japanese-government-blocks-a-ban-on-child-pornography.html

http://www.kcci.com/news/23562692/detail.html

http://www.adamandeveseedgatheringministry.com/

http://yvettesbridalformal.com/index.htm -- just for bad website design.

http://www.newscorpse.com/ncWP/?p=1472

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcJwRCv9g88

http://www.discerningreader.com/book-reviews/so-you-dont-want-to-go-to-church-anymore -- refers to book nominee for Platinum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V94UsBoifqA&NR=1

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1056/1056_01.asp

http://ynglingasaga.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/metaphysics/

Screwball to the Washington, DC City Council for their latest effort to combat rampant STDs. Their solution? Distribute cooler condoms.

Screwball to Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat for their talk at Wheaton last month "'Outside of a Small Circle of Friends': Jesus and the Justice of God", in which they say that being cast into outer darkness (from the parable of the talents) is a good thing.

http://crosstheborder.org/ss-motb/Forward.htm -- Christian Platinum site nomination

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/2294/leper_messiah%3A_a_jesus_freak%E2%80%99s_search_for_the_meaning_of_bowie%E2%80%94a_critical_novella_

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/2626/ian_buruma_on_the_political_excesses_of_religion

http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/05/abortion-survivor-escapes-being-cremated-as-medical-waste-killed-by-doctors/

http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/2010/05/hypatia-and-agora-redux.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V81DpVJXzUM