Trick or treat....ring the bell and Cocoa will bark at you! See all the rest of the nominees here.

From the Mailbag


Here's one from the Land of the Self-Righteous:

God said THOU SHALL NOT KILL that’s exactly what he means. There are no exceptions or bylaws whatsoever. It’s people like you who deceive the world with your garbage. If you knew God you would know He has never killed a single person or animal. It is satan and people like you who give God a bad name. God is total pure love and has never sinned at all. I pray that some how God can reach you before it’s too late for you.

Much more to the point, this one:

Please die! Thank you, Good-bye!

Death to you...

To the point as well, and just as devoid of content:

After reading your drivel. I can see why serious scholars don't take you seriously.

These came under the subject headings of "Tammuz" and "Mithra":

And why is your word 'golden'? Your case is not convincing--most religions arose out of history--not de novo!!

To suggest that the emergence of Christianity had little no historical context is hard to accept. Abject denial of connections to other beliefs is not helpful. Let's get at the truth instead of perpetuating myths and being defensive!!

The October 2008 John Loftus Collection

Loftus himself wins Gold because he thinks Religulous is a "documentary"; for emailing me proud of himself for not being a Christ myther and (even jokingly) suggesting he could have written a chapter for my book; and for being too cheap to pay for a sub to my new E-zine to read a review of his book. Also wins for these comments:

I have made the point, contrary to the Christian claim, that if God revealed himself in the historical past then he chose a poor medium and a poor era to do so. Histocircal studies are fraught with all kinds of difficulties when it comes to what happened in the past. History does not give up its truths easily. What we have are glimpses and hunches and guesses about a great majority of questions concerning what happend in the past, along with how we can best understand the writings of the past. This is quite evident in what has transpired in that thread. It is obvious.

How does the Christian reconcile his or her claim that God is omniscient with the fact that God was stupid with regard to confirming his revelation in the past? I know my answer.

This wins from Loftus also:

If God sent Jesus to save the world by dying on the cross for our sins (the greater deed) then he should at least be as passionate as Christians are to help people believe (the lesser deeds). Why would God do the greater deed and not also do the lesser deeds? This doesn't make sense of an omniscient, omnibenelovent, and omnipotent God. The excuses given for the paucity of evidence reveal that the Christian expects way too little from the God they believe in.

Jason Long wins for this comment:

Maher tends to rely on a single argument against religion: It's ridiculous at face value. I think it's the best argument out there because it doesn't stoop to giving it the air of respectability.

Yeah, that's about the intellectual level Jason normally goes for!

Loftus' Useful Idiot Joe Holman wins for bringing his show to YouTube.

Harry "Obscene Phone" MCall digs up a lot of Gold: The Bible’s answer to this post’s title is clear and simple; just consider what the Bible Believing Southern Baptist did to all their women professors, and God forbid women preachers! (Thank St. Paul for this bigoted view.)

Now what do good solid Bible believing Fundamental Christians say about our second point on hair (since they printed this tract). So lets see how the majority of the God fearing Bible Believing Christians understand the Godly points behind this essay.

Here’s how the tract written by Dr. Webb opens:

"Doth not nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?"1 Corinth. 11: 14 "The current "craze” of male members of society to wear long hair is not the harmless fad that many assume. It is a planned, calculated trend to break down the manliness of American men. It is developing a "unisex” population of weakness, while it destroys the ruggedness of our men. It degrades , sissifies and victimizes out youth who pattern their hair after the "fairies", "creeps", "addicts", "homos" and "anarchists" of this generation. I am aware that these are strong accusations, but read further. Of course to your present thinking it may just be a style, yet ask yourself a question or two. Does it please God and glorify Jesus Christ No indeed! The Bible calls it shame. Now please check the facts. ...There is not one single proof that Jesus wore long hair. In fact, I believe the facts are clearly jus the opposite."

Here Dr. Webb goes into historical and Biblical proofs he claims supports the fact that Jesus did not have long hair and plus the Bible condemns long hair on men which makes them effeminate.

"SINNER...I am sure this writing will find its way into the hands and under the gaze of many a long haired, unsaved young man. My congratulations to you for reading this far. Forget the hair a moment and consider you first need…salvation."

The above gives us a clear example that Christianity has been influenced by bigots and flat out nuts from the Apostle Paul to the author of this Gospel tract; Evangelist Dr. Hal Webb.

Harry earned some more with this, too:

Twenty years ago, while I was president of our humanistic discussion group here in Greenville The Lion‘s Den, I debated a young ministerial student over the truth of the Bible (one of a number of debates I did back in the 80’s)...

A year later, he excitedly told me that he was going to attend an apologetic Bible conference where the famed Gleason Archer (The International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties) and the renowned conservative Old Testament scholar, Walter Kaiser would be leading a major conference on the defense of the Bible...

My young friend told me he had been in touch with Dr. Archer who challenged him to have me write down any facts which I felt proved Moses did not write the Pentateuch. My friend said he would personally give them to Dr. Archer at the conference who he claimed "would put me in my place".

My editor friend told me that he was very excited about Dr. Archer’s challenge to me and he could not wait to give me my irrefutable apologetic answers. So I wrote down five hard facts which I felt proved Moses did in fact not write the Pentateuch.

A week later my ministerial friend returned, but seemed put out. After all, he had used his short vacation time off from his night job (as he was a full time college Bible student during the day), plus he paid all his expenses to and at the conference.

When I asked him what irrefutable evidence did Dr. Archer provide to prove my facts wrong, he told me he did not know what happened. He said he gave Dr. Archer my questions, who studied them for a short time, then he threw them on the conference table and exclaimed: "Whose this nut?" before walking off.

That's right! Your’s truly was declared an official declared a "nut" by the editor / author of The International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (sounds a lot like JP Holding).

Random Skeptic Collection

Bill Maher wins automatic Platinum in the Movie category; his fans win too, like Soundsurfr:

That would be a really insightful criticism of a movie that is somehow intended to be an academic treatise. However, this is a Bill Maher movie. And Bill Maher, as you pointed out, is an entertainer - specifically, a comedian. Perhaps if you view the movie in its intended context, as you so often admonish us heathens to do when reading the Bible, you'll understand it better.

No doubt. And Hogan's Heroes sure did clear up the morality of the Holocaust, didn't it?

Spirit5er (aka skepticbud) makes aa run at Platinum for his use of fakery to open a new account at TWeb, plus comments like:

You only put me on ignore because you have neither the education nor the resources to keep up with me in a debate and you cannot continue selling books if you keep digging the grave of your integrity deeper and deeper.
...something as big and bright as me comes along and stomps everybody to death with superior intellect and reams of sociological science data on first-century Judaism.
Rohrbaugh doesn't want to be quoted to prove anything in any biblical argument, because he, as a founding member of the Context Group, realizes how immature it is to quote scholars to prove things.

avaya wins for the Silly Question Series of the Month:

Imagine God spoke to you and told you that he demands the US torture and kill (sacrifice) someone in his name every day. You are able to have conversation via silent and out loud prayer with God and are convinced it is not a trick and know if you don't the world will be destroyed and everyone will spend eternity in hell. Now extend this further and imagine all of the religious people in the US have had this same conversation with him and all know it to be true (if you can not entertain this thought experiment, please do not reply to this post).

Question 1: Would you to vote for a leader who would work to make sure the daily sacrifice happens?

Question 2: What would you say to the non-religious who were not spoken to by god and disagree with you?

Now imagine you die, go to heaven and god tells you that it really was all a trick being played by the devil (the devil is very tricky... but at least you made it to heaven).

Question 3: Would you feel guilty?

Question 4: If you are against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research because of a religious belief, how is this different then the above example?

Gold also to Stephen van Eck, for still calling me "Turkel" in a letter to me, and claiming that a "deeply-closeted self-hating gay" in Ohio forged a letter from him to me. Amazing how they got his sig just right, used the same Unabomber typewriter font, and managed to get a Scranton PA postmark on it.

slipcurve earns one:

I've watched plenty of christian apologists and you know what I found out? They utterly fail every time. You'd have to give me extremely good reasons to watch more and waste my time. reasonablefaith org? Although I'm the biggest moron you've encountered, even I have standards. You try whydoesgodhateamputees com instead.

MikeWright, if not a parody, still goes for Platinum:

I see, just call anyone who disagrees with you stupid. Ignore the fact most people on IMDB think its a great movie, you must just be more intelligent and knowledgeable than them. How do you know that you arent the stupid one and that the makers of zeitgeist are correct?
I cant imagine that a reputable achdemic such as Jordon Maxwell would be wrong.
If you read the begining of luke is says that many other people have written gospels before luke. Now dont forget that this was a pre computer age when nobody had word processors and so couldnt edit their gospel or use spell checkers so it would take decades to write a gospel.as a result it must be second century.

"distinctive blend" wins, for he sayeth:

A simple argument against miracles was made by Stephen Hawking on a interview, while not denying a God may exist he said a deity couldn't break natural laws because otherwise they wouldn't be laws.

Joe "the Jackass" Wallack, who was chased out of TWeb for anti-Semitic jokes and other offenses, rolls out the laughs with an alleged rebuttal of my article on the authorship of Mark:

I always associate bad Bible scholarship with JP Holding and always imagine Dan Akroyd dressed in a tuxedo, sitting in an old English chair and dryly saying, "That was really bad Bible scholarship."

JPH writes/plagiarizes that testimony as to authorship is unanimous. But has he dipped his lightmust paper into the wrong solution? Christianity has traditionally asserted that "Mark" was the author of "Mark". But was he/she/them/it? And what if there is testimony as to different "Marks" who wrote "Mark"? Shouldn't that count as different testimony even if he/she/them/it all happen to have the same name?

When we look objectively at different traditions regarding the author of "Mark" it would appear that orthodox Christianity first decided that the author was named "Mark" and than tried to determine who "Mark" was. The Tale wagging the Dogma.

Let's see how many different "Marks" we can find.

Then he says:

Warp speed to exponentially better Bible scholarship than JPH to look for evidence as to authorship of "Mark":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark#Authorship

Wikpedia = exponentially better Bible scholarship!

He then goes on to identify every "Mark" mentioned by Papias, Irenaeus, etc as different people, based on tiny verbal variations in the descriptions of Mark in church writings which say essentially the same thing. He has six different Marks so far from his verbal gerrymandering and will probably find at least twenty more, plus however many more pop out of his rear end while he's thinking.

matthewvalles21 wins (and nominates Platinum) for this rant-response to a scholarly rebuttal to Zeitgeist:

Your rebuttal is just as weak as you claim the movie to be. Many of the passages used to refute Zeitgeist is taken from the most obscure and biased sources in the pre-modern world. The use of the Bible is not acceptable, unless-of course-you are gullible enough to believe such a poorly written work, compiled by hundreds of people over thousands of years, is accurate-which it simply cannot be. Not much of a reliable source of historically accurate information, since the Egyptians were worshipping their gods before the Bible says the world was even created. That pretty much destroys most of your arguments about Jesus-or at least their historical accuracy. More importantly, however, is the fact that the use of the early founders of Christainity are cited countless times, as though they had nothing to lose from the parallels of these "gods" and "saviors." You fell victim to the same ideas that the early Christains did-allowing people in positions of power to tell you what the truth is, and where it lies. These sources-to me-are the same as using one presidential candidate's accusations to refute the claims of another, opposing presidential candidate. The problem is that one candidate-ancient religions-have no voice. They were systematically destroyed by their adversary, using many unscrupulous tactics-from suppression to execution. The souces in this rebuttal had something to lose when they wrote what they wrote, plain and simple. I will admit that these stories are not mirror images of the story of Jesus, but rather are the parts which were refurbished, redacted, and mistranslated into the modern idea man has about his own soul, and about its keeper. Ideas-like everything else-go through a type of evolution; things are redacted and rewritten, in an attempt to place a firmer grip around the notions of our true existence. These notions are not to be grasped in this way. The harder each one of you tries to hold these ideas down, the more violent is their uprising. I would suggest that anyone who is seeking the truth of all of these myths-from Mithra to Horus to Jesus-try to explore some writings of people who have attempted an OBJECTIVE understanding of the world which has beget us our modern sun-cult. There are many of them: Thomas Paine, Fredrich Nietzsche, Helen Blavatsky, Issac Asimov, and Albert Einstein are among the older ones. To find similar writers and researchers from a more contemporary time, ones who know what they are talking about, one can read Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Tom Harpur. "There is no religion higher than Truth!" Incidentally, Zues was a god, and any impregnating he would produce would be considered-to a person who had reverence for him-an imaculate conception. You are asking the right questions, but your answers are coming from the wrong people. I eagerly await any response you might have in ragards to my rebuttal of your faulty rebuttal.

NormATive, for this response to "The Impossible Faith":

Humans would like to THINK that they act rationally. Any argument based on this absurd notion is misguided at best - pure folly in MHO.

Crucifixion is "shameful?" It's not shameful - it freakin' HURTS!!!

JP has once again constructed a straw man argument. There is very little evidence to support historic Christianity.

As it should be.

Kooky Christian and Theist Collection

Heeler (who may actually be skepticbud/spirit5er in disguse) wins for this post:

James Patrick Holding: Heretic, Cultist, and Blasphemer

James Patrick Holding professes Christianity, but much of his behaviour is inconsistent with this claim.

Heretic

James Patrick Holding wilfully and persistently practices behaviour that directly contradicts explicit biblical commands. For example:

• Jesus said "turn the other cheek"(Matthew 5:39) but JP Holding practices payback, as per the evil line of Cain If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold (Genesis 4:24).

• Jesus said "love your enemies"but the attitude JP Holding expresses towards his detractors is indistinguishable from vindictive hatred.

• Jesus said "bless them that curse you, do good to those who hate you"(Matthew 5:44) but JP Holding abuses any who cross him.

• Paul said "Let your speech be always with grace"(Colossians 4:6) but JP Holding revels in using crude terms, e.g. cow patties, backside, burps and farts, screw up, crud, pissant.

• Solomon said "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls"(Proverbs 24:17) but JP Holding delights in gloating, e.g. employing smileys like when declaring self-victory over others follow an exchange.

There are multiple Bible verses reinforcing each of the above doctrines, and there are many more biblical exhortations relating to speech and behaviour that Holding likewise wilfully abrogates. He justifies his behaviour as virtuous and Christlike under the heretical doctrine of "Riposte"of which he is author. He claims the biblical commands relating to interpersonal behavior apply only in certain situations. In defense of his 'riposte' doctrine he quotes sparingly from the Bible, and extensively from some particularly bad-mouthed 'church fathers'.

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. (Proverbs 30:20)

Cultist

CultWatch gives two different definitions of a cult.

1. Any group that uses manipulative psychological techniques’.

Concentrated and prolonged abuse of the sort practiced by JP Holding is a manipulative psychological technique.

2. Any group, which claims to be a Christian group yet teaches something that is not primarily a Christian belief.’

JP Holding’s Riposte group fits this definition. JP Holding claims to be Christian, but using abuse (riposte) as ones primary means of persuasion is typical not of Christians but of unregenerate non-believers, and especially of atheists. Atheist regimes have diligently instructed their citizens how to mock and ridicule their enemies, especially Christians. And prominent atheists of the West such as Richard Dawkins and the late Madalyn Murray OHair have been renowned for their hateful statements about individuals or groups they detest.

The How Cults Work website lists several distinguishing features of cults. Here are some typical cult characteristics manifested by JP Holding.

Infallibility

James Patrick Holdings Theologyweb signature reads "Too late...youve already LOST". This constitutes a standing in advance declaration that he is correct in all theological disputes.

Anti-Perspicuity

Ordinary believers are unable to discern the true doctrine of Riposte (insult) which requires JP Holdings Hebrew and Greek language skills to discern. He said of one protagonist "his knowledge of the Bible is essentially zero -- save what he reads of it in English."This contradicts the doctrine of perspicuity, which says that ordinary believers can understand the teaching of the Bible without needing a superior to tell them what it means.

Intimidation

JP Holding uses lots of abusive language, as do cults to intimidate victims into compliance.

Breaking sessions

Breaking sessions are when one, two or more cult members and leaders attack the character of another person, sometimes for hours on end.

Or sometimes even weeks--- JP Holdings Spitball thread attacking Spriti5er has been going on for over three weeks now. And Holding acknowledges that one of his objectives is to break people down. Spirit5er has gone, but Holding and his sycophantic gang of riposters have found other victims to abuse.

Some cults will not stop these sessions until their victim is crying uncontrollably.

Interesting, since the full title of JP Holdings thread is Spitball's James vs Paul Wah Wah Don't Hit Me Thread , suggesting Holding is thinking along those lines.

Information Control.

Cults curtail access to information critical of them. JP Holdings Tektonics (Riposte Cult) website is said to have no links to opposing sources that he quotes selectively.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

Blasphemer

To attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, or to attribute the work of Satan to the Holy Spirit, is to blaspheme (Mark 3:22,29).

In asserting that his various Bible-defying behaviours are virtuous or Christ-like, JP Holding is thus blaspheming. The Word of God reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ was not a bullying venal thug as JP Holding consistently demonstrates himself to be.

2_Fatal does his Calvinist business:

Every heretic is birthed from rejection of Calvinism and they are all viciously opposed to it

John Goddard tastes Gold cake:

But then there is a big fulfillment, when Jews create a big Gentile golem like the USA which is Rome, convince Christians by way of government to abandon Jesus and instead help redeem Israel without Jesus and to adopt Noahide Laws, and thus spiritually take over the world without Jesus as the Messiah.

Andd they a doing all this with the help of atheism, since you can be secular and still be a Jew. So atheists are in charge of the Jews.

And then, all the Jews who hate Jesus get a big surprise in the end. To make Hitler look like nursery school. A replay of Ezekiel 23:22.

And the realization of Revelation 17:16.

To use my option for riposte, only a blind idiot could not see this is happening, and preterists are feeding right into it.

pablo, on church history:

you must all know that catholicism is not the only one Christian denomination here on earth and to think that all the church (which they call themself Christians) outside catholicism are protestants nor came from protestantism nor born from reformation. the problem is RC is so successfull that they manage to embed to many people mind that if your not a catholic, you must be a protestant.

there are churches which, in anyhow, they were not involved in catholicism even from the time when constantine called a national meeting of all religion to unite all religions in his empire just to save his power. that is the very reason why even after the roman empire converted to Christianity (as they said), they still persecuting alot of Christians that are not involve in they newly founded Christian denomination which they latter called catholicism.

if your a Christian, you will not prohibit your men or anyone to read the Bible. but these roman catholicism founded by constantine actually deny his people to read or even to own a Bible. what is in the Bible that they dont want their people to read?

jason hystead, on Jesus and politics:

Jesus wouldn't vote at all, he'd just sit around considering lilies.

Abu Sakina (unknown beliefs, but some sort of theist) wins:

its impossible to have an ugly face and have beautiful soul kelp,,,because the spirit manifests on the face

slymshady (unknown beliefs) wins for this:

I personally don't know any of Obama's views or McCain's views for this election. I never voted in the past, because MA is hardcore Democrats, so i would be wasting my time.

My brother made me register to vote because he said "Its called the White House for a reason!!"

Like if Obama had a policy that said everyone would get $1000 free dollars a month, and a brand new car- I could not vote for him. The racist DNA inside of me simply would not let me ever cast a vote for him. This isn't something I am proud of, but its encoded into my mind pretty good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW9b0xr06qA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFVnbcePWgo&feature=related

http://jesus-is-savior.com/the_nine_commandments.htm

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-NOZU2iPA8

http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/state/story.aspx?content_id=3424bfb7-66fb-4aec-97da-a3e663b544e6

Screwballs for the Reformation Church of Second Life for taking the stance "Apologetics don't save souls".

http://www.prime.org/

Father Peter Dresser wins for his new book with old "Spong" arguments in it.

http://www.trailofblood.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g0d3_KE5js