Who's at the door? A guy in a Screwball suit! See all the rest of the nominees here.

From the Mailbag


We start with this one from the "Huh? Whuh?" Department:

I just stumbled upon this web site. How can one possibly begin to discredit something or someone by using only one book or source?

The words seem eloquent, but fruitless. I noticed I could exchange Buddha for Jesus in the text, and the same argument applied. Hmmmmmmmmm Let's love one another as ourselves. It is that simple.

Now here's one of those email ads I get now and then:

The Lost Teachings of Jesus Christ Revealed

Free Teleseminar Tuesday, Nov 10th, 6:00-7 pm Pacific

Greetings!

More information has come to light about the history of Jesus Christ and early Christianity in the past twenty years that have ever been known, yet most Christians still have not hear this Good News.

This is the greatest story never told, within the greatest story ever told, and Best-Selling author Steven S. Sadleir has taken all the new information revealed through years of archeological research and will provide you an overview of what has been discovered during this free one hour lecture by phone.

What you will learn:

Christ's childhood, family and the people that he lived with in the first century

The Baptizing Essene sect of Jews, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Kabbalah

The Aramaic New Testament, The Ebionites and the Gospel of theNazareans

The Gospels of Thomas, Peter, James, Philip and Mary Magdalene

Gnosticism and the pagan influences in early Christianity

The first Church Fathers and the Council of Nicea

fulfillment of prophesy

If you love Jesus you're going to want to hear what he told his disciples that is not in The Greek New Testament, and if you're not a Christian these new facts may make you a believer, but you have to be registered for the class.

Then there is this from the Pharisee Commission on Behalf of the Blind Leading the Blind:

Your's is the first Christian web site on apologetics that is asking for a donation. I for one will visit the free one's the gospel "aint" for sale.

I'm the first one to ask for a donation? What is it that CRI, Ankerberg, et al have been asking for all these years then? Monopoly money?

This one was from a present Church of Christ peon, soon to be fundy atheist:

I am a member of the Church of Christ, and just wanted to comment on your blog about use of instruments in Church services...I found it interesting that you mentioned reasons why the apostles didnt or wouldnt have had any musical instruments as an excuse for not using them..... these men did have trades, Jesus was a carpenter right? he could have made a little flute or drums, surely, had he wanted to....

Much legalistic blah blah blah followed....I replied:

No, making musical instruments required special skills and training, and still does today. Carpenters were not crafters of musical instruments.

The cognitively dissonant reply:

To say that the son of God couldn't make a musical instrument for worship if he needed/wanted to is pretty weak...

You can really see the shade of Farrell Till there, can'tcha?

No need to reprint it, but I also got an email solicitiation from a Christian radio service about "end times porgramming" -- addressed to, "Dear Tim Callahan."

Then we had this email with the subject line, "critical hypocracy"...which is not the last spelling blunder that gets a real howl:

I recently read Harpers book "the pagan christ" ... what I found interesting in this book was the discussion around literalism .. and the resulting idiolgy that anyone claiming anything different should be silenced.

me clarify that I am the son of a Lutheran Minister. I have devoted many years of study to biblical history and history in general... some of this in an academic capacity.

Regarding your discussion of the flaws in Harpers book was interesting but lacked credibility for the same reasons Harpers book does. He does not have many credible sources ..... but neither do you ??

Uh, yes I do. Like the Egyptologists interviewed by Gasque...Larry Hurtado...

What does the fact that Richard Holloway's visiting a "business of ill repute" have to do with his credentials ?? This logical fallacy .. ad hominum .. immediately cause me to have grave doubts as to "your" credibility. No "serious scholar" would make such an obvious mistake.

Um, here's the full reference:

[8] Harpur quotes Richard Holloway -- he who was found red-handed, so to speak, visiting a business of ill-repute -- as saying that the "end of Christianity" is coming. Someone should perhaps inform Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and author of The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. His credentials as a historian certainly exceed those of a professor of divinity with no peer-reviewed credit in the subject.

The reference was merely for identification -- and Dumbo didn't even touch the argument.

Which one of the OT patriarchs did not have multiple wives ? I recall a passage in deuteronomy laws where upon if a slave girl was given to one of your sons .. " for the purposes of sex" you were supposed to treat her like a daughter " be nice to her" It was not unknown for the great men of old in the bible to visit prostitutes.

Something Jesus inferred ... time and time again .. is that "there is a difference between having a belief .. and forcing that belief upon others" something that was obviously lost on he holy romans that followed .. and much of the modern day church ." ... including you ?! What part of " let ye who is without sin cast the first stone" dont you get ? Perhaps you do not like drinking .. thats nice .. Have your belief (dont drink)... be happy that you live in a country that allows you to have religious beliefs .. Keep your belief ... but keep it to yourself.

I almost stopped reading at this point but continued ... what I found was ... You do not have many credible sources for your claims either ??

I am very interested in the early church .. what I would really like is to hear some "scholarly discussion" of the early church .. the rift between the gnostics .. and so on

there are claims that some of the stories in Matt and Mark were plagerized from egyptian and other prechristian myths and religions ... If these claims are baseless " and many I believe probably are" you should be able to come up with better support that referring back to your own website Tekton...

There are obviously some pagan celebrations that were adopted to christianity .... Easter .. Ishtar .. goddess of death and rebirth ...the spring festival ... The reasons of this could be many .. non of which need to detract from the message or meaning of christ.. Not everything in the bible is meant to be taken literally .. this is obvious to anyone who does a little seeking .. "seek and you will find" anyone who has attended the seminary from a reputable religious institution knows that some of the verses in the Bible we have now.. were changed by transcribers over the years .. changes from the original books. ..

this diatribe got a bit long .. but it is an issue near and dear to my heart.. your diatribe on Harpers book was .. dissappointing at best.

Finally, this from the Temper Tantrum Patrol:

At the end of your "Gary Greenberg's 101 Myths of the Bible: A Critique" page, you say:

That's our selection, and it should be enough to show that Greenberg is not reliable as a source. If you want any more done, drop us a line with a specific myth number. -JPH

It seems as though you were more interested in discrediting Greenberg rather than answering his myths. You have shown enough evidence to suggest that Greedberg has not provided enough material to support his myths, and that he does through this whole book, however, discrediting him does not discredit the myths that he suggests are true. If one of his accusations is correct, then it undermines the authenticity and purity of the Bible. I would like all myths that you have not addressed answered.

The October 2009 John Loftus Collection

Loftus aka DJ racked up plenty of awards this past month. Let's start with his celebration of Rationalization Day, as he explains why he took down a poll about his next book after only one day:

I'm going to stop it. I've learned what I wanted to learn. Here are the results after a bit more than a day:

A Poll About My Book WIBA:

It looks interesting and on my wish list 19 (24%)

I'm currently reading it 14 (17%)

I've read it but it contains nothing new 5 (6%)

I've read it and recommend it to others 6 (7%)

I've read it and highly recommend it to others 17 (21%)

I didn't know of it until now 8 (10%)

Most people who visit DC do not vote on polls and since I have some Christians who fear my book and influence they'll lie for Jesus by voting that "it contains nothing new." Maybe it doesn't, but this poll isn't scientific so we cannot know what people really think.

Wait a sec.

1) He think he's learned what he wants to know after just ONE day -- which from a statistical standpoint, is absolutely nonsense. But apparently when he had up his "What do you think of JP Holding" poll, it took him something like a month to learn what he "wanted to know" even though the trends ended up being the same throughout that time period.

2) He's worried about Christians lying for Jesus in the poll -- but liar John wasn't the least bit worried about atheists lying in the "JP Holding" poll, was he?

3) From an information science perspective, this "poll" was as loaded as the JP Holding one. If it were not, why is there no option like, "It was a terrible book"?

Here's why this is going down like this:

I've read it but it contains nothing new 5 (6%)

I didn't know of it until now 8 (10%)

John just can't stand the idea that even this many people have this sort of response. It's like a movie I once heard of where some rock star was paranoid because there was a full house for his concert except for ONE empty seat. Proof:

What intrigues me is the number of people who have not heard of it. Their name is Legion to use a Biblical term. But now they do.

"Intrigues" him? Heck, ir drives him NUTS.

I know readers might be a bit tired of this kind of promotion, but since my publisher isn't doing it who else will? After a bit more than a day I learned that 10% of the people who visit DC (and who also vote) have not heard of it. That's why I continually promote it. I promote it for these stated reasons alone. I am not in this for the money, although donations are appreciated since I must have it to live the meager lifestyle I do. I'm in it to change the religious landscape one person at a time

Um....sounds like John also got some emails from the fan club whining about all the self-promotion, and maybe that's another reason he took it down so soon. But look, John, no whining about Prometheus not doing promotion -- let's face it, you're not as big a seller as their X-rated videotape guide, and you're definitely not as scholarly. In any event your fan base is starting to get the picture that DC is indeed all about John, boosting his ego and making him cash. That's all there ever has been to John, and that's why he puts on the nicey-nice mask and pretends to be some sort of reasonable person seeking dialogue. The reality: Peel away the facade and John becomes Vlad the Impaler! (We apologize to Vlad for the implied insult.)

DJ brags about how Ian Boyne of "The Jamaica Gleaner" thinks the atheists are winning:

I must confess that I find many Christian attempts to rebut criticisms of Christianity pathetically weak and disappointing. I generally find that the atheists and agnostics argue much more soundly and are more intellectually rigorous. I find that the atheists, and especially the agnostics, ponder things more deeply and more profoundly than believers and that they are usually more sophisticated and nuanced in their analyses.

But what he wins for here is failing to notice what was further down -- a recommendation for Tekton!

I think I have read the best of the atheists and agnostics and the best of the theists, and I generally find the former far more intellectually engaging.

So when I recommend some Christian thinkers, take me seriously. For while, in my view, the Christian philosophers, theologians and apologists are outclassed by the unbelievers in terms of intellectual rigour argumentation, there are some very serious believers who are very sharp and who meaningfully engage the sceptics.

On the internet, for example, if you go to Christian Think-Tank, you will find highly reasoned, seriously-researched essays dealing with many critical questions about the Bible. Bothered by texts seemingly to justify slavery and genocide? Bothered by texts from the Old Testament which seem to have antiquated and repugnant social law and customs? Shocked by the ethical practices of the Old Testament particularly? Go to that site. There you will find the best scholarship on these matters. These fellows really engage in high-quality apologetics and unlike many apologists they take sceptics' questions seriously and really engage them.

Another excellent site which keeps abreast of every sceptical piece of writing, every atheistic and agnostic scholar or popular writer and which seeks to debunk them is Textron Evaluation and Apologetics Ministry. Bart Ehrman, who is the leading and most-quoted biblical scholar who attacks the authenticity of Scripture, is challenged seriously by these apologists who take him to task over what they term his sloppy scholarship.

Gee, thanks, DJ! You just plugged an article that recommends MY website! Of course, Boyne did somehow get the spelling off (though he also called DJ "John Lotus") but scratch out another "oops, my bad" for DJ.

DJ also wins for bragging about deconverting this Useful Idiot named Marcus (no link due to language):

If we go back to July 2008, that is when my life started changing. (Hold on, this might get corny) We were both 15 and met on the 4th of July.

Uh...he's only 16??? And he deconverted after only a year. Yep, this is definitely someone with a lot of advanced knowledge and scholarship....a real threat to informed Christianity there.

(Another parenthetical, I had always tried to base my beliefs on something after I left the "unquestioning fundie" stage, until my deconversion that thing was the Bible, it was when I realized the Bible was imperfect that I lost my beliefs)

Any details on that, Marcus? Nope.

Me and my girlfriend wrote letters to each other which were, admittedly, rather... Graphic. (They were private for Zues' sake!) After I returned there was church camp to be attended so I went with everyone else from my church. While at camp the last letter I had sent from NWYC arrived at my girlfriend's house and into the clutches of her mother. Her mother, out of curiosity, read it, and then the **** hit the fan. (Her parents had no idea that me and her had a relationship, especially to the extent that we did)

There's a story from someone who'd go along with DJ all right.

I was going to have to explain the content of those letters to her parents, and that meant explaining my theology. That meant explaining the whole, "married before God" thing. I thought if I could at least make a case from the Bible maybe, just maybe, they would let us be together again. However; doubts crept in. Like most beliefs based on the Bible I found that there were holes in my belief! Biblical marriage could be defined in a thousand ways!

So it boils down to this. A sex-crazed 15 year old, with no knowledge of the Biblical world or its contexts, strained to exegete a kooky view of marriage out of the Bible so he and his girlfriend could do what they wanted. Then: I felt so bad for sneaking around behind her parents back and so guilty for things that I had thought God told me were ok before. God had told me my relationship with her was right in the past, but now it seemed he was telling me it wasn't. ...he also thinks it was because God was talking to him. Right. And it's God's fault, too, because marriage can be "defined a thousand ways" in the Bible? Really?

The little ruckus goes on to say he discovered DJ's blog and had an epiphany, but check this out:

One day I stumbled across John W. Loftus' blog, "Debunking Christianity". The things posted mostly flew over my head but some points hit home. I was still in the boat of Christianity, but holes were popping up everywhere. From that blog I somehow wound up on the SAB and posted a few posts on my blog asking my Christian friends to explain some of the problems in the Bible. (At this point my Christianity had essentially vanished, I embraced skepticism and leaned towards atheism. I still wanted to try to reclaim my faith though.) From the SAB I found more problems at Dwindling In Unbelief. This was all in the space of about 5 or 6 weeks. The things that finalized my exodus from Christianity were reading "The God Delusion" and watching a series of videos made by the YouTube user holysinecure.

So here's his authorities:

* Loftus

* Skeptics' Annotated Bible

* Richard Dawkins

* Some YouTube guy

....and in a mere 6 weeks, from these sources, he was able to decide that Christianity was false! Heck, why bother with a doctoral degree?

More proof if any were needed that DJ is best at deconverting stupid people.

Loftus himself wins yet again for this comment:

So I got to thinking about the people who died so that I have the freedom to speak out, and I dedicated my life to making sure I did not trample on their blood by not doing so.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute...is John talking about the MILITARY???

I can't imagine John ever putting down his life for other people, can you? Because the only people ever in the history of our country that have ever fought for freedom of speech and understand the rights of citizens are those that have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces. Someone else might do so on legislative grounds. What is John trying to say here?

By the way John, most servicemen are:

Christian

Republican conservative

Pro-gun

Anti-Welfare

You aren't paying them much respect by what you're doing. I'd say you are doing a disservice. Although to be fair: Service men throughout history have fought and died so that even the idiots can be idiots without fear of having official action taken against them.

John also kicked all his blogmates off the roll, so from now on it seems all the "Useful Idiot" awards will go to commenters -- like this one, SteveJ:

If Elijah is a suitable role model for the treatment of ideological opponents, then it would be laudable to kill them (Elijah slaughtered the priests of Baal).

If Holding or others of his ilk wish to invoke Elijah's example, let them accomplish what Elijah did. Let them call down fire from heaven during a debate to demonstrate heaven's sanction of their opinions. Or let them perform some other miracle, like raising the dead. Then they'd have more legitimate authority to wear Elijah's mantle.

But of course. And I'll also need to wear a rope belt and sandals, grow a beard, and eat kosher all the time. And actually, yes -- if the social situation were the same, it would indeed be laudable to kill opponents, because their own policies were expressions of death *cough* child sacrifice *cough*.

Roissy also wins -- got to love his airtight arguments:

What a horrible cruel joke of the universe is the brief window of a woman's beauty. Proof, as if any was needed, that god does not exist.

Finally, Common Sense Atheism, which is the usual sort of atheist blog run by an ignoramus, recommends DJ's book and this wins Gold.

The Lunchback of Notre Dumb

Sadly, this category may die a premature death, as it seems Yo Lunch has earned himself a banishment. But he wins for using Dennis McKinsey as a source, and this comment:

Fact is, Jesus, still in human form then, could not have went up very far without oxygen, let alone to a so-called Heaven! Man has been to the Moon and sent space craft farther than that and no sign of God! Jesus must have went "warp speed" or faster to this imaginary "Heaven!"Surely, God would have become miffed and slapped them down because they went farther than those who built the Tower of Babel!
Random Skeptic Collection

Pete Swavely wins for this post on the wall of Confident Christianity, the ministry of Mary Jo Sharp:

Your default pic, with the 20 lbs of make-up you are wearing, doesn't really look all that confident. Degrees in christian apologetics? Wow. The idea of a 'degree' gets used WAY too loosely these days....I'd like to see you square off against Richard Dawkins, he would surely expose you as the quivering, gelatinous mass of nonsense that you are. Shame on you for what you do. People like you turn back the clock on human progress. Your pseudo-logic is poison to the mind.

Griggsy's returns and takes Gold:

Theists, God is crying! Might some of you help him? He is crying, because as He ,being disembodied, he has no brain, and so ,no mind and so, He can neither think nor act.

Some atheists thought that had He body, one could find it traversing space ; so thought the Soviet kosmonauts. Two theologians claim that indeed He has a body- Existence.

An argument that goes with the one from angst is the one from happines that one is happier in his bosom. Nay, a survey indicates that both confirmed atheists and theists are happier than others.

A theistic argument similar to the naturalist one from pareidolia is the one from beauty, where one exclaims, how can one account for tr all the beauty around us? Dr.Clinton Richard Dawkins , my friend,in his books describes now evolution accounts for much of the beauty and- so, as the presumption of naturalism declares, all natural causes account for that beauty and- ugliness.

The argument from angst appears in the form there are no atheists in fox holes. That contradicts the evidence that there certainly are! And why wouldn't such a situation make for more atheists?s, This boomerangs on those theists who use it in that it reflects angst on their part in that they feel that under pressure atheists reveal that they just want to do whatever they won't without His inlluence. Nay, we've solid arguments against Him and we don't need Him period. Yes, the problem of evil -see the problem of Heaven thread-is emotional for but on a factual basis.

How do you proclaim His non-existence or existence? Or are you undecided or state that no one can declare herself one or the other? CarpeDeum, amen and indeed! Those are real causes rather than that what preachers bleat!

A twit named "odin" wins for this:

yet in the so-called "Gospel of John" the writer is very clear that Jesus caught 153 fish.

Obviously the writer was reusing the story of Pythagoras and his "mythical" catch of 153 fish...

But in the Pythagoras myth, the number 153 was mathematically significant. But the author in "john" stole the story, but forgot to explain what the number 153 meant! the "gospel" author cut and pasted but forgot to delete the detail of 153 fish!

this is like me claiming today that in history there was a group of mystical warriors with super-powers, and oh yeah, they happen to have lightsabers. see how I "borrowed" the George Lucas mythology for my "history"?

this is just one example of how the NT is just repackaged myths and legends.

When odin was told there is no number 153 in the Pythagoras story, he came up with this:

if the number153 is a sacred number, it explains why Porphyry did not record it coming from Pythagoras' lips. so that fact it was unsaid is not evidence for your position.

So the fact that the number 153 was "unsaid" is not evidence that the number 153 doesn't appear in the story!!!

Gold to Pitchforkpat for this in response to a thread about former skeptic A.N. Wilson, age 58, converting to Christianity:

He appears to have gone senile which would explain this.

Those militant atheists... they're all heart and tolerance, aren't they?

MikeWright, who may still be a parody, wins for this:

your the racist for claiming there are more black people in jail than white.

Paul Jacobsen is still out for Gold:

But, they are both easily recognizable as being of the "superhero genre", being larger-than-life heroes, battling larger-than-life villains. Written for the same basic audience for the same basic purpose.

Likewise, the Jesus story is recognizable as belonging to the savior-god genre, even if it is as different or more so from other savior-gods as Batman is different from Spiderman.

Dumplin Dumbass is still going for Gold:

So the true, Biblical, undeniable statement is, "Jesus was not God."

Truth is consistent with itself. In order for the Gospel to be true, it should demonstrate consistency with itself and with reality at every point. If you can show me a Gospel that is self-consistent, and consistent with reality, then you can convince me. If all you have to offer are defensive maneuvers that focus on creating confusion and avoiding a clear and consistent exposition of your actual beliefs, then I'm afraid you haven't got anything solid to contribute, and would invite you to post such things on your own blog instead.

Common Sense Atheism wins for this:

While I am interested in discouraging your highly numerous insults, I'm not interested in defending my knowledge of theology. I'm sure you know theology much better than I do, for as an atheist I consider it akin to the systematic study of imaginary fabrics.

So it sounds like we're getting closer to an argument about whether Christian theism is justified. Vox, do you agree with me that even if the traditional theistic arguments establish theism, and even if Jesus rose from the dead, this still would not establish the truth of Christian theism?

Paradoxical (who proved to be sock puppet) racked up plenty in a short time:

darth, your post is the reason I'm glad I found Ken Pulliam's site. He and other members ARE trained in "apologetics". When some pompous apolgist whips out verse 9, chapter so and so, they can refute it with verse so and so. Or, when they contend "X" can be translated to mean "Y" those guys can prove they're lying. I have no need to spend my time and effort refuting an apologists lies and deceptions. I have other things to do, like researching for my book. Apolgists love preying on those without their same extensive knowledge of scripture (as if scripture was god written). Maybe it's a situation where if you read a lie hundreds of times, you start believing the lie to be the truth? After reading "Paul" backwards and forwards, I think you get to thinking he really wasn't a blithering idiot and knew what he was talking about. If your mom never told you that it was really them that put the presents under the tree, I think you'd still believe in Santa.

here wqe go round in circles, but a slightly different circle in this tread. The bible is true, even though it has some errors. Just forget about the part where it says it was divinely inspired. It wasn't, but the bible is true anyway. Why? Because the stories that were written are similar. That they are similar makes the bible true. So, because they're similar, there must be a god, and that god, of course, is my version of god. Here we go rond in circles. Once again. No proof whatsoever. Just speculations and myth. And, by the way, the Horus story is VERY similar to Jesus. Horus lived after he died. Forget the apologists lame arguments that he didn't "resurrect" like Jesus is alleged to have. Additionaly, there were many similar gods before Jesus that were born of virgins. Yes, my friend, I have read all of the apologists arguments. As far as the resurrection, it's a myth. Who CARES if he supposedly wasn't in the tomb. Who CARES if supposedly two woemn saw him first? It matters not. This is just story, theatre. Why don't one of you go claim that $1,000.00 if you can make a coherant resurrection story using SCRIPTURES only?

Finally, many people saw Elvis after he died, and Elvis performed a miracle for a guy AFTER he died. The man swears to it. There were many witnesses who saw Elvis immediately after his passing. Do I believe Elvis rose from the dead? No. DSo the people that think they saw him. They absolutely do.All this means is that humans are needy and gullible, and when a hero dies, he is remembered. that's all. End of story.

Yes, Jesus resurrected, but only in the hearts and minds of the ones who are weak and need a savior.

[Fred] Phelps is the guy christians shy away from, because he quotes the verses they don't like to look at.

I had come into this website only after reading a long winded dissertation by one of the apologists that apparently runs this site. These guys have every single verse of the bible memorized in every translation. Unless one is also a bible scholar and an expert on translations, it is difficult to immediately refute their assertions. The apologists know this, and wield their bible knowledge accordingly.

How many non believers care to make a career out of reading the bible(s) and the numerous translations? It is simply not necessary. It would be like suggecting someone learn Arabic and read the Qur'an backwards and forwards, so that they could outwit a Muslim apologist. In the writings of the apologists and in these very threads, the same tactic is used. A not so thinly veiled claim is made that, since the non believer is not a biblical scholar, he has no right to not believe.

This is the height of absurdity. No god would make a document so difficult to decipher that a person would have to be a scholar to understand it. This is not a guessing game.

All in all, though, I am not hedging my bets. tell your god that i would far prefer my rightful place in hell with the rest of the rational, logic thinking non believers, than to be in heaven with the christians.

EvolvedPrimate picks one up:

They're using Bible computer programs which have search functions. I seriously doubt they've wasted their time memorizing all the Bible translations. Besides, knowledge of dozens of dodgy mistranslations amounts to nothing more than memorizing all the patterns on all the toilet paper in a supermarket. Anyway, I got the impression from reading the articles by this website's host apologist (JP Holding) that he was pretty ignorant of the Bible.

Toto, one of the bigger idiots at Infidels.org, wins for this:

I don't think that better arguments are needed - I don't think that Holding has made any valid points.

There is a recording of a debate between Ken Hemphreys and JP Holding that is available (I think there is an old thread on this.) It is interesting - Humpreys is quite congenial and polite, and Holding doesn't seem to know what to say.

robertb is as dumb as usual:

As I said before, there is no need to posit concepts such as "absolute truth" in order for me to say, with confidence, that slavery is always immoral. As evidenced by the fact that I do just that.

Finally, Pai Geacademe is still on the loose:

Earlier in the documentary, the lions brought down a zebra. Usually, the lion chokes the life out of its prey before dining on it (to avoid getting kicked). In this case they were hungry and legion. They ate the zebra alive. Some creationists have a hard time seeing Jesus in that
Kooky Christian and Theist Collection

RAPTURE SOON OMGZ (yes, that's what he calls himself) wins:

If you don't believe in the pre-tribulation rapture then you may end up facing the tribulation

A reader reports an invitation to a Revelation Seminar "featuring dramatic presentations from the last prophetic book of the Bible" which offers:

FREE - Admission

FREE - Study Materials

FREE - Deluxe Bible

FREE - Blood Pressure check

PLUS - A graduation certificate!

Blood pressure check? Is that for after all the lousy teaching?

Screwball to Andy Schlafly who is heading up a Bible translation on a Wikipedia-like internet 'encyclopedia'. A reader comments on this:

This concerns me for several reasons. Even though I am very conservative politically, I do not think the Bible should be politicized, so a Conservative translation is just as wrong as a Liberal or 'Green' translation.

1. Getting rid of Jesus' words in Luke 23:34 is not something I would support; the textual evidence is shaky on this one, but I think it needs to be included at least in brackets, because strong manuscript evidence exists on both sides. Saying "Oh, that's liberal" isn't a sufficient reason for editing out.

2. Preference for KJV is intellectually obscene given the fact that we have earlier and better manuscript evidence than was available in the era of Textus Receptus.

3. 'Not dumbed down'--okay, but what do they consider 'dumbed down'? They criticize the NIV for being at the 7th grade level, but most people today aren't even able to read at that level. It is amazing when looking at the Greek how simple some of it is.

4. And this is my major concern--having a Bible translation worked on online, where it can be edited by anyone, is terrible. What are the qualifications of the people running this? Andy Schlafly may have great conservative credentials, but what arrogance for him to start up a Bible translation project!

They're already being excoriated by liberals, and they deserve to be excoriated by anyone with a brain. The Bible isn't 'conservative' or 'liberal' as far as politics goes, it transcends both. While currently conservatism may be the political philosophy that best alligns with biblical principles and priorities, it does not do so perfectly, and for fallible humans to use a fallible system as a framework for Bible translation is simply perverse.

Theotimos, who hates musical instruments in church, argues that God is a dumb fundy:

All the historical and cultural background is nice, but give God a little credit. Is it possible that He, knowing full well man's propensities with music (after all, Greek myth and use of music for pagan purposes is a creation of man), deliberately said through Paul, sing, and make melody in your heart"?

Phil Phillips, author of that old book Turmoil in the Toybox, gets a Screwball 25 years late for this, which is taken from my E-Block article on him upcoming:

He-Man. This corny show, I admit, was a guilty pleasure of mine for a time, but I never took it quite as seriously as Phillips, who makes rather too much of children imitating He-Man's catchphrase, "By the power of Grayskull!" His legalistic response to this: "God's Word warns us that only by the blood of Jesus do humans have any power and authority over others. There is no mention of the power of Grayskull." [89]

Aside from the pedantic nature of this last comment (as if indeed our intelligence is so worthy of insult as to suppose that we might think "the power of Grayskull" is found anywhere in Scripture), I can find nothing that says that "only by the blood of Jesus" is there any authority or power over others. Really? Do we need the blood of Jesus to plug in a microwave? Or to become a police officer? ...Phillips takes these things far too seriously -- and fails to give enough responsibility to parents to prevent and correct overzealous interpretations by children

Adze takes Gold for this choppy statement:

The real Jesus religion was universal salvation. There is another Gospel out there which is not the same as Jesus's.

I do not hold that salvation (to me personally) is about getting to heaven, it is about a way of knowing Gd or having life (as defined by Jesus in John commentary Chapt. 17), this does not exempt people (be them many Christians , Jews , Muslims, Hindus etc.) from knowing Gd when they get to day of perfect (physical death).

Even many Christains don't like the Jesus Gosple (Gd love and forgives you), and they take offense, because they are still under a belief system that Gd needs to be fed blood, fruits, special grains, virgins, infants etc. These have to wait to know (have life) Gd.

RBerman answers the Context Group:

Oh, well why didn't you say so? Appeal to a self-appointed group of liberal scholars ends the debate!

Adelphe does too:

I'm curious: to what or whom do they appeal?

Whatever happened to "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"?

Assuming what you say is the case, hell prevailing for even 500 years seems to contradict that.

Since when does erroneous interpretation equal "hell"?

UrbanMonk is still somewhat nutty:

Our enemies are real to us until we realize they are imaginary. When we realize they are imaginary and have no jurisdiction over us, they "die" and we are set free. Jesus "died" to all that was thought to be real, but was only imaginary. In this sense, Jesus died to "Jesus", because persons are images....made in the imagination of the god of this world (ie. "let us make man in our image [imagination]).

And this, from a now defunct Mormon site on "Spiritual Geography":

The Spiritual Geography refers to the lands of The Book of Mormon, the prophecies pertaining to them, and how they were fulfilled. Remember, The Holy Book of Mormon is first and foremost a spiritual record, full of prophecies, designed to test the faith of its readers:

And when they shall have received this (TBOM) which is expedient that they should have FIRST TO TRY THEIR FAITH, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. (3 Nephi 26:9)

Thus, the prophecies (Spiritual Geography) that are associated with Book of Mormon lands should be verified first before considering the non-faith, scientific means of verification, such as archaeology, languages, or culture.

Geography enthusiasts have been placing "the cart before the horse" by seeking cultural, archaeological, and linguistic alignments before spiritual ones.

Uncategorized Remnants

danieljliversLXXXIX said:

Pythagoras and Plato were both inititated into the mysteries of Egypt. But they also could have been influinced by other middle easten cultures like the Zoroastrians and Bramins. A curosry glance at Athropology can trace, almost, all religion's and mystery schools back to Egypt. I think the only exeption would be Hinduism which proplably spond Zoroastrianism. I'll have to check.

JuniusFaction has a few Gold words:

Could you share an example of this "reason, logic, and critical thinking?" It seems a but overdue after several pretty nasty posts.

John 1:1- in the beginning there was the "Logos" (word) . Research that, and brush up on your Philo.

Maybe you'll have something to contribute instead of hiding under the apron of a handful of scholars. If you'd done the research yourself from old sources, you'd see how silly you sound.

NATALIEIRENE tells us what the song "Amazing Grace" was really about, and noms for an at-large Platinum:

-People still don't get it. Is it so hard to understand???? Shut up about John Newton!!! He doesnt care who hears this song!!! Its about GRACE not about GOD. He'd be turning in his graves if he could see what you were saying!!! Stop it!!! Go complain about religion elsewhere because I DONT WANNA HEAR IT. And neither does any other sane person!

A poster named "priggy" over at the Nanowrimo board responds to a thread titled "What is God?" with this answer...

As to my idea of God if God does exist, i suppose its of a tortured soul - i don't see how any being couldn't be tortured if thousands of his "loved ones" of the Universe are dying every second and if He/She's omniscient and can see/feel/hear all those deaths, i don't know how you would cope with that but i can't see someone who deals with that being a jolly person.

Rex67 on the SheezyArt wins for this drivel:

Rome wouldn't have made an honest an honest investigation of Christianity, if anything Rome would have tried to discredit Christianity however possible. The Roman's weren't honor based, the Greeks were the real honor based culture, Rome was all about just getting things done. As someone once states "The Greeks were philosophers, the Romans were engineers".

What I mean to say, is that people will be willing to accept completely crazy concepts when it comes to religion. Christians will believe that God created the entire world in seven days, and that a man could come back to life. There is nothing wrong in believing in that, but it is still a weird concept in essence. A

I'm not talking about a specific culture when I say that "everyone should have the right to a religious opinion, as I'm saying that it should be a basic human right to have a religious opinion.

By the way, how is a country that constantly made fun of itself "honor-based" (Go read a Roman satire).

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=110248

http://hotair.com/headlines/?p=54422

http://spiritlessons.com/Documents/Christian_Civil_War/Christian_Civil_War.htm

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/06/google_rank_ofcom/ -- at Large Platinum nomination:

Congratulations, Jimbo! Almost one third of British secondary school children believe Google ranks search results in order of their truthfulness, according to new research by Ofcom.

The statistic - great news for Wikipedians, terrifying for the rest of us - was reported in the communications regulator's annual report on children's "media literacy", out today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcW-UGAjlw

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

http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/8863/googlewhywont.png

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ODeI1u-0bg&feature=popular

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta9LSx8-9Vc&NR=1

http://www.america-betrayed-1787.com/

http://rawstory.com/2009/10/n-c-church-to-burn-satans-books-including-works-of-mother-theresa/

http://awildernessvoice.com/GEC.html -- Christian Platinum nominee

Winner for: "Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living."

The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.

In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.

The eco-footprints of the family pet each year as calculated by the Vales:

German shepherds: 1.1 hectares, compared with 0.41ha for a large SUV.

Cats: 0.15ha (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf). Hamsters: 0.014ha (two of them equate to a medium-sized plasma TV).

Goldfish: 0.00034ha (an eco-finprint equal to two cellphones).

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_arianism.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9u6GDpXmeQ

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Bipolar_Briton_loses_execution_appeal&in_article_id=755980&in_page_id=34

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/swedish-church-agrees-to-conduct-gay-weddings-1807657.html

A nomination to the McDonald's manager who had this tattooed on the back of his left hand so that every customer and co-worker would obviously be able to see it:

NO GOD

NO LOVE

NO FEAR

I wanted to ask him why he didn't add NO LIFE to that list.

http://www.laverne.edu/campustimes/031309/news_stories/jesus.htm

There has been a rise in fundamentalists trying to act like serious philosophers (e.g. Swinburne, Plantinga, even Craig himself), ... This is actually a sign of their doom. They used to be so confident that they would denounce even the idea of trying to play at being elitist intellectuals, and damn philosophers and scientists alike as fiddling on the Titanic. Remember Young Earth Creationism? Or Biblical literalism for that matter? They are still around. Craig probably believes in both (certainly the latter). But he won't ever admit it in a debate, or will downplay it with every effort he can muster, because he (like most fundamentalists) knows it's a losing argument

Craig himself is a biblical literalist. I can find dozens of Ph.D.'s like him who agree. That doesn't make biblical literalism respectable, or even remotely plausible. When he says he can find "philosophers" who defend old fallacious, refuted arguments for God, all he's really doing is finding irrational believers who learned how to write like philosophers, in a desperate attempt to repackage and sell their old wine in new bottles. The philosophical community as a whole is not very impressed.

http://www.thenazareneway.com/lords_prayer.htm

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=891776135764757633#

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m52GzYY41iU

The Watford Borough Council has banned parents from playgrounds:

Parents have been banned from supervising their children in public playgrounds, because they have not undergone criminal record checks. The Watford Borough Council policy has been attacked as insulting and a disgrace by furious relatives who say they are being labelled as potential paedophiles. Only council-vetted "play rangers" are now allowed to monitor youngsters in two adventure areas in Watford while parents must watch from outside a perimeter fence.

It will further fuel concerns over a growing nanny state amid the deepening row over the Government's new national anti-paedophile database. That will see at least 11 million adults have to be vetted to work with children or vulnerable adults, including parents who give officials lifts to and from social or sports clubs.

Councillors in Watford claim they are only following Government guidelines and cannot allow adults to walk around playgrounds "unchecked". But Osfted dismissed the ban while parents branded it "a joke".