See the whole collection for September here...and see the highlights....here.

From the Mailbag

This first one came from someone sure I'm going to hell...why?

Complete Resurrection (Soul Sleep) vs. Partial Resurrection (Tradition)

Be careful! Your online post indicates that you worship a different Jesus than the Jesus Christ of the Bible. In John 14:3a and 13:36b Jesus told His disciples he would be coming back for them. Not for their bodies, which is a fallacy and a tradition, but THEM. He also told them in John 14:3b that they would NOT go to be where He is when they die, but when he comes to get them. Quite simple. There is no Biblical proof for the partial resurrection. Warning: after reading this information, if you still reject these words of Christ, your name was never and will never be in the Lamb's book of life. A true Christian takes every single word of Christ very seriously. A true Christian believes the truth over tradition at any cost. You will be held accountable for your words. I urge you to study this and be certain to get it right. There are many other Biblical points to prove the Complete Resurrection over your partial resurrection. To view some of these points, please see: Do Christians go to Heaven when they die? By Craig A. Olson, at: http://www.cotronix.com/dualism.html

Problem, though: I don't adhere to soul sleep.

On the other hand, atheists had their say too:

im an atheist however i still visit your website because i like finding out how christins respond to atheist arguments. Normally im disapointed by your responses (which is why i guess i like your site, it reassures me that your relgion is as intellectully bankrupt as i everyone tells me it is). I recently read a book which i enjoyed (and by looking at the reviews, so has everyone else) called the atheist camel chronicles. You can see it here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/143...pf_rd_i=507846 I couldn't find any reviews or responses to it on your site and so was wondering why? nor can i find any other christian blogs which have responded. Having just finished reading it i was wondering if you could show me a christian response to the book so that i can be open minded and see both sides of the argument.

And this came from someone more mystical, I'm guessing:

Your analysis of "Joseph Campbell" is pure gafflebag.

Mainly you miss, are avoiding or do not intellectually grasp his overarching thesis. That's the fail.

And you yourself make several errors and peculiar assumptions --in a one page screed dismissing thousands of pages and decades of scholarly work and insightful interpretation with the wave of a hand.

You sound like the kind of person who likes comparing the differences between things. Okay, what's the difference between your short Campbell essay and a sack of cow poop?

Zero. No difference.

Sorry.

So, likewise:

I stumbled across your article on Tom Harpur's book, The Pagan Christ. An interesting read, indeed. However, you try to minimize the importance of Harpur's message and the validity of his work and character by attacking him (and others) on a personal level. I just wanted to say that because of this, your work was done in vane. Any chance you may have had to make a valid point has gone out the window.

I make mention of this only as feedback. I do not plan on engaging in a conversation on the subject. And if that speaks to you of weakness or faulted logic, so be it. I am secure enough in myself and my faith that I need not defend myself. But I can see you put a lot of time into your article, and that deserves at least one point. Take care.

From the same Land of Vague came this missive:

Just read your "Critique" of Hebrew Scholar.Hyam Maccoby. As a person who is non Jewish and truthseeking I can tell you I have read his book and your analysis is completely off the mark, but I think you are well aware of this, because that's the only way to put this gentleman and scholar down. Challenging his points on a scholarly basis is beyond you so you resorted to rhetoric. I found your "Critique" untruthful and cowardly, and most of all unchristian.

Finally, James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries got the following screwy email (proving not only I get them) from a KJVO advocate:

I just want you to know straight forward this is not an attack, but, a legitimate concern.

I've been doing a lot of research about the occult recently and I must say that the newer versions give lots of breathing room for the Isaiah 14:12 debate. Here's a link to a pro HP Blavatsky page. As you're probably well aware, HP Blavatsky is one of the HUGE names of the occult. Please read the text on the upper right of this page.

http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/luciferreprints.htm

Notice how she connects Jesus with Lucifer as being the same person. Remember that Satan said in his heart that he will ascended into heaven. Why is it that 99% of the versions drop Lucifer, son of the morning and replace it with "morning star" like the NIV or the "bright morning star" in the CEV or "daystar" in the Amplified Bible, which is one of Jesus' titles in 2 Peter 1:19, and in Rev 22:16.

I'm sure you know how much the occult is impacting our culture these days and people in Wicca and other witch cults, and occult organizations like Freemasonry read the Bible. Being a person from a High School with several practicing witches in it, I can honestly tell you that one of these neo pagans scoffingly, said directly to me that the bible was translated from pagan sources. I quickly answered them and said, "Maybe if you read the NIV". This guy was usually argumentative, but, he had nothing to say back. Don't you see this as being a huge problem with our younger Christian people? How will they defend themselves?

You won't be able to make such an occult connection in the KJV. Again I'm not attacking you or anyone that reads the modern bible versions. BTW, I watched some of your videos with your friend LaneCH and enjoyed them.


The September 2008 John Loftus Collection

Loftus stuck a huge moral foot in his mouth this past month....more on that shortly. First, let's see how he stuck an academic one in his mouth:

There are some parallels with the quest for the historical Shakespeare and the quest for the true historical faith.

If Buddha never existed it would not make any difference to Buddhists since the ideas of Buddhism don't depend on anything that may or may not have happened in history. It's not a historical religion. One might really think of it as a philosophical religion, if that.

But a historical religion that demands belief is something entirely different. I've tried many times to express this fact but let me try again, this time with the example of William Shakespeare. Who was he? There is a great amount of doubt about who he actually was:

The Shakespeare authorship question is the ongoing debate, first recorded in the early 18th century, about whether the works attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon were actually written by another writer, or a group of writers. Among the numerous candidates that have been proposed, major claimants have included Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby), and Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford), who, since first being proposed in the 1920s, has remained the most prevalent alternate authorship candidate.

The answer to the question of who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare depends on which scholar you read and accept. Different scholars on this question will place different probabilities to their own suppositions. And if you happen to be a scholar on Shakespeare then you know the problems with your own theory better than most others.

This expresses the problem of affirming a controversial historical question. We can never know the answer with complete certainty. There will always be doubt. And if someone could evaluate similar claims and compare them he might even be able to calculate the odds that all of these theories might be wrong. That is, we must also ask how many times new evidence surfaced that changed what historians think about a particular question. Plenty of times. It happens almost every week on some question scholars thought they had answered once and for all. So there is always the possibility this might happen with regard to the questions about Shakespeare. Again there is room for plenty of doubt.

When I called down Loftus for this idiocy (see here, Loftus did damage control by punching himself in the nose:

I don't know much about whether or not William Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him, as I mentioned. I really don't. I'm told that the kind of fringe scholarship that claims he didn't write them is akin to conspiracy theorizing used in other kinds of questions, like who was behind JFK's assassination and the 9/11 attack. I think the first time I heard about this controversy was reported in US News and World Report in an article titled, Hunting for Good Will: Will the Real Shakespeare Please Stand Up? I have no interest is pursuing this question further at all.

Call me ignorant on this and many other questions. Hey, just call me ignorant. Why? Because I am ignorant. I'm ignorant about so many things I don't have the time to write them out here. My own ignorance stuns me. I could walk into any college classroom on most any subject and be as ignorant or more so, than any of the students taking that class and reading the textbooks. (Think: Chemistry, Math, Meteorology, Geology, Biology, World History, Forensic Science, Computer Science; Rocket Science, Neurology, and so forth, and so on).

I know a small fraction of what can be known. And I know this. I know that I know only a very small fraction of that which can be known. How do I know this? I know this because of how much I have learned. Since I have learned a great deal I know how little I know. I know there is a great deal of knowledge left for me to learn. Only the ignorant will claim they know a great deal. Why? Because only the ignorant have not learned very much; their knowledge is limited; they don't yet know how much knowledge there is left to learn.

If you've ever heard truckers or factory workers talk to each other it's interesting. You'll hear a few of them talk like they have all of the world's problems solved. They solve them with just a few sentences too: "All the republicans have to do is…." or, "All we have to do in Iraq is…" or, "To solve our drug problem all we need to do is…" or, "To help our economy there's just one thing we need to do…" [Fill in the blanks].

It's black and white for them. They know the answers; most all of the answers, even though I can tell from their answers that they have never had a good education. (Hint: Most problems are more complex than simplistic solutions can afford). They are ignorant and don't know they are ignorant because they've never learned or thought of the complexities of the issues they speak of. If I were to question some of their answers they might probably look at me like I was some kind of Communist or Homosexual (and that's bad you see).

Socrates said it best: "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing. I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Granted, Socrates knew a lot of things. That's not the point. Everyone does. We all know a lot of things. It's just that when compared to the sum total of things to be learned, none of us know much of anything at all. Since what any one of us knows is but a drop in the bucket to the total knowledge available we know nothing comparatively. This describes us all no matter who we are.

So with understanding say with me, "I know nothing" [Think Schultz on the 70's show Hogan's Heroes if you have to! ;-)] Say it again: "I know nothing." Can't do it? You can't say it because you don't believe it? Really?

Then you are truly ignorant!

Unlike educated people you are ignorant about your own ignorance!

As to that moral foot -- you can read about that here.

Loftus won soem Gold for regular entries too. For one, he can't seem to get out of that Joel Osteen mindset....

Yes, if these reasons are relevant to the question of the truth. So says one Christian Blogger named Joshua, who answers the accusation against me that I left the Christian fold merely for "emotional" reasons. He gets it!!

Yes, John, but as usual, you don't get it -- because what Joshua says:

There is plenty of theology floating around that indicates that the church and people with God's spirit "inside" of them will have certain features, and that the church will not be merely nominal in nature. So bad experiences are more epistemically relevant than you and many others might like to think. After all, doesn't this approach what Jesus suggests when he says that people will know his disciples by their love? Indeed, only if we could rely solely on esoteric argumentation, and not our lives, to be a witness and sustainer of faith.

...reflects a bunkum view of Christianity as a therapeutic device. And so, no...these reasons are not relevant to the question of truth where Christianity is concerned. You're stupid, as usual.

Loftus also won a big one for losing Harry McCall as a blog member and then justifying it with this egomaniacal skein:

Tell ya what Harry. YOU start a blog and see what it takes for it to get noticed on the web. Hint: You must promote it repeatedly and regularly. Try it. I'm serious.

Then invite a bunch of "cats" there and try to herd them. Offer them a spotlight. Give them a chance to shine and be read by a potential audience of about 40,000 readers a month. Then see what that's like. I have tolerated a lot of junk being written by team members I didn't care for, just like others may not like some of what I write. Eventually you'll have a few disgruntled people leave and blast you too.

Then edit a book. See what that's like when you offer a few no-name authors a chance to shine and to be read by an even greater potential audience. See what happens if five of the authors you invited do not write on the topic assigned, and/or submit it too late to do anything with it, and/or write poorly, and/or argue poorly. See how that would feel like when you merely wanted to help their voices be heard. See what YOU would do when your back was against the deadline wall by people who did not share the same commitment you did to see this work through.

And see how YOU would respond to a disgruntled former Blogger/author who comments at sites like this one dedicated to his demise. What would YOU say? What would YOU do? I think Truth Be Told and Holding will have a falling out someday. Watch what happens then. What which one of them will try to rise above the fray during the midst of that falling out.

I think the Native American proverb is wise on this point: "Never criticize a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins."

So I won't criticize you. As I said, my friend, as of this date I would still have you back at DC.

And last, some of John's commenters win Gold for these on our "Sad, Sad Doubting John" parody video:

Originally posted by Noel: Well known apologist JP Holding may very well be. But this kind of childish mudslinging really makes one consider whether he has anything meaningful to say.

I particularly enjoy the part where he sings his own praises for his ability to send you "a-reelin'." Seems more than a bit... egotistical.

Honestly, if this kind of idiocy is the best Christianity has to offer in response to attack, then there really must not be much that is worth defending.

Originally posted by James: A Christian who can't sing putting this much trouble into defaming a dedicated and intellectually honest writer - now THAT'S sad.

Originally posted by Fabrulana: That is the one of the saddest songs... Not because of the content but the mind who took the time to write such a thing. Extremely childish. What would Jesus do ?

Originally posted by Tommy: Unbelievable. I knew Turkel was an upstart with a fragile ego but this childish nonsense puts him on a whole new level of pettiness.

Shame his bounteous lord never saw fit to bless him with a voice that can hold a tune - which you'd think would be quite essential if one is considering a sideline as a satirical apologetic singer.

Originally posted by Christian Agnostic: I am dumbstruck beyond belief at this video. I am becoming ever more convinced that Turkel is the ultimate prankster. He doesn't mean a word he says, he's just laughing at us all through those beady eyes.

Originally posted by Jason Long: I think maybe it's just a case of needing to find a niche. The field is already full of Christian scholars with doctorates from bible colleges who take the "debate" seriously. Meanwhile there's obviously financial backing for such an approach - and if you don't care about intellectual honesty or being taken seriously, well there you go. Pretty sad existence if you ask me.

Joe Heschmeyer: One of the passages I try and model my attempts to evangelize is 1 Peter 3:15-16, to wit:

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

It's a straight-forward admonition to evangelize, but not to do this sort of petty nonsense (posting mocking videos of one's debate opponents). I don't know the backstory between you gentlemen, but as a Catholic Christian, I heartily apologize, because his behavior is out of line here.

Roger: I have had some dealings with the infamous JP several times.I tried to corner his belief on the return of Christ and asked him why Christ didn't keep his word about returning in his present generation.That seems to be an Achilles Heel with most apologist.I'm amused by the way they stumble through their explanations.

They think *I* was the singer??? These people really don't pay attention. Andius credits himself quite clearly on the YT page. It's one of those "I don't understand the 7th commandment" deals.

The Lunchback of Notre Dumb

Sadly, one month after he got his own Screwball section, Yo Lunch took nearly the whole month off for his Inflat-o-dates. But he does win this time for thinking my book, Shattering the Christ Myth, is about proving that Jesus was the Christ.

The Assorted Atheist Collection

Member30929 starts another dumb thread that tries to convince us he is not stupid:

Take the following quiz. Without any reference material, see how many of the following you can identify/define:

1. Thales

2. Hyam Maccoby

3. Marcion

4. Ebionites

5) Ad Verecundiam

6) Parousia

7) Ed Schempp

8) Slavonic additions

9) "Buni" and "Toda"

10) Trypho

11 )Aritosthenes

12) sesquipedalian

13) Ecrasez l'infamie

14) Reason: the Only Oracle of Man (author?)

Did you get them all?

Don't feel bad-- most people will get few or none.

ALL of the above are terms or persons I have utilized in my posts here. All were drawn from memory, not copied from some source material.

Use of such terms is not something a "stupid" person would do, so in the future, kindly come up with another insult to describe me. Don't be stupid.

"The Great Master Mayhem" wins for this:

well yahweh is the old testament God while Shemesh is the Sun. However in the Akkadian language the word Shamash means Sun God. The fact that these two words are so close in spelling and within the same general meaning shows that there was a correlation between the two civilizations languages. The fact that the word Shamash refers to a god in a monotheistic, biblical world that would usually refer to the sun as shemesh could show a way that when translated there could have been a translation error that would have lead to God and the sun being connected. so when it was all connected and translated Yahweh could have been interpreted as Sun and God. took a while to word this. I still dont think I worded it quite right.

A screwball also goes to Dumplin' Dumbash's refutation of resurrection apologetics:

My one toehold, the one slender grip I had on my faith was that I did not believe the Resurrection could be faked. Nobody would die for a lie, surely? The early Christians must have seen a genuine, literal Resurrection in order to become the martyrs they eventually became. Right? Right?

Nothing else had proven to be solid enough to support the weight of the conclusion that the Christian God was real. ... I dared not ask myself that question, nor probe too incautiously into the matter of what the apostles really died for, until the election of George Bush as president in 2000. The events that led to that election, and more importantly the words and deeds of Bush's Christian supporters, finally drove me to honestly ask myself, Is this the sort of world that would exist under the wise and omnipotent sovereignty of a loving God?

My last toehold crumbled as I realized how easy it was to explain the disciples' convictions in terms of the same hysterical fantasies and denials that surrounded Bush's election (and even more since Obama's). I was crushed, enraged, embittered, as though my whole world had betrayed me and then died.

Because clearly having extended dialogues with a resurrected man is the same as casting a ballot.

E-lad wins for this informed critique:

JP Holding, or whatever his name is, uses way more words than neccessary to describe an idea.

Reading him makes my hair hurt. He has a degree in library science but fancies himself as a philosopher at which he fails miserably by trying to cram every word in the english language into every paragraph.

IntellectualNinja also gets one:

I hate to take sides, but from the little information I've gathered in this thread, Turkel seems like a self-absorbed liar. I've seen interesting religious debates; but I have no intention of sitting through Turkel's drivel. I've also heard dishonest Christians twist and turn Bible verses to account for contradictions. It's a futile exercise pointing out contradictions in the Bible to believers - they simply assume there can't be a contradiction and craft some wild story or they re-translate the Bible.

If you just reinterpret the Bible juuuuuust the right way, then there's no contradictions. Yeah yeah yeah. I believe they call selective reinterpretations special pleading.

Richard Carrier wins one for trying to weasel out of his appearance in the disreputable "The God Who Wasn't There":

As many know I was interviewed for the film The God Who Wasn't There, which came out years ago and includes an extended version of my interview in the DVD extras. When I finally got to see the film, I privately circulated (eventually to journalists, academics, colleagues and others) a brief white paper on potential errors in it (only regarding the first third regarding ancient history, as that's my field). I then forgot about it. Several people recently have asked me about the film again, which reminded me I should just publish my brief. It is now available via my website as Critical Notes on the Movie The God Who Wasn't There (2005). Some of the points I make in that document I have since revised in subtle ways (as will be clear in my book On the Historicity of Jesus Christ), but it's adequate enough to stand un-edited from the original.

People have also asked me my opinion of the film. In general, the movie is as much about the supernatural God who isn't there (the Jesus everyone believes is going to come back from outer space and kill us) as the historical man who wasn't there, so it's not exactly a documentary about historicity (that subject only occupies something like a third of the film and is covered entertainingly but briefly). I find the film fun, funny, well-edited, and (for the most part) well-produced. It's definitely a feel good movie for atheists, and it definitely pisses off Christians to no end. I like it.

But it's not PBS edufare. GWWT suffers from the unavoidable problem of all entertaining documentaries: it oversimplifies things. But it's nowhere near as egregiously full of [deleted] as Zeitgeist: The Movie, which has been thoroughly debunked as absolute garbage by several knowledgeable commentators (the best critiques are catalogued by Jim Lippard at the end of his own blog post on that awful doco). I wouldn't recommend Zeitgeist at all. But I only wouldn't recommend GWWT as a scholarly introduction to Jesus Myth theory. I still recommend it as awesome entertainment, played out with acceptable license. It takes liberties, but they aren't that excessive (as my white paper explains), and if you want authoritative discussion, you really ought to be reading a book instead.

[Though I grant you, there aren't any such books I'd recommend yet, beyond Doherty's The Jesus Puzzle, which is in its own ways flawed and incomplete--as you might glean from my critical review. Besides what you can read there, what I would say Doherty's book is lacking (and only because it's impossible for a single book to include everything) is coverage of a variety of essential supplementary topics, such as the fiction-myth analysis of the Gospels provided in Randel Helms' Gospel Fictions, which I also highly recommend (even though Helms doesn't argue Jesus didn't exist).]

StopSpamming1 explains peer review:

Yeah, it's easy to ramble on here one-sided.

How about this challenge:

1. Get an account on Wikipedia.

2. Delete the information on Matthew.

3. Insert your view on Matthew (et al).

4. Wait for the peer review.

5. Count how many hours your "evidence" will stay there.

6. Wait for your banning on Wikipedia.

Do the same on the historicity of Jesus.

Go home and learn.

Confused Christian Collection

A reader tells us:

As background (since it's a new church that I'm attending), I was trying to find out about peoples' interests, so I asked them if anyone was interested in apologetics.

The first response (from the 5 or 6 people sat near me) was: "What's apologetics?"

Trying not to despair too much at this, I explained that it was about rationally defending the Christian faith by giving arguments that show why we believe what we believe. According to one guy, "That's wrong. You shouldn't argue since you might upset someone."

I then told them that this was not what I had meant (I dread to think of what the reaction would have been if I'd asked about using riposte in an argument...), and that it was about proof. I said that it was logical to have proof for what you believed, and that that is very important in Christianity. The guy then said, "Jesus didn't give proof. He was more concerned about healing people, etc."

I quickly dropped the conversation.

Useful idiot Adrift wins for this nugget of stupidity:

It's easier to hate than love. It blows me away that Christians would defend this behavior. I don't care what your politics are. Explains the hundreds of years of persecution against so many peoples in the name of Christ though.

Here's an anonymous contribution from a Paltalk resident:

May212011: WARNING! THE RAPTURE WILL OCCUR ON MAY 21, 2011 AND THE END OF THE UNIVERSE WILL OCCUR ON OCTOBER 21, 2011. THESE DATES COME FROM THE BIBLE. DO NOT IGNORE THIS! DECEMBER 21, 2012 IS WRONG ALTOGETHER. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! JUDGMENT DAY BEGINS MAY 21, 2011. PLEASE VISIT www.ebiblefellowship.com www.the-latter-rain.com

makotoseven uses interpretation by dictionary:

* Main Entry: bap·tize * Variant(s): also bap·tise \bap-?t?z, ?bap-?, especially Southern bab- or ?bab-\ * Function: verb * Inflected Form(s): bap·tized also bap·tised; bap·tiz·ing also bap·tis·ing * Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French baptiser, from Late Latin baptizare, from Greek baptizein to dip, baptize, from baptein to dip, dye; akin to Old Norse kvefja to quench * Date: 13th century

transitive verb 1 : to administer baptism to 2 a : to purify or cleanse spiritually especially by a purging experience or ordeal b : initiate 3 : to give a name to (as at baptism) : christen

in other words:

Acts 2:38 (New King James Version) 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be to cleansed spiritually especially by a purging experience or ordeal in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

in that verse it seems to be very apparent at a glance that peter isn't talking about literally baptizing people. if i'm in error please tell me why.

Other Assorted Nuts

OtherCheek (a Mormon) on the hospital system:

I agree that hospital stays are outrageous. Imagine if they were made free for everyone. Imagine how many people would take advantage of that perk.

I sometimes think we would be better off reverting back to 19th century technology, thus reducing the high cost of hospital stays, etc.

Ty Rockwell wins a couple of Screwbies. One he wins for "crossing out" someone's words in his reply, as an expression of "Word Faoth" principles. Alkso for this:

Translations are the product of translators, who sometimes re-translate each other. The fact is, the Holy Spirit, who inspired the text, used the Greek term that means "expected" in Hebrews 11:1, and "expectation" in Col. 1:27. Even the translators couldn't believe it, which reveals more about their LACK of faith than the actual meaning of the word. The dictionary is objective. Words mean what they mean. Look at the Greek dictionary again. The words "hope" or "hope for" are not in the dictionary for those words.

John Goddard takes one home:

I am willing to admit that eternity is outside of time, and even though I don't believe Jesus pre-existed as God, he is in eternity now and might now be able to travel back in time by the power of God,

UrbanMonk wins a whole raft of Screwbies:

The uber-mind is like an uber "i", yes. It is the "i" of the prodigal Son, whose identity is forged out of the denial that he is the Son of "Our Father"...as in, "I am not the Son of God". This "i" echoes throughout his mind, which makes up all of what we call "the world". So, you can go about in this world and ask anyone if he is the Son of God. And to a man, he will deny it. That is the legacy of the uber-mind. The uber-mind is threatened by anyone who will accept the truth about Sonship. It does not really exist, but by the faith lent it by the Son of God. Yet, while it has been believed in, it rules it's world in competition with the perfect World of God. And what thinks it has "choice" iin this world is just fooling himself. Man is not free. The uber-mind peers through man's eyes, and tells him what to think and do through a router of information place behind man's forehead, called a b.r.a.i.n. A brain and the "mark of the beast" are synonymous. The Son of God accepted to be marked with machinery when he put his faith in another father, that uber-mind I sometimes call the 'prodigal Son'. Man sees only what the prodigal Son would have him see...do what the prodigal Son would have him do. Another word for the uber-mind might be "collective unconscious". Although it may be called "unconscious", it is more conscious than man's apparent consciousness. And through it, all men are 'one and many'...an oxymoron. Yet, because it is one mind, the law of oneness has never been broken, meaning, there is no sin. Self-crucifixion would be insane...if it were true. But the Holy Spirit has judged the uber-mind to be meaningless and non-existent. THAT is why there is no sin. What is left after all this nonsense has been dismissed is the sane Son of God, whose mind seemed to be compromised and then raised up again. Flesh is like a tatoo on the mind of the Son of God. Flesh is the "mark of the beast"...which makes each individual special. It is the acceptance of the gift of specialness that puts us under the rule of the uber-mind.
Well, you've got scholastic groundwork already laid by Elaine Pagels. But the definative authority on the Gospel of Thomas is represented by the personality that has been visiting Gary Renard since 1993 or so. The fruit of conversations between "Pursah" and Gary are available in book-form and represent the second gospel of Thomas. This is anecdotal evidence based on what Gary has said that he has seen and heard and touched.
Sparko is a misinterpreter. He may interpret the bible right, but the bible is a misinterpretation of an earlier, more authentic teaching legacy.
The descension-cross-tomb-restoration-ascension sequence is a metaphor. If you don't understand this, you must be really dumb, not to mention not yet saved.
I subscribe to a "transmigration of souls" that "learn" as they wander away from "the Truth" and unlearn as they wander toward the Truth. In this scheme of things, a single lifetime is like a chapter in a long fiction, where death is just a comma. And in this scheme of things, an atheist is as likely to be toward the Truth as away from it. I prefer to think that atheists are formerly blind theists (like today's "Christians") in some "past life". And if this be the case, they have simply "learned" their "lessons" and have moved on. I regard blind theists (like today's "Christians) as a virulent meme machine actively opposing the true God....making them - by default - atheists of the worst sort because they actively decieve, being decieved themselves. On the other hand, an official "atheist" is easily seen as more HONEST inasmuch as s/he regards the god-of-this-world to be non-existent. This is actually a more ACCURATE theology, more in-line with what I have proposed. I propose that the world-as-we-know-it is the imaginative fruit of a kind of a fanatical devotion to an "idol" called "god" that usurps the true God, and makes it's own world instead, calling it "the universe". Blind theists are most infamous for their devotion to such "god", pushing the envelope of insanity in the process. These are the true atheists, because such a "god" denies the true God, which explains the enmity between me and the orthodox believers in these fora. An "atheist", on the other hand, has long since repented of such foolishness, though it may have been embraced in some "past life", among thousands of "past lives". These "atheists" are MORE HONEST, and I find myself agreeing with them and their agnostic brothers more often than I agree with blind theists, which is almost never. And yet, atheists may yet harbor some enmity toward me because they still value as "real" and/or what many blind theists consider "sacred"...namely, "the world", and certain persons, places or things within it (ie. "the Garden of Eden"). But I am tolerated because I represent what is OmniBenevolent...and which blesses and NEVER curses. In brief, I view atheists as better learners (unlearners) who are fast rising to the call of integrity and honesty.

Also, a Unitarian twit on his blog didn't like the way I trashed Servetus the Evangelical. I said it was on par with Allegro's sacred mushroom thesis, and told some smart mouth who asked for my arguments to get out of his hole and read my article.

The host of the blog then said:

JP please conduct yourself in a Christian manner if you would like to participate on this website. This is your only warning. I understand you disagree with us about who God and Jesus are but telling us that the notion of genuine monotheism is in the same category as a sacred mushroom thesis is disrespectful not only to us but to Jesus who believed that the Father was the only true God (John 17.3). Furthermore, you assume that Xavier is in a hole because he did not read your response to unitarianism. A little humility may be in order. Then you say that "heretics make good meals." This is all very inappropriate behavior for a follower of Jesus.

Col 3.8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Servetus himself wins for this comment replying to James White:

White, who is no lily-white professor, also discredits my book as being "spiral bound." He doesn't know what that is either; its Wire-O bound.

No, White is correct. "Spiral bound" is a generic term for any book bound with a spinal device in a spiral shape. Wire-O is a specific brand of spiral binding. Kind of funny, because it also reflects his confusion over "God" (theos) as a proper name versus as general-description noun.

A reader received a message from someone claiming to be the true pope. His best statement was here, when asked how many followers he had:

I have alot of viewers but right now there is no one in the Catholic Church that I am aware of, except me.

Jose Flores takes one home too:

Jose Flores, 44, told investigators he hijacked Aeromexico Flight 576 after a divine revelation, according to Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna. Flores said Wednesday's date - 9-9-09 - is the satanic number 666 turned upside down.

Flores, speaking to reporters after he was detained, said he took control of the aircraft with "a juice can with some little lights I attached."

"Christ is coming soon," he added, smiling.

As the plane was landing, Flores stood up and showed his contraption to a flight attendant, saying he and three others were hijacking the plane, Garcia Luna said. Flores later told police his three companions were "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

Jo, a Mormon, takes home two which nominate Platinum:

I do not have a library of the history books which four generations of my family were taught about the Reformation and the atrocities perpetrated by the Catholic (christian) church. I have the source from the internet which verifies those things which these four generations were taught. For me to give any credence to your interpretation of this history, you will have to provide some sort of support. Right now, the ONLY thing I have received from you, Sparko, or AP is mere hearsay. Without any support, or ability to research your sources, I must dismiss your case as unsupported.

If someone depends on evidence to base their beliefs on, then their testimony is built on a foundation of sand.

Here's an anonymous comment that wins:

I've always loved Rob Bell's videos. Whether or not everything is right doesn't matter. What he does has so much practical use in life.

And, abu njoroge takes one home:

We put names on what can not be proven. WE destroy any that may know as our own. We write books and then kill the non believer. I tell you this. When our distant cousin or perhaps our forfathers come from the someplace outthere in the sky, We will shake our book at them like all who came before use. And swere to God that whe knew all the answers in the first place. God is not a book and God shall not be mocked. Open yourself and admit you do not know everything.

Finally, Shunyadragon noms Platinum for open self-contradiciton:

...regardless of whether God exists or not we do not have two situations, with God and without God to compare to determine your claim. We simply have one physical existence where there is no evidence that things happen randomly, except as observed in QM. These are observed random events that follow a predicatable pattern.

http://bibchr.blogspot.com/2009/08/renegade-judge-to-mom-your-homeschooled.html Platinum at large nominee.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jehovasinz

A Phoenix-area pastor has started to draw protesters to his congregation after he delivered a sermon titled, "Why I Hate Barack Obama," and told his parishioners that he prays for President Obama's death.

Pastor Steven Anderson stood by his sermon in an interview with MyFOXPhoenix, which reports that the pastor continues to encourage his parishioners to join him in praying for the president's death.

"I hope that God strikes Barack Obama with brain cancer so he can die like Ted Kennedy and I hope it happens today," he told MyFOXPhoenix on Sunday. He called his message "spiritual warfare" and said he does not condone killing.

But a small crowd of protesters gathered around his church Sunday, calling Anderson's words "incomprehensible." And MyFOXPhoenix reported that the sermon, which has drawn widespread attention, led to death threats against the pastor.

Anderson's inflammatory message stems in part from Obama's abortion-rights stance.

In Anderson's controversial sermon, delivered at his Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe before Obama arrived for a speech in Phoenix earlier in the month, the pastor said he wants the president to "melt like a snail" with salt on it.

"I'm gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight. That's what I'm gonna pray," he told his congregation.

Nomination for the wife of Japan's new Prime Minister:

Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of Japan's prime minister-elect, Yukio Hatoyama, is a lifestyle guru, a macrobiotics enthusiast, an author of cookery books, a retired actress, a divorcee, and a fearless clothes horse for garments of her own creation, including a skirt made from Hawaiian coffee sacks.

But there is more, much more.

She has travelled to the planet Venus. And she was once abducted by aliens.

The 62-year-old also knew Tom Cruise in a former incarnation - when he was Japanese - and is now looking forward to making a Hollywood movie with him.

"While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus," she explains in the tome she published last year.

"It was a very beautiful place, and it was very green."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8237558.stm

Two Bangladeshi newspapers have apologised after publishing an article taken from a satirical US website which claimed the Moon landings were faked.

The Daily Manab Zamin said US astronaut Neil Armstrong had shocked a news conference by saying he now knew it had been an "elaborate hoax".

Neither they nor the New Nation, which later picked up the story, realised the Onion was not a genuine news site.

http://news.aol.com/article/dumb-criminal-suspects/652953?icid=main|aimzones|dl6|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Fdumb-criminal-suspects%2F652953

Nomination for Philip Pullman, who is writing a new book that claims that Paul invented Jesus' deity. Stand to Reason reports on it here: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2009/09/jesus-deity.html

Philip Pullman, author of the childrens book series His Dark Materials that arguably portray an atheistic worldview, will release a new book next year recycling an old argument that is contradicted by the majority and most recent scholarship. In a book that appears will be a mix of fiction and non-fiction, Pullman will argue that "St. Paul came up with the 'story' that Jesus had a divine link." He claims that "by the time the gospels were being written, Paul had already begun to transform the story of Jesus into something altogether new and extraordinary, and some of his version influenced what the gospel writers put in theirs." Jesus' divinity is a product of Paul's "fervid imagination."

http://www.gottnotes.com/ArticlesLukeandPlutarch2.html

Plutarch wrote the Gospel of Luke...Platinum nominee.

http://www.gaychristian101.com/

http://www.jesusbelievesinevolution.com/

http://www.takeheed.net/Lewisavoid.htm

A reader nominates someone who had a bumper sticker on the back of his truck that said, "GOOGLE ZEITGEIST"

Nomination for the Center for Inquiry for having a Blasphemy Day on 30th September.

You've never seen Jesus like this before: dripping red nail polish around the nails in his feet and hands, an irreverent riff on the crucifixion wounds. The provocative title of the painting: "Jesus Does His Nails." Blasphemous? Absolutely. Deliberately provocative? You bet.

Artist Dana Ellyn told RNS that she is an "agnostic atheist" whose purpose is to be provocative. "My point is not to offend, but I realize it can offend, because religion is such a polarizing topic," she said.

Among other things, CFI International also plans a "blasphemy contest," "in which participants are invited to submit phrases, poems, or statements that would be, or have been, considered blasphemous." Winners are to receive a t-shirt and mug.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VFDofSAS4g

Screwball to Dan Barker for this: http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3514

In James White's opening statement, he began to quote from Dan Barker's book "Godless" (which was being sold in the back of the church the debate was taking place). In response to this, Dan Barker said: "This debate isn't about my book. Please stick to the topic!"

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