Thursday, April 18, 2013

Evangelicals Want to ‘Double Down’ on Bible Thumping? Fine- But It Won’t Make ANY Difference!

According to a report in TIME (‘Preach Like Your Faith Depends On It’, Mar. 25, p.46) Evangelicals of all stripes are wetting their panties and crying because statistics show young people especially are becoming “NONES”. According to stats cited in the article “15 to 20% of all Americans in the past five years have ceased to claim any religious affiliation”. This is especially among the young, i.e. Millennials, the group the fundies would most like to drumbeat into their brainwashed fold. The trend has become so significant that Pew researchers have described it as “the rise of the Nones”.

Instead of figuring out that people are becoming much more informed, and now able to see through biblical bollocks and the bluster of fake pastors, these numskulls intend to “double down” on their preaching, believing they just haven’t been intense enough! Are they on crack as well as stupid? According to the TIME article:

“Rather than softening the Gospel message to make it more marketable to an America skeptical of institutions – a frequent reform point of view- what draws the real energy among the faithful is a commitment to what Christians call  ‘the Great Commission’ the words the resurrected Jesus spoke to his apostles at the end of Matthew: ‘Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’”

Well, hate to break it these hyper-dedicated  faithers, but they could as well save their breath: Jesus never spoke any such words (they were inserted into his "mouth" by a forger) and no one named ‘Matthew’ had anything to do with them either!

This has been confirmed by research by Bart Ehrman, published in his latest book: ’FORGED: Why the Bible’s Authors  Are Not Who We Think They Are.’

For example (cf. p. 256) all the words alleged to have been spoken by Christ during the crucifixion or after (i.e. resurrection) were later insertions by forgers. According to Ehrman (ibid.) while the accounts purport to be faithful representations written only 7 years after the crucifixion, in fact none of the quadriforms (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) were written until 40 to 60 years after his death. Ehrman adds:

“Moreover, these books were not known as a book of writings until the second century.”

More to the point, Ehrman goes on to note we have absolutely NO Roman records of any kind “that attest to the existence of Jesus Christ”. Indeed, if a trial actually occurred, as the Gospel authors claim, one would have thought at least a passing reference would appear in public records. But there are none, zero, nada. No public accounts, no references to any trial, no descriptions of his death….”not even a birth certificate”. Ehrman adds that “not even is Jesus mentioned in any historical source of the 1st century”.

Ehrman is careful to note this doesn’t mean Jesus never existed, only that there are no formal public records of his existence. But it is this very absence of public documentation that makes forgery easy, because there can be no cross checks or independent confirmations. Hence, there's no way to validate words or actions attributed to the putative God-man at the time his would have historically existed. Christ being claimed to have said: "Go and teach all nations etc." then has about as much ballast as me saying: "Go forth and find the extraterrestrials now taking over our leaders on Earth!"  It's bare bollocks!

Why would these forgers be so committed to lies, deceptions? Ehrman references the ancient belief in the “noble lie” – relating lies for a person’s own good (i.e. telling a patient that a horrific tasting herbal brew will be good for him, to cure some illness). In this case, the forgers clearly felt it was more important to lie to entice non-believers to accept the Christ God-man story than to tell the truth….that he was an exceptional but human rabbi and Cynic, blessed with powerful charisma who was probably executed for ‘crimes against the state’, as Oxford researcher Geza Vermes surmises.

I point this out to indicate that ‘doubling down’ on preaching long held myths about Christ is not the way to go. Thus, Albert J. Mohler’s warning in the TIME piece that:

“The evangelical movement in America is going to be forced back into the Book of Acts”

I suspect isn't too bright an idea. (I do give Mohler lots of credit for cojones given how his Xtian mandates were thrashed in the last general election!) Anyway, Mohler's quote is a reference to the 'world of Acts' which featured ferocious witnessers for Jaysus and missionary zeal in making converts. Of course, Mohler is clearly clueless that the Book of Acts itself is replete with forgery. Ehrman notes, for example (p. 206):

“Acts claims to be written by someone who was a companion of Paul, but given the numerous discrepancies between Paul’s letters and the book of Acts this seems unlikely.”

Ehrman then details how and why Acts is a clever forgery, in which again, the notion of going out and converting the Gentiles is trumpeted, though there is no bona fide basis for it. Consider also the letter of Paul to the Galatians. This encapsulates a problem of not only historicity, but of significant copyist errors (bastardized mss.) left to parse, as well as geography.

Even at the time of the original “letter” (assuming it was even penned by Paul), Galatia was not a single town with a single church, it was a region in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in which Paul had established churches. When he writes to the “Galatians” therefore, is Paul writing to ONE single church or to all of them? (Presumably since he doesn’t single out any he intends his missive to go to all of them). If so, given the churches are far apart (on average 150 miles) does that mean he made multiple copies of the same letter – or did he intend one letter to circulate to all the churches of the region?

Suppose he made multiple copies, how did he do it given no printing presses were available and the precise copying of merely one letter would have taken over a year. In fact, the evidence of extant texts shows Paul dictated the letter to a scribe. (Paul’s initials, unusually large, diverge from the scale of script used in the actual letters).

Problem with the dictation: Did Paul actually dictate it word for word, or did he merely spell out general points and enjoin the scribe to fill in the rest?  Here’s what we do know: What survives today is not the original copy of the letter, nor one of the first copies that Paul himself made, nor any of the copies that were produced in the towns of Galatia to which the letter was sent – nor any of the copies of those copies.

The first reasonable copy we have of Galatians is a papyrus called P 46 – for the 46th New Testament papyrus to be catalogued, which dates to 200 CE (200 AD). This is roughly 150 years after Paul putatively wrote the letter. It was in circulation – copied sometimes correctly, sometimes not, for 15 decades BEFORE any copy was made that survived to the present day. Further, we cannot reconstruct the copy from which P 46 was made.

An even more outrageous case of forgery documented by Ehrman (pp.32-33) is the Letter of Timothy, actually forged by a 5th century Church leader named Salvian, based in Marseilles. The excuse this bozo used when caught out by superiors? If he wrote in his own name, no one would pay any attention, so he chose the name 'Timothy' - meaning "honored by God".  Laugh if you will, I suspect most cases of such biblical forgery were driven by the same reasons, plenty of good intentions to be sure, but not the words of the person(s) claimed.

The TIME article, interestingly, ends with a quote from G.K. Chesterton:

“the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

But perhaps old G.K. never considered the REAL reason the exalted Christian ideal has "been found difficult"  is because touted biblical messages-passages  are rendered not merely difficult in themselves, but nonsensical if  interwoven in a patchwork of outright lies, forgeries. My take is that people would be more welcoming to Xtians as a whole and their message of fellowship if: 1) they admitted most of the Gospels are not historical documents but instead based on forgers’ propaganda, 2) Christians displayed their beliefs by actions toward others, done in a consistent way.

The second is especially apropos. I mean, think of it! Why in Hell’s Bells would I be inclined to pay attention to the blog preachings of some dumb, self-professed "saved'  Xtian  turd who claims to be following Christ, if this turd puts images of me in assorted  "Hell" graphics on his blog? Added to that, he tries to browbeat me with assorted verbal bullying, name-calling and visual (image) assaults and expects me to attend to his  "saving witnessing". To take him seriously? He's either nuts or a fucking moron.

I’d as soon spit on this turd, as listen to him or respect his beliefs! I'd do the same for Fred Phelps or any other self-professed "Christians"  who claim to be preaching an authentic "gospel" message when the most rudimentary intellect can see it's fraught with HATE. (Probably too, none of these imbeciles have ever heard of the old saw that "you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar")

Now, IF he instead went out and set up a table to feed homeless kids, or bought groceries for indigent seniors and helped prepare their meals, I’d be much more inclined to pay attention. If he even went out to pick up garbage, cans, McDonald's wrappers strewn on his highway - to demonstrate something to care for beyond himself with ACTIONS, I'd be more likely to take him seriously.  But not if he froths at the mouth, literally spits his words out at me with pure venom and expects me to be accepting!

Look, I am an unbeliever.  If you claim your faith system is superior to what I uphold (science)  then SHOW me! Not by your fucking words, but ACTIONS!  Not by your stupid, mucked up, forged bible verses but by how you act and show compassion to the world. If you can show me you can do something I have difficulty with, translating ideations to solid, charitable  and compassionate actions, I might decide first - that your system has something to commend it that mine lacks. And second, that you are capable of 'walking the walk' as opposed to merely talking Bible BS. Or....trying to threaten me with hellfires when you haven't even convinced me that I'd remotely wish to spend an eternity with your smug, self-righteous lot! DOH!!! (In other words, dummies, "salvation" is not a big priority on my to-do list if it means spending a nanosecond with religious psychos! Of course, since nothingness is the ultimate end of humans anyway, it's a moot point.)

Basically then the Christians are their own worst enemies in getting their message out far less getting it accepted. If they’d first attend to pruning the creeps and turds from their lot, i.e. those like the Fred Phelpses, Billy Sundays, Pastor Mikes, Pat Robertsons, Jim Joneses, et al – they’d have more success in getting the NONES or us non-believers, to give them respect...maybe even heed whatever scintilla of useful message they might have for us.

Doubling down on biblical bollocks then isn’t going to engage more people - but perhaps attending to truthfulness in their own scriptures will, as well as ACTING the part of the one they profess to follow – as opposed to acting like hateful pieces of ambulatory, diseased dogshit.

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