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"Next time you read the Bible,
which allegedly was inspired by
the creator of the cosmos himself,

remember this uncomfortable fact:

its utter mundanity
( the quality of being
commonplace and ordinary )

betrays
its decidedly terrestrial origin."


The Argument from Mundanity.

" In the minds of many Christians,
the Bible was written
(or, at the least, inspired)
by the creator of the cosmos.

This fantastical entity,
children have been
inculcated to believe,
is comprehensively aware of the thoughts and inner conflicts
of every ( past, present & future ) individual roaming the planet.

Certainly,
considering it's supposed author,
one might expect the Bible to be full
of dazzlingly specific information
(of which none of its readers
previously had been aware).

Considering the claimed author,
it should be the pinnacle
of intellectual achievement,
featuring innumerable accurate
tidbits about events and discoveries still to come.

Yet, this certainly is not the case.



More eloquently than could I,
Sam Harris articulates the point in 'Letter to a Christian Nation',
writing:

"... just imagine how breathtakingly specific a work of prophecy would be,
if it were actually the product of Omniscience.

If the Bible were such a book,
it would make perfectly accurate predictions about human events.

You would expect it to contain a passage such as
'In the latter half of the twentieth century, humankind will develop a globally linked system of computers
--the principles of which I set forth in Leviticus--and this system shall be called the Internet...'

The Bible contains nothing like this...


...making the salient point
that a great deal of human misery
could have been wiped
out had the Bible simply provided
a single nugget of previously
unknown medical knowledge.


"Why," he asks, "doesn't the Bible
say anything about electricity,
or about DNA,
or about the actual age
and size of the universe?

What about a cure for cancer?
When we fully understand
the biology of cancer,
this understanding will be easily summarized in a few pages of text.

Why aren't these pages,
or anything remotely like them,
found in the Bible?

Good, pious people are dying horribly from cancer at this very moment,
and many of them are children.


The Bible is a very big book.

God had room to instruct us
in great detail
about how to keep slaves and
sacrifice a wide variety of animals.


To one who stands outside
the Christian faith,
it is utterly astonishing how ordinary
a book can be and still be thought
the product of Omniscience."


In fact, it does not contain
a single sentence that could not have been written by a man or woman
living in the first century.


This should trouble you."


http://secweb.infidels.org/
article767.html


















Robert M. Price, PhD,
a former Baptist minister,
and professor of theology and scriptural studies at the Coleman Theological Seminary

argues reconstructions of the "historical Jesus" are,
as Albert Schweitzer *
pointed out long ago,
creating their own view of Jesus.

Christian faith,
whether fundamentalist or theologically liberal,
invariably tends to produce a Jesus capable of playing the role
of a religious figurehead
for those differing views.

This is no surprise,
Dr. Price demonstrates,
since the Jesus Christ of the gospels
is very likely a fictional amalgam of several first-century prophets and messiahs, as well as of purely mythic Mystery Cult redeemers and Gnostic Aions.

To show this, Dr. Price follows the noted scholar Burton Mack's outline of a range of "Jesus movements" and "Christ cults," showing the origins of each one's Jesus figures and how they may have finally merged into the patchwork savior of Christian dogma.

Finally, Dr. Price argues that there is good reason to believe that Jesus never existed as a historical figure,
and that responsible historians must remain agnostic about a "historical Jesus" and what he stood for.

DECONSTRUCTING JESUS
on Amazon



---

* Albert Schweitzer OM
( 1875 - 1965 )

Lutheran minister,
theologian,
organist,
philosopher
and ( later ) medical missionary physician

made notable contributions
in all of these areas.

His religious writings included:

The Quest of the Historical Jesus,
A Critical Study of it's Progress
From Reimarus To Wrede,
(German, 1906).

The Mystery of the Kingdom of God:
The Secret of Jesus' Messiahship
and Passion. (1914)

The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle. (1930)

The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity.

The Psychiatric Study of Jesus:
Exposition and Criticism. (1911)

It is interesting that
after all his religious studies
he decided the best use of his life
was to study for a medical degree;

not to preach,
play the organ for worship,
or to teach theological students
but to give practical medical
help in Africa.

( He established a hospital in Gabon. )



















"The Jesus the Jews Never Knew:

Sepher Toldoth Yeshu
and the Quest of the Historical
Jesus in Jewish Sources"


The ancient Jews
never heard of Jesus of Nazareth.
Indeed,
they never heard of Nazareth either.

That is the startling conclusion
of a comprehensive investigation of Jewish records surviving from antiquity.


Every literary source ever advanced
by serious scholars as being a reference to the historical Jesus is examined and found to be nothing of the sort

-- except for the latest layers of the Babylonian Talmud.
Clearly, those references were reactions to Christianity,
not to Christ.


But what of the
"Sepher Toldoth Yeshu"
("The Book of the Genealogy of Jesus")?

Does that Jewish satirical antigospel reflect echoes of ancient arguments between Jesus of Nazareth and his Jewish brethren?

Can the Jesus of that tale --
a man portrayed as the bastard
son of a soldier named Panther,
a magician,
and the aerially sodomized victim
of a flying Judas
-- provide information about a historical Jesus?

Of course not, but it does provide a fascinating insight into the world in which the gospels were invented.


The book sheds light on the important role of fraud and forgery
in the advancement of Christianity even in its earliest periods.

It shows, for example,
that there was much more Christian interpolation into the works of Josephus than even most Atheist scholars have realized.


"The historical Jesus has always been made to stand on two legs:
the New Testament
and Jewish literature.

The New Testament leg I consider to have been sawed off long ago.

Amputation of the Jewish leg has been, I hope, the achievement of this book.

With both his legs missing,
the figure of Jesus must now either hover in the air -- like the god he started out
as in the Christian mysteries
or like the Yeshu he became in the Toldoth
-- or he must fall to earth like a deflated baloon."

--Frank R. Zindler

"The Jesus the Jews Never Knew:
Sepher Toldoth Yeshu
and the Quest of the Historical
Jesus in Jewish Sources"
on Amazon






New reformation Leaving















this page, and my updates and interesting snippets on Twitter.

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Former minister Farrell Till spent 12 years preaching
& was a missionary in a fundamentalist church
which emphasised the inerrancy of the Bible as "GOD'S WORD."


He writes:

" Back when I was still a preacher, I knew that if I was going to be a good one,
I would need to be familiar with the Bible, so I was determined to learn as much about it as I could.
I didn't want to "know" the Bible; I wanted to know it inside out...

I would read from several versions a part of, say, David's life as told in the books of Samuel
and then read the same account, if there was one, in 1 Chronicles...

When I was doing these parallel Bible studies,
I couldn't help noticing inconsistencies and even outright contradictions
in the way the same stories were related.
This made me wonder about the marvelous unity and harmony of the scriptures
that I had heard so much about in sermons and Bible classes
both when I was growing up and attending college.


However, one doesn't grow up in a fundamentalist environment
and then throw his belief in Bible inerrancy away the very first time he encounters problems
that don't quite agree with what he has been taught all of his life.

I sincerely believed that there were explanations and solutions to be found.
All I had to do was look for them.
When I looked and couldn't find them,
I experienced deep feelings of guilt and shame.
The problem had to be with me.
It just couldn't be that the Bible was not what I had been taught to believe...


I began to see that the Bible wasn't a book with just a few problems;

it was riddled with inconsistencies, discrepancies, contradictions, and absurdities.

As long as I believed that the Bible was inerrant, for example,
I was able to rationalize the barbaric nature of God as presented in the Old Testament.

I accepted the premise that God was not immoral in ordering the massacre of children and babies
(Num. 31:17; 1 Sam. 15:3),
for if he could create life, he had the right to take life;
if he killed children and babies in the heathen nations around Israel, he was actually doing them a favor, because they would go to heaven rather than grow up to be like their wicked parents.

To my embarrassment and discredit,
I have to admit that I actually preached this kind of stuff
when I was a fundamentalist minister.

Once my faith in inerrancy was shaken, however,
I was able to see the folly of stupid attempts like these to justify
the despicable conduct of the Hebrew god.


"Over the years, I have spent many hours studying the Bible.

My first efforts were directed at looking for solutions to the problem
of textual inconsistencies and contradictions.

I suppose my intention was to discover that there were no grounds for my skepticism,
but the more I studied the Bible,
the more I realized I would never resolve the problem of biblical discrepancies,
because the truth is that the Bible
is a collection of books written by uninspired, fallible men,
and like all fallible men they made mistakes.


They probably were sincere in their belief that they were writing as representatives of God,
but their sincerity didn't make it so."

J. Farrell Till 1933 - 2012

"The truth was a long time in coming,
but finally I realized that God had
had exactly nothing to do with the authorship of the Bible."

Former minister J. Farrell Till published "The Skeptical Review Online"

------------

Understanding how the present day "Bible" was assembled,
in the first few centuries of the church;

that some widely circulating & accepted Christian writings were rejected for inclusion,
because they were thought to be "unbelieveable";

the oral origins of what was included;
and gaining an accurate view of it all,
has taken scholars much effort.

In my time in the church this knowledge was not widespread,
certainly not among the young who were constantly presented with a set pattern of beliefs
and urged "to follow Jesus" and "stand up for Jesus..."
even though scholars have long concluded
that it is not possible to get an accurate picture of the actual "historical" Jesus.

( Please note * below )


------------

Added in 2015 :

Biblical scholar and historian of the early Christian period,
Dr. Steven DiMattei ( Ph.D. in Religious Studies )
has a very readable site : What is the Bible ?

A quick browse gives an overview of agreed scholarship on the Bible's origins.
There is much detail for those interested.


Url retrieved July 1, 2015

------------

One of the scholars was the socially conservative David Friedrich Strauss, ( 1808–1874 )

At the University of Tübingen in 1835, he published the first volume of his most important work,
Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet ( 2 vols., Tübingen, 1835–1836;
translated from the 4th German edition by George Eliot
as The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, London, 1848 ).

" When he began his study of the Gospels, Strauss was neither a liberal nor a materialist.
His original interests had been those of a Hegelian idealist;
he had meant to study the available records of Jesus' life in order to distinguish their historically valid content from the theological accretions that had become associated with them during the first two centuries of the Christian era.

His investigations convinced him, however, that the principal importance of the Gospels
was aesthetic and philosophical, not historical.

On the one hand, the Gospels provided insight into the Messianic expectation of the Jewish people in the late Hellenistic period;
on the other hand, they reflected a memory of the exceptional personality of a great man, Jesus.

Thus envisaged, the Gospels were a synthesis of notions peculiar to the Jews regarding the nature of world history and of certain moral teachings associated with the name of a purely human,
yet historically vague ( Please note * below ) , personality,
presented in an aesthetically pleasing form for members of a new religious community
that was both Jewish and Greek in its composition.

He went on to argue that even if the historicity of the account of Jesus's life in the Gospels were denied, it need not follow that the Gospels were a product of conscious invention or fraud.

He held, rather, that they could be said to belong to a third order of mental activity,
called by Hegel unconscious invention or myth and defined by him as an attempt
to envision the Absolute in terms of images derived from sensible experiences.

As unconscious invention, the Gospels were to be viewed as poetic renderings of man's desire to transcend the finitude of the historical moment,

as evidence of the purely human desire to realize the immanent goal of Spirit in its journey toward the Hegelian Being-in-and-for-itself.

Thus, although Strauss had denied that the Gospels were evidence of the direct intrusion of the divine into history or even of the true nature of Jesus' life,
he had, in his own view, at least salvaged them as documents in the history of human expression.

In doing so, of course, he had reduced them to the same status as the pagan myths, legends, and epics.


For examples of the believed "truths", now known to be pagan myths see my :
mix_stir_well.htm


http://www.bookrags.com/research/strauss-david-friedrich

Notice how long ago this was,
yet knowledge about these types of studies is not common among church people.


Ministers who do know should not succumb to guilt feelings about "letting down the faith" but ensure all this is widely known and understood.
even if their particular denomination does not have a tradition of teaching ( or even valuing ) objective study.


My http://expreacher.com/new_reformation.htm
may provide a way forward for those very familiar with all this.


------------

In these times, when we tend to broadly categorise all Christian churches as "Christian",
it is easy to overlook some of the real historical differences between RC & Protestant ideas that led to the Reformation.

Protestants promoted the Bible as central & wanted the ordinary believers to be able to read it in their ordinary language rather than the priest reading it in Latin.

The RC leadership knew that their monolithic control of a single universal church would be seriously undermined by everyone being able to read the Bible.

Sadly the Protestant churches, on the whole, like to control attitudes and interpretations just as much.
Creeds & Statements of Doctrine try to control how everything is understood.
"This is SACRED" and must not be examined by a truely questioning, objective mind.

My page on objective assessment of what we have been taught since infancy :
http://expreacher.com/galaxy.htm


The "Holy Book" - actually a collection of fragments -
is NOT so wonderful once you start looking at it
the same way you would evaluate every other writing.


Attempt to read it objectively, like an "outsider" would:

This site has two lengthy quotations on the page Jesus _died.htm here.
If you haven't already done so, please read
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah!" in the side panel....


Here is the site for the book "When God speaks for Himself"
http://www.inversebooks.com/WhenGodSpeaks2.html


Someone who knows the Bible very well has a big site of Bible passages: www.EvilBible.com

Human sacrifice - - - Rape - - - - Bible Quotes are some selections.


I look in the Bible at the origins of
the doctrine of Salvation
http://expreacher.com/Jesus_died.htm.

and of Holy Communion
http://expreacher.com/Body_Blood.htm


The green sidebar on http://expreacher.com/Very_Important.htm
has some Bible verses that came as a shock
when I really thought about them,
yet I'd read the Bible from childhood,
as a theological student & as a minister
and had NOT really realised the implications.



"Our God was made by men, sculptured by savages who did the best they could.
They made our God somewhat like themselves,
and gave to him their passions, their ideas of right and wrong.
As man advanced he slowly changed his God
- took a little ferocity from his heart, and put a little kindness in his eyes..."

My few words on not letting modern habits of thought
blind us to the very primitive condition
of those whose oral stories eventually became our "God's Holy Word" :
http://expreacher.com/Blog.htm#modern

------------

The development of religious ideas, starting from basic Animism
& going on to present-day belief systems is a huge study.

This page : mix_stir_well.htm touches on some of the influences
on the world-views, culture and religion of early church life and thought habits.



------------


[ * In fact there are good arguements
that a true historical Jesus may NOT have even existed,


Professor R. M. Price PhD :
"argues that there is good reason to believe that Jesus never existed as a historical figure
and that responsible historians must remain agnostic about a "historical Jesus" and what he stood for"

(see green sidebar on left)

Dr Price's more recent "The Historical Bejeezus" ( Summary on Amazon )
" updates us on the historical Jesus quest.
Finding as did Schweitzer that all attempted biographies have been unconvincing and unsuccessful,
he has decided it was time to include reviews of the works of Christ-myth scholars such as G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty, D.M. Murdock, Thomas L. Thompson, and Joseph Atwill.

It now appears all but certain that the reason for the failure of all attempts hitherto to write a biography of a historical Jesus is simple:
there was no historical Jesus."



"The Jesus the Jews Never Knew: Sepher Toldoth Yeshu
and the Quest of the Historical Jesus in Jewish Sources"
( see the end of green sidebar on left)
http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Jews-Never-Knew-Historical/dp/1578849160



or that the gospels are loosely based on some obscure delusional religious rebel
who scared the Temple authorities & the Roman occupying power,

( The Romans became so upset at constant Jewish rebellion
that they destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE/AD );

or are loosely based on a totally human "Teacher of rightousness" from the Essene sect of Judaism. ]



'Arianism", a very widely held Christian variant view
"saw Jesus Christ as not divine, simply an exceptional human being...."

see the final section of "Jesus Died" :




"Our God was made by men, sculptured by savages who did the best they could.

They made our God somewhat like themselves,
and gave to him their passions, their ideas of right and wrong...


As man advanced
he slowly changed his God
- took a little ferocity from his heart,
and put a little kindness in his eyes.

As man progressed
he obtained a wider view,
extending his intellectual horizon,

and again he changed his God,
making him
as nearly perfect as he could,

and yet this God was patterned
after those who made him........

...As man became more civilised,
as he became merciful,
he began to love justice,
and as his mind expanded his ideal became purer, nobler,
and so his God became more merciful, more loving.

In our day Jehovah has been outgrown.
He is no longer the perfect.
Now ( preachers ) talk, not about Jehovah

( one of the Old Testament names for God - editor ),

but about a God of love, call him the Eternal Father,
and the perpetual friend and providence of man.

But, while they talk about this God of love,
cyclones ( hurricanes ) wreck & rend,
the earthquake devours,
the flood destroys...
( disease)...
still the tireless reapers in the harvest fields of death...

As Christians changed their God,
they have according changed their ( emphasis on what is in the - editor ) Bible..."

Robert G.Ingersoll,
the son of a US Presbyterian minister, in "The crime of superstition"







In The Human Bible Podcast , Dr. Robert M. Price,
former Baptist pastor, PhD in Systematic Theology (1981)
and a second PhD in New Testament (1993),
Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies at Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary

will demystify this foundational book,
all from a rational and non-ideological perspective
and all with a good dose of humor.

" For fans of history, religious studies, or literature — or of charismatic professorial types — The Human Bible is a trove of entertainment and enlightenment.

We'll cover everything from the Q Source
(including explaining what the heck that means)
to that one time God wanted to kill Moses for having a foreskin...."

www.thehumanbible.net


-------

"But God said it..."

Some originators of what are claimed to be "God's exact Words" may well have thought "God" actually was telling them something.
Others may , in good faith, have "extended" what was already taught to cover a new situation with the idea "well I think that God thinks..." and conveyed it as "God says..."
( as some types of present-day preachers often do ).

Others may have simply wanted their ideas to have Divine authority.

People certainly are ascribing new words to God today,
and the same would have happened many times in the past
to the compilation we now call "God's Word" .

from a brief essay by Dr. Price; it's worth reading : http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=20924






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Email Bookmark and Share Hover cursor over "SHARE" for 300+ social media options.
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