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“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Carl Sagan

The Greek word skeptesthai means to look, to see for yourself.

It’s simply the willingness to hold back credence
until credible substantiation is shown.

This is from the Holy Bible...

This is the story of how Jephthah
made a deal with God!

If God would give him victory
over the people of Ammon
then Jephthah would make a burned offering to God
of the first thing that walks out of his house when he returns home.

This story begins with the very important words:

the Spirit of the Lord
came upon Jephthah!"

Judges 11:29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah,

and he passed through Gilead
and Manasseh,
and passed through Mizpah of Gilead;
and from Mizpah of Gilead
he advanced toward the people of Ammon.

Jud 11:30 And Jephthah
and said,
"If You will indeed deliver
the people of Ammon into my hands,

Jud 11:31 "then it will be that
whatever comes out of the doors
of my house to meet me,
when I return in peace
from the people of Ammon,

shall surely be the LORD'S,

Jud 11:32 So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them,


( Now Jephthah keeps his part of the bargain! )

Jud 11:34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah,
there was his daughter,
coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing;
and she was his only child.
Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

Jud 11:35 And it came to pass,
when he saw her,
that he tore his clothes, and said,
"Alas, my daughter!
You have brought me very low!
You are among those who trouble me!

For I have given my word to the LORD, AND I CANNOT GO BACK ON IT."

( Then....
We even have Jephthah's little daughter agreeing that because Jephthah gave his word to God,
he made an oath,
he must keep that oath.
She says: )

Jud 11:36 "My father," she replied,
"you have given your word
to the LORD.

Do to me just as you promised,
now that the LORD has avenged you
of your enemies, the Ammonites.

Jud 11:37 But grant me this one request," she said.
"Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry."

And then we read how,
after the little girl returns,
Jephthah keeps the vow
that he made to the lord!

Jud 11:39 And it was so at the end of two months
that she returned to her father,


[ The vow was to burn her
on the altar
"to the Lord" ]

There is nothing here about God stopping Jephthah
in the way He supposedly did
when Abraham was supposedly
asked by Him
to sacrifice his son Isaac.

If there was a God actually listening
He could have stopped Jephthah



The wars that follow this episode are similarly ignorant and savage.

NOT usually asked from pulpits:

WHY did not the rest of the clan
STOP Jephthah ?

Notice the additional information
"...and she was his only child.
Besides her he had neither son nor daughter."

Would having additional children
make it less sad to kill this one
as a "sacrifice to the Lord" ?

We know that in many cultures,
primitive peoples
did practice human sacrifice.

The fact that Jephthah
was not stopped by his clan,

and that it was passed down to us
as a religious story showing a commendable virtue,
suggests, at least,
that they did NOT view
human sacrifice with horror.

It is quite possible it was common among them.

( See the reference by Christian bishop Eusebius of Caesarea in Palestine
c. 263–339 AD to human sacrifice
- in "Jesus died". )

What does it say about the people
who collected the writings
that we know as the
Old & New Testaments,
( in the early centuries of Christianity )
that they, too,
saw this as fit to include
in "God's Holy Word" ?

It's inclusion is a valuable
insight into their thinking.

New reformation Leaving

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The painful development of "Traditional" beliefs...
Just an outline at present.
This needs more time than I can give it now.

The Bible itself records that the Isrealites worshiped the gods of the surrounding Cannanite peoples.

Old verbal legends possibly started to be recorded during the times of David & Solomon.

The "dismal prophets" attributed the destruction of that temple to the people's imperfect devotion to Yaweh.

Return from exile, a new temple, new ways...


Early Christianity & the Roman Empire
"Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same.
All may change, but Jesus never! Glory to His Name!
Glory to His Name! Glory to His Name!
All may change, but Jesus never! Glory to His Name!"

Sentiments like this are sung,
and perhaps re-assure people frightened by the pace of change.

But what is the reality ?
After the early followers overcame their shock at Jesus' early death,
the idea developed that Jesus was going to return to establish His earthly Kingdom soon.

"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." —Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27

"Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken'.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

[...]when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."

—Matthew 24:1-34, Mark 13:1-30, Luke 21:5-32


"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels,
and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

The same expectation held during the period the Pauline letters were written.

In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 Paul says that the time is so short that believers should drastically change the way that they live.
(New International Version - UK)

29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.
From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none;

30 those who mourn, as if they did not;
those who are happy, as if they were not;
those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep;

31 those who use the things of the world,
as if not engrossed in them.
For this world in its present form is passing away."

Of course, we know that it did not happen in those days.

and there are many different views of what is the "correct" interpretation,

all of them, by necessity, different from that early view of Jesus.

Conventional Jesus, returning within the lifetime of the early believers...
Jesus' promised return within the listeners' lifetime DID NOT happen....

Arianism, a Christian variant view
saw Jesus Christ as not divine, simply an exceptional human being.

This reached a wide audience, from the imperial household down to humble citizens.

In 325 the Council of Nicaea condemned it.

After Constantine's death the Roman empire was divided on the issue, and another condemnation was issued at Constantinople in 381.

Germanic invaders of the empire generally adopted Arianism as it was simpler than orthodox Christianity.

It spread throughout western Europe and persisted in places until the 8th century.

Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia
Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc. All rights reserved.

Christian scholars agree that the book of Mark was the first written story of "Jesus the Christ"
and that the books of Mathew & Luke followed it's outline, adding details.

John was later again, written to blend with Greek ideas.

THe Amazing Deception
a Critical Analysis of Christianity
- Doyle E Duke Making the NT


U.S. President James Madison (1751 - 1836) wrote:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

Between 1560 and 1715, Europe witnessed only thirty years of international peace.

The greatest "international" conflict of the period was the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).

In 1555, the Peace of Augsburg brought an end to religious wars in Central Europe by dividing the numerous German states between Catholic and Lutheran authority.

Although each prince had the right to determine the religion of his subjects, it happened that Lutheranism continued to spread into catholic-held lands.

The spread of Calvinism, not recognized at Augsburg, also increased tensions.

By 1609, the Holy Roman Empire had fragmented into two hostile alliances -- the Protestant Union and the Catholic League.

Protestants and Catholics would shed each other's blood in prodigious amounts in national wars and in civil wars.

( See Protestant vs Catholic wars within France also.)

..and this was the start of yet more views of what Jesus represented
and what "God's will" was..."

An incredible variety of churches developed, all convinced they are true to "Jesus"

From celibacy to polygamy...

From refusing blood transfusions to refusing to drink wine...
( even though their "Holy Book" has Jesus miraculously changing water into quality wine.)

Clearly some tolerance was needed...
( but only in relation to other groups in society...!!!

Children born into a particular group & any converts have to strictly conform...
& we are expected to tolerate that also...

Freethinkers speak up ... and are called "intolerant"..... )

If a "God" directed a revelation,
why was it so fragmented and painful ?

Truely, an objective view of the history can only conclude:

"Man made his God & his religions..."

Bart D. Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar,
currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ehrman, who describes himself as an agnostic,
writes about the early Christians,
using the term "proto-orthodox" to describe the Christian traditions
that would later be defined as orthodox.

He describes first- and second-century Christians
as not yet having a unified, orthodox tradition.

He is the author of a number of books in this area, including
Misquoting Jesus (2005),
God's Problem (2008),
and Jesus, Interrupted (2009).

He began studying the Bible and its original languages at the Moody Bible Institute
and is a 1978 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois.

He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

He went from a Moody Bible Institute-educated fundamentalist evangelical
to an agnostic.

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