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The "good" book - Human Sacrifice

Updated on March 3, 2014

The Opposite of Good

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Introduction: Is Human Sacrifice Moral?

It is absolutely appalling to consider the fact that the bible, the book touted by millions of people worldwide, is still generally regarded to be the good book. It is given to children to read. It is taught daily in study groups. It is commonly referred to as humanity's only example for moral values, and is looked to for guidance in regards to social morality. It is preached from the pulpit, it is quoted in discussions of all stripes, and it is blatantly evil. Not only is its validity questionable at best, but the book itself, were you to take at at face value, is one of the corrupt, morally bankrupt, disgusting pieces of literature throughout history. Yet it is still regarded today as the word of god. Although it was written by literally dozens of different men, the claim is that it was inspired by god, and therefore is the infallible word of god himself. Only the god portrayed in the bible, of course. The god who would be judged by today's standards as a mob boss, a tyrant and a sociopath. If the stories in the bible were true, the god portrayed in those pages would be hunted down and eliminated, much like many dictators that have been dethroned in the not-too-distant past. This hub will examine the blatant and obvious immorality in these so-called holy scriptures. This is not the place to discuss the validity of the book or its writings itself - that can be addressed later. As in all hubs to be written on this topic, we can examine immoral aspects of the bible one at a time, and will differentiate between the old and new testaments - notated as ot or nt (in case any Christians care to say that the old testament is no longer valid)


The Verses:

OT - Genesis 22:1-18
The most famous (or infamous) story of human sacrifice in the bible is one that Christians will be the first to point out - the one where it doesn't happen at all. Abraham is at a ripe old age when he is given his long-awaited son, Isaac. God rewards Abraham's patience and faith (oh wait, he didn't have faith in god's promise - so much so that he took out an insurance policy and slept with his servant/slave who gave birth to his OTHER son Ishmael ) by deciding to test him. God's test for Abraham was simple - sacrifice his son to god. As in, a burning sacrifice. Abraham doesn't question god on this order, although Abraham has no qualms about questioning god at other times. He gets his son, collects some things and goes off to sacrifice him. Of course, god stops the whole thing from happening just when Abraham is about to plunge his knife into his son to kill him. God gives Abraham a ram to kill, instead. How thoughtful. The bible points out in the NT that god never tests or temps anyone (James 1:13) - yet he tested Abraham. This contradiction is almost always overlooked, however.

The Rebuttal:
Christian apologists are quick to point out that since god is omniscient, he never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac. If god was omniscient, however, why the need to test Abraham at all? Surely an all-powerful dictator (I mean god) would already know that Abraham would go through with it. His all-knowing magnificence seems to overlook this blatantly obvious fact, and chooses to go through with it anyway. It's also interesting to note that there have been many historical court cases in the last 30 years where parents have murdered their children, then claimed they were acting on god's orders. Christians quickly decry these murderers and say that god would simply never order a parent to kill their child. Clearly that isn't the case. Not only does god order parents to kill their children, he does it without compunction. If the story of Jesus were true, god did it himself. Therefore, what's the harm, right?

OT Exodus 13:2 and Leviticus 27:28-29
God apparently has a thing for first-born sons. In the passage in Exodus, he clearly states that the first-born, be it man or animal, is his own personal property, and it should be sacrificed to him. Exodus, of course, goes on to say that the firstborn may be replaced with an appropriate sacrifice. This is directly contradicted by the passage in Leviticus which states, rather clearly, that "Note also that any one of his possessions which a man vows as doomed to the Lord, whether it is a human being or an animal, or a hereditary field, shall be neither sold nor ransomed; everything that is thus doomed becomes most sacred to the Lord. All human beings that are doomed lose the right to be redeemed; they must be put to death."

OT Judges 11:29-40
Where Isaac may have gotten off lightly, Jephthah daughter was not so fortunate. Jephthah makes a deal with god. He was a favorite general of the jews, and he was about to fight an important and potentially dangerous battle. He tells god that, if god delivers the enemy into his hands, he will then sacrifice the first thing that came out to greet him when he returned home. God lets Jephthah win, and upon his return home, his only daughter comes out to welcome her father. Although Jephthah is grieved, he must keep his promise - and he burns his daughter as a sacrifice to god. Two points: 1) Again, if god is omniscient as it is claimed, surely he knew what would greet Jephthah when he went home. Why make the deal in the first place? 2) god was quick to save Abraham's son (although I'm sure Abraham was working up a sweat) yet he did nothing to stop the murder of Jephthah daughter. Couldn't he have spoken up and said 'oh, hey, yeah you don't need to keep your end of the bargain - it's going to be your daughter, and you probably shouldn't kill her.

OT 1 Kings 13:1-2 & 2 Kings 23:20-25
God not only predicts, but commands the ritual burning human sacrifice. This is okay, however, because they're only pagan priests. In other words, since they're not his chosen people, burning people to death is fully acceptable. This concept was relived time and time again in the Inquisition, where thousands of people were burned alive at the stake because they were suspected of not converting correctly - or believing in the wrong god. Ironically, the majority of the victims in the infamous Spanish Inquisition were Jews - god's original chosen people. Additionally, in Deuteronomy 13:13-19, god commands human sacrifice: "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him."


Source

The Ultimate Supposed Sacrifice:

Of course, the most famous sacrifice at all is the supposed sacrifice of Jesus to take away the sins of the entire world. Not only is the idea of substitutionary atonement immoral in itself, but sending yourself to earth in order to sacrifice yourself to yourself in order to create a loophole in a law that you, yourself instigated.

Contradictory Claims:

Not only does god command human sacrifice, either as a game or as a pleasing fleshy smell that he seems to enjoy, he also forbids human sacrifice. How is anyone supposed to know what this supposed god actually wants, when he can't even decide himself? It doesn't sound like an all-knowing, all-powerful deity to me. The old testament doesn't forbid all human sacrifice, but it is expressly against child sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:31, Deuteronomy 18:9-12, 2 Kings 16:3, Psalm 106:38, Jeremiah 19:4-5) Yet god had no problem ordering Abraham to sacrifice his son. He allowed Jephthah to sacrifice his daughter. He ultimately sacrificed his own son.


Conclusion:

I highly doubt that any moral, rational and good person alive today would point to a human sacrifice and find it acceptable behavior. The fact of the matter is that society has evolved over time, and things that used to be commonplace are now blatantly repugnant. The book hasn't changed (well it has, but that's for another hub) and if god doesn't change (James 1:17) then things that he found acceptable several thousand years ago should still be good enough today. They're not. What's changed? We have. Society has changed, and as it changed, it moved away from immoral principles that it used to abide by.

The Late, Great, Christopher Hitchens

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    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      lol, I'm still not a sir, but your comment is much appreciated. Ironically, most of the atheist community that I work with compliment christians all the time, and even work with them for various outreach programs. I have no problem recognizing honor or intelligence when it is presented to me. I would love to discuss these (and more, I'm sure) issues with you again in the future.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you, sir. You will be fined by the atheist union for complimenting a Christian. That's ok though it will all come from the taxpayer. You're a good guy. It was a hearty debate and like iron sharpening iron. The sparks flew but everyone was wearing his goggles. Hope to talk to you again.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      It was interesting and awakening to talk to you. I value your intelligence, as I said, and I look forward to more conversations in the future. Genuinely. I do respect you, although we have a fundamental difference in beliefs.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      J., you asked me to pray for you, but that doesn't mean I have to do it. What I said about 'pray without ceasing' is that Christians should always be in prayer, like breathing. But really the only thing I prayed for was wisdom because that seemed to be the only thing I thought that was needful. I'm glad you brought up that particular verse. I thought you might. I would point out 2 things about that verse. One is - ask anything. That would be simple to interpret - anything means anything is fair game. Is this is what is meant? If it is I can pray to be God, or a cow. That would be ludicrous. And so the clarification and qualifier and limitation of the verse is 'in my name'. You have to place some meaning behind 'in my name' otherwise the verse does not make sense. As I understand it, a Christian's prayer must be in line with the character of Christ. Your desires must be in line with His. This includes submission to His will. When Jesus prayed that His cup might pass, and whose prayer would be so readily answered than Jesus', He was submissive to the Father's will. I never claimed to have great faith. My faith feels very infinitesimal at times. But understand that great faith will always pray for the will of God and not one's own. If it is God's will of course your prayer will be answered.

      Well, Ehrman may agree on the historicity of Jesus but he doesn't believe in His divinity. I will agree with someone insofar as they are correct, or as I think they are. I've heard some or many of the arguments on forgeries. My time is limited as well and I am very particular, not wanting to rehash old arguments from different authors, about what I read. For instance, I've heard the forgery story on Josephus many, many years ago. I believe the argument was on extrapolation. Dr. D. James Kennedy dissected and answered the argument very well. I could try to find it and possibly write back. And I've heard the variant text argument as well. But the variants are minuscule and also does not hinder a scholar's desire to know all the words in whatever book he is examining.

      I have read around the Tacitus passage and I still don't agree with you. I didn't type it all out because I didn't want to go through that tedium. But anyway it doesn't read like a newspaper account to me. I thought about that angle.

      I need the exact passages you are speaking of.

      At first both thieves did mock Jesus. But during the interval one thief changed his mind and said, 'Remember me ...' and so on. They were to wait in Jerusalem 'to wait for the promise of the Father.' (Acts 1:4). But they were not to set up camp there. Once the promise was fulfilled they went to Galilee. A 'narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us ... were eyewitnesses.' (Luke 1:1-2). I John says, 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands.' (I John 1:1). John 21:20 and 24 says, 'Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him ... This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.' If the writer wasn't John it seems pretty clear he was a disciple who was an eyewitness. It's debatable that Irenaeus' letters are forgeries.

      Someone had to replace Judas. There is a debate whether it should have been Matthias who was an eyewitness. Nevertheless, Paul 'just' met Jesus on the road? I never met Jesus anywhere. I doubt any Christians apart from that time have. Sorry, my charismatic brothers. The fact that he met Him was a validation of his ministry. Christians at the time were reluctant to accept him. Ananias had to be told in a vision to accept him.

      Well, yes I never intended either to go on this long but in deference to my weaker brothers and sisters I had to reply. But it was a good conversation. Thanks for the time.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12 - do you know that in repeated studies done on prayer, people were asked to pray for patients recovering from heart surgery. the people that knew they were being prayed for (as opposed to the ones who were prayed for but weren't told) did WORSE than the people who weren't prayed for at all? Performance anxiety, perhaps?

      Pray for me all you want, but pray for what I asked for. Ask god to tell you what would make me reconsider my position that he doesn't exist. Some evidence, something testable, something with a lot more meaning than a 2000+ year old book. I don't know what that would be, but an omniscient god would. Answer me when he gets back to you, but be cautious - if it doesn't work, it's not because I'VE failed.

      You may mean well, but I'm hesitant to believe anything you say right now. You didn't "crank my chain" in as much as you'd like to think. You didn't get to me. My friends and I had a good laugh over games about your posts. No harm, no foul - you didn't hurt me. i've been "saved". Now I'm not. I have no reason to think that will change, but go ahead and have god prove me wrong through you. I'm open to the possibility. Hey, if it doesn't work and your claims are true, you can look down at me from heaven while I'm being tortured forever in hell and get your amusement when the singing gets old. Something to look forward to! In the words of a very dear friend of mine "go ahead and pray for me. It's okay. I'll THINK for you."

      Incidentally - why doesn't god ever heal amputees?

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      """""""I asked you several posts ago to pray before answering, and have God tell you what to say that would make me rethink my position. Whether you're interested in changing my mind or not, according to scripture (and/or certain denominations) your god sure is. I'd like to see the truth behind the statement "ask anything in my name and it shall be granted to you" If your faith is as strong as you claim it is, then it should be bigger than a mustard seed, and you should be able to move mountains. I'd like to see it work.""""""""

      This is good, you are at least thinking about these things. My faith is challenged at times too, in the book of John the word believe or it's derivative is mentioned ~70 times pending translation.

      I know an angel can carry my prayer to the throne room of grace, and today I will petition for you. I cranked your chain a few nights ago, I apologize. But today, I am sincere in my prayer for you. If salvation comes to you as it did Paul of Tarsus the christian killer. It will hit you in the face hard, and you'll know it.

      If my petition is successful, then I'll see you in glory brother.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I asked you several posts ago to pray before answering, and have God tell you what to say that would make me rethink my position. Whether you're interested in changing my mind or not, according to scripture (and/or certain denominations) your god sure is. I'd like to see the truth behind the statement "ask anything in my name and it shall be granted to you" If your faith is as strong as you claim it is, then it should be bigger than a mustard seed, and you should be able to move mountains. I'd like to see it work. I was a christian and a missionary for many, many many years. I stopped believing (ironically) because of my collegiate coursework on the bible.

      I'm interested, also, in the fact that you used Ehrman to back up a point that he happened to agree with you on - the historicity of jesus. Yet you seem to denounce all the rest of his work like "forged" or "misquoting jesus" because they're speaking about the validity of the gospels and the new testament. I would encourage you to listen to his lectures on his books or his debates - he is far more eloquent than I am, and has studied these manuscripts for much, much longer. He has studied some of the oldest christian manuscripts in existence, and continually points out the thousands upon thousands of differences between the copies and the inconsistencies and the errors and the contradictions. If he's good enough to site for your point, his views should be good enough on the gospels as well.

      I can grant partial evidence, but it's simply not compelling. Can you imagine the headache that would be caused if the ruler of the known world wanted everyone to return to the place their ancestors came from a hundred years ago? Would we even know where to go at this age, when the internet is at our fingertips? How about 2 hundred years? Where did YOU come from? The logistical nightmare ALONE would be ridiculous. Let alone over 2000 years ago, with no transportation other than your feet and a horse, donkey or cart.

      I find it funny almost that christians are quick to point out "context, context context" when you pull out bits of scripture, but you're IGNORING the context of Tacitus. Read around the passage you're siting. I believe (and I could be wrong, it happens) that Tacitus was writing to the emperor because some christians had been arrested, or he was having some sort of issue with them. He questioned them, and he was repeating what he had been told about their beliefs - not that he knew it first-hand for himself. It's the same as if someone told me that they had a pet dragon that brought their newspaper to them every morning. I can tell you the story the way it was told to me, but does that make the story true, or does it mean I have first-hand knowledge about it? Not at all.

      A jewish day begins at sundown the evening before, I believe. That does not account for the fact that one gospel says jesus was crucified the morning after the passover mean (in which he gave the last supper) and another gospel says it was BEFORE passover. The difference between a jewish calendar day and a typical calendar day does not become relevant. Either passover already happened or it didn't. Let alone the times in the gospels of his crucifixion were off, and they don't agree. Aside from that, did one thief on the cross get saved or did both mock him? To quote Ehrman "it depends on which gospel you read". The resurrection accounts in the gospels (and the one in Mark was added after the fact, this is a widely spread agreement among biblical scholars, tell many different stories - all of which cannot be true. Even if the people who went to the tomb agreed throughout the four gospels (which they don't) who they were met by is different. What happened after they left is different. Did they tell the apostles or did they run away afraid? Were the disciples supposed to meet Jesus in Jerusalem or Galilee? It seems to me like you're trying to justify the fact that you believe the gospels are accurate so you're excusing their contradictions and trying to scramble for a way to make them all fit. That's simply not logical or honest. I'm genuinely not trying to be rude here - just making an observation.

      Irenaeus identifies John as the Author? Oh really? In one of his forged letters, perhaps? If you open almost any bible that we have today, the preface before each of the gospels usually states "the authorship of the gospels is uncertain" All of the gospels. Period.

      Most of the epistles were written by paul, who was NOT an eyewitness. In fact, I have a huge problem with the fact that Paul went to jerusalem immediately following his conversion (or 2 years later, depending on which book of the new testament you read and I do not personally equate immediately with two years later, but you might) and ARGUED with the disciples about doctrine, what should be required of gentiles, etc - and then almost immediately demeaned them. These were the people who supposedly spent 3 years with jesus himself, and here comes this guy who only met jesus in a vision on the side of the road while on his way to hunt down and kill more of his followers arguing with the people that jesus actually taught. Do you not see a problem here? Several of pauls letters in the nt cannon are now thought to be forgeries. I don't have the list on hand, since I'm at work at the moment, but I can pull them up.

      Regardless of all of that, this conversation has gone way beyond the bounds of this particular hub. I've enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I'm now faced with the choice between writing more hubs or continuing this particular conversation indefinitely. I plan on writing on the reliability of the scriptures more in depth in another hub yet to be published, and you're more than welcome to comment there, but I cannot devote a whole lot of time to this particular conversation at the moment - at the expense of everything else that I have to accomplish. I will say, however, I appreciate your intellect. You're smart, and that's a rare find - even if we disagree.

      Incidentally - one last point - the sea of Galilee - you get that it's not a sea, right? You can cross it in a couple hours, tops - and it was NEVER called the sea of Galilee until after the gospels were written. I found it interesting.

      If you want the opinion of another scholar, check out the book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths that show Jesus Never Existed at All by David Fitzgerald. I think there are a few lectures of his on YouTube as well.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      I have to answer about prayer? The Bible says to pray without ceasing not because you need some sarcastic remark to back up what you know. As far as convincing you, I'm not really interested in that. If you were convinced you would be a Christian more than likely and that, depending on your view of predestination, is dependent on God. Not to be hypercalvinist, however... I think you meant irrelevant. Anyway.

      Well, the census is mentioned. If the rest is not mentioned I would at least call that a partial evidence. It is compelling evidence nonetheless for further investigation, not a once and for all this point is debunked. As far as Judas is concerned - one passage gives you the cause of death - hanging. The other passage gives you a detail about that death. The passage does not say he fell off of a cliff. The point is he fell from something and I'm going out on a limb, I don't think he tripped and fell and his body burst open. If you read the Bible 'horizontally' you would not be contradicting yourself to say his body fell from a height. A tree is such a height. It's not contradictory to say the branch broke or the rope broke that held Judas hanging body on the tree and his body hit the ground and his bowels gushed out.

      Jews wrote the accounts. Jewish days do matter and how they counted them does matter. How the Jewish authors of the New Testament accounted for a day is crucial in interpreting any passage that accounts for the days you speak of.

      Tacitus wrote, and I know I'm repeating myself, 'Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.' That seems pretty clear to me.

      You said there were no eyewitnesses. Now you are changing the argument. The uncertainty of John's authorship is that he did not identify himself except as the one Jesus' loved. This was born out of humility. Irenaeus identifies him as the author. 'Unlikely' as written by John might be unintentionally dishonest by you I'd say. And what of the epistles? Some of these were written by eyewitnesses as well.

      The resurrection? I've written an article on that. Take a look if you want. But there's nothing I can respond to that you wrote. At least, I'm not going to write a dissertation on a general statement.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I agree that Ehrman thinks Jesus lived, but I disagree with him. His commentary on "misquoting jesus" and "forged" however, should give you pause as to the validity of the gospel accounts of christ's life, if he had a life at all.

      Census, yes - worldwide census that required you to go to the city of your ancestry, no. Do you know what a logistical nightmare that would have caused for all roman subjects? It's not mentioned anywhere - not in the scope that it is recorded in the nt. It's interesting that you are able to combine both stories of judas' supposed death and make them logically work for you. Makes things easier that way.

      Jewish days don't matter. One gospel says he was killed before passover ever happened. The rest agree that it was the Friday after the passover meal. They cannot both be correct - a point that Ehrman repeatedly affirms in all of his writings.

      Tacitus was responding to the answers that the christians had given him when he questioned them. It doesn't mean that it actually happened. He was repeating what he had been told, and he had no idea what to do with these people.

      Peter and John may have been eyewitnesses, but neither of them wrote a canonical gospel. If you think the gospel of john was written by john the apostle, you're mistaken - and not even the majority of biblical scholars will back you up on that one. Even modern bibles list on their introduction pages that the author of the gospels is uncertain, but that it's unlikely to be written by the person whose name is on the top.

      Resurrection comments? Read the gospels horizontally, instead of vertically. They do not agree on anything, and they're mutually contradictory.

      You completely ignore what I said about your attempts at prayer. What are you afraid of admitting - that your god either failed to answer you, or the answer he supposedly gave you fell apart at the seams? I'm not swayed, dude. I've heard all of your arguments more times than I can count and they're simply irreverent, misconstrued or untrue. Counter-apologetics has pages and pages of rebuttals to every single point you've made.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      You say that Josephus is repeatedly debunked, but the fact that Jesus existed is not repeatedly debunked which is the main question. Besides, resting your case, at least with Josephus, that this evidence is a forgery is debatable and not debunked. Your Iliad reference misses my point, if you cared to respond to it. New Testament accounts are different but not contradictory. (Jewish days do not necessarily mean the whole 24 hour period, but can be partial). And of course there is no wikipedia entry, circa first century, for every miracle and historical event, but we find the New Testament, a reliable historical document that records them. I don't understand what you're getting at with the resurrection comments. Judas died by hanging and 'falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.' I'm sure he didn't trip on the ground and bust open. He fell from something. A chair? A car? No he fell from the tree he was hanged on. Falling when alive does not usually produce a gushing out of the bowels unless it was from a certain height. That would be my logical assumption. What difference does it make when Jesus was born? If no one knows the exact time and second, this does not disprove the historicity of Jesus. The Acts of Augustus lists the census as one of his achievements. We do not find it odd that there was a John the Baptist and the apostle John. Two different people. There is more than one Herod in the Bible. Tacitus wrote, 'Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius.' Peter, John were not eyewitnesses? They don't agree? In what way? Accounts are never identical but they can be true. If I say of someone, 'Her pants are red' and another says, 'her pants are long.' Both can be true. We wouldn't necessarily discount the testimony because they didn't say the same thing. If I'm not mistaken Bart Ehrman vehemently disagrees with the Christ as myth theory. I think he just wrote a book about it.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Josephus has been repeatedly debunked as a forgery. Check your sources. The new testament is not a historical document, and there its no contemporary evidence from Jesus' life, or following his death that suggests that he is real at all. No more real than the Odyssey or Iliad characters. Things portrayed in the new testament contradict each other (like Jesus dying on two different days, for example) as well as the portrayal of the tyrant Pilot go directly against other historical claims. There its no notation that a bunch of Jewish zombies went wandering around the streets of Jerusalem, and the Romans at the very least would have been interested. Passover traditions did NOT include the release of a prisoner, but a different festival did. Tell me, who went to the tomb? Who did they find? What were they told? Did they follow instructions? How did judas die? what year celebrated the birth of Christ? Did he go to Egypt, out didn't he? Funny enough, there was NO Roman worldwide census requiring everyone to go to the ancestral home of previous centuries. The timing of Augustus does not coincide with Herod, and ironically, no one seemed to notice that hundreds of infants were slaughtered. It just doesn't stand up. Tacitus was referring to the Christian sect, and knew nothing about them. They were irrelevant. None of the gospels were written by eyewitnesses, which explains why they can't agree. Have you ever played the game telephone, peter? If you and I both witnessed an extraordinary event and immediately went home and write an account, would they be identical? No, because its highly subjective. Now imagine we both went and told 100 people what happened, then asked them 40-50 years later to write down what they remember about it. Would THOSE accounts agree? No. Not at all. In fact, you and I probably could not even recognize it. To say its unreliable is an understatement of epic proportions.

      If you prayed prior to responding, either your god failed, our you did. Which one is it? I'm open enough to change my mind, but I've studied this stuff for years under the likes of Bart Ehrman and many, many more. I'm afraid you may be a bit unmatched. Do you read Greek? Latin? Hebrew? I do. I've read it in the original languages, have you? If reciting previously debunked material is the best you or your god can come up with, its not good enough. Sorry.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      On the historicity of Christ F.F. Bruce wrote, "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a 'Christ myth,' but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the 'Christ myth' theories." Here are some pagan authorities who wrote of Christ in the first century - Tacitus, Lucian, Thallus, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion. Jewish authorities include Josephus, the Talmuds. And why wouldn't you consider as well the New Testament? It is a historical document. There are over 5,000 Greek copies of the New Testament and close to 25,000 in other languages. There are 643 copies of the Iliad written 400 years after Homer. There are 10 copies of Caesar's Gallic Wars written 1,000 years after him. There are 19 copies of Livy's History of Rome written 1,000 years after him. The list goes on. And that is typical of all historical documents in these time periods except the New Testament in which there are 114 fragments written within 50 years of original composition. 200 books within 100 years. The evidence of Jesus' existence is overwhelming. What is your case that He didn't exist?

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Your unknown sage is just wrong. Typical that you would believe it, though

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      I'm too tired to be clever right now so I quoted (cut n' paste) an unknown sage:

      The thinking atheist will forever be questioning the origin of the universe, will be perplexed regarding morality, and will be unsure of his own destiny and purpose in life.

      G'night

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      You're actually not answering anything. At all. What makes atheism baseless? Do you have anything productive to say, or do you just like trolling?

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      Tonight I'm rather in the mood for sub par attempts on insults. Why? Atheism is what's baseless, and I'm answering obscurity with obscurity.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Do you have anything relevant to any kind of point, or do you just want to make baseless assumptions about atheists and sub-par attempts on insults?

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      I can imagine game night with a bunch of atheist.

      Oh wait? Which new organism has just emerged from the goo

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      How exactly am I "carrying on like a lunatic?" You sound angrier than me. If you think I'm going to disable the comments because of you, you're wrong. You're only helping my ratings, dude, so thanks. I'm the furthest thing from angry. You're actually rather humorous. All of us are chuckling over this conversation during our game night. What else you got? Do you get how ridiculous you sound? What is there to be angry about?

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      Listen to yourself, your carrying on like a lunatic. Anybody reading these discourses can clearly see you are absolutely irate with me.

      Oh, and your next hub? turn off the comment option.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      What does that mean? Prove I'm angry. The floor is open, dude. Go for it. What you feel has nothing to do with out

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      "You said atheists are angry. Prove it and start with me. Go ahead."

      I feel the love man....

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      K12, with all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about. I don't care if I "get it" from theists. I'm used to it. What I asked specifically is why YOU are repeatedly commenting on my hub when, by your own statements, there's no point in talking to me. Unlike you, I do have an open mind, and if sufficient evidence is presented, I will reconsider my position. I doubt you could say the same.

      There is no intelligent design, and you don't understand even the most fundamental basics of evolution. I don't have a wall up. You're not presenting anyevidence. The only thing you seem to be capable of is hit and run semi-mocking comments and making assertions with no substance. So what? Where is my anger? You said atheists are angry. Prove it and start with me. Go ahead.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      Look JM, there are lot's of Christians on this site, and when you title your hub "Biblical Immorality: Human Sacrifice" guess what? you're gonna get it. It's almost like your looking for a fight. NO LOVE FROM YOU, and that was my earlier point. You lack love, and sometimes us Christians lash out too, but the Holy Spirit convicts us to tone it down a little.

      You are trying to correct me on what an atheist is, Ok you don't believe there is a God. I got it. It is very hard even for you to try to come up with explanations for intelligently designed everything.

      Did you go into your kitchen replicator and order up a beer? No! Someone had to make a recipe, gather up ingredients, make some brew, make some cans and bottles, get some trucks, deliver it to a store.

      All that for a beer. Your fingernail is more complex than this scenario.

      I know, I'm talking to McFarland the wall here; where nothing sticks. Us Christians are concerned about people like you, and our neighbors, co-workers and so on.

      There is more to life here on earth than future worm food.

      Peace bro

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter - do you have anything to back them up? Anything to validate the Bible as an authority? Any evidence outside the Bible that Jesus existed? I'd love to see it, trust me. Been looking for it ever since I refluxed I was living my life for a big invisible boogy man who couldn't possibly exist, based on his own book. Biblical scholars would probably like to see it, too. Before you answer, pray. I don't know what would convince me, but if your god is real, he does. Ask him what you should say. If you ask anything in his name, he will give it to you, after all. Should be easy enough. I'm not in an iron chariot.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      I thought I was answering your assertions and making a few of my own. But ok.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      And what exactly makes you think I'm angry? If discussing things with atheists sucks so much, why continually comment on my hub? Why visit it at all?

      Also, not all atheists are alike. Not all Christians are alike. Would you like me to lump you in with the likes of the Westboro baptist church, or the Christians killing children in Africa as we speak because they believe they are witches? Atheism is a lack of a belief in a god. That's it. All atheists have varying beliefs on any other issue. It sounds like you have no clear idea of what atheism is

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      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      Yes some of it is allegorical, but much is literal. When Jesus told us to love one another; that is pretty much to the point.

      One thing I notice with you atheist, is much anger. No debating comments here ever end up meaningful or good. I can see you guys pouting now as you read this. We Christians have hope through the word of God, we believe in his promises. You atheist have nothing to hold onto leading to death.

      I minister the Gospel of Jesus at a local nursing home. Believe me those folks are scared of death, and what's waiting for them on the other side, and you know when your young you don't think about these things.

      I'm 45 years old and three years ago I'm in the emergency room with probes all over me. You'd be surprised what goes through your mind in that situation. Even so, I know the Lord, and I have peace about death. Not looking forward to it, but I know I have a place with him when it's my turn to go.

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Why doesn't any one understand the concept of esoteric language? Its all veiled in allegory. All of it. The whole bible. If one were so inclined, they could study it and learn how to control MASSES of people...

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter - I don't know where you got your information, but you're incorrect. I have no idea what your qualifications are, but I've studied the bible, theology, apologetics and ancient hebrew, greek and latin at a collegiate level. No one lied to me. I've studied it for myself.

      Adam and Eve (who never existed) were created good, but there was conveniently a tree of knowledge placed in their garden and they ate it. Yes, I know the story. Do snakes often talk to you? How about donkeys? It's a LEGEND, man. It's not true. There is no garden of eden, and there is no god that conveniently offered temptation to his creation, knowing that they would fail his impossible standards. There WAS no law at the time of adam and eve, if they did exist, so nothing for them to break - except eating a frigging pomegranate that a snake gave them.

      The bible has been translated from translations. There are no original copies of ANY books of the bible. The gospels were written by people who were not eyewitnesses, between 40-140 years after jesus' supposed death. They're not reliable. They're not evidence. There is no contemporary evidence that jesus existed at all. Nothing. A lot of historians AND biblical scholars would agree with me, and I've studied under several of them. You have nothing to back up your claims at all - you just want to take them at face value because they are what you want to believe. There's nothing wrong with that for you individually, but that's not the way critical thinking works. That's not the way life works. It's delusional and willfully ignorant. There are no records of dozens of zombies raising from the dead at the moment of christ's death wandering around the streets of jerusalem. There are no eyewitness accounts. No anything that would prove that any of this is more than a bronze-age collection of stories.

      There is something BASELY immoral about a belief system that tells you that you are evil from the moment of your birth, and therefore you need an invisible magic friend to make you worthy of being someone. The concept is ludicrous. God invented a need for himself, but there's no proof whatsoever that god is real - he's just a deity that ancient people made up, who consequentially already agrees with everything they were doing. When something bad happened, it was because they "did something wrong" yet they didn't blame the deity. They blamed themselves. That is a CONDITIONED response through INDOCTRINATION.

      You have no problem seeing this as true when it relates to any other religion in the world, but your critical thinking and skepticism falls one god short.

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Sin is just the Hebrew word for moon. And Eve, well that is nighttime. Eve is EVIL because she represents SIN because things go 'bump' in the night. Ancient man feared the night. Simple as that. Do not believe in fairy tales giving you false hopes of a place better than here and now. Heaven is merely a Haven. A safe place. I believe your leader, Jesus said the kingdom is inside you. A state of mind perhaps? Eve the moon is evil and without spirit and can only reflect the light of the Sun/Son. People who believe irrationally the stories of the bible fall into a pit of insanity in which they are entangled in an abusive relationship with their creator. How much worse can it get than that?

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      J., Adam and Eve were created good. They were at that time able to keep the Law. They chose not to. It was only after they sinned that they took on a sin nature and passed that on to us and became unable to keep the Law. There is nothing incomprehensible in the Law. It is completely understandable. For example, 'You shall not murder' is an understandable precept. It is not the comprehensibility of the Law that is not able to be followed but the heart of man which is a slave to sin. We love sin. We choose to sin because we are slaves to it. Man is not a child. He knows what he's doing. Don't you? As it is now you are unable to keep the Law, but God is calling out to you, 'Take my son and you will not be burned!' (From the proverbial stove). You are angry at the method He offers to protect you from the flame, but He really doesn't have to give you or I anything. Are you angry that the stove is there? How is it illogical or invalid? How is it absurd for God to satisfy His own justice? It would be His choice. You probably wouldn't, but why would it be absurd for God to do it? If He was the only one who could and desired to do it why not? If He is offended He could choose to do nothing for you or save you from Himself. He couldn't choose to forget it otherwise He would not be just. What's the point of a Law if there are no consequences for the breaking of it? He could be merciful and gracious but somebody would have to pay. Jesus chose to pay the price you and I could not pay.

      As far as the Bible being translated from translations - somebody has lied to you. Translators go to the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic to make a translation. Now for some particularly difficult or obscure passages a scholar might use the Septuagint or some other ancient source for possible clarity, but these are not primary sources. We have the New and Old Testaments in their original languages.

      There is abundant proof that Jesus existed and not many historians, if any, who would refute that. I don't know of any credible scholars that would debate against the fact that Jesus existed.

      As far as appeasing God. I can't. I couldn't. That's an important point. I wouldn't try to appease Him because I can't. But Jesus did. And for those who repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus God's wrath will 'pass over' them as well.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter - I understand what you're trying to say, and I understand christian doctrine more than even I care to admit. But that doesn't make it logical, provable or valid.

      If you are a divine being and you create a law that you know is ultimately impossible to keep, you are immoral for punishing the people you created who can't, in fact, keep it. If you create a system that is impossible to understand, yet punish people for not being able to understand it, it's not a moral system.

      The fact that god has to appease himself by sacrificing himself to himself is absurd. If anyone else were to do that, you would discredit them immediately.

      I don't know if you have children, peter, but consider it this way. If you told your child not to touch the hot stove because you're aware of what would happen if they did, they may inevitably touch the stove and get burned. If you had a child who was mentally challenged, however, and expected them to adhere to your rules exactly the same as a child who was fully capable of understanding them, you would be an unjust parent. You can't make rules that are impossible to keep and then get angry when they're not kept.

      All of this is rather a moot point, however, when you realize that the bible is not the perfect word of god. It can't be. It contradicts itself. It's blatantly wrong. It's copies of copies of translations of copies and the new testament especially is even more immoral than the old. It was written by human beings that had no knowledge of what they were talking about, and they can't even get the story straight. There is no proof that jesus ever existed at all, which means his non-sacrifice is nothing more than a legend anyway. There's no use believing in it and wasting your life trying to appease a wrathful god that doesn't even exist in the first place.

      I understand grace, mercy and justice. However, mercy and justice are still mutually exclusive, and that cannot be simply ignored or rationalized away.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      Sorry, I thought you were 'theupside'. J., I think you understand what we Christians are trying to say. Let me reiterate to see if I'm correct in that assumption. We say, because the Bible says and we believe it to be the revelation from God, that God created Adam and Eve and that He gave them one commandment which they both broke. The consequences of breaking that law, not to eat of the fruit that was in the middle of the garden of Eden, was death, the first and second death. The second death spoken of in Revelation. Because of original sin we have all inherited a sin nature that prevents us from fulfilling the law. (Men loved darkness instead of light, in other words, we are incapable of keeping the law because of a sinful heart that does not seek after God). Now God is just. He must punish the sinner otherwise He would be a judge who overlooks the breaking of the law and in that way would no longer be just. If we could keep the law we would be declared innocent and not liable to be judged by God. Since we are incapable of keeping the law we will be declared guilty unless there was another way to satisfy God's justice. I think you understand that part. But here is what is awesome, if I may use that word without sounding puerile, about God. He didn't have to make another way. He didn't have to do anything but condemn us all to Hell. He made the Law, His law, and He is its interpreter. He didn't need to make a 'loophole' as if He had made a mistake. He did it purely out of love.

      It was the only way. Even Jesus said that if the cup could have passed from Him He would have preferred it, but it was the only way to save man. There is not only mercy in God's actions but grace as well. Grace is the giving of something undeserved, heaven. And mercy is given to you, provided that you repent and put your faith in Christ, in that He will withhold His judgment on you, that was poured out on Christ. He was a sacrifice in that 'without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins', but this shedding of blood is a euphemism for death. If you want, read my 'blood of Christ' article to get what I'm saying. But this can also be understood that He was a substitute, He died in your place so that you might not have to suffer that eternal death.

      The problem with the car analogy is this. A car cannot keep the law. To provide atonement for man, the man that would provide that atonement would have to keep the law. When Jesus was here He kept the law. Hebrews says that He was without sin. Since He kept the law He can impart righteousness to us even as He satisfied the justice of God on the cross. His resurrection was evidence that God had accepted His sacrifice on the cross.

      Remember, since God made the Law, He can do anything with the Law as long as He does not break it and Himself become a sinner. He never did break the Law in what Jesus did. It was not an unlawful sacrifice in that murder was not involved. "He became sin for us". (Not a 'sinner', mind you). He laid down His life so it was not suicide. He did not die for His own sin because He was sinless. Our sin was placed on His head just as the sin was placed on the 'scapegoat' in the Old Testament. This 'gift of God' that God offers us is nothing to scoff at.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter - how was I rude? I didn't insult you. I didn't call you names. I pointed out my case that backs up my opinion. How is that rude, exactly?

      I debate all the time, and I'm not the one accusing people of bad behavior - least of all you. I don't have any respect for your god or your legend, and I don't share your own personal beliefs. That equates to rude?

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      Well, you are pretty rude. There is no reasoning with you nicely.

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Insanity. humanity will never get over themselves. Responsibility was handed over to an invisible deity long ago. People lost their potency and life believing in a big daddy that saves them all in the end.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter -

      That's just the thing though. It's not a sacrifice. If you sacrifice something, you don't get it back in the blink of an eye. If you sacrifice something, it's gone. You're giving something up.

      Additionally, the whole reason that this supposed "sacrifice" was necessary is to fulfill a law that god himself created. The legend of jesus' sacrifice was to create a loophole around gods law that ensured that no one was ultimately responsible for the consequences of their own actions. An all-knowing, all-powerful deity would not need to create loopholes around his own laws, and the idea that his best plan to counter the problem was to send himself to earth as a human being, walk around and then "sacrifice" himself TO himself to APPEASE himself is ludicrous.

      If I were to pretend for a moment that I was an all-powerful being, and the only way I could save you from an unfortunate but completely just fate was to send my car to you to save you, but my car returned three days later, what have I given up but a minor inconvenience - especially if I knew that my car was going to be returned, and time means nothing to me?

      The crux of the matter is that it is impossible to be perfectly merciful and perfectly just. Mercy is the suspension of justice. You cannot be both at the same time. Therefore god contradicts himself, therefore god is not all-powerful OR all-knowing, and therefore he is not god. If he were, he really isn't intelligent enough nor does he possess enough foresight or intellect to justify my belief in him without any evidence whatsoever.

      If god made me, he made me with this brain. this brain thinks logically and rationally about everything and I am open minded enough to change my mind on just about everything - provided I have convincing evidence to show me my original error. nothing about christianity accomplishes even a FRACTION of the burden of proof. The bible is unreliable. There is no proof jesus existed. There is no evidence for god. Period.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      I take your point, but what makes Christ's sacrifice unique is that we have God made flesh sacrificing Himself. He is not a prisoner of war or a slave, but rather we have the King of kings who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We do not have a conquering people lording over a conquered people. We have the unconquerable God who suffered what we deserve so that for all who believe may have eternal life. We do not have anything subordinate in God. What makes God good, and His sacrifice glorious, is that He died for sinners. He satisfied His own justice that could not be satisfied by a mere human sacrifice. No mere human sacrifice could satisfy the justice of God. It took the God-man, Jesus, to do that, by the sacrifice of Himself.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Peter - as humorously as I take your point, it's actually not true. a lot of cultures worldwide throughout history will only sacrifice someone who is willing to take the part - for example the celts thought it was bad luck to force a sacrifice upon someone. Their prisoners of war, for example, were offered the choice of being a willing sacrifice (and were usually given a sedative) for the good of the tribe as a whole. If they refused, they were used for another purpose. Many indian tribes practiced willing human sacrifice as well.

    • Peter Fredericks profile image

      Peter Fredericks 5 years ago from Florida

      I've never known a human sacrifice to go voluntarily.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I fundamentally understand the christian apologetic spin on it. I just don't think it's an actual sacrifice in terms of how you or I would view sacrifice today. For example, if I asked you to sacrifice your paycheck in order to prove your faith and you agreed, you would give up your paycheck. Would you get the money back in a day or two? No. You give it up with the understanding that it is gone, and that it is gone for good. Sacrificial offerings do not return. Jesus is supposedly with god the father in heaven right now. What did he sacrifice? You stating that it was a sacrifice simply does not make it true, and I don't care what bible verse you point to. I don't respect the bible, it is not a history book and it is not valid for proof of anything.

      Too late? Too late for what? If you want to say I'm better off believing "just in case" I strongly disagree, and I have a hub on the subject of Pascal's wager already. The fact that Abraham didn't trust god enough to fulfill his promise so he slept with his slave girl who conceived and had a son is not my concern.

      You are in no position to judge me, since the only thing you know about me is what I have written here. Your judgment has about as much weight as if I told you that you're not a true christian.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      """A lot of people go from a religious upbringing and a genuine faith to atheism."""

      Your right, wide is the gate that leads to destruction, and many who will go there.

      And, yes Calvary was a sacrifice Psalms 22, Isaiah 53.

      I'll be the real Scotsman, and say if you don't get this point about sacrifice you were never one of his.

      No spin; scripture is the self contained word of God. He is sovereign, and if he chose this method you shouldn't question it. God is pleased by faith, and obedience.

      """""Second of all - abraham already had a son- Ishmael."""""

      Ishmael was born out of Sarah's concern, and to this day the sons of Ishmael are giving Israel a hard time.

      At the end of the day satan puts out a strong delusion, and tries to convince people especially in the realm of higher education that God does not exist. Don't fall for it. Take care of spiritual things on this side of eternity before it's too late.

      Peace brother

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12rswow -

      first of all, jesus wasn't a sacrifice. I will go into this more in another hub, but if you sacrifice something, you don't have it anymore. It's gone. Jesus is now up in heaven with god the father etc, so all god actually sacrificed was 33-ish human years - and a millennium is like a blink of an eye to god (according to the bible). So what?

      Second of all - abraham already had a son- Ishmael. a deity that would promise you something then ask you to sacrifice it is patently immoral. No amount of justifying or rationalizing the fact that a supposed god asked someone to kill their own child and they went along with it without starting a fight is going to make that okay. I don't really care how you spin it.

      You are in no position to judge my former faith or anyone elses. Have you heard of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, cause you're using it right now to say that christians that don't agree with you aren't "true" christians. There are NO true christians because no single denomination can agree on even the most fundamental principles of their dogma with any other denomination. If you just want to say that you're right and everyone else is wrong, go ahead - but that's simply your opinion. Opinions do not make things right, and there are most likely a slew of other people claiming to be christians who would disagree with you.

      A lot of people go from a religious upbringing and a genuine faith to atheism. You may not like it, but it's true whether you like it or not. It's simply a fact, and you have to deal with it - not make yourself feel better by saying that they didn't really have faith in the first place.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      If you think all I do is sit at home and write about this stuff, you're mistaken. I'm actively involved in the local secular humanist movement, as well as the local chapter of American atheists. I go out and do a whole lot of events, I sponsor fundraisers, I'm actively involved in a lot of the outreach programs that provide food and shelter to those in need - without forcing them to listen to a sermon first. I take part in the community. I have ongoing debates on many levels, and I speak out in public. Writing is simply just a hobby that I enjoy. Since I enjoy it, and I'm well-versed in the subject, I write about this stuff as well. Not because it's my only form of communicating these issues, but because I do have some spare time and I get enjoyment out of it. The slim chance is better than no chance at all. Were it not for like-minded people voicing their questions and opinions at a time I was desperately searching for answers, I may not be where I am today. Therefore, I feel like I am obligated to do the same. It's not just an obligation, however - it's a privilege. Maybe, just maybe, there's someone out there right now who was like I was back then and my words can help them see logic and reason and challenge their dogmatic approach in a very real way. That's a chance I'm willing to take.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 5 years ago from New England

      Oh, you guys. Abraham was the father of faith. He believed what God had promised. From him his seed would become a nation. So, Abraham didn't worry, he even knew God could raise Issac from the dead. Next; this is a picture of God the father offering up his son Jesus. The clue? Issac asked Abraham where is the sacrifice? Abraham said God will provide a lamb for himself. That was the holy Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

      Next, nobody leaves the faith, this means they never had it. A high percentage in America call themselves Christians, but we know that's not true. Many in that day will say "Lord, Lord, did I not cast demons out in your name?" The Lord will reply "depart from me, I NEVER KNEW YOU".

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      JM: You have a way with words. This is no doubt a talent of yours you have recognized rightfully. You are right when you say there is a chance. The greatest of the chance however is slim. Life itself is a slim cosmic chance too. I recognize this. However, one must recognize the difference between actions. Yes, writing is an action, but the greater action is living and spreading the action in your daily life so it will catch fire in the minds of those who witness your life. It is relieving to hear that the non-religious societies around the world still remain human in their morals. However, the kings of the world do not consider them. The fight needs to be directed at the areas of the greatest concern like the USA, EU, Russian, Middle east. That is why I say, the chances are slim. These areas are already overrun with psychopaths, media, and propaganda. The people in these areas are reaching a state where individual respect and power is no longer a necessity and their divinity because they are now comfortable being invisible as the mass man. Reaching critical mass is hopeful, yet unlikely. In these times and times of past, the people who were knowledgeable of the fate the world merely enjoyed each others' company while they still could before all was destroyed. I do not wish this, but as you see, this place in which we live needs a miracle. The white knight is off guard, and we are alone.

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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I disagree on a fundamental level. I was indoctrinated, and remained in the faith through early adulthood. I broke out of it through individual study (I was in college for theology at the time) and was fortunate enough to meet other skeptics who taught me the inherent value in applying critical thinking to everything - including my own religion.

      It has to start somewhere. Saying that something is most likely improbable does not eliminate all chance. As long as that sliver of chance remains, I'll keep writing about it. And not everyone has some sort of religious upbringing - not by a long shot. In the US, it's more likely, but there are dozens of secular nations where people who are religious are in the small minority. Ironically, those countries also tend to have the lowest rates of crimes: murder and rape, specifically, as well as the lowest abortion rates and the lowest level of intolerance for others. I can only hope that someday here that will be the norm as well.

      Just because your dreams may be unlikely doesn't mean you should give up on them and focus instead on something that you neither enjoy or understand. I won't give up on mine. Perhaps you shouldn't give up on yours either.

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Everyone has some sort of religious upbringing. This foundation shapes the way the person will live their life. Very, very occasionally a person steps out of the usual paradigm and creates their own meaning in life. You fight a fight that is statistically impossible to win. 99% of all men and women will bow down under their religion and cry to their god or gods in the end of their lives. This I tell you, is a fact. If these many of 5 billion people, can not for the life of them believe in themselves even in the end, what affect do you really feel YOU can make? Truth hurts my friend. You have a start, but the finish... needs work. needs potency. Needs action on a global scale. You need to see life as it is and create a greater, more effective, strategy. You are up against religions that have been emotionally and symbolically ingrained in the minds of billions. Unless people help each other on a smaller scale, say in their own community, there will be no fruition of your dreams nor mine.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I focus on religion because I believe it is a cause of insurmountable pain, suffering, delusion and willful ignorance. It is not the only topic I focus on, however. I think critiquing religions critically CAN eventually stop a lot of the harm that is being perpetrated worldwide.

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Well, I did enjoy your piece as I first stated. However, in your mind purpose my friend, is relative. I say it is not. To each his own eh? But let me introduce and idea. We both know ideas are by definition are.. infectious... What is more important in the bigger picture of life? Lives all around us are ending because despicable, greedy, evil people make it so. Then they cover it up, and use the media to point the masses into looking the other way while they proceed to "clean it up". They call this progress for the human race.. Well, I am part of the human race. But did I have a say in this? Did you? No. Thus, Purpose for every human being should be preserving the innocent blood that is being spilled in the name of democracy, freedom, progress etc. You have a discerning eye, you should use it more wisely.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      What I write here may not make someone instantly rethink their positions. Ultimately, change might be the result. Who knows? Maybe they'll talk to someone else, and their ideas will have a chance to expand. That's how change happens. If you have an open mind, you're willing to consider other opinions. If you don't, you probably wouldn't read something as blatantly contradictory as this.

      I have a lot of purpose. Mainly I write because I enjoy it, and it is a topic that is important to me. I write to express my own thoughts, opinions and criticisms. I am open to the possibility that my mind may be changed on a great many subjects. If not, why read anything?

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Planting seeds doesn't mean changing one's minds? What kind of operation you running here man? Without purpose, one is non- existent. What then is your purpose for writing?

    • JMcFarland profile image
      Author

      Julie McFarland 5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I'm not trying to change any minds. Just trying to put the true immorality out in the open. If it can plant one seed and cause even one person to grow a tiny seed of "maybe" I've done my job. Just the first in a potentially long series. I have a laundry list of immorality to run through. At least I'll be actively writing :-)

    • theupside profile image

      theupside 5 years ago

      Good luck changing any minds with this one. The thing is you are directing your hub at a group of people who are apart of a giant mentally and emotionally abusive relationship with a deity. They will never see your point unless they accept the first premise which is that they are suckers. Insane people do not know they are insane. I, however, thought it amusing and true, but know it is folly to go about changing anything! People's minds are their own, not yours. Thus, laugh it off man, burn some bibles for your OWN heart's content. Live and let live. Watch the world burn as it is destined to. Do not waste your time with the blind. The blind will always be the reason you fall.