Unreliability of the Christian Bible
The Gospel of Matthew 2:13-18 tells the account of Herod's slaughter of the innocents in an attempt to hopefully kill the child Jesus in the slaughter. There is, however, not one contemperaneous account of this event outside the Bible, not one from the time when it happened, Josephus decades later made no mention of it, though Antiquities of the Jews mentioned Jesus, now recognized to be a spurious interpolation added long after Antiquities was written. Seutonius didn't make mention of it, neither did Tacitus.
Why might this be ? Why is this account found in the Bible alone, and no one else makes mention of it ? Could it likely be that the slaughter of the innocents simply never happened, that some unknown redactor interposed that into the story of Jesus decades after Matthew was originally composed. Maybe even as much as three to four centuries after Matthew was penned.
Archaeologists digging in the Sinai Peninsula have dug deep enough to find hunter gatherer tools and weapons, but have been unable to find any trace of any Hebrew encampments in the Biblical desert wilderness, they have found no traces wherever they have looked in Sinai. Jericho was not an inhabited city when Israel would have come to it. It was destroyed hundreds of years earlier. Archaeologists find no evidence that the Hebrew kingdoms of David and Solomon ever existed.
There are no traces of a Hebrew presence in Egypt. And if you look for evidence of Noah's global deluge in the earth's strata you won't find it. The geolgic column is properly ordered and not jumbled and mixed as they would be if there had been a catastrophic global flood. The geologic column is a geologic record of the progression of life from simple to complex. The Christian Bible is just not reliable.
Just kidding around. Humor is dancing for the mind.
"A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having." -Emma Goldman
I'm probably going to regret hitting the "Add Reply" button but here goes.
I'm all for "taking on" religion. Seeking to discover and disclose the truth (or the un-truth) is never morally bad. I have no stomach for hypocritical liars. I just want to do it smart and as respectfully as possible. No matter how successful we are in our efforts, we still have to live with these people. Just as we would argue their "choice" of religion was determined by their geography, I would give most theists some leeway in finding the path out of the house of mirrors. It's not necessarily an easy thing to discard the accumulated wisdom (or stupidity) of all your ancestors. Our position is a bit like being a geology professor with a student who says they think god made the world in 6000 years but put in a bit of effort to make it look much older. You want to bang your head on the wall but you carry on hoping something you say will sink in. This project is not for short term thinkers.
Ultimately, I believe we will lead by example, not by beating some "truth" into their heads. We've already shown them the truth and will continue to do so. They need to believe we can build a better world without the myths. Too many times I've heard people claim atheists are mean, miserable liars who want nothing more than to tear down what others hold sacred. Nope, not going there. We want to be the happy, open and optimistic people we know we need to lead towards a better future.
Just my opinion of course. I'm going home now to take my meds (just kidding). All this caffeine is making me feel bipolar.
"A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having." -Emma Goldman.
I also heard that line on the movie "V", which, btw, is a pretty good movie.
Guilty as charged. Good memory Anthony.
Anthony, you state: "Most believers are harmless, but there are those who are violently fanatical, and it is for this reason we must keep up the good fight using the only weapon we have...rationality and reason."
I could be wrong, but I think it was Christopher Hitchens who referred to mainstream religious practitioners as the "enablers" for fanatics. All religious fanaticism stems from moderate, or even liberal, views. Which is why we need to fight against ALL religion. Religious liberals and religious fanatics are all using the same texts and worshiping the same god to justify their beliefs. It must be stopped on all levels in order to achieve any sort of rationally-thinking, livable society.
"I could be wrong, but I think it was Christopher Hitchens who referred to mainstream religious practitioners as the "enablers" for fanatics."
You are correct that Christopher Hitchens, among others, have said that moderate religion opens the door to extremism in religion, a point which I think I may have addressed on my Google blog. All I meant by what I said is that most believers won't kill you for your differences. But I absolutely agree, it must be stopped on all levels. If not for moderates there would be no fanatics.
"If not for moderates there would be no fanatics."
We'll always have fanatics, obviously, but in my opinion there would be far less of them to deal with if we didn't indoctrinate religion into the masses (especially children) on such a large scale as we've done in the past and presently. Yes, Anthony, I'm in total agreement with you that most believers won't kill you for your differences. I'm afraid, however, that in the coming years as religion becomes less relevant to individuals, and as our society becomes more outwardly secular we will see an increase in fanatical behavior. Dangerous, disturbing and destructive behavior from a perversely disgruntled minority. There will be desperate actions carried out as part of a losing battle.
"I'm afraid, however, that in the coming years as religion becomes less relevant to individuals, and as our society becomes more outwardly secular we will see an increase in fanatical behavior. Dangerous, disturbing and destructive behavior from a perversely disgruntled minority."
For many years I have had the suspicion that Christians would be the next terrorists on the horizon, and it appears more and more each day that I'm being proved right.
Very well said. However, as Flying Atheist and I have discussed, religion in itself is harmful because of the doors it opens. A.C. Grayling et al., believe the world would be better off with no religion.
"Keeping it to themselves does little harm."
You are correct that if religious people kept their religion to themselves, left it at home or at Church, Synagogue, or Mosque, it would do no harm. But by and far we don't see the religious keeping their religion private.
Religion is having detrimental effects all around the world, and the United States is every day edging closer to theocracy because of a fringe movement called Dominionism that has a huge influence on the right wing of US government, and among evangelical fundamentalist Christians. There are politicians in US government who do not want to see separation of Church and State. They claim that the wall of separation is not to keep religion out of government but to keep government out of religion.
Christians in particular are anti-science, anti-freedom of religion (they believe we should only have the freedom to be Christian), anti-democracy (as are the Islamists), anti-healthcare, anti-gun control (as are the Islamists), anti-choice, and a whole host of other negative things. Do the research.
I mean no harm in saying this Debra, but you need to take off the rose colored glasses. One religion in the world is bad enough, but several religions all with incompatible beliefs and claims to being God's true chosen people is insufferable.
No worries. You didn't hurt my feelings or upset me. Not all atheists will agree on everything. Like everyone else every atheist is a unique individual.
I read what you have to say and understand the value of your position. It must be stated and you do so very clearly.
However, Being polite, gentle, using reason, pleading, crying, begging for relief from the torment imposed on people in the name of god is a crime that has never been addressed to its full degree. Have you been reading all the heroic efforts of military women and the culture of rape? That attitude just doesn't fall out of the sky on some evil men, it falls from the belief, held for centuries, that women are objects to be used. Sure it is better now, but where did that idea get started?
Being silent has never been the way out of misery for me and countless other women and children. The term "Battered Child Syndrome" was first coined in 1962. Before there was a name there was no syndrome. A thing seems to have to have a name to be a problem worth looking into.
The Earth is coming to a tipping point in many factors. Access to oil is on a downward curve, water becomes a problem around the globe, changing climate and rising water put pressure on lives and infrastructure, unresolved conflicts that have simmered for years come to a head, income gaps grow by the month and have been doing so since 1975, rogue states have access to nuclear power, and overconsumption of all resources threatens our well being.
Being silent on any one of these factors leads to not waking up to what is going on. People project their frustration toward insignificant things instead of paying attention to underlying causes of disruption. They scapegoat others and stop looking for causes.
It seems strange to me that the last person who was burned at the stake for heresy was only in 1612 and when we object to the tyranny of religion we are accused to being too loud or too militant or too strident. NO! We are not strident enough.