Biblical Morality and Keller

Tried plowing through the book by Timothy Keller, An Invitation to the Skeptical, Making Sense of God.  I saw many 5 star reviews for the book, with extensive praise being heaped upon the author and this book.  I have to be honest, he was neither compelling or interesting.  Excessive use of “quotes” and endnotes made reading tedious.  The first 4/5ths of the book are dedicated to insulting the secular worldview.  The book is loaded with logical fallacies that are too numerous to list here.  I am not going back to review this dreck chapter by chapter.

As a skeptic, Keller really missed the mark trying to convince me.  He makes too many assumptions of the reader and makes odd choices, such as refuting an evolutionary biologist using song lyrics.  No, I am not kidding.  He uses Nietzsche like a crutch; quote mines authors far more capable than himself.  He constantly conflates belief with faith and uses solipsism as a  justification of the assertion that secularism requires as much faith as religion.  He uses numerous omissions and lies, such as ancient people did not contemplate the problem of evil.  Epicurious anyone?

The last fifth of the book it dedicated to good, old fashioned apologetics.  Not limited to, but including, the Kalam argument, argument from fine tuning, morality and others.  A large section of the book is dedicated to the idea that morality can only be derived from an absolute morality.  Personally, I am a moral relativist.

The book did get me thinking, just what the heck are Judeo-Christian morals?  The author certainly didn’t define them.  He had very, very short Bible quotes, and none really outlined what that morality is.  For a Christian pastor, he really does not refer to the Bible in any coherent way.  So, to the internet I went and found 40 Bible verses for Morality and Redemption.  So, let’s dive in and see what moral absolutes the Bible has to offer:

Leviticus 11:44-45

‘For I am the LORD your God Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'”

 So, don’t have sex with animals?  Wow, thanks for that little nugget of morality.

Matthew 5:48

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Not sure how this relates to morality.

Matthew 5:43-44

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Nice thought, not very useful in the real world.

Luke 6:27-28

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Well, really the same thing as the last statement, moving on.

Luke 6:35-36

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Again, the same thing as the last 2 quotes.  Be good for goodness sake and have mercy.  Nice concept, probably get you shot in the end.

1 Peter 1:15-16

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

No idea how this is morality.  Redemption, maybe?

Isaiah 51:4

“Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.

Must be a little out of context.  No morals here, just a call for justice.

Romans 7:12

So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Something is good and holy because it is good and holy.  Kinda circular.

Exodus 20:1-7

Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. read more.

No other gods before me.  Not really a moral thing here, just a jealous god.

Deuteronomy 6:25

“It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.

Obey the commandments that are commanded.  No morals here, just adherence to the rules.

Psalm 119:137-138

Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness And exceeding faithfulness.

No idea.

Psalm 147:19-20

He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!

Just what are those statutes and ordinances?  10 commandments?  619 rules?

Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.

Just obey the rules and you will be happy.

Isaiah 51:7

“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.

No morals here, either.

Amos 2:6-7

Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money And the needy for a pair of sandals. “These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless Also turn aside the way of the humble; And a man and his father resort to the same girl In order to profane My holy name.

Help the helpless and Father and Son should not fuck the same girl?  Deep morals there, I tell you.

Isaiah 1:15-23

“So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen Your hands are covered with blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. read more.

So be a public defender.

Amos 5:21-24

“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. read more.

No morals here, god is not listening.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

Be just, kind, and humble.  Sounds like someone has been borrowing from the Tao or Buddhist ideals.

Ephesians 5:5

For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Kind of vague here.  Simple rules not be an idolater or coveter.

Colossians 3:5-7

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

More impurity, passion, evil desire and greed=idolatry.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

No morals, just redemption.

Matthew 5:17-20

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. read more.

So morals are the 10 commandments then.

John 1:17-18

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

More redemption and contradiction.

John 3:19

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

Circular reasoning here.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Don’t know.

Deuteronomy 24:17-18

“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. “But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

No real lesson here.

Leviticus 19:13-18

‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. ‘You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. read more.

Don’t steal, pay the man right away, don’t be a dick to the deaf, blind.  Treat everyone equally.  Finally, some real morals.  Really, not earth shattering moral absolutes here, just empathy.

Deuteronomy 15:12-15

“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. “When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. “You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. read more.

Good, solid morals for keeping slaves here.  If you read the complete quote, you can keep the slaves forever if they are married.

Deuteronomy 24:21-22

“When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

Leave the scraps for the poor.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Don’t defile yourself.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

No morals, just redemption.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

More redemption and we will be stone, then not stone, but stone?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Kind of harsh here.  If you are effeminate or gay you can’t get into heaven?  The rest of the items on this list are a choice, but not if you are gay or effeminate.

Romans 8:3-4

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

More redemption, blood sacrifice.

Galatians 5:19-24

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. read more.

So, if  you act like a normal adult, you can’t get into heaven.  I see they prohibit just about every fun thing out there.

Ephesians 4:22-24

that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Redemption theme.

Philippians 2:12-13

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Redemption?  Maybe?

Colossians 3:8-12

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him– read more.

 

Hebrews 8:10

“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

Jeremiah 31:33

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

PragerU Murder

Hoo boy, found a fountain of stupid this week.  PragerU.com has ‘instructional’ videos, in this case, on religion and the old, worn out trope of objective morality.  Quite a few Atheist YouTube channels have made response videos,

https://youtu.be/kOlf-lEkf5k

https://youtu.be/1yZFkI292CA

And many more.

but I prefer the written form, so here are my comments below:

Do you believe that good and evil exist?

No.  They are adjectives or adverbs, not nouns.

The answer to this question separates Judeo-Christian values from secular values.

Let me offer the clearest possible example: murder.

Is murder wrong? Is it evil? Nearly everyone would answer yes. But now I’ll pose a much harder question: How do you know?

There are three questions here, and he is trying to conflate the first two.  Is murder wrong?  Yes, most of the time.  Is murder evil?  No.  How do I know murder is wrong?  The wrongness of murder is relative.  Is it wrong during war?  I don’t think so.  It is relative.  I don’t know if it is wrong, it is relative.

I am sure that you think that murder is wrong. But how do you know?

I, personally, think murder is wrong, but I understand when murder is necessary.  The key word here is think.  It is my opinion that murder is wrong and a species that didn’t think murder was wrong, most of the time, would survive long.

If I asked you how you know that that the earth is round, you would show me photographs from outer space, or offer me measurable data. But what photographs could you show, what measurements could you provide, that prove that murder or rape or theft is wrong?

No, I can’t prove murder or rape or theft is wrong, objectively.

The fact is…you can’t. There are scientific facts, but without God there are no moral facts.

There are no moral facts, it is a nonsensical phrase.

In a secular world, there can only be opinions about morality. They may be personal opinions or society’s opinion. But only opinions. Every atheist philosopher I have read or debated on this subject has acknowledged that if there is no God, there is no objective morality.

So what?  Yes, morality is an opinion and IT IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING.  Doesn’t bother me at all the morality is not objective.

Judeo-Christian values are predicated on the existence of a God of morality. In other words, only if there is a God who says murder is wrong, is murder wrong. Otherwise, all morality is opinion.

Even if there is a god, morality is still an opinion, since it would be a god’s opinion.  Even in your own holy book, your god murders everyone and everything.

The entire Western world – what we call Western Civilization – is based on this understanding.

That is an assertion, and most of the values of Western Civilization are a result of the enlightenment, which is in turn based on Greco-Roman values.

Now, let me make two things clear.

First, this doesn’t mean that if you don’t believe in God, you can’t be a good person. There are plenty of kind and moral individuals who don’t believe in God and Judeo-Christian values.  But the existence of these good people has nothing – nothing – to do with the question of whether good and evil really exist if there is no God.

Then what was the fucking point of this video???

Second, there have been plenty of people who believed in God who were not good people; indeed, more than a few have been evil – and have even committed evil in God’s name. The existence of God doesn’t ensure people will do good. I wish it did. The existence of God only ensures that good and evil objectively exist and are not merely opinions.

If the existence or non-existance of gods don’t change how people act, why should we care?  It is a needless layer of complexity.

Without God, we therefore end up with what is known as moral relativism – meaning that morality is not absolute, but only relative to the individual or to the society. Without God, the words “good” and “evil” are just another way of saying “I like” and “I don’t like.” If there is no God, the statement “Murder is evil” is the same as the statement “I don’t like murder.”

So?  There are many societies in the world right now that don’t follow the Bible and Yahweh and Jesus are just fictional characters, and they are doing just fine.

Now, many will argue that you don’t need moral absolutes; people won’t murder because they don’t want to be murdered. But that argument is just wishful thinking. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao didn’t want to be murdered, but that hardly stopped them from murdering about a hundred million people.

I don’t know what the point of this statement is.  Belief in a god does not stop people from murder either, so it is a non sequitur.

It is not a coincidence that the rejection of Judeo-Christian values in the Western world – by Nazism and Communism – led to the murder of all these innocent people.

And is also not a coincidence that Judeo-Christian values led to the largest genocide is human history, the massacre of the Native Americans.

It is also not a coincidence that the first societies in the world to abolish slavery – an institution that existed in every known society in human history – were Western societies rooted in Judeo-Christian values. And so were the first societies to affirm universal human rights; to emancipate women; and to proclaim the value of liberty.

I really don’t think this statement is factually correct.  Liberty is a Deist value, not a Judeo-Christian.  Your values come from a book that supports slavery, demeans women (most of whom are unnamed) and has nothing to do with liberty.

Today, the rejection of Judeo-Christian values and moral absolutes has led to a world of moral confusion.

We live in the most peaceful time in human history, how this a bad thing?

In the New York Times, in March 2015, a professor of philosophy confirmed this.

Source?

He wrote: “What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun? Would you be surprised? I was.”

What the fuck are you talking about?  I went to public and secular schools only.  I don’t remember anything like that.

The professor then added: “The overwhelming majority of college freshmen view moral claims as mere opinions.”

So?  Who should I care about the opinions of college freshmen?

So, then, whatever you believe about God or religion, here is a fact:

Without a God who is the source of morality, morality is just a matter of opinion. So, if you want a good world, the death of Judeo-Christian values should frighten you.

No, doesn’t frighten me at all.  See Sweden.

I’m Dennis Prager.

Lost Jesus

I have to make an admission, I don’t think Jesus (Christ or of Nazareth) ever existed.
Jesus Christ is just a silly myth, and debating if he ever rose again is just stupid. Why?
This logic:
“All elephants are pink, Nellie is an elephant, therefore, Nellie is pink!” -The Fourth Doctor.
This statement is logical, but ignores one fact, Elephants aren’t pink.

Whenever I hear an argument about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the logic is:
1. After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea
2. On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers
3. On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead
4. The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.

This logic ignores one fact, people don’t rise from the dead. Ever. Over 110,000,000,000 people have lived and died on Earth over the last 200,000 years.
None have returned from the dead. There is no mechanism for someone to return from the dead after 3 minutes, no less 3 days.
Until you can prove that someone can return from the dead, the whole argument is pointless.

On Jesus of Nazareth, he was almost certainly based on a compilation of apocalyptic preachers who were a dime a dozen in the first century.
His supposed teachings appear to cobbled from the Old Testament and eastern teachings from Confucius (Who is the origin of the golden rule.) and the Tao, the Way.

Taken together, Jesus Christ, half man/half god, all god, whatever, is an obvious myth.
Jesus of Nazareth is a compilation or  very very loosely based on a real person. Jesus was a common name at the time. Jesus of Nazareth is about as earth shaking as Joe from Newark, NJ.
His teachings are unremarkable and are poorly stated parables.

For a long time I at least Jesus, in some form is real, but from where I am standing, he is a complete myth; Christ or of Nazareth.

Reasonable Faith

Been going through a little of William Lane Craig’s site, Reasonable Faith.  He is a skilled rhetorician and apologist.  He takes thousands of words to convey childish ideas.  Here is an example.

In this article he takes 6,611 words to convey….god is real because without god I feel sad.  Really, that is what it all boils down to.

But if there is no God, it will end that way, like it or not. This is reality in a universe without God: there is no hope; there is no purpose….

What is true of the universe and of the human race is also true of us as individuals. If God does not exist, then you are just a miscarriage of nature, thrust into a purposeless universe to live a purposeless life.

Do you understand the gravity of the alternatives before us? For if God exists, then there is hope for man. But if God does not exist, then all we are left with is despair. Do you understand why the question of God’s existence is so vital to man?

All I can say to statements like this is: so?  Yeah, we live a cold, mostly empty universe that does not care if we exist or not.  There is no immortality (thank goodness), no ultimate good, etc.  He feels so sad and upset the universe is like this so…god?  Just because you wish it would be true, does not mean it is true.  I wish Santa was real.  I wish magic was real.  It is not.  Grow up.

He makes no evidential claims, heck, he does not even link this vague pantheist god to Yahweh and even admits that:

Now I want to make it clear that I have not yet shown biblical Christianity to be true. But what I have done is clearly spell out the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful….

So, in the end, yes, he believes in a god so that he feels there is an ultimate purpose of life and immortality.  Personally, I think immortality is an absurd concept and would be the worst possible fate of a sentient being.  For the ultimate purpose question, all I can say is grow up.  For the vague morality questions, evolution and altruism is a good enough answer for me.  Subjectivity and relativism does not keep me up at night, and I am  surprised this a still used an apologetic.

 

 

 

 

Switching Gears

The old testament has me beat, stuck in Psalms for now, so jumping to the New Testament.  I have heard Christ, real or not, was a great moral teacher.  Let’s find out!

As always, my comments are in block quotes.  I know the order should be be Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, if done chronologically, but I will stick with the traditions order.  So, off to Matthew we go.

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.

The old testament has me beat, stuck in Psalms for now, so jumping to the New Testament. I have heard Christ, real or not, was a great moral teacher. Let’s find out!

As always, my comments are in block quotes.  I know the order should be be Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, if done chronologically, but I will stick with the traditional order. So, off to Matthew we go.

Chapter 1

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers. And Judah fathered Pharez and Zarah of Tamar. And Pharez fathered Hezron, and Hezron fathered Ram, and Ram fathered Amminadab, and Amminadab fathered Nahshon, and Nahshon fathered Salmon. And Salmon fathered Boaz of Rahab, and Boaz fathered Obed of Ruth, and Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David the king. And David the king fathered Solomon of her who had been wife of Uriah. And Solomon fathered Rehoboam, and Rehoboam fathered Abijah, and Abijah fathered Asa. And Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat fathered Jehoram, and Jehoram fathered Uzziah. And Uzziah fathered Jotham, and Jotham fathered Ahaz, and Ahaz fathered Hezekiah. And Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, and Manasseh fathered Amon, and Amon fathered Josiah. And Josiah fathered Jehoiachin and his brothers, at the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after the carrying away to Babylon, Jehoiachin fathered Shealtiel, and Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel. And Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, and Abiud fathered Eliakim, and Eliakim fathered Azor. And Azor fathered Sadoc, and Sadoc fathered Achim, and Achim fathered Eliud. And Eliud fathered Eleazar, and Eleazar fathered Matthan, and Matthan fathered Jacob. And Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband to be of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations. And from David until the carrying away into Babylon, fourteen generations. And from the carrying away into Babylon until Christ, fourteen generations.

A few things to comment on here: why do we care about the genealogy of Joseph, the husband to be of Mary? He’s not the father and has no genetic contribution. I know the 14 14 14 generations are just there because the Jews were a little obsessed with the number 14. None of these names matter.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was this way (for His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph) before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. But Joseph, her husband to be, being just, and not willing to make her a public example, he purposed to put her away secretly. And as he thought upon these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take to you Mary as your wife. For that in her is fathered of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this happened so that might be fulfilled that spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb, and will bear a son. And they will call His name Emmanuel,” which being interpreted is, God with us. And Joseph, being roused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife, and did not know her until she bore her son, the First-born. And he called His name JESUS.

I have read this passage before, and to this day, do not understand how Emmanuel = Jesus? Correct me if I am wrong, but those are not the same name. From a biological standpoint, it is physically impossible for the virgin to give birth to a male in mammals. In Mammals, sex is determined sex chromosomes. The people writing this, of course, had no idea, and god didn’t know either.

Chapter 2

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him. But when Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it is written by the prophet, “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the governors of Judah. For out of you shall come a Governor who shall rule My people Israel.” Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, inquired of them exactly what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child. And when you have found him, bring me word again so that I may come and worship him also.

Here is where history does not agree with the story. King Herod died in 4 BCE, and this does not jive with the other Jesus birth story. I will touch upon that when I get there. Then, there is the issue with the ‘star in the East’. How, exactly, does that work? ┬áEven over the course of one night, the stars rotate around the celestial pole. Any star in the east will be in the west by the time the night is over.

When they had heard the king, they departed. And lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And coming into the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother. And they fell down and worshiped Him. And opening their treasures, they presented gifts to Him, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

3 wise men, not kings, came to visit him. Nameless wise men, exit stage left.

And when they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and His mother and flee into Egypt. And be there until I bring you word, for Herod is about to seek the child to destroy Him. And he arose and took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt. And he was there until the death of Herod; so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the LORD through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called My Son.”

Fleeing all the way to Egypt, with a newborn. Very vague on time here.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was greatly enraged. And he sent and killed all the boys in Bethlehem, and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had carefully inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

So Joe, Mary, and Jesus just flees and Herod kills thousands. What a loving god. Thankfully this actually didn’t happen.

But Herod having expired, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the child and His mother. And go into the land of Israel. For the ones who sought the child’s life are dead. And he arose and took the child and His mother and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea in his father Herod’s place, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee. And he came and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Ah yes, what a squiggly line back to Judea. Since I have read most of the old testament, I know “He shall be called a Nazarene” is likely a poor translation. A Nazirite is a priest that does not cut his hair, not someone from Nazareth.

Chapter 3
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His path straight.” And the same John had his clothing of camel’s hair and a leather girdle about his loins. And his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea went out to him, and all the region round about Jordan. And they were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

I am sure all of Judea when to visit this insane fellow in a leather loincloth and camel hair coat.

But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance; and do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And now also, the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose fan is in His hand, and He will cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the storehouse; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Classic end of the world speak. Sounds like a judgement is coming and right soon.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan, to John, to be baptized by him. But John restrained Him, saying, I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? And answering Jesus said to him, Allow it now, for it is becoming to us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he allowed Him. And Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him. And lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus is baptized. Swell.

Chapter 4

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterwards hungry. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon a pinnacle of the Temple. And he said to Him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down. For it is written, “He shall give His angels charge concerning You, and in their hands they shall bear You up, lest at any time You dash Your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him, It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Again, the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Then the Devil left him. And behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

The Spirit is like Tinkerbell? So, no miracles here? Not very impressive. In addition, here is a reference to a flat earth. No matter high of a mountain you stand on, you can no see all nations of the Earth…even from space. Jesus quotes some old testament.

But when Jesus heard that John was thrown into prison, He withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and lived in Capernaum, which is on the seacoast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations! The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death.” From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

John gets thrown in prison, so Jesus…runs away???? Really? More retroactive chronology. A bunch of self fulfilly prophesy. More standard Apocolyptic drivel.

And walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they immediately left their nets and followed him. And going on from there, he saw another two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. And He called them; and they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him.

Jesus has magic, brainwashing powers. Simon called Peter? What the hell does that mean? Thanks for clarifying that someone who casts nets into water are fishermen. No Shit.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him all sick people who were pressed down by different kinds of diseases and torments, and those who had been possessed with demons, and those who had been moonstruck, and those paralyzed. And He healed them. And great multitudes of people followed Him, from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and beyond Jordan.

Shame NO ONE recorded these events, when they are supposed to have happened. Demons are not real. You can not be moonstruck, and there is no way the paralyzed were cured. Again, no one wrote this down.

Chapter 5

And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain. And when He had sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying,

Filler.

Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they that mourn! For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God. Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Same statement, reworded 10 times and the carrot of heaven is dangled out in front of the rubes.

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.

These are very banal ‘deepisms’ that sound neat, but state the obvious or just don’t mean anything.

Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Therefore whoever shall break one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

So, the old testament is still in effect. So, you need to follow the rules, or you can not get into heaven.

You have heard that it was said to the ancients, “You shall not kill” –and, “Whoever shall kill shall be liable to the judgment.” But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the sanhedrin; but whoever shall say, Fool! shall be liable to be thrown into the fire of hell. Therefore if you offer your gift on the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; that the opponent not deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, You shall by no means come out from there until you have paid the last kodrantes.

So have no quarrels or debts. Kind of useless guide here.

You have heard that it was said to the ancients, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. It was also said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But I say to you that whoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who is put away commits adultery.

Mindcrime, anyone? Not only the act a sin, thinking of doing the act is just as bad. How is this a better system? What is with all the eye plucking and hand chopping?

Again, you have heard that it has been said to the ancients, “You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all! Not by Heaven, because it is God’s throne; not by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King; nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil.

You can only tell the truth…and only answer in the binary? So very odd. How is this useful?

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist evil. But whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. And to him desiring to sue you, and to take away your tunic, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and you shall not turn away from him who would borrow from you.

This turn the other cheek crap seems so contrary to human nature and you will just be bullied. Our whole justice system would fall apart. Again, how is this useful?

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax-collectors do so? Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

So, everyone be a pansy. Neat concept, shit in real life.

Chapter 6

Take heed that you do not do your merciful deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in Heaven. Therefore when you do your merciful deeds, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But when you do merciful deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, so that your merciful deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret Himself shall reward you openly.

I like this one, do good deeds and don’t brag about it.

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your room. And shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly. But when you pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations. For they think that in their much speaking they shall be heard. Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.

Two things here, I really like the idea that prayer should be done in private. I will quote this the next time I see someone pray in public. A second item, the text seems to indicate don’t ask for anything in prayer, only to give thanks.

Therefore pray in this way: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The lords prayer. It is a prayer of thanks and strength.

And when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, of a sad face. For they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to fast, but to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.

I am looking at your people who are vocal about Lent. Fasting is endorsed here, but make sure it is done without being obvious.

Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye is sound, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Live a life of simplicity and maybe poverty. Not too bad of a message, but I have been poor, and it sucks.

Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things. Sufficient to the day is the evil of it.

This is really, really, really bad advice. Jesus is explicity saying don’t worry about tomorrow. This is worse than useless. We need to worry about where our food comes from, and clothing, and homes. 2,000 years later, we are still here and the only reason we are here is we do worry about how our food is grown, clothing made, bricks laid.

Chapter 7

Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again. And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye. Do not give that which is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and tear you.

This is a bizzare passage. Log in your eye? Was this a thing? I’m sorry, we have to judge others. A whole third of our government is the judicial branch. There is not a government in the world without a judicial branch.

Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For each one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, if his son asks a loaf, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?

This is a pointless passage, I think. Can you glean any meaning from this?

Therefore all things, whatever you desire that men should do to you, do even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.

First we have a little Confucism here, do unto others.  Then we have a warning about taking the narrow path…said 6 different ways.

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall. And it happened, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His doctrine. For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Lame analogies and assertions are not what I would call “astonishing”.

Chapter 8

When He had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if You will, You can make me clean. And Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, I will; be clean! And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest. And offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.
And when Jesus had entered into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my son lies at home paralyzed and grievously tormented. And Jesus says to him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my boy will be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go! And he goes; and to another, Come! And he comes; and to my servant, Do this! And he does it. When Jesus heard, He marvelled and said to those who followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven. But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go. And as you have believed, so let it be to you. And his boy was healed in that hour.
And when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid out and in a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. And evening coming on, they brought to Him many who had been possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He took on Himself our weaknesses and bore our sicknesses.”
And seeing great crowds, Jesus gave orders to depart to the other side. And a certain scribe came and said to him, Master, I will follow You wherever You go. And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head. And another of His disciples said to him, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.
And He entering into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, a great tempest arose in the sea, so much so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him and awakened Him, saying, Lord, save us! We perish! And He said to them, Why are you afraid, little-faiths? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, two demon-possessed ones met Him, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one might pass by that way. And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine, feeding. And the demons begged Him, saying, If You cast us out, allow us to go away into the herd of swine. And He said to them, Go! And when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters. And those who fed them fled. And going into the city, they told everything, and what had happened to the ones who had been possessed of demons. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged that He would depart out of their borders.
Chapter 9

And He entered into a boat, and passed over, and came to His own city. And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, Child, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven you. And lo, some of the scribes said within themselves, This one blasphemes. And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier? To say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise and walk! But so that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins, then He said to the paralytic, Arise, take up your bed and go to your house. And he arose and departed to his house. But when the crowds saw, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax-office. And He said to him, Follow Me! And he arose and followed Him. And it happened as Jesus reclined in the house, behold, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw, they said to His disciples, Why does your master eat with tax-collectors and sinners? But when Jesus heard, He said to them, The ones who are whole do not need a physician, but the ones who are sick. But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Then the disciples of John came to Him saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them, Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast. No one puts a piece of new cloth onto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do men put new wine into old wineskins; else the wineskins burst, and the wine runs out, and the wineskins perish. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved together.
While He spoke these things to them, behold, a certain ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, My daughter has just now died. But come and lay Your hand on her and she will live. And Jesus arose and followed him. And so did His disciples. And behold, a woman, who had a flow of blood for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, If only I shall touch His robe, I will be whole. But turning and seeing her, Jesus said, Daughter, be comforted; your faith has saved you. And the woman was saved from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said to them, Go back, for the little girl is not dead, but sleeps. And they laughed Him to scorn. But when the people were put out, He went in and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And this report went out into all that land.
And when Jesus passed on from there, two blind ones followed Him, crying and saying, Son of David, have mercy on us. And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you. And their eyes were opened. And Jesus strictly charged them, saying, See, let no one know. But going out, they made Him known in all that land. As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man, who had been demon-possessed. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb one spoke. And multitudes marveled, saying, Never was it seen like this in Israel! But the Pharisees said, He throws out demons by the ruler of the demons.
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But seeing the crowds, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were tired and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send out laborers into His harvest.

Weak Beliefs and Lack of Utility

Pantheism and Deism

Recently I have been looking into the writings of Christopher Langan and his Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe. Which is, as far as I can tell a modern take on pantheism. What is that? A general belief that the universe is god and we are all just pieces of god. For Langan’s specific hypothesis, the universe is a self programming, executing computer.  This contrasts with Deism, where a god creates the universe and simply has no more interaction. The issue I personally have with these viewpoints is that it posits a useless god with no utility.

With either of these god concepts, there is no point in prayer, since it will never be answered, and the universe under each viewpoint would be identical, in every way, to a materialistic/mechanical view of the universe. Why add an extra layer of a god when no god is the most parsimonious answer? Getting back to my point of utility; if I can get nothing out of believing, like miracles, eternal life, answered prayers, what’s the point? These viewpoints are worse than useless. They can’t be falsified, and even if the universe was living computer, it would not change anything. The rules are still the same.

The concept of the universe being a self programming, self actuating computer in an interesting concept, and should be testable.  However, even the hypothesis that the universe that we observe is a computer simulation, run by a hyper intelligent race is a more tenable concept.  Langan’s concept does have interesting points from a 30,000 foot view, but investigating further, it is clear that Langan is very intelligent, but lacks knowledge and has a basic misunderstanding of how computers, language, and syntax work.   Getting back to utility, even if CTMU is correct, or if the universe is a hologram, or computer simulation, we are part of that system, and the rules still the same.  Again, still no utility, unless we can ‘hack’ the system.  If it is true, let’s apply this knowledge, if it not, move on and try to understand how the universe really works.

20 more questions.

As painful as these questions are, here are some more.  As a warning, there are a lot of repeats. This list is a little more vague, but has some merit.

 As always, answers in quotes.

1.What caused the universe to exist?

I don’t know.  Do you?  There are some theories, the most promising is quantum fluctuations.  We may never know and  ’cause’ is a meaningless question when there is no time.

2.What explains the fine tuning of the universe?

The anthropic principle.  I don’t want to explain it all here.  Why is a hole the perfect shape of the puddle that resides in it?

3.Why is the universe rational?

I don’t understand the questions.  I don’t think it is rational, I can’t begin to pretend to rationalize the universe, as a whole.  I have a finite mind.

4.How did DNA and amino acids arise?

This is an area of ongoing research.  Amino acids seem to arise as a natural property of the universe.  It was probably RNA first, then DNA, possibly much later on.   Given enough time and energy, the odds are, it will just happen.

5.Where did the genetic code come from?

See #4.

6.How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?

I don’t think there is such a thing.  Meaningless question.

7.How do we account for the origin of 116 distinct language families?

I am not a linguist.  How does different languages prove anything other than migration of early humans?  Isolation is a great explanation for the divergence of languages.

8.Why did cities suddenly appear all over the world between 3,000 and 1,000BC?

They did not appear all over the world at that time.  Some were as much as 6,000 year ago, in China, and as late as 700 years ago in the Americas.  How odd, the cities in China dates before the biblical beginning of the universe?

9.How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?

Seriously malformed question.  I don’t there is something like truly independent thought, most of what we do is driven by chance and necessity.

10.How do we account for self-awareness?

It is either a side effect of really developed temporal lobes or has an evolutionary advantage to be self aware.  Natural selection would favor individuals that have that little bit more drive to survive than those who who not self aware.  That is my view, but I am not a biologist that specialises in neuroscience.  Are you?

11.How is free will possible in a material universe?

Free will is an illusion.  All of our actions are reactions to a previous cause or condition.

12.How do we account for conscience?

Another malformed question.  As sense of good and evil?  Empathy is a great account for it.  Other species have these traits as well.

13.On what basis can we make moral judgements?

Empathy and social norms.

14.Why does suffering matter?

Again, empathy.  I don’t want to suffer, I don’t want other members of my own species to suffer.

15.Why do human beings matter?

Humans matter because I am a human and I matter to myself and I care about other members of my own species.  We want to survive and make the world better for everyone.

16.Why care about justice?

Empathy, empathy, empathy.  To advance as a species, we need justice and there are very very strong natural selection pressures to have morality and justice.

17.How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?

Humans are pattern seekers and have over active agency detection.  We want to assign meaning and patterns, even if the patterns are random.  We don’t like unknowns.  Go read The God Delusion for a more complete answer.

18.How do we know the supernatural does not exist?

Because we are adults and don’t believe in magic.  Not a good answer?  How about a more reasoned one:  anything that violates the laws of the universe can not exist.  The supernatural, by definition, violates the laws of the universe and does not exist.

19.How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?

By some sort of two way communication between the living and dead.  Conscious existence depends on a living brain, and if the brain stops working, so does consciousness.  A broken watch tells no time.  A broken brain no longer thinks.

20.What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church?

People are gullible and want a happy lie and don’t want to cease existing.  Simple as that.  Jesus didn’t die for our sins.  I highly doubt he even existed and the gospels are just a bunch of fairy tales.

 

Even more questions

Just love these silly questions:  This time from Christian Answers.

As always, my:

Answers will be in block quotes.

“If all of life is meaningless, and ultimately absurd , why bother to march straight forward, why stand in the queue as though life as a whole makes sense?” —Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There  

What other choice do we have but to move forward and try to enjoy this one, precious life that we have.  I think non believers actually value life and humanity more, since we have to make sure this life counts.  I want to love and be loved and pass on my genes, I have to move forward.

If everyone completely passes out of existence when they die, what ultimate meaning has life? Even if a man’s life is important because of his influence on others or by his effect on the course of history, of what ultimate significance is that if there is no immortality and all other lives, events, and even history itself is ultimately meaningless?

This is really the same question, asked in a slightly different way.  Why do believers do this?  See my previous answer.  Yes, life is ultimately meaningless, who cares?  Something is precious because it does not last.

Suppose the universe had never existed. Apart form God, what ultimate difference would that make?

None at all.  Your point?

In a universe without God or immortality, how is mankind ultimately different from a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs?

We are different because we are human.  We are intelligent primates who can decide on morals, but other species have morals as well, like elephants, dolphins, and our fellow apes.  We make our own morals.  What is wrong with that?

What viable basis exists for justice or law if man is nothing but a sophisticated, programmed machine?

I am perfectly alright with accepting we are nothing more than highly evolved meat computers.  Does not bother me at all, in fact, I think the fact chemical processes can make laws and justice is just amazing.

Why does research, discovery, diplomacy, art, music, sacrifice, compassion, feelings of love, or affectionate and caring relationships mean anything if it all ultimately comes to naught anyway?

See the answers to the previous questions.  Same damn question asked over and over and over.

Without absolute morals, what ultimate difference is there between Saddam Hussein and Billy Graham?

There is none.  Both are apes, both followed relative morality.

If there is no immortality, why shouldn’t all things be permitted?(Dostoyevsky)

For some reason believers can not separate morality with objective morality.  We make morals.  Without humans, there are no human morals.  Objective morality is not a thing.

If morality is only a relative social construct, on what basis could or should anyone ever move to interfere with cultures that practice apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or ethnic cleansing?

We interfere because most normal humans have empathy and want to reduce suffering.  I want to reduce suffering, don’t you?  Or are you like Mother Theresa and enjoy suffering?

If there is no God, on what basis is there any meaning or hope for fairness, comfort, or better times?

Empathy and humanism.  We succeed when we work together and realize we have to do it all ourselves.  The magic sky daddy is not real.

Without a personal Creator-God, how are you anything other than the coincidental, purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, pointless, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?

That how the universe works.  Sorry if it makes you feel bad.  The truth is not always happy.  I would rather accept an unhappy truth than a comfortable lie, like you do.   Suck it up and be an adult and embrace the ultimate pointlessness of it all and just enjoy this one, amazing, remarkable, against all odds life together.

Glutton for punishment

I love crappy apologetics and ‘questions for Atheists’  Here are some new ones:

My Answers in block quotes.

1. If there is NO God, then there is no Measurement or Standard for morality?  Then What will define morality?

There is no objective morality.  Morality can be defined which action causes the least harm.  I do not understand why relative morality is a bad thing.

2. If there is NO God, then there is NO meaning or purpose to Life.  So without a God, does life have purpose or meaning?  Without God, does the Atheist have purpose?

Objective meaning?  No.  In 500 million years, all life on Earth will be gone, due to the increasing output of the sun, unless our descendants intervene.  You have to make up your own meaning.  Life just wants to continue, nothing more, nothing less.

3. Are you an advocate of New Atheism and Darwinism?  If so, then the most extreme and logical form of Darwinism is Eugenics.  Would you support this?  Why or Why Not?

Atheism and Darwinism are two separate ideas.  I have been an Atheist for a long time, over 25 years, so I don’t think I am new.  I lean more towards punctuated equilibrium and neo Darwinism.  We are not slaves to our genes, so I don’t know why Eugenics would be the logical conclusion.  This is a malformed question.

4. If we are ancesoters(sic)/descendants of Apes, then why are there no transitional fossils or species to support this theory?

We are apes, and there are many transitional fossils and intermediate species, along with genetic evidence that we have a common ancestor.

5. Do you believe in Human Nature?  It is Human Nature to believe in God, if so, why do you go against human nature and not believe in God?

No I do not.  We have very little built in instincts.  Sadly, we know this from ‘lost children’.  We are the product of our environment and culture.

6. Can ‘Something come from Nothing’?  Doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

Yes, happens all the time at the quantum level, such as quantum fluctuations.  The First Law of Thermodynamics did not apply at the start of the universe, since the law did not exist yet.

7. It seems that a society of Atheist are immoral and self-destructing.  Why would anyone want a Godless Society, just look at our examples: North Korea, Maoist China, Stalin, & Pot Pol?

You can also look at Sweden, most of  Europe, and China, India, Japan, etc, all of whom do not believe in any god or your god and they are doing just fine.  Sweden is almost 70% Atheist, and they are doing just fine.

8. If you were to die, and you were before God.  And he was getting ready to pass judgement on you,  What would be your reaction or thoughts?  What plea would you give him so he does not judge you harshly?

I would be angry that it did not provide any proof and let me burn.  Petty, hidden, immoral god.  I would not plea with a bully.

9. What would convince you atheism is wrong?  And that Christianity is Right?

You should ask your god that.  I really have no idea.  Every religion in the world, with the same vision of god would be a good start, but that is not the case.  I think an omnipotent being is a self refuting concept.  You can’t have an infinite inside of a finite.

10. Why are you an Atheist?  Why do you NOT believe in God?  Why do you reject God?  (You can be as detailed as you want.)

I see no reason to believe.  There is no evidence, and believing in a fantasy is no way to live.  Even the very concept of an omnipotent god in a universe of 600,000,000,000 galaxies, with 100,000,000,000 stars, each, has no room for a god.  It is a silly concept and useless waste of time.