The Christian god. The Bible presents an interesting picture of God, ie. a god who never

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The Christian god. The Bible presents an interesting picture of God, ie. a god who never changes (Malachi 3:6) but actually does frequently change his mind and even regrets what he's done ("repents") - Gen 6:6,7, Ex 32:l4, l Sam l5:35, 2 Sam 24:l6, l Chron 21:l5, Jer l8:8,l0, 26:3,l3,l9, 42:l0, Ezek 24:l4, Joel 2:l3, Amos 7:3. Although it is to be noted that Numbers 23:l9 and l Samuel 15:2 say that God never repents..... It states God is "spirit", ie. non-physical (John 4:24) and yet he is always called 'him' or 'he' as if he had a male body, but it also says that although spirit, he has feet (Psalm l8:9), arms (Jer 27:5), wings (Psa 36:7), hands (Job 27:ll), eyes (Deut 8:3), a mouth (Isa l:20), ears (2 Chron 6:40), nostrils (Ex l5:8) and legs (Gen 3:8). He also uses a razor - Isa 7:20. He also occasionally roars (Joel 3:l6) and sometimes he even whistles (Isa 5:26) !!! Although he has never been seen (John l:l8), he has actually been seen (Isa 6:l), and he even revealed his rear to Moses (Exodus 33:21-22).. Christians argue that it is through Adam's sin that evil exists and furthermore it is because of his transgression that all humans must die; this is clearly taught by Paul in Rom 5:12,17,18 and is the central theology of Christianity; however, this wholly contradicts 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:20, Jeremiah 31:30 that state a person will NOT suffer for an ancestor's wrongdoing. If the God of the Bible is truly God, then there is a dilemma; for God to be God, he has to be omnipotent, responsible for the creation of everything; this includes evil; if he did not create evil, then he was not wholly creative, and therefore cannot be God. In fact the Bible does actually say God commits evil, eg. Exodus 32:l4, 2 Sam 24:l6, 1 Chron 21:l5, Jer l8:8, 26:3,l3,l9, Jonah 3:l0. Furthermore he sends lying spirits (l Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles l8:22) and deliberately deceives people (2 Thessalonians 2:ll). And not only this, he admits to being responsible for the creation of evil and misery - Isaiah 45:7, and that he has deliberately made people so he can destroy them - Proverbs l6:4. Christians blame the devil for evil, but the devil and his desire for power (that supposedly resulted in his fall) must have come from God in the first place if he created everything; there is also the "awkward" point that he is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament - just Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7 where he is called "a son of God" (!), in 1 Chron 21:1 where he incites the census (although 2 Sam 24:1 says God did this !), and Zechariah where he is only a prosecuting attorney (3:1-3). It is also argued that man has free will to choose; firstly, what about those who have never heard the Christian gospel (and some might feel they are fortunate !), or are incapable (ie. the mentally-ill/retarded) or die in infancy; secondly, considering man's eternal destiny depends upon this, one would have thought God would have made as better job of it it, ie. a less contradictory and a clearer Bible (that doesn't even mention God is a Trinity !), and not literally thousands of sects (all saying different things) making up the Christian church; thirdly, if man chooses through this supposed free will to reject the gospel, but then spends eternity in hell for this, where is the free will here ? God is hardly consistent - He condemns killing (Exodus 20:l3) but orders it (Exodus 32:27); he encourages wisdom (Proverbs 4:7) but condemns it (l Corinthians l:l9); he protects the righteous (Proverbs 12:21) but does not (Hebrews ll:36-37); he cuts off the wicked (Proverbs l0:27) but does not (Job 21:7-9); he commands respect for parents (Exodus 20:l2) but encourages hatred for them (Luke l6:9); he blesses peace (Matthew 5:9) but brings war (Matthew l0:34, Revelation l9:ll). It continues by saying God will keep the earth (Ecclesiastes l:4), but will destroy it (2 Peter 3:l0); is invisible and unseen (John l:l8, l Timothy 6:l5-l6) but has been seen (Amos 9:l, Deuteronomy 5:24); he lives in dazzling light (l Timothy 6:l5-l6), but lives in darkness (l Kings 8:l2)...... Christians maintain that God cares for the world, he is personally involved in it, he has sent his prophets, he has even taken on human form himself and lived and died as a human being, he has sent his Holy Spirit, his Word (the Bible) and manifests himself through his church; however, how is it that so much suffering prevails in the world ? The Bible has Jesus comparing humans' compassion with God's; he supposedly pointed out that even a human being 'evil as they are' would not let their child starve or suffer (Matthew 7:9-13) so (therefore) we can look forward to much more more from God. This is the real nonsense; no human being would allow the suffering that goes on in the world today to continue if they could stop it, but a supposedly caring, loving, omnipotent god does nothing... What is one supposed to make of a deity that allows so much suffering to go on which even a mere frail feeble inconsistent 'evil' human would stop if they could ? SALVATION. Whilst there are Biblical texts that say one has to be a Christian to be 'saved' and furthermore only a small number of people will be 'saved', eg. Matt 22:l4, Luke 13:24, there are texts that refer to Jesus taking away everybody's sins - not just Christians, eg. John l:29, and that Jesus will save the whole world, eg. John 4:42, l John 4:l4. It is also said that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation (eg. Acts 2:21, l6:30,31, Romans l0:9), but in contrast, there are texts that say a person's lifestyle and (good) works will save them and it is on how a person lives that they will be judged/rewarded, eg. Psalm 62:l2, Proverbs 24:l2, Matthew 7:21, l9:l6,l7, l6:27, Luke l4:l3,l4, John 5:29, Acts l0:35, 1 Cor 3:8, 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Peter 1:17, James 1:27, Rev 20:12,13. NB. The original meaning of "sin" was a negative event. In Hebrew, the commonest word for sin is 'hattat' or 'het' - derived from the root meaning 'to miss', ie. it was falling below an expected standard, or failing to do something, ie. like missing the target; in fact the verb appears in the Old Testament with this original meaning, eg. Job 5:24, Proverbs 8:35f. However, Christians teach that sin is active rebellion against God, a positive action that separates man from God - but if a Christian, justified by faith, Jesus 'takes their sin away'; according to the meaning of the word 'sin' - in its original con- text, it is nothing of the sort. Sin is not something a person does, but rather, the reverse. HISTORICAL ACCURACY The first two centuries of Christian history demonstrate the type of person responsible for establishing the church. The ultra-conservative 4th cent church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who was only keen to portray the church in a good light, had to admit that Papias (bishop of Hierapolis ca. l30 AD) was a "man of exceeedingly small intelligence" (H.E. III.39.13) and yet it is from this man that the church derived most of its information about two of the Gospels that were accepted into the canon. Another example of historical inaccuracy is the story of the number of early Christians martyred; Gibbon ('Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', chapters l5-l6) has unquestionably shown that these figures have been exaggerated out of all proportion and the numbers involved were considerably less. In fact, even the stories about the persecution of Christians appear to be embellishments to the point of fraud, eg. the supposed persecution of Christians by Nero is yet another example of this; whilst Christians claim that a considerable number of Christians were martyred by Nero, this is based on Tacitus who refers to this (50 or so years afterwards), but the first clear mention of this by a Christian was by Melito of Sardis in ca. l70 AD. If it had been such a widespread terrible persecution, Christian writers would have surely made specific mention of it earlier than l70 AD. It is highly improbable that there would have been that many Christians living in Rome in Nero's time anyway so early on. Tacitus only mentions it, apparently embellishing the story, because he wanted to paint a bad as possible picture of Nero. It appears the famous persecution by Nero of Roman Christians was sporadic, localised and very short lived, but blown out of all proportion by later Christians. TRANSMISSION OF TEXT. There was actually a long dark tunnel period between the writings of the NT (New Testament) writings and them being treated as Holy Writ. The first earliest papyri is Rylands P52 dated ca. l40 AD but this only has just 6 verses of John. In fact the first complete MSS of the NT are 4th century (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). All NT writings were apparently written in Greek - not the language that Palestinian Jews would have used. There was clearly tampering with the text in this tunnel period - Eusebius admits this was so - H.E. 29.6-7. The differences between the Byzantine, Alexandrian and Caesarean texts show copyists changed the text (eg. Acts 2:l7 in the Western text). The 3rd cent Christian writer Origen condemned those Christians for "their depraved audacity" in changing the text and Jerome told Pope Damascus of the "numerous errors" that had arisen in the texts through attempted harmonising. In 1707 John Mill of Oxford listed 30,000 variants in the different N.T texts and at the beginning of this century with further discoveries of manuscripts, the scholar Hermann von Soden listed some 45,000 variants in the N.T texts illustating how they were altered. Even in the one 4th cent Codex Sinaiticus containing all the N.T, Professor Tishendorf the discoverer, noted that it had been altered by at least three different scribes. Therefore this shows the present-day Bible is not a "inerrant copy" of the original writings, and secondly cannot be "God's inspired word" as presumably if this were so, he would have ensured such alterations could not have been made. Finally, it also shows the integrity of the early Christians............ JESUS' TEACHINGS. Although Christians maintain Jesus' teaching was very new and revolutionary (eg. Matt 19:3ff), this is just not so. Most of it is borrowed from the Old Testament and contemporary faiths. Here he is simply repeating the strict divorce ruling of Rabbi Shammai. The famous 'Golden Rule' of Jesus in Matt 7:l2 (Do to others as you would wish them to do to you) is also far from unique; this is found in various teachings predating Christianity (eg. Confucius, Rabbi Hillel); it is even found in its negative form in the Old Testament Apocrypha - Tobit 4:l5. Much of Matthew's 'Sermon on the Mount' (not found in Mark, nor John and broken into pieces and scattered through his Gospel by Luke's author) contains a good deal borrowed from pre-Christian religion, eg. Matt 5:9 is found in the pre-Christian Book of the Secrets of Enoch (52:ll) and Matthew 5:34-37 is also found there (49:l). In chap. 42 of this pre-Christian book, there are beatitudes which rememble the Gospel ones both in number and form. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE One example of Christian teaching not being dervived from the Bible is how Christians say a great deal of the Bible gives instructions regarding a happy married life. In reality, this is not so at all. As far as "Jesus' teaching about the 'sanctity' of marriage" or even family life, the Gospels say very little on this. Jesus' teaching regarding divorce arises in Matthew l9:3-l2 and Mark 10:2-12; Luke and John omit this passage. In Mark, Jesus speaks to his Jewish audience about a woman divorcing her husband - l0:12 - however no such thing was possible in Palestine ! Here the author of Mark betrays the fact that (i)he was not an eyewitness to the events he writes of (ii)that he was not a first century Palestinian Jew (who obviously would not make such an error) ie. Christians maintain the author of Mark is the same John Mark mentioned in Acts 12:12. However it is clear just from this that he was a Gentile, writing for a Gentile (Rome ?) audience. He makes numerous errors in his Gospel about Palestinian life, geography, customs and theology. (iii)the Gospel writers freely adapted their material to stress the point they were trying to make. ie. their narratives are not reliable accounts, but rather editorial compositions/redactions. Mark also allows no reason for divorce - l0:l2, but the author of Matt does have Jesus saying one reason was acceptable for divorce (ie. unfaithfulness) - ie. l9:9. Presumably by the time Matthew was written, Christians (particularly Gentiles) were finding Jesus' instruction in Mark impossible to follow, so Matt's author introduced an escape clause. Matt's author omits the statement about women divorcing their husbands as he clearly realised this was an error (he tidies up other errors in Mark). In 1st cent Palestine, adultery was not a crime against the woman, but a crime against her husband (!). Mark is therefore wrong in 10:11 and Matt (in 19:9) therefore corrects this and omits the 'against her'. The statement that Christian life is the basis of a happy fulfilled family life, is certainly not based on Jesus' teaching. In fact Jesus says very little on this subject. One of the occasions he does refer or rather, allude to family life is when he lists some of the Ten Commandments to the man asking about acquiring eternal life, and repeats the commandment of honouring parents. This appears in Matt 19:16-22 where the enquirer is a young man (19:20) and in Luke 18:18-23, but here he is a ruler. In Mark (10:17-22) he is clearly not 'young' as he recalls his youth in 10:20. This is a typical example of how the Gospels do not agree. In Mark, Jesus lists off some of the Decalogue (l0 Commandments) including 'Honour your parents', but he also lists 'Do not defraud' (l0:l9) as one of the Commandments. However, this is not one of the Ten Commandments. (These are found in Exodus 20:l-l7, Deuteronomy 5:6-21). Note how Matt (l9:l8) and Luke (l8:20), correct this error in Mark (they correct others also elsewhere in Mark). This again is an example of how Mark's author was not a Jew (who would at least know the l0 Commandments), how he has Jesus saying things which could not have been said, and how the speech cannot be authentic; furthermore, it shows how Matt and Luke's authors freely changed Mark where they saw a mistake; their compositions cannot be reliable accounts either. There is also the factor that it is somewhat inappropriate for Jesus to preach about the honouring of parents when he also advocates, for example, hating one's family (Luke l4:26), that his purpose was to break up families (Matthew l0:34-36, Luke 12:51-53), not even burying them when they die (Matthew 8:21-22) and deserting one's own family (resulting in a reward) (Luke l8:29-30). N.T WRITINGS. There is also the question of the writings in the New Testament canon which were not accepted/used by the early Christians (James, Hebrews, Revelation) but are now accepted, and that Christians reject the writings the early Christians did accept and used (eg. Hermas, Barnabas, the Didache). This in itself shows the church is not interested in sustaining the 'original faith' and has chosen the writings that suits its own teachings. This is all apart from the fact that the church did not even agree to the 27 writings now in the N.T. until Athanasius' Easter Letter of 367 AD, but even then, the dispute continued right on to the 9th century. For example, Jude in the N.T - supposedly written by Jesus' brother - uses quotations from two O.T books not accepted by Christians as being inspired ! Any examination of any of the lists from the 2nd cent (Muratorian) to the 4th cent (eg. Athanasius' letter) shows what a real muddle the church was in when it tried to decide what writings would be allowed into the canon. Obviously the church only accepted the writings that did not conflict with its own teachings, so in reality the Bible is a man-made book, ie. its contents were chosen by erring humans, some of which were hardly honourable, or very orthodox (eg. Athanasius taught an almost-docetic view of Christ). However, for some strange reason, Christians, ignorant of their own history, seem to think the apostles all met up one day in the the 1st century, collected the 27 N.T writings together and said, "This is the New Testament !". There could be nothing further from the truth.


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