Friday, December 31, 2010

Jesus and Prayer: Testable?

So first we need to know what Jesus says about prayer so lets take some biblical quotes of Jesus about prayer to see what the claim is. Here is a list of the claims:

John 14: 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 21:21-22 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

Mark 11:24-25 Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Ok, so here we have all 4 gospels confirming anything is possible through prayer. So there is a test we can run to see if Jesus was right. The test comes in the form of a challenge Here is a challenge I have put forward to several Christians and they always fail. The challenge is since Jesus is saying anything is possible and since ending world hunger by tomorrow is in the set of everything, we should be able to achieve it. Lets get at least 2 people together who have at least the faith of a mustard seed and pray for it. If it happens it confirms Jesus was telling the truth, if it doesn't it proves Jesus was a liar or wrong. Now the funny thing that happens is once you start this challenge Christians quickly jump on an obvious thing and think it proves Jesus right. For instance a very unintelligent blog talk radio host who goes by the name of shockofgod when called on this challenge by my brother said, I pray for you to hang up the phone, and then he hung up the phone and acted like it proved something. He lied to hide from this. Another person in a chat room recently said she prayed for me to type again, well guess what that isn't proving everything is possible. This is a claim that's actually easier to show that it is incorrect then it is to show its correct. Sorry Christians you know Jesus was wrong here admit it.

If you are going to tell me Jesus doesn't mean what he says here, you better have more than just your assertion, I am talking about what the bible quotes Jesus as saying, not about how you interpret it. Your interpretation needs to be justified, otherwise Jesus meant what he said.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Matthew and The Law(revised)

Matthew 5: 17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven"

Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" (John7:19)

This quote in Matthew should come back to haunt Christians. I will say this view is the view of the author of Matthew and John as well. I want to stay with the first passage because it is clear. The common excuse is that Jesus fulfilled the law, but firstly that seems odd being you fulfill prophecy from prophets, but how exactly does one fulfill a law? Even if that were the case, the thing is it also gives very clear prerequisites that must happen first. The prerequisites are heaven and earth will disappear and everything will be accomplished. Now 2 of the 3 are hard to tell, we may not know when heaven has disappeared or when all has been accomplished, but as of today we do know that the earth has not disappeared. Now a prerequisite means in order for something to happen, something else must happen first. Like for instance in college you must take logic 1 before you can take logic 2. In the same sense Jesus is saying that Earth must disappear before the law is fulfilled. Here lies the rub, that means the old law still exists and should be kept. Now what is the old law. We know that the Jews of the time referred to the Torah or the 5 books of Moses as the law. So anything in those books even the smallest letter should be taught. That is what Jesus is instructing here. The 5 books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. So we should observe the smallest letter of these books according to Jesus. So my question is why don't Christians teach these laws, as if they don't, they will be called least into heaven according to Jesus:
exodus 21:
20 "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property

exodus 31: 15
six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death

Leviticus 24: 16
and one who misuses 1 the name of the Lord must surely be put to death. The whole congregation must surely stone him, whether he is a foreigner or a native citizen; when he misuses the Name he must be put to death.

Leviticus 20:10
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 25:44
Both your slaves, and your bondmaids, which you shall have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall you buy slaves and bondmaids.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her

This view is also consistent with the old testament clearly telling us: psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple

Does this make you think Jesus was moral? Are his teachings here good according to todays standards? I think not, but i may just be wrong that slavery and the death penalty for these crimes are wrong.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas

In the news you hear about groups fighting for companies to say Merry Christmas. Their reason, because 90% or so of American's celebrate Christmas. They say this makes it the most inclusive. Are you kidding me? Are these people serious? Some people celebrate Hanukkah and others Kwanzaa. Don't they realize that when you add those people on the percentage of people being greeted with happy holidays is greater. Christians are aware Christmas is a Holiday right? They do realize that when a place says happy holidays that Christmas is being included in that right?
Now I would go one step further and say even if it were only Christians that a store saying happy holidays would be more appropriate, because get this, wait for it, in the next couple of weeks we have another big holiday coming up as well. You know that holiday called New Years Day. Making it the number of Holidays that businesses want to address at least 2 but in reality more. So the phrase happy holidays does this the quickest and easiest.
Why do Christians want to make this a big deal, well I would venture to guess, they are feeling their dominance over this country slipping and are trying to make themselves seem like the oppressed. They are merely using the Christmas season which is something a lot of people like to do this. They get the people angry and feeling oppressed for Christmas and this keeps them closer to Christianity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reality of Christmas

The Catholic leagues response to the atheist billboard at the lincoln tunnel says "you know its real: this season celebrate Jesus." Well do we know its real, lets look at some problems with Christmas.I am not going to spend time on overall facts like the lack of contemporary evidence for Jesus at all because that encompasses more than the supposed spirit of christmas the virgin birth of Jesus.
The first reality of Christmas I will point out is the date of Dec 25th is actually a pagan holiday. It was already being celebrated. So basically the Christians stole the holiday. Now this does not work as evidence that the Jesus myth is a copy of pagan beliefs, as early Christians did not celebrate christmas until the 3rd or 4th Century. So the earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth on Dec 25th. There was some dispute over when Jesus was born. Dates such as Jan 4th were also discussed.
Speaking of problems with Jesus' time of birth, we have a big gap in time between the 2 birth narratives. We have Jesus born during King Herods reign and when Quirinius was Governor. Here is an excerpt from a book called "Jesus Interrupted" written by New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman to explain this problem:
"If the Gospels are right that Jesus’ birth occurred during Herod’s reign, then Luke cannot also be right that it happened when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. We know from a range of other historical sources, including the Roman historian Tacitus, the Jewish historian Josephus, and several ancient inscriptions, that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 6 CE, ten years after the death of Herod."(page33-34)

How are we suppose to believe this when the gospels have such a large gap in between birth narratives.

The next problem with Christmas comes again in the forms of the gospels. We have both Luke and Matthew providing us the narratives for his birth. Both, wanted to have Jesus fulfill 2 supposed prophecies. The first prophecy is to be born of a virgin and the second was to be a decendent of David. Now how do they get this accomplished, he is born of Mary who is supposedly a virgin, more on that later. Even though the virgin birth is a misreading of the actual arabic word for "young girl" and not virgin after all. We still achieve this. The problem comes in when you see how they get him through David's bloodline. Guess how they do it?
If you guessed through Joseph, the non biological father, you guessed right. Both gospels fulfill this through a man he is not even really the blood relative of. Don't believe me check for yourselves: Luke 3:23–38 and Matthew 1:1–17. So either he fulfills one prophecy or the other but since Joseph not Mary is the descendant of David, the virgin birth makes the bloodline impossible.

Speaking of virgin births,how can one believe this. I mean seriously the idea that she lied never came into your head? Do we have motive for lying? I say we certainly do, the death penalty for adultery is a pretty big motive. Where can we find the death penalty for adultery, that's right the bible:
lev 20:10
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

John 8:4-7
and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

So we see motive for Mary to believe, and since Joseph probably loved Mary he convinced himself as well. What makes the John quote so interesting, is it shows this law spanned well past that time as the earliest and best manuscripts do not have this quote. It does not appear in manuscripts until hundreds of years later. So we have motive for lying, and its far more likely than an actual virgin birth, so that makes it more believable. I find this far more likely and there are other possibilities that are also more likely.

So do I know its real, not a chance. I know its a myth and the reasons should begin to come to your heads now as well.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Problem with Agnostics

There are several things I find wrong with agnostics. I will cover the 2 main ones here today. Firstly they are avoiding the actual question on belief and dodging with knowledge. Secondly they special plead in the case of god. The latter is the one I will spend the most time on because its the most frustrating part about them.

Ok, to understand agnostic, gnostic, atheist, and theist we must first understand what each word means:
theist- one who believes in a god or diety
gnostic- to have knowledge
a- is the greek prefix for not or no.
so therefore:
atheist- not theist
agnostic- not to have knowledge or not knowing.

Now to make this simple you can still believe without having knowledge. These 2 concepts are not mutually exclusive. So when somebody says they don't know to the question of do you believe in god, they are most likely avoiding the question. You DO KNOW whether you have the positive belief in god. Or in other words you place a trust or confidence in the existence of god or you do not. See there are 2 true dichotomies here:
theist vs atheist
agnostic vs gnostic.

If you want to include all in the discussion the true dichotomy becomes:
agnostic theist vs gnostic theist vs agnostic atheist vs gnostic atheist.

See how the theist and atheist part are about belief and the gnostic and agnostic part are about knowledge and when you say your agnostic you have avoided the question all together.

Ok, now to the more annoying part of agnostics. Usually when in a debate with theists these people only add one thing to the conversation. They come in and say well you're making a claim god does not exist. So, you are just as ridiculous. These same people become remarkably quite when parents tell there kids there is no monster in the closet, there are no unicorns, there are no fairies. All of which are unproven claims, and with the exception of the monster in the closet are supernatural like god. They have no problem with anyone saying fairies do not exist based on lack of evidence for their existence. This is special pleading for god. I have never seen an agnostic give a reason for this that does not turn out to them having bought into the old argument from ignorance. They haven't bought it as a complete truth, but instead as a way of increasing the odds god exists to make it equal. Well guess what agnostics, someone could easily assert any of these other creatures responsible for what ever question you have fallen for, well how else do you get the universe, how else do you explain objective morality, how else do you explain the fine tuning, how else do you explain the logic/inductive reasoning. The list goes on and on. Its nothing more than an argument from ignorance and special pleading.

This is also a case of trying to misrepresent an atheists position from general to absolute knowledge. No, we do not absolutely know none of these things exists. For our general purposes the lack of evidence for god, unicorns, martians, fairies, trolls, vampires, zombies, and more is enough to go about our lives confident in the belief they do not exist. You as a agnostic only pussyfoot around the first part of that list. The rest of the times its all fine to say yup agree with you there. See how you change the rules for god. Stop bending over backwards for theists.

So all im asking the agnostics to do is simply before posting ridiculous comments about how both sides are equally working off faith, to evaluate whether you would be ridiculous enough to say, the same thing if a small group of people believed fairies existed and it was causing harm, that the people who say fairies do not exist are equally displaying as much faith. If not stop special pleading please.