The famous parables of Jesus cursing a fig tree and chasing moneychangers from the Temple, widely touted by both believers and nonbelievers as morally warranted, illustrate a kind of unreasonable entitlement that reveals an unflattering side of the character of the New Testament Jesus. In this essay Stephen Van Eck tackles the tendency by believers and doctrinally influenced nonbelievers to hold to a pre-existing conception of a morally perfect Jesus that leads them to overlook otherwise blatant character flaws revealed through such parables. Van Eck also provides grounds for understanding the approval of abusive treatment portrayed at the hands of the New Testament Jesus as one historical root of anti-Semitism.
Published on the Secular Web
[ Kiosk Article ]
The fundamentalist claim that the Bible is inerrant does not stand up to scrutiny. Just one error is sufficient to refute the claim. Given the quite inventive explanations that inerrantists have devised to explain away textual problems, it nevertheless takes a really choice error to flummox them. In "Establishing Errancy Beyond Error," Stephen Van Eck presents just such an error.
Jesus is presented by Christians as the greatest moral teacher, as "God made man," yet some of his alleged teachings are so highly objectionable that it would take a warped mind to consider them "good."
"One of the biggest ironies involving those who virtually worship the Bible is the fact that they often haven't read much of it. If they had, how could they fail to notice that Ezekiel, one of the major prophets, was not only a lousy prognosticator, he was an absolute lunatic as well."
"There are saints who are inoffensive, such as the protohippie Francis of Assisi. But the saints officially canonized by the Church include a shocking number of persons who, in all honesty, must be considered major nut cases. It's an indication of how deranged the religious impulse can be that their lunacy is not merely unrecognized, but reinterpreted as an expression of supreme sanctification."
"Even Catholics don't know very much about the Popes. If they did, they might well wonder how such an assortment of buffoons and villains could ever have been given the job. Why, it could make one lose faith in the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit! Presented here are some of the more interesting and juicy cases."
Intensive study of the Old Testament, reading critically and analytically rather than reverentially and devotionally, casts serious doubt on the claim that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. Not only that, but even the historicity of Moses is in serious doubt.
[ Kiosk Article ]