The resurrection of Jesus is a fundamental belief to Christians. But nonbelievers have to reconcile the fact that any resurrection occurrence would break the laws of biology with the fact that very early Christians had unshakeable beliefs that Jesus had risen from the dead. Two possibilities exist for those with a naturalistic worldview. Was the Resurrection a hoax to which they all subscribed, or did they genuinely believe in its reality? In this essay, Robert Shaw addresses this question with his characteristic sagacity.
A probable idea of the "historical" Jesus is that he was a working man who propounded traditional Jewish values, adapted to his belief that the end of the world was near. Jesus left no writings, so those who regarded themselves as his followers were able to modify his supposed precepts, and their ideas about his nature and significance, to suit their needs and circumstances. The question arises: if Jesus-as-he-really-was could in fact be reconstituted now and were shown the character, effects, and history of the religion that regards him as its founder, what would be his reaction? In this essay, Michael D. Reynolds demonstrates why Jesus would be horrified, disgusted, despairing, and angry.
The Pledge of Allegiance states that the United States of America is "one nation under God." Additionally, polling shows that an overwhelming majority of American evangelical Christians believe that the United States is "uniquely blessed" by God. But is there any mention of the Americas in the Bible, or were they ever mentioned by Jesus or any of the Old Testament prophets? This article seeks to answer this question.
The story of Moses and the Exodus continues to be seen as a historical fact by many Americans, and its events are commemorated with a 'Seder' meal in over a million households every year. In this article, Robert Shaw considers whether or not the story can be placed comfortably into the timeline of Egyptian history as we currently understand it.
Most people (whether they are religious or not) either assume or were taught that the Israelites were, and had always been, monotheistic: that they believed in only one God and thus worshiped Yahweh only. Is this idea based on truth, tradition, or maybe assumption? In this paper, Jason Gibson attempts to uncover the truth—a truth that most people are unaware of, and one that, were it common knowledge, could signal the end of all of the Abrahamic religions. Were the ancient Israelites henotheistic? If acknowledged, the answer could change the world as we know it.
An embellished and creatively written history of the origins and development of a Canaanite tribe underlies Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. None of the myriad of documents from ancient Egypt ever mention hundreds of thousands of foreign slaves leaving following a series of catastrophes, for example, nor has any archaeological evidence of the movement of a supposed half a million refugees from the Sinai peninsula ever been uncovered. Nevertheless, the Jesus of the Gospels seems to concur with this erroneous version of history, affirming the Genesis creation myth, the existence of the mythological Noah and Abraham, and the historicity of Moses' exodus, among other things. The Qur'an and Islamic exegesis subscribe to the historicity of such people and events no less. The arbitrary selection of Yahweh—the Canaanite god of metallurgy—from the vast Canaanite pantheon of gods over 2,500 years ago has had a profound effect on the belief systems of billions of people who have lived since.
Trinitarianism has had a long and colorful history, and belief in the concept was once rigorously enforced. Yet it seems to attract little critical attention today. An analysis of its tenets, however, does not withstand scrutiny.
Today nobody would believe in the ancient Egyptian religion because it contradicts what we understand about the world around us: gods don't swallow the sun and birds can't bring anything back to life. These blatant misinterpretations of Nature discredit the validity of the pagans' core Super-Natural beliefs--a Supreme Being, a human soul, and heaven and hell. Yet curiously people today do believe in these four superstitions of religion: god, soul, heaven and hell. Apparently their origin has been erased by time. Would modern day Jews, Christians and Muslims discontinue belief in them if they realized their dubious origin: Ice-Age cavemen, wandering hunter-gatherers, and pagans? Or is faith an unreasonable emotion?
"Religions fill a deeply felt need. Throughout history, practically all societies, whether isolated tribes or complex civilizations, have had some sort of belief system in the form of a religion. If something as ubiquitous and seemingly necessary as religion is actually a false concept, significant consideration ought to be given to what might replace it."
"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.
A humorous, irreverent and succinct look at the (inexplicable?) history of Christianity.
While Christianity professes belief in the existence of one god, the careful observer will find that Christianity actually presents us with three gods: the Tribal God, the Cerebral God, and the Absentee Landlord God. Additionally, because each of these three gods corresponds with a different stage in the development of human consciousness, with each stage representing a different conception of deity and the nature of the world, these three gods are ultimately irreconcilable, forming an "Irreconcilable Trinity."