Excuse Me...

I thought you said "Stephen Hawking"...

http://www.hawking.org.uk/

Guess I am in the wrong group again.

*SIGH*

heh

PeaceOnEarth PeaceOnEarth
46-50, F
29 Responses Mar 9, 2009

Hi Peace on Earth! may be you are in the right group! Just check Dawkins!! And of course, Hawking is fascinating:)

Okay. I think this is done, too, but I just have to point out - I make no apologia. If I did not have my own issues with the Christian church, I would not have left it decades ago. (But I respect the faith of those who practise it.) And where something was my own personal interpretation, I said so. We agree on something - this was a violent and brutal time, and Jesus was a product of it.

Nan, I did read all of those posts, so I should get a trophy. I'm amazed you took that much time to respond, but I'm more amazed at the stunning interpretations you made. Some of what you said is quite valid, so don't think that I'm just dismissing everything. However, that was some major religious apologetics going on. In fact I'm concerned you may have hurt your back as you bent over backwards trying to find a favorable way to spin some of those things. <br />
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None of that really matters, though. The reason it doesn't is because all of these different interpretations of Biblical passages only illustrates how ridiculous it is to think that the Bible or Qur'an is anything other than a book written by primitive men, containing parables and quotes which are meant to give society structure. There's no magic, and there's no god or savior. It's a collection of books describing a savage and brutal existence. That's it. <br />
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Alas, I don't have time for this right now :( Perhaps when things get slower at my work I'll try to make time for more debate. Until then, Nanseltar, you're free to find my other stories and comments and groups and we can carry on with more discussions. <br />
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Oh and by the way, the Pope is a disgusting human being for several reasons. He (and the Vatican) and Mother Teresa have done an ungodly amount of damage to the world, and I have no problem saying that.

Reply to Vendetta. Part Three<br />
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"Cursed a fig tree for being fruitless out of season." Okay, he cursed a barren tree. I've done the same thing to my barren plum tree.<br />
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"Encouraged his disciples to steal a horse". Actually, it was an ***. He already knew the *** was there before they came to the town, and he told the disciples what to say if anyone questioned them: The lord has need of it, and then the owner would give it. This is my personal take on the event: He had a prior arrangement with the owner to borrow the ***, and "the lord has need of it" was the password.<br />
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"Greater than the temple". He is speaking to Pharisees, telling them that there is one who is greater than them, and greater than the temple itself, meaning god.<br />
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"Greater than Jonah and Solomon". He was saying that men followed Jonah because of his three-day whale miracle, and followed Solomon because of his greatness and wisdom, but men should follow him (Jesus) because his mission was even more mportant.<br />
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"He that is not with me is against me." He is speaking to Pharisees again, who are trying to bring him down.<br />
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"The conflicting passages ..prove that the New Testament is contradictor." I say, the out-of-context passages prove that the source's aguments are flawed.<br />
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The Golden Rule had been around for millennia. (Ten commendments for example). I don't believe Jesus claimed to have invented it.<br />
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"Jesus said little that was worthwhile." Really?<br />
He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell.)" He introduced several new ethical concepts, in direct opposition to Hebraic law. As for hell, read my previous comments.<br />
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Oh, and "Jesus never used the word "family". Well, I'm not going to check that out, but he did often use the words "mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brethren, sisters, daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law. That's family.<br />
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As for Jesus setting families at variance - Jesus was teaching a new order, and he warned his followers that their families, friends and neighbours might turn against them. It reminds me of Bob Dylan's song, "Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, And don't criticise what you don't understand, Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command, And the old road is rapidly agin'. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand, for the times they are a-changin'." Bob Dylan was also promoting a new order.<br />
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"The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma." This doesn't mean Albert Schweitzer doubted Jesus' existence. Jesus is still a stranger and an enigma, always has been. <br />
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"No first century writer confirms the Jesus story." Wrong. All the major gospels were written in the first century. No first century manuscripts still exist. But plenty of copies do. Books were not printed, but copied laboriously by hand, over and over and over.<br />
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"consisting mostly of material borrowed from pagan religions." Well, um, yes, there were quite a few pagans around in those days. Like, everybody.<br />
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Well, this has been fun. Anyone who has read this to the end deserves a trophy. And I didn't google it. I did this because I'm a history nerd and a theology buff, and because I don't like to see deliberately falsified extracts and editing presented as legitimate research. Vendetta, your source is unworthy.<br />
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Also, I believe that there are holy messengers, famous and obscure, and that they deserve respect - Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Mohammed, etc. <br />
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(The Pope's a bit iffy in my book. Today on the news was a bit about him condemning the use of condoms for birth control or to prevent disease. He says the only true protection from pregnancy or AIDS is abstinence. What century does he live in! Abstinence has NEVER worked, no matter how horrific the penalties! But that's another story.)

Reply to Vendetta's arguments, Part Two<br />
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Matt. 19-12 "Eunuchs" Another illustrative metaphor. Your quote is only part of the whole - Jesus says that some are born a certain way, some are forced a certain way, and some choose a certain way for the sake of religion. He is saying that some people would reject his teachings, but those capable of receiving it, would receive it. Jesus cannot be held responsible for vows of celibacy, nor for the sacrifice by some people by castration. Nor can he be held responsible for the Inquisition, the Holocaust, 911, nor any other atrocities.<br />
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You then offer a list of supposed moral advice, all of it out of context.<br />
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"Don't plan for the future." He is saying don't worry about tomorrow's troubles, concern yourself with today's. <br />
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"Don't save money." Another parable. Don't try to amass earthly treasures, which can be lost, focus instead on heavenly treasures, which are eternal.<br />
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"Don't become wealthy". This is the "eye of the needle" parable. If money is your god, forget heaven.<br />
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"Sell everything and give it to the poor". Advocating to his disciples the simple life of poverty, the spiritual path not being concerned with material things.<br />
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"Don't work to obtain food." Don't just work to obtain food. Work to fulfill your higher Purpose.<br />
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"Don't have sexual urges." Avoid fornication/adultery. Remember, these were criminal offenses, punishable by stoning.<br />
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"Make people want to persecute you." This was a warning to his followers that by following Jesus' teachings, they would incur much anger from people.<br />
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"Let everyone know you are better than the rest." This is the "don't hide your light under a bushel" lesson.<br />
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"Take money from (poor) and give to investors." and "If someone steals from you, don't try to get it back." Didn't check this out. (Luke)<br />
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If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. "Turn the other cheek" lesson. Jesus is refuting the ancient Hebraic law of "and eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". There were long term blood feuds in those days, with everyone believing in revenge. Jesus offers a pacifist alternative. When someone hits you, offer the other cheek. This is saying, you've had your vengeance, the feud is over. It demonstrates great courage, and shames the avenger. Ghandi used this exact principle in India. His followers suffered terribly, but won.<br />
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"If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment." If you lost, presumably you're guilty, so give back not only what you took, but something extra as atonement for the trouble you've caused.<br />
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"If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles." If you have to do something, go the extra mile.<br />
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"If anyone asks for anything, give it to them..". If someone asks for your help, help them however you can.<br />
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"....shall not taste death, till they see the Son of Man coming into his kingdom". Well, some of them did see him come back after his "death", and witnessed the annunciation.<br />
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"Mustard seed" - goes on to say this tiny thing grows into a beautiful tree, beneficial to all.<br />
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"Salt could lose its savour". Another metaphor. If the salt of the earth (i.e. people) loses its savour, (Purpose).<br />
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"Fools" - taken from when Jesus is talking about people who come to god's altar with heavy sins on their heads (anger against thy brother). He says to reconcile, then come to the altar with a clean heart.<br />
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"Bear witness of myself, bear record of myself." He is talking about words as opposed to actions. A person's actions reveal the real truth of a person's words. <br />
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Okay. On to Part Three.

Okay, here we go. I have to do this in two parts as apparently there are time restraints on entering comments.<br />
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My starting premises: 1. I am not a Christian. 2. I believe Jesus was a historical person with a spiritual message. 3. We cannot ascribe 21st century morals, life view or culture onto a man who lived his mortal life 2000 years ago. He was a product of his time, and his messages were geared to the people whom he taught. 5. Jesus was a Jew, and he and his disciples thought of themselves as Jews. 6. You have to read the verses around the quotes to get the meaning of the quotes.<br />
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I only checked out the Matthew quotes. It was more than enough to show that almost every remark made by your google source was taken out of context or interpreted to suit his/her stance.<br />
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Matt.10:34 "I came not to send peace but a sword." Jesus here is talking about the consequences of not honouring God the Father.<br />
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"Drowning innnocent animals". Jesus did not do this. He was casting demons out of two people. The demons offered to leave the people and go into the pigs. Jesus said, "Go". The demons then went into the pigs and then drove the pigs into the sea.<br />
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Matt.8:32. "refused to heal a sick child" - the mother was a Canaanite, mortal enemies of the Israelites. Jesus spoke in a metaphor (albeit not a very nice one) that his gift would be wasted if used for those who would not appreciate it. When the woman replied that even dogs benefit from the crumbs from the master's table, he cured the child. A case could be made for racism here, but then, he did also heal the Roman centurion's servant. My personal take is that Jesus was testing faith.<br />
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Matt.13:41-42. "shall cast them into a ..fire: there shall be wailing". This is extacted from a speech about the "children of the wicked one", i.e. the inquitous at the end of the world. Also, Jesus did not invent the concept of hell. The belief in the underworld and its demons originated centuries before Jesus, and was commonplace in the ancient world. <br />
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Matt. 5:29-30. "If thine eye or hand offend thee, pluck it out..." This remark was made, in both Matthew and Mark, as part of a lesson against divorce. Jesus believed very firmly that a man and a woman, once married, were no longer twain, but one, and therefore could not be made twain again. In those days, a man could divorce his wife for any trivial reason. This was anathema for the woman. If she was represented by her husband as being an unsatisfactory wife, her husband got to keep her dowry, and her shamed family often would not take her back. She was in dire trouble. Jesus believed that the only just cause for divorce was adultery, so he elaborated on adultery. If you were tempted by ogling a woman lustfully, or tempted to use your hands to do wrong, then it would be better to be maimed without them than to try to present yourself at heaven's gate a sinner. Since he believed husbands should not cast off their wives, then divorced people taking new mates were committing adultery, or people marrying dicorced people, were committing adultery.<br />
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There are two comments made that he did nothing to alleviate poverty. Well, he himself hadn't a bean, nor a place to lay his head. He relied on the hospitality or generosity of strangers, through whom god would provide. Many Buddhists practice this same philosophy to this day.<br />
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"No women were chosen as disciples or invited to the last supper." We can't possibly know that. If you haven't already, read the Gospel of St. Mary Magdalene. It's in the Nag Hammadi scrolls. The Vatican has had a copy of it for centuries, but chose to leave it out of the Bible.<br />
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To Be Continued in Part 2

Vendetta, I want you to know that I am not in the least outraged by your comments. I love theological debate, and to hear other people's opinions on it. I am just astonished that you took someone else's work "on faith" if I may use the ex<x>pression, and presented it in defense of your own stance, without checking it out first.<br />
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I've looked up all your references and found them all to be out-of-context, misquotes, or an ex<x>pression of your source's personal interpretations. S/he is using witch-hunt tactics to twist things to his/her own p.o.v.<br />
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Will enter a detailed response later. Hope you're still game to participate.

ok, well I think this thread has already gone far enough off topic for today lol. Perhaps you should go to that group and join one of the discussions we're having there.

lol, sorry peaceonearth! This has little to do with your original story, which as someone pointed out is funny because this entire story is based on a mistake :)<br />
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backjacktaketwo- <br />
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What do you mean when you ask about back alley abortions and unwanted children? I'm not understanding what your questions mean or what posts they are referring to. Please explain.

Perhaps we could all agree to disagree?

I'm trying to decipher your post but I'm not having much luck. I'm assuming that English isn't your first language so I'm not going to criticize your post, but I'll just say that it's hard to understand. I'll give it a shot anyways. <br />
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I don't have the perception that ALL women are oppressed, only the ones that live in Islamic countries. If you took the time to really learn about sharia law and what Islam is (the word literally translates to submission) you would realize how brutal those countries are in regards to women's rights. It's horrible, and their society will never improve until women are given equal rights, which will never happen as long as they embrace the Qur'an and the Hadith. <br />
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You typed: <br />
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"You are now and have beenleaning towards islam..I take it you are one of them?"<br />
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Huh? I am an atheist. I reject all religions, and ESPECIALLY Islam. Why would you make such a silly statement? I'm losing footing? Again I can sum up my reaction as: "Huh?" <br />
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All of us socalled atheists are interested in religions and beliefs of others because so much of the world is controlled by your belief systems which all lack proof of any sort. You choose to believe in a book (in your case a Bible, in a Muslim's case it's the Qur'an) because the book tells you to believe it. It's not a compelling argument. <br />
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And yet the world is devastated by these superstitious thoughts. Our glorious president Bush thought he was consulting God before he invaded Iraq. It would be nice if our leaders didn't believe in this silliness. Does anyone have the heart to tell him that he was simply talking to himself? If he WAS talking to God, then why did God tell him to invade? There were no WMD's or links to 911 or imminent threats from Iraq. Or did God get tricked by the cherry picked intelligence as well? Gosh that Satan sure is tricksy!

Islam's hold is even more insidious, considering that the middle East used to be a leading center of scientific knowledge in the world. They produced some of the greatest mathematicians, invented "0", and made advances in astronomy before sharia law was instituted (I believe that took place in the 7th century). Islam wasn't just the religion of the land, it was and remains a way of life. Worship and submission are paramount, scientific study is not promoted. The ignorance of science and technology coupled with tribal insularity and repressed women all contribute to the volatile situation we have today. <br />
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For an inside look at what it's like to grow up as a Muslim in the Middle East, I'd recommend for people to read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The acceptance of the bible/koran as literal truth is not easily defended and the fundamentalists who take this stance are impossible to engage in reasonable debate. They are a lost cause. However, the more liberal interpretations of the bible and our friend Jesus are open to question and debate. Considering the apparent massive impact of Jesus in 1st century AD one would expect a signficant amount of corroborative literature recording these events but sadly it doesn't exist. Even a single alternative recording of one of his miracles would be good. Nada. The selective process giving rise to the catholic catechism is a wonderful exercise in creating a hierarchical establishment with a privileged class and an unquestioning underclass/band of supporters, throw in ecclesiastical infallibility, the jesuits and the knights templar and u have a hell of an organization that brooks no resistance. How Islam got such a hold I don't know it is so boring, I suppose the one hook is the subjugation of women that might have appealed to all those insecure men.

lol, your outrage is funny. It's not as if I'm turning in a research paper. <br><br />
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I didn't form my opinions and sheepish belief system based on a webpage of unfavorable Bible quotes. If you want I can give you a bibliography of the books and essays I have read in order to reach my opinions. <br><br />
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I have written extensively about religion on here, you only have to look at my stories and profile. I've also done lots of reading on Christianity and Islam. I am not a religious scholar, though, and I don't quote bible verses. However, I've found that fundies don't compute reason and logic, they seem to give more weight to actual scripture for some reason. So in those cases I look to people who DO waste tremendous amounts of their lives documenting in painstaking detail how silly so much of the Bible is. It is yeoman's work, and I admire people that do that.

Oh, fer....VendettA12! You googled SOMEONE ELSE'S work and presented it as your own opinion? Many of your opinions are unsubstantiated, contraindicated and/or come from ambiguous texts. If you are so keen on rationality and logic and want a truly scholarly debate, at least do your own homework and form your own opinions. Sheesh! Talk about sheepish belief systems......

Of course I copied and pasted those quotes. I'd be happy to direct you to the page I got it from if you're interested, but I figured this would be enough to make my point. And my point is that no matter how great you think your hero Jesus is, he's a very divisive figure that said some questionable things that most Christians choose to ignore. That's fine, that doesn't make him evil, but it does make him divisive. <br><br />
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Ask a Muslim how great Jesus was... and while you're at it be sure to tell them you denounce their magic prophet and version of Jesus (Mohammed) Now are you beginning to see why someone that endorses logic, reason, and evidence can be cooler than Jesus? Unlike Christianity, Dawkins view of humanity is truly humble. He doesn't view us as the reason for the entire universe. <br><br />
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There's over a billion Christians. That's neat, but unfortunately there's over a billion Muslims, as well. That leaves over 4 billion other people. Who's right?

Umm, Godfree, do you know the word "canon"?

ladee, please. Just what do you mean when you ask which Bible he is quoting from, every reference he made was from the Christian cannon, do you know the word cannon, do you understand the concept of canonical scripture?

I am laughing at myself because in this story all POE did was joke that she was in the wrong group!

Doh! Thanks a lot, VendettA12! It'll take me ages to look up all those references and check the context! Also, I have responses to some of your interpretations above, but I'll put those into my response to the quotes. But even without research, I can see that you are manipulating and interpreting biblical quotes to support your stance. Unfortunately, the Bible's text has been manipulated for millennia to support just about any interpretation. Remember, I am not a Christian, I respect everybody's else's spiritual (or nonspiritual) choices, and I DO love a theological debate!

The birth of Jesus was heralded with "Peace on Earth," yet Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36) "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27. In a parable, but spoken of favorably.)<br />
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The burning of unbelievers during the Inquisition was based on the words of Jesus: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:6)<br />
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Jesus looked at his critics "with anger" (Mark 3:5), and attacked merchants with a whip (John 2:15). He showed his respect for life by drowning innocent animals (Matthew 8:32). He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).<br />
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The most revealing aspect of his character was his promotion of eternal torment. "The Son of man [Jesus himself] shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42) "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." (Mark 9:43)<br />
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Is this nice? Is it exemplary to make your point with threats of violence? Is hell a kind, peaceful idea?<br />
Did Jesus Promote "Family Values"?<br />
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"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)<br />
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"I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matthew 10:35-36)<br />
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When one of his disciples requested time off for his father's funeral, Jesus rebuked him: "Let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:22)<br />
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Jesus never used the word "family." He never married or fathered children. To his own mother, he said, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" (John 2:4)<br />
What Were His Views On Equality And Social Justice?<br />
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Jesus encouraged the beating of slaves: "And that servant [slave], which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke 12:47) He never denounced servitude, incorporating the master-slave relationship into many of his parables.<br />
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He did nothing to alleviate poverty. Rather than sell some expensive ointment to help the poor, Jesus wasted it on himself, saying, "Ye have the poor with you always." (Mark 14:3-7)<br />
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No women were chosen as disciples or invited to the Last Supper.<br />
What Moral Advice Did Jesus Give?<br />
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"There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:12) Some believers, including church father Origen, took this verse literally and castrated themselves. Even metaphorically, this advice is in poor taste.<br />
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* If you do something wrong with your eye or hand, cut/pluck it off (Matthew 5:29-30, in a sexual context).<br />
* Marrying a divorced woman is adultery. (Matthew 5:32)<br />
* Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)<br />
* Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)<br />
* Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)<br />
* Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)<br />
* Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)<br />
* Don't have sexual urges. (Matthew 5:28)<br />
* Make people want to persecute you. (Matthew 5:11)<br />
* Let everyone know you are better than the rest. (Matthew 5:13-16)<br />
* Take money from those who have no savings and give it to rich investors. (Luke 19:23-26)<br />
* If someone steals from you, don't try to get it back. (Luke 6:30)<br />
* If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. (Matthew 5:39)<br />
* If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)<br />
* If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles. (Matthew 5:41)<br />
* If anyone asks you for anything, give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42) <br />
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Is this wise? Is this what you would teach your children?<br />
Was Jesus Reliable?<br />
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Jesus told his disciples that they would not die before his second coming: "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). "Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 3:11) It's been 2,000 years, and believers are still waiting for his "quick" return.<br />
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He mistakenly claimed that the mustard seed is "the least of all seeds" (Matt. 13:32), and that salt could "lose its savour" (Matthew 5:13).<br />
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Jesus said that whoever calls somebody a "fool" shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:22), yet he called people "fools" himself (Matthew 23:17).<br />
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Regarding his own truthfulness, Jesus gave two conflicting opinions: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (John 5:31), and "Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true" (John 8:14).<br />
Was Jesus A Good Example?<br />
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He irrationally cursed a fig tree for being fruitless out of season (Matthew 21:18-19, and Mark 11:13-14). He broke the law by stealing corn on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23), and he encouraged his disciples to take a horse without asking permission (Matthew 21).<br />
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The "humble" Jesus said that he was "greater than the temple" (Matt 12:6), "greater than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41), and "greater than Solomon" (Matthew 12:42). He appeared to suffer from a dictator's "paranoia" when he said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30).<br />
Why Jesus?<br />
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Although other verses can be cited that portray Jesus in a different light, they do not erase the disturbing side of his character. The conflicting passages, however, prove that the New Testament is contradictory.<br />
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The "Golden Rule" had been said many times by earlier religious leaders. (Confucius: "Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.") "Turn the other cheek" encourages victims to invite further violence. "Love thy neighbor" applied only to fellow believers. (Neither the Jews nor Jesus showed much love to foreign religions). A few of the Beatitudes ("Blessed are the peacemakers") are acceptable, but they are all conditions of future reward, not based on respect for human life or values.<br />
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On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs. Being "omniscient," he could have shared some useful science or medicine, but he appeared ignorant of such things (as if his character were merely the invention of writers stuck in the first century).<br />
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Many scholars are doubtful of the historical existence of Jesus. Albert Schweitzer said, "The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma." No first-century writer confirms the Jesus story. The New Testament is internally contradictory and contains historical errors. The story is filled with miracles and other outrageous claims. Consisting mostly of material borrowed from pagan religions, the Jesus story appears to be cut from the same fabric as all other myths and fables.<br />
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Why is Jesus so special? It would be more reasonable and productive to emulate real, flesh-and-blood human beings who have contributed to humanity--mothers who have given birth, scientists who have alleviated suffering, social reformers who have fought injustice--than to worship a character of such dubious qualities as Jesus.

Now, now. I am not a Christian, but believe Christ was a historical figure. Here was a guy with the courage to oppose the customs of his culture (moneylenders in temple, stoning women, etc. etc) and had a message of love and hope. It wasn't his fault that his contemporaries and succeeding generations couldn't think of any other way to spread his word than by force. Or that his gentle religion of poverty and faith would be manipulated into a power-mongering, wealth-seeking, state-controlling, people-oppressing corporation that has its own country, called the Vatican. Oops. I am sure I've just offended a lot of people, but that is how I feel. So let's not blame the worlds "First Hippie". <br />
As for me, Spirit is innate within me, but I am still fascinated by everyone's concept of it - or lack of it.

The title of this group is meant to be provocative and funny, but I personally also think it happens to be true. For all the great rhetoric and positive deeds of Jesus, he is also the most divisive and destructive figure in all of history. Just look at the deadly differences between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Think Crusades, Manifest Destiny, the Holocaust, and 911. <br />
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Dawkins on the other hand is the ultimate humanist. He places value on reason and evidence as opposed to faith in invisible beings. No one has ever killed sinners in the name of Dawkins. When you really stop and consider it, Jesus inspired 9/11 as much as anything else did. A group of fanatics who believed in one invisible being killed themselves in order to slaughter thousands of 'infidels'.

Dawkins was the one that created "memes", he first talked about them in The Selfish Gene.

I'll be looking up those books at the library, too. Have you read "The Meme Machine"? (I forget who wrote it. I don't agree with its theory, but it was a pretty interesting read just the same. Deals with brains creating the illusion of religiosity.

He is the world's most famous atheist. He's an evolutionary biologist and popular science book author who is most famous for two of his books: "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion." <br />
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I would like to read his books....

He is the world's most famous atheist. He's an evolutionary biologist and popular science book author who is most famous for two of his books: "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion." <br />
<br />
And yes, he's way cooler than Jesus.

So who is Richard Dawkins?

You are rather the epitome of coolness yourself!<br />
{and you are a good sport}