Hallo internet surfer!
Welcome to my website, a place that introduces a discussion about the validity of the Christian Bible, Christian beliefs and churches. I believe we should all have a serious interest in these topics. Why?
On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists killed over three thousand innocent people. The world was shocked and wanted to know why. People were surprised to learn that the killers were young suicidal Muslims who thought they would go straight to paradise. It was disturbing to discover that some Muslims thanked their god for the damage done to America. It became obvious that strongly held Islamic beliefs were part of the reason for the terrorism. The attack on the Twin Towers was an assault on non-Islamists. It wouldn’t have happened if America thought Allah was great.
George W. Bush, and most Americans, were rightly outraged. He is a committed Christian with many fundamentalist opinions of his own. He had to find a way to retaliate – so, he says, he asked God. He believed he became God’s spokesman:
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
He took America and a “coalition of the willing,” all from nominally Christian countries, to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He claimed he was out to get the Islamists responsible, and that Islam wasn’t a real religion:
In my opinion if Afghanistan and Iraq were God-fearing Christian countries, countries with a “real religion,” it is unlikely Bush would have started wars with them. Over a hundred thousand people would still be alive, just as many wouldn’t have been mentally traumatized, and America wouldn’t be nearly broke.
In 2008, a brash Bush spoke of an unbreakable bond uniting Israel and America, Jews and Christians, when he addressed the Israeli parliament:
“The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5UQIvzpbvE). He was talking about the Old Testament. The Israeli parliament responded to his boneheaded rhetoric with rapturous applause. Some powerful Christians and Jews consider each other allies, and in opposition to Islamists, because of deep-rooted religious prejudices. That is a rather novel position, as Christians have persecuted Jews for the last seventeen hundred years. Both have been in conflict with Islamists for nearly fourteen hundred years.
The undercurrent of religious antagonism between Christians, Islamists, and Jews poisons international relations today. This obsolete faith-based nonsense may one day be the cause of a nuclear war.
All three religions are said to have the same celestial dictator, a character whose existence was first conceived by the ancient Hebrews, although each calls him by a different name. Each is adamant that most of the other two’s dogma is deluded, despite what they sometimes claim.
We should be appalled that people’s religious prejudices give grounds for aggression. We should hold religious leaders in churches, synagogues and mosques accountable for promoting this toxic tomfoolery.
Christian churches have had a profound effect on the history of the world. In the middle ages they used violence to consolidate power and accumulate wealth. In modern times, some of them are still powerful and wealthy, and are closely linked with the world’s governments, stock markets, and financial institutions. The Vatican, for example, is one of the wealthiest institutions in the world and frequently entertains government leaders in Rome.
Every day clergymen give their opinions from the pulpit and through the media, preaching to people on social, moral, and even scientific issues. In America, some churches even own television and radio stations. Churches educate a large proportion of the western world’s children. Most of their activities are financed by tax-free money.
Christian churches are a diverse bunch, yet they all have one thing in common: the Bible. The Bible is the basis of belief, so all discussions about Christianity ultimately hinge on its legitimacy. Ever since it was first compiled it has been the most important and influential book in western civilization. It colors peoples’ attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science, and learning.
I have spent many years researching the history of the Bible. It is a massive topic. To put it in perspective requires a solid perception of antiquity and much open-minded thought. One has to dismiss a mountain load of unsubstantiated claims. I want to make the topic easier for anyone interested by sharing what I have discovered. Facts and well-reasoned opinions build a foundation of knowledge that arms us against propaganda promoted by people with a poor appreciation of history. Having learnt what I have, I hope to help make the god myth transparent, so that fewer people take it seriously.
Most Christians are under the assumption that everything they need to know about the Bible is there within its pages, but this is not the case. It is imperative to understand the literary, social and political contexts in which the Bible was written to arrive at a complete understanding.
- Who wrote it? Where did the authors source their facts? What were their aims?
- Who were the ancient Hebrews of the Old Testament? Who was Yahweh?
- What was the social and political climate like in Galilee in Jesus’ day? Who was the real Jesus? Did he really outwit the laws of nature with miracles? Are his teachings ethical? Did he rise from the dead? Did he sacrifice himself for someone else’s sins?
- Who were James, Peter and Paul?
- Has reliance on Christian teaching from the Bible been beneficial to the world and to individuals? Is cherry picking and interpreting the Bible’s writings valid?
- Why do churches exist?
These are the sorts of questions children often ask because they have an unbridled, natural curiosity and a good sense of what is real and reasonable. Their willingness to question puts some unthinking adults to shame. These questions deserve an answer.
My book and this website are assimilations of creditable opinions drawn from an enormous biblical scholarly community and my own assessments of primary sources such as the Bible and ancient contemporary commentators. I have picked out the opinions of some of the best historians and commentators in the world, many of which are relatively recent, so that the average person gets a good overview without getting bogged down. To me, it’s apparent that the general public is not aware of the important conclusions compelled by this scholarly work. That is an unfortunate failure of communication that I hope to help rectify.
My writing is unique for a number of reasons. Unlike the vast majority of books about the Bible, mine won’t ever be found in a Christian bookstore. I don’t hesitate to compare real history with the conventional Christian story, something that many authors only half-heartedly do because it is too controversial and too hard. I don’t pull any punches, because in the past too many people have pussy-footed around, imagining that people 2-3000 years ago were able to communicate with the divine in a way we are no longer able to. I cut through the gloss, and the fabrications, to discover what probably really happened, and I do it in a fashion that breathes fresh air into the discussion.
A great many Christians have been told they should just accept the Bible’s authority; that they must have faith. Yet faith, in the religious sense, is the belief in something for which there is no good evidence. It is just a nice word for wishful thinking, bias, or superstition, has no intellectual merit, and is no substitute for honest enquiry. I will remove it from the discussion.
Some Christians claim that to question religious belief is offensive. I think they are intimidated by what may be discovered. What is more, their own authorities clearly question other’s beliefs. God himself allegedly attacked many groups. Jesus threatened to kill anyone who didn’t worship him (see Luke 19:27). Paul, the man who invented Christian theology, was highly critical of other people’s beliefs. Christians have always derided Islamists and Jews. So it is hypocritical for Christians to cry foul when their own beliefs are questioned.
I have unraveled the real story of Christianity, and my conclusions rock the very foundations of the faith. The world really should know about this. Some Christians will have their feathers ruffled, but I hope will benefit from the experience. My conclusions may free folks from much guilt and superstition. I am sure that anyone who has been oppressed by dominant Christians will find these pages intriguing. This book will appeal to intelligent, inquisitive people who are interested in history, the role of today’s Christianity in a social, political and psychological context, and how to best educate their children.
If you are a Christian please do your best to remain open-minded as you come with me on a journey through history.
see http://history-perspective.com/critical_theories.html for the barest outline of the history of Bible exegesis