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 nearly three thousand innocent people. The world was shocked, and wanted to know why. Those responsible were young suicidal Islamists who thought they’d go straight to paradise. Some Muslims thanked Allah for the damage done to America. It became obvious that Islamic beliefs were at the heart of the issue, and the attack wouldn’t have happened if America thought Allah was great.
George W. Bush was outraged. He had to find a way to retaliate. He’s a committed fundamentalist Christian – so he asked his God. He believed he became God’s spokesman; he said
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
Some prominent American Christians publically pressured him to go to war (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXjNxY4AdhU). He defied the United Nations and took America and a
“coalition of the willing” to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He claimed he was out to get those responsible, and that Islam wasn’t a real religion. He said
“And I just—I cannot speak strongly enough about how we must collectively get after those who kill in the name of—in the name of some kind of false religion.”
In my opinion if Afghanistan and Iraq were Christian countries, countries with a “true religion,” Bush wouldn’t have started wars with them. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72K2iViWEis ). Over a hundred thousand people would still be alive, many more on both sides wouldn’t have been traumatized, and America wouldn’t be nearly broke.
In 2008, Bush spoke brashly 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. His audience responded to this boneheaded rhetoric with rapturous applause. Some powerful Christians and Jews obviously consider each other allies because of deep-rooted religious prejudices. That’s a rather novel position, as many Christians have persecuted Jews for the last seventeen hundred years. Both have at times been in conflict with Islamists over the last thirteen hundred years.
All three religions are said to worship the same celestial dictator, a character who was one of the gods first conceived by the ancient Hebrews, although each calls him by a different name. Despite sharing the same god, each is adamant that details of the other two’s dogmas are invalid. As a direct consequence of these disparate religious beliefs, there’s a powerful religious undercurrent poisoning today’s international relations.
Secular humanists are appalled that religious prejudices give grounds for military aggression. This faith-based nonsense may one day be the cause of a nuclear war, which could mean the end of the human race. There’s a growing tide of opinion around the world that religious leaders in churches, synagogues and mosques should be held accountable for this toxic tomfoolery.
Churches have committed atrocities throughout the ages. Many have used violence to grab power, accumulate riches and convert natives. Their methods may have changed, but their greedy agenda hasn’t. 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 world’s wealthiest institutions; it’s estimated that the Holy See presently owns 10 – 15 per cent of all the shares registered on the Italian Stock Exchange. (http://www.cai.org/bible-studies/vatican-billions). They frequently entertain and lobby the world’s leaders in Rome to shore up their own power.
Politicians are very aware of the voting power of Christians, particularly in the USA.
Churches are a diverse bunch, yet they all have one thing in common: the bible, the basis of belief. Most discussions about Christianity are ultimately based on its legitimacy. Ever since it was first compiled it’s been the most important and influential book in the western world. It colors peoples’ attitudes to non-Christians, war, women, sexuality, law, science, and learning. 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. Amazingly, most of their activities are financed by tax-free money.
I’ve spent many years researching the history of the bible and early Christianity. It’s a massive topic. To put it in perspective requires a solid perception of antiquity and much open-minded thought. One has to dismiss a load of unsubstantiated claims. I want to make the topic easier for anyone interested by sharing what I’ve discovered. Having learnt what I have, I hope to help make the Christian myth transparent, so that fewer people take it seriously.
Most Christians have been told to assume that everything they need to know about the bible is there in its pages, but this is misleading. It’s imperative to understand the literary, social and political contexts in which it was written to get a complete understanding. Some basic questions about the bible beg for answers, such as
– Who were the ancient Hebrews? 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? 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 Christian teaching benefited the world? Is cherry picking and interpreting the Bible valid?
– Why do churches exist?
Children often ask questions like these because they have an unbridled, natural curiosity and a good sense of what’s real and reasonable. Their willingness to question puts some adults to shame.
My book is mainly an assimilation of credible opinions drawn from an enormous biblical scholarly community, many of which are relatively recent. I also include some of my own assessments of primary sources. My aim is to present a good overview without getting bogged down in too much detail. To me, it’s apparent that the general public isn’t aware of the important conclusions compelled by this scholarly work. There has been a deep chasm between academic historians and the general public, and I want to breach it.
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’s no good evidence. It’s just a nice word for wishful thinking, bias, or superstition, has no intellectual merit, and is no substitute for honest enquiry. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ ). This website, and my book, talks about facts and opinions, not faith.
Some people claim that to question religion is offensive. I think they’re afraid of what may be discovered. What’s more, Christian commanders over the centuries have clearly berated other’s beliefs. God allegedly attacked non – Jews in the Old Testament. 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’s beliefs. Throughout history Christians have repeatedly derided Islamists and Jews. So it’s hypocritical for Christian authorities to cry foul when their own beliefs are questioned.
My book is unique for a number of reasons. Unlike most books about the Bible, it won’t be found in a Christian bookstore. I’m not afraid to compare real history with the conventional Christian story, something that many authors only half-heartedly do because it’s too controversial, too hard, and may alienate some readers. I take that risk.
There are hundreds of links to web pages throughout this website, and over a thousand in my book. If I make a point that the reader feels needs clarification or they’d like to know more about, there’s often a link that opens up a relevant page, website or documentary. So the reader has wonderful resources at their fingertips. They can be ignored without compromising the text’s flow. The internet references given refer to the topics discussed in a broader context, so the reader can see many issues from different angles.
I think I’ve unraveled the real story of Christianity, and my conclusions, based on truthful facts, rock the very foundations of the faith. The truth is important; it’s what counts. After reading this book, your conclusions may not be exactly the same as mine, but yours will be enriched.
This website and 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’re a Christian, try to remain open-minded as you come with me on a journey through history. Please don’t get turned off if I challenge what you’ve always thought. Instead, have some patience, maybe read around the issue, and you’ll ultimately be rewarded when the pieces of the puzzle start to fit.
If you’re not open-minded and curious about history, don’t waste your time reading any further.
Please note that the blogs on this website are taken from my book, “Get Over Christianity by Understanding It,” which is yet to be published. The book, which is about 140,000 words in length, presents the whole story in a logical sequence, and ties up all the loose ends. I hope to get it out there soon! If you’re interested, please be patient.
see http://history-perspective.com/critical_theories.html for the barest outline of the history of Bible exegesis