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Anti-Christian ranting

The anti-Christian ranting on this website has some problems. For one, the allegedly historical sources cited are themselves problematic. But beyond that, it's pretty much all rooted in the smug assumption that only the benighted could possibly find value in spirituality.
The unwritten assumption throughout all of this ranting by Aletes, BKH, etc. is that various and sundry "historical" sources such as Flavius Josephus are intrinsically more reliable than the Gospels. What reason is there for supposing this is a good assumption? I strongly suspect one could poke lots of holes in the so-called historically accurate soources. Guys like Flavius Josephus did not travel all over the ancient world in general, and the Roman Empire in particular, to do archival research and interview people (the way a modern historian would do); no, they relied upon word of mouth. But wait--isn't that basically what the compilers of the Gospels did, too?

Beyond this sort of criticism, there is a more fundamental problem with the ranting about the falsity of the Christian Gospels: whether or not Jesus actually existed and lived a life more or less as described in the Gospels, the fact is that the spiritual path he is supposed to have laid out has been highly appealing to many. You can say exactly the same thing about the Prophet Muhammad, Shakyamuni Buddha, and so on. The teachings and the paths are there for people to examine and try out for themselves, independent of any institutional religious trappings.

As for myself, I highly value the spiritual impulse that exists in so many of us, but I am at the same time very suspicious of institutional religion.
Spirituality 28.Sep.2005 00:16

Kendall Auel kendalla59@verizon.net

The spiritual impulse exists in every human being. It's coded into our genetics because it helped our pre-human ancestors to thrive, and thus reproduce better than the non-spiritual simians. The spiritual impulse arises from our ability to be introspective. Our unique ability to be self-aware gives rise to human consciousness which is driven by, and enhances, our ability to use symbols and language. Some may deny their spriritual impulse, but in truth it is intrinsic to all humanity.

At some moment in life we are struck with a simple truth: "I am". Thus begins our spiritual joy, while at the same time we are forced to grapple with the unsolvable mystery of existence. To cope we invent stories, such as creation myths, and share them with our friends. The stories get mistaken for fact, and in due time we're killing each other to prove whose made-up story is correct. That's the downside of our great genetic advantage. I hope someday we'll evolve beyond that.

If you're interested please read my short essay on <a target="_blank" href=" link to portland.indymedia.org Atheism</a>.

Link 28.Sep.2005 00:36

Kendall Auel

I guess HTML doesn't work the way I thought it did. Try this link:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/09/324580.shtml

rant (?) 28.Sep.2005 03:41

brent (or BKH)

What you are referring to as an 'anti-christian rant' is a bit of a distortion of what I have to say.

Question - when is a crucifixion not a crucifixion? You can summarize then the Gospel message as follows - 'Caesar crucifies slaves, but God rescues his victims.' Naturally the crucifix is an insulting symbol to Caesar, thus we need to invent fictional theology to white wash the cross, but only because a mass movement was developing. Eventually that bit about 'Jesus, the bleeding god, who died to bleed on our sins' became so effective that even Caesar could ignore the obvious insult since the insult had been hidden beneath a fog of obfustication, known as 'Christianity' or 'theology', which only exists so that a simple crucifixion is no longer a crucifixion, but rather something else.

Now as for why we cannot simply accept Gospels pretty much as they are written, my objection here is that the early Christians were prolific writers, but as you might be aware, most of their documents were burnt. There were two broad general streams in early Christian thought, the doctrine of enlightenment and that other thing about 'original sin', and because original sin justifies militarism and imperialism, we only got documents that survived the sieve, in other words, documents that speak about 'sin', while the other documents were destroyed when in the interests of getting into bed with Caesar, orthodoxy was enforced.

Now speaking of Gospels, these are polemical documents. Take the Gospel of John as an example. The first three chapters speak of 'the Word becoming flesh' and how 'the Word was God' and equates the Jesus figure with the Word, which are we are told, was God. This is not Christian doctrine. The invention of this philosophy goes back to Hericlitus (spelling?) and some lines in the opening chapters of John are lifted almost verbatim from Hericlitus. The Gospel of John consists of three separate sources which were then fused together through a process of redaction to make a composite manuscript. One documents was the Gospel of the Five Signs. The second consisted of sayings of Prophets, and the third was Greek Philosophy of Hericlitus. You can notice obvious 'seams' in the Gospel of John where these source documents were stitched together into a composite work. For example the narrative is interupted at John 14:30,. where it says, 'The prince of the world comes. I will not talk to you much longer. Hurry let us go." Then at the beginning of chapter fifteen a long discourse from the sayings of the prophets is inserted (the parable of the vine and branches, and so on. The interupted narrative then resumes in chapter 18 verse one where they began to travel accross the Kedron ravine.

According to the Gospel of Mark Jesus never preached to Jews, nor did he even set foot in Jewish territory until it was time for him to be crucified, at which time he was promptly killed by the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus preached only to the Jews, and considered the Gentiles to be dogs. The parable of the Gentile Dogs is an obvious interpolation into Mark's gospel, since it breaks with the entire theme of Jesus Gospel.

Matthew follows Mark from about chapter 6 onwards, but only in heavily edited form. It turns out that Matthew did not like Mark's Gospel, and felt that it required editing, which is why he lifted the gospel of Mark and then proceeded to Edit. For example in Mark a woman with vaginal bleeding touches the hem of Jesus' garment and is healed, and Jesus cries out 'who touched me.' IN Matthew's edited account, Jesus turns to the woman immediately, knowing full well that she wants to touch him, for you see, he was a God and thus knew such things. Matthew hated the parable of the three atempts to heal someone, only succeeding on the third. that needed to be edited. Matthew also distorted and twisted passage from the old testament to make them into prophecies of Jesus, by taking them out of context. As well Matthew was a fundamentalist who believed that not one word of the old testament could be ever be ignored. Now keep in mind that the bible advocates genocidal slaughter and racism, and we can understand why Matthew's Jesus is a racist, who calls women 'dogs' because they were not Jewish. Matthew's Jesus also calls for the death squads to execute everyone who opposes his rule and advocates the use of torture chambers on those who dissent, among many other obnoxious characteristics attributed to him in Matthew's gospel.

The Gospels tell us the Jesus was crucified on the eve of Passover. This would be like crucifying someone on Christmas eve. This was done for polemical reasons, in that Gospels were written to agree with doctrines, not doctrines to agree with Gospels. You see, the developing doctrine stated that Jesus was the 'passover lamb' who was slain for sin, therefore the Gospel writers had him crucified on passover for doctrinal reasons. The Gospel of John knows better, and in this Gospel he was not crucified on passover or on the eve of passover, because John's gospel contains passages which indicate a deep understanding of Judaism which is lacking in the other three.

In short you cannot just accept that Jesus lived just like it says in the Gospels because the gospels were written as polemics, and as Matthew demonstrates with his concocted history, including such notorious fibs as herod's massacre of the infants, gospel writer's made up history when it suited their doctrine. The Jewish people have protested since the beginning that there was no 'massacre of all the Jewish babies', and there was also no crucifixion on passover eve.

The core of Christianity is a crucifixion, not doctine, and certainly not those highly doctored gospels, which were picked out of the pile by church fathers who reserved for themselves the right to vote on which documents would become 'orthodox' and which would be burnt and destroyed. They liked Matthew's gospel because of its right wing death squads and authoritarianism and torture chambers, and were not bothered by the racism or the false history, and these are things that people seem able to ignore when they praise the so called wonderful morals found in those gospels. If pointing these things out to people is a rant, then I suppose I am ranting, but I prefer to think of it as truth telling. As for being 'anti-christian', if being a christian means accepting those doctrines and those seived and edited documents, then I would not want to be a christian. I do not see myself as 'anti-christian' but rather as someone who is going to rip Christianity out of its right wing imperialist moorings, by reminding people that one crucifixion is just like another, which is the whole point, or at least it should be.

The core of Christianity is turning peasants into serfs! 28.Sep.2005 04:27

God

And that the way it ought'a be!

Simplified Theology 28.Sep.2005 07:44

Samarchist

I personally do not believe in god, or spirits, or reincarnation, or religion in general. My reasons are my own. The one thing I have to say is simply this: Any being worthy of worship would neither desire, nor accept it, let alone enforce it with threats of eternal torment. Believe if you will, but believe on you feet, worldly forces put us on our knees enough already.

what does organized religion have to do with spirituality? 28.Sep.2005 08:39

Expat

It's a tool of control on many different levels. The fact that some religious adherents have admirable motives, and/or that spirituality may be coded into our genetic make-up, does not change the fundamental nature of organized religions as tools of very powerful, non-spiritual people.

Jesus was a 'socialist'! 28.Sep.2005 09:07

Sephiroth

It was Jesus who turned the other cheek to violence. It was Jesus who taught tolerance of all fellow humans. It was Jesus whose only-ever act of violence was against a banker. It was the New Testament that wrote of all people sharing the land, contributing according to their ability and taking according to need. And it's in the Bible (not sure which Testament) that it speaks of "lust for money being the root of all evil."

Even the Medieval Church, despite its own blatant hypocrisy, hierarchy, and profiteering, nevertheless remained a strong opponent of private wealth accumulation. Today's right-wingers are total profiteers and try to justify their exploitation with Biblical quotes (something that is very difficult to do). Not to mention the way they misinterpret and overemphasize certain lines from the Holy Book for their own agenda of intolerance and power-mongering.

Organized religion was never originally meant to be a part of the Christian philosophy. It's too bad that Christianity had to morph from a human philosophy to a supernatural theology. Can we take back the message of Jesus? Only time will tell.....

(please, I don't remember the Scriptural quotes for the above information. Anybody know where in the Bible to cite these important tenets?)

Everything 28.Sep.2005 09:42

Timing

Now that we are in the hour of darkness
I hardly think that discussions of christianities meaning
makes any differance.
Elect, unelect, apparently free will is not involved.
From the perspective of the diety all is foreknown
from the perspective of man it's a wait and see game of 'faith'.

Christ put forward two important tenets:

A. mankind is a family of one gigantic organism operating in concert.

B. all humans are artists that must fullfill their interior 'God' desire
to create or else must become perverts that must destroy to sublimate
the creationist desire.

Everything else is merely the sprinkles on the frosting.

That the future can be foreknown is surprising to some, scientists in
particular, but hardly a surprise to those that beleive that the
universe is the result of the verbal intonations of a superconsciousness
so infinitely greater than our own as to be inconceivable.

The vast majority of early anti-christians I experienced where so
basically upon the tenet that they did not wish to be restricted in
their enjoyment of the pleasures life has to offer, particularly
sexual pleasures, or wordly pleasures in general if we can include
SMOKING as a sin, however, increasingly anti-christian sentiment
is taking on the tone of being both violently anti-christian
and violently anti-human as well. I beleive it is self evident
to those that watch closely enough that those that are the most
vocal opponents of christ are also the most vocal opponents of
the 'share and share alike' creedo that necesseraly underlies
a 'family' oriented humanity in which all members are members of
a congruent greater whole (the family of mankind).


Eventually , to hold christian beliefs will become a crime punishable by death.

Spirituality smirituality... 28.Sep.2005 12:17

Pravda or Consequences

We were put here by space aliens who needed a good laugh.

CHRISTIANS 28.Sep.2005 13:12

GOD

1 I am not a CHRISTIAN or any of your other names for your pathetic ass kissing. Get your lips offa my butthole and LIVE for a change.

2 Who the hell is this Jesus dude anyway? I AM!

Brent and Timing 28.Sep.2005 13:32

free christian

Brent is great at elucidating the writings and the history.

Timing's comment on "Everything" gets to the nitty-gritty.

Organized religion or organized crime? 28.Sep.2005 13:34

Jimmy Swaggerty

Remember folks,organized religions are the opiate of the masses! They feed on the desparate and lonely among us, endoctrinating new recruits the same way the military does. These predatious organizations want our society to be in a state of fear and paranoia. Come join us and all your problems will fade away-yea right. The average poor and middle class American, unfortunately, does not have the inner strength or critical thinking skills to stay clear of such powerful messages. They reliquish their sacred freedoms to the facist Cristian army. "Onward Christians, soldiers are you all, but you're just crazy, your face is your religion and your minds are owned." You know the fact remains that if more humans put their faith in the Mother Earth we could most likely save this planet from almighty armageddon.The Constantinian Christians are definetly overpowering the Christian Prophets with their human-centric themes of Mans domination over the entire planet. I'm afraid this country has no hope of having revolutionary change anytime soon, until we can put the facist religious corporatists in their place.

common prejudices repeated, actual posting mostly ignored 28.Sep.2005 21:45

wj

It is always very easy to slam institutional religions, and frankly many of the slams are deserved. Institutional religions seem almost invariably to become accessories to political power; Christian churches are certainly not the only example of this phenomena. But spiritual impulses and spiritual paths exist independently of religious institutions.

"Pravda or consequences" makes a typically glib comment lampooning mythologies of human origins. Not much thought required there. But mythologies of this sort are universal. I'm more interested in what they tell us about the human psyche. BTW some religious traditions don't even bother with creation stories.

BKH is probably a well-read guy and certainly seems to know more details about the Christian Gospels than I ever will. But I have problems with his arguments. He seems to hold out inconsistencies amongst the Gospels as some sort of damning proof that the whole thing is fabricated. I'd be inclined to think rather that what we're dealing with is separate threads of oral history. Is it any surprise that there would be inconsistencies? BKH then claims that the Gospels as presented to us reflect some sort of conscious, cynical conspiracy on the part of the Church fathers to fashion an ideology in the service of the Roman Empire. I'm neither theologian not historian of religion, but this claim just seems a bit TOO tidy--which is not to deny, of course, that the Christian church morphed into an arm of imperial power.

Jimmy Swaggerty unfortunately makes the usual condescending remarks about how "[t]he average poor and middle class American, unfortunately, does not have the inner strength or critical thinking skills to stay clear of" organized religion. He alsorepeats the tired line from Marx and Engels about religion being the opiate of the masses. I'd like to suggest that any ideology can serve as such an opiate. One of the central tenets of Marxist thought has been that humans are somehow "perfectable". Millions of lives have been sacrified to social experiments intended to demonstrate the "eternal truth" of human perfectability.

Sincere spiritual impulses and interests arise for many reasons. The Zen tradition talks about "the mind that seeks the Way." Other traditions frame it differently.

It's not glib, it's the truth... 29.Sep.2005 08:57

Pravda or Consequences

The fact is that the human mind is so undeveloped that anything is possible, even thoughts about the meaning of life.

Whatever is in your heart is what will play out. How you articulate that is your business.

the christian religion 01.Oct.2005 16:33

has a lotta shit to answer for

if you don't like it

too fucking bad

another profundity 07.Oct.2005 21:09

wj

"the christian religion has a lotta shit to answer for. if you don't like it too fucking bad"

Good gawd, is there actually a place here for intelligent discourse?