The Bible Is What Happens When Books Meant To Answer "One" Question Are Used To Answer Another…

I’ve always said Hebrew School made me the atheist I am today. That’s not entirely true. I have been an atheist since inception. Hebrew School simply closed the deal.

But I don’t regret any of my religious education (which lasted from age 6 to 14). I genuinely learned a lot from it. In particular, I had one truly excellent teacher — Henry Hyman. Mr. Hyman taught this: the bible is a religious text. It isn’t a reliable work of history. But, as a religious text, it is incredibly valuable.

In other words, Mr. Hyman taught “perspective”.

I remember one especially meaningful conversation I had with Mr. Hyman. It was probably when I was 12 or 13. Like I said, I was born an atheist. Skepticism runs in my blood alongside the red and white blood cells. I bumped hard on the Abraham almost sacrifices Isaac story — and I said so.

I’m sure I didn’t articulate well what bothered me then but the same terrible lesson still disturbs me: Jews are meant to revere Abraham (the foundational “First Jew”) because of his absolute fealty to Yahweh. If Yahweh says “kill your son” (“sacrifice” being a kinder-gentler way of saying “murder in cold blood”), we’re supposed to look to Abraham for guidance. Well, we’re meant to think, since Ol’ Abe was down with killing his son, who are we to go a different way?

To Mr. Hyman’s credit, he tried very hard to sell the metaphorical qualities of the story as a whole over the more disturbing, realistic story beats themselves. I wasn’t having it. In the end, Mr. Hyman encouraged me to continue asking questions. Either I was going to find an answer inside the faith that satisfied me or I wasn’t. That he appreciated that fact — that he encouraged a 12 year old to think that way — I am eternally grateful.

Want to have a religious debate? The bible — OT or NT — are excellent resources. Want to know anything about history? Avoid the bible like the plague. Yeah, sure, there’s “background information” — lots of good insight into both Jewish culture and how Jewish culture thinks about itself. But if you want the historical record backing up your “faith”? Prepare to be disappointed.

As Mr. Hymn said: “The bible is not a work of history”. No, it absolutely is not. Fact — it is debatable that Hebrews were ever slaves in Egypt. The Egyptians kept records. Lots of them (they’re called “Hieroglyphics”.) Nowhere in those records do we find Hebrew slaves building pyramids or a Hebrew prince rescued from certain death, raised by an Egyptian princess and slowly remade into a kind of Hebrew Avenging Angel.

Someone made that story up. Or they took a small thing and wrote it larger. Kinda like how Paul did with Jesus. If Saul of Tarsus never has his “come to Jesus” moment on the Road to Damascus, then Christianity never happens.

Jesus — whoever he actually was — did not “invent” Christianity. If you sat him down today and explained to him what “Christianity” was, he’d look at you like you were nuts for suggesting HE was its “founder”. Jesus was born a Jew, lived his whole life as a Jew and died a Jew.

As for creating the Christian church, what we can ascribe to Jesus (at least it’s one of his more consistently reported on teachings) is a very simple (and very Jewish) message — “Do Unto Others”. Also “You don’t need a church in order to have a relationship with god”. Jesus’s message is spiritual perfection — it teaches people how to live a good, happy, successful life and it even teaches them how to do it: be nice to people.

But, of course, not everyone wants to see these religious texts for what they are. We have a whole segment of our population — uber Christians, evangelicals & fundamentalists — who believe that the words of the bible magically appeared on parchment. They say “divine inspiration” motivated the writing.

J. K. Rowling feels exactly the same way. She might not call the inspiration “divine” but her readers do.

Using the bible — old or new testaments — as anything other than a dated “how to live in the past” manual is guaranteed to screw up your life. Ask yourself: if the men who wrote those texts had been aware of germ theory, if they’d had access to microscopes and telescopes and the internet and all the information we now have today about our bodies, the natural world, the cosmos, would they have written the texts they wrote in exactly the same way?

Doubtful. Do televangelists avoid electricity because it would have been unknown to Jesus? Of course not! Modern religionistas use technology when it suits them to accomplish their goals. If any religious work’s author had had access to our modern knowledge base, it would have fundamentally changed what they wrote.

That makes it even more appalling when the faithful try to use their religious texts to answer science questions. They’re compounding the ignorance of the past by continuing to make it part of the present. Wrong information doesn’t suddenly become right.

Bullshit doesn’t suddenly become true.

Magic doesn’t suddenly become real.

The bible doesn’t suddenly become anything other than a story based loosely on reality.

Every Evangelical Has A Deep, Dark, Dirty Secret — They All Think THEY Are “God”

Ask ten people what “god” is and you’ll get ten distinctly different answers. That’s not because “god” is such an expansive, all-encompassing concept. It’s because “god” is an “idea” you can alter on the fly. The magical power god has one moment, he doesn’t have the next. Or he chooses not to use them that time though the circumstances are exact.

You know how “god” is — he works in “mysterious ways”.

In fact, “god” is so mysterious that he regularly hires clowns like Kenneth Copeland to speak on his behalf. You remember Kenneth Copeland, don’t ya…?

I keep thumbing through my copy of the NT (I do have one and it is well thumbed through) but, for the life of me, I can’t see what chapter or verse Ken is using here as the basis for his Christian behavior.

I definitely can’t see what, if anything, Jesus said that Ken thinks he’s emulating.

Evangelicals like Ken (like most American Christians) are churchists, not followers of Jesus. They couldn’t pick Jesus out of a police line up — which is exactly where they’d expect to find him. They know for a fact that the LAST place Jesus would ever show up is at one of their mega-churches. Just as well — they’d never let him in.

Pick an evangelical. Listen to them speak. Watch them while they do it. Bore in on their eyes.

See Ken’s eyes? That’s not “madness” shining out of them. It’s the absolute belief that he is god and it is beyond his comprehension that the reporter isn’t bowing down to that fact.

Kenneth Copeland isn’t special. He’s just good at what he does — bamboozling the mooks, half-wits & ignoramuses who keep him well supplied with jet fuel. If any of those mooks, half-wits or ignoramuses could, they’d ask themselves: “How can a follower of Jesus explain the need for a private jet to begin with?”

But they can’t, so they don’t.

Instead, they comfort themselves with their own godliness.

An Atheists Terrible Confession: I LOVE Televangelists…

As anyone who’s read me (or read my bio) knows — I’m not just an atheist, I’m a devout atheist.  I’m not hostile toward religion — because that seems pointless to me — in part because it’s not religion that’s the problem, it’s the silly people who take it unquestioningly to their breasts.  The moment you hang up your ability (or willingness or determination) to critically analyze everything before ‘consuming it’, they’ve got you.

‘Eat this because I say so and because I say it’s good for you,’ is a death sentence.

Among the things America has always been great for, it seems, is religious hucksterism.  I guess that along with all the other people coming here to reinvent themselves there are and were the Religious Con Men.  Not all of them know they’re con men but they are.  They’re all pitching the same nonsensical con that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Jesus or anything Jesus might have said (as opposed to all those AROUND Jesus — like Paul — who had their own motives and — boring in on  Paul now — a towering ego).

Look at how many ‘Newfangled Religions’ have sprung from American minds:  “Mormonism” & “Scientology” leap immediately to mind.  Wonderful but fraudulent creations (hey — a ‘good story’s’ a good story — I may not like either story but other people have loved them so what the hell do I know?)

And even the way Americans ’embraced’ their Protestant Christianity was distinctly ‘Newfangled’.  From Southern Baptists to Prosperity Gospel-ites — American Christians have taken Christianity to places Jesus never imagined.  Cos Jesus wasn’t out to make a buck and rule the world.

And even among THAT group of phonies, liars, cheats and hypocrites, only a select few have risen to Bullshit’s Truest Heights.  Guys (mostly but not exclusively) who pitch Bullshit with True Artistry.  They are Grand Masters of Fraud.  To this humble atheist’s mind — they are, in fact, ‘SuperSalesmen For Christ’.

Too bad the Christ they’re selling has ZERO to do with Jesus or anything Actual Jesus said.  What they’re selling — and this is WHY I love them so — is their own ‘GODHEAD’.  Each and every one of em, down deep, believes THEY are GOD and should be ‘WORSHIPED’ accordingly.  Don’t believe me?  Look at their houses and jets and offices and, worst of all, THEIR CHURCHES.

Those aren’t ‘Temples to Do Unto Others’, they’re Self-Perpetuating TITHING FACTORIES.

Hope you brought cash, Pilgrims — your check simply will not do.  And we already know how your ‘credit’ is…

Ken Copeland
Kenneth Copland – Over-emoting Again – Like The Pro He Is…

Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen – ‘A God’ in the Pantheon of Religious Frauds

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Reverend Jerry Falwell – Taking Hypocrisy Places It Never DREAMED It Could Go…

But, among Televangelists, several sit closest to the Fire inside my head.  First — the Televangelist who ‘took my televangelist cherry’:  The Long Gone but nowhere near forgotten (by me):  KATHERYN KUHLMAN (1907 – 1976)…

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Kathryn Kuhlman:  I dare you NOT to get swayed by a Master of The Art of Selling Jesus

Just watch the first 90 seconds.  You’ll get it.  You’ll get ‘her’.

 

Another Master — Of The ‘Healing’ Con.  PT Barnumm-class Showmanship all mashed up with Bernie Madoff-class Corruption — BENNY HINN!

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 ‘BAM! You’re HEALED’!  BAM! You’re Full Of Shit!

And then there’s THIS GUY — My Ultimate Favorite — Cos I actually empathize with the poor guy.  In spite of EVERYTHING.  I won’t go into it here but — I’ve been working on a Feature Script about this guy forever.

Yes, Jimmy Swaggart has been a hypocrite.  Been caught at it spectacularly not once but TWICE.  And yet risen, like a Phoenix, anew both times.  It’s either the Power of Jesus (not buying it) or the Power of Ego.  Yeah — I’m buying.  Want my credit card # now?

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Judge Not Jimmy Swaggart Unless Ye Really KNOW Jimmy Swaggart… You’ll still want to judge him but maybe a little less harshly…

Uh oh — seeing all those faces just gave me a flash of Divine Inspiration.  I’m thinking TRADING CARDS!  T-Shirts n Coffee Mugs!

How about that — I’m saved!  Thank you, Jesus!  Where did you say to send the check?