Religion: Historical Failure?

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With sayings like this, you protect yourself from any questioning. Falsification is impossible. Something doesn’t make sense? Simply invoke this saying.

When I was in Sunday school, I questioned my teachers. Mostly about Noah’s Ark (which in my opinion, remains the most absurd bible story) but also about the historicity of the Bible.

For example:

  1. Why was this God restricted in location? Why did the Native Americans (for example) know nothing about it?
  2. If believing in this deity (Jesus) was required for salvation, that would mean billions had died and gone to hell (or somewhere else uncomfortable) merely because they did not know about this deity, who had sacrificed himself on a cross.
  3. Where was this God when the dinosaurs roamed?
  4. Why did God change his demeanor over time? The OT version of God is vastly different than the one depicted in the NT.

As I read more into history and the various Gods, I started to realize that many of the Gods that predate Christianity or even Judaism, are similar in nature.

At first I thought this was the reason why the Christian God doesn’t show up in different cultures or areas or time periods – He had, but people were confused and named him differently, while he still retained the same aspects.

Of course now I realize that religions take ideas from previous religions and plagiarize them in some ways, but when I was a child I hadn’t yet come to this realization. The same could be said of resurrection cults that predate Christianity. For example, Osiris who was said to have risen from the dead, very much like Jesus was said to do later.

Another example of this can be found in the speech given by Red Jacket. It’s one of my favorite speeches of all time. Red Jacket gave this speech when missionaries asked permission to proselytize. You can find the entire speech here. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend you do. Here’s a short blurb that illustrates my point.

Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Again, why did the Native Americans not know about this great, true religion? If the sole requirement is to believe, then the information should have been readily available to all people and any God that could do or know anything, surely would have known his plan was doomed to failure for so many people?

Again and again, these religions (Christianity among many more) run into historical questions that the faithful (and their religious books) fail to explain or account for in any satisfactory way. Usually, I was told that God worked in mysterious ways or that God had a plan and we aren’t meant to understand it.

Basically, I was told not to think about it too hard. Put your questions aside and just have faith. It doesn’t need to make sense – it’s just the way it is.

This isn’t enough for me, and I think any God worth the title would be more consistent and it would above all, make sense. You wouldn’t have to do mental gymnastics to understand where it fit in. You wouldn’t need to ignore parts of history to remain faithful. You wouldn’t need to put faith above thought. This being would fit and make sense.

So I’ve written a bit more than intended but I hope I’ve made my point. I’ve included a video at the end you may find interesting that deals with the same sort of argument I’ve made here. Also, please share your ideas on what I’ve written here, whether you agree or disagree. If you’re a person of faith, your comments are just as welcome here as someone who isn’t religious, such as myself.

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34 Comments

  1. If only we couls see God – like we can see a tree, there would be little disagreement!

    The very fact that there are so many differing views of God proves that He is (still) invisible to us. He may exist, but we know absolutely nothing about Him.

    So for now, we should allow for the possibility that he exists in the same way we allow that there may be alien life. Wait till we see it!

    • Hi Vuurklip and thanks for your comment.

      You said: “He may exist, but we know absolutely nothing about Him.”

      Then no reason to believe in it. Just like I don’t believe in other things that are invisible and lack evidence.

      If I were to believe, then it would be a deistic sort of God that lacks the assumptions and details of a religion such as Islam or Christianity etc.

      “So for now, we should allow for the possibility that he exists in the same way we allow that there may be alien life.”

      Yes and no. We know we exist. We have evidence of that and we know there is a vast universe out there populated by planets with similar conditions as our own, so while I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that alien life exists without evidence, I think the probability is much higher than the God described in the Bible, which lacks any sort of evidence and is invisible and full of magic power.

      I also think if this God wanted to be seen like the tree, it could make itself so since it’s supposedly all-powerful. The only reason why it is invisible would be because it chooses to be. Not very helpful to its plan of needing to believe.

      OR it’s far more probable that it doesn’t exist and is made up by humans like the thousands of religions that preceded it.

    • “if only we could see God – like we can see a tree, there would be little disagreement!…”

      This seems a fair statement, however it is absolutely not true that there would be little disagreement. Take a look at Jesus- He came to this earth and revealed Himself as the Son of God to mankind. Not everyone believed, as a matter of fact, most sought to kill Him. One of the fascinating take-away from Christ Jesus’ death is that given the chance mankind WILL kill God. This should give a person with a heart chills as to the state to which humanity have fallen.

      God is a spirit, He’s immaterial. You have a spirit, you also have a mind – neither of which you can see, but you know you possess.
      When Jesus was on earth with physical attributes, John was very close to Jesus and would even recline with his head on Jesus bosom.
      Why is it then that later John would have this reaction after seeing Jesus in all His glory: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.

      • Thanks for stopping in The Ancients.

        “Take a look at Jesus- He came to this earth and revealed Himself as the Son of God to mankind.”

        You jump to the conclusion that he existed at all and then compound that by thinking that because someone declares themselves the Son of God doesn’t make it so.

        Hell, I could do that.

        “This should give a person with a heart chills as to the state to which humanity have fallen.”

        Which this God would have known would happen right from the start.

        “You have a spirit, you also have a mind – neither of which you can see, but you know you possess.”

        You can see a brain. I don’t know that I have a spirit. I don’t think you know either, unless you have some evidence?

        “Why is it then that later John would have this reaction after seeing Jesus in all His glory: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

        I don’t know. Maybe it’s made up. Maybe he was suffering a mental break. There are a myriad of reasons why someone might do this.

        • You are 100% correct, I am certain & have concluded that Christ Jesus existed, and is who He claims to be, which is why I have chosen to make Him my Lord & Savior. notice – that excludes everyone /everything else.

          A God who declares the end from the beginning absolutely knows which is why the provision for redemption and restoration were already done. Long before I knew I needed a savior/redeemer, I was provided with one.

          Mind controls matter. Your brain is a material structure that is changed by your thoughts, whether in a positive or negative way. your brain does not control your thoughts, your thoughts control your brain, impacting your very spirit, soul, and body. – see: epigenetics.

          Every single person knows that God exists. He has given each and every one of us an intuitive knowledge of Himself. His creation, His Word- both the written word and Jesus the living Word.

          You have chosen to depart from what God has laid in your heart and given yourself over to a reprobate mind. You have hardened yourself and denied what’s in your heart, just going by the world and the incoherence of your own logic.
          You’re trying to convince yourself and others apart from the truth you know at a heart level, and you will go so far in the other direction that God will give you up to the desires of your heart [which is where you’re currently at].
          God won’t force things on you and if you continue to harden yourself to the point of no return, you cannot blame God for not revealing Himself. He’s been doing it the whole time. You have chosen to ignore Him and that which you know is true.

          “My Spirit will not always strive with men” –
          Today is the day of salvation.

        • What YOU know of Jesus may be questionable to you out of willful- or not- ignorance, and that’s understandable. However, know that every scholar and person of integrity knows that Jesus did in fact exist, and was crucified under Pontus Pilate. They may not conclude He is the Son of God, however they all know He did in fact exist.

              • First, I do not lie.
                If you do not know or understand the history of 1st century Judea, or understand anything about the compilation of the bible then to say my gods of ”lies and deception etc” is simply ignorant.

                There were a number of Ist century eschatological itinerant smelly prophets running around Galilee and several were called Yeshua, according to Josephus so it is eminently possible that one was called Yeshua Ben Josef.

                It is important that you re-read my initial statement and try to absorb exactly what I wrote:
                the character, Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct.
                There is no verifiable or contemporary evidence whatsoever for the character you genuflect to. None.

                If you believe you have any evidence for this character, then please, I urge you to present it.

                • You may not lie, but you have inclined your ear to the father of lies.
                  This is from one of your peers: “We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels:31
                  1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.
                  2. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.
                  3. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.
                  4. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.
                  5. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growth
                  in the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.
                  6. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.
                  7. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.
                  8. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.
                  9. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.”
                  http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jesus-exist/0
                  “What isn’t proven by historical evidence is his miracles, divinity and resurrection. ” – This is your peers conclusion, which of course is another lie.

                  Do not blind your eyes and deafen your ears to God’s revelations of Himself to you.

                  • Who is the father of lies? Lucifer? He is the bringer of light and like Prometheus suffers for helping humans out of the ignorance god places them, in all the myths they appear.

                    Which peer do you mean?

                    As far as I can tell, the scholars of repute all agree the portion of TF that men Jesus is a forgery.

                    Christians everywhere claim Isaiah prophesied about their savior. He, Isaiah, wrote that he shall be called Emanuel and nowhere in the NT does that name appear. Did they forget that part of prophecy?

                  • There is not a single piece of contemporary evidence for the character Jesus of Nazareth.
                    Tacitus’ paragraph in annals refers to Chrestus and is considered by some, including Gibbon, to be an interpolation. It is most certainly at best merely a passing mention as he gives no reference to his source.
                    I have the book. Have you?

                    I will not even deign to comment on the TF and if you know your history you should not have the gall to even mention it either.

                    Lol. You quote one of my ”peers”, then have the temerity to say he is lying because he denies the miracles.
                    Pathetic.

                    You are a misguided,indoctrinated fool.

                    I reiterate, the character, Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct. Period.

                    • The one who has deliberately chosen the path of darkness, ignorance, and death seeks to judge the opposite actions, as that of a “fool”.

                      I am absolutely CERTAIN Christ Jesus is a living and real being! He is my Lord, & Savior.
                      To think I would put your cursed and stupid words before that of my creator is beyond asinine on your part. I don’t care what you think or what you have to say regarding The Son of God – Jesus the Christ, because all that comes from your evil heart is deception and death.

                      You only know lies and repeat such lies because you are possessed by the father of lies. you have become a slave to him whom you have chosen to obey: unbelief, and rebellion which can only lead to more ignorance, darkness and death.

                      I trust God, I trust His word. He will have the final say – there’s no need to go back and forth in trying to prove who is right. I am 100% certain and confident I am in possession of Truth. And guess what? Truth has a name- it’s Christ Jesus, to whose name ALL will bow, and that includes you. You can do it now, or later, it’s all your choice.
                      Have a good life.

                    • Whether you are 100% is of no consequence to the evidence and the truth.
                      At one time most western five years are 100% certain Santa Claus is real.

                      Yo display all the Hlamarks of the indoctriunated reborn fundamentalist Christian; one who has ”accepted Jesus”, likely because of some serious emotional issue and has not even bothered to read the entire bible yet and most certainly has not bothered to study its history.
                      I would suggest that every single christian deconvert has been in the position you are in at this moment.
                      To be so certain is dangerous.

                      I reiterate, what you believe in is fantasy based upon a narrative construct.
                      Maybe you should research a little more. Why not begin with Marcion?

      • You write

        Take a look at Jesus- He came to this earth and revealed Himself as the Son of God to mankind. Not everyone believed, as a matter of fact, most sought to kill Him.

        Jesus existence is in doubt. Two, you lie when you say most people sought to kill him. There was no attempt on his life until after his forays into the temple, a thing he brought on himself.
        how would men

        given the chance mankind WILL kill God

        kill a being that is omnipotent. And besides you have said god is immaterial and is spirit, how the hell do you kill such a thing? Do you even listen to yourself?
        What is spirit?

        • after everything you’ve said, you conclude by asking “what is spirit?”

          you cannot distinguish nor do you have a sound or any understanding of the material and immaterial world.

          Do you see the incoherence here- you say it’s a lie that most sought to kill Him, then go onto say He brought it on Himself then bring in arguments that only reveal your lack of understanding.

          You have deliberately chosen to doubt the existence of Christ Jesus for reasons known to you. You may cloak it in pseudo-intellectualism, but at the end of the day, it’s all just crap.
          Seek to have a relationship with your creator, than priding yourself on empty and meaningless arguments.

          • I have no understanding of the immaterial world.
            I am not being incoherent. You fail to see my point, maybe out of choice. In the narrative, no one is trying to kill your hero until after he goes to the temple and causes havoc towards the end of his short career.
            As a sun worshiper, I forgive you for being too quick to judge my intelligence. It may do you good however to ask yourself whether apart from accident of birth and faith, if you have any valid reasons to believe in your savior

  2. Pingback: Answering an Interesting Comment | Godless Cranium

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