Response To
'The Fig Tree Enigma'
Jimmy Tan

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Gaudencio P. Tan"
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000 12:23 PM

But that's not what it says. According to the story, Jesus was hungry, went looking for figs (when it was not fig season), and when he found none, he killed the tree for not bearing fruit (out of season).

My question is, why would even a moron look for figs out of season, acting like he expected to find them?
 

I can see and feel and measure the wind. But I am 43 years old and still have yet to detect any "Jesus" or "God" or "Son of God." I do know that throughout history, countless tribes had their own tribal totem deity, and this is what the god of the Yahweh myth was to the ancient Hebrew goat-herders. These myths, according to many early Christian Fathers, were most recently edited by Ezra through supernatural revelation, and scholars now place the authorship of the works of "Ezra" at about B.C.E. 300. The more ancient myths show a tribal deity who was just one of many gods, each of which ruled over a particular clan. This god was capable of making mistakes and repenting of having done things (Gen. 6:6). The later writings show a more sophisticated One True God, all-powerful and all-knowing.

I also know that during the times preceding the fall of the Roman Empire, practically every pagan village had its own savior, who died for the sins of the community and rose again for that community's salvation. This is where much of the Jesus myth comes from, and alternate "Jesus" histories (such as that taught by the Ebionites) were suppressed (or assimilated in part) when one version of Christianity was made the State Religion by the Emperor Constantine in C.E. 325. His Council of Nicaea and later attempts to consolidate Christian history relied very heavily on the opinions of Marcion, who was a big fan of Paul. But they didn't go along with all of Marcion's ideas -- particularly his theology: he taught that the Father of Jesus was not the same Yahweh of the Old Testament but was a different god altogether. Other pre-Nicene clans were very Gnostic in their outlook (but they had a Jesus savior character) and still others were Jewish -- whose Yeshua was just a man and not a god-man like the Roman and Gnostic Jesus clans taught. This Yeshua didn't die for the sins of the world, but died trying to remove the yoke of bondage that was the Roman Empire.

Basically, if there is a god and if that god had a Son named Jesus, He has done a marvelous job at hiding Himself from me. If He exists, and if He wants me to know that He exists, he had better arrange for me to come across some convincing arguments (or better yet, some solid evidence) that He exists. I have been searching for reasons to believe in a god my entire life, but have found no convincing reasons to believe any of the god-claims that I have heard. Particularly flawed is the collection of god-claims that is the Bible.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 8:20 AM

How could an all-powerful, all-knowing entity make such a mistake that he would later grieve over it? How is this possible? Does this not fly in the face of the very notion of an all-powerful, all-knowing deity? We can expect evolution to make mistakes, but not an all-powerful, all-knowing god!
 

And why would not a loving entity take better care of his children and see to it that this most mortal of dangers would never befall his beloved son and daughter?
 

Too little too late. The damage is done, and we all pay for it. I will never again talk to my former girlfriend Tam because she is dead. So is my Grandpa. Soon my Dad will join them, and my brother has been there since he was preschool age. The effect of Adam's alleged act continue and I'll never have had a brother to grow up with and to have as that closest of allies today -- the one I've known longer than almost anyone else. How could Jesus be said to have died for us? What did this do if the main and obvious impact Adam's sin still remains in effect?
 

Again: Whatever Jesus did (whatever he did), he didn't end up stopping anything that we can detect. It's in every conceptual and in no way tangible. The truly terrifying results of Adam's alleged infraction remain in effect, and I still pay for all my mistakes and misdeeds (and sometimes suffer for the misdeeds of others as well).
 

I know. The Gideons are shoving it in motel drawers. There's a version aimed at modern youth called "The Book" with a controversial cover painting. I know. It makes me shudder to think how cheap and exploitative the marketing of the Gospel has become.

Nevertheless, to say that the Bible is widely published and that means it is true, is to say that because most people once thought the world was flat, that means it was actually flat. One hundred trillion flies can't be wrong ...
 

This says nothing about how why we have a rainbow, fails to show that man ever existed at a time when the rainbow did not, and (most of all) could not show that the tale was written by an entity superior to the human -- even if your premises were right.
 

You cannot show that the entire population of humans ever had but a single language. Even if you could and did show this, you still couldn't show by this that the Bible tale is of super-human origin.
 

Which man has a missing rib? I don't, and don't know anybody who does. If you don't believe me, find any online study of human anatomy and see if you see anything about men having one fewer ribs than women.

If you're talking about one man (Adam) having one fewer ribs then one woman (Eve), this means nothing to me because if they even existed at all, they are dead today. Besides, we cannot even verify your claim that they had different numbers of ribs because we do not have the skeletons.

Even if there were one fewer ribs in men than in women, we could expect the Bible to discuss it at least somewhere. This would be no proof for the existence of a god.
 

I don't see this angle either in Genesis or in nature. Genesis does not say this and nature has shown it to be false.
 

Which ones? Please give chapter and verse on the one hand and specific secular coverage by a major news entity on the other. No cheating (as in no vague symbolism that could literally mean anything).
 

No, I don't, because we alter Nature all the time. I stand in awe that Nature can and is altered by our intervention.
 

Many more? You lost me on the main example. Explain to me what you're talking about in your main example -- before you even mention the "many more"!
 

He who does not have the Son does not have life? so we only get to detect God's existence when we are on the verge of losing our lives? I don't get it!

I wish I could even disagree with you, but I cannot because I don't even understand what you are saying.
 

And what would be wrong with that even if it were true? I could never have survived any of the numerous harrowing tragedies I've endured and mortal dangers I've faced without the work of other humans. At times I've not been able to take care of myself, and have had to depend on others to do for me what I couldn't do. I still have a caretaker come in and help me with the task of living.
 

If I went to a Christian church it would be a Baptist church (the Roger Williams-type Baptist church, not the post-Reagan Era variety -- or, an African-American Baptist church).

That I would go to a service (or even invoke a deity in my wedding vow) does not make me a theist. I need to see what you are talking about. After I even understand what you are saying, I must go through all the likely objections -- and eliminate all those objections -- before I will even consider the supernatural. Even if I did that, we are still a long way from demonstrating the supremacy of your particular god over the 5000 or so gods and goddesses and consorts that mankind has endorsed.

But going to church? I can see fun in that. In the eleventh grade, the gal who was easily the most stunningly pretty looking girl in the school took me out several times. (Don't ask me what she saw in me, but I still think she was one of the sharpest, most lucid people I've ever met.) On one date, we went to a service at an Eastern Orthodox church where they performed the service in four different languages. Church can have its place even in the life of an atheist. On another date, we were going to see a Rolling Stones movie. When she arrived, my sister was watching "The Flintstones" on TV, and it was the episode which featured "Mick Jagstone and the Rolling Bolders."
 

I've heard that said, but the only personal experience in this matter is that prayer did nothing for me.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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