The memory of my own suffering
has prevented me from ever
shadowing one young soul
with the superstitions of
the Christian religion.
-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902),
"Eight Years and More."

Seek Jesus: Josephus
Said He Existed
Rebecca Phaeton

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I have no more reason to believe that a soul exists (or that Jesus existed) than I have for believing that invisible green leprechauns exist. Should I believe in leprechauns simply because someone sent me an e-mail insisting that leprechauns exist? Certainly not!

If a god existed, you would think he would reveal this fact in a clear way to at least the majority of people. However, most who do believe in a god cannot agree as to which god is the real god. Fully one-fifth (20 percent) of the world's population (of adults) do not think there is any such thing as a god. That so many people cannot detect the presence or deduce the existence of a god, and that so many others violently disagree as to that god's characteristics, speaks powerfully against the existence of all gods.

But everyone can agree that the sun exists, and everyone can agree on the laws of gravitation, and everyone can agree on the basic arithmetical tables. This is what it means for truth to be self-evident: there are no arguments about it, and everybody can see it.

The Bible god is even said to have expressed the desire that all humans come to an understanding of his existence. An all-powerful, loving god who has this desire would not keep himself hidden if he held the value of integrity (self-consistency). But the "hiddenness of God" has been a great problem for Christian philosophers for 2000 years. Why would God state that he wants all men to come to a knowledge of him, yet so many who honestly seek him cannot find him? Our answer to this is that he simply does not exist except in people's imaginations.

Meanwhile, you have given us no reasons for believing that Jesus exists -- the bit about eight prophesies notwithstanding. I can make an excellent case that the Gospel accounts were all contrived to make it look as if prophesies were fulfilled, and I can make an even better case that the Old Testament "prophesies" were taken out of context by the Gospel writers and did not mean what the Gospel writers said they mean (particularly the "Cursed is he that hangs on a tree" bit from Galatians, which reveals Paul as the desperate opportunist that he was).

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians so named after him, are not extinct this day.
  

 

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Did I say that? No, I did not. Read what I said before you go refuting a position that I do not necessarily hold.

I currently favor the Jesus-as-Jewish-political Messiah angle over the Jesus-did-not-exist line of reasoning, but there is not enough evidence that Jesus existed to warrant me insisting that he did exist.

Nevertheless, you give false information to bolster your argument against that position, so I will address your use of well-known and verifiable falsehood in making your case for the historicity of a man who allegedly said, "I am the Truth."
 

Many serious historians hold and have held that very position: G. A. Wells is one, Arthur Drews was another. So, your claim that "no serious historian could maintain that position today" is falsified by the example of G. A. Wells who, last time I checked, still doubts the historicity of the Jesus figure described in the Gospel accounts.
 

The Gospel accounts betray a revising process ("Luke" revising "Matthew" which itself is a revision of "Mark"). Conspicuously absent from the Gospel of "Luke" is the notion of redemption. One verse fragment, described by most scholars as a very late insertion, does describe an oblique notion of redemption, but this portion is missing from earlier editions of "Luke."

The first Gospel, "Mark," was not circulated until at least C.E. 70, and was lilely not circulated until as late as C.E. 90. In any event, the vast majority of Jesus' contemporaries from Jerusalem and Judaea were wiped out in the war of C.E. 66 to 70, and thus weren't around to dispute or refute the Roman followers of Paul. There was one sect, the Ebionites, who did describe Jesus as a Jewish king -- not a god -- and who taught Paul was an opportunistic fraud.

The Gospel accounts also betray an extremely strong anti-Jewish, pro-Roman bias. Jesus was oblivious to the Roman occupation of Palestine. This is like writing an account of the Native American nations without once mentioning the United States.

This is easy to see by examining each incident where a Roman is portrayed in the Gospel accounts. (The Gospels even whitewash Pilate for gaud sakes!) The anti-Jewish bias progresses and intensifies with the later Gospel accounts.

For example, the story of the "scribe" who asks which is the greatest commandment shows anti-Jewish bias accumulating in the later Gospels. The earliest, "Mark," says: "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?" The later "Gospel of Matthew" changes this cordial, respectful exchange into one of malice: "Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words." and "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"

Another example of revision is shown by comparing the stories of the feeding of the 5,000 and the walking on the water. In "Mark," the disciples are obtuse in that "they understood not." "Matthew" will have none of this, and has the disciples saying Jesus is "truly the Son of God." Unfortunately for "Matthew," this makes Peter's later confession that Jesus is "the son of the living God" no longer the divine revelation that the Jesus character declares it to be.

The earliest biblical writings, Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, make no mention whatsoever about details of Jesus's life -- not even a mention of when he lived, other than some unspecified time in the past. It is only after the Gospels had had time to circulate that you get references to specific items regarding Jesus's time frame. No genuine secular sources can be dated before this time, as we will see with Tacitus and Josephus.
 

Cornelius Tacitus (circa C.E. 55-117 or later) was governor of Asia in about C.E. 112. He wrote (during this time) about events that had occurred 50 years earlier, in C.E. 64. Certainly there were people known as Christians in Rome in C.E. 64; the question here is whether a person named Christ existed and was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

Tacitus, writing in about C.E. 114-17, briefly describes the "Christians" as "deriv[ing] their name and origin from Christ who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate." He says no more than this. Had he given more detail, we would be justified in believing that he made more than a cursory investigation into the sect. But since he only gives this description, we cannot eliminate the likelihood that he simply placed into his text the description that was commonly held -- that description from the Gospels that had been in circulation for at least 20 years.

Also, Tacitus was not here describing what was believed about Jesus in C.E. 64, but was describing the Christians (and what they believed) from a C.E. 114 perspective, which perspective was obviously gathered from the already existing Gospel accounts. We still cannot conclude that the Christians of C.E. 64 had heard of details such as the notion that Jesus was crucified during the administration of Pontius Pilate.

 

Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians so named after him, are not extinct this day.

 

Only a handful of Josh McDowell-types claim that the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18:63-64) is genuine. Josephus (circa C.E. 37-101) was an orthodox Jew who cannot be expected to have written such obviously Christian words. If he did write them, and if he believed what they say, then why did he restrict his coverage of Jesus to this little parenthesis?

The ancient table of contents of the Antiquities, which is mentioned in the fifth- or sixth-century Latin version, omits mention of the Testimonium. That a Christian summarizing this work would overlook this passage would be remarkable indeed, considering Christians' well-known tendency to resort to any justification for the faith they can find -- however remote or untruthful that justification may be.

If this passage is original to the work, we can expect later writers to refer to it. Justin Martyr (circa C.E. 100-165) had to defend Christianity against the charges that they had "invented some sort of Christ for themselves" and that they had accepted "a futile rumor" (Dial. w. Trypho 8; circa C.E. 135). We would think that Justin would have pointed triumphantly to the Testimonuim as part of his reply, but he did not.

Origen (circa C.E. 185-254), who in his own writings relies extensively upon the works of Josephus, does not mention this passage or any other passage in Josephus that mentions Christ. This conspicuous absence speaks volumes about the passage in question. Had this passage been the vestige of a genuine passage that had undergone the revising hand of the Christian Fathers, you would think Origen would have mentioned it, even to criticize it were it critical of Jesus. No mention from Origen whatsoever of this passage or any other.

Jerome (circa C.E. 347-420) cites Josephus 90 times, but seems oblivious to the Testimonuim. Perhaps the Testimonuim was added later? L. H. Feldman, in Josephus and Modern Scholarship, lists two fathers from the second century, seven from the third, and two from the early fourth, all of whom knew Josephus and cited his works, but "do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite."

Indeed, one seldom hears a modern Christian apologist refer to Josephus at all, except to falsely claim the Testimonuim as genuine. The first mention of the Testimonium is Eusebius (who died about C.E. 342), and a full century passes (including, most notably, the era of Augustine [C.E. 354-430]) before it is again mentioned. This suggests that it took that long for most or all of the copies to include this passage. The earliest extant copy containing this passage dates from the eleventh century.

None of the Fathers before Eusebius used the word "tribe" in describing the Christians. Neither does it fit Josephus' usage of the word elsewhere: Josephus uses it to describe only national groups. This is further indication that Eusebius probably inserted the Testimonium into Josephus's works.

The Testimonium even breaks the thread of the narrative where it occurs, interrupting the narrative in a style quite unlike that common in the works of Josephus. Elsewhere, when Josephus inserts a parenthetical section, he introduces it as a parenthesis and then announces that he is returning to the original narration. The paragraph into which the Testimonium was inserted is itself a parenthetical section. It deals with disorder ("uproar") and this word connects the passages after the Testimonium with those preceding it, making the Testimonium parenthesis unnatural and unannounced. Also, the parallel passage in The Wars of the Jews, which repeats the surrounding text almost as fully as does Antiquities, omits the Testimonium.

Although several Jewish scholars see the Testimonium's designation of Jesus as "a wise man" too modest an assessment for a Christian, Josephus himself, in the remaining body of his works, applies this designation only to Solomon and Daniel. He doesn't even say this about David. It is doubtful that he would placed the casually mentioned Jesus in the same category as the extensively covered characters of Solomon and Daniel.

Meanwhile, Josephus himself mentions "an ambiguous oracle" (Wars 6:312-13) in the Jewish scripture which foretold the emergence of a world-wide ruler from Judea. In it, he is careful not to call this a Messianic prophesy (since he disliked Messianism as the source of many nationalistic uprisings), though the Testimonium has Josephus being shameless in his mention of how "the divine prophets had foretold" of Jesus's career.

Hierapolis's tenth-century quote of the Arabic translation of Antiquities, which was probably made from the Syriac translation, reads: "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders." (From J. H. Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism, 1989; also S. Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its Implications, 1971. It was Pines who rediscovered the Arabic version of the Testimonium.)

These two drastically different accounts cannot both be authentic; at least one of them is a plagiarization. The Arabic version has much less of a "Christian" flavor. This version does not go beyond calling Jesus a man, it omits mention of miracles, and it reduces the resurrection to something alleged by his disciples. It does it describe Jewish involvement in his death. Jesus is not unequivocally said to have been Messiah. The prophets are said to have foretold wonders of the Messiah, not specifically about Jesus. That Pilate "condemned him to be crucified and to die" betrays interpolation by someone living in an Islamic environment, because the Koran denies that Jesus was put to death. The Slavic translation of Josephus, by the way, contains extensive interpolations.

[Derived in part from several works by G. A. Wells.]

University student and Campus Crusader for Christ, perhaps; scientist, I most certainly doubt. This twist of logic and abuse of the facts is fit only for a preacher.

I can, with my eyes, detect the presence or absence of light within the visible spectrum. My perceptions will parallel those of any photometer measuring the presence or absence of light within that same spectrum. Reflected light is light nonetheless.

To worm out of my objection by diverting attention with the semantical game of asking whether it is proper to say we "see" "light" is patently dishonest of you. The key word in my objection is detect. With thinking like this, I can only hope you never become an instructor of young people.

My objection again: That so many people cannot detect the presence or deduce the existence of a god, and that so many others violently disagree as to that god's characteristics, speaks powerfully against the existence of all gods.

I know the standard retorts to this objection; you are not even close. Try again.
 

I heard that one from a preacher, too; but not from a scientist. Light, when measured by certain instruments designed to detect wave properties, appears to behave, under certain conditions, as if its energy were waves. When measured by other instruments designed to detect the motion of particles, it behaves, under certain conditions, as if it were particles in motion. This is not a "heated debate" but a fact of life; the preacher I heard was one who enjoyed discrediting science whenever he could, so he portrayed science as not even being able to agree on what light is. Science agrees that we do not know, but they have these two experiments and several others under their belts.
 

In other words, we all detect light. So what's your problem?

We all detect light, but only a fraction of us think we detect Jesus (and most who believe in Jesus admit they have never seen him or even detected him, but are believing only through faith).

Of those who believe in Jesus, many believe in a vastly different "Jesus" than you do, a Jesus who plays a vastly different role in their faith than he plays in yours. Many of these descriptions of Jesus are mutually exclusive. (Mutually exclusive means that two claims cannot both be true, because if one is true, the other must be false; this does not mean, however, that two given claims cannot both be false.) There are about a thousand million Roman Catholics, which is still fewer than there are atheists and nonreligious combined.

Furthermore, those who believe in Jesus disagree with those who believe in other gods and goddesses. Did Jesus really die on the cross (Christians) or did he not actually die on the cross (Muslims)? Is there only one god (Muslims; Jews) or is there a three-in-one god (Christians; Brahmins; ancient Egyptians) or are there millions of gods and goddesses?

Or are any of these claims to be believed?

Since the one making the claim is responsible for proving his or her claim, and since nobody has even come close to proving their claim (but, rather, they tell me to believe merely on faith) it is reasonable for me, in light of the above and previously stated objections, to continue living as if their claims are falsehood or nonsense. If a god existed who was both loving and all-powerful, he or she could very easily reveal him- or herself to the rest of us. No loving god would erect an exclusive club of insiders, such as those exclusive clubs known as the religions.
 

I read that somewhere. I think someone sent that to me in an e-mail once or twice.

There is no conclusive evidence that a Jesus existed who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. It is even less likely that he said what you say he said. And what it means is something else altogether.

The Gospels also tell me that Jesus said, "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."

Is this the "I am the light" that you speak about? the one who is said to deliberately blind certain people from hearing the truth?

Is this the same god that (we are told) said, "Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him"? Are we to believe that a god deliberately "hardened the heart" of a leader to the end that the god could show off his miraculous powers? Are we to believe that this is a good thing? a behavior to be honored and emulated?

Are we to teach this to our children? Yes. The other reason for hardening Pharaoh's heart and causing untold misery is so that we can teach these values to our children. The rest of the sentence reads: "And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD." And the Christians say that atheists do not have a source for morality!

The Gospels also tell me that Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Is this your god of love? Are these the "family values" we keep hearing about when Christians want to take away our Liberties and to enforce their narrow view upon the rest of us?
 

How can you talk of love and hate and fear and pain when you admit that you cannot prove they exist? (This is not unlike the solipsist who tries to explain his position to another!) Explain to me what love is. If you cannot do this, then do not use it in your argument.
 
 

The fact that this all-powerful god has not brought this desire to fruition in almost 40 years of my diligent searching speaks very powerfully against his existence. The prospect of spending eternity bearing more pain upon one individual than all the pain collectively endured for the history of life on earth is monumental. The fact that so many millions of people are in the dark (according to you), and would, because of this (according to the Bible), each endure more pain than has been experienced by all beings who have ever lived leads me to the conclusion that no such god exists. If such a god existed, more of us would know it than the meager handful of Christians who have lived. My conclusion is that no such god exists. My conclusion is that Christianity's "Good News" is a cruel hoax.

If the Bible god exists, he is not loving, because the Bible god predestined people, before the beginning of the earth, each to experience more pain than all living beings put together for the history of the earth: "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.... Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: 'Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?' But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? 'Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"'"
 
 

Lay them on me: I gotta see this! Let's go over each of them, one by one, and see: (1) if it really was a bona fide prediction where the original says what the alleged "fulfillment" says it does; (2) if we can eliminate the possibility that the Gospel writers tailored their stories to make it appear that an Old Testament "prophesy" was being fulfilled.

Let's start with the "prophesy" "predicting" a virgin birth. I love discussing the virgin birth prophesy!
 

Remember three things: (1) you wrote to a magazine: we often use the editorial "we" in our correspondence; (2) you wrote to a magazine: we now own the copyright to the intellectual material to the extent that we may publish it or post it as we see fit (this is stated clearly in the notice on our front page); (3) you wrote to a magazine that is owned and operated by one individual: I don't get any help with this except some occasional folding and stamping (and a few donations here and there, and occasionally some writings are contributed).

Also, you are the one who told us that Jesus exists. You made that claim. If you cannot make a convincing case that your claim is true, you are, according to Abraham Lincoln, guilty of falsehood: "It is an established maxim and moral that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him" (chiding the editor of a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper).
 

I have read the Bible cover to cover over a dozen times. The god described in that Bible has character traits that I find reprehensible; I will not associate with humans who display those character traits. Why should I seek out a god who is said to have those character traits for which I would reject a human without thinking?
 

How can you talk about me like this when you don't even know me? I can barely keep tabs on what goes on in my mind sometimes, how can you pretend to assume you know what is happening in the privacy of my mind?

You are talking to someone who won't so much as pretend to understand what this means: "Heart's cry for peace"? What is that!? Please make a case that what you say here is not gibberish or at least try to cloak what you say in language that is plain and unambiguous, impossible to misunderstand, misconstrue, or miss entirely.
 

I've heard people tell me this all my life, but have been given absolutely no indication that any "Jesus" is "drawing" me to "the knowledge of Him and a relationship with Him." If Jesus exists, why does he not simply reveal that fact to me in a manner that precludes the possibility that somebody is pulling my leg?
 

Please, I emplore you for your own sake, stop debasing yourself like this. You have more dignity than that!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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No. You presented a lot of claims and I systematically responded to them with my honest views about them, justifying my opinions with what I have found to be strong arguments to show the lack of truthfulness in your claims.

And I did rip to shreds the notion that Josephus testified to the existence of a Jesus figure. He did not, and I suggest that you join the vast majority of Christian apologists and stop using this argument.

The only unassailable arguments for the Christian faith rest exclusively within the framework of an individual's personal religious experience. If Christians would stick to the apologetics of the personal religious experience, and stop trying to force the rest of us to live as if their personal religious beliefs are applicable to the rest of us (who do not have a similar personal religious experience), then the Christian church would immediately stop receiving opposition from the rest of the community that she currently endures. It is her evngelism, bringing these claims to the public forum and expecting the rest of us to go along with those claims, which accounts for this opposition.
 

I am satisfied that I have come to the knowledge of the truth about the Christian religion: It is falsehood.

I would ignore the Christian religion altogether were it not for the fact that several manifestations of the Christian religion are extremely intrusive.

Because this intrusiveness is so dangerous to the society in which I live, it is a moral imperative for me to challenge the patently false claims of these intrusive Christians and to oppose the policies they wish to enact -- which policies are based upon the falsehood that is the Christian religion.

Case in point:
 

You quote a passage that says "the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not," and almost all commentators agree that "the god of this world" is not Jesus or Jehovah, but a different god-like figure called "Satan."

However, I quoted to you several passages wherein Jesus and others (allegedly) state that it is Jesus or Jehovah who willfully blinds the minds of people who do not believe.

Houston, I think we have a problem!

Did Jesus or Jehovah blind the minds of the unbelievers because this is a good thing (God being good, and all), or did Satan blind the minds of the unbelievers, this being a bad thing?

If there is such a place as Hell (and I'm not talking about the cities of Hell, Norway or Hell, Michigan), then blindness to the ticket out of Hell is an extremely bad thing. However, the Bible states -- very clearly and in many passages -- that God willfully blinds the vast majority of humans to the end that He may cast them into Hell or inflict them with some earthly punishment for their blindness (though it was God who blinded them in the first place, and it is God who could have prevented their blindness at any time).

Hell is a despicable teaching (that Christians teach to their young children) and I am glad that it is pure falsehood. No, I cannot come back from the grave and show you that this tale is not true, but I can look at the source of this story -- the Bible -- and show you that the Bible is wrong about a great many things that we can verify. If I can verify that the Bible is wrong about such things as the sphericity of the earth and the value of Pi and the locations of certain ancient cities, and if I can show you that the Bible untrustworthy on other worldly matters that can be verified or falsified, then I have no reason to trust the Bible's teaching about untestable and unfalsifiable claims such as that of the existence of Hell and that of the meaning of the Cross.

In other words, if I can show the Bible to be false about things we can test, I have no business trusting what the Bible says about things it admits we cannot test.
 

This panic does happen to me and it happens to many who have weighed the Christian religion and have found it wanting. (I also often get a powerful urge to go get drunk, though I know, in my mind, that to do this would be suicide.) It happens because many of us were thoroughly indoctrinated, from a very young age, with the terrors of the wrath of God and Hell-fire and brimstone and the wailing and gnashing of teeth (where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched). These indoctrinations were a shock upon our young and vulnerable minds.

The effects of this cruel indoctrination sometimes do not go away, but remain throughout one's life. These are not unlike the terrifying memories of some of my Viet Nam veteran friends who wake up at night, drenched in a cold sweat, screaming with fright. Some are lucky and don't have this problem; others cannot handle it and attribute the panic attacks and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress be a message from God.

Rather than get the help we need to overcome the effects of this wickedness that was bestowed upon us by the Sunday School teacher, many simply rejoin the church and pass this evil on to their children. Most of us who do wake up are able to think clearly about these matters even thought the panic sometimes creeps up. Some who wake up from the stupor of the Gospel indoctrination react violently because their upbringing taught them faith rather than the delicate skill of reasoning.

I am fortunate in that I was raised by atheists, who themselves were raised either by atheists or by Unitarians, and do not have these vestigial memories dating back to childhood (though I did join a Christian sect in my mid-20s for about three years, and carry this load much more lightly than do others I know). There were a lot of half-breeds in my dad's side of the family, and they had no cultural base: the Indians wouldn't have them and neither would the whites. Therefore the value of fierce independence is thoroughly ingrained into my cultural upbringing. I am fortunate -- very fortunate. Part of my goal in publishing Positive Atheism is to help others who are less fortunate than I in this respect, people who might otherwise fall for some of the Gospel that you and others have laid upon me in this forum.
 

It amazes me, too; it amazes me that anybody would believe this and try to convince others to believe this way: The Bible states that we are so blinded by Original Sin as to be utterly incapable of seeing the righteousness of the Bible god. And yet, because of this blindness, that ogre of a deity (Yawheh the volcano god) punishes each of these blinded individuals with more pain than has been suffered by all the creatures of the world put together throughout all of history.

It is my firm opinion that anybody who actually believes this has to have calloused some of their most precious human emotions. It is unfathomable to me that a healthy human could ever think like this, much less celebrate such thinking. And I think it is absolutely criminal for people to teach these ideas to impressionable children.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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Note: After this volley, Rebecca and I switched gears and indulged in some wonderful, very friendly correspondence. However, they will not be posted because they are not of interest to the topics at hand -- or any topic on our Forum, for that matter. I merely wish to mention that this conversation, like several others which began as confrontations, did end up on a happy note. -- Cliff Walker

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