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Atheism, Fulfilled Prophecies, Jesus Is the Hope of the World, The Early Church

If Jesus Never Existed, Who Is the “Mystery Writer” of the Jesus Myth?

The Gospel of John-the earliest known existing fragment of the gospels. Dated 125 AD.

The Gospel of John-the earliest known existing fragment of the gospels. Dated 125 AD.

If Jesus never existed, and is merely a mythological character, who is the mysterious writer who created the story of Jesus?

Was he a Jew? Was he Roman? Was he Greek?

Where was he from?

Was he educated?

How did he promote his story? Was it put in a newspaper? Was it a book? How did the story circulate?

How did he tell the story in four different voices (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)?  Did he have helpers?

When did he write the story? Was it in 30 AD, 50 AD,  Earlier? Later?

Why is there no mention of a secret writer of the story of Jesus in any of the history books? Wouldn’t historical figures have screamed, “Jesus isn’t real! He’s just a mythological figure!” somewhere in the annals of history?  Instead, he and his followers are mentioned as a matter of fact by Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, Pliny the Elder, and Suetonius.

If there was a mystery writer, he must have been pretty intelligent, because somehow he was able to create a character who appears to have been able to fulfill the law of Moses, the words of the prophets, and even his own prophecies (such as his prophecy concerning the destruction of the Jewish temple). He was also able to convince people living contemporaneously with him, that Jesus was a true person, so much so that many were willing to die rather than to deny their loyalty to him.

The first brilliant achievement of the mystery writer was to create a story whose main character could “fulfill” the Old Testament religious law. First of all, to fulfill the law he had tell the story of a person who was obedient to all the laws. He could never break one of the ten commandments, even in the words he spoke and the deeds he did. Somehow the myth creator was able to show the interaction between Jesus and the disciples, or Jesus and the Pharisees, yet we never see him breaking a commandment, even though the Pharisees tried to set traps for him, and the disciples were constantly challenging his patience. (Were these encounters real, or were they fictional? I’m not sure exactly what atheists argue.) This writer is amazing so far.

Secondly, the Jesus character created by the mystery writer would fulfill the Old Testament law by fulfilling the “feasts” of Israel. Jesus would fulfill the Passover feast by becoming the lamb who shed his blood so the death angel would “pass over” the homes of those who had the blood of a lamb applied to the top and sides of the doorpost of their homes. The mystery writer was able to design the idea of a death on a cross to coincide with the blood on the doorposts. He would be able to portray Jesus as the one whose blood was symbolized by the Red Sea–as through the shedding of his blood, the people would be redeemed from the bondage and slavery to sin, and the way would be opened to the promised land. How did this writer do that!?

The mystery writer would also have to make the Jesus character be sinless in order fulfill the second Jewish “Feast of Unleavened Bread.” Leaven (yeast) was a symbol of sin in the Bible, so the writer would have to make it so that Jesus never did anything wrong. This is a difficult feat that would have to hold up in every age.

The third Jewish feast mentioned in the law was the “Feast of First Fruits.” How could the mystery writer fulfill this feast?  The first fruit is symbolized in the Old Testament as a tithe. Perhaps the writer thought: “I could make Jesus to be an offering to God but this could be “fulfilled” by him being raised from the dead–as a first fruit of the resurrection from the dead.” The writer would then have to come up with a way for a lot of people to claim they saw a mythological, fictional creation come back from the grave and walk among men. Then his story would be so good that all of them would be willing to die violent deaths rather than to deny the veracity of this mythological story.

He would also weave into his story that this character, Jesus, was born in a manger in Bethlehem. And that the place where he was reputed to have been laid was the place where lambs were prepared for sacrifice,  and they were wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep them from wobbling around and falling, so they would be without blemish. His character, Jesus, would be treated the same way in his story, becoming the Lamb of God who was without blemish.

The writer would also have to make Jesus enter Jerusalem on a donkey on the exact day which was prophesied by the Old Testament prophet, Daniel.  He must have known the Old Testament very well.

Not only would the writer of the Jesus myth have to write in four different voices, since there are four different testimonies (or gospels) of the life of Jesus, he would also have to write in the voice of Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament. This Jesus myth writer would have had to be a chess player who could think on many levels! He either wrote Paul’s letters, or he convinced Paul, a Pharisee who rejected Jesus, to become Jesus’ biggest fan–based on a myth, even though Paul testified that he became friends with the disciples of Jesus and lived and talked with them. Either the whole story is concocted, or Paul would have had to buy into the delusion. The thing is – – Paul doesn’t sound like a lunatic in his writings. He sounds very sober-minded, humble, intelligent, and honest.

The mystery writer would also have to explain how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament law of the priesthood by becoming the mediator between man and God of a new covenant which was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-35, Hebrews 8:9-13), and would foretell that laws would be written on the hearts of people rather than on tablets of stone.

He would have also had to fulfill the “prophets” by weaving in the prophecies of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before, whereby he takes an entire chapter to describe the “suffering servant.”

. . . because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many . . .  (Isaiah 53:12b)

Or the prophecy in the Psalms which takes a chapter to claim the messiah would be cut off and forsaken of God.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalms 22:1)

The mystery writer would also have to make the Jesus character be buried in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:9)–a grave that was considered to be real and is still pointed to as the burial place of his mythological Jesus. He would also make sure to mention that soldiers would cast lots for his clothing as prophesied in Psalms 22.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! The ways in which Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets are innumerable. Every day, preachers and teachers discover more ways that Jesus accomplished this feat. Books and libraries could be filled with the revelations of how he did this. Songs and sermons proclaim: He is the light of the world. He is the salt. He is the bread. He is the manna. He is the promised Messiah. He is Emmanuel-God with us. He is the Lamb. He is Abraham’s ram whose horns were caught in the thorns. He is the King of Kings.  He is the I AM . . .

Finally, the mystery writer, filled with wisdom and knowledge, would give birth to the only hope the world has ever truly known for eternal life. All other religions say that it takes obedience to rules and laws, and a commitment to an unattainable standard of religious effort, but the New Testament proclaims that none of that is necessary–all of us are merely dust, and incapable of pleasing God through our own efforts. But Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, completed the work which was necessary for us to be justified in the universal system of justice, and all we have to do is receive what he did for us.

Not only that, as I document many places on this website, the followers of Jesus have transformed the world from a place of darkness, despair, violence, and cruelty into a place where compassion, love, mercy, justice, and forgiveness are lifted up as ideals and lived out in their lives.

The greatest heroes of history have been readers of the story created by this mystery writer. They have taken on the character of this created Jesus, giving their own lives to defend the truthfulness of this “fictional” story. In the process they opposed the Inquisition and overthrew the power of the Holy Roman Empire, they opposed and defeated slavery, they ended cannibalism around the world, they opposed the tyranny of Nazism and communism, and they contributed greatly to the comfort, health, and freedom of the world–usually by standing on the words of this mystery writer’s “gospels.”

Wow! What an amazing testimony of the brilliant intellect of this man? Can’t somebody reveal to us who this man is–and give us evidence for his existence?

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About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

Discussion

83 thoughts on “If Jesus Never Existed, Who Is the “Mystery Writer” of the Jesus Myth?

  1. “they opposed the Inquisition”… Errum, the Inquisition was run by the Church, hence the name “The Holy Inquisition”

    “and overthrew the power of the Holy Roman Empire”… Firstly, why was Rome bad? Secondly, Rome fell about 150 years after adopting Christianity as its state religion, but it had nothing to do with religion.

    “they opposed and defeated slavery”… No, the bible was used to “justify” slavery in the south, and it was overthrown by a secular northern army headed by Lincoln who said “The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian Dogma.”

    “they ended cannibalism around the world”…. Huh?

    “they opposed the tyranny of Nazism”…. Sorry, but the church colluded with the Nazis. Pope Pius XII wasn’t nicknamed “Hitlers Pope” for no reason. Please see the Nazi statement on “Positive Christianity” in Article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform.

    “and they contributed greatly to the comfort, health, and freedom of the world”… How so? The greatest leap forward in human civilization has been the Enlightenment, and that was purely secular.

    Posted by john zande | December 20, 2013, 10:01 am
    • Hi John, I don’t know how this comment slipped by me. I didn’t see it until today.

      Yes, the Inquisition was run by the “Church,” but it was opposed by the “Church” also. The Inquisition was an attempt to hunt down “heretics.” The Roman Catholic church persecuted, tortured, and killed anybody who disagreed with their doctrine. This included John Huss, a pastor who made fun of the popes’ rich lifestyles. He was burnt at the stake without even being given an opportunity to speak to defend himself. It also included John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther–all religious leaders who opposed Catholic doctrine.

      The problem is that the heretics were the Roman Catholics who long ago had left the teachings of the Bible. They had allowed Greek philosophy to infiltrate their doctrine and they also adopted the unbiblical “traditions” of the early church theologians. Those who tried to counter these false doctrines were attacked by the Catholic church.

      This movement was finally successful under Martin Luther and became known as the Reformation. Because of the Reformation the Holy Roman Empire and its power to control religious thought was broken. It took wars and division, but they finally lost their stranglehold. It was the “Church” who believed in “scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, and Christ alone” who finally overthrew the power of the Inquisition.

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 12:49 pm
  2. Concerning your comment on the Holy Roman Empire, the Empire was a mixture of church and state, whereby the church endorsed political leaders. The height of its power was during the middle ages up until the “Thirty Years War” and the Treaty of Westphalia, when there was an agreement between the Catholics and Protestants to tolerate each other’s religions. The existence of the Protestants was what finally overthrew the power of the Roman Catholic Church and her inquisitorial powers.

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 1:03 pm
  3. Why was Rome bad? Ummm . . . They worshiped their emperors as gods. They practiced slavery. They collected high taxes. They tried to conquer the world through power and force. They practiced blood sport in the coliseum. They practiced infanticide. They persecuted Christians. They were governed by emperors who were often mentally ill, egotistical, dictators.

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 1:12 pm
    • Perhaps you’re not aware that the American Republic is based on the general outline of the Roman Republic (haven’t you ever wondered why so many buildings in Washington are Romanesque?)… and you seem to be ignoring American history of terrible slavery, which, incidentally, was justified with the Bible… and Christians have persecuted and executed far, far, far more Christians than Rome ever did. The Romans gave us astonishing engineering including the modern sewage system, internal heating, the base of a public health and education systems, a universal language, concrete, the sealed road, the modern alphabet and political dialogue based on the thoughts of such towering intellects as Cicero.

      Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 1:54 pm
      • lol!

        Yes, America used the ancient Greeks and Romans as an inspiration and model for government. They had forms of a democratic republic. They also had an advanced justice system. Jesus and Paul appeared before their judges. And the advances in living conditions, as shown in the video, were also excellent.

        But while the Greeks and Romans contributed much to philosophy, governmental structure, architecture, community planning, military strategy, art, and various other secular pursuits, they didn’t contribute to the ethics or heart of the western world.

        They enjoyed blood sport. Over half the population were slaves. They led aggressive wars. They were polytheists, and emperor worship was demanded–upon pain of death. There was no religious freedom. They practiced infanticide, exposing unwanted babies, especially girls, to the beasts and the elements.They were brutal and used force to control their subjects. Floggings, crucifixions, burning, impaling, and torture were common place.

        The Romans may have had a form of order, but they were NOT civilized.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 2:41 pm
      • “they didn’t contribute to the ethics or heart of the western world”

        What? Where on earth do you get your “history” from? Ever heard of a man named Plato? How about Socrates? Pythagoras? Archimedes? Eratosthenes? How about the father of the scientific method, Thucydides? Euclid? Leucippus and Democritus? Aesop’s? Homer? While I’m at it, how about the FATHER OF DEMOCRACY, Cleisthenes?

        Sometimes I honestly think you’re just joking, Diana….

        Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 4:32 pm
      • Plato believed in slavery. He thought it was a natural condition of humanity. Aristotle believed that they were “living tools.” The Greeks enslaved over 3/4 of their population. Plato and Aristotle both accepted infanticide as part of Athenian law. Roman law gave fathers the right to expose their baby daughters.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 6:56 pm
      • I already agreed that the Greeks and Romans contributed to the creation of an orderly society, but I was referring to compassion, kindness, and the ability to identify with the least in society and care for the poor, sick, unwanted, elderly, and infants–those who are burdens and need help.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 7:03 pm
      • Were you home-schooled, Diana?

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 4:35 am
      • Regarding Francis Bacon, I wrote a short column entitled, “The Scientific Method Was Developed by a Christian” which can be found here:

        https://narrowwayapologetics.com/2011/12/19/the-scientific-method-was-developed-by-a-christian/

        Francis Bacon was motivated by the desire to overthrow the Catholic/Greek synthesis of scientific endeavor. He was a Protestant who believed science could be used to love his neighbor and make the world a better place.

        You can study this for yourself and discover that I’m not rewriting history.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 12:02 pm
      • From wiki

        Thucydides (/θjuːˈsɪdɨdiːz/; Ancient Greek: Θουκυδίδης, Thoukudídēs; c. 460 – c. 395 BC) was a Greek historian and Athenian general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of “scientific history” because of his strict standards of evidence-gathering and analysis in terms of cause and effect without reference to intervention by the gods, as outlined in his introduction to his work.[1]

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 12:04 pm
      • In response to your comment about me being home schooled, no, I wasn’t home schooled. I attended Glenbrook South High School from 1976-1979. Wikipedia said this about my former high school:

        . . . Glenbrook South High School, along with Glenbrook North, are noted for their outstanding curriculum and quality of education, having been repeatedly named to a variety of best-in-the-nation lists. For example, as part of the First in the World Consortium, GBS and GBN students scored first in the world in international math & science testing.[6]

        I’m not sure what your point was, but I also attended the University of Wisconsin, Lakeland College, and pursued my masters in diplomacy from Norwich University. I haven’t completed this yet.

        I will say that I learned a lot while I home schooled my own children.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 12:21 pm
      • I was just wondering due to your rather odd take on history. Masters in diplomacy, eh? I did mine in policy. Don’t ask me why 😦

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 12:29 pm
      • Thucydides could appreciate what I’m doing then. I’m trying to show how history really happened. You can’t erase what motivated people, or change the order of events, or leave out parts of what people said (as you did in your article on the Pentateuch) in order to paint the picture according to your world view. Truth is truth.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 12:32 pm
      • I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate you erasing him (and his colleagues) from their true foundational role in western civilisation.

        I didn’t leave out any part. Mazar goes on to say the narrative becomes accurate (to paraphrase) and i complete agree. I’m talking about the foundation narrative: the Patriachs = Myth, Egypt = Myth, Moses = Myth, Exodus = Myth, Conquest = Myth.

        On that note, how do you explain Jesus not knowing Moses was a fictional character?

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 12:37 pm
      • Who said I erased him? I admire him. He wanted the truth.

        So you agree that archaeology supports the scriptures after the time of the Judges? Is this what you’re saying?

        Just for the record, I disagree with Kathleen Kenyon’s position on the ruins of Jericho. I also think Finkelstein is making some pretty big assumptions about camels.

        Now you’re saying the Old Testament is a mythological creation too? (Even though you seem to admit parts of it are based on history.)

        You’re willing to mock and belittle Jewish history and all of the traditions that were given to them just so they would never forget their history?

        The Dead Sea Scrolls, written hundred of years before Christ, seem to convey that their history was written pretty early. The Old Testament wasn’t a newer creation like you seem to think the New Testament is.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 1:03 pm
      • “Who said I erased him? I admire him. He wanted the truth.”

        You dismissed the entire Greek civilisation as having given NOTHING to western civilisation! Now you suddenly “admire” him?

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 2:38 pm
      • I dismiss the Greco-Roman empires as being a source of truth. Embracing their scientific beliefs especially hindered the growth of science–see Galileo, for example. It took Bacon to finally wrestle the stronghold that Aristotelian philosophy had on scientific knowledge.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 4:59 pm
      • So I’m to understand then that you hate democracy, because clearly you’re also dismissing the FOUNDER of democracy: Cleisthenes.

        Do you hate democracy, Diana?

        Posted by john zande | January 3, 2014, 10:37 am
      • That’s a foolish conclusion, John. Of course I don’t hate democracy. lol!

        They just aren’t a source of religious truth. (And in some cases they aren’t a source of scientific truth, obviously.)

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 3, 2014, 1:25 pm
      • Well, you were the one making the wild claim, which you’re now having to back away from, like you do when called out on most of your other wild claims… Like Christians defeating the Nazi’s.

        Posted by john zande | January 4, 2014, 4:31 am
      • Here’s an interesting post which contradicts your claims that religion was pro-science. Of course it never was, you know that as much as a i do, but this details it in an interesting manner:

        http://atheistenquiry.org/2014/01/05/losing-a-delusional-war/

        Posted by john zande | January 5, 2014, 2:39 pm
      • John,

        Have you ever heard of the “conflict thesis?”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_thesis

        It was a theory popularized over a century ago which claimed that science was in “conflict” with religion.

        This theory has been discredited by historians, yet for some reason, remains popular in the minds of the public.

        It appears the writer of your linked article doesn’t realize that his belief (that science is in conflict with Christianity) has no historical support.

        In fact, Christianity gave birth to the “Scientific Revolution.”

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 8, 2014, 9:48 pm
      • So, you don’t see any contradiction between Christianity saying the earth is flat and science saying its not?

        Interesting….

        Posted by john zande | January 9, 2014, 3:16 am
      • I’m afraid you are misinformed on this subject, John. Even the great evolutionist, Steven Jay Gould, acknowledged the existence of the myth of the flat earth, saying “there never was a period of ‘flat earth darkness’ among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the Earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology.”

        Historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers point out that “there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth’s] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference”

        Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell says the flat-earth error flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over evolution. Russell claims “with extraordinary [sic] few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat”, and credits histories by John William Draper, Andrew Dickson White, and Washington Irving for popularizing the flat-earth myth.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 9, 2014, 8:09 am
      • I’m not saying scholars believed it, well some very stupid ones might have, but its in the book you hold so dear… the book that is said to be “true”… the book of your religion.

        Posted by john zande | January 9, 2014, 8:50 am
      • What scripture are you referring to?

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 11, 2014, 4:26 pm
      • The bible describes the flat earth. Rather than type it all here’s the bits from the web:

        Daniel 4:11 “The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the ENDS OF ALL THE EARTH” (How could one tree be seen by all the Earth if they knew the Earth was round.)

        Matthew 4:8 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” (Same idea here.)

        Isaiah 40:22 “”He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (How could the “heavens” be spread out over the Earth like a tent if they believe it’s a sphere? They believe the sky literally came down and touched the edges of the Earth.)

        Job 38:44 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (If they thought the Earth was a sphere, wouldn’t they say “around it”… not “across it”?)

        Job 38:13 “That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?” (How can you “take hold of the ends”…of a sphere?)

        Job 38:15 “The earth takes shape like clay under a seal.” (Clay when stamped under a seal is flattened and round in shape)

        Of course, then we have marvels like insects that walk on all fours, and rabbits that chew their cud… and talking donkeys.

        Posted by john zande | January 11, 2014, 5:42 pm
      • Daniel 4:11 was a reference found in a dream.

        Daniel 4:8 was a supernatural event.

        Isaiah 40:22 was referring to a sphere according to the Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon.

        http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2329&t=KJV

        Isn’t the atmosphere kind of like a tent? According to Dictionary.com, an atmosphere is “the gaseous envelope surrounding the earth; the air.

        http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2329&t=KJV

        I think a tent is a pretty good description.

        How do you know God wasn’t measuring the diameter rather than the circumference?

        Job 38:15: All this is saying is that God formed the earth like clay under a seal. It has indentations and forms. It doesn’t necessarily mean the earth was a flat circle.

        I don’t understand why you find such pleasure in finding fault with a book whose main message is that there is a justice system in the universe–one in which you and every other human stands guilty–yet all we have to do is receive what Jesus did for us and we will be justified before this court. The Lamb of God died on the Cross for us and all we have to do is receive it as a gift. This is the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.

        This message rings out to the nations: “Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy . . . for unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given. . . .behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World.”

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 11, 2014, 11:53 pm
      • Well, unfortunately we’re obliged to find the bevy of sometimes hilarious blunders in the “book” because we’re confronted with people who say it’s the inerrant word of a Middle Eastern god named Yhwh. This, of course, wouldn’t matter one bit if these people weren’t also trying to meddle in our secular societies according to the “word” of this supposedly “inerrant” Middle Eastern god. Believe whatever you like, just keep it to yourself.

        Ýou say: “a book whose main message is that there is a justice system in the universe–one in which you and every other human stands guilty–yet all we have to do is receive what Jesus did for us and we will be justified before this court.” This is really interesting from three perspectives. Firstly, it’s abhorrent to tell children (or anyone for that matter) they’re guilty of something they never did. That’s abuse, pure and simple. It’s creating an imaginary disease then offering an imaginary cure. Secondly, it’s a displacement of responsibility; and that’s dangerous. We pursue the goals of the Enlightenment which include solving our world’s problems through rational discourse, not via religion and tradition. And thirdly, the absurdity of it is summed up in this simple sketch:

        Knock, knock…
        Who’s there?
        It’s Jesus, let me in….
        Why?
        I have to save you….
        From what?
        From the terrible things I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me in

        Or said in another way: God sacrificed himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself. Diana, can you not see the absurdity in this?

        Posted by john zande | January 12, 2014, 4:58 am
      • What I see is that you (and I) have broken the laws of the universe. We’ve done things that have hurt other people. We lied, cheat, stole, whatever.

        And the universe has a day of reckoning for this. (Aren’t you glad about this? Should people be able to get away with murdering a little girl or stealing somebody’s pension or any other multitude of sins? I’m glad there is a higher system that cruel people are held accountable to.)

        One of the consequences of rejecting Jesus is that since we chose not to take his covering for our sins we are not able to be with a sinless and pure God who doesn’t want to become corrupted by evil. Our sins have separated us from him.

        The only problem with this is that God is light and love and peace and provision, and he made it simple, but he’s not going to force you. If you don’t want to be with him that’s your choice. He shouted his plan from the rooftops to all humanity. You’ve heard his plan. Why would you reject it?

        And since you reject it–you are separated from him. So you choose darkness, hatred, war, and lack. All you had to do was say thank you and receive the covering that he suffered and shed his blood to purchase for you.

        I look at the suffering savior on the Cross and I see love. Somehow you look at the same sight and see tyranny. I don’t get it.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 12, 2014, 5:07 pm
      • Diana, out of interest, did you ever read my article, A Jewish Obligation? If not i’d like your opinion on it, when you have the time, of course.

        http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/a-jewish-obligation/

        Posted by john zande | January 11, 2014, 9:04 pm
      • I really don’t have a lot of respect for the proponents of higher/historical criticism. Their views on scriptural authority contributed to the condition of the absolutely corrupted and weak church of Nazi Germany. Schleirmacher and Fuerbach, German theologians of the 19th century began the move towards mythologizing the scriptures. As a result of the loss of trust in the Word, most of the German church was unable to take a stand for any kind of truth. They embraced any ideology that came their way. They were social Darwinist racists. They were Marcionite in their theology (meaning they rejected the authority of the Old Testament). They believed in Hegelian philosophy. They were a mess!

        This was the church that was led by Hitler’s appointed leader, Ludwig Muller, and which replaced the Bible with Mein Kempf and the cross with the swastika.

        On the other hand, the church which opposed this was the Confessing Church. They took their stand on the Word of God and opposed this false religion which tried to discredit the Scriptures. Led by Martin Niemoller, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, their stand kept Hitler from having his unified Nazi church. They suffered in prison, died in camps, and were exiled, but they didn’t give up their biblical beliefs.

        I really have no respect for those who question the authority of the Bible. They have ALWAYS been on the wrong side of history. Even the archaeologists and historical critics argue among themselves about what the truth is. Since they can’t agree on any of their own theories, they don’t seem to have a corner on absolute truth. The only thing they can agree on is that the Bible isn’t true.

        As the disrespect for the authority of the Scriptures grows, I wonder what kind of political or religious madness is going to be seen in the future. I really have a great concern about what kind of world will be created.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 12, 2014, 7:01 pm
      • Biblical criticism wasn’t limited to Germany. Two Frenchmen, Charles François Dupuis and Constantin-François Chassebœuf, really kickstarted the movement toward scriptural rationality in the 1700’s. The fact that there were many Germans who led the early archaeology is merely a reflection that they were the most scientifically advanced country of the day, and had a large diaspora. Do remember, it was Spinoza who got the whole ball rolling even before the Enlightenment.

        We can only hope the world that will be created is one rooted firmly on the goals of the Enlightenment and the idea that the planets problems can only be solved through rational dialogue and Humanistic ideals, not oogity-boogity and the religious principle of Woo. But I guess you and I will always disagree on this point.

        Posted by john zande | January 13, 2014, 3:14 am
      • Look up scientific racism and see what rational dialogue and humanistic ideals, your description of the goals of the Enlightenment, does when it isn’t tethered to a source of truth.

        During this entire period there was one group of people who led the charge against this foolishness. Evangelical Christians, standing on the Word of God, opposed it. I need to write about the glorious and lost history of the heroic attempt by Christians to battle against racism, especially in the 19th century, as they saw how scientific racism, based on polygenism, was in opposition to the scriptures.

        You can look up William Wilberforce and the Ethnological Society of London whose motto was “ab uno sanguire” (from one blood) for more information on the Christian battle against racism.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 13, 2014, 7:38 am
      • “During this entire period there was one group of people who led the charge against this foolishness. Evangelical Christians”

        Really. So a secular country like Australia fighting both the Japanese AND the Germans for THREE YEARS before the USA even rolled out of bed is what, exactly?

        Honestly, Diana, your view of history is strikingly odd.

        Posted by john zande | January 13, 2014, 7:44 am
      • I was talking about scientific racism, not Nazism. Although Nazis embraced scientific racism along with Enlightenment rationalists such as Jefferson, Kant, and Voltaire. Nazis believed they were on the cutting edge of the latest science, just like Enlightenment thinkers who based their religious beliefs on Newtonian physics.

        Science isn’t truth. Jesus and his Gospel is the Truth.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 13, 2014, 9:40 am
      • I think I asked you before, but as far as I remember you’ve never answered. You say Jesus is “truth,” which is fine, but could you explain how Jesus didn’t know Moses was a fictional character?

        Posted by john zande | January 13, 2014, 10:57 am
      • How do you know Moses was a myth? Where’s your proof that he never lived?

        I guess we’re at an impasse. I say he was a real person. You say he was a fictional character. Neither of us really has any proof for our position.

        Oh wait . . . I have the written testimony of an entire nation of people who witnessed it.

        What is your proof?

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 13, 2014, 6:16 pm
      • What “written testimony of an entire nation of people who witnessed it”?

        Are you referring to the Pentateuch, the geopolitical tale written in the 7th and 6th Century BCE to justify a northern land grab?

        Care to tell me who the “witnesses” were?

        Perhaps you should tell the editors of the enormously respected Encyclopaedia Judaica which concludes that the entire Exodus narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.” My goodness, Diana, you must tell these scholars that they’re mistaken!

        Again: please present a SINGLE non-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi and reputable archaeologist who will say, in writing, “Moses was a real historical character.”

        That’s a rather simple challenge, isn’t it? Surely, if there’s any truth in your claim then it must an EASY task to find ONE rabbi and archaeologist, right?

        I’ll be waiting….

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 4:24 am
      • Your analysis of the Encyclopedia Judaica’s attitude toward Moses and the Exodus isn’t quite spot on. Forgive this longer quote, but I think it’s necessary to present the concerns on the historicity of the Pentateuch in a way that is faithful to the Jewish mindset. The entry entitled “Historicity” has a subcategory on the Exodus which explains the dilemma created by the lack of archaeological evidence:

        “The story of the Exodus, God’s physical salvation of the Israelites from slavery, is the foundational event for Israelite nationhood and for Jewish history. Yet recent scholarship casts doubt on the historicity of this central event. Because the events were recorded so long after they occurred, and because we lack direct archaeological and extra-biblical textual evidence that the Exodus happened in the way the Torah describes it, many mainstream scholars would deny that an Exodus occurred at all. The lack of Egyptian records for any of the events described in the biblical story is compounded by the absence of any archaeological evidence for a mass movement of people out of Egypt to Canaan, who spent 40 years in the Sinai wilderness along the way. There is, however, a great deal of circumstantial evidence from Egyptian textual and archaeological sources in support of parts of the biblical narrative. The Bible itself also yields historical memories and other clues to the veracity of the basic Exodus story.”

        The writer of the entry (Louis Isaac Rabinowitz) then goes on to describe the other forms of evidence supporting the Exodus story. Again, why would their be any archaeological evidence left behind by a nomadic people? And why would the proud Egyptian Pharaohs want to leave an historical record of their defeat by the Israelites?

        Yet the Jewish festivals created to commemorate the deliverance from Egypt had to have a source somewhere. These were detailed instructions which families didn’t rebel against. They were precious. Something to be treasured and handed down even when under intense pressure to conform to the cultures of the surrounding nations.

        Wellhausen and the historical critics created intense pressure to discount the Pentateuch, yet, as Rabinowitz explains: “For criticism, even at its best, is speculative and tentative, something always liable to be modified or proved wrong and having to be replaced by something else. It is an intellectual exercise, subject to all the doubts and guesses which are inseparable from such exercises.”

        The Encyclopedia Judaica admits to some of the criticism of the historicists, but it hasn’t completely bowed to their so-called intellectual superiority. (They even recognize the anti-semitic tendencies of the historical-critical movement.) To paint a picture otherwise isn’t being faithful to the actual views of the editors of the Encyclopedia Judaica. Rabinowitz explains how the historical critical school of thought has recently taken hold of large swaths of Judaism:

        “Critical scholarship originated among European Protestant scholars and was perceived to be threatening to Jewish traditional beliefs and even, in some cases, to be antisemitic. Wellhausen’s scholarship did indeed have an antisemitic (and anti-Catholic) component. Wellhausen openly expressed his hostility to the legal (i.e., Jewish) and priestly (i.e., Catholic) portions of the Torah. In his introduction he stated that when he learned of Graf ‘s hypothesis that the law was a late addition to the original spiritual religion of the prophets, he was ready to accept it “almost before I heard his reasons.” But, despite this original opposition to the new scholarship regarding the authors of the Torah, Jewish scholars came to accept and even champion this research. This was due both to the weight of the evidence for the hypothesis and the improving relations between Jewish and Christian scholars in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Notable in this respect were (1) the development of biblical studies in Israeli universities, starting especially with Yehezkel Kaufmann in Jerusalem, and (2) the rise of a generation of American Jewish biblical scholars who were trained by Christian scholars at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Yale universities. The new scholarship came to be taught at the non-orthodox rabbinical schools as well and appears in the commentaries used in Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist synagogues. Even a small number of Orthodox scholars have acknowledged it or come to terms with some portion of it in ways that they judge to be reconcilable with tradition.”

        Personally, I think it’s sad that so many Jewish scholars have bowed to worldly influences and lost trust in their scriptures. The critics’ arguments are shifting sands of confusion, but Jesus said “thy Word is truth.” I trust Jesus.

        *On another note, casting doubt on the dependability and witness of the law removes some of the evidence for the proof that Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets, but just the existence of the unity between the Old and New Testaments contributes to my belief that the Pentateuch is true. The belief that this unity of the scriptures could have been accomplished by so many authors over so many centuries is beyond explanation if it wasn’t designed in a supernatural way. The message of the Lamb of God as our offering for sins is the recurring theme of the Bible . . . and the Old Testament writers could not have known how this would be carried out in Christ. So amazing.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 6:54 am
      • You see Diana, all you are left with is excuses. No evidence, nothing positive to point to, just excuses why there ISN’T any evidence. At least Jewish scholars and Rabbis are truthful… something i can’t say about evangelical Christians. You are so far behind the intellectual integrity of the Jews its really not funny. In fact, its delusional to the point of being very worrisome.

        Two million people encamped in the desert for 40 years would leave some evidence…. unless, of course, Yhwh deputised someone to clean it all up 🙂 Two million people suddenly arriving in tiny Canaan would leave evidence. Two million people who’d spent 400 years in another culture would literally swamp Canaan which, as per published population data, had but a population of 50,000 in the 10th Century… 300 years AFTER the alleged influx of freed slaves.

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 7:19 am
      • … and Diana, why haven’t you produced a single rabbi or reputable archaeologist who’ll say, in writing, what you say is “true”?

        You sounded so confident of your position that Moses was real, so surely you can find someone to back you up….

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 7:25 am
      • This is a problem because what you and I consider reputable are two different things.

        I used YOUR source, the Encyclopedia Judaica, to show you that even the Jews, that you say have given themselves over and rejected the truthfulness of the Bible, are not as far gone as you state, and have given this challenge from the historical critics a considerable amount of thought.

        Just as you discount Jesus, you discount Moses. The position you are put into again, just as with the gospels, is to discover the writer of the Pentateuch. If it wasn’t Moses, who was it? And where is your proof for it?

        You don’t have any evidence for who the actual writer(s) is/are. You only have speculation.
        Just like me. I just choose to take things at face value, while you try to contrive an ancient conspiracy.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 10:30 am
      • You didn’t present anything from the Encyclopedia Judaica except one writers estimations of guesses of why there is NO evidence. I would be shocked if the editors didn’t include these notes.

        I’m not contriving anything. In case you’ve missed it, i’m going by what the world’s leading experts in the field say. I’m then assessing the strength of that case against how Jewish Rabbis have responded to the information. Do remember, Rabbis have more invested in this narrative than you will ever have. It is their lives, meaning their concession that its all myth carries an ENORMOUS amount of weight. And remember, we’re not just talking about a “few” Rabbis here: we’re talking the vast majority of Rabbis, and now even Orthodox Rabbis admitting its all a farce.

        Now, I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve already asked you, but how do you explain Jesus not knowing Moses was a fictional character?

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 11:03 am
      • You mean how do I explain that the mysterious author of the gospels didn’t know that Moses was a myth? (Since Jesus was a mythological figure.) How could he when the society he lived in accepted Moses as an historical figure? I’m not sure I get your point.

        The position of the Jews isn’t that it’s “all a farce!” There may be no archaeological evidence in the Sinai, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I agree with their position.

        By the way, what kind of evidence do you think there would be in the wilderness? Specifically. Can you name a couple of things that should be there–and where archaeologists should start digging for them?

        And who do you think wrote the Pentateuch? And where is your evidence for your position? I don’t mean speculation, but hard evidence proving they did it.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 11:18 am
      • It’s not just the Sinai. It’s the total absence of evidence in Egypt; where EVERYTHING was noted down. What about the cities the enslaved Israelites were supposed to have built? It’s the total absence of evidence of any great arrival in Canaan. Still, what evidence should there be? Simple: the evidence of 2 million people living in massive encampments at sites like the oasis, Cades Barnea (Kadesh-Barnea) where these 2 million people spent many, many, many years. It would be evidence at any of the stations the 2 million people were said to have stopped at…. Yet no evidence at all is anywhere to be found; not in Egypt, not in the Sinai, not in Canaan. It’s a lovely story, a foundation myth, a poetic exercise of primitive nationhood, but little more.

        Let us assume Jesus was a real person. How did he not know Moses was areal person? He clearly says in John “Moses wrote about me.” Surely there’s an explanation for this blunder?

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 12:18 pm
      • So . . . would their tents exist after thousands of years? Their carts? Their clothing, shoes, bread, campfires? What would exist? What would they have left behind that would have lasted thousands of years as evidence if they didn’t build anything that would last. Even the structure used for worship, the Tabernacle, was a tent.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 2:26 pm
      • Great, then I’m sure you can find a reputable archaeologist (or Jewish Rabbi/scholar) to back up your claim…

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 2:35 pm
      • Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (born 1932) is Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, England. He is one of the leading experts on the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period, having written over 250 books and journal articles on this and other subjects since the mid-1950s. He has been described by The Times as “the very architect of Egyptian chronology”.[1]

        “Kitchen is a scholar who advocates a high view of the Old Testament and its inherent historicity.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Kitchen

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 4:23 pm
      • Oh dear, not Kitchen. Seems he’s the only archaeologist evangelicals can go to.

        I’m afraid to say, Kitchen is an evangelical Christian, an Egyptologist, and has never led any digs, not even in Egypt. Sure he makes “claims,” he re-interprets texts to fit his jaundice view. You’re not the first person to toss his name out so I’m certainly aware of him.

        Got anyone else? Someone reputable who’s actually done work in the Sinai and in Israel?

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 4:38 pm
      • James Hoffmeier from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School?

        Mmmmmm……. Are you serious?

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 4:52 pm
      • See what I mean about us not agreeing on what “reputable” means.

        Truth is truth. Show me one of your guys and let me see what his/her credentials are.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 5:32 pm
      • With the two names you tossed out you might as well be quoting Ron Wyatt. Please tell me you’re not about to quote Ron Wyatt…

        William Dever, Herzog, Rafi Greenberg…. Literally, I can run off a list of every Israeli archaeologist from both Tel Aviv Uni and The Hebrew Uni in Jerusalem. What about Professor Carol Meyers of Duke, University. “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary. “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,”noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen. “The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University.

        Seriously, I could just list name after name from University departments from one side of the planet to the next…

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 5:49 pm
      • This article states all of your quotes, but then disputes them:

        http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/september7/8ta044.html?paging=off#related

        Why don’t you look at the arguments and counter them for me? I mean, I’m interested in understanding truth, so then, why are these archaeologists and their findings just dismissed out of hand?

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 6:55 pm
      • Yes, i know the article. Miller himself concedes: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.” Quite the admission, wouldn’t you say? He goes on to “dispute” the hard, cold facts by making (yet again) shallow, uninformed EXCUSES as to why there isn’t any evidence.

        They’re dismissed because they are disingenuous, and that’s putting it mildly. For instance, simply changing the alleged date of the Exodus (contradicting the biblical chronology) because they want one thing to fit; say the last destruction of Jericho. As I pointed out, this just raises an entire host of other problems. You see, these people aren’t serious, and that is why they are not taken seriously. They are evangelical apologists. They ignore all the other evidence which has led honest, objective archaeologists like Dever (a Maximalist) to say there is no debate: the Exodus NEVER HAPPENED. This is not new, Diana. These facts have been known for over two generations… Popular culture just hasn’t caught up yet, but it will.

        Tell me, Diana, doesn’t it worry you in the slightest that the only “archaeologists” you could find who try to defend the Exodus just happen to be Christian evangelical apologists who’ve never actually led any digs in Israel? Doesn’t it register in your brain the oddity that these two people stand against the OVERWHELMING majority of both minimalist and maximalist archaeologists from across the planet who ALL say a completely different thing?

        Again, you either believe there is a grand conspiracy going on, or you’re simply choosing to be willfully ignorant and deluding yourself. Which one is it, Diana?

        Posted by john zande | January 15, 2014, 4:24 am
      • I will be away doing a lot of personal business for the next couple of days, so please don’t think I have lost interest or that I have run away from the challenge.

        I also am honored to be able to care for my little one- year-old granddaughter, Charlotte, for a couple of days.<3

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 7:31 pm
      • OK, have fun and take care.

        Posted by john zande | January 15, 2014, 4:27 am
      • Diana, remember, the Israelites were supposedly forced to build Per‐Ramesses, and the first Egyptian King with that name was in the 13th century. Moving the date of Exodus around, as these evangelicals do without any concern for the actual biblical chronology, doesn’t solve the problems of the narratives validity, and creates even larger ones, like the supposed warning not to travel up the coast for fear of crossing the Philistines…. Who didn’t even arrive on the Levant until between 1125 and 1150 BCE.

        William Dever, whom I’m sure you’re aware of, has labeled the question of the historicity of Exodus “dead.” (FROM RATIONALWIKI] “The archaeological evidence of local Canaan, rather than Egyptian, origins of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel is “overwhelming,” and leaves “no room for an Exodus from Egypt or a 40‐year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness.” (Dever, William G. (2002). What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?)

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 5:37 pm
      • “Some archaeological traces of their generation-long wandering in the Sinai should be apparent. However, except for the Egyptian forts along the northern coast, not a single campsite or sign of occupation from the time of Ramesses II and his immediate predecessors has ever been identified in Sinai.” (p. 62. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed, Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. New York. The Free Press. 2001. ISBN 0-684-86912-8)

        Kitchen :

        “As for no clues in Sinai, it is silly to expect to find traces of everybody who ever passed through the various routes in that peninsula. The state of preservation of remains is very uneven. For the Late Bronze Age, Finkelstein and Silbermann have overlooked the Egyptian mining site at Serabit el-Khadim. The seasonal miners must have had interim stopping places between Serabit and Egypt, if they traveled overland back to the East Delta (on a reverse route to the Hebrews in Exodus 16-19), or at port sites like Markha if they sailed back to Egypt. Why, then, have we no record of these ? This absence does not disprove the Egyptian regular visitations into Sinai, given their solid monumental presence -therefore, the absence of possible Hebrew campsites is likewise meaningless.” (p. 467. K.A. Kitchen. On the Reliablilty of the Old Testament. 2003)

        I find Kitchen’s argument regarding “missing” campsites compelling and convincing. I am reminded here of _the failure_ by archaeology to document “any camp sites” of Ramesses II’s 20,000 troops which crossed the Sinai to Gaza and on to Kadesh on the Orontes. The Assyrians under Sennacherib (ca. 704 BCE) devastated Judah. His palace walls in Nineveh show in bas-reliefs the destruction of Lachish, and the evidence is everywhere in the Tells of Iron II Judah of the damage he wrought, but _not one camp site_ has ever been found within Judah or in the wilderness between Nineveh and Judah. Still later, Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) marched Assyrian armies consisting of thousands of soldiers across the Sinai to subdue and conquer Egypt, yet not one Assyrian campsite has been documented in the Sinai. Nebuchadrezzar and his Babylonians destroyed Philista and Judah in the 6th century BCE and the fire-blackened Tells of these areas bear witness to this event, yet NOT a single Babylonian camp site for his army has ever been documented between Babylon and Jerusalem or in Judah. Some scholars understand Nebuchadrezzar also marched a Babylonian army across the Sinai to attack Egypt. He was repulsed, but to date not one campsite of this army has been found in the Sinai. Napoleon Bonaparte (ca. 1798) marched his soldiers across the northern Sinai from Egypt to invade Palestine and then back again to Egypt, yet no camps of his have ever been found either.

        If historians can “allow” that thousands of warriors in Ramesside, Assyrian, Babylonian and French armies crossed various portions of the Ancient Near Eastern world including the Sinai, leaving NO archaeological evidence of their camp sites, then it is “inappropriate” to insist that the Israelites’ camps sites must FIRST be documented between Egypt and Canaan BEFORE the biblical account can be regarded as credible.

        Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

        (I don’t know who this person is, but his argument stands.)

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 7:22 pm
      • Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld… A degree in Education.

        Please, Diana, let’s try and keep this real, shall we?

        Posted by john zande | January 15, 2014, 4:26 am
      • This is one of his articles where Kenneth Kitchen outlines his position on the historicity of the Old Testament:

        http://www.free-online.org/free-thinking/lifes-big-questions/bible/is-the-old-testament-historically-reliable.htm

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 4:30 pm
      • You’re going to have to do better than an evangelical Christian who’s never done any field work and no one listens to.

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 4:41 pm
      • Assuming Jesus was a real person, then if Moses wasn’t real that would make Jesus a liar. This is a whole new discussion.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 14, 2014, 2:28 pm
      • I wouldn’t say a “liar” per say, not if he simply didn’t know. Not his fault, after all. What it does do is ruin any claim of divinity.

        Posted by john zande | January 14, 2014, 2:32 pm
      • The French Revolution of the 18th century was a rebellion against religious authority, and I think it was a failure as far as an actual solution to the condition of mankind–since the French Revolution culminated in the Terror of the guillotine. Criticizing the Bible didn’t work very well for them there. (Although I can understand their desire to rebel against the “ancien regime” of abusive princes and popes.)

        In the 19th century the historical-critical movement didn’t take root in France as quickly because of the Catholic stronghold on doctrine. It was also difficult to take hold in a country like England whose Protestants fought it off with vigor.

        It was at the Tubingen School in Germany that the attempt to synthesize religion and science really took hold. Fuerbach and Strauss, early historical critics, were also instrumental in Karl Marx’s loss of faith. The combined damage done to the world in the 20th century by embracing historical criticism was in the millions of lives. (Between Nazism and Communism.)

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 13, 2014, 9:33 pm
    • I have to ask, can you name a single thing to have come from the Reformation that lifted humanity and enhanced the human condition?

      Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 2:21 pm
      • Oh my goodness. There are countless contributions to humanity that have come from the Reformation!

        The expansion of education. The explosion of science. A new respect for family life. The development of the work ethic. The loss of papal power. Political and religious freedom. Contributions to music and art. Religious toleration. And on and on . . .

        The entrance of God’s Word brings forth light! (Psalm 119:30)

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 3:40 pm
      • Science? I think you’re getting the Reformation and the Enlightenment confused 😉

        Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 4:14 pm
      • The Scientific Revolution (1550-1700), which was birthed out of the Reformation, gave birth to the Enlightenment. Newton’s work, done in the 1600’s (in particular his belief in a First Cause), was the foundation for deism, which was the belief of many enlightenment thinkers. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) also promoted the scientific method (empiricism). Both Newton and Bacon were Christians. The Enlightenment period came after, and as a result of, the Scientific Revolution.

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 6:05 pm
      • Who cares if they were Christians or not! It would make as much difference if they were vegetarians. Religion had NOTHING to do with their scientific work. Newton was also heavily into alchemy.

        Please don’t try and rewrite history.

        Posted by john zande | January 2, 2014, 3:01 am
      • I’m sorry, John, but you are rewriting history. Newton’s faith had everything to do with his science. His faith motivated him to learn. He says he wrote his “Principia Mathematica” in order to convince skeptics that there was a God!

        “When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beliefe of a Deity and nothing can rejoyce me more then to find it usefull for that purpose.”

        Isaac Newton wanted to find the mind of God in His “creation.” Newton was a creationist who wanted to understand how “the heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalm 19:1)

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 2, 2014, 11:51 am
  4. Regarding slavery, again, the church was divided. You are right in saying the South used the Bible to justify slavery, but the northern abolitionists used the Bible to OPPOSE slavery. The abolitionists were nearly all Christians. They continually pounded on the subject of slavery until they won the hearts and minds of the people, especially after the Second Great Awakening and the preaching of Charles Finney, who encouraged and supported the work of the great Christian abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

    The secularists/enlightened leaders believed in “scientific racism.” This would include Voltaire, Jefferson, Kant, etc . . They believed in polygenism, that Adam and Eve weren’t the only parents of the human race, but that there were many parents. The Christian abolitionists argued for monogenism, that is, that all humanity came from “one blood.” (Acts 17:26) This, they claimed, made all men equal. Enlightened secularist leaders didn’t fight against slavery. (Except Thomas Paine, who used the Bible to support his position.)

    William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect (a group of evangelical Christians who worked to overthrow slavery in the British Empire and whose motto was “uno sanguire” [one blood]) finally were successful at convincing the parliament to abolish slavery. It wasn’t secularists who did this.

    Again, the church was at war with itself. But as Lincoln stated, only one religious position can be right.

    “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time.”
    Meditation on the Divine Will ca. September 2, 1862 (CWAL V:403)

    Truly, the Southern slaveholder misinterpreted the heart of the God who “set the people free from the bondage of Egypt” and whose Son declared, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”

    Your quote about Lincoln has no real and reputable source, and while the following quote’s source can be questioned, it has more authority:

    “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”
    Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible on September 7, 1864 (CWAL VII:542)

    The northern army was far from secular. They regarded themselves as doing the will of God. See “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as an example of their fervor.

    And here is a list of religious quotes by Abraham Lincoln:

    http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/faithquotes.htm

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 2:19 pm
    • The Middle Eastern deity you idolize supports slavery (Lev.25:44-6, Exod.21:2-8, Eph.6:5, Col.3:22) and even gives specific instruction on how to deal with slaves (Exod.21:7-8, Luke.12:42-8, Exod.21:20-1, Deut.15:17).

      Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 2:23 pm
      • To respond to this charge, a whole slew of abolitionists was brought forth to argue each point. George Cheever explained this in depth in his essay “God Against Slavery” which can be found here:

        http://medicolegal.tripod.com/cheevergvs.htm

        Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 3:11 pm
      • I don’t care about “interpretations” rather what is plainly written in black and white. The Middle Eastern god you worship loves, condones and encourages slavery. (I don’t see any of the “commandments” reading: thou shall hold all human beings with equal standing in the Law)

        Posted by john zande | January 1, 2014, 4:21 pm
  5. Science? I think you’re getting the Reformation and the Enlightenment confused 😉

    No, John. I think you are. 🙂

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 1, 2014, 5:45 pm
  6. Diana,

    Great post. I think you did a wonderful job of framing how silly the atheists claims of the non existence of Jesus Christ really are. I also enjoyed your exchange with John Zande. John and I have had some back and forth on other blog sites.

    Posted by Marc | January 13, 2014, 8:29 am

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  1. Pingback: Did Jesus Exist? A Response to www.jesusneverexisted.com | The Narrow Way - January 31, 2014

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Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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