Christianism

Fabricating Jesus — An Interview with Former Minister David Chumney

 


How the gospel stories in the New Testament came to be.

David Chumney spent almost three decades as an ordained Presbyterian minister before quietly exiting the ministry and Christianity itself. He now describes himself as agnostic, but his exodus from the Church didn’t end his fascination with New Testament studies or his quest to separate history from mythology in the biblical record. He tackles the fraught topic in his new book, Jesus Eclipsed.

Recently I interviewed David Fitzgerald, author of the three-volume series, Jesus: Mything in Action. Fitzgerald takes a position held by very few biblical scholars—that the Bible’s stories about Jesus lack any historical kernel, however small. Chumney disagrees, but acknowledges that Fitzgerald may be closer to the truth than most Christians would like to think:

If someone were to ask me, “Is there credible historical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed?” I would say, “Yes, but precious little.” If someone were to ask me, “Is some of what the gospels preserve about Jesus a product of pious imagination and religious devotion?” I would say, “Yes, nearly all of it.” In other words, I am convinced that Jesus of Nazareth really did exist, but I am equally convinced that the Gospels comprise, as Randel Helms has said, “largely fictional accounts concerning an historical figure.”

The “precious little” that Chumney finds historically persuasive includes a handful of passing references to James, the brother of Jesus, and a crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. Other references provide ample evidence about emerging Christian beliefs, he says, but no direct evidence of the man shrouded in the mists of historiography and mythology.

What about the rest of what people think they know about Jesus? What about his lineage and birth in Bethlehem, the incident when he clears money changers from the temple, his reputation as a healer, or his baptism? What about that final week when he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, is arrested, put on trial, and led to his execution? Elements of the passion story have decorated church walls for over a millennium as the Stations of the Cross. If these gospel stories about Jesus aren’t gospel truth, what are they? Why do they exist, and where do they come from?

Chumney makes a persuasive argument that many of the stories in the Gospels are adapted from earlier biblical texts (i.e., what Christians call the Old Testament). Early Christians, having concluded that Jesus was the prophesied Christ, sought to construct what must be the details of his birth, life, and death from the content—and even words—of the Jewish Scriptures.

Victims Of The Christians: How many people have been killed by Christians since Biblical times?

 

From Church and State

Listed are only events that solely occurred on command or participation of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. (List incomplete)

Ancient Pagans

  • As soon as Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire by imperial edict (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
  • Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
  • Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
  • Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as “temple destroyer.”
  • Pagan services became punishable by death in 356.
  • Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues.
    According to Christian chroniclers he “followed meticulously all Christian teachings…”
  • In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
  • In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities.
  • The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
(Source: Bad News About Christianity)
(Source: Bad News About Christianity)

Mission

  • Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded.
  • Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany.
  • 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Number of victims unknown.
  • 16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops “pacified and civilized” Ireland, where only Gaelic “wild Irish”, “unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing.” One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that “the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies… and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie”, which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused “greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde”.
    Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage.

Childhood Trauma and the Origins of Religious Myth…

 

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From richarddawkins.net

In this article, I present evidence that an intimate and largely unrecognized connection exists between childhood trauma and religion. In particular, it appears that many of the world religions have been deeply shaped by historically widespread practices of childhood corporal punishment, abandonment, and neglect. These influences have long been hiding in plain sight: close to the surface yet culturally invisible. It is only recently that our understanding of the needs of children, the mechanisms of trauma, and the history of childhood has advanced to the point where the role of childhood trauma in forming religious myths could be clearly described.

Among the religions we will consider are the major monotheistic faiths—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism—and those Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, that are based on teachings about karma and reincarnation. The influence of childhood trauma on these religions appears to have taken two main forms. First, the traumas shaped the religious myths during their formative periods, so that themes of child abuse, abandonment, and neglect were built into the core narratives and salvation teachings of the religions. Second, the traumas contributed to the cultural spread and persistence of the religions by helping make them emotionally resonant and cognitively believable. Although many factors affected the development and longevity of these religions, I believe that the influence of childhood trauma has been especially profound, often providing the central organizing principle of the religious myths, and functioning as a key driver of their cultural dissemination.

This article is substantial and much longer than a typical web post. But the topic is important and one cannot do justice to it in an abbreviated or superficial presentation. The best way to proceed is systematically—developing key concepts as we go. Accordingly, to lay a foundation for our discussion of current world religions, we begin by considering several ancient Greek and Roman myths.

SHARONDA RASHANDA. (Speaking in Tongues: A Primer.)

 

From Captain Cassidy
Roll To Disbelieve

What is Speaking in Tongues According to Those Who Practice It?

“Speaking in tongues” is a phrase that means “babbling in a language that the speaker doesn’t officially know while praying.” Generally this babble is the symptom of a huge outburst of emotional euphoria–like a Christian might experience during conversion or baptism. And this babble is believed by many Christians to be either an existing current language or a dead one, but either way a real language that was once spoken or is now spoken by people in the real world and which could be understood by someone fluent in that language who overheard the prayer.

Speaking in tongues is a custom among many very conservative Protestant Christian churches, though one finds it among some Catholics as well (my very Catholic grandmother succinctly described Charismatic Catholics as “not like us” when I asked about it when I was 8). The people doing it are often described as “charismatic.” This practice goes along with other customs like “laying on of hands” for magic healing, a belief in an inerrant and literally true Bible, and divinely-mandated sexism. Charismatic Christians comprise about a quarter of Christians around the world, so it’s strange that the custom isn’t seen by outsiders more often than it is.

When Christians speak in tongues, they think that it’s the spirit of their god “infilling” them and inspiring them to babble that way. “God’s spirit” makes a Christian speak in tongues in the same way that boiling water makes a teakettle whistle, as people said repeatedly back in my day. We considered it all but a required sign of salvation; if any folks “got saved,” they’d speak in tongues the second our god’s spirit descended upon them and filled them with its presence–a miracle we called “Baptism in the Spirit.” We were deeply suspicious of people who “got saved” who didn’t speak in tongues, too. We weren’t sure it’d taken quite right. To be properly “saved,” one had to be baptized in both the Spirit and in the flesh by immersion, and one would show that the salvation was still valid by speaking in tongues fairly regularly.

Fundamentalism is the Tragedy of all Religions…

 

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From Dave Smith
Ukiah Blog
Redwood Valley

Christianism (Christian Fundamentalism), like Islamism, sexism and racism, denotes a bigoted and culturally agressive mindset, in this case the assumption that everyone is or should be Christian — and that being Christian is superior to being an adherent of other faithways. In its governmentally intrusive form, Christianism is the basis of Christian Dominionism.

Islamism (Islamic Fundamentalism), also known as Political Islam, is an Islamic revival movement often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt “to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life.” It utilizes certain Muslim “doctrines, beliefs and values as the foundation of a political structure that supporters of that ideology have called ‘the Islamic State’.”. Islamists can have varying interpretations on various Quranic suras and ayahs. Islamist views emphasize the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the selective removal of non-Muslim, particularly Western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world that they believe to be incompatible with Islam.

Jewish Fundamentalism: Militant religious Zionism, and both Ashkenazi and Sephardic versions of Haredi Judaism.

Deny, Denigrate, and Resist.
~~

House Republicans Have Proposed a Meaningless Resolution to “Protect” Christmas…

 

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From Hermant Mehta

Don’t you dare say Republicans belong to the party of “no” when they’re getting things done!

In fact, House Resolution 564, which was just introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), is designed to save Christmas from… um… you know… those people.

RESOLUTION
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas.
Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and
Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment of the Constitution, in prohibiting the establishment of religion, would not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.

It’s true that these Resolutions are usually symbolic, but this one makes no sense even as an empty gesture.

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

 

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From AR

The question is a damn good one. It is one which many religious believers have asked themselves. If you are here now because you have been asking it and are seeking answers, you are in good company.

Growing up as a Christian, I asked myself this question many times over the span of several years. I gradually worked through many possible answers, some of which seemed to help briefly. Unfortunately, it would eventually become clear that most were not productive. While there are no easy answers, it seems like there are at least a few possibilities those asking this question might want consider. In this brief post, I’ll invite you to consider six possible explanations for why your prayers are going unanswered.

Reclusive Deity Hasn’t Written A New Book In 2,000 Years…

 

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From The Onion

Leading writers, scholars, and publishers gathered this week at Fordham University for a literary conference and panel discussion on God, the widely praised but reclusive deity who has not published a book since His landmark debut 2,000 years ago.

Hailed by critics as one of the most important authors in recent millennia, the eccentric divinity is said to have long ago retreated from the public eye, eschewing a life of celebrity for one of solitude and quiet. To this day, experts confirmed, His artistic reputation rests exclusively upon His bestselling and highly acclaimed first work, the Bible.

“God has granted no interviews, made no public appearances, and kept entirely to Himself for what seems like ages, and yet it’s fair to say that no other author has been quite so influential,” said noted critic and conference attendee James Wood, observing that while the fiercely private immortal being has only one book to His credit, He remains among the world’s most respected and quoted writers. “For many readers, God’s writing had a transformative impact on their lives, and countless people list His book among their favorite titles. But for reasons that we can only speculate about, God has chosen to stay out of the limelight and let His words speak for themselves. Perhaps it is God’s retreat into His own world that allowed Him to render His vision so vividly on the page.”

“It’s also possible that, with the first book, He simply said everything He had to say,” Wood continued. “Though one would think a writer of such impressive knowledge and power would never lack for inspiration.”