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Tag Archive | "Biblical polemics"

What's new with the "New Atheists?"

The “New Atheism”…wow…what’s that?

According to Wikipedia, the New Atheism refers to a 21st century movement in atheism. The term, which first appeared in the November 2006 edition of Wired magazine. It is sometimes pejoratively meant, to a series of six best-selling books by five authors that appeared in the period 2004–2008 (Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger and Christopher Hitchens)

They and other supporters of the New Atheism movement are hard-line critics of religion. They state that atheism, backed by recent scientific advancement, has reached the point where it is time to take a far less accommodating attitude toward religion, superstition, and religion-based fanaticism than had been extended by moderate atheists, secularists, and some secular scientists.

According to CNN, “What the New Atheists share is a belief that religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”

Christian apologist Robert Morey wrote on his book “The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom” said, “The atheists of the old school took a rather relaxed, passive attitude toward God and the Bible. They felt that if people were foolish enough to believe in religion, that was their problem. These atheists did not feel the need to read through the Bible, desperately seeking contradictions or errors. They did not sit up night after night feverishly trying to formulate attacks against religion. They simply ignored religion. Thus modern atheists deny God’s existence because they actually hate God. They hate Him because this God demands they serve Him and fulfill the destiny He has decreed for them. This God gives man a revealed law which dictates what is right and wrong. God thus robs man of the freedom of being and choosing whatever he wants. God is viewed as the enemy that must be destroyed in order for man to reach his full potential. Instead of God being the measure of all things, man must be the measure of all things.”

So…what’s new then?

For centuries atheists, materialists and libertines have been critical with every religious claims and have been exposing errors and other ridiculous avers of certain religious doctrines.

In ancient Greece for example, the poet Diagoras of Melos broke a statue of Hercules and used it as firewood to cook turnips. The Carvaka in the 6th century BCE and Purana Kassapa attacked the Hindu doctrine of Karma. There were also Xun Zi (298-238 BCE) who questioned the uses of prayers and divinations.

Before Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins and Dennett, there were those who have already criticized the Christian religion and its holy book, the Bible.

In 200 CE the pagan philosopher, Celsus challenged the belief on Neoplatonic Christianity. In his treaties “The True World”, Celsus pointed out that Christianity took most of its concepts from pagan sources and plagiarized some of its stories from early Greek ideas. Christianity, according to him was a collection of borrowed and intellectual bankrupt ideas.

In the early part of 11th century, Ibn Najjah hinted the possibility of atheism and Ibn Tufayl showed awareness in evolution.

It was quite ironic that true atheism arguments started with two Roman Catholic priests: Cristovao Ferreira and Jean Meisler. Fr. Ferreira was a former Jesuit who after being tortured by the Japanese in 1614 recanted his faith. In 1636, Ferreira wrote a small book “The Deception Revealed” which he asserted that God did not created the universe. He also stated that religion like Christianity is just an invention of men to hold powers over their fellow men.

Jean Meisler (1664-1729), once the parish priest of Etrepiquy in the Ardennes, secretly wrote volumes of testaments against God, religion, the Bible and Christianity. These testaments were published after his death in 1729 and were titled as “Common Sense”.

According to Meisler, theology is but ignorance of natural causes reduced to a system and it is an insult to human reason. He also believed that faith is irreconcilable with reason and we must prefer reason to it.

Before the coming of the renaissance period, we already have people like Anthony Collins who questioned the prophecies of the Old Testament. Peter Ammet who argued that the resurrection story was a fabrication and Charles Blount who said that heaven, hell and the concept of original sin were just invented by priests to hold over the terror-stricken masses.

Critical examinations of biblical claims were not new. William Winston (1667-1752) and Jean Astruc started it in the early part of 16th century. Astruc established the Documentary Hypothesis that gives us the explanation why Moses did not wrote the first five books of the Bible.

There were books that show Bible errors in the early part of 17th century. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) wrote “the Age of Reason” which he analyzed the Christian belief in God and the Bible. It did not stop there. Abner Kneeland, Kelsey Graves and DeLobique Montimer Bennett wrote books that criticized Christian beliefs.

Abner Kneeland was indicted on three counts of blasphemy in 1834 for publishing that the whole story of Jesus Christ was just a fable and the Bible as a pack of lies created by hypocrites. Kelsey Graves wrote books like The Bible of Bibles, The Biography of Satan and The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors. D.M.Bennett (1818-1882) was the editor of the paper Truth Seeker. He wrote a criticism about Jesus entitled “An Open Letter to Jesus Christ”. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1877.

The American Atheists have already published a book about Bible errors before the term “New Atheism” was coined by Gary Wolf. Dennis McKinsey published the magazine Biblical Errancy in 1983 while in 1990 Farrell Till edited The Skeptical Review. Now we have more in-depth issues and scholarly works in exposing Bible errors – thanks to Mr. John W. Luftus, Dr. Hector Avalos, Shmuel Golding, Gerd Ludermann and John Allegro.

Criticism to the Bible, Christianity, Jesus and God already started somewhere in 200 CE, so…what’s new with the so-called “new atheists?”

Pinoy Atheist

Posted in Others, ReligionComments (16)

Biblical Morality?

I was intrigued by the quote that I saw in the Internet, something that was said by a certain T.B. Wakeman “The word moral does not occur in the Bible, not even the idea.”
What? How can that be?

I grew up as a Christian and believed that the Bible was the foundation of morality…well…I thought it was, but hey, we can find the Ten Commandments in its pages, right? There is also this Jesus fellow who taught me to be good. That can be counted, right?

Since the Bible was inspired by God and every Christians know that God is good they blame the decay of society and the lost of moral values as the result of the decline in Bible reading and the lack of God belief. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series and one of the founders of Moral Majority agrees and said, “…since moral conditions have become worse and worse in direct proportion to humanism’s influence, which has move our country from a biblically based society to an amoral “democratic” society. “
Ok…so let us talk about morality base in the Bible.

Since Christians all agree that God inspired the Bible, let us look at God’s morality first.

According to Christian claims, God is suppose to be a god of love (1 John 4:16; Psalms 145:15-16 and Matthew 5:9), a righteous judge (Genesis 18:25), fair (Ezekiel 18:25) and impartial (Roman 2:11).

However, reading the Bible will also give us a different personality.

1.) That this God is a jealous god.
A perfect, omnipotent being getting jealous?

  • Exodus 20:5, 34:14
  • Deuteronomy 4: 24, 5:9
  • Psalms 79:5, 78:58
  • Joshua 24: 19
  • Ezekiel 16:38, 38:19
  • Zechariah 8:2
  • Nahum 1:2

2.) He orders plunder.
Exodus 3:22Deuteronomy 20:14, and Ezekiel 39:10

3.) He deceives.
O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived….” (Jer. 20:7)

If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel” (Ezek. 14:9)

Ah, Lord God! Surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reaches unto the soul” (Jer. 4:10).

…God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

2 Chron. 18:18-22, 1 Kings 22:20-23 and Jer. 15:18.

4.) He command killing (even innocent women and children).
ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put 10,000 to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword” (Lev. 26:7-8).

the Lord said to Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said to the judges of Israel. Slay every one his men that were joined to Baal” (Num. 25:4-5).

Vex the Midianites and smite them” (Num. 25:17).

But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breathes. But thou shalt utterly destroy them…as the Lord thy God has commanded thee” (Deut. 20:16-17).

So Joshua smote all the country of the hills…he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded” (Joshua 10:40).

As I listened, god said to the others, ‘Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children….” (Ezek. 9:5-6).

So I guess Thomas Jefferson was right about God when he said, “A being of terrific character – cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.” In addition, Thomas Paine was correct when he said, “All our ideas of the justice and goodness of God revolt at the impious cruelty of the Bible. It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.”

Reflecting from Xenophanes’ quote…if an ancient culture creates a god, it will reflect their standard of morality, the same on how horses and lions will create their gods.

Now let us talk about God’s only begotten son, Jesus.

Many people, and unfortunately even some freethinkers and agnostics, think that Jesus was a great teacher. People like Thomas Paine calls Jesus as such and Robert Ingersoll who was very impress with the so-called “Sermon on the Mount”.

When I was still a Christian, I also thought that this Man-God excel not only as a teacher but also in regards to ethics. I was 12-years old at that time.

Bible believers say that Jesus’ morality is at its best in the Sermon in the Mount (AKA the Beatitudes). You can see it in Matthew 5:3-11. Well they may be admirable, but it has little value as a moral code. The Beatitudes are unrealistic. If we take away most of its supernatural rewards, what is left are a bunch of Consuelo de bobo (hollow consolations).

The reason behind this is obvious. Jesus is teaching ethics base on the promise of divine rewards and treats of supernatural punishments. He does not teach by the content of his moral code but on his conception of himself and his divinely appointed mission.

How about Jesus’ other moral precepts?

Most of his teachings we re-hashed from other teachers and some were lift from the pages of the Old Testament. The Golden Rule for example was advocated by Confucius (Doctrine of Mean 13) 500 years before Jesus and you can also find it in the Seven Rules of Hillel.

What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor that is the whole Torah … (b.Shabbat 31a)

Isocrates (436–338 BCE), the ancient Greek rhetorician have also said,”Do not do to others what would anger you if gone to you by others.”

Matthew 5:39 can also be found in Leviticus 19:18 and in the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

I am good to people who are good.
I am also good to people who are not good.
Because Virtue is goodness.
I have faith in people who are faithful.
I also have faith in people who are not faithful.
Because Virtue is faithfulness
(Tao Te Ching 49)

In addition, the same teaching is seen in Confucianism, the Buddhist’s Dhammapada and at the Indian Ramayana.

Someone said, “What do you say concerning the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness?” The Master said, “With what will you then recompense kindness? Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.” (Confucianism. Analects 14.36)

Conquer the angry one by not getting angry (i.e., by loving-kindness); conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth. (Dhammapada 223)

A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them–for who is without fault? (Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda 115)

Christian apologist Norman Giesler insisted that Jesus ethics is an ethics of love, but American author Ruth Hurmence Green disagrees – “They told me the Bible was a book about love, but I studied every page of that Bible, and I couldn’t find enough love to fill a salt shaker.”

There are other Bible stories that saturated with obscenities, degeneracy and immorality. Some have questionable moral values and others even promote profanity and corruption.
Here are some samples:

Genesis 19:8
Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.

2 Samuel 13:11-14
11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
12 “Don’t, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.

Genesis 34, The defilement of Danah

Genesis 38, The narratives of Judah, Omar and Tamar

Genesis 30: 14-16
14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”
“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.

Genesis 30: 3-6
3 Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family.”
4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.

Genesis 16, The story of Abraham and Sarah and the illicit intimacy with Hagar.

Genesis 30: 25-43, Jacob’s trick Laban.

[Visit The Bible Unmasked for more examples.]

When confronted by these issues, Christian apologists like William Arndt say, “When it speaks of sin, it describes it in its ugliness, so that disgust and horror enters the heart of the readers. Not once for a moment, does it leave the high moral level of stern opposition to unrighteousness in all its form.”
What moral value? Ah OK…Peter called Lot a “righteous man” (2 Peter 2:7) even when Lot was giving his daughter to be raped by a mob. What moral value does it show…that giving your daughter to be rape is a good thing to do…I don’t think so?

There are countries out there that have not even heard of this Christian Bible, and there are those who do not care about it, yet they even have a higher moral value compare to Bible-believing western nations. Japan for example, where honesty and honor are of the highest value, deems the Bible as 重要ではない. Most countries in Asia values cleanliness, respect to the elders and reverence to their parents yet they knew nothing of Yahweh, nor Moses, Jesus or Paul yet compare to the most pious Christian nation, their place are not riddled with crime, vices and corruption.

Ironic isn’t it?

Pinoy Atheist

Posted in ReligionComments (2)