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preponderance_of_evidence_against_christianity

Preponderance of Evidence against Christianity

There is such a preponderance of evidence against Christianity presented throughout this site that discussing it on the whole or even skimming through it just one place can become extremely difficult. If you wanted a complete list I don't think there is one, but there are in fact quite a number of issues raised on this wiki – certainly over 100 issues – and I've begun to wonder a little at the amount of claims we have been able to challenge and/or refute.

A Strong Foundation

Not everything Christians say and do is wrong. For example, Matthew 4:4, cf. Luke 4:4 quotes the Old Testament Deuteronomy 8:3. This is a perfect place to test the verity of the New Testament. Does the New Testament stand up to Old Testament rules and regulations?

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” –Matthew 4:4

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” –Luke 4:4

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. –Deuteronomy 8:3

In addition to completely conveying the real meaning of the Old Testament, here Jesus even gives it a very strong interpretation (which is also standard, and very Jewish) that even God's general decrees are technically commandments in that we do not wish to go against God's will.

So there's nothing wrong with this kind of thing in the New Testament. But let's go a little deeper. Have you ever read Mark 7:6-7?

Jesus said What?

6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.Mark 7:6-7 (RSV)

‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”Matthew 15:8-9 (RSV)

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,Isaiah 29:13 (ESV)

When considering the above, one becomes immediately confused. Did Jesus really say this? Jesus, speaking Aramaic and certainly Hebrew (from being raised Jewish) would have had an intimate knowledge of the scriptures. It is inconceivable for him to have committed these errors.

Worshipping in Vain

The idea that someone is worshiping in vain means that for all intents and purposes they are worshipping properly, yet for whatever reason (left unstated) it is being done in vain. Usually one would assume this is an ironic situation; that the people in question believe they are doing a good job but in reality are not. That is clearly not what Isaiah is saying. Isaiah is saying that they are not worshipping properly in the first place. Their worship is mere lip service. They are not worshipping in vain, they are not even worshipping properly.

Teaching man's word as God's word

Jesus states that the Pharisees had been teaching man-made decrees as if they were the word of God. He says clearly “teaching as doctrines the precepts of men,” which can just as well be written “teaching the precepts of men as doctrines”. Everyone can understand what Jesus is trying to say here. The problem is, that isn't quite what Isaiah said either. Isaiah said that the Jews in question had no fear of God, and that the fear of God was again something being paid nothing more than lip service. The NRSV states “their worship of me” versus “their fear of me”, but the meaning is the same; the practices and punishments they engage in are purely functional and have no spiritual value to them.

Proto-Conclusion

Isaiah's words here echo those of Jeremiah 3:10 in spirit and meaning; “Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”” (Jeremiah 3:10). They do not mean at all that the correct worship was being done in vain. In fact we may even hearken back to the days when the Lord became angry and sent the Israelites to wander in the desert for 40 years (see also: Hebrews 4.8 Analysis) – Verses such as Numbers 11:24, “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.” and Numbers 32:11-12; “11 ‘Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of the men twenty years old and upward who came from Egypt will see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 12 except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly.’”

Thus it seems as if we have a serious problem. I don't believe Jesus said these words because he got the meaning totally wrong. But in that case we look to the author of Mark (and Luke) who also got the message completely wrong. If then these words were placed into the mouth of Jesus by the authors of the New Testament, it would mean this story never happened and that the message given here is flawed at best; certainly nowhere near the weight of the actual teachings of the Old Testament.

What about the Septuagint?

It is inconceivable that Jesus would have been unaware of the meaning of this verse in the original Hebrew. No matter how you slice it, when we read Mark 7:7 and consider it fully we learn two important things:

  1. We are being given a message and a meaning which is different from the message and the meaning of the Old Testament.
  2. This message is being used to justify an otherwise new Doctrine, that of replacement theology.

The Elders approach Jesus and say, ““Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”” (Mark 7:5) and Jesus fires back with, (Ha!) “9 Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! ” (Mark 7:9).

Further, Jesus' following example about 'Honor your Father and Mother' being equal to giving them money or sacrifices is a complete non-sequitur. The idea of Honoring your Father and Mother is in respecting them and doing what they say. Considered properly, from a Jewish understanding of the law, it makes no sense to declare by tradition that you cannot give honor to your parents which has already been slated for God (i.e. I'd rather study Torah than listen to my Mother and Father). On the whole it just doesn't make sense.

Conclusion

This passage has an interesting message which sort of makes sense. During the time of Jesus there was in fact a movement that noted a lack of spirituality among Jews. Some Jews even felt that the Roman invasion of Jerusalem was punishment for so many Jews simply 'going through the motions'. The prophets warned Israel of this many times; Psalm 40:6, Hosea 6:6, and many other verses warn the Jews not to merely pay lip service to God.

So it is interesting to see this passage get things so right but at the same time get things so wrong. In Jesus' time, the Sadducees had sided with the Romans and had ditched the Oral Law; there was also as mentioned the social issue over the level of religious ritual versus faith being observed in Jerusalem. We are left to wonder why the author didn't just make the same point in a different way. Or at worst, say nothing. By giving us these writings it seems as if the authors of the gospels are impeaching themselves.

In any case it is interesting to note that Jesus never denies he is breaking the Torah here – he simply blows smoke by claiming the Elders challenging him are also breaking the Torah! What then is the answer to their charge? Fathers and Mothers aside, why doesn't Jesus just answer their question?

This may have started out as a story on how Jesus, a student of Hillel, argued with Sadduceean Rabbis over issues of Jewish law, and had later become a story about how Jesus was impeacing “The Jews”. Beyond such a corruption we can only conclude that this story never took place (and the authors of the gospels simply invented it). The other answers, that Jesus purposefully lied in order to deceive people, or that he was simply uneducated and was quoting a Greek translation, simply don't make any sense.

We're forced to conclude this story never actually happened. This in and of itself is a very weak indictment of the New Testament. But if we then ask how the underlying doctrine was created and accepted, at what the real message of this passage is saying, the issue becomes more serious. We are not being picayune here – what other mistakes in theology and doctrine have been made in the New Testament? How many of Jesus' words were placed there after the fact in order to comport with (at the time) “modern Christianity”?

The Ugly

In fact, more than we may care to admit, in fact more than we could have expected. There are in fact some sections of the bible which have not only been completely ripped out of context, which have not only been changed and shaped and inverted to match the Christian Scriptures – but at times there are passages which have been simply invented out of whole cloth, which do not and never existed, or which did not and never could have happened.

I will give three simple examples.

*under construction*

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preponderance_of_evidence_against_christianity.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/05 06:46 by serena