He Doesn’t FREAKING Get Us – Part 1: Jesus was a Refugee?
"He gets us. That's a tagline that's been popping up in banner ads online, on highway billboards and soon in Super Bowl commercials. The he is Jesus Christ. And the ads say things like Jesus was a refugee and Jesus was sick of hypocrisy, too. And while it's clear who the marketing campaign is about, the ads' goals and the money behind them are a little bit harder to figure out." The 'He Gets Us' campaign promotes Jesus. But who's behind it — and what's the goal? - NPR https://www.npr.org/2023/02/03/1154359594/the-he-gets-us-campaign-promotes-jesus-but-whos-behind-it-and-whats-the-goal# Advertising campaigns are NOT known for their honesty and truth, so a reasonable person will look at this advertising campaign with a bit of healthy skepticism. Furthermore, the promotion of a religion or a particular religious viewpoint by people who are devoted followers of the religion in question can reasonably be assumed to be biased and to present inaccurate and incomplete information. So, we have two g ... Read Article
Evolution: No Adam?  No problem
image via James McGrath One common argument among atheists is that since evolution is a fact, there was no Adam to be responsible for original sin, and so Christ as a savior paying the sin debt is unnecessary.  This is based on the commonplace conservative penal substitution interpretation of the cross (as opposed to the moral influence theory), and is probably not historically accurate. The idea of original sin isn’t in the Hebrew Scriptures, so we should be wary about finding it in the New Testament, since what clearly is in the Hebrew Scriptures is my responsibility for my own sin.  For Paul, the theme of the Adam story is how death came about placing man in a condition of sinfulness, which was beginning to be treated with the cross of Christ.  To be “in Adam” doesn’t emphasize being a literal descendant from Adam any more than Paul means “in Christ” implies we are literal descendants of Christ.  Rather, two kinds of humanity are being contrasted.  Dr. Christophe ... Read Article
(2/2) The Rise of Spirit Warriors on the Christian Right: The Secrets Of The Cross
[*The things I write here simply reflect hermeneutic curiosity, and are not intended to endorse any religion.] So, last time I was talking a bit about Isaiah 6:5 and the idea of seeing God in all his glory and holiness makes conspicuous our sinfulness and inspires our repentance.  The Gospel of John specifically references the account of God’s glory in Isaiah 6.  So, in what are regarded as our most literal translations we read: Isaiah 6:5 ESV (2016) And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5 New American Standard Bible 5 Then I said, “Woe to me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of armies.” We see similar sentiments expressed in Philippians: Philippians 3:8 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition 8 ... Read Article
Off Topic: Science and COVID-19
I just read an editorial in Newsweek by a SHITHEAD named Kevin Bass who is attempting to promote skepticism about the mainstream science on COVID-19. Since Bass is a complete IDIOT, I will not waste much time or energy on his pathetic editorial. In the opening paragraphs, Bass makes SHOCKING and JAW-DROPPING claims: As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters. I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives. "It's Time for the Scientific Community to Admit We Were Wrong About COVID and It Cost Lives" Here are some of the opening bombshells lobbed by this BRAINLESS turd: 1. The scientific community was wrong to advocate vaccinations to fight COVID. 2. The sc ... Read Article
The Noble Lie Theory Of Christian Origins
I agree most secularists poke fun at the resurrection miracle claim of apologists, but have no good alternative, as even Dr. Bart Ehrman admits, which really isn't playing fair. See Ehrman's debate with William Lane Craig (see time 1:14:00 - 1:19:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5_nJYSKyk&t=4417s Ehrman's argument is that any argument, however improbable, is still more likely than the miracle explanation. I think we do have a good alternative to the resurrection hypothesis: The Noble Lie hypothesis James Ware's article "The Resurrection of Jesus in the Pre-Pauline Formula of 1 Cor 15.3–5 (2014)" seems to me persuasive that even though Paul says Jesus was buried and resurrected by God and omits mentioning an empty tomb, we find consistently in the NT literature that narrative accounts of the resurrection include the empty tomb, while confessional statements consistently omit it. So, I concede to apologists for the sake of argument the historicity of the empty tomb and do not find comp ... Read Article
The Rise of Spirit Warriors on the Christian Right
"How an extreme transformation in American religion poses an existential threat to our democracy" I just read this article my friend sent me about how the religious right poses an existential threat to USA democracy. Here is a sample passage: A final point on the politics of Spirit Warrior Christianity: It is an easy fit for those who wish to dismantle democracy and entrench minority rule. Election denialism and other conspiracies find a comfortable home in the paranoid mindset of spiritual warfare in a demon-haunted world. An organizer of the Jericho March that preceded the attack on the Capitol of January 6, Robert Weaver, stated that God wanted Americans to march around “the spiritual walls of this country.” The Reverend Kevin Jessup, who spoke at the event, said, “This battle cry is a Christian call to all Christian men … as we prepare for a strategic gathering of men in this hour to dispel the Kingdom of Darkness.” Father Greg Bramlage, who conducted an exorcism on stage, told the ... Read Article
Corporate Sin Post Script: Did The Historical Jesus Know John The Baptist? (My Last Blog Post For A Little While)
This will be my last post for a little while. I think Bradley will still be posting. I just wanted to share a few final thoughts on Corporate Sin. Did The Historical Jesus Know John The Baptist? Our first gospel Mark clues us in that his portrayal of John the Baptist serves a literary and theological agenda rather than an historical one.  For one thing, Mark invents a new reason for the baptizer’s death.  The historical baptizer was beheaded by Herod because of political reasons, not a holy man morally chastising/embarrassing someone that led to a girl asking for his head: Jewish historian Josephus also relates in his Antiquities of the Jews that Herod killed John, stating that he did so, "lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John's] power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise), [so Herod] thought it best [to put] him to death." He further states that many of the Jews believed that the mili ... Read Article
Corporate Sin (2/2)
So, last time I talked about getting beyond the personal sin/sinner's prayer ideology of the conservative evangelical interpretation of Christianity to the corporate sin issue of things like systemic racism that needs to be made conspicuous and overcome with the liberal/progressive Christian interpretation. Terry Simon has a helpful quote on this: The story of Native Americans in the United States is a tragic one. They were enslaved by the conquistadores, massacred by U.S. soldiers and cheated out of their lands by shifty politicians, and native children were taken from their families to strip them of their culture and language. As I have learned more about their story, I felt ashamed for this part of our country’s history. I felt as if I personally had done wrong to these people. For some reason I also felt guilty. Why should I feel guilty about something that happened long ago? I certainly had no part in any of the tragic events. But I was collectively feeling the pain of the native peoples and th ... Read Article
Corporate Sin
"The world is ending... Honestly ... So, uh, you better get right with God!" As an Atheist/Agnostic, I don't believe in God or an afterlife or any of that, but I do think there are better and worse interpretations of original Christianity. I am of the interpretive school of liberal Christianity, rather than conservative Christianity. For example, the latter has a baffling understanding of sin as primarily individualistic, which seems to be the exact opposite of the original Christian message. Here is a quote that was being discussed on the blogosphere a few years ago: Samantha Field says: Framing racism or other systemic social problems as a “heart issue” accomplishes a few things. First, it centers Christianity in the conversation. If racism is a “heart issue,” then the solution is conversion or repentance– all the individually racist person needs to do is repent and allow Jesus to change their heart. If a racist person accepts Jesus into their heart and once they’ve done so, fol ... Read Article
Who Moved the Stone? Part 4: Moving a Smaller Square Blocking Stone
The question “Who moved the stone?” is used by Christian apologists to raise an objection against some skeptical theories about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, especially the Swoon Theory (see Objection #7 in Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, p.183-184), but also the Conspiracy Theory, and the Hallucination Theory. In Part 1 of this series, I argued on the basis of examples that one normal healthy adult could easily move even a larger-sized circular stone, even if that stone weighed 2,300 pounds. For example, in 2009 Kevin Fast pulled a 208-ton airplane for 28 feet in less than two minutes (because the airplane was on wheels). In Part 2 of this series, I argued on the basis of calculations of the force required to overcome rolling resistance that one healthy non-disabled adult could easily move a circular blocking stone that is the size and weight of the blocking stone used at the tomb of Jesus (assuming a circular blocking stone was used), contrary to the ... Read Article
Conservative vs Liberal Christians: Wait, There’s Another Way To Read This?!
So, Adam and Eve sinned, and we are guilty of that sin, so God sent Jesus to die for our sins and save us. Right? Well, that's a conservative Christian reading. Against this, many liberal Christians see Adam and Eve as a metaphor. Dr. James McGrath comments: Question: In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According to Paul, it is precisely because of the failure of the first that the second was required. McGrath: What I would note is that, if Adam in Genesis 2-3 is simply a symbolic depiction of what is typical of humanity in general, then the comparison still works just fine: Jesus succeeded where human beings in general failed, not just where one failed. The contrast seems to me to be between two ways of being human, and just as being in Christ is not about being descended from Jesus, there is no obvious reason why being descended from Adam is crucial to the comparison. I would also note that Paul plays fast and loose with the det ... Read Article
SECULAR WEB KIDS
Thanks so much for reading Secular Frontier! If you're looking for some secular and philosophy content for kids, do check out Secular Web Kids . New posts all the time! ... Read Article
Mark’s Narrative Of The Crucifixion As Historical Fiction
I posted this back in 2011 on Dr. R Joseph Hoffmann's blog, but it still bears repeating today: The central drama of the Christian Religion, the crucifixion narrative in Mark, is historical fiction. We can know that Jesus was crucified through other means, but the narrative elements never happened. I want people to understand that the interpretation of the cross where Jesus died for my sin to appease God’s holy wrath is wrong. This interpretation has a vague analogy to 4 Maccabees, but is not how the overall NT imagery is being used. It’s common sense. How does killing/punishing an innocent child in Africa for the crimes of a sadistic felon in Chicago serve justice? And, if there is one thing the God of the Hebrew Scriptures can do and does, it’s forgive. Mark is inventing details for Jesus’s crucifixion narrative by recapitulating psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Paul doesn’t have a passion narrative So:The Passion of the Christ in Mark: (Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 in Haggadic Midrash) Likely ... Read Article
(Part 2/2) Jesus and Socrates with Dr Dennis R MacDonald
So, last time we were thinking a bit about Mark's soldier at the cross saying "Now when the centurion who stood facing him saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly (Ἀληθῶς, Alethos) this man was God’s Son!” The word for "truth" in Greek would carry a number of hearings for the Greek ear. For instance, it meant "correct," as in a "correct judgment." But, the first letter of the word "truth" could also be heard as something in grammar called an alpha privative (like in "a-theist" or "a-gnostics"), and so "a-letheia" or "truth" would also mean "un-covering." For instance, when Jesus says "I am the way, the 'truth' and the life," he doesn't just mean he is "the correct," but also "the un-covering" or "re-vealing." A lot of the imagery about Jesus points this way, and so even the "apocalypse (a prophetic "re-velation")" of John carries this meaning. So, for instance, Jesus un-covers for us the true meaning of the law from the hiddeness caused by incorrect common opinion. ... Read Article
Jesus and Socrates with Dr Dennis R MacDonald
I just wanted to share this short MythVision interview that came out today where Dennis MacDonald argues Luke's passion narrative purposefully imitates the death of Socrates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XytCLlx1-RI One disagreement I have is how Dennis reads his thesis of the contrast between Mark and Luke into the way he translates Mark 15:39 to be sarcastic. He translates: "Oh sure, this was the son of God!" Certainly, a sarcastic reading is possible, and others have attempted it, but as the NRSVUE says the Greek just reads: Now when the centurion who stood facing him saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος Υἱὸς Θεοῦ ἦν). I would like to argue that Luke is simply making more conspicuous what Mark is also saying with Luke building an entire Socrates themed Jesus in Luke's passion account. In both cases of Mark and Luke they seem to be using imagery indicating Paul's future succe ... Read Article
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