• Who Moved the Stone? Part 2: A Circular Stone is EASILY Moved
    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 this post, I will argue that one healthy non-disabled adult can 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 claims of many Christian apologists. In Part 1 of this series, I showed that if a circular stone was used to block the entrance of Jesus' tomb, that stone would probably have been between at least 3.2 feet in diameter (and 10 inches thick) and at least 4.0 feet in diameter (and 12 inches thick), depending on whether the entrance of the tomb was smaller or larger in size. The weight of the stone depends on i ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 8) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Robert M Price’s response to Bart Ehrman
    The passage I would like to focus on from Price's response to Ehrman in chapter 14 of the anthology is the following: What is at issue in the question of Paul not mentioning Pilate or the Sanhedrin as the culprits in Jesus’ death? Paul never describes the crucifixion as a mundane execution at the hands of earthly governing authorities (though of course nothing he says rules out that possibility). What he does say is that Jesus was done to death by “the rulers (archons) of this cosmos” (1 Corinthians 2:8), “the Principalities and Powers” (Colossians 1:16; 2:14-15). Mythicists infer that the author of these epistles was writing at a time when Christians believed in a celestial Man of Light who had not appeared on the earth to teach and heal and die on a Roman cross, but who had been ambushed and slain by the demonic entities (fallen angels, archons, elemental spirits) inhabiting the lower heavens. As we read in various surviving Gnostic texts, this death would have occurred in the primordial past ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 7) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Neil Godfrey’s Response to James McGrath
    Around 2010 there was intellectual sparring going on between Prof James McGrath of the Exploring Our Matrix blog (now the Religion Prof blog) and Neil Godfrey of the Vridar blog. James argued for the historical Jesus, while Neil was skeptical. One of the issue that James hung his historicist hat on was the conundrum of the crucified Messiah. Why, if Jesus never existed, would the first Christians frame their portrait of Jesus in Davidic messianic terms, but then have Jesus not achieve what the Davidic messiah was supposed to (eg., restore the throne of David) in any visible sense? Godfrey responds that "McGrath’s entire argument rests on a blinkered reading of our evidence. Let’s set aside the question-begging assumptions and consider the evidence of both Paul’s letters and the gospels. We will see that Jesus is consistently presented as the Davidic Messiah who has conquered all enemies, including death itself. Cognitive dissonance is only a possibility if followers were trying to convinc ... Read Article
  • Yahweh’s Wife
    Check out this short video about people in the first kingdom who thought Yahweh had a wife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY9amXKb00Y ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 6) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Earl Doherty on Hebrews
    Earl Doherty deserves special mention as the catalyst for the modern mythicism movement, inspiring both Robert M Price and Richard Carrier with his "The Jesus Puzzle." In his chapter of the anthology. Doherty argues for a mythicist reading of Hebrews with Jesus' sacrifice taking place in heaven. The heavenly sacrifice is almost universally regarded as post earthly ascension, or else metaphorically, but Doherty takes it mythically. I am persuaded that Hebrews is thinking of a historical Jesus, which I will deal with at a later time. Regarding the sacrifice, Doherty says: Christ as heavenly High Priest is infinitely superior to the high priest on earth who officiates in the earthly tabernacle. The blood of the sacrifice Christ offers is his own blood, so much greater in power than the material blood of animals that it has “secured an eternal deliverance” (Hebrews 9:12), a forgiveness of sins which the earthly sacrifices could never achieve. (W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Myt ... Read Article
  • Interview on Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus
    I am working on a book about the alleged resurrection of Jesus, which is titled Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus. I have completed a DRAFT of Chapter 1 of the book, and was recently interviewed by the British skeptic Jonathan Pearce, who has himself written a skeptical book on the resurrection (The Resurrection: A Critical Examination of the Easter Story): https://youtu.be/7pVwUcI_jw0 Here is a DRAFT of Chapter 1 of my book Thinking Critically about the Resurrection of Jesus. In this book, I will critically examine the case for the resurrection of Jesus made by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (hereafter: HCA): https://thinkingcriticallyabout.podbean.com/e/evaluation-of-objections-against-the-swoon-theory-in-hca/ Their case is based primarily on their attempts to refute four skeptical theories. If they FAIL to refute one or more of those skeptical theories, then their case for the resurrection of Jesus FAILS. I will argue that they F ... Read Article
  • Dr. James Tabor on Paul
    This new interview with Dr. James Tabor by Derek from MythVision is interesting on a number of counts. One point is Tabor argues the Philippian Christ Hymn is NOT arguing Jesus was a pre-existent angelic being, but rather a human. Second, he takes mythicists to task because Paul says Jesus was "born of a woman," meaning he was human, like when the gospels say John the Baptist was born of a woman. For years Carrier has tried to argue "born of a woman" in Paul is metaphorical. An all around interesting video, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25iUa37MCXM&t=2095s For my thoughts on the Philippian hymn related to an analysis of one school of interpretation of form/morphe in Aristotle, see here: PART 1 https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2022/09/dunn-and-ehrman-on-forms-of-jesus-in-the-philippian-christ-myth-hymn-poem/ PART 2 https://secularfrontier.infidels.org/2022/10/dunn-and-ehrman-on-forms-of-jesus-in-the-philippian-christ-hymn-poem-part-2-2/ ALSO, see Dr. John Klop ... Read Article
  • After School Secularism Programs
    Here at Secular Web / Internet Infidels, we have a website called Secular Web Kids, which is an educational website that provides fun and informative secular related information and activities for kids. Check it out here: https://secularwebkids.freethinkers.org/ Some schools, which hosted religious afterschool activity clubs for many years, are hosting secular based afterschool activity clubs. One of these secular clubs is The After School Satan Club, which doesn't worship Satan, but adopts him as an imaginary mythological creature who embodies some key aspects of secularism such as freethought. Here is an article about one such afterschool secularism club: FROM THE ARTICLE: After School Satan Clubs are sponsored by The Satanic Temple, a nontheistic religious organization based in Salem, Massachusetts, that pushes for the separation of church and state. They meet at select public schools where other religious clubs meet. The Satanic Temple, which is separate from the Church of Satan, ... Read Article
  • Mythicism and Method (2/2)
    So to continue from last time, regarding Carrier's Cosmic Sperm Bank hypothesis, Tim O'Neil, who is a historian who investigates the historicity of Jesus, said regarding Price's evaluation that the Cosmic Sperm Bank hypothesis is lunacy, that: That argument of Carrier's is just a more obvious example of what's wrong with his whole methodology. He starts with his conclusion and then creatively twists and trims the evidence to fit it. It's why he's simply a bad historian. (Tim O'Neill, Twitter) Carrier's own defense of this idea was bolstered when Nicholas Covington pointed out to Carrier that there is a plausible Zoroastrian historical analogy of magically preserved sperm that may have influenced Christianity. Carrier writes: The idea of a magical sperm bank producing a messiah was likely even already popular in Zoroastrian tradition at the time, which had already extensively influenced Judaism—the Jews having fully embraced from it the ideas of resurrection, apocalyptic history, a flaming hell ... Read Article
  • Mythicism and Method (1/2)
    Probably no one has pushed for the mathematization of historical Jesus studies more than mythicist Richard Carrier. When it comes to mathematizing history, we see such diverse ends of the spectrum such as Carrier and William Lane Craig using Bayes theorem (math) to, oppositely, “prove” there is only a 1/3 chance Jesus existed in Carrier’s case, or that the resurrection happened for Craig.  But this rigid quantifying of history may be missing the qualifying component, which we can see in analogous cases.  For instance, when assessing a body of data/evidence to evaluate it and assign a numerical value for whatever purpose (eg, a percentile grade for a portfolio of student writing), the underlying assessment/evaluation criteria are always quantitative and qualitative.  So, if I give an overall grade of 75% on word choice in a collection/portfolio of grade 6 student narrative writing, I mean the student consistently (quantifier) and effectively (qualifier) employed 5 senses and emotion wo ... Read Article
  • Who Moved the Stone? Part 1: A Circular 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. The objection consists mostly of attempted refutations of various natural explanations for the movement of the “large stone” away from the entrance to the tomb of Jesus, an event the Gospels indicate took place early on the first Easter Sunday.  Jesus, if he had survived his crucifixion, would have been too weak and frail to move the large stone himself (they claim), and his (allegedly) unarmed disciples would not have been able to overpower the Roman soldiers who (allegedly) were guarding the tomb, and (allegedly) neither the Roman soldiers nor the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem would have allowed anyone to open up the tomb by moving the ston ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 5) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Ch. 3 Dying and Rising Gods By Derreck Bennett
    Bennett places himself in a long line of mythicist sympathetic scholars who try to argue the dying/rising God theme was conspicuous in the ancient world, and so Jesus was just another example of this theme. For example, regarding Baal, Bennett concludes that: The sources and scholarship firmly establish that Baal was a dying and rising god, the risen son of El, who conquered death and reigned henceforth upon his heavenly throne. Given Jewish familiarity with the Baal myth—the long constancy of his worship in Israel and the indelible mark his story made upon the scriptures—it should come as no surprise that Baal served as a prototype of Christ, the risen Son of God who vanquished death, was enthroned as Lord, and comes upon the clouds of heaven in power and glory. (W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? (p. 60). Hypatia Press. Kindle Edition.) This echoes similar scholarship by Carrier on the issue. See: Dying-and-Rising Gods: It’s Pagan, Guys. Get ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 4) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Ch. 2 Jesus Christ by Barbara G. Walker
    This chapter reminded me of the movie Religulous which tries to show everything about the Jesus story was copied from earlier religious belief. For instance, the Cana wine miracle is prefigured by the lore of Dionysus (Which Dennis MacDonald fleshes out in a recent book). The author comments: Nothing in Jesus’ myth occurred at random; every detail was part of a formal sacrificial tradition, even to the “procession of palms” which glorified sacred kings in ancient Babylon. (W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? (p. 49). Hypatia Press. Kindle Edition.) Of interest is the critique of the historicity of Jesus' relationship to Pilate. She writes: The most “historical” figure in the Gospels was Pontius Pilate, to whom Jesus was presented as “king” of the Jews and simultaneously as a criminal deserving the death penalty for “blasphemy” because he called himself Christ, Son of the Blessed (Luke 23:3; Mark 14:61-64). This alleged crime was ... Read Article
  • (REVIEW part 3) “Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist (2021)?” Ch. 1: Why Mythicism Matters, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jesus (Myth Theory) By David Fitzgerald
    There are a couple of notable elements I'd like to point to here about Fitzgerald's chapter. He writes: In his letters, Paul often rages and fumes that his rivals are evil deceivers, with false Christs and false gospels so different from his own true Christ and true Gospel, that he accuses them of being agents of Satan and even lays curses and threats upon them! ... The evidence is clear; there were many different gospels, Jesuses, and Christs being preached by different groups in the first century (and even into the early second century, when the Didakhê was likely written). No single individual Jesus made an impact on history, but many different ones made an impact on theology—at least on the cultic fringe.(W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? (p. 24). Hypatia Press. Kindle Edition). This is interesting and would certainly make sense in a mythicist framework where everyone was basing truth on personal hallucinations of Jesus, though a single figure w ... Read Article
  • Message to Herschel Walker and His Creationist Comrades — Why Other Apes Still Exist Along With Us Humans 
    Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker offered up the common creationism pseudoscientific line, stating that “At one time, science said man came from apes. Did it not?.... If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it…. We have an evolution that is — we’ve gotten so intelligent that if that is still true, why are there still apes?” Derided for his poor understanding of modern evolutionary science, Walker is far from alone. Surveys agree that a large portion of the population does not buy into Darwin’s bioevolution. PBS has offered up the following correction to such paranormal thinking. “Humans are more closely related to modern apes … but we didn’t evolve from apes, either. Humans share a common ancestor with modern African apes. … Scientists believe this common ancestor existed 5 to 8 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, the species diverged into two separate lineages. One of these lineages ultimately evolved into gorillas and chimps, ... Read Article