The Difficulty In Determining How Many People Are Non Religious
One role that I take very seriously is the “numbers guy.” Reporters will email or set up a call with me and ask a lot of factual questions about the share of Americans who are evangelical or non-religious or attend services weekly and they expect that I have the answer. And, I do have AN answer. I don’t have THE answer. Because this is not hard science. We know that when water gets below 32 degrees, it freezes. We just don’t have objective metrics like that in my world. See the article here ... Read Article
Ed’s New Interview with Robert M Price
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4OcLuPR-qU ... Read Article
Two Upcoming Books To Look Out For
At the end of the month, the brand new Society of Biblical Literature study bible in the NRSVUE translation is coming out: In March, Bart Ehrman's new book on Armageddon is coming out: These two volumes are must-haves for anyone interested in the secular critique of religion! ... Read Article
Don’t Like The Vote? Ignore It
Last night was a big win for reproductive rights in Ohio, so of course some Christian Nationalists are urging the Ohio government to ignore the results: ... Read Article
New Polls Have Trump Ahead Of Biden
"According to a breaking New York Times poll, if the election was held today, Donald Trump would win over 300 electoral votes. And a CBS poll has Trump +3 points over Biden. Trump is currently leading in nearly every swing state (Benny Johnson) see: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/05/us/politics/biden-trump-2024-poll.html ... Read Article
The Historical Unreliability of Matthew – Part 4: The Rest of the Birth Story
WHERE WE ARE Most of the stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew were borrowed from the earlier Gospel of Mark. In Part 1 of this series, I provided some general reasons why we should doubt the historical reliability of any changes or additions to the stories about Jesus made by the author of the Gospel of Matthew to the stories about Jesus that came from the Gospel of Mark. One of the biggest and most obvious additions by the author of the Gospel of Matthew to the stories about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark is the addition of the birth story of Jesus, constituting the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. There is no birth story of Jesus at all in the Gospel of Mark. So, if the birth story in the Gospel of Matthew is historically dubious, then that would give us good reason to doubt the historical reliability of any other additions or changes to the stories about Jesus that the author of the ... Read Article
(2/2) Current Events: The Richard Carrier Controversy
So, last time I pointed out Carrier's spicy blog post that religious studies scholars are simply not fact-checking evidence for the existence of Jesus, because if they did more people would agree with Carrier's mythicism. Again, here is Carrier's post: https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/25689 Two of Carrier's peers, Dr. James McGrath and Dr. Kipp Davis have posted a response video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWjdbrm4EHA ... Read Article
(Speaker 6) New Insights Into The New Testament: The Gospels In Review (CONFERENCE)
Robyn Faith Walsh spoke next, and raised the issue that the gospel writers were not literate spokesmen for their faith communities, but highly educated Greek speaking Christians working within a network of writers, as was the practice in the ancient world. Given this, if there are sophisticated Greek literary allusions in the gospels, how does this affect historical claims about Jesus? ... Read Article
New GOP Speaker Mike Johnson
CNN KFILE: GOP House speaker Mike Johnson once wrote in support of the criminalization of gay sex, calling it a "dangerous lifestyle" Get to know the new GOP speaker Mike Johnson, because being a superstitious fundamentalist Christian is still viewed as conducive to wise leadership: James Michael Johnson (born January 30, 1972) is an American politician who is the 56th and current speaker of the United States House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party, Johnson is currently in his fourth term representing Louisiana's 4th congressional district, first being elected in 2016. Johnson is a graduate of Louisiana State University and of Louisiana State's Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Before entering politics, he worked as an attorney in private practice; worked for the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom; and founded Freedom Guard, a nonprofit legal ministry designed to represent Christian clients in lawsuits. Johnson was a member of the Louisiana House of ... Read Article
The Historical Unreliability of Matthew – Part 3: The Visit of the Magi
WHERE WE ARE Most of the stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew were borrowed from the earlier Gospel of Mark. In Part 1 of this series, I provided some general reasons why we should doubt the historical reliability of any changes or additions to the stories about Jesus made by the author of the Gospel of Matthew to the stories about Jesus that came from the Gospel of Mark. One of the biggest and most obvious additions by the author of the Gospel of Matthew to the stories about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark is the addition of the birth story of Jesus, constituting the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. There is no birth story of Jesus at all in the Gospel of Mark. So, if the birth story in the Gospel of Matthew is historically dubious, then that would give us good reason to doubt the historical reliability of any other additions or changes to the stories about Jesus that the author of the Gospel of Matthew makes to the stories about Jesus borrowed from the Gospel of Mark. In Part ... Read Article
(Speaker 5) New Insights Into The New Testament: The Gospels In Review (CONFERENCE)
Jodi Magness talked about the archaeology evidence from Jesus' day. In some ways, the archaeological record contradicts the biblical record. The archaeological evidence contradicts the biblical record of the walls of Jericho falling down, for instance. If temples always had a commercial areas, why would Jesus have gotten so mad? Magness says perhaps Jesus was mad the temple tax increased, but this is a very debated passage because the text doesn't point in this direction. ... Read Article
(Speaker 4) New Insights Into The New Testament: The Gospels In Review (CONFERENCE)
Mark Goodacre was the next presenter and he raises the issue of the empty tomb. Interestingly, the idea of an empty tomb doesn't fit with what we know of burial practices at that time. All the tombs that have been unearthed from that area and period were communal tombs, and so for instance our earliest narrative account of Jesus in Mark doesn't say the tomb was empty. So, historically, if Jesus' body was discovered missing, there would have still been a lot going on in the tomb. The "empty tomb" is not a term that can be found in the New Testament! The first use of the term is late fourth century by John Crysostom. If this topic interests you, I encourage you to see the replay of Dr. Goodacre's presentation to hear how this relates to the resurrection accounts. ... Read Article
(Speaker 3) New Insights Into The New Testament: The Gospels In Review (CONFERENCE)
Our third speaker is Hugo Mendez, who is an expert on the Gospel of John and argues the gospel and the three letters of John are a lineage of literary forgeries. For instance, the gospel of John pretends to be written by Jesus' beloved disciple, even though this is false. John is full of cryptic teaching and esoteric knowledge, Jesus being the divine man revealing secrets that people don't quite understand. Certain key figures are given interpretive keys for his message. The most important is Jesus's farewell discourse to his disciples (John 13:31-17:26). Mendez argues in order to read John effectively, you must read it backward, starting from the farewell discourse. For example, Jesus says he is going to the father, and the disciples can't follow him now, but will later. Jesus has prepared dwellings for the disciples in his father's house. Jesus is going to the father and is himself the way to the father. Jesus is in the father and the father in him, the father dwells in Jesus. The idea of the ... Read Article
The Historical Unreliability of Matthew – Part 2: The Birth Story
There is no story about the birth of Jesus in the earliest gospel: the Gospel of Mark. Although the Gospel of Matthew borrows most of its stories about Jesus from the Gospel of Mark, it does make one obvious and major addition: a story about the birth of Jesus. If this major addition to the stories about Jesus from Mark is historically dubious, then that would give us a good reason to doubt the historical reliability of other changes and additions made by the author of the Gospel of Matthew to the stories from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus Scholars View the Birth Story in Matthew as Historically Dubious Scholars who study the historical Jesus generally agree that the birth story in the Gospel of Matthew is a legend and that it is historically dubious: The clearest cases of invention are in the birth narratives. Matthew and Luke write that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but grew up in Nazareth. This probably reflects two sorts of 'facts': in ordinary history, Jesus was from Nazareth; according to salva ... Read Article
The Historical Unreliability of Matthew – Part 1: General Considerations
The Gospel of Matthew has something significant to offer scholars who study the historical Jesus in terms of the sayings, parables, and teachings of Jesus. The main reason for this is that whenever a saying, parable, or teaching of Jesus is found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, but NOT in the Gospel of Mark, that saying, parable, or teaching probably came from an early source of the words of Jesus known as Q. Without the Gospel of Matthew, it would be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to determine the content of this early source of the sayings, parables, and teachings of Jesus. However, the stories about Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew might not provide historically reliable information about the life, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus. If the stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Mark are historically unreliable, then the stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew are also historically unreliable (in general) because most of the stories about Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew c ... Read Article