Monday, 30 May 2016

The importance of the current US Presedential race

Forward: In this post I have used the term social action, as it encompasses the social justice on the left as well as the social justice from the right. However, as social justice is usually referred to as a liberal trait, I decided to use the term social action instead.


The current US presidential race is probably the most important and entertaining political conversation that has happened in recent years. Regardless of what you think about certain candidates, what has transpired during the race for the nominees of the two main parties highlights fundamental problems facing societies today. So, let me share with you my opinions on what i think is a truly remarkable and I hope turning point in politics and society at large.

The candidates.

On writing this, there are three candidates left in the race for the White House, i.e. Bernie, Donald and Hillary, however I may mention a few more as they are relevant. Bernie Sanders as Donald Trump in many ways can be mentioned in the same breathe, as what they represent is the change that many voters are looking for. I say this, as in reality there is no way Bernie Sanders can become president on a socialist manifesto, just as Donal Trump can not be elected to the presidency on his lack of understanding on global and national issues. In a positive light, both of these candidates are talking about issues that people are interested in, and if they could only bring their policies and ideas into line with reality they could actually be elected.

I should perhaps mention here, that it may seems like Donald Trump has a chance to win. Asylum seekers should start flocking to Canada as soon as possible. On the other hand, just accept that if he becomes president that he will get nothing done while wrapped up in red tape. So basically four years of nothing, but maybe better than no president.

Hillary Clinton, hate her or really hate her, the fact is that she is the only candidate that has the credentials to be commander in chief. Yes, she is not perfect but really what else is there? When Rubio and Bush (yes, I said it) were still candidates there were other choices, but they are gone. The other options were Bible Thumper Cruz, who wanted a theocracy! John Kasich who did not know when to quit, and Rand Paul, who wants ...... well thats a good guess.

On a positive note, at least we can see that the US is not so delusional with Christianity to think that Ted Cruz was a good candidate, perhaps all those secular nation debates have payed dividends.

All in all, the debates and the rallies have shown that politicians need to start listening to their populace. although to marry the two extreme sides of the populace is going to be very difficult. In general society nowadays is going to either extreme, with the middle ground being held by centrists. Interestingly these centrists are usually known as liberal or right-wingers depending on who is addressing them. Just this simple observation by centrists shows one of the major problems with society.

The issues

People are disillusioned with health care, immigration, gun control, taxes, and so much more. However, due to Trump and Sanders rhetoric this election cycle, a lot more disillusion has come to the fore. There is more talk about crony capitalism, public education, illegal immigration, etc. Now while these are important issues, the way they are getting talked about by the candidates and the supporters has not helped at all. All we see is social action rage on the Internet and endless Twitter battles. Twitter battles? its a 140 character limit, this is not a debate its lunacy.

(Source)

And now a secret for those that think social action on the Internet works.....guess what? politicians don't give a shit. What has certainly been disturbing is the amount of violence that has erupted during this election campaign. I think this will get politicians talking about issues, but so far all that has happened is a stricter police presence and the violence has continued. Perhaps the biggest issue that needs to be addressed is that people need to realize that anyone can vote for whom they want. Its sad to think that this violent behavior is being demonstrated by people who consider themselves part of the electoral process for electing a future world leader.


Lastly on issues, and why I believe Trump cannot or should not be President of the USA. This is not just Climate Change denial, this is bullshit conspiracy theories on the likes of David Icke and Alex Jones.

The Cognitive Dissonance

One rising problem that I see more and more often in debates on any issue these days is the rise of cognitive dissonance. This election cycle is a perfect example of that, with some Sanders supporters saying they will vote for Trump in a general election. Clearly they can do what they want, but by taking this vote they are showing that cognitive dissonance is a major problem in society. Trump and Sanders are nothing alike in terms of policies, while Sanders and Clinton are.

Cognitive dissonance is observed in many issues in social action as well, with people holding opposite views when either the persons race or gender changes. So in many ways I suppose it is to be expected that such dissonance will carry over into the election, but should it in such an important vote?

On a side note, it is remarkable that the same people that are calling for an improved future are the ones that are engaging in mob violence against free speech.

International viewpoint

The world is laughing at this election, while also being very entertained. To make matters worse, one of the leading candidates knows as much about foreign policy as Sarah Palin does. Perhaps Donald Trump think he will get other countries to pay for the US military stationed there under threat of a nuclear attack. The reality is that most countries will happily let the US troops go home, as they cause trouble and are undesired in many countries. The problem is the US needs these bases around the world to protect their interests, and as such Mr Trump will not be asking anyone to pay for anything if he has half a business brain he claims he does.

In many ways this election can be be summed up as follows, the elections represents the failings of social action versus the realities of societies that work.

Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Versus 249 - 253

Last week we got to see how the Koran writers could not even borrow their myths correctly from the Bible, and this week we visit some more stories in the Bible. Needless to say the writers screw it up again.

Verse 249 of Sura 2 relates the story of how King Saul chose his soldiers to go into combat with him against the Philistines.
"As Saul set out with the troops, he said, ‘Allah will test you with a stream: anyone who drinks from it will not belong to me, but those who do not drink from it will belong to me, barring someone who draws a scoop with his hand.’ But they drank from it, [all] except a few of them. So when he crossed it along with the faithful who were with him, they said, ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his troops.’ Those who were certain they will encounter Allah said, ‘How many a small party has overcome a larger party by Allah’s will! And Allah is with the patient.’"
Now if you have read the Bible, you will know that this was not Saul that did this but rather Gideon as described in Judges 7:5-7.
"Then Jehovah said to Gidʹe·on: “Separate everyone who laps up the water with his tongue just as a dog laps, from those who bend down on their knees to drink.” The number of those lapping up the water, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men. The rest of the people bent down on their knees to drink. Jehovah now said to Gidʹe·on: “I will save you with the 300 men who lapped the water, and I will give Midʹi·an into your hand. But let all the other people go back home.”"
Naturally, we get told the same reasoning from Muslim apologists, as gets thrown about by Christians when they need to explain away inaccuracies in their holy book. Basically, what needs to be understood is that Saul probably followed Gideons example in choosing soldiers, and the Koran is just complimenting the Bible by giving some extra details. However, this can be easily disregarded as in 1 Samuel 17 it explicitly refers to the men of Israel and not just a group.
"Saul and the men of Israel assembled and camped in the Valley"
So once again we have the Koran, and its apologists, making up shit as it goes along, but this is meant to be the one true message from the one true God??

By the way, I do not think the Bible is accurate. The only reasoning I am referencing it as fact here, is as it is fairly obvious that the Koran was borrowing from it.

Moving on to verse 250, we get another mistake in the lending of mythology, as the Koran refers to the Philistines as the troops of Goliath
"So when they marched out for [encounter with] Goliath and his troops, they said, ‘Our Lord, pour patience upon us, make our feet steady, and assist us against the faithless lot.’"
However, in 1 Samuel again we see that this is not true as Goliath was just the champion fighter
"Then a champion came out from the camps of the Phi·lisʹtines; his name was Go·liʹath,"

Anyway, besides the error, we next hear the end of this well known story (see here if you want a detailed account). To sum it up briefly, David the king in waiting defeats Goliath, and then the Israelites go on a mass genocide and kill Philistines wherever they find them as they force them back to their cities. Importantly, this mass killing was allowed by Allah
"These are the signs of Allah which We recite for you in truth, and you are indeed one of the apostles."

Now, that Allah allows this genocide to happen is important, as the idea of having Champions in battle (i.e Goliath and David) is so that a war can be avoided. As such when David defeated Goliath, the war was over. Any fighting after that was sheer brutality, and as it is endorsed by God, we have to ask why would anyone serve this God.

 Allah approved (Source)

The last verse we will deal with here is 253, which we will deal with in sections. First off, we need to realize that some prophets, i.e. Muhammad, are more important than others. As such we should adhere to there words more than the other lesser prophets.
"These are the apostles, some of whom We gave an advantage over others: of them are those to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He raised in rank, and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, manifest proofs and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit.
Amazingly, we then get told that any bad prophecy and fighting that occurs is due to Allah allowing it to happen. How fucked up is that? I mean if you are powerful enough to admit that you allow bad stuff to happen, then you are essentially admitting what a colossal prick you are.
"Had Allah wished, those who succeeded them would not have fought each other after the manifest proofs had come to them. But they differed. So there were among them those who had faith and there were among them those who were faithless, and had Allah wished, they would not have fought one another;
I suppose the only way to understand this is by the closing fragment
"but Allah does whatever He desires."
In other words, Allah treats you like a baby. No rationalization, just pure dogma that you have to obey.

And that wraps up yet another reading of the Koran.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 29

We left off last week with Jacob making a covenant with Jehovah to look after him. Well today we see that Jehovah was not really holding up his end of the bargain, and so we enter the story that I like to call "Oh dear what a shame for Jacob, all irony intended."

As Jacob travels towards his mothers home he encounters upon some shepherds who are gathering their flocks to water them at a well. Fortuitously he ask them if they happen to know his Uncle Laban, and as is predicted they do know him, but on top of that his daughter Rachel the shepherdess will soon be at the well. Jacob is obviously overjoyed as his journey is close to completion, and it is also at this point that we see what a prat Jacob is as he has no regard for rules. He asks the shepherds why have they not watered their flocks yet, and they reply as follows.
"Then he said: “It is still the middle of the day. It is not the time for gathering the herds. Water the sheep, and then go feed them.” To this they said: “We are not allowed to do so until all the droves are gathered and they roll the stone away from the mouth of the well. Then we water the sheep.”"
So what does this law abiding god fearing respectful man do?
"When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laʹban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laʹban, Jacob immediately approached and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of Laʹban his mother’s brother."
I mean honorable that he feels the need to be so cool to his cousin, but darn why the hell would he feel the need to break rules for a shepherd that clearly also knows the rules.

Rachel then somehow gets the message back to her father that Jacob has arrived, and Jacob gets taken into the house where he stays and works for a month for Uncle Laban. At this time Uncle Laban realizes that perhaps he should at least be paying his nephew for the work he is doing so he brings a proposal to him.
"Laʹban then said to Jacob: “Just because you are my relative, should you serve me for nothing? Tell me, what are your wages to be?”"
somehow I don't think what follows is the answer that was expected somehow.
"Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, so he said: “I am willing to serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”"
Regardless Laban decides that his prostitute daughter is worth selling for seven years wages, and so Jacobs starts working for his sex slave.

After seven years Jacob then goes to Laban and demands his sex slave so that he can get down and have some rampant sex
"Then Jacob said to Laʹban: “Give over my wife because my days are up, and let me have relations with her.”"
Now for some reason Laban feels a bit of some type of emotion like guilt but not really, probably greed, but not too much as he decides to hoodwink Jacob and instead of giving his younger daughter Rachel he gives the older Leah.
"With that Laʹban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast.But during the evening, he resorted to taking his daughter Leʹah and bringing her to him that he might have relations with her."
What is astounding is that Jacob does not realize that the sex slave he beds that night is not Rachel, but instead Leah. In fact he only realizes the next morning.
"In the morning Jacob saw that it was Leʹah! So he said to Laʹban: “What have you done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why have you tricked me?”"
Now there is only two ways to interpret this, 1) Jacob was for lack of a better word fuck drunk, or 2) he is a liar that needed to get laid and did not really care who was underneath him. Now, I would have guessed that as he was on a mission for Jehovah that he would have not complained and accepted that this was his chosen wife, but then again that would be too simple. So lets see what complications arise next.

(Source)

"Laʹban said: “It is not our custom here to give the younger woman before the firstborn. Celebrate the week of this woman. After that you will also be given this other woman in exchange for serving me seven more years.”"
So father of the year Laban decides to sell both of his daughters into sexual slavery, but only on the promise that Jacob has a lot of sex with Leah. Needless to say Jacob does this, and then after a week he gets his intended trophy.
"Jacob did so and celebrated the week of this woman, after which he gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife."
What a sick person, I mean sisters, but sisters that are cousins. What does Jehovah endorse, incest? incest polygamy? Just so many questions that my head feels like exploding.

Needless to say we see a reiteration of the barren wife story in Genesis, with Rachel being barren due to Jacob giving more love to her than her sister Leah. As such Leah gets showered with children, and all these children have special names, and they may be names you remember if you have ever read the Bible before. They will become the names of the first four tribes of Israel, and they are;
Reuben - See a son
Simeon - Hearing
Levi - Adherence
Judah - Praised
So finally, we see the formation of the tribes that will become a center point of further studies in the old testament.

So what is the moral of the story today? Have sex with your cousins, but only if you love one more than the other?

Honestly, I gave up  along time ago trying to understand.

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 23 May 2016

Patterns of Evidence - The review of an Exodus "documentary"

The one thing that I frequently encounter as an atheist is theists that think I am inept at reading and understanding their specified sacred text. It is with ease that they chastise me and insult my intellect by implying that I don't understand simple sentence structures like " Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them". But, it gets worse! Once I have diligently explained their religious texts to these faithful servants I will no doubt get told to watch a movie or read a book that will help me understand. Many times I will read these books or watch these movies as I am an open minded person. The sad part is that nothing new or conclusive is ever presented, all these works contain is regurgitated debunked pseudo-scientific trash masquerading under the title of good information.

Now, let me give you a review of the movie that was meant to convince me that the Exodus story is true, welcome to "Patterns of Evidence" the simple review.


Simply put, there is only one question that needs answering to show that the entire "documentary" is tripe. For anything presented in the documentary to work, it is essential that David Rohl's New Chronology of the Ancient Near East be correct. I am not kidding, that is the critical point of this entire documentary. So, is the chronology valid?

No!

The Chronology that David Rohl suggests does not fit with Carbon 13 dating that has been conducted and supports the conventional chronology.  For example, the conventional chronology says that the New Kingdom of Egypt started in 1550, but according to Rohl it needs to start in 1194. I say needs, as these dates are essential for the Exodus to fit into the time-line. So, what does the science say? According to the article published in Science referenced above "Our radiocarbon data indicate that the New Kingdom started between 1570 and 1544 B.C.E., and the reign of Djoser in the Old Kingdom started between 2691 and 2625 B.C.E.; both cases are earlier than some previous historical estimates." There you have it, the science does not fit with the time-line that is needed for the evidence presented in this "documentary" to work.

That is all that needs to be said about this sorry attempt to deceive people. Perhaps the writers Tim Mahoney and Steve Law are not aware of this information, but I have to wonder about this as I could find it within a few minutes. On the other hand, it could be argued that the movie was already filmed before this information was made public. However, that does not hold up to scrutiny as this information was published in 2010 and the movie was released in 2014. This would then imply that this "documentary" was in post production and editing for about 3.5 years.

Nothing more to be said, case closed.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Reading The Koran - Sura 2 Verse 243 - 248

The one thing that struck me the first time that I read the Koran when I was still a Christian was the fact that Jesus, Abraham and other biblical characters arrive in the story. This fascinated me as I could not grasp why Muslims would want to believe the stories from the Bible, after all the Gods were different so why would the stories not be different. Now as an atheist with a sounder understanding of mythology and how the Abrahamic religions arose I think back and chuckle that I did not see it all earlier. This is why I believe education about religions is an important, as what a great way to show that it is all made up stories when you can see the similarities between them. In fact I would endorse a religious studies course in schools, but only if all the various religions got taught in an unbiased way.

Now back to the Koran, and straight away we dive into things that make no sense.
"Have you not regarded those who left their homes in thousands, apprehensive of death, whereupon Allah said to them, ‘Die,’ then He revived them? Indeed Allah is gracious to mankind, but most people do not give thanks."
Apparently, these thousand leaving home refers to the Israelites exodus from Egypt. But it seems rather random that it is here, so the only important message that I can take from here is that if we die then Allah can bring us back to life. Additionally as this section of the Koran has a subheading titled "Fighting in the Cause of Truth" I can only assume that we should be willing to die for Allah as he is the only one that can bring us back from death. As such the only reason to die in war would be when one fights for Allah. I also believe that this reasoning makes sense as the next verses says the following.
"Fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing."

Verse 245 lends from the Biblical and Jewish texts by telling us that Allah will give back a whole lot more to those that give to him
"Who is it that will lend Allah a good loan that He may multiply it for him severalfold? And Allah tightens and expands [the means of life], and to Him you shall be brought back."
As this part of the Koran is doing with violence in the name of Allah I am really not sure what one is meant to give and how it will get rewarded. Then again it is the disjointed Koran, so it may have nothing to do with violence, but just be a friendly reminder that you should be generous, although only if you want as we have learned about before.

(King Saul gets soothed. Source)

From thus point onwards, there is a lot of historical references to the Bible and the story of the Israelites. However, to truly understand these versus there is a need to reference the Bible verses. As such Red text will be Koran, and Green text will be Bible.

Verse 246 reads as follows
"Have you not regarded the elite of the Israelites after Moses, when they said to their prophet, ‘Appoint for us a king, that we may fight in the way of Allah.’ He said, ‘May it not be that you will not fight if fighting were prescribed for you?’ They said, ‘Why should we not fight in the way of Allah, when we have been expelled from our homes and [separated from] our children?’ So when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned back except a few of them, and Allah knows best the wrongdoers."
This basically refers to the Israelties wanting a king to listen to in terms of war, rather than listening to the words of Allah.
"1 Samuel 8:19-20 However, the people refused to listen to what Samuel told them, and they said: “No, we are determined to have a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, and our king will judge us and lead us and fight our battles.”"
A king or a politician ruling as such is considered no good if we follow the Biblical narrative, as a ruler can demand taxes from the people they rule as it becomes their right with respect to the job they do. So in essence if we are not giving to the church then we should give to our rulers, guess that phrase by Benjamin Franklin is perfectly correct "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". However, in the end a king was appointed by Samuel to rule over the people thereby replacing the traditional role of the patriarchs in the Biblical narrative Moses, Abraham, Isaac etc. Interestingly, life from this point on goes from bad to worse (relatively speaking of course) for the Israelites under there kings. So in this manner we are reminded that Allah is the best.

But, moving on. Allah then appoints Saul as king of the Israelties. However, when Samuel delivers this message, the Israelites are not happy.
"Their prophet said to them, ‘Allah has appointed Saul as king for you.’ They said, ‘How can he have kingship over us, when we have a greater right to kingship than him, as he has not been given ample wealth?’"
This is important, as it shows the fragility of peoples minds as they always believe they can do better than others. In a way it shows that we should only have God as our ruler, but this leaves us with a conundrum as there is no proof for God. So then we have to trust the self appointed prophets who speak with God, and essentially we are in a dictatorship. Eventually we then arrive at the democratic system which is still shunned by many religious fundamentalists and that makes perfect sense as rationality and religion do not go well together.

So, how does Samuel convince the Israelites that Saul is the appointed King?
"Their prophet said to them, ‘Indeed the sign of his kingship shall be that the Ark will come to you, bearing tranquillity from your Lord and the relics left behind by the House of Moses and the House of Aaron, borne by the angels. There is indeed a sign in that for you, should you be faithful.’"
So the ark (of the covenant) will be the sign that Saul is the king of the Israelites. Now the Ark had been claimed by the Philistines when they beat the Israelites, so we can gather that if Saul gets the Ark back that he would be king.
"1 Samuel 4:11 Moreover, the Ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eʹli, Hophʹni and Phinʹe·has, died."
However, the Ark was given back to the Israelites before Saul became king, so we have to use apologetics to explain what this Koranic verse means.
"1 Samuel 6:15 The Levites took down the Ark of Jehovah and the box that was with it, which contained the golden articles, and they put them on the large stone. The men of Beth-sheʹmesh offered up burnt offerings and made sacrifices on that day to Jehovah."
The one explanation I have heard is that Ark should actually be read as bringing of tranquility to the heart of those people who are upset with the choice of Saul as King. However, I do think it is probably just the writer of the Koran not reading the original Jewish texts well enough and screwing up. Or to put it more plainly to make the Koran work, you need to do mental gymnastics.

So what do you think about the Saul and Samuel story in the Koran?

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 28

Jacob has been told by his mother to escape the wrath of his brother Esau who is hell bent on killing him. However, before the new head of the tribe can leave he needs to get permission from his father, and so his father (on his mothers suggestion) tells him to go look for a bride. On first glance this would seem a simple task, however Isaac has other plans in mind as he does not want his precious son marrying a filthy Canaanite.
"So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and commanded him, saying: “You must not take a wife from the daughters of Caʹnaan. Go away to Padʹdan-aʹram to the house of Be·thuʹel, your mother’s father, and from there take for yourself a wife from the daughters of Laʹban, your mother’s brother."
Instead, Jacob must keep it in the family and marry a cousin instead. Now, while many may find this a bit too close to home it is not so close when we consider that most countries allow this type of marriage. Additionally, it is not so bad when we consider all the incest the Bible has condoned so far.

   First-cousin marriage legal

   Allowed with restrictions or exceptions

   Legality dependent on religion or culture

   Statute bans first-cousin marriage

   Banned with exceptions

   Criminal offense

   No available data

Once Jacob leaves we see something rather interesting happening with Esau. He overhears his father speaking to Jacob about his wife choice, and as such does what every scorned child does to annoy there parents. You guessed it, he decides to take another wife and she comes from Canaan, but to make matters worse she comes from Abraham's black sheep abondened child Ishmael's family.
"Eʹsau then realized that the daughters of Caʹnaan were displeasing to his father Isaac, so Eʹsau went to Ishʹma·el and took as wife Maʹha·lath the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishʹma·el, the sister of Ne·baʹioth, in addition to the other wives he already had."
There are many things to take away from this verse, with the most obvious being that as Esau is disrespecting his parents we can feel less sorry that Jacob stole his blessing. However, he clearly would not have felt the need to annoy his parents if they had just giving him what was rightfully his in the first place. Second, we see that as Esau was to serve Jacob it makes sense that he takes a wife from Ishmael's family as they are the antithesis of the holy family line from Abraham in the first place. As such, we are given another reason to dislike Esau, after all he is a traitor of the holy line. Lastly, we also get to see that polygamy is completely endorsed by the Bible as Esau already had more than one wife before taking a Canaanite wife. Go Polygamy!


Marriage According to the Bible

From Visually.

Now lets journey with Jacob in the desert as he sets course to find his new wife. Luckily for Jacob, and us, he gets to see how almighty God is when he falls asleep one night with a stone for a pillow. In this vision God tells Jacob all the things he has promised Abraham, and Isaac i.e. I will make you a great nation, you will have many cows, you will poop gold etc etc etc.
"“I am Jehovah the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you are lying, to you I am going to give it and to your offspring. And your offspring will certainly become like the dust particles of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and by means of you and by means of your offspring all the families of the ground will certainly be blessed. I am with you, and I will safeguard you wherever you go, and I will return you to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”"
But what is cool about this vision is that Jacob actually decides not to just trust the vision as he lays out exactly what he wants from God to prove himself to Jacob.
"Jacob then made a vow, saying: “If God will continue with me and will protect me on my journey and will give me bread to eat and garments to wear and I return in peace to the house of my father, then Jehovah will certainly have proved to be my God. And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will become a house of God, and without fail I will give you a tenth of everything you give to me.”"
This is interesting as Jacob tests Jehovah in ways that most Christians today would say is unacceptable. The question I ask is if this is good enough for one of the patriarchs of the Bible it surely should be good enough for any average Joe. So, if Jehovah is real I will never have to work a day in my life again as everything will be taken care off, good idea? I think not.

This verse above also in my opinion lays out a fundamental flaw with Christian faith, and that is the application of faith in a God who does not deliver. When God does deliver it usually can be attributed to hard work, or a helping hand. This is not God, this is either making your own luck or complete luck. The amazing thing about luck is that it happens rather often, in fact probably more than theistic miracle claims and yet no one is praising luck.

In closing, there is one tiny historical thing that needs a look at. The place Jacob has this dream he decides to name Bethel.
"So Jacob got up early in the morning and took the stone on which he had rested his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. So he named that place Bethʹel, but previously the city’s name was Luz."
The problem is that the place that is called Bethel and the place called Luz were not the same place according to some archaeologists. So if anything, this claim has not been verified, unless we take the Bible (or the website set up by Reverend Sun Myung Moon as truth) as the truth. However, what we can have is the Catholic Church and others investing a lot of money into finding out if their claims are true and thereby give to humanity. However, I am not going to hold my breathe on that, after all the Pope needs a new gold chair.

See you next week.

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 16 May 2016

Korean Pastor kills daughter and hides it for a year

A pastor and his wife in South Korea will get sentenced to some serious prison time, although in my opinion not enough, for beating his thirteen year old daughter to death. To make matters even worse these twisted sickos went a step further by hiding the fact for a year. As such when the police finally went into the house they found the mummified remains of the child, it is believed from the autopsy and testimony that the child was beaten for between 5 to 7 hours with wooden sticks before succumbing.

The reason for the beating is unclear, with claims about stealing from the church collection plate to coming home late being possibilities. Frankly, I don't care  why it happened, as the reason was irrational and carried out by irrational people. To make matters worse, the sickos believed that if they continued to pray for their dead child that she would be resurrected. Yes, there are actually people that believe prayer works in this world, even when it has been shown to not work.



This pastor was not only a leader of a church, but also a professor of theology. So we can ask, is this social standing the reason why people looked the other way sand let a dead child go missing for a year? The answer as disturbing as it may be is probably yes. Probably, because pastors, imams and rabbis get away with crap like this all around the world, as people honestly believe they are coming from a position of higher morality even though the evidence suggests this is not the case. Surely this is reason enough for us to see that irrational beliefs in Gods are anything but good for a society.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 verses 236 - 242

The Koran, that book that deems it necessary to repeat everything over and over again. This is not unlike the Bible, but the Koran really enjoys pushing the same point for multiple verses in a row, while the Bible makes you wait a few chapters. So, today we are once again dealing with divorce and how we should treat divorced women. I must again admit that not all of the divorce laws in the Koran are bad, if we hold the world-view that the man is the head of the household and the sole bread winner. Unfortunately, this is not in line with the reality we live in, but I think this should be kept in mind when looking at the verses that follow.

The value of sex in any relationship cannot be understated, in fact I would say that if your sex life is bad, your marriage may not last unless you adhere to some strict moral set that does not allow divorce, or if you adopt a polyamorous life to deal with those basic needs. As such the Koran lets us know that a  divorce can easily take place if the marriage is not consummated, but at the same time it says that even in these circumstances the man should take care of his ex-wife.
"There is no sin upon you if you divorce women while you have not yet touched them or settled a dowry for them. Yet provide for them —the well-off according to his capacity, and the poorly-off according to his capacity— with a sustenance that is honourable, an obligation on the virtuous."
For those observant readers the fact that if the dowry has not been paid also allows divorce does mean that you can still bang and run.  Interestingly this law does rely on the goodwill of those involved with an appeal to the virtue of the husband, as such the husband that does not care will still not care in all likelihood.

The next verse tells us what to do in case of a dowry that has been paid, yet you have not had the chance to consummate the marriage. It also does a great job at dodging what should be done.
"And if you divorce them before you touch them, and you have already settled a dowry for them, then [pay them] half of what you have settled, unless they forgo it, or someone in whose hand is the marriage tie forgoes it."
Now the male pays the dowry in Isalm, and if he divorces then he should get at least half of the money back. However, he is able to get all the money back if the wife allows it, or if the person who holds the marriage tie allows it. Now in Islam the marriage tie is held by the man and so he can effectively always get the money back, yet the Koran says he should only get half......contradiction anyone?

The next verse regarding divorce has to do with personal responsibility, basically it tells husbands that they should prepare for their family in case they die. This verse to me is freaking awesome.
"Those of you who die leaving wives shall bequeath for their wives providing for a year, without turning them out; but if they leave, there is no sin upon you in respect of what they may do with themselves observing honourable norms. And Allah is all-mighty, all-wise."
Perhaps I should mention here something that I tell many theists. There may be good stuff in your holy book, however, that does not mean God is real.



I think one really important thing to remember in Islam is that it relies on the honesty of the person who claims to be a Muslim. If said person is an ass they will be an ass, if they are a good person they will be good. As such Islam has no need for a God, unless that God is there to breed fear into the believer to force them to be good.

Finally I get to say, that was divorce rules.

Interestingly, among all these divorce rules is the following tidbit of information regarding the importance of prayer
"and should you fear [a danger], then [pray] on foot or mounted, and when you are safe, remember Allah, as He taught you what you did not know."
Basically this verse can be interpreted as follows. During fighting there is no need to stop and pray, as long as you pray and thank Allah for not allowing you to die during the fighting. Now, why would Allah allow you to be attacked in the first place if you have to pray for thanks after is not addressed, but it does make me wonder if Allah is so impotent as to not be able to stop people attacking his loyal servants. This is essentially the problem with these almighty gods, they are very far away from any type of almightiness.

There you have it, get married, get divorced and just remember to pray so that you can thank the almighty Allah for allowing you to marry a person that is going to divorce you.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 27

Genesis 27 is traditionally known as the tale of Jacob pulling the wool over the eyes of his father Isaac to steal his brothers blessing. To me, Genesis 27 is a summary of the functioning of a seriously dysfunctional family. So let us look at the families figures and the parts they play in the story of Jacob stealing Esau's blessing.

Father Isaac.

Of all the characters in this tale, I probably feel the most for Isaac as he is old and blind. It is these reasons that lead to him being duped into giving the eldest sons (Esau) blessing to the young usurper Jacob. However, it was foretold that Jacob would become the more important brother so I would expect him to have been more careful, especially since Jacob had already made a deal to steal/take Esau's birthright. It could be argued that Isaac was careful in that he checked if Jacob was hairy and smelt him to make sure he smelt like his brother, but he even said that the fake Esau sounded like Jacob so my sympathy runs a little thin.
"So Jacob came near to his father Isaac, and he felt him, after which he said: “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Eʹsau.”"
So, yes Isaac was deceived. But after his family have seen all his dubious business dealings in the past it is hardly surprising that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Mother Rebekah.

It is a difficult toss up between who is the main deviant in the story, but I have to say it is Rebekah for the simple fact that she says she will take all the blame if the plan to deceive Isaac fails.
"What if my father feels me? Then I will certainly appear to be mocking him, and I will bring upon myself a curse rather than a blessing.” At this his mother said to him: “Upon me be the curse meant for you, my son. Just do as I say and go, get them for me.”"
She is also the one that tells Jacob of the plan after overhearing Isaac talking to Esau about how it is time for him to get the blessing. To top it off this mastermind, uses goat hair to mimic Esau's hairy body, cooks stew for Isaac that is to his liking, and clothes Jacob in Esau's clothes to mask his natural scent. Mother of the year?

Jacob, the deviant son.

It is not surprising that Jacob gets the blessing from Isaac really. After all he fits the mold of Biblical Patriarch perfectly by being a deviant that cheats his way to the top. He really has no hesitation in lying and deceiving, as such we can truly only expect the best for him.
"Jacob said to his father: “I am Eʹsau your firstborn. I have done just as you told me. Sit up, please, and eat some of my game, so that you may bless me.” At that Isaac said to his son: “How were you so quick in finding it, my son?” He replied: “Because Jehovah your God brought it to me.” .......... After that he asked: “Are you really my son Eʹsau?” to which he replied: “I am.”"
So after all the lies, under the gaze of the just Jehovah we get Jacob receiving the blessing, and it is a good blessing as Jacob even gets to have his brother as a slave. Additionally, he basically gets blessed in a way that makes him a god as others will bless him and then be blessed.
"Let peoples serve you, and let nations bow low to you. Be master over your brothers, and let the sons of your mother bow low to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you.”"
Pretty cool really, so from now on you can direct all your prayers to Jacob as he is probably less busy than God.

Esau, the other deviant son.

So Esau is the big loser in this whole story, as he has lost everything at this point. In fact there is nothing Isaac can give to him except a promise that he has to serve his younger brother.
"But Isaac answered Eʹsau: “Here I have appointed him master over you, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and I have bestowed grain and new wine for his support. What is left that I can do for you, my son?”"
Then to rub salt into the wounds, Isaac gives the following blessing.
"“See, away from the fertile soils of the earth your dwelling will be, and away from the dew of the heavens above. And by your sword you will live, and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will indeed break his yoke off your neck.”"
Needless to say Esau was not pleased with all that has transpired, and so he plans to kill his own brother. Now, this just shows what a truly dysfunctional family this is, as what ever happened to talking things over before reverting to the dull edges of the stone age sword.

In closing, luckily for Jacob, Rebekah overhears what Esau is planning and gets Jacob to run away like any good son with every blessing should do. However, as with everything Rebekah, this runaway was well coordinated in such a way that Isaac actually sends him away to get married and thereby saves Jacob the embarrassment of being a coward. But, that is a story for next week.

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All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 9 May 2016

An ungodly waste of time

I am pro-choice.

These words while harmless to most can spark a rage which converts a nerdy scientist into a serial killer on the level of John Wayne Gacy. It is also reason why I mostly refuse to debate pro-life/anti-abortionists, as it shows a complete misunderstanding of what the position pro-choice, or pro abortion rights, actually means. In fact, I find debating anti-abortionists far more tedious and time consuming than debating any conspiracy theorist or rabid theist. On first glance the previous sentence may lead you to believe that this time consumption translates into fact based arguments and a debate that still has not been decided. However, the reason is far more simple.

Debating any anti-abortion proponent is like debating a whac-a-mole game. You will never get a real reason as to why said person is pro-life, instead your opponent will bounce around their pseudo science or non-researched views. Then when they have eventually have painted themselves into a corner, you will get told you don't understand the science or some other illogical rant and they will runaway and refuse to engage any facts. An example of the irrational that runs deep in these proponents is how they do not understand basic science, for example they will tell you that life begins at fertilization and that cell fusion (i.e. fertilization) is unique, while not realizing that cell fusion occurs not only in fertilization. At this point, no longer is fertilization special, and as such for life to be special it has to begin before fertilization?

I just wish anti-abortion proponents would give the real reason they are against abortion. How much easier it would be to debate someone who says I do not support abortion based on religious or misogynistic views. If you cannot admit that there is an emotional, or irrational, attachment to an issue then largely there is no reason to discuss an issue with you. All it does is show that you are not willing to engage in a conversation in a logical way. Just consider many atheists and their attacks on the Josh Duggar as a perfect example of irrational thought at use.

 
  Legal on request
  Legal for maternal life, health, mental health, rape, fetal defects, and/or socioeconomic factors
  Illegal with exception for maternal life, health, mental health, rape, and/or fetal defects
  Illegal with exception for maternal life, health, mental health, and/or rape
  Illegal with exception for maternal life, health, and/or mental health
  Illegal with no exceptions
  Varies
  No informationxxxxxxxxxx

On a side note, everyone does have emotional attachments. However, we can try our best to engage these issues in a logical and honest way.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verses 232-235

Todays reading of the Koran teaches us how to deal with divorced and widowed wives. I will admit there is a lot of stuff to respect in the reading today, however as with a lot of Koran verses it really comes down to the person and as such the good should be treated loosely. In fact todays reading goes a long way in proving that morality is subjective and not objective! This is remarkable when one considers that the Koran is trying to push objective morality onto its followers.

The first verse we consider deals with others hindering divorced couples getting remarried, with Allah basically commanding that if a previously divorce couple wants to remarry then you are under no circumstances to stand in there way. If a family member, or any other person, stands in the way of this marriage then they will be punished in the after life.
"When you divorce women and they complete their term, do not thwart them lest they should [re]marry their husbands, when they honourably reach mutual consent. Herewith are advised those of you who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That will be more decent and purer for you, and Allah knows and you do not know."
Generally I do not have a problem with this, as I think people should not interfere in others affairs. However, in cases of domestic abuse and specifically battered person syndrome, surely this is the worst advice to be giving. Would it not be better in a case like this for the family to interfere and try their best to thwart a remarriage?

So, breast feeding? Yes, there is a section covering this in the Koran so lets not complain about thoroughness, although I am sure they will skip important facts like quantum mechanics and gravity.
"Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years, —that for such as desire to complete the suckling— and on the father shall be their maintenance and clothing, in accordance with honourable norms. No soul is to be tasked except according to its capacity: neither the mother shall be made to suffer harm on her child’s account, nor the father on account of his child, and on the [father’s] heir devolve [duties and rights] similar to that. And if the couple desire to wean, with mutual consent and consultation, there will be no sin upon them."
So breast feeding by divorced mothers is recommended for two years, however there are a large number of reasons why it can be disregarded, such as 1) mutual consent, 2) desire of the father, or 3) desire of the guardian of the dead father. So basically the law as required by the Koran is to be interpreted as you wish, or simply put objective laws as required by Allah are not objective. Surely, this simple contradiction here shows that the Koran should be dismissed as a message from the one true God as it cannot even get the basics of objective morality right. The other option is that morality is really subjective, and in that case the need for an objective God ceases to exist. However, if God then is subjective, what is the point of God?





Lastly, in this verse there is mention that a guardian should take care of a widowed wife. This is a noble gesture and one I respect in general. However, when it says the fathers heir has rights and duties similar to that of the father, then I start to get suspect. With any stone age belief set, that usually translates into the women having to take this guardian as a husband in all ways except name. However, I will say here though that Islamic apologists say this does not happen in their religion, then again it no longer happens in Christianity either.


Verse 234 is a verse that shows men that they have to worry about their wives even after they are dead, in fact they are responsible for everything a wife does after their death for four months and ten days.
"As for those of you who die leaving wives, they shall wait by themselves four months and ten days, and when they complete their term, there will be no sin upon you in respect of what they may do with themselves in accordance with honourable norms. And Allah is well aware of what you do."
No, I have no idea what this means. Its just random gibberish if you ask me. If I had to waiver a guess, I would say the writer was getting paid by word count and needed to but another cup of coffee at Starbucks.

The last verse (235) deals with those men that have an eye on a recently widowed women. Basically, they are meant to wait the allocated  mourning period before letting their feelings known. Although, you don't have to wait the allocated time if you are prepared to go public with the expression of desire. However, even if you express this desire you have to wait the prescribed mourning period before getting married.
"There is no sin upon you in what you may hint in proposing to [recently widowed] women, or what you may secretly cherish within your hearts. Allah knows that you will be thinking of them, but do not make troth with them secretly, unless you say honourable words, and do not resolve on a marriage tie until the prescribed term is complete."
Now, if this above verse sounds contradictory.....it is.

See you next time when we will finally finish up with divorce issues.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 26

"Now there was a famine in the land.."
Okay, so there is a famine in the land, and as such Isaac uproots his people and they go live among the Philistines in Gerar. At this point, we can assume that Isaac was thinking of heading down to Egypt like his father before him, however Jehovah does not want this and he lets Isaac know in no uncertain terms. Of course, Jehovah does not only tell Isaac not to go to Egypt, but he also reiterates his covenant with Abraham. As Isaac is the rightful heir to Abraham's title, it is obvious that he should be gifted  Abraham's gifts. Okay, it does not make sense, but it does establish the gifting of privilege and property to the eldest son.
"Then Jehovah appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt. Dwell in the land that I designate to you. Reside as a foreigner in this land, and I will continue with you and bless you because to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will carry out the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.......on account of the fact that Abraham listened to my voice and continued to keep my requirements, my commands, my statutes, and my laws.”"
Amazingly, Jehovah is able to guarantee the giving of a settled country to a single man, but he is not able to sort out a simple famine.....anyone else see a minor problem here?

Now while Isaac is living among the Philistines, he decides to follow his fathers brilliant example and lies to the people about his wife Rebekah.
"When the men of the place kept asking about his wife, he would say: “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife,” for he said, “The men of the place might kill me because of Re·bekʹah,” for she was beautiful in appearance."
So, as with his father Isaac deems it necessary to lie when a God has promised him bountiful blessings, it is almost as if he does not believe Jehovah will protect and bless him. Oh, and thats disregarding the fact that Rebekah is his wife who surely he should want to protect if we are to believe the Christians who claim family values. Perhaps Isaacs lack of conviction is what makes Jehovah love him so much. Unfortunately for Isaac, and fortunately for Rebekah,  Abimelech the king of the Philistines in Gerar finds out that Isaac has been lying. But instead of throwing him out of the area where he so graciously took Isaac and his people in, he commands his people not to touch her or they will get the death penalty.
"But A·bimʹe·lech continued: “What have you done to us? One of the people could easily have lain down with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us!” Then A·bimʹe·lech commanded all the people, saying: “Anybody touching this man and his wife will surely be put to death!”"
After this time Jehovah starts blessing Isaac immensely and Isaac becomes the wealthiest and mightiest person in the area. The poor king that had Isaacs back needless to saygets nothing. Needless to say this new found wealth does not sit well with the Philistines, and so they move to get Isaac ejected from the area.

The Philistines subvert Isaac by filling up the wells he is using, which were dug by his fathers slaves. Then, Abimelech goes to Isaac and tells him that he must leave as he has become to strong.
"A·bimʹe·lech then said to Isaac: “Move from our neighborhood, for you have grown far stronger than we are.”"
What the Philistines did was very wrong, but then what Isaac does next is just as bad. Simply put Isaac does not leave Gerar as requested.
"So Isaac moved from there and encamped in the valley of Geʹrar and began dwelling there."
So, we have a good Christian role-model yet again not obeying requests. Needless to say apologists try get around this refusal by Isaac by saying he moved but not very far. However, this is rubbish, as Isaac re-digs the wells that the Philistines filled in which Abraham had "dug" long ago, see Genesis 21, as such it is impossible for him to have moved.
"And Isaac again dug the wells that had been dug in the days of his father Abraham but that the Phi·lisʹtines had stopped up after Abraham’s death,"
Needless to say the Philistines start complaining and arguing that these wells are theirs, and so we embark on a journey of well naming.
1) Eʹsek which means contention,
2)  Sitʹnah which means accusation, and
3) Re·hoʹboth which means broad places, and this well is one the Philsitines did not argue about as he had moved far enough away. Needless to say the reason for no argument is not that he did not move before, it has to do with Jehovah blessing him. I think Isaac lacks rational thinking, perhaps the apple does not fall far from the tree.
"It is because now Jehovah has given us ample room and has made us fruitful in the land."

So, now that Isaac has ample land and a well that works, what does he decide to do?
Thats right you guessed it, he moves to another place, and that night Jehovah comes and speaks to him again.

"Then he went up from there to Beʹer-sheʹba. That night Jehovah appeared to him..."
I just don't get it, why mention all this well stuff and then just get up and move. Is this whole story about the well just a way to start the everlasting Christian persecution complex.

Now while Isaac was living up in Beesheba, we get Abimelech, his army general and personal advisor coming to visit Isaac. Needless to say Isaac is rightfully annoyed after the whole well incident. However the Philistines come in peace and want to make a covenant with them that he will never attack them as they did not harm him when he lived among them. Needless to say Isaac accepts this and so he makes and oath with the Philistines. 
"So we said, ‘Let there, please, be an oath of obligation between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you that you will do nothing bad to us just as we have not harmed you, seeing that we have done only good to you in that we sent you away in peace. You now are the blessed of Jehovah.’”........ In the morning they got up early and swore an oath to each other."
In this way we can perceive Isaac as a forgiving God loving man, however there is the other option the Philistines really did nothing wrong and just wanted an oath that this strong neighbor will not attack them. Perhaps the Philistines knew more about Isaac than the Bible did?

Now History time, the day that Ablimelech had left, Isaacs slaves came to him and told him about a new well. Apparently, this well was so great that the city of Beersheba still stands to this day in the place of this well. Unfortunately, this Beersheba that still exists is not referring to the Israelite town of Beersheba, but rather the abandoned city of Tel Beer Sheva. Its at times like this that we can see the Bible apologetics fails epically in its claims, either they mention the real site, but then it does not stand today. So the obvious leap is to use the current city, however that is not what it is referencing. So the Bible is either contradictory or inaccurate, not an easy choice.

The closing 2 versus of the chapter deal with Esau disappointing his parents by his taking of two wives. Naturally, Isaac and Rebekah are not angry with the fact that he has more than one wife. They are angry that he chose Hittites to get married to, good to see the hatred alive and kicking. Not sure why the Hittites are bad, but perhaps I have not go there yet.

See you next week.

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All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Case for Christ the movie - Part 3 The Resurrection.

Click here for part one and two.

This following disclaimer come directly from part two of the review, and it is as relevant here as before.

First I feel we need to insert a disclaimer here that refers to part one of the movie. Basically for an analysis of part two of this movie we have to accept the "evidence" for factual gospels as presented in part one. However, as I have demonstrated this so called evidence is not legitimate. This needs to be kept in mind, and would erase the need for part two and three of the review. However, I feel that I should at least complete the review lest I get called out by some theist that would say I did not give it a fair chance.

The Resurrection.

Lee Stroebel again brings us a group of experts so we can know that we are assessing the resurrection in an unbiased and factual way. The experts are the non biased William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas and Michael Licona.

Now there is one thing that me an the experts do agree on. Simply put Jesus must have died, after all if he did not die then he could not be resurrected. It is also important here that we should notice that, according to the experts, all the gospels should give the same account as to where Jesus was buried, i.e. the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. This is rather interesting, as in part one of the review it was essential that the gospels are different as they make the gospels more human. Now in contrast the gospels have to be precisely the same. Additionally, the fact that Jesus was buried in this tomb is important as Joseph of Arimathea was big shot in the time than Jesus lived. This leads credibility (some how) to the fact that Jesus was important, as why else would he be offered a tomb of an influential person.

So before we carry on, what have we learned so far? We have learned that depending what question you want answered you need to interpret the Bible differently. Additionally, we have learned that Jesus was dead. Naturally these two important facts bring us to the all important question.

Was the Resurrection real?

The first piece of evidence toted by apologist is the argument that women found the tomb empty, and it is reported as such in the Bible that women found an empty tomb, This is meant to imply that we should trust this account as women at that time were not to be trusted and so by the Bible putting this information down it illustrates that Jesus certainly was resurrected. Or, it could mean the Bible itself is saying that the resurrection never happened and the women who were not to be trusted really were not to be trusted. Which one is more plausible based on the information we have?

The second piece of information that is meant to make us believe the gospel story is that the guards at the tomb who didn't find Jesus body were approached by their superiors who wanted to pay them off for not going public.
"When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'"
Well, I mean did the Romans really care, especially when very soon (Emperor Nero is a coming) we are going to start hearing complaints that Christian persecution is savage and brutal. So this tale of the guards is for me something that could be true for many reasons, like appeasement, it could be true, or they honestly did not care about an upstart religion. Lets not forget the reason Jesus was crucified was due to the Jewish elders going to Pilate and basically creating a stink about this upstart cult.

So far we have two pieces of evidence for a resurrection from a source that needs a resurrection to hold any weight. So, are we going to get any external verification? The simple answer is no, we are not.

So what other evidence is there to support the resurrection. Well, hundred of people saw Jesus alive, naturally Jesus only appeared to believers mainly who could misinterpret events, or who may never have seen Jesus before and were in fact just looking at some other random dude who had not shaved in 3 days. I said mainly, as the case of Saul (who became Paul) is one of a conversion experience when he saw Jesus. Granted its again all told in that big book of truth so it must be true. However, on a lark to be skeptical I found that this account of the blindness of Saul and what followed has alternative explanations such is sun stroke.

Lastly, we get told that persecution of early Christians and throughout the Roman Empire proves the resurrection. This is convoluted rationalization, as it says people are more willing to get persecuted for their beliefs if they believe it is true, and this staying true is simple as we all know the resurrection was true. Convoluted? Yes, very, however, I think I got the main points.

So did the persecution of the Christians happen. Well, yes under Nero for about 2 years there was persecution of the Christians in Rome due to Nero pinning the blame of a massive fire on the Christians. This was a horrific thing to do, as it is likely the Christians were not guilty of starting the fire. However, either way, the Christians were not persecuted for their beliefs, they were just persecuted due to an arrogant emperor who took the easy way out of a crisis. Reminds me of the Republican and Democrat nominees in many ways.

Then the next persecution occurred in the year 300 and further, at which point Christianity is now beast of a religion and the resurrection is well established as doctrine. The reason people are now getting prosecuted and not giving up their faith no longer has anything to do with specific tenants it has to do with a life choice and sticking to it. This is totally commendable, however to equate this as proof of the resurrection is pure lunacy.

So was the resurrection real? I am not convinced.

Perhaps this movie may help you understand what I mean, by the reality and reliability of eyewitness evidence.