Columns DIY Faith Opinion Tara Isabella Burton: Religion Remixed

The evolution of sin

“The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden” depiction of Adam and Eve in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

(RNS) —  Julia Scheeres always knew she was a sinner.

Raised in Indiana by fundamentalist evangelical parents, Scheeres grew under a moral code defined by obligation and fear.

“God,” she wrote recently, “was a megaphone bleating in my head: ‘You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad!’”

When she had kids of her own, Scheeres decided to raise them without the concept of sin, an approach she described recently in a New York Times essay.

After losing her faith, Scheeres says her “notion of sin has evolved.”

She does not fear arbitrary punishment by an invisible God, but rather the ramifications of “real-world concerns”: racism, economic inequality, injustice.

“To me,” she concludes, “the greatest sin of all is failing to be an engaged citizen of the world.”

While Scheeres’ criticism of the Christian concept of sin is fairly simplistic — there are plenty of mainstream contemporary Christian traditions whose paradigms of sin look pretty similar to the one Scheeres has now chosen — she raises a vital question.

Writer Julia Scheeres in 2005. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

What does it mean to be a “sinner” in secular America?

For the 24 percent of Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated, the deontological approach Scheeres grew up with — a litany of divinely mandated thou-shalt-nots designed to stymie any form of human pleasure — is culturally as well as theologically alien.

What has persisted — as much in the form of our modern conception of the “Protestant work ethic” as in Christian theology proper — is a sense that virtue, and vice, are inextricably linked to self-control.

One of the biggest repositories of sin-related language in secular America, after all, is in the diet and food industries: We talk about sinful desserts, spicy sauces that are hellfire hot.

When it comes to food, clearly, eating for pleasure, for sensation, rather than efficiency qualifies as sin. When food becomes more than fuel — and “virtuous,” organic, sustainable fuel at that — it is the devil’s work.

Even today, contemporary “wellness” culture often makes use of the same dichotomy — albeit cloaked in the pseudo-scientific language of health.

There might not be “good” foods and “bad” foods — linked exclusively to calorie count — but there are still “clean” foods and “dirty ones.” Admitting to dieting may no longer be socially acceptable, but we’re expected nevertheless to crow about our “unprocessed,” “toxin-free” meals and the “cleansed” (and, yes, thinner) bodies that house them.

Hell, as illustrated in “Hortus deliciarum.” Image by artist Herrad of Landsberg circa 1180. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

The rhetoric of shame, guilt and filth is still there, but it has been stripped of its spiritual meaning.

All this gives temptation a discomfitingly capitalist, individualistic turn.

Avoiding sin means eating right, exercising and meditating. These are not spiritually enhancing, however; they allow us to be more productive.

Meditation apps don’t promise enlightenment; they offer that “Happier and healthier employees have been shown to be more productive, resilient and creative.” Self-care doubles as maintenance of human capital.

Forgoing chocolate cake for salad becomes not a virtue but simply choosing one feeling — purity — over pleasure.

But our Protestant-infused cultural conception of sin as a lack of individual willpower is starting to change. Both theistic and “secular” American conceptions of sin are becoming more community-focused.

Just look at Scheeres. Her view of sinfulness trades personal piety for social betterment. Her view of sin isn’t just about the individual, but about the individual’s role in the world.

Though her daughter does know what the word “sin” means, Scheeres says her daughter’s moral code is one she “follows not from obligation, but from her own desire to make the world a better place.”

This isn’t an entirely new idea.

St. Augustine’s conception of original sin was not so different from the current secularist idea of a broken world as a challenge, an opportunity to cast off oppression.

If today’s generation has inherited sins like racism and misogyny from the society around us, we still have the chance to change it.

In the words of the Orthodox priest Father Zosima in Dostoevsky’s great theological novel “The Brothers Karamazov,” “we are all responsible to one another for everything”: a responsibility of both hideous weight and of staggering potential.

The early Christians had a term for this sense of responsibility: the creation of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Ironically, secular ideas about making the world a better place may have more to do with the words of Jesus himself than the conceptions of sin that Scheeres grew up with. Jesus called his disciples to be the “light of the world.”

Now, more and more of us — whatever our faith — are feeling called to do so.

About the author

Tara Isabella Burton

Burton, who received a doctorate in theology from Oxford University, is at work on a book about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in America, to be published in November 2020 by Public Affairs. Her novel, “Social Creature,” was published in June 2018.

199 Comments

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  • What is the strongest desire imprinted in the dna of humans? sex. What is the sin the church talks about the most. sex. Perfect way to control people. Tell them that what they were created to desire is sin, and we, the church have the only way to save you. Nice con if you can get away with it.

  • I had an odd instance of realizing this disconnect between the way Jesus talks about sin as systems and forces of evil in the world and the way Christians in my own church think sin is just “I did a bad.”

  • How fortunate for us that sin has evolved. 50 years ago, killing a baby was a sinful act; but now, thanks to human reason and rationalization (evolution); it is not. I look forward to the day when sin has been evolved away altogether.
    Sin is always sin as truth is always truth. They are constants defined by God.
    Man’s interpretation of both is influenced by his desire to turn away from God and ease his conscience.
    It’s not surprising that Scheeres loss of faith has influenced her thoughts of sin; after all, it was probably her concept of sin and conscience that caused her to detach from her faith.

  • Sin is defined by divine law and what constitutes a sin varies between religions. The United States is not based on divine law and thus sin has no legal meaning.

  • WHAT GOOD IS IT, THOUGH?! – this Julia Scheeres’ “daughter’s moral code [where] she ‘follows not from obligation, but from her own desire to make the world a better place'”?! Can’t they both see?! – that:

    (1) There is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Nobody ever gathers figs from thorns, or grapes from a briar bush. Likewise, then, the good person brings forth what is good out of the good treasure stored within that person; and the no-good person brings forth what is no-good out of the treasure that’s no-good in the first place.

    (2) Nothing good dwells in Julia Scheeres, in her daughter or in me, in our respective flesh. The willing to be good is present in each one of us, but the doing of the good is not. I want the good, but I do not do the good. Instead, the no-good that her daughter does not want, she ends up doing it. But if Julia Scheeres is doing the very thing she doesnot want, what does she call that part of her that’s really doing that? Is there a foreign law operating in the members of my body that’s actually waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of that law? WHAT IS THAT LAW CALLED, Tara Isabella Burton, according to your useless doctorate in theology from Oxford University?! ISN’T THERE A PLAIN, UNCOMPLICATED NAME FOR THAT?!

  • Indeed it is ironic. But when the consequences of that particular sin become rudely apparent, the evolution of repentance will have begun! As to Mr. Johnson’s answer below, he is forgetting again about Natural Law, which was recognized by the authors of the Declaration of Independence. Signing off, as a sinner, but with the hope of Redemption, TiredCatholic.

  • I showed those 2 paragraphs to Friendly Atheist(s) when they were experimenting with their so-called “Mere Morality” (sans God). And they did all go, Yeah, alright, so our “moral code” is out of order, but what else have we got, and why are you so pessimistic about it?

    That only confirms for me that Julia Scheeres & Tara Isabella Burton here, too, are experimenting with “Mere Morality”. That their Nones-sensicalism is just Asheism & Eggnogshtickysm by other means. Tickling each other’s ears, is all.

    So, indeed – “Hail our DELIVERER, Jesus Christ.”

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Natural law looks like a suitable basis for morality.

    It’s worked in international law fairly well.

  • In law it’s called Natural Law, not morality or sin.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  • It may be the strongest desire imprinted in something in you.

    Food and water probably take precedence in normal folks.

  • Religious freedom means nobody ever has to care what one considers sin outside of your own little faith group. It means our laws aren’t there to defend the tenets of your faith. Sin is personal. Don’t expect to be pointing out and attacking others for their sins without a reaction.

  • Natural law = Catholics making stuff up to justify arbitrary positions. It is a form of argument by stipulation. To present a point but not bother to support it rationally or with evidence.

  • All true, but don’t forget the nonsense Christianity (especially the Catholic church) peddles about all of us being somehow guilty because of the “sins” of Adam & Eve.

    Not to mention, of course, the sins that the RCC began peddling and overlooking since its formation.

  • interestingly, Jesus talked most about the love of money. He also talked and lived a life of not just refraining from murder, stealing and adultery but loving rather than hating, giving rather than taking and being faithful rather than faithless.

  • are you saying I need to remove the log from my own eye before I try to take the splinter out of my neighbor’s? Sounds familiar…

  • I think there is a stronger baser desire printed on dna of humans – survival. If you’re having sex and you suddenly realize your house is burning down, you’re probably not going to finish what you’re doing before running for cover… 🙂 Beyond that, I believe that unless we make a conscious effort otherwise, people are inherently selfish, which is where most conflict (sin) comes from. Where I agree with you is that our selfish desire leads to a pursuit of pleasure (see Mark C’s quote of the Declaration), which is often and/or most notably manifested by a desire for sex. And I agree the church is preoccupied with sex, to the point where they have to say “not all sex is bad”. As if that wasn’t self-evident.

  • You’re off to a slow start today.
    No natural law means no separation of church and state you praise daily.

  • Natural Law predates Catholicism by many many years, and is held in high esteem by some quite intelligent people:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
    equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
    Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
    Happiness.”

    Of course that may leave you out.

  • “It means our laws aren’t there to defend the tenets of faith.” except, of course, for those tenets you happen to like such as the prohibitions against stealing from you or murdering you.

    We might be able to arrange exceptions in the laws when it comes to you if that would make you happier.

  • Sin as someone points out below in a comment is a religious concept and as such it doesn’t apply to people of other religions or to non-religious folk. The idea and pronouncements were created to keep people in line–subservient and obedient AND to keep them from harming and killing each other and destroying each others property. The problem many Religions have with their concept of sin is that it hasn’t grown and matured along with human development!

    Morality is about our interactions with other people and other living things. Moral concepts develop from what we are taught, from what we learn, from what we experience first hand, and from what we observe. It grows and matures as we grow and mature (or at least as some of us grow and mature). There are unfortunately many who never seem to grow or mature in their conception of morality. Many expose themselves on these comment pages.

    There is a good and a not-so-good side to all human beings. This appears in infants with their kicking out and cries when they are frustrated! It is the natural part of our human nature.

    We have the choice to develop and nurture the good side of our nature or we can do nothing and let the bad side of our nature take control or intentionally choose to develop and nurture the bad side of our nature.

    What we have chosen is displayed to the world in our day to day words and actions–how we treat other people, how we treat other living things (plants, animals and our planet) and how we treat ourselves.

    You show us with your words and actions which side of your nature you have chosen to develop!

  • A little simplistic, but I can essentially agree. Human nature abhors a vacuum (to paraphrase a familiar quote), and in giving up the true world myths associated with religion (e.g., heaven, Nirvana, etc.), another fills the gap. Fertile ground within which new species of ‘sin’ can take root.

  • Sin is a word which describes a wilful failure in observance of a moral law. The very same concept applies to people of various religions and to the non-religious when they wilfully fail to observe civil laws.

    Laws are created to help create a society in which people actually want to live.

    The notion that those laws should “grow. and mature. along with human development” is based on the erroneous notion that mankind in general is on upward moral trajectory, which is periodically debunked by events such as the Bolshevik reign of terror, the Third Reich, and the likes of Pol Pot. Beware the Id.

    Moral concepts appear to be inherent in human nature in the Natural Law.

  • And the Christian mumbo-jumbo sin that cries out to the universe for punishment? God the Father sending his only Son to die for OUR sins.

    “Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans
    who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus,
    but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may
    infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express
    my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in
    order to be reconciled to us.”

    “Traditionally, Christians have said, ‘See how Christ’s passion was foretold by the prophets.”
    Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the
    events of Jesus’ last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were
    created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his
    execution, was still and always held in the hands of God.”

    “In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time,
    including Jesus, brings dead people back to life.”

    – J. D. Crossan

  • The author noted:
    “Ironically, secular ideas about making the world a better place may have more to do with the words of Jesus himself than the conceptions of sin that Scheeres grew up with. Jesus called his disciples to be the “light of the world.”
    But did Jesus really utter the “light of the world” (John 8:12) phrase? No he did not as per http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb021.html
    And I consider a grave sin not to do proper referencing for anything you write as fact.
    eferencing anything from John’s gospel as fact is actually sinful. e.g.
    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his
    book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,
    “Anyone looking for the historical
    Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. “

  • I would just LOVE for you to come to Chicago and see how [your concept of sin] has developed and matured with humanity.
    You wish to play in the gray area where man gets to choose what is moral based upon his environment, experiences and desires. This is an incredibly immature view of the world.
    You choose to ignore that there is a moral anchor that all men are tied to (whether they acknowledge it or not) – that is the (natural) law of the creator.

  • Let there be many more such “a troll”, then, who, by thinking and discussing like atheists, gets them to realize and admit among themselves that, like, Yeah, alright, so our “moral code” is out of order, but what else have we got, and why are you so pessimistic about it?

  • All you did was type out a long winded nonsense insult to someone for being an atheist. Its not even clever. Just kind of canned and doltish.

    My take on it is this way, if you need God to keep you in check from harming others and running amok, you are a sociopath on a leash. You are not moral or even trying to be moral. You are just acting out of self-interest. Fear of punishment or desire for personal reward.

    Its pretty evident that believers such as yourself don’t actually have an actual moral code. Just ways to express sociopathy and malice towards others within an acceptable confines using religion to excuse it.

  • The phrase “especially the Catholic church” gives your text away.

    What Original Sin deals with is that rather than living in a paradise free of pain and disease and death, we live in a damaged creation in which all three are certain for everyone.

    How this translates into “all of us being somehow guilty” requires a zanier mind than my own.

  • Actually he appears to have insulted someone for being a dolt.

    “Its pretty evident that believers such as yourself don’t actually have an actual moral code.” is a good example of doltishness, thus proving his point.

  • RC, surprise, but I disagree. “Sin” can obviously be defined in a myriad of ways. I think the most relevant here is when we do something that angers someone. Call it a breaking of the second half of the Greatest Commandment (which in turn breaks the first half, but that is another story for another time). When we murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, we harm our friends, family and neighbors. There are four necessary steps to reconciling that relationship. First, we must confess what we did. Second we must apologize. These are usually done at the same time, but both aspects are key. (You won’t get very far saying “whatever you’re mad about, I’m sorry!” Nor will you get very far by saying “I crashed your car” unless there is an apology coming as well.) Third is to make up for the sin (atonement). That is how you know someone is sincerely sorry. “Sorry I crashed your car. I will pay for all repairs and while it’s in the shop, you can use my car.” That would probably demonstrate sincerity enough to the offended party that they say “OK, you can borrow my car again next time.” And then fourth, change your behavior. If you crashed your neighbor’s car because you were driving under the influence, or just recklessly speeding, stop doing those things. That is known in religious terms as “repenting” or changing direction.

    So first and foremost, sin is sin. If you break the Great Commandment and you want to have an ongoing relationship with the person you offended, you need to do all four of the above things. All of those are outlined very nicely in both the Old and New Testaments (though not as “step one, two, three, four” as above).

    I understand your antipathy toward Christianity, and I agree that the Church deserves much in the way of reprimand (scorn, whatever word you may want to use). But that does not change the Truth of the teachings of the Bible.

  • All laws come from men. Theists just happen to believe their laws, also written by men, came from god and are exclusive to them. Yet the moral code varies from religion to religion and often within each religion.

  • You are right there is a moral anchor that all humans are tied to BUT you are wrong that it comes from the law of a God/creator.

    One of the most common ceonceptualizations of morality is expressed in what Christians call the Golden Rule, Confucius called it the Ethic of Reciprocity–do not do to others what you would take unkindly from them. This is “natural law” that has appeared in some form or another in many world religions and secular philosophies and places the burden of analyzing a situation upon each individual, where it rightly belongs.

  • Keep moving backward Jim – trace the laws of men back to universal truths.
    You know as well as I do that there are universal truths/laws that all men understand to be the truth.
    The question for you and Susan is – are you willing to accept the truth when you see it?

  • It is a faith position that God is the source. We don’t know how well “natural law” was adhered to when we were painting deer on the side of cave walls. These natural laws are likely due to the need for self-preservation.

  • Nature!

    BUT natures laws are neither moral nor immoral, they are neutral. And they aren’t laws in that they don’t control what happens, they simply define the principles and processes at work. Gravity, laws of physics, biology, thermodynamics, the weak and strong nuclear forces. weather, climate, are natural laws.

    The ways people behave and think are also based upon “natural” laws. These are “laws”, descriptions of the principles and processes at work in our bodies– about how how our brains and bodies operate and respond to different situations–stress, fear, joy, love, compassion, guilt, etc. The Ethic of Reciprocity is an attempt to tie in a human insight (that comes from our brain and our emotions) about how we should behave with our natural feelings, of empathy, guilt, fear, stress, etc.

  • (1) Your statement that “some of us … mature [but] many … never … mature in their conception of morality” – only supports and confirms my statement that there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Nobody ever gathers figs from thorns, or grapes from a briar bush. Likewise, then, the good person brings forth what is good out of the good treasure stored within that person; and the no-good person brings forth what is no-good out of the treasure that’s no-good in the first place.

    (2) Your statement that “there is a good and a not-so-good side to all human beings”, is a sorry excuse for yourself as one such species, in whom – truth be told – nothing good dwells as far as your flesh is concerned. The willing to be good is present in you, but the doing of the good is not. You want the good, but you do not do the good. Instead, the no-good that you do not want, you end up doing it. But if you’re doing the very thing you do not want – for instance, by “let[ting] the bad side of [y]our nature take control or intentionally choose to develop and nurture the bad side of [y]our nature” – what do you call that part of you that’s really doing that on its own? Isn’t there a foreign law operating in the members of your body that’s actually waging war against the law of your mind and making you a prisoner of that law?

  • Gravity came from men?

    The Natural Law, as Jefferson wrote, is inherent in the very function of the species, and is self-evident.

    And he was no religious fanatic.

  • You write “… BUT you are wrong that it comes from the law of a God/creator.” only because you’re a rabid atheist who Jefferson would dismiss out of hand.

    And “… analyzing a situation upon each individual …” is the opposite of a moral code. Humans tend to back into the solution that best suits them.

    The Ethic of Reciprocity doesn’t support a number of things you favor, beginning with abortion.

  • —Leviticus
    19:18[10], the “Great Commandment”

    Did the historical Jesus utter original Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12-
    No he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

    e.g
    Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse
    attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in
    Herodotus III 142, 3:

    “I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors.”

    From Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000
    Years, pp. 151-152, ” In view of the widespread attestation
    of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to
    Jesus.”

    See
    also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

    And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said
    rule.

  • So what you said earlier has now been debunked by you. WHO DOES THAT?!

    CRUDDIE EARLIER: “This confirms that you are a troll. But little else.”

    CRUDDIE JUST NOW: “[Lots of you this, you that, actually. Not ‘little else.’ For instance:] You did type out long winded[ly]. You are a sociopath on a leash. You are not trying to be moral. You are acting out of self-interest, fear of punishment or desire for personal reward. [You] don’t actually have an actual moral code [but] just using religion to excuse it.”

  • They have to be observable and comprehensible otherwise they are meaningless. We are still talking about natural law right? Definition I grabbed is:

    natural law
    NOUN
    1mass noun A body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct.

    ‘an adjudication based on natural law’
    More example sentences
    2An observable law relating to natural phenomena.

    ‘the natural laws of perspective’
    More example sentences
    2.1mass noun Observable laws collectively

  • Not what you pretend it means. It’s always funny when Dominionist types reference the Declaration of Independence. A reference to a vague God by a person who held Christian practice and dogma in very low regard. Ecumenism at best.

  • Based upon your cut and paste; they do not have to be observable.
    A star exists 20 million light years away whether mark can observe it or not.

  • Such as? “…there are plenty of mainstream contemporary Christian traditions whose paradigms of sin look pretty similar…”

  • What is even funnier is when an “atheist” microcephalic pans the Declaration of Independence and uses words like “Dominionist” in the absence of any actual Dominionists and without actually know the definition of the word thinking it makes her sound intelligent.

  • ” I understand your antipathy towards Christianity…”

    Here is a problem, Dave. For atheists and gay people especially, but for a lot of other people, some of whom are Christians, but apparently, not the right sort of Christian, according to the true Christians (TM), we really don’t have antipathy towards Christianity. In fact, we’re practically good Christians ourselves, because our integrity is not towards what the true Christians are or say, but towards what they do.

    I have said this many times on these very pages, despite the occasional Ahole who must always pop up and insist that I hate Christians because I disagree with authoritarians, religious fascists, and religious dominionists…. Believe whatever you want to believe. I really don’t care. But I’m going to object very loudly if you’re going to insist that I must believe it too, and you intend to use the force of the civil law that governs all of us to enforce it upon my life, much to my detriment, my family, my church (should I have one)…

    Because of your particular version of Christianity thinks it a duty to enforce its notion of sin on to people. if that’s going to happen, you (a generic you, not you personally) can expect a fight. More importantly you can expect no more mercy extended to you then you have been willing to extend to me and mine for the last 2000 years— except that no one wants to put you in jail, as they’ve done to gay people, execute you, as you have done to gay people, or blame you for every possible social ill that you couldn’t have a thing to do with.

    A case in point: Christians of that sort seem to have little to no problem living with people of other faiths, living with people that reject the entirety of their religious beliefs, not just the little bitty anti-gay part. They Can even live with liberal Christians. But Let me say that I am gay, I do not share their beliefs about me, and deserve to live my life fully, openly, and authentically, as I am made, and out come of the knives— as well as the lies, the distortions, the half truths, and the outright bigotry hiding behind religious belief.

  • Your delusions about sexuality came from you not facts or science supports the lgbt lies . Just pseudoscience made up by other sexual deviants and pedophiles to justify their sickness

  • In 1960 Jane Goodall started a groundbreaking study of chimpanzees – our closest living relatives sharing a 98% genetic makeup, and similar social and cultural interaction, with humans.

    Although we have evolved from common ancestors, the chimpanzee tree (Panina) predates the homo tree ( as in homo erectus, homo ergaster, homo sapien etc) by some 3 million yrs.

    Who taught chimpanzees the ” Golden Rule ” or about ” Natural Law ” or about ” Sin ” ?

    How did they survive for these millions of yrs without a Holy Chimpanzee, and a set of Holy Dogmas as dictated by a Divine Supreme Chimpanzee ?

  • We should dispense with “dominionists”.

    www{DOT}firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2011/08/a-journalism-lesson-for-the-new-yorker

    “First, there is no ‘school of thought’ known as ‘dominionism.’ The term was coined in the 1980s by Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.”

    “If Lizza had done his homework he would have found that Diamond’s mid-1980s ‘scholarship’ is neither timely nor credible. For example, Diamond bases her contention that Schaeffer is a ‘dominionist’ on his book A Christian Manifesto. The problem is that rather than claiming that ‘Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns’‘Schaeffer says exactly the opposite …“

    The term is used because the fundamental argument is against being told what to do or not do.

    The approach, which was polished by the pro-abortion movement, is to claim that whatever it is that the populace wants would involve compelling people to comport with some theological position. The fact that these “theological positions” include opposition to murder, theft, and so on are swept under the rug. For example:

    “A case in point: Christians of that sort seem to have little to no problem living with people of other faiths, living with people that reject the entirety of their religious beliefs, not just the little bitty anti-gay part. They Can even live with liberal Christians. But Let me say that I am gay, I do not share their beliefs about me, and deserve to live my life fully, openly, and authentically, as I am made, and out come of the knives— as well as the lies, the distortions, the half truths, and the outright bigotry hiding behind religious belief.”

    The facts are that you are entitled to live – like every other citizen – free of being assaulted and harassed. You are entitled to privacy.

    Beyond that claims that you are entitled to having special cakes baked, for one example, or compel people to act contrary to their religious beliefs in other ways are specious.

    When people with religious beliefs state this, you claim it is “outright bigotry hiding behind religious belief.”

  • 16 hours later still waiting.

    This demonstrates how paper thin logic comprised of slogans and platitudes that gloss over fundamental questions are insufficient to act as a moral system.

  • Nature. To explain it to you. The BIG BANG spewed out a gazillion subatomic particles that are programmed (metaphorically speaking) to do one thing, find something they can join up with, and so some joined forces and formed atomic nuclei–it was the only thing they could do. There was no intelligence guiding their choice. Those atomic nuclei joined up with other atomic nuclei–it was the only thing they could do–no intelligence behind their choices and they formed all the elements in that Periodic Table of the Elements we learned about in High School.Those elements joined with other elements and formed matter, all that we see and feel today, again no intelligence behind what they did–it was all that they could do.

    When living matter dies, it gets broken down into its elemental parts and gets recycled. Unused atomic particles and other unattached matter eventually get sucked into a black hole where they get broken down into their sub-atomic parts, become dormant and when the pressure gets too great they burst out the other end in another BIG BANG.

    Now if you want to ask again but where did it all start, where did those subatomic particles come from I can ask the same question about God. IF nothing comes from nothing than God had to come from somewhere. If God as some say has just always been here then I can say the same about those sub-atomic particles–they have always been here.

    You trapped yourself into a dumb argument.

  • Taking Christianity, Islam and Judaism out of the original sin lists:

    OT, NT and koran thumpers are actually thumping the rules and codes of the
    ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead
    and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop
    needed rules of conduct for us hominids.

    “Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord,
    that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I
    know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two
    Truths . . .

    Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have
    done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not
    mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

    I have not reviled the God.

    I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.

    have not done what the God abominates . . .

    I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.

    have not caused anyone’s suffering . . .

    I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.

    have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the
    palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.

    I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob
    of the balance.

    I have not taken milk from a child’s mouth; I have not driven small cattle from
    their herbage…

    I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam
    against flowing water.

    I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .

    I have not kept cattle away from the God’s property.

    I have not blocked the God at his processions.”

    “The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible
    estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten
    Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many
    religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew
    Scripture’s Ten Commandments were based on this earlier document, rather than
    vice-versa.”

  • “Sin” is the deliberate rebellion against God by refusing fo follow God’s laws, the same way that crimes are a rebellion against society by refusing to its laws. To reject that is to attempt to evade responsibility for one’s own actions. But it is a favored strategy of those that want to be “spiritual” without being held to a moral code.

  • You appear to have trapped yourself into a dumb argument.

    He asked where Nature came from and you replied “another form of nature”.

    The Greeks posited an uncaused cause. If you reject that, the alternative is “I don’t know.”

    Unsupported “it was the only thing they could do”, “(t)here was no intelligence guiding their choice”, and so on don’t advance an argument, they merely describe your particular unproven faith.

    “IF nothing comes from nothing than God had to come from somewhere.”

    Just like the Big Bang, eh?

    Basically you haven’t answered thing except the question “What do you believe and what don’t you like to believe?”

  • The contingent you address this to for the most part denies the existence of a deity.

    That leaves them with a number of problems, including explaining their insistence on rights and their belief that THEY have some sort of moral code the origin of which they can’t explain, but they rarely see the contradictions.

  • But it only occurs because all people have a conscience put there by the CREATOR, from the beginning.

  • The Uncaused Cause, The Unmoved Mover! The …..CREATOR! Oh merciful heavens, I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. I have to go and sit down.

  • No. Mysteries are: 1. What would the Incarnation be? A Joyful Luminous Mystery. The Son of God became a man, who then redeemed us by God’s plan.
    2. What would the Redemption be? A Light-filled Sorrowful Mystery. The Son of God, he died for me upon a cross on Calvary.
    3. How did I learn about these three? From the Blessed Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, three-in-one.

  • Lincoln was practically an atheist in practice compared to Jefferson. He was even pen pals with Karl Marx.

  • “Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it however in this case is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told… (Abraham Lincoln responding to a letter by Mr. Weed congratulating him on his 2nd Inaugural, March 15, 1865)”

  • “If moral imperatives are not commanded by God’s will, and if they are not in some sense absolute, then what ought to be is a matter simply of what men and women decide should be. There is no other source of judgment.

    “What is this if not another way of saying that ‘if God does not exist, everything is permitted’?

    “These conclusions suggest quite justifiably that in failing to discover the source of value in the world at large, we must in the end retreat to a form of moral relativism, the philosophy of the fraternity house or the faculty dining room—similar environments, after all—whence the familiar declaration that just as there are no absolute truths, there are no moral absolutes.

    “Of these positions, no one believes the first, and no one is prepared to live with the second.”

    —David Berlinksi, The Devil’s Delusion

  • We in fact are currently living in a world of moral relativism, and it is not working particularly well.

  • Why does Mark Connelly aka Bob Arnzen keep changing his name ?

    He doesn’t know who his father is.

    He’s looking for his father – and his legitimate name.

    He exceedingly well knows who his ” Mother ” is.

    His Mother is the Roman Catholic Church – as he has acknowledged, and has well documented in this forum.

    No doubt about that.

    And according to scripture : Rev 17, 118 – *The Roman Catholic Church is : ” The Great Whore of Babylon “, and the ** “apostate Christendom headed by the Papacy”.

    The ” Great Whore of Babylon ” has seen more ” foreskins ” than all the urinals on Earth.

    Small wonder Connelly/Arnzen keeps changing his name.

    He knows his ” Mother is a Whore “, but doesn’t know which of her legions of seductees is his father….

    *Westminster Confession of 1646
    **Scofield Reference Bible

  • He never joined any Church, and was a skeptic as a young man and sometimes ridiculed revivalists. He frequently referred to God and had a deep knowledge of the Bible, often quoting it. Lincoln attended Protestant church services with his wife and children, and after two of them died he became more intensely concerned with religion.[1] Some argue that Lincoln was even agnostic [2]
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Abraham_Lincoln

  • QUESTION: By “The Evolution of Sin” Tara Isabella Burton meant, ob(li)viously, that sin evolves, but does it, though?

    ANSWER: Absolutely not! But what it does do is: (1) SIN ABIDES. For instance, if Tara Isabella Burton and I were blind, we would have no sin; but since she and I say, ‘But we do see,’ our sins remain. (2) SIN FILLS UP. For instance, Tara Isabella Burton and I always fill up the measure of our sins. (3) SIN CLEAVES. For instance, Tara Isabella Burton’s and my sins are fastening firmly together as high as heaven, and God remembers our iniquities. (4) SIN INCREASES. For instance, The Law of Moses came in so that Tara Isabella Burton’s and my transgressions would increase; but where our sins increase, the grace of God in The Christ Jesus abounds all the more for her and me.

    Source: (1) John 9:41. (2) 1 Thessalonians 2:16. (3) Revelation 18:5. (4) Romans 5:20.

  • “Mark Connelly aka Bob Arnzen” will always be better person than you’ll ever be. Mark my word, son.

  • Re: “When we murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, we harm our friends, family and neighbors. There are four necessary steps to reconciling that relationship.” 

    I’m sure all of this talk about making amends to other people sounds really profound and stuff, but ultimately, it has nothing to do with your deity’s relationship to us. It’s one thing to talk about mere-mortals’ transgressions against other mere-mortals, but another entirely to talk about the cosmic designs of a supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, perfect, and omnipresent being. 

    Put simply, it’s impossible to analogize the Abrahamic deity’s relationship with humanity, using human relationships as examples. By definition they cannot take into account the deity’s absolute qualities, such as omnipotence. We mere-mortals are always limited to dealing with one another as mere-mortals, and within all the constraints of human nature. The Abrahamic deity, on the other hand, is not limited in that way. In fact, s/he/it created human nature itself and can alter it whenever s/he/it wishes — for any reason at all, or even for none! 

    This is something the followers of Abrahamic religions fail to comprehend about their own religion. In their primitive desperation to one-up every other deity to the ultimate degree, by claiming s/he/it possesses absolute and infinite qualities, they’ve stepped off the cliff of logic and semantics. Still, they envision him/her/it as something of a merely-super-duper-powered human being. 

    The bottom line, going back to what RC posted, concerning “an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins,” is that a truly omnipotent and omniscient being could never have created such a catastrophically defective universe full of catastrophically defective beings whose defects must be “atoned for” in some way. 

    First, such a being could simply forgive and correct his/her/its creations’ defects … with the snap of his/her/its almighty cosmic fingers, and without any need for an “atonement” mechanism. Second, such a being’s creations could not, themselves, be that defective in the first place; perfect beings with infinite power simply do not end up creating such enormously imperfect things. Third, if in fact there are things such a being wants his/her/its creations to say, think, and do, by definition s/he/it is capable of having manufactured them — from their beginnings! — with such tendencies built right in. It makes no sense to assert that a truly infinitely-powered being who wants his/her/its creations to do certain things, would create them with built-in tendencies to not do them, then spend all of history essentially disciplining and even punishing them for not doing what s/he/it demands. 

    It is, as RC posted, “heavenly child abuse” … and that’s a generous description of it! Another, more accurate one, would be that such a deity is actually a cosmic monster who revels in the suffering of his/her/its own creations and has established this mechanism precisely in order to inflict maximum misery on his/her/its creations. 

    In other words: The truth of this being, the Abrahamic God, is that s/he/it is actually a malevolent creature! No ethical or moral person has any business worshipping or following such a cosmic monster. Such a deity needs to be defied, in any and every possible way, at all times … even if it’s a futile effort (given his/her/its supposed omnipotence and other absolute, infinite qualities). 

    Abrahamic worshippers have created a monster. It’s long past time they owned up to it. 

  • Speaking of “Hail”:

    (1) “Severe Thunderstorm Warning for HEAVY RAINFALL, LARGE HAILSTONES and DAMAGING WINDS [was] Issued at 2:27 pm Thursday, 7 February 2019 for people in East Gippsland, West and South Gippsland and parts of Central, Northern Country, North Central and North East Forecast Districts” in Australia!

    (2) On that same day, too, “Delhi-NCR was covered under a blanket of white, looking like it snowed up, as the region was thrashed by a heavy hailstorm. A thick blanket of hailstones covered a number of regions, pelting Noida, Ghaziabad, Dwarka and a few other places”!

  • “First, such a being could simply forgive and correct his/her/its
    creations’ defects … with the snap of his/her/its almighty cosmic
    fingers, and without any need for an ‘atonement’ mechanism.”

    But did not.

    That’s seems be the point where your blah-blah collapses.

    The deity did not create automatons or Ken and Barbie dolls.

    Unless you have some particular heretofore unrevealed qualifications to dictate to a deity, you’re hardly in a position to critique.

    More obviously you do not actually believe “The truth of this being, the Abrahamic God, is that s/he/it is actually a malevolent creature! No ethical or moral person has any business worshipping or following such a cosmic monster.”

    If you did, you’d be looking for opportunities to put wet kisses on the deity’s posterior to avoid being the victim of malevolence.

    So, what we have is a long-winded, not particularly astute, lengthy expansion of the sentence “I don’t believe in your god, nyah, nyah, nyah!”, nothing more profound.

  • Yes, Mark Connelly/Bob Arnzen may very well be your son !

    Retardation is hereditary, and I can’t imagine anyone but a very well paid whore copulating with you….

  • Actually, though, what “[prophet John] saw [was] the woman drunk with the blo*d of the saints, and with the bl*od of the witnesses of Jesus.” NOT “the bl**d of [Atheists]” such as yourself, “patrick a day ago” whose Atheism mocked at The God and Father of the Lord Christ Jesus as “a Holy Chimpanzee … a Divine Supreme Chimpanzee”. No, she so loves you, son, for saying that, trust me.

    Source: Revelation 17:6.

  • John 9: 41,

    “Conventionally,scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work
    -on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s
    Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……”

    – From

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

    1 Thessalonians 2:16

    – Not written by Paul

    Revelation 18:5

    “Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G.
    Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books”.[30] Thomas
    Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson
    Bible, and wrote that at one time, he “considered it as merely the ravings
    of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of
    our own nightly dreams.” [31]

    Martin Luther once “found it an offensive
    piece of work” and John Calvin “had grave doubts about its
    value.”[32]

  • Another list of early hominids’ sins from the Code of Hammurabi:
    SlanderEx. Law #127: “If any one ‘point the finger’ at a sister of a god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair).”[24]TradeEx. Law #265: “If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss.”[24]Slavery and status of slaves as propertyEx. Law #15: “If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.”[24]The duties of workersEx. Law #42: “If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.”[24]TheftEx. Law #22: “If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.”[24]TradeEx. Law #104: “If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefore, he shall obtain a receipt from the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant.”[24]LiabilityEx. Law #53: “If any one be too apethetic to keep his dam in primly condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace the crops which he has caused to be ruined.”[24]DivorceEx. Law #142: “If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: “You are not congenial to me,” the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father’s house.”[24]
    One of the best known laws from Hammurabi’s code was:
    Ex. Law #196: “If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man’s bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one gold mina. If one destroy the eye of a man’s slave or break a bone of a man’s slave he shall pay one-half his price.”[24]

    Hammurabi had many other punishments, as well. If a son strikes his father, his hands shall be hewn off. Translations vary.[25][26]

    Adultery

    Ex. Law #129: “If the wife of a man has been caught lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the waters. If the owner of the wife would save his wife then in turn the king could save his servant.”[27]

    Perjury

    Ex. Law #3: “If a man has borne false witness in a trial, or has not established the statement that he has made, if that case be a capital trial, that man shall be put to death.”[citation needed]

  • We are not the dogs of God but his children. Prophetic religion has to do with relationships, not observances, with awe not belief, with love not guilt, with life not property, With the Way not moralism. Obedience to the Way is indeed of great use if it is freely given, but of no use if it is compelled. – Herrymon Maurer

  • If they were written circa 2000 BCE, yes indeed but said regulations are new i.e. not the beginning of sins evolutionary march through history.

  • TRUTH BE TOLD: There’s no such thing as “The Evolution of Sin”. Sin does not, cannot and shall never evolve. But what it does do is:

    (1) SIN ABIDES.
    (2) SIN FILLS UP.
    (3) SIN CLEAVES.
    (4) SIN INCREASES.

    Who cares what Wikipedia says or what Robert G. Ingersoll, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther and John Calvin thought. TRUTH COMES ONLY FROM GOD & JESUS.

  • BWA-HA-HA

    RAT CON the Parking Meter Maid

    Coming to a theater near you

    Or to your car on the street parking lane

    Pull out, pull out, drive away, quick!

  • I quoted Bentham because I agree with him. Natural Law is dog eat dog. There is no Law without government.
    Kant’s definition of Anarchy is what I want. While I dream of perfect Anarchy, I know it is a dream.
    Morals are a thing too squishy to run a society with.

  • The TRUTH is that god does not exist and what is left of Jesus lies a moldering in the ground outside of Jerusalem.

  • That is an opinion, not a fact. There is NO proof of a creator, much less the specific one you have in mind.

  • Old man shouting at the clouds. Sorry cupcake but your delusions about sexuality are not facts and your “science” is hogwashed based on feelings not facts

  • I agree with dog eat dog.
    I disagree with your point regarding morals.
    I think you must have morals as a basis for a society.

  • Rat Con:

    Ripping babies from the womb and homosexuality, meh.

    Parking violations: Great and teeeeerible sins!

  • “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
    –Matthew 7:3-5

    Seems like the author of this article’s parents were squealing too much about sawdust in their daughter’s eye and now neither planks nor sawdust exists in their grown daughter’s household.

    “And, you fathers,* provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” –Ephesians 6:4

    * some translations red “parents” not fathers

  • Here’s Tara Isabella Burton’s LAME solution to sin:

    “[Although] today’s generation has inherited sins … we still have the chance to change it.”

    But here’s The Christ Jesus’ REVOLUTIONARY solution to sin:

    (1) When Mary bore a son, she called His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (2) When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (3) And so Jesus declared, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin and will die in their sins. For unless you believe that I am He, The Son of God, you will die in your sins.” (4) When Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples, and while they were eating, He said, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (5) And so when Peter, taking his stand with the eleven apostles, raised his voice and declared to the Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven, he said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    Source: (1) Matthew 1:21. (2) John 1:29. (3) John 8:24, 34. (4) Matthew 26:20-21, 28. (5) Acts 2:5, 14, 38.

  • There is no proof there is not a creator.

    The Greeks, armed with nothing but sheer logic, noted that one of two explanations must be in order: an endless chain of events spinning backward into prehistory and beyond; an uncaused cause.

    The difficulty with the endless chain is the existence of laws of nature.

  • In your search for the real Jesus, I highly recommend finding him yourself (instead of Google snippets) by reading the entire studies of the many historic Jesus exegetes such as:
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells
    Gregory Riley
    Robert Eisenman
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders
    Luke Timothy Johnson
    Robert H. Stein
    N. T. Wright
    Simply click on their names and a list of their books will appear. When finished, get back to us. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html. Simply click on their names and a list of their books will appear. When finished, get back to us.

  • In your search for the real Jesus, I highly recommend finding him yourself (instead of Google snippets) by reading the entire studies of the many historic Jesus exegetes such as:
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells
    Gregory Riley
    Robert Eisenman
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders
    Luke Timothy Johnson
    Robert H. Stein
    N. T. Wright
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html. Simply click on their names and a list of their books will appear. When finished, get back to us. (By the way, the passages you cite above, all fail rigorous historic testing. )

  • Hey I saw that movie, too – “Marcus Borg”! Remember this scene with this line? “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

  • FYII ( For Insult to Intelligence):

    In Jesus in the Jewish World, SCM Press, 2010, Geza Vermes authenticates this ancient-time reliable eyewitness account reported in Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, circa 94 AD:

    “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”

  • From Professors Crossan and Watts’ book,
    Who is Jesus.

    “That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states,
    is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

    “ The Jewish historian, Josephus
    and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of
    the Roman governor of Judea. And is very
    hard to imagine that Jesus’ followers would have invented such a story unless
    it indeed happened.

    “While the brute fact that of Jesus’ death by crucifixion is historically
    certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much
    more problematic. ”

    “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was
    arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in
    the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

    I do not presume that there were
    any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas
    either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the
    festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a
    few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or
    Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a
    Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality
    with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those “last
    week” details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just
    mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history
    remembered.”

    See also Professor Crossan’s reviews of the existence of Jesus in his
    other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with
    Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

  • FYII ( For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    (1) In ancient Israel during the time of the 1st apostles and disciples of THE Christ Jesus, there existed and was made publicly available, in one sense, an ACCOUNT (διήγησιν – pronounced dieegeesin). This was a full narrative carefully recorded in a historical account that is as authoritative as it is thorough, complete and comprehensive, of the things accomplished among the 1st disciples of Jesus, that was handed down to them by His 1st apostles, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses. This was investigated carefully from the beginning and then written out in consecutive order.

    So, for instance, according to this account as a διήγησιν or dieegeesin, “Jesus … [was] the son of Adam, the son of God.” That means the source for this particular evidentiary ACCOUNT (διήγησιν – dieegeesin) was from ancient-time, reliable eyewitnesses passing it down to Jesus’ 1st apostles, who then gave them to disciple Luke (cf. the first & third chapter of his messianic gospel).

    To this day, no testimonies from ancient-time, reliable counter-eyewitnesses have surfaced to render any of such evidences void. It was literally impossible for any of the following people to do that: Neither Alvar Ellegård, G. A. Wells, Gregory Riley, Robert Eisenman, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, Burton Mack, Stephen J. Patterson, Marcus Borg, Stevan Davies, Geza Vermes, Richard Horsley, Hyam Maccoby, Gerd Theissen, Bart Ehrman, Paula Fredriksen, Gerd Lüdemann, John P. Meier, E. P. Sanders, Luke Timothy Johnson, Robert H. Stein, nor N. T. Wright!

  • FYII ( For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    (2) In another sense of the word, it was the first ACCOUNT composed about all things (πρωτον λόγον εποιησάμην περι πάντων – pronounced proeton logon epoieesameen peri pantoen). This, too, was the first continuous, written narrative historical account that was composed concerning all the things pertaining to the subject matter.

    So, for instance, according to this account as a λόγον or logon, “Jesus presented Himself alive after His suffering to the apostles whom He had chosen, by many convincing PROOFS [τεκμηρίοις = tekmeeriois = fixed and sure sign-post supplying indisputable, unmistakable, irrefutable information], appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” And as far as His Father was concerned, “God … had furnished PROOF [πίστιν = pistin = guarantee, certainty, assurance] to all men by raising Jesus from the dead … so as to judge the world in righteousness”. That means, then, that the source for this particular evidentiary ACCOUNT (λόγον or logon) was The Christ Jesus Himself as the ancient-time, reliable eyewitness who passed on this evidence to His 1st apostles. The latter then gave them to disciple Luke (cf. the first & 17th chapters of his apostolic memoirs).

    To this day, no testimonies from ancient-time, reliable counter-eyewitnesses have surfaced to render any of such evidences void. It was literally impossible for any of the following people to do that: Neither Alvar Ellegård, G. A. Wells, Gregory Riley, Robert Eisenman, John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, Burton Mack, Stephen J. Patterson, Marcus Borg, Stevan Davies, Geza Vermes, Richard Horsley, Hyam Maccoby, Gerd Theissen, Bart Ehrman, Paula Fredriksen, Gerd Lüdemann, John P. Meier, E. P. Sanders, Luke Timothy Johnson, Robert H. Stein, nor N. T. Wright!

  • Signing out with some words of wisdom from a wise and ancient philosopher:

    The Two Universal Sects
    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:

    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    Al-Ma’arri
    born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .
    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial
    rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the
    claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

    Read more:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    “Death’s Debt is Paid in Full

    Death’s debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;
    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again. ”

    Al-Ma’arri

  • GOD put Eve’s clitioris on the outside where it is easily found and easily pleasured…ditto her and Adam’s nipples.
    GOD intends us all to enjoy sex as a committeed aka married couple.
    Muslims cut off their daughter’s clitorises so she cannot enjoy sex – that is Satan’s contradiction of GOD.

    Grow up and kearn some truth.

  • Do US billionaires exercise self-control in their relentless drive for wealth? Or in their politics, or rejection of a common good? And why is poverty seen as a sin? Either as a sin committed by an unjust economic order, or a sin committed by the poor themselves? And why do white evangelicals not see adultery as a sin? Or snatching children from their parents and caging them or leaving them permanently with good Christian foster parents? Why is abortion the only sin that matters? Do we see self-control at Trump rallies? All the many liberals I know are firm in their sexual morality (based on the equality of the partners) and self-controlled. If self-control is the centering value it is lacking in some segments of every US group, including among the religious and the affluent. And it is found among some segments of every group as well. I suspect this presence and llack of self-control has always been true and is not a feature peculiar to secularized America or Europe.

  • Indeed, I knew about him not joining a Church. But that would tend to disprove your statement that Natural Law is made up? by Catholics. The quote stands, and so does this one “:…truth is everything; I know I am right because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and Christ and reason say the same, and they will find it so.” Tomorrow is Lincoln’s Birthday. A great man.

  • Lincoln has nothing to do with “Natural Law” besides token references which were popular at the time for making arguments without support. Something still done today when it is invoked.,

    Natural law is always used as a form of argument by stipulation. To demand things to be considered true without bothering to flesh them out.

  • The Creator may be deduced by logic, and observation of the world. Thomas Aquinas reconciled Aristotle’s observations on this (As Mark Connelly already mentioned the Uncaused Cause=Creator) with Church teaching. You may wish to see Parker12’s magnificent exposition of this with Susan Humphrey’s cooperation, further down in the comments.

  • There was no response… I think she does. I think the non-response to Parker12, is also hopeful. That would be wonderful!

  • That was silly.

    Is the Declaration of Independence a thesis on the nature of freedom? Nope. It was a glorified threat letter.

    John Locke did that already at the time.

    Natural Rights are not the same as Natural Law. To confuse the two is to miss the point wildly.

    Natural Law is used to justify divine right of monarchy. “God says so” The social contract between leaders and the led leads to the identification of Natural Rights. The concept of Natural Rights predate Natural Law by centuries.

    So you have made appeals to authority which really aren’t authority and you have made arguments based on references you misstated or misunderstood.

    Nothing really proving that Natural Law is based on anything other than empty declaration. Too busy trying to attack my view than providing evidence to promote your own. I guess because Natural Law is really just empty in of itself.

  • Once again, Declaration of Independence: “Laws of Nature” = Natural Law. Until you come up with a better reason for there being rights to Life and Liberty, I will be letting you just go on… and on…

  • No its not the same thing.

    Natural Rights Natural Law

    You are deliberately confusing two different concepts expounded by two different people over the course of about 400 years between them. Typical of those seeking to put the Catholic Church’s tramp-stamp on things that did not belong to them.

    Natural Law is a concept of the Catholic Church developed by Thomas Aquinas which amounts to declaring things to be so.

    Natural Rights is a concept which is far more ancient, but developed largely in the 17th to 18th Century and is argued in terms of social contracts and mandates between the leaders and led. It follows a developed argument concerning the limits of power.

    What it comes down to is you have an argument you can’t support on its own merits. Hence deflection, appeals to empty authority and strawman arguments.

  • “Avoiding sin means eating right, exercising and meditating. These are not spiritually enhancing …” Really? Seems to me that they all contribute to an overall spiritual enhancement. Eating right and exercising contribute to physical well-being. How can you feel ‘spiritually enhanced’ if you are wallowing in guilt and misery (secular or spiritual seems to make no difference) over being a flabby porker? Meditation? Contemplation? How can these not be ‘spiritually enhancing?’

  • Not of real science. It uses facts. Your propaganda uses no facts. Sorry I didn’t get indoctrinated to your ideology or pseudoscience. Get some facts

  • “Prophetic religion has to do with relationships, not observance, with awe not belief, with love not guilt…, with the Way not moralism.”

    Let’s look at one of the greatest instances of “prophetic religion” recorded in scripture – Nathan’s confrontation of King David over his murder of Uriah, the husband of David’s mistress:

    “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him by the sword… Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” (2 Sam 12: 9-10)

    Two things stand out in this encounter.

    The first is that David’s basic transgression was indeed that he had violated his “relationship” with God (“…because you have despised Me…”).

    The second is that his relationship with God (in fact, anyone’s relationship with God) inevitably and inextricably drags in all the stuff you (and Maurer) don’t like: “obsevances, belief, guilt and moralisms.” Despising the Lord always involves despising His “word” (“commandments”). It certainly did in this case.

    You can’t divide “prophetic religion” in two and then pick the half you like best.

  • Patrick’s singleganger is enough to drive anyone to seek an alternate identity. Anyone but Patrick, that is

  • He(?) has been at it since March, 2016.

    He began at the National Catholic Report Comments and, when they finally gave that a mercy killing, showed up here.

    RNS is the only place he “comments”.

    Here is his very first post:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ncronline/pro_condom_activists_in_kenya_push_back_against_church039s_teaching_of_abstinence/#comment-2568522913

    and his second:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/ncronline/pro_condom_activists_in_kenya_push_back_against_church039s_teaching_of_abstinence/#comment-2568526840

    As you can read he has not evolved.

  • TOO BAD Crossan, Watts and Reed fail to qualify as ancient-time, reliable counter-eyewitnesses against Luke’s evidentiary “dieegeesin” and “logon”, and to produce them. Geza Vermes from your List of False Accusers did, however, produce Flavius Josephus, circa 94 AD. Which backfired! Because Flavius Josephus qualifies as an ancient-time, reliable eyewitness for – NOT counter-eyewitness against – Luke’s evidentiary “dieegeesin” and “logon”! HA-HA.

  • TOO BAD Al-Ma’arri fails to qualify as an ancient-time, reliable counter-eyewitness against Luke’s evidentiary “dieegeesin” and “logon”, and to produce such false accusers!

  • Ah,! You really tried. But it is not an origin. So do social contracts give rights? Do leaders give rights? That doesn’t sound unalienable.

  • You are deliberately conflating two different concepts in order to fit them together in a silly narrative here. But you still have not come up with anything resembling a counter argument to

    Natural Law is nothing more than argument by arbitrary declaration.

  • Keep telling yourself that the Declaration of Independence is silly. What is really odd, is trying to pretend that the concept of Natural Law was unknown to those who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence., and to those that later invoked it in the cause of liberty for slaves. Only one of the signers of the Declaration was Catholic (Charles Carroll). However, all were grounded in classical learning. Keep telling yourself that those rights are not from the Creator and that they are alienable. No. They are linked. You deny life to others, you will also soon lose liberty.

  • Your ignorance of your native language is striking. You have no idea what you are talking about in using that phrase.. Here’s some education:

    Popular but uninformed usage has reduced the meaning of “eat shit & die” to “consume feces and perish.” In that significance it is obviously an insult, intended to be at least a verbal humiliation, and potentially a physical threat.

    But in its original form, it had quite a different meaning. The phrase is derived from the French expression “mange, merde, morte” – “eat, shit, die” (your version removes the commas and adds an “and”). The existentialists popularized it as a succinct summary of the “absurdity” of the cycle of life: “Eat, shit, die… that’s the story of your life – empty repetition until you finally peter out. Good luck getting any ‘meaning’ out of that, other than the story of your ephemeral appetites.”

    That’s the basic and “existential” meaning of the phrase.

    Wise up.

  • You just demonstrated yourself to be a li​ar. You obviously did not ignore my opinion.

    LIA​R!!! Caught you.

    Eat s​hit and die, Otto, you stu​pid and ignorant a​s​shole.

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