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47 Responses

  1. Elena says:

    Powerful. There is a lot to it and I will have to let it all sink in for a while.

  2. Bernardo says:

    Take away all the embellishments and atonement myths as pictured in the cartoon and you have just another Jewish rebel/preacher man who made a commotion in the Jewish temple and got nailed to a cross for transgressing Roman law. He was not the first to do so. Unfortunately, the Roman law did not simply send him to the salt mines. Had said law been effect, there would be no Christianity. So you Christians out there can thank the Romans for your religion which should make you think hard about your beliefs.

  3. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: your fundamentalist atheism totally missed the beauty of the cartoon’s irony.

    The Christian community is well known for saying ‘We love Jesus. We have him at our home. He is our honored guest.’ and so forth.

    And so, David Hayward draws an icon of Jesus as a Syrian Refugee… to remind us that Jesus identifies with the ‘least of those that believe’.

    Can you explain to us how a fundamentalist atheist learns compassion? Again, your philosophy has me curious.

    David: great cartoon.

  4. Thanks Caryn. I like this one too 🙂

  5. Andre says:

    @David: outstanding work! I didn’t know your work that well besides the cartoons.

    @Bernardo: I think I understand what you’re saying… Just know that for this here website to exist, it takes a whole lot of years and experience in thinking hard about his beliefs, constantly responding to the challenge to find love in truth, not just cold truth. If our beliefs don’t make us want to be a better person, something in them need to be cracked open in order to let light and life come on.

    If after years (decades) of doing so we STILL hold on to core beliefs that continue to guide and sustain this transformation, I would suggest to you – reality is that you cannot see what we see, because it is only seen from the inside. Maybe have a little humility and admit you can’t understand, rather than pretend you can demolish – in your mind – a human legacy that has endured through thousands of years and continues to this day to inspire and transform people from all walks of life and faiths.

    My suggestion is for you to get a handle on what Christianity is about by reading Christian thinkers and philosophers, artists and missionaries, from both the Eastern and Western world. It’s a quest, a journey, not shopping for a ticket to heaven or something like that…

    Regards,

    Andre

  6. Adam Julians says:

    I have just one thing to add to what you have captured profoundly, tragically, compassionately, and beautifully of Jesus with identity with migrants.

    That what he offers is that this is not all it is, but there is hope. He was homeless too.

  7. Bernardo says:

    Some references I use for understanding fully my former Catholicism and Christianity. Peruse them, they are worth your time.:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–and a review of each.

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter
     4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –”The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
    7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
    9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
    by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
    10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
    Presented on March 18, 1994
    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
    wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
    12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
    faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
    mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
    15. D-iseases in the Bible:
    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

    16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
    theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
    17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
    18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
    n-tgat-eway.com/
    19. JD Crossan’s c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
    http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
    in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    22. NT and beyond time line:
    pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
    23. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of important events:
    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan’s books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom as found in his books.
    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
    28. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
    29. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus

  8. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: I know that you are a fundamentalist atheist. Just like the fundamentalist Christian, you list reference after reference.

    You think that people automatically believe science combined with historical theories; just as the Fundamentalist Christian believes that people automatically believe the Bible.

    In a sense, it is ok. But it is certainly boring and unpersuasive.

    In the past, I studied some of your references, and offered critiques to you. But you dodged the critique, avoided any real dialog, and urged me to read more of your particular ‘bible’ (the bible is a collection of cited books and letters).

    Again, I understand you swung from fundamentalist RCC to fundamentalist Atheist. I am ok with that – people change religions – it happens.

    But to become persuasive, they have to show that they are still human. They need to share about their believing women in their family, their grandchildren, and in this case, the juxtaposition of the Jesus examples versus our handling of Syrian refugees.

    A library persuades no one. A human persuades others.

    Hang in there. Share your personal insights, your personal life, and engage in the dialog.

    Become human in your writing… And maybe, you’ll change some hearts.

  9. Bernardo. I’m afraid this is the last time I’m going to warn you about listing references. It looks like spam because it is! Fundamentalist Atheist spam. STOP IT! Last warning. If you’re not a machine, please comply. But even if you are, there must be a human operating you from somewhere!

  10. Adam Julians says:

    A reference for fully understanding fundamental atheism. Peruse it, it will teach you one or two things.

    2015 – Bernardo

  11. Gary says:

    Bernardo, Caryn and Andre give you way more credit than what is due in my opinion. I believe you have no intention of ever engaging in respectful two way dialogue and will do nothing more than belligerently continue to spout your extremist views in as smug and condescending a fashion as possible. Personally I think banning your ass is long overdue.

  12. Andre says:

    Hi Bernardo,

    What a list, indeed… I would like to ask you two things:

    1- do you have your own blog where you can engage in conversations
    2- how long did you journey through all this
    3- what was the key thing you were looking for as you re-examined the doctrines of your faith

    I’ve had seasons of utter personal darkness where the one point of contact and truth I desired was a manifestation of God’s reality in my life and circumstances. Over the 42 years (and more) of being fascinated with the reality of God, I’ve explored the human experience in ways I’m not proud of, and had to come to grips with very primal realities that all human beings face, especially self-regulation, care and contribution.

    And having had – for me – undeniable signs of His reality, I still continue to be inspired by those who discover new perspectives on how Christlike God is. True, where humans are involved, we see a reflection of good and evil in how we can create Babel towers out of a lot of things. The history of the Church is a clear example of that. But then, Jesus talked abut God’s kingdom, not an earthly empire. But thank God we are here 2000 years later, on the other side of centuries of horrific manifestations of our own delusions and unrepentant quest for power.

    It is for each individual who is wanting to “follow Jesus” (whatever it means for them) to find out if they simply face a milestone of being unable to go any further because of understanding, decisions, weakness, confusion, woundedness, etc. I have learned to appreciate when I can finally recognize when this happens to me.

    You have given an outstanding list of records covering thousands of years of examination by brilliant minds on the doctrines and – at times – myths taught and believed. There is little we can do today to change what institutions believe and teach. Even if dogmas were changed, it wouldn’t change people profoundly.

    Change has to be inspired in order to have an impact, and that impact needs to follow its course first in us individually. Being a whole human journey, not just adhesion to a creed, we need to see the evidence of inner transformation reflected in our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions. And this is why I always find myself going back to Paul’s words: “s-i-m-p-l-i-c-i-t-y in Christ.”

    Hope some of this can be useful for you on your own journey,

    Andre

  13. Bernardo says:

    I was answering Andre with my list. Should have noted that but failed because I was pressed for time. Still twin-sitting my new grandchildren. Anyway, the references have been presented once again because of their importance. Read them all and then decide for yourself just how valid is Christianity. There is nothing else I can recommend but one cannot discount the scholarship of the historic Jesus exegetes of the past 200 years and the methods they have used to analyze every passage of the NT for authenticity something that needed to be done when you have scriptural references written by non-witnesses, four of which we know nothing about.

  14. Andre says:

    Bernardo, I would like to point that although you are talking about Christianity as a science or philosophy, which is the object of most of these works it seems, I am pointing to Jesus. Nobody I know converts to Christianity based on their thorough historical knowledge. All this comes after the fact. So for years and years, we live a life that is based on faith, not detailed informations which never line-up to be fully agreed upon even by the most brilliant minds.

    I think it is why the kingdom of God is so real to me, hidden to the scholars, revealed to the children. We live here for so many decades, I would hate to think that the truth of the object of my faith would be determined by centuries of contradictory theologies, all bringing something to the conversation, none having all the answers.

    So I believe it is not so much what I can prove that matters in the end, but what I can manifest of that truth, that Jesus is Lord, and that He rose from the dead. every culture the Apostles went to had to decipher what this meant for them. That’s why – as “cliché” as that can sound like – I’m not following Christianity, but Jesus. I have been in churches and out of churches, reading the Bible and not reading the Bible much. But the density of God’s reality in my life has always been there to a great measure, and I know He lives, is inviting all, and want to live in all.

    I can now read all these other books, because my faith is anchored in this longing, this prayer that is made of the sum of my whole life’s breaths. I know for sure that we don’t even have a definition of Christianity we can all agree on point by point. The unity is of the Spirit, not of the doctrine…

    Have you heard of Brad Jersak’s book “A More Christlike God?” Highly recommended.

    Regards,

    Andre

  15. Shary Hauber says:

    I left it on a tab and have looked at it a number of times, trying to absorb it.

  16. Frans de Vries says:

    Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the death 2000 years ago.
    Why do we express His feelings with a picture that represents the situation
    of 2 milleniums ago?
    He is in control of the whole situation, although we may not understand it.
    We can not fully understand His wisdom … can we?
    Bless the Lord, o my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy Name.

  17. Gary I can’t believe you linked to Matt Walsh!!! LOL. I noticed you didn’t name any names, just posted the link, so as to protect yourself.

  18. Gary says:

    I read from a lot of sources with varying views from all sides of an issue. I found his opinion to be remarkably balanced of coherent. I’m not quite following what you mean about not posting any names though.

  19. Gary says:

    *AND* coherent…sigh. Damn typos.

  20. Oh… I’ve cartooned and critiqued Matt Walsh. Many consider him a shock-blogger from the extreme right. Have you read any of his previous stuff?

  21. Gary says:

    Yes some of his views are off the rails. But not all of them. Kind of like most of us…lol.

  22. True. And to be fair, he does say some good things sometimes. But my experience is that it’s rare.

  23. Gary says:

    Yeah no doubt. But the occasional sensible viewpoint helps us all not to judge a point of view simply because of bias against an individual. I take great exception to many liberal bloggers as well…but sometimes they hit the nail on the head too.

  24. I agree Gary. It’s so easy to demonize everyone.

  25. Bernardo says:

    Andre,

    As per Amazon, “Brad Jersak (PhD) is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (UK) and is senior editor of CWR Magazine (PTM.org). ”

    So his book “A More Christ-like God” is severely compromised by his position for he would not dare take on the authenticity of the NT. If he did, he would be out of a job. The book is also vitiated since he assumes there is a god. Unless you have proof that one or more gods exist, the book is simply embellished myth. Scholars such as Professors Crossan and Ludemann’s are not compromised by their positions (ex-RCC, Irish priest but still “Christian” , German theology professor now atheist) resulting in analyses of the NT that conclude that only 5-30% of the NT is authentic, that there was no Easter or Ascension and that even though the crucifixion of Jesus is historic, no one knows the details other than he died on a cross like many others who violated Roman law.

  26. Gary says:

    Did Bernardo really just reject an opinion based on alleged bias?

    Sometimes the irony of a situation is truly hysterical.

    LMFAO

  27. Bernardo says:

    No Bernardo did not. He simply noted that the recommended book is tainted by the author’s economic status.

  28. Bernardo: I am personal good friends with Brad Jersak. “Economic status”? Hahaha. Good joke!

  29. @Bernardo: “As per Amazon, “Brad Jersak (PhD) is on faculty at Westminster Theological Centre (UK) and is senior editor of CWR Magazine (PTM.org). ” So his book “A More Christ-like God” is severely compromised by his position for he would not dare take on the authenticity of the NT. If he did, he would be out of a job. The book is also vitiated since he assumes there is a god. Unless you have proof that one or more gods exist, the book is simply embellished myth.”

    Hi Bernardo: have you had the chance to you read the book? Or hear Brad talk/teach?

    My question to you: what would happen if suddenly you had proof that one or more gods existed? Would that changed anything for you?

    I’ll just go ahead and leak all this here today:

    And – to use an example – would you say that the knowledge a child has of his/her parents is based on total truth, or self-centered and limited variables? Knowing there exist a divine, supernatural God (even if not monotheistic), is something even primitive ethnic groups know that they know. And that you can relate to this/these beings also goes without saying for them. HOW they relate and WHY varies, but they all *believe there is an EXCHANGE that can happen.

    I would argue that any further knowledge of/about God cannot happen if you remain behind the line of belief, whether you can factually prove anything empirically (that you can make God prove Himself at will) or use the vehicle of myth, legend, story or subjective and very personal experiences too extraordinary for words to fully convey.

    The child “knows” certain things, gathers an extensive inner record of tons of information coming to him/her via his/her senses and thoughts, even before he/she is introduced to the concept of words and learns the alphabet. Those formative years are never truly forgotten but refined over time, and influences perceptions, behavior, thought-patterns, etc.

    The same happens on our spiritual journey. However, just like in the physical world, we don’t control when change happens – it is an evolution, a growing, a maturing process. We revisiting some of those formative years when we need to make changes in life, events that we identify as trauma, or turning points, and usually with the help of a therapist, counselor, guide, mentor, etc. we work at unblocking ourselves from these trigger moments in order to allow that “part” of us to resume its growth and maturing.

    I have seen the same happen in my spiritual journey, and more often than not “the natural reflected into the spiritual.” That is to say, we often imagine God (or gods) is in our own image, relates to us to fulfill our own needs. It is usually happening during the spiritual formative years. I liken it to our childhood narcissistic needs for an image, a reflection, a *sense of identity. You can imagine the rest of the story.

    I don’t need a proof that God exists, for me it happened naturally, even before I could read the Bible. I realized one day as a young adult that the fact I was searching for answers so intensely was a clear sign I had faith in His existence. After years of reading anything I could find that “echoed” that inner knowing, I finally ended up pulling a book from a library shelf that read “To the Father, Through the Son.” It all became clear. Although it didn’t change my life, it was the beginning of a new chapter/season.

    My own story can be taken apart theologically using the Bible, or not, it is a journey of searching for reality and finding that I cannot change it, I can only accept it, even if it sounds childlike. I can hold to an anchor into the Spiritual world, if you will, and know that God will manifest Himself at the time and manner of His choosing. And He has, and still will. My questions and expectations may vary, they may or may not be noble or pure, but I know Him to be a Father (and that presents another set of issues for me) who has pure intentions. And I’m the child, growing, learning, testing, maturing (hopefully).

    Regards,

    Andre

  30. Bernardo says:

    Andre,

    I as with all non-believers await your proof. Please include pictures, phone numbers and addresses of your gods. Keep in mind said proof has not appeared in the history of humankind which goes back some 100,000 years or more.

  31. GOD HAS A PHONE??? No wonder I wasn’t getting answers to prayer! Dammit!

  32. Andre says:

    @Bernardo: I thought you wanted to have a *real and intelligent conversation. Maybe I was wrong. Your last post sounds like a child who insists he has no use for an alphabet.

    If you can’t understand what I wrote, the mere concept of God is way, way, way too far from your reach. I wonder why you believed in the first place – were you coerced, preached at, manipulated, indoctrinated? IF that was the case, then you need to ask yourself: what was the pay-off you hoped to receive?

    You don’t need proofs, you need to figure out what motivates you in life, what are you seeking, and where do you find it. You cannot “prove” to me that you don’t believe in God – words are not enough, even if you borrow those of a thousand others. In the end, you have to find your own. Atheism is a crutch for those who do not want to leave the crib of their humanity. Some have seen too much horrors and question the existence of God through that grid. Others are just too sophisticated to trust what they cannot objectively see and prove – but what is a proof?

    But if proofs are required within your paradigm, they will only be accessible to you once you ask God for them. Then maybe He will tap you on the shoulder like He did for so many. That’s all I got. Put yourself out there as a fleece and watch your heart, listen to your inner critic, etc. Get a glimpse of your humanity.

    I hear about Muslims right now who are having visions and dreams about Jesus and convert to Christianity. I see Orthodox Christians living in dirt poor conditions who to their deaths from ISIS with an attitude that transcends the worst of human behaviour.

    I believe.

    Blessings,

    Andre

  33. Bernardo says:

    Andre,

    More on Jesus and his/your god:

    “In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000),Professor Bruce Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circumstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural paternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus’ life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus’ self-identity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.”

    Dave.

    Now you know but then again software for eliminating robo calls e.g. http://www.nomorobo.com/may have deleted your prayer messages or vice versa. 🙂

  34. Right, Yeshua was a deluded individual that inspired billions of people from various religions and of no religion, transforming lives that were very destructive and turning people into decent human beings – for over 2000 years. And you choose to believe that he was actually trying to “compensate.”

    I think this could be a case of “projection” in your case.

    Bernardo, you have NO idea what you are talking about. You keep quoting other people, using the work of their own “research,” that’s why you do not have anything of substance to bring. That you give these authors credence to decide your own stance before God/notGod is very questionable.

    Are you sure that YOU read AND understood EVERYTHING you seem to use as justification for your “positions?” I don’t believe so. Most authors I read who deny the existence of God/aGod have at least the decency to admit there is no way to know a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y. And many give credit where credit is due.

    Sad to see a grown man act this way, Bernardo. If you want to be taken seriously, quote yourself and let your own words be weighed by others. I hope you find the strength and courage to.

  35. Bernardo says:

    Andre,

    And yet you are guided by the ramblings of five authors from the 1st century CE who basically are regurgitating local myths and embellishments and have no supporting backgrounds as trained historians. Hmmm?

  36. Andre says:

    Is that what you are basing your position on Bernardo? That to believe in God you have to believe what other people tell you or else you cannot claim a genuine experience of God? How about your experience of holding your grandchild – do you need anyone to tell you what to think, or don’t you enjoy just being present in the moment?

    This being said, I think any believer should read historical accounts and expose their faith to be challenged and sharpened. In the end, the information may refute or confirm historical events, chronologies, context, and even debunk some accepted notions and rituals. Doctrines need to be examined in light of Scripture AND historical records. How many years does that take? It’s different for everyone.

    You can’t prove doctrines. You can somewhat prove their historicity, yes. But if Bible stores are any indication, Christians don’t even agree on everything they should, and are divided on everything they shouldn’t. So that’s not the basis for our faith. If it is was, then we would be a bunch of morons. Which we are not. Head knowledge doesn’t change a person, actions do.

    It sounds to me like you have made up your mind about something which you define to be in opposition to Christianity. But have you made up your heart? If so, why are you here? Are you trying to rescue anyone, looking for friends, sharing your deliverance from one set of fairy tales toward another? Because all of our even most clever attempts to explain the unexplainable will need figurative language, allegories, parables, narratives, stories we can relate to, etc.

    Happy trails,

    Andre

  37. Andre says:

    “The possession of knowledge
    does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery.
    There is always more mystery.”
    – Anais Nin

  38. Bernardo says:

    “And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father,in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. ”

    – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

  39. Andre says:

    Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams
    April 11, 1823

    EXCERPT: I could never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin. Indeed I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to Atheism by their general dogma that, without a revelation, there would not be sufficient proof of the being of a god. Now one sixth of mankind only are supposed to be Christians: the other five sixths then, who do not believe in the Jewish and Christian revelation, are without a knolege of the existence of a god!

    This gives compleatly a gain de cause to the disciples of Ocellus, Timaeus, Spinosa, Diderot and D’Holbach. The argument which they rest on as triumphant and unanswerable is that, in every hypothesis of Cosmogony you must admit an eternal pre-existence of something; and according to the rule of sound philosophy, you are never to employ two principles to solve a difficulty when one will suffice. They say then that it is more simple to believe at once in the eternal pre-existence of the world, as it is now going on, and may for ever go on by the principle of reproduction which we see and witness, than to believe in the eternal pre-existence of an ulterior cause, or Creator of the world, a being whom we see not, and know not, of whose form substance and mode or place of existence, or of action no sense informs us, no power of the mind enables us to delineate or comprehend.

    On the contrary I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it’s parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to percieve and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it’s composition. The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with it’s distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms.

    We see, too, evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the Universe in it’s course and order. Stars, well known, have disappeared, new ones have come into view, comets, in their incalculable courses, may run foul of suns and planets and require renovation under other laws; certain races of animals are become extinct; and, were there no restoring power, all existences might extinguish successively, one by one, until all should be reduced to a shapeless chaos. So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful Agent that, of the infinite numbers of men who have existed thro’ all time, they have believed, in the proportion of a million at least to Unit, in the hypothesis of an eternal pre-existence of a creator, rather than in that of a self-existent Universe. Surely this unanimous sentiment renders this more probable than that of the few in the other hypothesis.

    […]

    The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.

    So much for your quotation of Calvin’s `mon dieu! jusqu’a quand’ in which, when addressed to the God of Jesus, and our God, I join you cordially, and await his time and will with more readiness than reluctance. May we meet there again, in Congress, with our antient Colleagues, and recieve with them the seal of approbation `Well done, good and faithful servants.’

    http://www.loc.gov/resource/mtj1.053_0841_0844/?st=gallery

  40. Gary says:

    Hey Bernardo…If you would learn to think for yourself rather than simply spout the words of others you could avoid these embarrassing little misrepresentations. 🙂

    Don’t worry though you are not alone. Fundamentalists of all sorts are willing to twist and falsify the words of others to make them say something which is false. It has been my experience that believers are as skilled at it as non believers.

  41. In my view, it simply shows that we do need to go beyond wanting to be right, and to get to the truth of things requires a certain vulnerability. And as Gary stated – we all do it. Although I don’t believe it really is because we want to deceive or be deceived. It’s just that our minds can’t run ahead and fill in the blanks perfectly where doubt or uncertainty remains. So we hold on to what we know and trust to be true.

    Sadly, I took me 32 years to start really diving in and questioning the doctrines/dogmas I had “sort of” taken for granted. I’ve exposed myself to polar opposite teachings at time, and it’s been unnerving, depressing, shocking, but in the end I found myself able to accept some “mysteries” would always remain. And I’m OK with it, which doesn’t mean I have all the answers cause I don’t. But I trust the “evolutionary” spiritual process God has imprinted in us as I’ve see it work efficiently in my life and the life of others. It is indeed a new life in terms of birth and stages of growth, very similar to the natural life.

    Regards,

    Andre

  42. Gary says:

    Andre it is true…some do so innocently enough. Sadly though…way too many do it very intentionally.

  43. Caryn LeMur says:

    Andre: thank you for sharing that full quote of Jefferson’s. In context, it says the exact opposite of what Bernardo was advocating.

    Bernardo: I would still enjoy hearing some of your original thoughts. What parts of Crossan and others do you think are weak (other than some of them are still believers)? What of the strata proposed by Crossan, and do you believe other strata is more appropriate? And so forth.

    Also, the original post was a cartoon envisioning the words/concepts represented by the Jesus figure, against the background of the Syrian refugees – – what are your thoughts on the irony, applicability, and/or actions advocated by the Followers of Jesus (past tense) with the Followers of Jesus (present tense).

    There is, in my mind, still room for you to respond with original thought, and/or contributions to the Jesus vs Syrian Refugee dialog.

  44. Andre says:

    @Bernardo: I am going to share this link here and invite you to read this article in Charisma Magazine (not a fan, but sometimes they have content I appreciate). It observes the conversion of Muslims in Muslim countries, to Christ, where accounts of dreams or visions are not uncommon. It makes one pause and consider, due to the extreme violence that surrounds many of them, and the threat of punishment or death for those who dare leave Islam …
    http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/24959-the-underground-revival-in-the-middle-east-that-might-take-down-islam