Jesus and the Big Picture

For those who read this blog on a somewhat regular basis, you know that I often refer to postings on the Finding Truth blog. Nate has developed quite a following and the discussions there often get pretty heated.

A participant in one of his recent postings is an individual who goes by the name of “Kathy.” This person, for all intents and purposes, is a Christian. She appears to believe God is real and the bible is his message to the world.

While many on the Finding Truth blog tend to believe there are contradictions and/or errors within the holy book, Kathy staunchly defends “The Word” by claiming she is the only one who is looking “objectively” at the scriptures in question. She further claims that all who disagree with her are doing so because of their “liberal” (atheist) perspective.

In one of her defenses against bible inconsistencies, she made this comment: “We can TRUST the ENTIRE Bible because it was approved by God. You are focusing on things that are INSIGNIFICANT.. because again, it reveals what is in your heart. If your questions related to contradictions in the actual MESSAGE of the Bible, then I could see your point.. but times and dates.. it just doesn’t matter in the big picture of what Jesus did for US on the cross. (Emphasis mine)


At the heart of Christianity is the belief that salvation comes through believing in Jesus and his atoning death on the cross. Few are aware this doctrine was never mentioned, promoted, or taught by Jesus himself. Nor is it addressed anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. OT scriptures used by church leaders today to corroborate this teaching did not hold the same meaning to the ancient Jews. In fact, it wasn’t until (the apostle) Paul developed his theology about who Jesus was and why he came that things changed.

This change didn’t occur overnight. It was primarily through the plethora of Paul’s letters that (some of) the early Jews began to view the ancient texts in a new way. Using his skills as an eloquent writer, a powerful and charismatic orator, and an effective evangelist, Paul was eventually able to convince them that Yeshua was the long-awaited Messiah.

But he didn’t stop there. Since he had abolished the Torah as a requirement for salvation (Galatians 3:10), it was necessary for him to put a new requirement into place that would ensure Yahweh‘s approval. This he did by developing the doctrine of “original sin” (humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man), and pointing out that only through faith in his “Christ” could anyone gain favor with God.

In other words, the conception that Christians have today about “what Jesus did for US on the cross” is based solely on the teachings of Paul — teachings that originated from his reported “vision” of a disembodied Jesus.

“Paul’s words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul — a vast difference.”

— John Shelby Spong

A Question for Believers


What is your strongest argument for God?

Definition of argument:  “A fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true.

Keeping this definition in mind, please provide facts and/or evidence that affirm your belief in God. You are requested not to cite personal experiences as these are totally subjective. Also, please do not quote scripture as this invalidates the core question.

Ex-believers are encouraged to provide your input as well. What was the determining factor(s) that convinced you there was a God (keeping in mind the conditions noted above) — and what persuaded you otherwise?

CHRISTIANS: Here is an opportunity to reach those individuals who need hard evidence.

Christian Intimidation

Not too long ago, I asked an interior designer to give me her thoughts on updating my bathroom. (Side note: She offered some great ideas which I’m currently implementing.)

As she was getting ready to leave, we shared a bit of chit-chat at the door. For some reason, our conversation turned to religion and I asked her if she attended church. I immediately sensed her discomfort as she replied no, and then quickly began giving me reasons why she didn’t.  When she finished, I assured her that I didn’t attend either and she visibly seemed more at ease. We then went on to have a discussion on why we chose to be non-believers.

After she left, I pondered her reaction. Why was she so uncomfortable with the question? Did she feel guilty that she wasn’t a church-goer? Did she think perhaps I was a Christian and and would start “witnessing” to her?  Probably a little of both.

A few weeks after this incident, as I thought more about what happened, I wondered why it is that non-believers so often feel intimidated by Christians. In my mind, this should not happen. We are all individuals and we each have a right to believe (or not believe) what we choose. Instead, because this nation has become so indoctrinated by Christianity, anyone who even remotely indicates they are not a believer is suspect. Perhaps not openly, but the air around them definitely changes.

Contrary to what Christians are taught, Christianity is NOT the be-all, end-all religion. Of course, trying to convince the faithful of this fact is a fruitless endeavor. They have been so brainwashed (yes, that’s what I said) by over two-thousand years of dogma and doctrine that they are unable to see any version of the world outside of theirs. It’s sad, really. Especially when you hear or read of individuals who are down on themselves simply because they feel they aren’t living up to the standards “the church” has placed upon them.

I lived in the Christian world for over 15 years and, contrary to what one person commented on this blog, I was a “spirit-filled” Christian who took what the Bible said very seriously. For me, everything written within its pages was true and right.  And I firmly believed anyone who didn’t see things this way was headed for a world of hurt.

Today, however, I am no longer a part of that world — and there has not been one day that I have regretted my decision to leave. Why? Because there are no words to describe the freedom, the happiness, the pure joy of living that I have enjoyed since I made my “escape.”

Skeptics, Christians, and Bible Contradictions

bibleAs I’ve mentioned before, I follow a blog known as Finding Truth. Visitors include skeptics, believers (Christians), atheists, agnostics,  deists, and some who resist titles. Needless to say, some of the discussions can get quite heated!

In a recent discussion, 48 people (at last count) offered their comments. There were a couple that I found particularly thought-provoking and am publishing portions of them here. They have been slightly edited to retain coherence of thought.

Commenter kcchief1:

Use one scripture to prove a point and someone else will use another to refute your point. Paul also uses the age old excuse of the hardening of hearts when people don’t receive the scriptures. In the OT God hardened many hearts . Why would a God who wants the World to worship him harden people’s hearts???

Commenter joenbjerregaard:

[You] have to look for disagreements – as skeptics often do – to see them. We can’t expect every doctrine to be taught on every page, it is not reasonable. I’m pretty skeptical of much in the Old Testament, but I go along and say God hardened many hearts, as a punishment.

Commenter William:

I can agree that every doctrine shouldn’t be expected to be seen in every page – it isn’t reasonable as you’ve stated.

And Skeptics often do look for disagreements. Looks like I agree with you again. But I think we should elaborate this point. Christians are skeptics too – just of every faith other than their own. They’re skeptical of science that may disagree with the bible (hares chewing cuds, the earth being supported by pillars — though I admit is likely just poetic writing, a seed having to die before it germinates, the sun and moon being under the atmosphere, etc.).

Christians will seek problems in those things as well as in books like the koran to discredit them. So the atheistic/agnostic skeptics are indeed the same. And shouldn’t something so powerful, something from the most powerful, most perfect, most fair, most loving, most wise, and most eternal being stand up to such scrutiny?

Look at the contradictions within the bible. Did god bring the birds from the water or from the earth? What day did jesus die? What is the correct linage of jesus through Joseph? Is Tyre in existence or not? Are all the prophecy fulfillments in Mathew really originated in prophecies? How long were the Israelite enslaved in Egypt? When did the Israelites actually take all of canaan – if ever? How did Judas die? … and the list goes on and on…

But beyond skepticism, the believers will often dismiss and ignore any issue and only focus on the good parts or the cohesive parts. But the problems don’t go away no matter how hard you try to ignore them or hide them.

And really, why would anyone believe the bible was from god anyway? because the bible says it is? because the old authors of the bible claimed that they spoke on behalf of god, as if god couldn’t write a book for himself, as if it was just too tiresome for god to speak to everyone and clear everything up face to face, man to man? Come now. We can be better than that. Where’s the verification? What proves the authors’ claims? Oh yeah, they said there had been miracles that proved it… And that’s great – for those who allegedly witnessed them, but not for anyone else. Where’s the proof of those supposed proofs? Get my question?

IMO, William asks some very good questions. Do you have the answers?