Can people be righteous or not?

There is a verse that I came upon recently that seems a bit confusing to me. It is Romans 3:10 which says “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.” Later in verse 12 it says, “there is no one who does good, not even one.”

I then started to think about other passages I’ve read that states the opposite.

Of course we have the story of Noah in Genesis 7:1 which states,  “The lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.”

There was the servant Job who never turned from god.

And there is even the verse in James 5:16 that seems to speak to us normal people that states, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” This says to me that some men are righteous and their prayers are effective.

So again, I ask of this seeming contradiction in the bible. Can mankind be righteous or not?

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Where are gods morals here?

We hear it from christians all the time. “Without god, there are no morals.” “We can only get morals from god.” “God is the absolute authority on morality” “Atheist have no morals.” “Atheist are just baby killers!”

Ok, maybe that last one isn’t exactly one I’ve heard directly, but I’m sure that a lot of christians think that. Well, now I can say the same about god himself. And “his own word” is all the proof I need.

Today I was reading 2 Samuel where David sees the desirable Bathsheba naked and bathing from his rooftop on to hers. Bathsheba is married to a man named Uriah. David sends for her, has sex with her and impregnates her. David freaks out and sends for Uriah to himself away from a current battle taking place. He tries to set up Uriah with a perfect opportunity to spend some hanky panky time with Bathsheba. That way it will seem like it was Uriah that gets her pregnant instead. But Uriah is to honorable of a man and can not sleep with his wife while his fellow soldiers are sleeping in the dirt at the battle field. David then tries to get him drunk, hoping Uriah with sleep with his wife then, to no avail.

Then David sends Uriah to the front lines where he is then killed.

The bible then says that “what David had done displeased the Lord.” Its not clear if all of it displeased, or just him sleeping with another mans wife, getting Uriah killed… Who knows what upset god here.

Later in 2 Samuel 12:13 David admits he has sinned against god. But Nathan says in the same verse that god has taken away Davids sin. However in verse 14 Nathan informs David that the son that Bathsheba is about to give birth to will die because of his sin.

Verse 15 says “the lord struck the child and he became ill.” Verse 18 the child dies.

Now then, I understand that not a single man is perfect. Men will do stupid things like act out sexually. Which is what David did. Yes it was wrong and consequences should be expected for David. Even Bathsheba should expect them. I guess back then that would include being stoned to death for her.

But this whole passage just seems to skim over the innocent baby. The baby that god himself kills.

What did the baby do? What did he do to deserve a death sentence given by god? God killed this baby. Not David, not Bathsheba. God is the murderer of innocence.

Today we have christians going on about people killing fetuses in abortions, but why don’t they go on about god himself killing a baby after birth? Where is the outrage and outcries? Where are the questions towards god from believers. And please don’t tell me, “well god did it, so its ok.”

It is something to find out that the god of the bible is really the baby killer.

Did John the Baptist doubt Jesus?

The mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist both had some remarkable events happen at the time when they conceived. Both were visited by angels and told the details of their soon to come offspring, even down to what to name them. One of them was to come into the world magically.

I understand that John and Jesus may not of been around each other while growing up. Of course…there is no record of these cousins being together until the day Jesus went to John to be baptized. Though John didn’t greet him as a family member, but as someone who’s sandals John was unworthy to carry.

According to Matthew 3:14 (But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”) it is very clear that John knows who Jesus is. At least the god like nature that Jesus was supposed to be. Johns whole purpose was to “prepare the way” for Jesus’ coming. What a day it must have been when Jesus finally did show up on the scene. And even came to John to be baptized.

So there are a couple of passages that I recently read that are a bit puzzling.

Matthew 11:2 When John heard in prison what christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Luke 7:19 he sent them to the lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When I read this, I picture John sitting in prison saying, “Damn…I wonder if all this crazy magic stuff is true after all. Why hasn’t Jesus broke me out of here yet?!” I wonder if during Johns time in prison, he began to doubt if there was a god or began to doubt Jesus.

Reading further in the texts, I found no resolve to Johns questions or possible doubts. I found no passages where Johns disciples reported back Jesus’ response. Only that John is beheaded later.

Now then, I can already hear possible believers response to all of this. Things like, “John knew he was going to die, and wanted his own disciples to start following Jesus.” or “John wanted his disciples to be re-assured from Jesus himself.” But where does it say that? The bible never says that. Conclusions like this can only be made up. Christians can make up whatever they want in these gaps to make it all fit together. Regardless of wether the text actually says it or not. I can only conclude what the text itself says and it reads to me like John began to doubt the divinity of Jesus.

This is a perfect example of how the bible can be contradictory, confusing and an incomplete, fragmented text. If our very souls are dependent on what is written in it, why make it so difficult to understand. Just another reason to not believe it is the inerrant word of a god.

So, did John the Baptist doubt Jesus?

Is prayer just hot air?

I recently had a friend find out he had thyroid cancer. It was literally just about a year ago when he found out. He caught it  early. Over the past year he went through surgery, scans and treatments to remove the cancer. Through it all he sent group texts to keep friends updated  and to ask for our prayers.

About two weeks ago he shot out another text to inform everyone that he was going in for a final scan to see if any cancer remained. Again, asking for our prayers. A day or two later he informed us that 100% of the cancer was gone. He then told all the recipients that he believed the prayers were a big part of the outcome. To never underestimate the “supernatural healing power in prayer.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am VERY glad that the cancer is gone and will hopefully stay gone. But when I got his message, my second thought was, cool….now lets see if god will heal all the thousands of children in hospitals with the same type of illness. If prayer works, shouldn’t he be able to hear those prayers too and heal them? But I just sent a text back saying that it was good news and glad the cancer was gone.

Dan Barker said it best when he said, “You want proof god doesn’t exist? Just walk through a children’s hospital.”

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and believing, you will receive.”

John 14:14 “You may ask me for ANYTHING in my name, and I will do it.”

Am I reading these statements from “Jesus” too literal? Out of context? I don’t think so. The way I read it, his statements are pretty straight forward. There is no room for interpretation. There is no need to be told what he “really” meant from some biblical scholar. They are plain and simple statements coming from the “son of god.” Statements that also happen to be false. Because we can ask him to cure the children of cancer right now, and nothing happens. I’ve heard christians say things like, “well, you didn’t really believe” or “you didn’t have enough faith”. Ok, so you christians, have enough faith, right? Start praying for the kids! Jesus said it would work. Make it work!

It won’t work. Prayer is just hot air. So you have to move the goal posts and make excuses. I’m glad I don’t live in such a delusion anymore. Its really sad to see so many good people give up and devote their lives to nonsense.

It is really infuriating when I hear some one say, “god healed me!” and “god listens to my prayers.” When there are so many millions around the world that also need to be healed and listened to. Do you think the parents of the kids in hospitals don’t do some praying as well? Well…maybe the ones that aren’t delusional don’t.

Sorry, prayer didn’t heal anything. Science, the doctors who spent years in school and research cured and got rid of the cancer. The only thing that the prayers do is make people feel better, pretending to know that a supernatural sky daddy is with them.

Such as these.

Luke 18:16 NIV
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

A very curious scripture. I heard a very stunning statistic today from Sam Harris. There are 9 million children under the age of 5 that die every year. That is 24,000 a day. 1,000 every hour. As I type this sentence, several are going to die. Probably in the arms of their parents, praying to a god. Like the one referred to in the scripture above.

I heard another good quote from Dan Barker that said, “If you want proof there is no god, take a walk through a childrens hospital.”

When talking to believers about this, they tend to put all the blame on ourselves and “the Fall.” We allowed sin to enter the world. Therefore, taking all the responsibility off of any god.

Maybe Jesus was saying he wants the children to come to him sooner rather than later. That we would be hindering them coming to him by trying to find cures to heal them.

We now know, as science has found, that epilepsy isn’t the cause of demon possession as the bible says. Or various sicknesses the cause of curses. I believe one day that science will discover cures for these illnesses. And other scientific explanations will be far greater than just attributing them to some god or supernatural beings. None of which can be proven in the slightest. Only believed.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch your child suffer any kind of serious illness. And I would never want to take away from the parents who are reaching for anything to bring strength and purpose to their suffering. Even if its a god.

I can’t even begin to believe that if there were a god, he would allow such an injustice. But then again, I read the bible and its riddled with these atrocities. So it would seem god still just turns a blind eye. Or, he’s just not there.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Epicurus 341BC-270BC

That drunk Noah

Genesis 9:20-25 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their fathers naked body. Their faces were turned so they would not see their father naked. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out Shem saw him naked he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will be to his brothers.”

So, there is one “righteous” person in the entire world that god sees fit to rescue from destruction. He gets hammered and passes out naked.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to get drunk after surviving a world wide flood on a boat with thousands of pairs of animals from all over the world. Having to live with all the stench and shoveling all the shit. Throwing it out that one window into the already dying salt water fish. Mopping up all the animal piss. Having to constantly keep the carnivores from eating the other animals…and yourself. Feeding all the animals.  All of this for over 150 days! I’d be stepping off the boat at the end and looking for my first drink too.

I can’t say I blame Noah much. And god must be cool with it because he still gives Noah the power to curse his son Hams descendants, the Canaans. God later orders the slaughter of the Canaan men, women, children and infants. All this from a drunken naked man and his son who looks in to check on his drunken old man. Maybe just to see if he’s ok. What gratitude.

One question I have is how did Noah already know that there was going to be people called Canaanites? Maybe I’m missing something.

Again, here we see that story of some supposedly godly dude who is willing to curse or kill one of his own children. Ask yourself, is there anything that your child could ever do to make you want to actually kill or curse them? I mean, he is the one passed out with his junk exposed. Could he not take some of the blame? Could he not just act like any normal person would and just be a bit embarrased and thats it? No…hes got to act like a kid and eventually cause even more pain, death and suffering. Another one for gods team.

I bet Shem and Japheth snuck a peek anyhow.

Skeptic Bible Study: The Four Gospels Part II

So in the previous study I mention the synoptic gospels and how similar and dis-similar they are.

I’d like to continue with the topic of the Synoptic gospels and see how things begin to change between Mark, Matthew and Luke. With Mark being the source text for Matthew and Luke. The differences between the gospels have come to be known as the “Synoptic Problem.” There are methodical differences in the type of Jesus that each gospel presents in their accounts.

So the type of Jesus that we read about in Mark, is completely different from the one we read in about Matt or Luke. The gospels disagree with the message he spoke, how he treated people, how he interacted with his disciples, etc. We also see differently how people see Jesus as well. In Mark, no one, not even his disciples quite understand his messianic nature. Where in Matt and Luke people tend to recognize more who Jesus is. It’s not like four eye witnesses seeing the same car accident. The accounts are different in many respects. As we will see the anti-semitisim begins to crop up in the later gospels. It is as if factions had a stake in who they needed Jesus to be portrayed as and the account in Mark simply won’t do.

The Jesus in Mark is more human and less powerful than the Jesus that is portrayed in Matt and Luke.

1. Only One Is Good: Mark 10:17-18 When asked by the rich man, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus replies “Why would you call me good? Only god is good.” But if some one didn’t want Jesus saying that only god is good, especially if Jesus himself is supposed to BE god, then that response would have to be changed. So Matthew changes Jesus’ words a bit to say “There is only one who is good.” Small words like this can leave it open for the reader to see Jesus as more powerful and as the same as god. Which is necessary if you want others to believe Jesus is who he says he is.

2. Birth Story: No birth story in Mark. Only in Matt and Luke. Being born of a virgin seems pretty significant, but no word of it in Mark, or John for that matter.

3. Messianic Secret: Mark 3:12 “But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.”
Mark 8:30 After Peter tells Jesus he believes he is the christ, Jesus warns them not to tell anyone about himself. He wants his messianic nature kept secret. This secret fits with the baptism that occurs in Mark. Remember the god voice that spoke directly to Jesus as he came up out of the water?

However in Matthew, his messiahship is public and out in the open. The wise men and astrologers can put things together about Jesus, by the stars in the sky. The disciples know more and understand who Jesus is by his miracles.

Also in Matthew, wouldn’t you know, the Pharisees and Sadducees are present around John the Baptist. John gives these “brood of vipers” fair warning that Jesus is about to make his great entrance onto the scene. So they are made aware of the coming messiah and are made accountable for knowing who Jesus is. They are also warned by John that just because they are Jew and descendants of Abraham, doesn’t mean they will automatically inherit the kingdom of god.

The Pharisees would have been major rivals of early christianity. In Matthew we see an advancement of language against the Pharisees.

Matthew 27:11-26 During the trial of Jesus, Pilate offers Jesus a pardon, finding no wrong doing and asking the people, “what crime has he committed?”. Even Pilate’s wife tells him to have nothing to do with “this innocent man.” He gives the Jewish people the choice of setting Jesus free or to execute him. They insist that he be crucified. Pilate then declares, “I am innocent of this mans blood. It is your responsibility.” With that the Jews respond, “Let his blood be on us and our children!”

Matthew wants the Jewish people to be on the hook for the death of Jesus and the true plan that god has. People in Matthew know about Jesus and there are no secrets as the book of Mark implies. Instead, Jesus has to be out in the open and the Jews have to know exactly what they are doing.

There is so much to look at between the four gospels. It is interesting to see how scholars speculate about how the gospels were pieced together. Again, I realize that believers might be critical of my post here. Denying that the writers intent was to make the jewish people look bad. But I tend to lean towards what biblical scholars have found and theorize. From how I read the text, this critical interpretation seems to make sense. It does appear that there was an agenda. Especially now seeing how history has unfolded between the christians and the jewish people.