It wasn't easy for me to face the reality that I'd been lied to

Sent in by Mary R

I was raised a Catholic, and later during my teen years converted to Christianity. After many years of being a devout Christian, I started to suspect that something was wrong with many of the teachings that Christian leaders had been teaching in their churches and Sunday schools for so many years. For the first time in my Christian life a feeling of mistrust and doubt arose within me when I started to question the virginal birth of Jesus or Jesus himself being God—to me, that formula didn't make sense anymore—after I learned that the concept of Gods impregnating humans to have physical sons is pure mythology. The belief in earth-born gods or "demi-gods" (called Sons of the Gods) and their coming into the world by human birth (gods impregnating humans) was prevalent among the heathen long prior to the era of Christianity.

I also discovered that the sayings of Jesus (in the New Testament) are not original. In fact, his sayings or teachings are a body of work called the "Logia Ieosou," etc., and can be found scattered throughout the literature, both Jewish and Pagan, that preceded Jesus' purported advent.

It wasn't easy for me to face the reality that I'd been lied to.

Years and years of lies and fairy tales needed to be washed away. I took courage and began to study the origin of religions, comparative mythology, Ancient history and other subjects related to it. It was then when my eyes were opened and I could see the truth that had been hidden from me for so many years.

In my in-depth study of Scripture and Ancient religions, I came to realize that every system of beliefs has its own retold old myths and related rituals and that what I had been taught as the "true doctrine" is simply an interpretation based on the same old mythology that has been around for thousands of years—in disguise of different names but basically the same, from the past to present.

When we learn of Ancient pagan religions we can recognize that Christianity is little more than the combination of related pagan beliefs which have been organized into a complex whole religion (the one we know today). There are numerous instances in the Bible where the influence of mythology and Ancient pagan thought is quite blatant. But the fact that everyone had always told me that that whole book was the inspired word of God, made me fearful to even infer that it really wasn't. There was a time when I could remember being afraid to admit that Jesus wasn't God or some type of divine thing/entity—what if I was wrong? Would God be upset at me for renouncing him? (obviously I was very confused).

Gods are invented by people to explain unknown things. You hear the same type stories just over and over. Which one is the true one? Ra, Zeus, El, Yahweh, Jove, Jupiter, Allah, Hunah Ku, Anshar, Anu or Brahma? I'm sure that every religion would dare to say that their god/God is the true one and that the others are just idols invented by men.

(Here are some external links in case you want to know a List of deities: www.godchecker.com; www.pantheon.org; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities)

Every pre-Christianity religion (Osirian, Hinduism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam, and others), and Christianity as well, have their own texts (bibles), books that were put together by men influenced by their 'imagination.' And it was men who gave a mystical interpretation to their legends, myths, and fables that were passed down from early generations.

Religions, also, and their related rituals were invented by men. Every country or region of the world have their own; this control by religion has its origin in the oldest religions of ancient civilizations.

We all have seen that the most horrible crimes in history have been committed in the name of religion. When I read and learned of the dark side of it, I realized that religion has been nothing but a forcible 'taking over' of human thoughts, emotions, and feelings... (a persuasive way of intimidation and manipulation for the purpose of controlling masses of people by irrational promises, fear and guilt). In my opinion, that's not the best choice for a rational, thinking person.

Being a rational human being, living a moral life, loving our family, being good to our neighbors, to those who are in need, teaching our children to make sensible, reasonable, logical, realistic, and wise decisions in their lives is what I think are the best choices in life, and therefore, should be our commitment.

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59 comments:

jimearl said...

Mary wrote:

"The belief in earth-born gods or "demi-gods" (called Sons of the Gods) and their coming into the world by human birth (gods impregnating humans) was prevalent among the heathen long prior to the era of Christianity."

Yes, I agree with your statement above. What is hard for me is that even today, most people actually believe this without any reservations.

Well, anyway, welcome to the world of reality, and thanks for your story. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Cheers, Jim Earl

Damian said...

The belief in earth-born gods or "demi-gods" (called Sons of the Gods) and their coming into the world by human birth (gods impregnating humans) was prevalent among the heathen long prior to the era of Christianity."

Im afraid you guys are mistaken. The first mention of Jesus Christ can be found in the Jewish scriptures which predict his arrival hundreds of years before his actual birth. He is described in these scriptures as "the Son of God" and there are several mentions of Him in the very first book of the Jewish Torah (Genesis)

Genesis and other books of the old testiment were written long long before any other pagan gods began using the term 'son of god' or talked about having messiahs. If yu do your historical research you will find that it historically certain that Jesus is the first known and mentioned messiah.

The a term messiah was a term the Jewish people had already been familiar with hundreds of years prior to the emergence of these other gods you speak of.

Jesus is the first and only true Messiah.

.:webmaster:. said...

I'm afraid you are mistaken, Damian.

Here's a primer: Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth.

Huey said...

Damian, no one knows when the books of the bible were written. You are proceeding from the false assumption that since the bible is true, these books must predate other pagan religions. That is what is not true. History shows many religions occurring thousands of years before Christianity or Judaism.

What are your sources for this "historical research"? What text shows the historical certainty that Jesus was the "first know and mentioned messiah”? Are they known and substantiated historical accounts or just more religious texts?

In addition, you are not being entirely forthcoming about the "Son Of God" scriptures. Yes the Jewish scriptures predict the arrival of this demi-god, but the Jews did not consider Jesus to be that individual. Nor do they predict his coming with the use of his name. You have little idea as to who they meant, but one thing is certain: they did not mean Jesus. Quoting one to prove another is misleading.

If one accepts that the Earth is only around 6000 years old and that the bible is historically accurate then you statements would make sense (only to a fundie though). But the bible is not a history text but rather a book of fables, or probably more accurately, teaching fables, though admittedly, most are rather poorly written with the “moral of the story” being rather dubious at best and horrific at worst . The Earth however, is billions of years old as clearly demonstrated by the fossil record, the geological record, etc. It was not created in 6 days, humans did not suddenly spring up from the ground and the Flintstones do not belong on the History Channel. (Gotta love Lewis Black!)

Jesus was most definitely not the first recorded "messiah", which you would know if you had done the research that you have implied in your post. But you have done no research. You are just parroting what other fundies have told you, read what other fundies have told you, write what other fundies have told you, think what other fundies have told you, believe what other fundies have told you……..

Has your mind ever originated a thought on it’s own?

muttmutt said...

My husband had four NDEs. He told me that surprisingly enough, Gods are just humans that realize they have the ultimant power within themselves and realize thier true otential. the old God Anu was as imperfect as any human, and he made the rules to supress minds. Thanks Anu and Ill be kicking your ass when i die, for your rules did a number on the planet. Anyways, I still believe christianity to be a lie, but i realize that recycled stories have an element of truth in them and have opted to be pagan because of this conclusion.

damian youre a moron, I have friends that are thelogical scholars that can think circles around you, and i can assure you that the stories of christianity AND judaism are cut and paste stories from Pagan beliefs, I mean the Epic of Gilgamesh refers to a worldwide flood and it predates your precious bible and torah, do yourself a favor and get educated.

.:webmaster:. said...

The following is posted on behalf of Mary R, the author of the original post, who hasn't created a Google account yet.

Hi Jim Earl and all,

Thanks so much for the welcoming.

Damian,

There's a great misconception (among Christians) of the meaning of Messiah. First, let me explain this about the word savior which in Hebrew is "Moshee'a'ah" which means deliverer.The word for anointed in Hebrew "Mash'akh" which means smeared with oil. The Greek Septuagint combined both meanings and came up with the Greek word Messiah.

If you read your Bible and have at least a little knowledge of Hebrew, you'd know that--the Bible says--King David referred to King Saul as the Messiah of god/God (1 Sam. 24:6). In Psalms 2, and Psalms 18:50 David is called anointed (Messiah) and even Cyrus, a gentile, is called Messiah (Isa. 45:1); god/God called his prophets "Messiah" (Psa. 105:15) But none were considered to be of "divine" origin. Every person chosen to carry out a plan (any plan) was called a Messiah (Isa. 61:1).

None of the basic texts in The Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible concerning the "Messiah," place him in heaven as a divine entity: Isa. 9:7; 11:1-12; 16:5; Jer. 23:5-6; Zac. 3:8-10; 6:12-13; 9:9-10; Psa. 80:17; Amos 9:11; Micah 5:2-4. Christians have the tendency to interpret the Bible "mystically" being influenced by mythological concepts that were added to the Bible to support their pagan doctrines.

If your read Jewish history and literature, you'd find that the Jews were looking for a Messiah, a successful political leader, who would restore the independence of their nation. Among them are: Judah Maccabee; Theudas (Antiquities, 20.97); Judas of Galilee (Wars, 2:118); Benjamin the Egyptian (War 2.261263 Ant. 20.171); Menachem (the grandson of Judas the Galilean); Simeon Bar Kochba. Many men posed as Messiahs, were followed by people, and were put to death (some were crucified) by the Romans for political reasons. In fact, the age in which Jesus is said to have lived was an age in which many men bore the same name and many political leaders assumed the title of "Christ or Messiah."

About the mythological stories in the Bible... studying Ancient religions is the only way to find out how they influenced the formation of many of the stories in it. If you study the origin of certain religious beliefs you should clearly see that they are the chronological continuation of the "Osiris" pattern that has traveled down through recorded history. That's why the narratives are so similar. The Judeo-Christian Bible is an amalgamation of mythical literature copied from other civilizations, religious fictions, superstitions, and some history. To me all religions and their bibles are the same thing.

"Perhaps if religions were left out and children/people learned that ethical behavior is not necessary to get into the kingdom of heaven, but instead taught that ethical behavior is necessary to create a true heaven on earth for all here to enjoy, then the world would really be a better place." (This thought was sent to me via e-mail, and I certainly agree with it.)

Mary R

Left of Center said...

Damian, how’s cognitive dissidence treating you?. Most Biblical scholars recognize that most of what you think is prophesy come true was actually rewritten and altered by later scribes and authors. Pre-Judeo Christian mythology is an accurate term. Though Christian apologists lamely say the tales were pre fabricated by Satan. There were many so called messiahs that claimed to fulfill prophesy, Apollonius of Tarsus being just one. Your Bible is such a rewritten mishmash of convoluted gobbledygook; it's amazing that a guy like you who can string together multiple sentences believes in such nonsense.

Jamie said...

Damien, please quote the chapter and verse in Genesis that uses the term "Son of God". I can't find anything, using biblegateway.com, that says "son of god" anywhere before Matthew (except in the KJV where there is ONE mention in Daniel, though other translations don't use the phrase).

So please, Damien, help me out and show me where in the old testament that "son of god" is mentioned. Maybe biblegateway just missed it.

Damian said...

Hey Guys

Thanks very much for your responses. Although I appreciate this is an emotive subject I would appreciate it if we could refrain from using personal insults when responding to posts. I am happy to discuss and contribute in anyway I can, however I am not here to be insulted- thus phrases like “Has your mind ever originated a thought on it’s own?” or “damian youre a moron, I have friends that are thelogical scholars that can think circles around you” as well as “it's amazing that a guy like you who can string together multiple sentences believes in such nonsense.” I personally do not think are entirely necessary and as such will not receive any response. I ask for all participants to keep the tone of this conversation civil and refrain from further such comments.

On the other hand for those genuinely interested in engaging in an adult debate there are a couple of points I would like to address.

For those of you who do not accept anything at all about the bible, these points will be of no interest to you, but I will be happy to talk more generally about why Jesus is God and the Messiah later.

Firstly to Huey you wrote:

Yes the Jewish scriptures predict the arrival of this demi-god, but the Jews did not consider Jesus to be that individual. Nor do they predict his coming with the use of his name. You have little idea as to who they meant, but one thing is certain: they did not mean Jesus. Quoting one to prove another is misleading.

Webmaster also states

If your read Jewish history and literature, you'd find that the Jews were looking for a Messiah, a successful political leader, who would restore the independence of their nation


Thank you for your points guys, however whether or not the Jewish people accept Jesus as the Messiah or not is not actually relevant, to whether He is seeing as Jesus Himself spoke about His very rejection as the Messiah and that being rejected as the Messiah by the nation of Israel was prophesised in the old testament and therefore a requirement to qualify as The Messiah.

Check out Luke 14 Verses 16-24, or Isaiah 49 For both New and Old testament views and prophecy of this rejection.

Isaiah 49 says

Thus says the LORD,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers

Therefore, the fact that Jesus is not accepted by the Jewish people as the Messiah actually strengthens the evidence that He is. The rejection of Him further fulfils God written Prophecy which is a necessary requirement to qualify as the messiah.

Secondly Jesus Himself says He is The Messiah not a Messiah (which of course can also mean messenger of God as has been stated) check out Matthew 16:16

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18

In John 4:25 Jesus himself also confirms He is the Messiah in a conversation He has with the woman at the well:
25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Jesus does not say He is merely a prophet or a man, but is using a deistic term when referring to himself as “The Christ”.

So when it is said that The Jews were not expecting someone like Jesus but instead were expecting a successful political Leader this point is irrelevant. Jesus’ was not what they expected hence the rejection, as He fulfilled all the prophecies in ways they did not understand “Strike down this temple and I will raise it up in 3 days” he says John 2:19. They did not know what He meant.

Huey also you state .

History shows many religions occurring thousands of years before Christianity or Judaism.

Your assertion is not very unspecific nor referenced in anyway. What is this “history” that is ‘showing ‘these other religions as predating Judaism? Where is your evidence or your sources? My comments are based on the Jewish bible for which we have recent documents such as the Dead sea scrolls for example (found as recently as 1947), which confirm everything I say as historically correct. These documents are dated as early as 2nd Century BC and have been accepted as legitimate. What equally verifiable historical documents do you have that show in the same certainty the existence of these other religions occurred before Judaism?


Webmaster also states: The Judeo-Christian Bible is an amalgamation of mythical literature copied from other civilizations, religious fictions, superstitions, and some history.

Once again this point is incorrect. There are no other historical verified documents which provide a detailed chronological account of the events of the world including the creation of the world that can be proven to predate the Jewish Scriptures. Any copying that might have occurred has been done by other religions from Judaism and later Christianity.

One point that proves without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, is that no other god anywhere in history has been said to atone for the sins of mankind like Jesus did. The false gods of the past may have been described as dying and being resurrected, but Jesus stands alone as the only person in History who took sin upon himself so we would not have to. This concept has never been heard of before Jesus and never will. It is unique to Him alone and is one of the strongest arguments that show He is The true Messiah and is God.

Jamie lastly you say: Damien, please quote the chapter and verse in Genesis that uses the term "Son of God".
If you check my original post you will see I did not say the term son of God was used in Genesis, what I actually said was there are several mentions to Jesus in Genesis. If you want I can post these references another time. The reference to Jesus as the Son of God can be found in Isaiah 49

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


Here he Jesus is described as a Son, Son of whom? Lets have a look at Isaiah 7

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel

So if His mother is a virgin then I guess that means He has no earthly father. So whom might His father be?


Lastly to Mary you say this:

Perhaps if religions were left out and children/people learned that ethical behavior is not necessary to get into the kingdom of heaven, but instead taught that ethical behavior is necessary to create a true heaven on earth for all here to enjoy, then the world would really be a better place."

It saddens me that you used to presumably be a Christian perhaps for many years, and you seem to have never fully understood the fundamental reason for Jesus’ coming and dying for us on the cross. That reason being exactly that ‘ethical behaviour’ as you put it cannot get us into the Kingdom of God which is why Jesus had to die for us.- We are saved by faith not works. It was precisely because our actions could not save us that Jesus did- if you do not understand this very point you fail to understand the meaning of Jesus’ life and death whatsoever .

Jesus is not religion. Anyone interested in what I mean please post and I will say more.

God Bless you guys

.:webmaster:. said...

Damian, you misquoted me! That was MARY R who posted that comment.

Please refrain from misquoting me.

And, your tone of moral superiority is extremely offensive. "If anyone wants to have an adult conversation," rings loud and clear of self-righteousness.

Jesus is at best, a dead man, and his followers started a religion. If you say, "It's not a religion, it's a relationship," I'll wretch. Necrophilia is gross.

What is with these idiotic Christians who time and time and time again assume ex-Christian means "never heard Christian propoganda?" Is it because they really think everyone is that stupid? Or is it that they think they are so smart?

Bleah.

THE ACE said...

Once again, using the Bible to prove the Bible..does this circular
logic never end?

Damien claimed Mary was a virgin.
I thought it was well established
the word used in the Bible
meant "young woman" and not virgin.

And Webmaster, notice how he totally ignored your reference to the "Pagan Origins of the Christ
Myth" website.

Ho Hum..when it comes to the Christians who post on this site
its "S.S.D.D."

Spirula said...

I ask for all participants to keep the tone of this conversation civil and refrain from further such comments.

Really? Who the hell do you think you are to demand that of others? Whose website is this Damian? Who came here and said "im (sic) afraid you guys are mistaken" and proceeced to the circular 'bible-proves-bible' argument, then follows it with this little gem?

It saddens me that you used to presumably be a Christian perhaps for many years, and you seem to have never fully understood the fundamental reason for Jesus’ coming and dying for us on the cross.

Who's being condenscending, arrogant and narrowminded?

Frankly Damian, you're an asshole. It saddens me that you don't seem to fully understand that.

Huey said...

Damiam said:

"Your assertion is not very unspecific nor referenced in anyway. What is this “history” that is ‘showing ‘these other religions as predating Judaism? Where is your evidence or your sources? My comments are based on the Jewish bible for which we have recent documents such as the Dead sea scrolls for example (found as recently as 1947), which confirm everything I say as historically correct. These documents are dated as early as 2nd Century BC and have been accepted as legitimate. What equally verifiable historical documents do you have that show in the same certainty the existence of these other religions occurred before Judaism?"

The best you can do is 2nd century BCE? I did not provide specific references as I do not usually type encyclopedic responses. Do you really believe that because I did not provide any in my original post that such documents do not exist? This is a typical gambit used by Christians in that since I did not provide immediate feedback, they are by default, right and I am wrong. That is just a sort of a “god of the gaps” argument. However, since you asked:

Buddhism: 300 years before your dead sea scrolls and far more thoroughly documented than christianity, with documentation of Buddha’s existence from the time he lived, not written after he lived by people who never meet him and were just recounting spoken stories.

China: The earliest know writings of the Shang Dynasty refer to the god Shang-Ti and date to about 2000 BCE.

Greek: depictions of religion mythology on early 8th century pottery, including examples from the Archaic (c. 750–c. 500 BCE), Classical (c. 480–323 BCE), and Hellenistic periods. They got around to writing it down only a few hundred years later, during the Classical period.

Shinto: Came about during the Yayoi period (c.300 BCE–c.250 CE) as a cultural product of immigrants from Korea and/or China through the Korean Peninsula, who brought agricultural rites and shamanic ceremonies from the continent. The original date of origin is lost to antiquity at this time, but most definitely predates the documents that you quote.

Hinduism: Widely regarded by scholars as the WORLD’S OLDEST RELIGION, whose origins go back to the early Harappan period (5500–2600 BCE).

Olmecs: First period was from 1500 to 1200 BCE, during which worship of the jaguar and the serpent was first seen, being important to the Olmecs for agricultural purposes.

Egyptian: The 1st dynasty started in about 2950 BCE, with a temple dedication to Ptah, though the religious influence goes thousands of years before that.

Babylon: The Babylonian creation myth dates back to 1200 BCE with documentation provided on clay tablets from the time.

Is that enough or do you want more?

The dead sea scrolls are accepted by scientists and historians as being written from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE. They are not accepted as an accurate witness to historical events. And further more, they have very little to do with the Christian bible. They are considered valuable for their historic, though not necessarily accurate, books and references to early Judean religious practices and beliefs. They have nothing to do with Jesus as a messiah. In point of fact, even though they were written at the time that Jesus was supposed to have existed, not one scroll mentions him, even in passing. This amounts to very poor testimony for a Jewish messiah traveling around and performing miracles in front of “thousands” of witnesses most of whom were also Jewish. The books contained within that are related to those found in the christian bible, contrary to popular belief held by so many of your ilk, do not match “word for word”. In fact most don’t even come close, net even Genesis. So what is your point in presenting it as evidence?

You also state that there is no creation myth that predates the Judean story. That too is false. Do I need to list some of the hundreds of those as well, like the Babylonian one mentioned earlier? Or do they not count as they are “false” (and of course, your way is the true way)?

Further more, that “fact” that Jesus died as atonement for our sins does in no way proves his divinity as does not the “uniqueness” of the circumstances surrounding said death.

You have done almost no research on this subject. You have read only that which supported your religious viewpoint and nothing beyond that. You are correct in your assertion that quoting the bible will fall upon deaf ears here. In making such quotes, you are presuming that the text contained therein is historically factual and as such, stands on it’s own as proof for your arguments. You are mistaken in that presumption. Do you really think that we have not heard all of this before? Some of us are not only ex-christians but ex-pastors. Do you think that you are fooling them with your facetious, circular argument?

Lorena said...

Damian:
One point that proves without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, is that no other god anywhere in history has been said to atone for the sins of mankind like Jesus did.

Lorena:
You are right. And that's exactly why Jesus is the worst of all the gods people have created.

The so-called sacrifice has been used not to bring love and understanding but to force people into submission and to guilt people into, among other things, keeping senseless morals and donating large amounts of money.

The mental and emotional toll that Christianity causes with its guilt trips is what makes it one of the worst religions.

By the way, Damian, you get the prize for being the most obnoxious, self-righteous, know-it-all Christian that's showed up on this forum for a long time. Congratulations!

Astreja said...

Damian: "I would appreciate it if we could refrain from using personal insults when responding to posts."

Don't count on it, lad. You're on our turf.

"Jesus Himself says He is The Messiah..."

Jesus is a character in a book. Books are not necessarily truthful. If you think otherwise, please Fed-Ex us a talking snake.

"What is this “history” that is ‘showing ‘these other religions as predating Judaism? Where is your evidence or your sources?"

Start here:

Egypt
Sumeria

"Webmaster also states: 'The Judeo-Christian Bible is an amalgamation of mythical literature copied from other civilizations, religious fictions, superstitions, and some history.' Once again this point is incorrect."

WM's description of the Bible closely agrees with my own analysis. The story of Noah, for instance, is a re-write of the story of Atrahasis.

"There are no other historical verified documents which provide a detailed chronological account of the events of the world including the creation of the world..."

Damian, *any* writings purporting to be account of "the creation of the world" would necessarily be mythological rather than a "detailed chronological account of the events". You may, in fact, be able to prove that an Old Testament manuscript was written in, say, 600 BCE. You will have an insurmountably difficult time proving that it's anything more than a very old fable.

Think about the first few chapters of Genesis for a moment. Who was the witness to all of this? Who was the narrator? It was not an eye-witness account. It was imagined and written down.

"...No other god anywhere in history has been said to atone for the sins of mankind like Jesus did."

Probably because "sin" is as much a myth as Christianity.

"Jesus is not religion."

No, but Christianity is. And good riddance to it.

Anonymous said...

Ancient cultures were as intrigued as we are by beginnings, and they constructed elaborate myths to explain their own prehistory. The establishment of the natural and social orders is typically presented in these myths as the work of a deity, usually the principal god or goddess of the political entity in which they were written. Both Egyptian and Mesopotamian literatures have a large number of such creation myths, many features of which have parallels in biblical traditions. It should not be surprising that Israel, a "latecomer" to the area, would be influenced so significantly by the older, more dominant cultures of its neighbors. Before writing, history was passed on by word of mouth.

About the Creation Myth: The Emuna Elish, a Babylonian epic, which tells how one god, Marduk, attained supremacy over the others and created the world by splitting his aquatic enemy in half, predated the Bible by more than 1,000 years. Presumed to be much much older. The tablets are now in the British Museum.
The story of Adam and Eve's sin in the garden of Eden (2:25-3:24) displays similarities with Gilgamesh, an epic poem that tells how its hero lost the opportunity for immortality and came to terms with his humanity. And the story of Noah and The Flood (6:5-9:17) has close connections with the Mesopotamian story Atrahasis—that predates the biblical Genesis account by many years; it was eventually incorporated into Gilgamesh as well. All rooted in the experience of early civilizations that lived in and farmed the fertile flood plains of great rivers. Early people didn't know any better and ascribed floods and other disasters to the direct action of what they thought/imagined were supernatural forces (gods).



Christians believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, Savior of the world, God clothed in human flesh, etc. etc., and they attempt to prove this by quoting various passages from the OT. According to them the Hebrew Bible is full of prophetic references to Jesus. Such quotations may sound impressive, overwhelming and confusing, but the only reason these passages, or so-called "proof texts," appear to be alluding to Jesus is because they have been misquoted, mistranslated, or taken out of context. Any written work, if mistranslated or taken out of context, can be made to suggest meanings which were never intended.
I have found many misappropriated OT scriptures in the NT. I mean, it's the same as piecing together a movie or a commercial (or a falsified document!) -- you can make it say whatever you want it to -- piece mealing scripture together.

For example, Psalm 22:17 from the Hebrew Bible, when correctly translated, reads "They surrounded my hands and feet like a lion," (The word "ka'ari" clearly means like a lion, as evident from its use in Isaiah 38:13) referring to King David being pursued by his enemies, who are often referred to as a lion (as in Psalms 7 and 17). Yet, when read out of context and mistranslated as "They pierced my hands and feet," as appears in Greek-Christian versions, the passage intentionally conjures up thoughts of Jesus. This example demonstrates only one of the many verses that Christians twist and mistranslate to suit their purposes. They often use the NT as proof that events or prophecies in their mistranslated passages have been fulfilled. Consider the following examples:
Hebrews 10:5 of the NT, when quoting Psalm 40, claims that their god/God replaced animal sacrifices with the death of Jesus, by stating that, "sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me." However, the original quote from Psalm 40:6 does not say this; it says, "sacrifices and meal offerings you have not desired; my ears you have opened" (my ears you have opened = you gave me to understand that). This refers to their god's desire that they listen to him, as it says, "Behold! -- to obey is better than sacrifice." (I Samuel 15:22)

Have you ever noticed that the following verses in Matthew seem to be completely taken out of context from the OT application? (I will focus on the 1st 2 chapters of Matthew only)

Matthew 1:22 - ..."all this took place to fulfill what the lord had said through the prophet: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel -- which means 'God with us'... Look to Isaiah 7:14 -- I just do not see this application? This was a prophecy in the presence of Ahaz -- the virgin ("young woman") will be with child and give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right -- But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread (i.e.: King Rexin of Aram and Pekah son of Ramaliah King of Israel!) ..will be laid waste ....etc...etc... Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son .... It happened then and there -- and makes no reference to 700+ years later?

And how about Matthew 2:15 -- ..."And so was fulfilled what the lord has said through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son". (from Hosea 11:1) -- "when Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son. ... But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me....."
This passage (falsely called a prophecy of Jesus???) refers to the children of Israel coming out of Egypt in the time of Pharaoh -- and the idolatry they committed afterwards.
To make this apply to Jesus, he must then be the person who sacrificed to Baal and burned incense to graven images??? --- for the person(s) called out of Egypt (collective name Israel) and the persons committing this idolatry appear to me to be the same people? or the descendants of them --- (this seems to be hypocritical to apply this scripture to Jesus).

Or how about Matthew 2:17? -- "Then what was said through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled .... "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be ..." (refers to Jeremiah 31:15)
If this is a prophecy of Jesus, it surely shoots an arrow through their doctrine that he was sinless and 'perfect' ..... (keep reading past verse 15...) Sorry, but I just don't see any fulfillment here either!

So Damian, standing on this -- does not appear to be standing on solid ground.

eel_shepherd said...

In the topic post we find:
"...a feeling of mistrust and doubt arose within me when I started to question the virginal birth of Jesus..."

This comes from a mistranslation. Jesus was to have a _vaginal_ birth, to distinguish him from Julius Caesar, who was born by Caesarian section, even though both were born to some Mediterranean cutie with no, you know, "experience" of guys.

Damian said...

Hello guys,

Thanks for your replies. Thank you especially to those who have resisted simply hurling insults at me and replied with considered answers to my original points.

As you guys have raised numerous points I’ll do my best to address them all as much as I can it is simply not possible for me to answer all as there are many more of you than me : ).

Ok firstly Anonymous you claim


About the Creation Myth: The Emuna Elish, a Babylonian epic, which tells how one god, Marduk, attained supremacy over the others and created the world by splitting his aquatic enemy in half, predated the Bible by more than 1,000 years. Presumed to be much much older. The tablets are now in the British Museum.

The story of Adam and Eve's sin in the garden of Eden (2:25-3:24) displays similarities with Gilgamesh, an epic poem that tells how its hero lost the opportunity for immortality and came to terms with his humanity. And the story of Noah and The Flood (6:5-9:17) has close connections with the Mesopotamian story Atrahasis—that predates the biblical Genesis account by many years; it was eventually incorporated into Gilgamesh as well

These points are also mentioned by Huey
However what you guys both fail to mention is that the Hebrews were known and accepted to have handed down their records and tradition. Therefore the story of Genesis is believed to have been handed down r many years before it was written down, making the possibility of it predating any of the above accounts even more likely.
Furthermore the Genesis Creation Story does not owe anything to the creation myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The latter were written for a completely different purpose. Theses stories are not about the creation of the universe at all. They are related to the "genesis" of a certain king's reign. Priest-scribes wrote them to establish the king's (and his god's) supremacy. Each myth is different with its local adaptations. The Biblical history has unity, never changing, as the myths do with each succeeding king.
As for the ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh’ that you mention, the probability exists that the Biblical account of the flood had been preserved either as an oral tradition, or in written form handed down from Noah, through the patriarchs and eventually to Moses, thereby making it actually older than the Sumerian accounts which were restatements (with alterations) to the original.

Anonymous you also say
For example, Psalm 22:17 from the Hebrew Bible, when correctly translated, reads "They surrounded my hands and feet like a lion," (The word "ka'ari" clearly means like a lion, as evident from its use in Isaiah 38:13) referring to King David being pursued by his enemies, who are often referred to as a lion (as in Psalms 7 and 17). Yet, when read out of context and mistranslated as "They pierced my hands and feet," as appears in Greek-Christian versions, the passage intentionally conjures up thoughts of Jesus. This example demonstrates only one of the many verses that Christians twist and mistranslate to suit their purposes


Anonymous there are several problems as I’m sure you know with translating this particular text. However due to the fact that the word ‘lion’ is used in both in this sentence but also in verse 13

“They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.”

It is probable that the writer meant two different things hence the two different spellings of the words. Here in verse 13 however the word "lion" appears in the normal way 'aryeh.

So anonymous why would the writer use the normal spelling of the word ‘Lion in one verse’ then use a completely different spelling only a few verses later?

It is most unlikely that the author would have used two different spellings of the same word within three verses of each other if he had intended to mean the same thing both times.

Now the Greek translation of the verse Psalm 22:17 is:
For many dogs have encompassed me: the assembly of the wicked doers as beset me round: they pierced my hands and my feet.
The Greek word used for "pierced" does not mean "lion." The Greek word is ORUXAN. It means "to dig, excavate, or digging a hole." This indicates that the translators of the Hebrew Bible into the Septuagint, a Greek translation, understood that the hands and feet would be "pierced." They did not understand that Hebrew word to mean "lion."

You claim that it is Christians who have mistranslated or misquoted the verse for our own gain yet it was in fact the Greek translators who translated this verse as such hundreds of years prior to Jesus birth. The Septuagint was written approx 285-246 BC so why would these translators use such an expression to talk about crucifixtion (which had not even invented yet) of a Messiah that had not even been born?!!!

Furthermore you also quote many verses claiming this proves how Christians twist and mistranslate. You cite Hebrews 10 and Psalm 40 as proof of Christians twisting and mistranslating texts to suit their own means. However the example you cite does not actually show anything except for the widely accepted belief that the writer of Hebrews quotes the Psalm in a slightly different way. Is this a mistranslation or a copyist error? Who know, however what is clear is that this minor point does nothing to take away from the fulfilment of prophecy which is further confirmed in many other parts of the New Testiment.

The same can be said of the many Matthew quotations you cite. Many Christian historians accept that Matthew more than the other diciples had a slightly different version of events, whilst never swaying from any of the fundamental meanings nor truth of Gods word.

However what you have cited as inconsistencies in fact strengthens the fact that the scripture is a real life account of eye witness statements. After all if they were invented or made up wouldn’t the writers make sure every detail were 100% consistent. No they read like true eye witness accounts of those who were with the Messiah many years before they sat down and wrote down his life.


Your assertions detract nothing from the intending meaning of the scriptures nor the most fundamental points of Jesus life death and existence. Of the fundamentals there are no discrepancies. He came, was crucified and rose again. No contradictions no twisting no doubt.

Although you try very gallantly to constantly disprove Jesus as the Messiah, you will find that even with the acceptance of certain Old Testament New Testament disparities Jesus still fulfilled all the prophecies necessary to qualify as the Messiah, which are also cited by the other disciples in the other Gospels.


God openly states He uses the weak of the world to shame the strong, yet it seems that your attempts to disprove Him you forget this and try and highlight this very fact as a flaw in God himself. That sounds awfully like the Pharisees to me.

Finally to Huey I say you did a good job on listing the many religions of the world however my point wasn’t that they predated Christianity which seeing as Christ came only 2000 or so years ago –they would. No the point was where do you have evidence of an ancient belief system which describes a detailed messiah in the same way as Judaism, yet predates it? You have unfortunately not been able to show me evidence of any pre Judaic belief which apparently can be said to prove that the stories of Jesus were simply copied.

And Astreja no Christianity isn’t a religion either- if you want me to explain more I can and will

God Bless you guys

stronger now said...

damian said:
"After all if they were invented or made up wouldn’t the writers make sure every detail were 100% consistent. No they read like true eye witness accounts of those who were with the Messiah many years before they sat down and wrote down his life."

Isn't the bible supposed to be "god-breathed"?If so wouldn't god make sure that the accounts were 100% consistent, if for no other reason than to leave no doubt about its god-breathedness? Also you haven't addressed the fact that christians voted on what they thought should go into the new testament at the behest/order of constantine.(spelling?)Even if it did include 100% consistent, non-voted on accounts, so what? It still isn't consistent with reality,i.e. talking snakes,talking bushes,talking assses, zombies, demons,cud chewing bunnies, ect..ect..

Even if "The a term messiah was a term the Jewish people had already been familiar with hundreds of years prior to the emergence of these other gods..." so freakin' what. Being the first to arrive at an idiotic idea doesn't make it less idiotic.

Huey said...

Damian the fact that Hebrew’s belief system originated as an oral tradition (what didn't) does not make it likely to be older than anything else. You are making an assumption, not an inference.

Secondly your argument for age was for the Judean religion and documentation, NOT christianity. That is what I responded to. You clearly claimed that nothing predated Judaism. Not the religion itself, not their creation myth, not even the messiah myth. You did not ask me evidence that the stories of Jesus were simply copied, you asked for documentation that showed religions older than Judaism. That is what was provided, not only by me but others as well. And why does any documentation of ancient messiahs HAVE to have details following Jesus?

Christianity is not a religion, huh? Since when and by whose definition? And what is?

What you are doing here is arguing one point and then when refuted, claim that you were talking about something else in the first place.

Lastly, just because someone does not present evidence as and when you require does not now lend your suppositions credence. That is the argument from ignorance.

Once again you quote the bible as though it were the final authority. We don’t have to prove that you ideas are wrong. You have to prove they are right. Quoting the bible does NOT do that, no matter how badly you want it to. Saying that Jesus fulfilled prophesies from the old testament means nothing. It is a circular argument like all the rest of yours.

You are simply a troll and a relatively uneducated one at that.

Dee said...

Just a short comment. I just got back in town and have been trying to read all the postings. Good gracious, this site is popular. There is one fallacy on both sides of the arguement. The statement that Jesus was not the Messiah of the Jews is somewhat questionable. If the Bible is correct,the original mass of converts were Jews. My understanding is that these Jewish converts were the leaders of the early church and that they had to be pushed to go out and present their case to the Gentiles. So, I guess the Jews who did not convert are today's Jews who do not recognize Jesus as Messiah.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

Dee, your understanding is typical, however...

The Mormon "faith" is a spin off of Christianity. That doesn't mean Joseph Smith is a prophet. Islam is a spin off of Judaism and Christianity. Does that make Mohammad God's messenger?

A small number of Jews did follow the early Jewish Christian movement, but that movement died out. The original Christian movement, supposedly followed by Jesus and continued by his supposed brother James and Peter is lost in history. The Pauline version of the Jesus religion was another variation on a theme, and if you read Galatians and James with Christian blinders laid aside, it is clear that Paul and James did not see eye to eye.

It's a fascinating topic: James and Peter, who actually knew this Jesus character in the flesh (supposedly) had definite opinions on how things were to be done, and Paul, whose claim to fame was his ecstatic visions that only he witnessed, eventually won the battle in the war between the competing cults.

Forced out? Are Mormons "forced out" and therefore the "truth?"

wjpdnp@aol.com said...

Hi Exalted Webmaster ;)
Thanks for your thoughts. The only point I was trying to make is that Christianity got it's start within the Jewish faith. I did not mean to imply that something is true just because it got it's start from another faith. It is believed that Abraham is the father of the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Obviously, not all of these can be true. The Mormons have the Book of Abraham in their Quad. This book has been shown to be pure fabrication on the part of Smith. Unfortunately, for the Mormons, one of the supposed burned up(in a Chicago fire) bronze plates found its way to the Smithsonian which then allowed the Mormons exclusive access for a couple of years to figure out how they were going to respond. Well, they chose to say it couldn't be true and continue to accept that book "on faith." I know they believe this because I am friends with a highly placed Mormon (I am not a Mormon!).Ah well.
By the way, I have been finding spelling errors in almost all of the postings and I have found that just about every posting has spelling and grammatical errors (mine included). Is there anyway the spelling Nazis could stifle their need to correct spelling and spend time on content instead? I know, I am not in charge or the boss. Just a thought.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

Dee,

Obviously, Mormonism is baloney. Fortunately, modern thinking and the ability to collect verifiable data makes revealing such nonsense as nonsense a bit easier.

Now, demonstrate that your ancient mythology is not equally as fallacious as any modern myths. Based on the ridiculous religions chocking reason throughout the planet, your religion looks no different to me.

As far as your spelling errors goes, pointing fingers at others' limitations does nothing to abrogate your own. Since you are the one authoritatively and dogmatically claiming that your magical myth is the one true magical myth, I suggest you swallow your pride and learn how to spell so as to present yourself as more than a dumbass. In other words, stop being lazy and deal with the criticism.

Get it, honey?

wjpdnp@aol.com said...

Let me try this one more time. I know that you think that I am a "dumbass" due to an occasional spelling error. Take a look at your last post to me. You misspelled the word "choking" as "chocking". Yet I admire your ability to express yourself clearly and I have learned much from contemplating what you have written. I would no more evaluate you as anything other than a thoughtful individual who is leading a web site visited by such diverse personalities just because you might have misspelled a word or dropped a participle as you were thinking through a careful response. I apologize for making this suggestion and will try to present myself in such a way that you will not judge me as a thoughtless dumbass.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

Quit trying to throw aspersions on other people, Dee. Your ridiculous beliefs are, well, ridiculous. Unless you can demonstrate otherwise, you are indeed a dumbass.

Dee said...

Hi Dave
I was somewhat flummoxed when I read your reply to me. I have not spoken about my beliefs at all. I have been visiting here to understand your life journies out of Christianity. I have asked a few questions to try to understand but it has never been my intention, at this point, to do more than that. Again I apologize for my suggestion on the previous topic.
I read Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Succesful People.( I may have the title wrong).In that book, he said something that has been important to me. He said" Seek first to understand rather than to be understood." That has been my goal here. When one tries to understand, she might make mistakes in addressing others. On this, and other, sites, communication is sometimes difficult when you can't see each other. I hope you will accept that my intentions are good even if I write like a "dumbass" at times.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

Dee, your comments reveal your beliefs as those of an Evangelical Christian of some sort.

It's fairly obvious:

"The statement that Jesus was not the Messiah of the Jews is somewhat questionable."

"The original mass of converts were Jews. [...] So, I guess the Jews who did not convert are today's Jews who do not recognize Jesus as Messiah."

"I have asked a few questions to try to understand but it has never been my intention, at this point, to do more than that."

" I have not spoken about my beliefs at all."

Now, can we stop already with the thinly veneered facade of "trying to understand" and get to the point: the full frontal proselytizing?

Thanks.

Dee said...

Dave
I have been interested in understanding why you have left Christianity. I have spent many hours contemplating everything I have read at this site. For me to come onto this site and "full frontal proselytize"would be like a temperance worker going into a bar and condemning those drinking. It would not be not wanted or accepted. Any person of any faith reading your site should quickly realize that this is not wanted nor is it the purpose of this site.
I respect all of those who come to this site seeking support. My purpose is to listen although I am sure you don't believe me. I have told many of my friends about this site and what I have been reading.
The first two statements of mine that you quoted are not a matter of belief. It is a matter of which history book you read. There are disagreements amongst secular historians on this point. Neither comment was meant to be a statement of faith. There are those who think Columbus was great and others who think he was awful. If I mentioned one of these sides or the other I would not be making a religious statement. I did not mean for those two thoughts to be such.
Whether or not you believe me, I have not tried to make any religious comments that could be construed to be an attempt at proselytizing.
Finally, I have not tried to hide who I am. I have not discussed what I believe because I knew that it would not be appreciated. However, if someone were to ask me straight out what I believe, I would answer.
So, watch what I say. If you believe that I am trying to "convert" anyone, let me know. However, you will not hear regularly from me because I am truly here to understand.
Dee

boomSLANG said...

There are those who think Columbus was great and others who think he was awful.

That may be true, yet, to the best of my knowledge, no one is disputing Columbus' existence, nor are there conditions predicated on whether one believes Columbus was "great", or "awful", or whether he even existed at all. Furthermore, it's not like Columbus is claimed to have "walked" across the ocean; he sailed in a vessel.

For me to come onto this site and "full frontal proselytize"would be like a temperance worker going into a bar and condemning those drinking

Actually, a more suitable analogy would be, like a drunk going to an AA meeting and talking about the health benefits of oats and barley from beer consumption, while circumventing the fact that the alcohol in beer is addictive, deadly, and destroys lives, and that if one seeks the health benefits of oats and barley, there are much less harmful ways to consume it.

Warning: Religion is addictive, deadly, and destroys lives; it is unnecessary for leading a healthy and productive life. "Understand" that.

Dee said...

Boomslang
Your analogy was far better than mine. I will use your example in the future.
I also understand what you were saying about Columbus. I was just trying to make a point on something one of the writers brought up. I didn't mean for my comment to be religious in nature but it was perceived to be.
From this web site I have learned that the vast majority of the contributers believe that there is little proof for Jesus' existence. I did not realize that. I have been told by secular sources such as Time Magazine and the History Channel that his existence was accepted by most historians. Now I understand that there are those who do not accept that. I apologize that I was not aware of that.
I have also learned of the intense negative thoughts and feelings that many have towards faith in general and Christianity in specific. Living in the South, I have rarely heard such views expressed. I know many who do not believe but I didn't realize the depths of anger towards faith in general.
As I have read the testimonies, I certainly understand why many would feel that way. You all have taught me much and I am grateful that you have allowed me to listen in and have not thrown me off your site.
Dee

boomSLANG said...

I have been told by secular sources such as Time Magazine and the History Channel that his existence was accepted by most historians. Now I understand that there are those who do not accept that.

For the sake of argument: A historical Jesus existed.

So?

Dee said...

Boomslang
The hard part of communicating this way is sometimes the train gets off track. My original conversation with Dave was dealing with whether or not Jesus was accepted by the Jews. When I read your comments on Columbus you made a good argument saying that no one would argue whether Columbus existed or not. I thought you were referring back to my original discussion and decided that you were saying that some argue as to whether Jesus did exist. I know that there are some who believe this. Perhaps you were referring to the existence or nonexistence of a deity?
I certainly understand the arguement that just because Jesus existed does not mean he did all that the Bible says he did.
Again, my hope is not to argue with you but to learn from you. I have been impressed by the significant amount of knowledge of the Bible as well as apologetic arguments that many who have written on this website have. As always, I respect your thoughts as well as your experiences.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

OK, Dee. I'll accept your explanation at face value.

Back to your original point that you made before we hopped down the proverbial bunny trail.

When reading the Gospel accounts (or anything for that matter), a good reader tries to get into the author's head, as much as possible. Questions to ask might be: When was the book written? Why was it written? What sources were used? What is the historical setting? Etc.

Everyone (and I mean everyone) is in agreement that the Gospels were not written immediately, but decades after the events they purport to describe. There is some argument over how many decades, but everyone agrees, it was quite a while.

The Church in Jerusalem had strong claims to being "the one true Church," especially since Jesus' brother was at the helm. However, when the Gospels were authored, they were authored for the Gentile believers, not for the Jewish believers. In fact, Paul, in his many writings, does everything in his power to marginalize James and Peter. Paul sets himself up as not just equal to those who actually (supposedly) walked and talked with Jesus, but as BETTER! Paul suggests on numerous occasions that his heavenly vision is more authoritative than those poor souls who only "knew HIM according to the flesh."

No one knows who authored any of the Gospels. We have tradition and speculation, but all reputable authorities agree, we don't know. However, we can be sure they were written for those who read Greek. Most Jews, if they could read, read Arabic. Therefore, the Gospels were not written for the Jews, the Gentile churches founded by Paul gave little or no authority to the Church in Jerusalem, the Gospels go easy on the Romans and hard on the Jews, and during the Council of Nicea, Christianity was purposely distanced even further from its roots.

The point?

It's not the history books you read. It's the interpretation of the history you read.

Dee said...

I loved you explanation of how to read the books in the Bible. Please do not misunderstand my next question. You have a great deal of knowledge and I am trying to understand something.(Cross my heart)!
1. Do we take at face value any of the historical accounts of the Bible? If so, which ones? James, the brother of Jesus was the head of the Jerusalem Council. In your understanding, is this historical fact true?
2.If so, what else do we accept about James? My reading says he thought his brother was crazy prior to the events surrounding Jesus' death. So, why was he leading this council if he thought Jesus was nuts?
3.Also, my understanding is that James was pushed off the Temple roof to his death because he refused to renounce his faith. Why would he allow this to happen if he thought Jesus was nuts?
4. Or,is much of this untrue? How do we know what we can take from the Bible as fact or as fiction?
This is not an attempt to convince anyone of James' life. I am trying to understand how one decides what is reliable or not. I promise!!!!!
Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

Dee,

The stories in the Gospels are uncooberated stories, and nothing more. Again, the stories in the Gospels were written for GENTILE believers. Since that is fairly clear, then Jews (especially James, the brother of Jesus) is going to be marginalized.

Are any of these characters historical? It doesn't matter one way or the other. What is clear to me is that there was a small Jewish cult that sprang up around some messianic figure or other, which was marginalized by the Gentile cult that grew out of it until it faded into history.

The "Jesus cult" no longer exists. What you follow is the Roman cult.

The Gospels are propoganda, pure and simple. They are not history. They don't claim to be history. The Gospel attributed to John even says the book was only written to help people believe.

Dee said...

Then how do we know if any history is true? Wouldn't those who followed the Julius Caesar cult(he claimed to be god) portray him differently than those who wanted to kill him? Native Americans claim we've got Columbus all wrong. Are all the stories of Daniel Boone true? Do we take all the different sources and try to come up with some semblance of truth?
I have watched with confusion many well-known history professors teach a revisionist view of history. They reinterpret events with the benefit of current culture. For example, now some folks are trying to resurrect the reputation of Dr. Mudd (of your name is Mudd fame) who helped John Wilkes Boothe. Many times, however, they come out with ideas that seem out of place with the events in the past.
I was in line to buy an ice cream and the man in front of me is a professor of literature at Duke. I asked him why the current day professors reinterpret Jane Austen so that she comes out sounding like an outspoken feminist.( I am always asking questions, even in ice cream lines)! He told me, "It doesn't matter what she intended the story to be; it only matters what we now decide it to be." So,I asked, is history is relative? He told me he wasn't sure he could answer my question without further thought.
What say you? Please feel free to ignore me if I am talking too much.
Dee

.:webmaster:. said...

The truth is, Dee, we can't KNOW for a fact that ANY stories purporting to be history are absolutely and completely accurate. However, when there are multiple corroborating sources with no apparent agendas to promote, that helps immensely.

There is also the LIKELYHOOD of a story being true. For instance, which ancient author do you believe most accurately describes the race of beings known as the Cyclopes? Hesiod or Homer? I’m guessing you think both of these men are describing wonderful beings that never actually existed. But, in the minds of millions of people for centuries, those stories were considered history. The magical nonsense going on your gospels is no different than any of the contemporaneous mythology of the past. Sheesh, Christians were still burning witches in the 17 and 1800s for crying out loud! Do you still believe in magic?

If you do some research, you’ll learn that there is NO EVIDENCE that the Gospel accounts were written by eyewitnesses. In fact, it appears that the synoptic Gospels were all copied from other some single source, or it may be that the Gospel of Mark was used as the base document for Matthew and Luke. No one knows who wrote any of those gospel accounts. They are not signed and all we have is Church tradition to tell us who supposedly authored them. And the people making up this “tradition” held a big stake in making these particular magical documents “authoritative.”

The obvious copying going on -- Mark’s entire Gospel (almost) is repeated in Matthew and Luke -- is interesting, don’t you think? Why would an eyewitness, inspired by the magical Holy Ghost, need to copy anything?

Further, there were many other magical Jesus gospels floating around by the time Emperor Constantine ordered the compiling of the New Testament. I’m sure you reject all the writings of the Nag Hammadi, right? Why would you reject all those “gospels” in favor of the four gospels “officially chosen” by Fourth Century, government-paid clerics?

Sergio said...

Dee: "So,I asked, is history is relative? He told me he wasn't sure he could answer my question without further thought."

Dee, is the history of Santa Clause real? How so? Did you find him in Alaska :-)

History is a matter of time measurement, a few minutes ago in your life is now history. If you were to personally explain "all" the emotions, feelings, thoughts, etc., that went through your mind fifteen minutes ago, you would not be able to do so perfectly, accounting for "all" knowledge interaction, since some of your knowledge may be laden in your subconscious yet still affecting your perception of your experiences, and even you as a person.

Do you believe anyone could write something "about" you, and have any better success, when dealing with trying to ponder your inner self, beliefs, emotions, etc?

History, in an academic setting is typically taught by date, archeology, major movements that aren't contingent upon a single individual, etc. It is typically taught from a factual point of view. However, when the facts are taken and personafied, by a professor, teacher, or anyone they are painting the facts using personal experience and knowledge.

I suppose if one had to think about it for a minute, and attempt to strategize a reason for some to write a book with a spin, one could come up with many hypothesis'.

Some profess,ionals have to write in order to maintain good standing in their careers. The result of writing, could be to continually defend a position of pure subjectivity, allowing one to get publicity and even possibly sell a book or two. Another aspect, is that such writing may be used to infuse controversy on a topic for people, such as yourself, and "churn" up thought.

The reasoning, if you call it that, for some to write a personalifed piece, is to force interest in an area that may no longer be of interest, or an area that would "never" be of interest to a mainstream student. Most educators I know, suggest that motivation and interest are staples in learning, especially life-long learning... and the only person who can control the destiny is the individual. However, an educator can "inspire", and many don't see a line in the sand, regarding ethics.

Don't know if you have ever heard the phrase; the winners of war, write history. The academic area of literature, can be studied as an art or science. If the professor you talked to, didn't answer your question, it could well be;

-Lack of interest
-Lack of time
-Lack of knowledge
-Part of their inspirational paradigm for student discovery
-Etc.

Our Existence is Objectively True, our perception of that Objective Existence, is relative to our knowledge and ability to reason... The more accurate a persons' perception is to that of Objective Reality, the closer to "Truth" they speak.

The challenge however, is to "know" what the original "Truth" of a historical event was, as a standard for relative measurement.

That is a topic covered in philosophy I believe, not literature. If you hated butter pecan, and the literature professor loved it; you'd both write different reviews on the experience you shared at the ice-cream stand.

What do you "believe" is the standard for Truth? If you can't find one, does that mean everything in your "life" is relative?

Dee said...

As always, thank you for stretching me in your honest answers. I have rarely found other folks who knew what place the Nag Hammadi or other pseudoepigrapha have had in the history of Christianity.
Let me see if I understand what you are saying.These writings were primarily Gnostic gospels. I have read that many of the early church leaders roundly condemned both these letters as well as the Gnostic interpretation of Jesus' appearance. Would you say that this condemnation came out of a fear of these individuals losing their authority in the eyes of their followers? Do you believe that there was a conspiracy, of sorts, to silence this opposition? Do you know of any writings that document this conspiracy? I would be very interested in doing more reading on this topic. Any suggestions?
On the subject of which gospels were accepted by the church, I have read some letters by Origen and others who wrote just after the first generation of christians died off. In his writing, as well as others, they name all of the currrent gospels as well as the letters that they said were correct. Do you believe that these folks, nongovernment paid employees, were involved in a conspirarcy of supression?
I know you do not believe in the Bible as the inspired word of god. But, do you equally believe that these writings (pseudoepigrapha) are a bunch of nonsense? In other words, do you believe that all religious writings, no matter the religion, etc., are equally nonsensical?
By the way, I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. Here is an interesting piece of trivia for you. The witches were burned in England. In Salem, 18 were hung and one was pressed!! Gross! The rest were jailed. They were certainly superstitious but Salem benefits because of their folly. Great tourist bucks!
Dee

Dee said...

Hi Sergio
You are not going to believe this but...I was travelling on the McKinley Explorer (train)near Denali National Park and I went down for lunch. There, before my very eyes, sat a man with a snow white beard, hair, and a red flannel shirt! I got a picture of him but I don't know if there is any way to post the picture. Anyway, he was eating reindeer sausage(no joke) and laughing quite a bit. I decided someone in the universe was having a big old laugh. Gosh darn it- he was eating Rudolph!I promise you this is true!!!
Meanwhile, back to earth, Thomas Jefferson said that a society that cannot agree to a standard of ethics is bound for anarchy. The problem is how does a society agree on such standards. I asked a question awhile ago and didn't get(or couldn't find) an answer to this. We all can agree that one shouldn't shoot a small child. But the ACLU is defending NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) which is trying to legalize sexual activity between men and boys(mind you, not teenagers even). How do we as a society decide on these standards? By majority vote? But slavery was accepted by the majority? Have any atheists written any good books on how to deal with ethics in a society that rarely agrees on much?
What are your thoughts?
Dee

HeathenSlayer said...

It amazes me how many fake thinkers there are on this website. You criticize Christians for reading from the same book all the time. But yet, you little heathen, (i.e. Christ won’t die again/fodder for hell) people read from the same books. You think those other uninspired texts from that little cave match the majesty of Paul’s letters, or the gospels? Come on. Get over Barton Erhman. That book was weak. After 2000 years that was the best criticism that this apostate could come up with? Come on! Give me a break you little pieces of charcoal . . . the charcoal of hell that is!

.:webmaster:. said...

Dee,

I was once told by someone that when I was promoted in my career, not to think too highly of myself, but instead to look around and consider who it was with which I was now contemporary.

Your contemporary on this thread is heathenslayer.

To your question: I think all magical religions are ridiculous. Unless any of those nonsensical religions can show otherwise, I maintain my position. I also disallow UFOs, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and ancient astronauts.

"I have read that many of the early church leaders roundly condemned both these letters as well as the Gnostic interpretation of Jesus' appearance."

And many accept them. Revelation was hotly debated for inclusion in the New Testament. If the votes had been just a little different the last book in the New Testament would have been the "Shepherd of Hermes."

The early church fathers varied wildly on their opinions about things: LINK

"Other New Testament Writings Not all of the books now found in the New Testament were admitted to the canon without controversy. There was controversy about which Pauline letters were written by Paul and which were written in his name by later writers, a dispute which has been revived in modern times. Almost all of the non-Pauline letters were rejected by one or another tradition; even in more modern times, Martin Luther called James "an epistle of straw," though he kept it in his Bible. The book of Revelation was also questioned by many. At the same time, second and third century writers of lists of canonical works sometimes included disputed writings that were eventually rejected like the apocalyptic work The Shepherd of Hermes." -- LINK

"Do you believe that there was a conspiracy, of sorts, to silence this opposition? "

Duh! YES! LINK

"
The Sinaiticus is a manuscript that was found in 1844 in a trash pile in St. Catherine's
Monastery near Mt. Sinai by a man named Tischendoft. It contains nearly all of the
New Testament plus it adds the "Shepherd of Hermes" and the "Epistle of Barnabus"
to the New Testament."
LINK

If you notice, all these links are from your brothers and sisters, so you can trust them, right?

You may have left out a fact or two about Salem: LINK

Regardless, thousands died of witchcraft during the glorious centuries when enlightened Christianity ruled the western world.

Let the curious, trying to learn, not trying to trip up the apostates, no intention of evangelizing anyone at any time, grilling, continue...

Sergio said...

Dee: "How do we as a society decide on these standards?"

Dee, you didn't offer anything that could be considered non-relative. So, that tact is to now ask me what the Absolute is, in order to remove the relativity?

Dee: "By majority vote?"

Why not, the New Testament was canonized using the majority vote method, under Constantine-I's rule. Apparently, someone didn't have an issue in the past with majority or authoritarian rule vote.

Dee: "But slavery was accepted by the majority?"

I know, and the bible if accepted as law, supports the notion of slavery.

Dee: "Have any atheists written any good books on how to deal with ethics in a society that rarely agrees on much?"

I don't imagine people waking up in the morning and saying to themselves; I'm an atheist, I think because I am an atheist, I am responsible for establishing a government's/society's ethical foundations, therefore, I will write a book on ethics. If a person did, they would receive the charge that they were being "religious", and oppressing the masses through the same policy and force used to establish Christianity as the state religion under the early Roman Empire rule.

However, many people who hold philosophies may in fact establish or extend their philosophy to ethics. Not "just" because they are an atheist, but perhaps primarily because they want to establish the roots for a civil society to fourish. A society, by which they are a part of, and inevitably will be subjected to over time.

Thomas Jefferson: ""Fix Reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than of blindfolded fear. ... Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you" (Jefferson's Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)"

Dee, if there "be" ethical standards, it must be accepted on the mental soundness of reason, lest it become arbitrary and ineffective - useless hot air. Ineffective rule and anarchy are not synonymous with atheism.

Typically, people arrive at theism or atheism (even agnosticism), based on primary beliefs/principles. The theist; I believe and trust my parents, my parents say that God is a fact of reality, therefore, I believe in a God as well - I'm a theist.

The atheist; I, like Thomas Jefferson, test everything, inspect everything, and have arrived at the conclusion that at this moment in time, a God, promoted by the theist, not only "hasn't" been found, but can't be known, based on "reason" alone.

Some, establish themselves as part of a group, and then elect to "search" out the veracity of statements made in regard to a deity. While in this state of discovery, it is intuition that has the lead for many, and although intuition may not pan out as providing the best results statistically, the choices become validated or not, over time through research.

The point, is that a person should stand on their reasoned beliefs, and find themselves in a position that they find in common with others in a civil society. One group may reason based on hearsay, familial trust, etc., and another group, more independent, may reason based on personal experience and empirical research.

Obviouisly, there is initially an overlap with intuition, but eventually, both groups roughly separate based on "how" they assign reliability to information they have been given. The measure of what is rational becomes a key component at this point; that which is stated in conflicted terms, is irrational, and by default - un-reasonable. For instance, on ethics - a loving God that kills unmercifully, to include himself/his only son.

It's not my take that religion need to be destroyed, good people are involved in such an activity as I once was. However, if reason and rational thinking prevail, religion no longer becomes necessary, at least, for the reasons of epistemological Truth.

I spent many years in non-discovery, with a theist label, because of the need to stay focused on a particular activity in my life. Once, I was able to think and catch my mental breath, religion fell away, along with the un-reasoned position of a God. If I were to find a God, it would have to be one that is non-conflicted and totally rational, in short, part of a "reality" that can be shared and Universally reliable.

So, where do my ethics stand, based on reason alone?

Ayn Rand: "For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors - between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it. [Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged]"

Dee, consider the following;

One must choose to "live", it precedes morality. Once one accepts a self-interest in living, they can further consider a methodology designed for success. That methodology is called morality.

We can live implicitly, with our actions defining our morality, or we can explicitly use our morality to allow us to choose rationally among values. A rational and well reasoned methodology, based on self-interst and one's "life", provides a person the ability to select among values rationally when compared to the moral standard.

Values are compared to a moral standard, and prioritized according to how well they promote that standard. To make decisions easier, we develop virtues which are moral habits which tend to help gain values.

Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, c. 350 B.C."

There can be a harmony of interests if all are rational. And, a synergy of effort creates a greater benefit to those who "do" assist others who are reasonable, and acting in accordance with self-interest and "life" as a moral standard.

This harmony of interests in possible, but those who think irrationally (not in-line with "life" and "self-interest"), and live by "force", are not living with the interests of others and establishing a harmony of interest, as it challenges one's own value of "life", and creates a conflict of "self-interst", if one is to benefit in life with "others".

So, the NAMBLA example you provide, has many contingencies. What is a "boy", does a boy have the capacity to think rationally, and free to make "independent" choices? If not, then there is a rational man, involved with an irrational boy, therefore, there isn't a harmony of interest.

As well, though, and for that very reason, I suggest that children in general (and even many adults), who act and think irrationally, are subject to the exact same abuse by those seeking self-interest by exploiting others.

...consider, the argument against NAMBLA to be an argument against any institution that elects to exploit the irrational, child - religion, perhaps?

If "reason" is a standard by which rational people find morality, ethics, values, and virtue... there are "many" authors, of many books... check out the "age of reason", the "enlightenment", etc. The same reason standard, that establishes a civil society, is one that can establish a harmony of interests, morality and peace.

The obvious notion of what makes a person "rational" and "of age" to attain "free agency" in a society is obviously where a discussion from here would go. That's tricky, I know people who hold a book, on Sunday, who run up and down an aisle speaking in tongues, can someone "reason" with such an individual? No, there is "no standard" for interpreting such behavior, unless one is a psychiatrist.

It's obvious, that "free agency" and the ability to allow children to enter into society to work, is not limited by a "reason" or "rationality" check, else, many adults would still be living at home. I perceive, that labor laws, age of accountability in law, etc., as being established on a basic psychological model, one which focuses on the mean "capacity" of children in "general" to act of their own reasoned volition. Of course, capacity does not denote, "ability", one has to learn, in order to become "able" to do most anything - even think.

I do not support any system, that allows people to be exploited, or farmed as mental live-stock for personal use, no matter what age.

Again, morality, ethics, etc., to me, are considered the product, of rational thought, methodology, and action.

Dee, do you believe the same irrational children that may be exploited by NAMBLA members, should also be protected from "religions", that promote continued irrational thought, perpetuating their exposure to "threat", while increasing the burden on a civil society?

Morality... has in history, especially in ancient history, been viwed in light of the "negative", and listed as part of a "thou shall not" list by which one can check against ones actions. Unfortunate, that this leaves the endless possibilities of what a person "can do", as long as one doesn't violate those basic edicts; slavery not being one of those "thou shall not's".

A list of prohibitions, is rudimentary in regards to a civil society thriving on morality. Morality, well reasoned, should be based on positives, that are consistent, non-conflicted, in order to promote the greatest success for humanity.

"Arbitrary" morality, as offered in the negative, and according to the bible (God euthanized himself, or murdered his son, etc.) is "not" the consistency of peace I would offer a child in a state of irrational mental development.

Yet, amazingly, I hear the religious suggest that "morality", is the "key" factor for keeping their children exposed to religion.

So, Dee, there are a few questions in this post, care to answer? Or, are you going to agree, that the moral absolute must be "reason", by which the standards of value hold "life" as prime to all other values... and that by-extension, self-interest can be found by promoting that which gives the greatest opportunity for living a successful "life".

Feel free, to accept the alternative of anarchy, or "arbitrary" morality, presented by religious doctrine, etc. Albeit, Santa Clause is a little less obtrusive, trying to establish a consequence for moral action... wonder how many parents are teaching the methodology of how to render good moral behavior, based on a moral standard, so they can truly measure success; and reward appropriately...

Have you been nice this year Dee? I mean, spying on Santa in his act of cannibalism may have placed you on the "S"anta List"/naughty list. However, you are covered since that isn't one of those "thou shalt not's", I suppose...

Hmmm, MP3 player may be lost for the yearly benchmark/solstice, but... eternal salvation is guaranteed as long as a few basic taboos are respected/venerated through consistent ritualistic behavior. But, I agree with ya', Santa is off the list of concerns if he's eating the employees ;-)

Dee said...

Dave
I do not necessarily trust anything from me "brothers and sisters"-if they are that. Loved the links. Will contemplate them on a trip I am taking to go Aqamarine searching in the mountains of Asheville.
D

Dee said...

Sergio, Heathenslayer, and Dave,
I am a technopeasant and communicating on this site has caused me many moments of anxiety because I read one response, answer, and then find another response. AARGHHH!
Heathenslayer is not my contemporary. In fact, his very approach makes me want to throw up. I do not accept his view of hell but, since he does, I challenge him.

Heathenslayer...how could you say such things?! If you follow a god of love,where is your love and compassion? Where is your understanding? If you go to church, show your post to your pastor and ask if he thinks what you said is appropriate. If you believe that God gives us free will, then let these folks exercise that free will on this site. Believe it or not, you have much to learn from them. They are the most articulate folks I have ever read on one site and their points are valid and deserve your respect, even if you disagree with them. Finally, your response, and others I have read on this site make me want to start a web site "How Not to Be a Jerk for Jesus."
Whew, got that off my chest!

Sergio, I am truly amazed at your response to me. The amount of thought you put into it humbles me.
What you said deserves much thought and I shall give it that. I may have one or two more questions. The quote from Jefferson was great. I also enjoyed the one from Ayn Rand-loved Atlas Shrugged. I have often thought how one could set up a bunch of rules for society when we all disagree on so much. Her hidden society was fascinating. I think I understand your standard and will mull it over. I shall get back to you next week, hopefully with an aquamarine in tow.

Dave, you are a patient man. I am far less patient than you as you might see in this post.
On that note
Santa Lives!!!!!!!
D

boomSLANG said...

Mr "8", I believe? 'Loved Ayn Rand quote. Thanks.

Dee said...

Boom..
If by Mr 8 you are referring to the rebuke of Peter, this guy is no Peter.Do I read you correctly?
D

Dave8 said...

Peter... as in Peter, Paul and Mary, the folk singers? :-)

Mr "8" said...

BoomSLANG, your keen awareness has not misled you :-) Ayn Rand's writings have a special place on my bookshelves and mind ;-), have a great one.

boomSLANG said...

Mr "8" said: Ayn Rand's writings have a special place on my bookshelves and mind ;-).

Yeah, I want to do "Atlas", but I've heard it's extremely long, and gawd knows, it would drive me cRaZy to agree with someone for that long. LMAO!

Peace.

Sergio said...

Dee: "What you said deserves much thought and I shall give it that."

Fair enough, you've my gratitude for the consideration.

Dee: "I may have one or two more questions."

Just one or two :-) I have a whole list to work on.

Dee: "The quote from Jefferson was great. I also enjoyed the one from Ayn Rand-loved Atlas Shrugged."

They were great orators and philosophers, glad you liked them.

Dee: "I have often thought how one could set up a bunch of rules for society when we all disagree on so much."

The capacity to disagree with rules assumes a person or society has developed the ability to reason, and possibly agree. Without reason, and a rational mind poised for the criticial examination of information, "understanding" is not possible.

When people can't understand eachother, interpersonal communication breaks down. Without the ability to communicate reliably, there isn't the possibility of a valid agreement or disagreement. One must know what they are attempting to agree or disagree on, lest it be illogical.

If everyone were able to reason, and understand eachother, the more likely to reach a set of core values that are beneficial to all. The key of course, is that a common set of core values, has to include the environment in which a person is influenced - society. Therefore, not only does reason need to prevail, as a moral imperative... psychologically speaking, a person/group has to trust other people outside their group and accept the inevitability that they are not "alone" on this planet, and "exempt" from "worldly" concerns.

Dee: "I think I understand your standard and will mull it over."

No worries.

Dee: "I shall get back to you next week, hopefully with an aquamarine in tow."

Aquamarine huh... well, if you are ever up around Golden Colorado, stop by the Coor's Beer Plant, and grab the short-tour and free beer samples (two/three free drinks), and then slip over to the Coor's Gem and Mineral Hall, to see the largest aquamarine specimen found in North America, over 100 aquamarine and other crystals complete the specimen. Do you also enjoy spelunking? Bio-dad, is an archeologist, with extensive research in that mountain range...

Well, be safe and enjoy your search.

Sergio said...

Dee, pops researches the Appalachian range, not Rocky Mountain, again, enjoy.

Mr "8" said...

BoomSLANG, If I started agreeing for too long, I'd have to entertain the hypothesis that human cloning is successful. And, I'm not sure I would be a good companion to myself :-)

boomSLANG said...

Mr "8" bounced right back with: If I started agreeing for too long, I'd have to entertain the hypothesis that human cloning is successful. And, I'm not sure I would be a good companion to myself :-)

'Goodness gracious!...if silly ol' man can make people out of "people", then maybe God can make people out of dirt? Hmmmmm?

Nah.

stronger now said...

Dee,

When in asheville take a tour of the Highlands brewing company. They are much smaller than coors but their products are MUCH better!

Also check out the builtmore estate.

Ellytoad said...

I'd personally just like to know why only the Hebrews were "allowed" to know of the saving grace of all of Mankind thousands of years before His arrival. And nobody give me anything about it being because they're God's chosen people, whatever that's supposed to mean.

alan said...

I just happened to find this site and was really schocked by the hostility exumed by "ex-christians" @ Damian when he merely replied to people.

Jim Arvo said...

alan said "I just happened to find this site and was really schocked by the hostility exumed by 'ex-christians' @ Damian when he merely replied to people."

Hello Alan,

First, you were either making a very bad joke, or you meant "exuded" rather than "exumed".

I quickly scanned the exchanges with Damian and the first thing that went through my mind was "Darn, why didn't I chime in on this one?", as I rather enjoy debating Christians on historical matters. The second thing that struck me was Damian's condescending tone; it's not uncommon for such remarks to elicit (or "illicit" if you prefer) angry responses. Lastly, what struck me was the overall directness of the responses that Damian received. The majority of what was written in response to Damian was calm and matter-of-fact.

As a point of reference, when I (occasionally) post at Christian sites, I do not start off with "you are mistaken". Rather, I offer an opinion as politely as I can. (Even then I am generally greeted with greater hostility than Damian was here.)

So, do you have any comment on the substance of what was discussed with Damian?

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