Category: Articles

Bart Ehman vs. Timothy Freke: Did Jesus Exist?

Thanks to New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman’s new book “Did Jesus Exist”, the debate over the historical Jesus has reached mainstream. Today CNN posted an article about called The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

Interestingly, the only “Mythicist” writers they quote from are Robert Price (author of the Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus “Deconstructing Jesus” published in 2000) and Timothy Freke (co-author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” published in 2001).

According to CNN, Ehrman “devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus. He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories. Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again. He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in … Read More »

Did Jesus Exist by Bart Ehrman

In the book trailer for the new book “Did Jesus Exist”, Bart Ehrman says “as a historian, I can assure you, that no matter what anybody else says about him, Jesus most certainly existed. There is as much evidence for Jesus, Ehrman continues, as the evidence for dozens of other historical figures. So lack of evidence should not lead us to doubt the historical Jesus.

This much is true – but lack of evidence isn’t the problem with the historical Jesus, it’s his similarity to other dying and resurrecting pagan saviors. Ehrman neatly sideswipes this entire issue (although he claims he will address it directly in his book) with his ultimate conclusion: Jesus existed but he was completely different from the Jesus everybody thinks they know. Jesus was basically a Jewish prophet who believed the world would pass away in his lifetime and God would come and establish a kingdom – which was obviously a failed prophecy. So, according to Ehrman, his followers developed all of the other more amazing and supernatural claims to cover this embarrassment.

Here’s the problem with the argument.

A) Jesus existed

B) Supernatural claims were made, borrowing heavily from pagan sources, to build up the myth and legend, which … Read More »

What do Jesus and the Easter Bunny Have in Common?

Posted on April 6th, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. No Comments

I made this poster for Easter – please share it if you like it!

Thousands of years ago,

people used to believe that in winter the sun “died”, and then came back in the Spring. They created stories about his death and then celebrated his return to life. In Egypt, the legends told how the evil Set cut Osiris up into many pieces, and Isis had to wander high and low, searching for the pieces of Osiris’ body to put back together again. Egyptians re-enacted this myth every year by hiding and discovering eggs, which symbolized the body of Osiris and his rebirth into a new year of light and prosperity.
Isis, meanwhile, was a moon goddess -and if you like sideways at the moon, you can see that the moon looks like a rabbit in an egg (not, as our patriarchal-capitalistic society has taught us, like a man).

And that, Timmy, is what Jesus has to do with the Easter Bunny.

What really happened on Easter Sunday – Jesus, suffering and guilt

My sister sent me the following chain letter, which goes into surprising detail about exactly how, physically, Jesus suffered on the cross. The point of the letter is to get you to feel his pain, which generates an emotional catharsis; it makes you first feel guilty, and then overwhelmingly grateful. Don’t forget that this highly robust psycho-religious emotional experience was already being practiced by the Jewish women mourning for Tammuz in the Spring on the walls of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8:14-17) centuries before Jesus!

The difference is that, the more technical and precise Christians get, paradoxically the more nonsensical it all seems. After all the blood runs out of Jesus, water starts dripping out – as if that was the natural thing that should happen when there’s no blood left? 1 six inch nail is driven through both of his feet in a way to pin him to the cross and support his weight, but it didn’t break any bones?! Something they also forgot to mention is how Emperor Constantine’s own mother traveled to the Holy Land, and after three centuries, claimed to have found the actual cross and nails used in the crucifixion (of course it was under a temple of … Read More »

Iraq militia stone youths to death for Satanistic “emo” style

Posted on March 11th, by Derek Murphy in Atheism, Bible Blasphemy, Modern Culture, News. 1 Comment

Wearing skulls and dressing in black will get you killed – at least in Iraq, where dozens of teenagers have been stoned recently for wearing black and channeling Emo. “Emo” is a Western subculture that follows the revival of gothic and horror trends in society and literature, and also parallels closely the attraction to vampirism, witchcraft and magic.

Skulls and crossbones have become super cool symbols in international pop culture; even hello kitty is on board.

As Baghdad explores its new-found freedom, news articles like this one shock us with horrific violence at the hands of Islamic conservative fundamentalists. In particular, a recent strain of murders have focused on teenagers who want to stand out, be cool and participate in international trends of fashion and culture. This should make anyone indoctrinated into Western ideology hope that Islam as a religion goes extinct quickly: surely we don’t need that kind of backward, tribalistic, head-in-the-sand idiocracy influencing our culture or politics?

And yet, so what if Islam is stoning youths? Doesn’t Yahweh command – in the book believed as the literal word of God for an enormous percentage of American citizens – that we not suffer a witch to live? That anyone practicing magic, … Read More »

Is John Carter Jesus Christ? Gods, Alien Technology, Atheism and Revolution

An online review posted about Disney’s 2012 John Carter of Earth movie runs thus: “John Carter evokes pretty much every sci-fi classic from the past 50 years without having any real personality of its own.”

The essential thing to keep in mind, however, is that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars was first published almost a century ago in 1917! Science fiction and fantasy novels and stories since then are deeply indebted to John Carter.

Others influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and his John Carter books include James Cameron who mentioned the influence on his science-fiction epic Avatar in The New Yorker magazine and George Lucas, whose Star Wars movies were influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs and by Flash Gordon, which in turn was influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

But something you won’t read about in other online reviews is this:

John Carter is an atheistic movie.

A tagline for the movie could be, “There is no god, only superior technology.” Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars is basically like earth – lots of evenly matched civilizations destroying each other for centuries until one gets an advanced technology (gunpowder, etc) and annihilates the other side. But there is also an element of magic, mysticism and religion. … Read More »

Buying and Selling Luck: Taiwan’s Fudegong Temple and the Lucky Money Machine

Posted on February 22nd, by Derek Murphy in Modern Culture. No Comments

This morning, between about 10am and 12am outside my 5th floor apartment, was a never ending parade of drum, bad karoake and high pitched squeaking clarinets played by people with no training – all blasted from portable megaphones charged with a portable battery. It made me wonder where that old phrase, “everyone loves a parade” comes from. While the noise pollution, pierced sporadically by firecrackers, may seem quaint and exotic, after 8 years living in Taiwan it’s hard to excuse the distraction and invasion into my home office, where I’m trying to concentrate on editing some documents.

But it’s a special occasion – it’s the birthday of the Earth God (Tudigong). You might assume that this would be akin to Western “Earth Day”, where we all gather to make empty vows about recycling and healing our planet. You’d be wrong – Earth God’s birthday has principally become (at least in Taiwan) the day to go and give money to the temple, for your own financial benefit. Hence, all the parades may be seen as a form of power advertising: it’s Earth God’s birthday! Don’t forget to go give him some money, to bless and ensure your own prosperity!

Although this may seem … Read More »