Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Random thought of the day: was the American Revolution contrary to the teachings of Christianity? What prompted me to ask such a question? Here’s what Paul wrote in Romans 13:1-7:

Submission to the Authorities
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Link to Romans 13

The section of the Bible pretty much outlines the divine right of kings and other rulers. Further, if God instituted the British authority over the American colonies, then not only was the American Revolution contrary to the teachings of the New Testament, but raises yet another problem for activists who want to convince us that the American government was founded on Christianity.

Of course, the whole thing is self-contradictory nonsense anyway. Afterall, according to this passage, Americans were supposed to submit to the British while they were in power and not start a revolution because the British were “established by God”. But, the moment the revolution was successful (despite the Biblical teaching against revolution), then suddenly the new American government is supposedly “established by God”.

The king is dead. Long live the king!

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The gaming website, Destructoid, posted an article about a new game based on the Bible. I was actually pretty surprised how harsh it was to Christianity. I’d provide a link, but my antivirus complained about the website, so, to protect your computer I’m not providing a link. (But, here’s another article about the game.) The writeup:

The Bible Online is a new strategy MMO game … seriously

If you’ve ever read all the rape, genocide and deep-seated racism in The Bible and thought to yourself, “Man, that sounds like my kind of world,” then this is the game for you! The Bible Online allows players to “slip into the role of Abraham and his descendants and have the opportunity to reenact and witness the incidents of their times.”

The game is going to be split into chapters with The Heroes being the first released. The basic setup is that of an MMO strategy game, where players control their own tribe, build a city, and naturally wage war in the name of God. It won’t be a case of holding onto territory, however, as the ultimate goal is leading one’s band of merry savages into the promised land.

Side quests, roleplaying elements and more have all been promised, making this possibly the best game based on a book that was written by 2,000-year-old cultists from whom many civilized Americans still take their medical advice.

Sounds like fun, and I’m tempted to sign up for the beta. My only problem with Bible games is that the story is always so far-fetched for some reason. They should get Square Enix to write up something a bit more believable.

Ouch. That was pretty merciless.

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(Jesus said) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (Matthew 26:52)

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Sigh. Be sure to apply your religiously-based condemnation and forgiveness selectively.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

By the way, the story he’s talking about is the story of King David and Bathsheba. David wanted Bathsheba, so he drafted Bathsheba’s husband into the army, put him on the front line, had the troops abandon him, which resulted in his death. David then married and had a child with Bathsheba. God killed the child to punish David for his sin (because killing children for the sins of their fathers is a good idea). This is why, in the US legal system, we often kill the children of murderers as punishment.

I also have to wonder how the pro-life crowd could interpret God as being pro-life if He kills children.

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On one of my recent posts, a commenter claimed that the Bible predicts that the United States will split into four parts. I’m always interested in tackling claims about Biblical prophecy, so I looked it up. His claim is based on Daniel Chapter 8. Now, supposedly, the book of Daniel was written during the Jewish exile in Babylon – around the sixth century BC. Daniel has a number of visions and interprets them. I’ll say up-front that the interpretation that Daniel 8 involves the United States is ridiculous fantasy; I won’t even deal with that idea because it’s not at all reasonable. However, it seems to involve a prediction about ancient Persia, Greece, and Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC – or about 250 years after Daniel’s vision. Daniel 8:

1 In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.

4 I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. 5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. 7 I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. 8 The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

17 As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”

19 He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. 20 The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.

Now, if you look at the prophecy, it says Persia becomes powerful. Then Greece comes and destroys Persia. Then Greece splits into four kingdoms. As it turns out, this seems like a fairly good prediction of history. (You can see an animated history of the Middle East here.) Persia did become powerful, but a century or two later, Alexander the Great comes along – he’s Greek, he conquers Persia, he dies in 323 BC, and in 301 BC his kingdom is split into four parts. So what’s wrong with it?

Well, the first problem is that no one is quite sure when Daniel was written. It very well could have been written after Alexander the Great, and then claimed as a ‘divine prophecy’. It’s not just the fact that Daniel “knows” the future that makes people question the sixth-century date. Daniel’s knowledge of the sixth century BC seems a bit fuzzy:

What we do know is that Daniel was written before the first century BC because it is included with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some scholars put the book of Daniel’s writing between 167 and 164 BC. (Christians, of course, continue to argue against that, but articles I’ve read on the subject seem remarkably weak at arguing for a sixth-century authorship.) If the later date is true, then these predictions become unremarkable (and deceptive) post-dictions.

The second issue here is the fact that this prophecy concerns “the time of the end”. Obviously, the world did not end shortly after Alexander the Great. But, if Daniel was written after these events, then the writer of Daniel apparently believed he was living in the end times. (Which hardly seems surprising – it just goes to show: people often think they’re living in the end times.) The Bible makes numerous predictions about the end of the world, and it has a bad record when it comes to accuracy. Even Jesus and the New Testament authors believed they were living in the ‘end times’:

Jesus predicting that he will be “coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” before “this generation” dies:

30 At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Matthew 24:30-34)

And Paul instructing people not to marry because the end times is upon them. And, if they are married, people should live as if they aren’t married – so that they can more effectively preach the gospel before the eminent end of the world:

27 Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:27-31)

Christians like to claim that fulfillment of Biblical prophecy confirms the Bible’s divine authorship. I’ve looked into these claims of ‘fulfilled prophecy’ and found them woefully exaggerated. They also like to ignore all the unfulfilled prophecies. It just goes to show that the Bible isn’t a divinely-inspired book. Of course, it’s exactly what all the other religions do as well – but everyone ignorantly believes their own religion’s “fulfilled prophecy” claims.

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