These are my personal views and may or may not reflect Atheist Think Tank or its members.
Part I: What Is a Christian?
Supposedly, a Christian is one who follows the Christ. In the case of Christianity today, this “Christ” is named “Jesus”. The moniker “Christ” is a title in reference to the Messiah as in “The Anointed One”.
Christians follow Jesus’ teachings as outlined in the New Testament but not his religion which was Judaism. Jesus was not only Jewish ethnically but also religiously but Christians today are only Jewish inwardly (religiously) rather than outwardly (ethnically). Meaning: they’re religiously Jewish but not ethnically Jewish which permits conversion of non-Jews; when non-Jews convert to Christianity they become Jewish from a religious standpoint but not in ethnicity. Therefore, everyone is a Jew like Jesus because Jesus was a Jew and to be Christ-like, a true follower of Jesus: you must be Jewish like him.
But is it truly Christ-like if you’re only half of the whole? All my life I’ve read and heard that Christians must strive to be like Jesus. Even the Bible states that: 1 John 2:6 (NIV) “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”. To live as Jesus did then one would need to be the whole rather than just the half, right? Accepting he’s the Christ is becoming a Christian to Jesus however, if it is the duty of a Christian to be his disciple then should not a Christian strive to not only be Jewish inwardly but also outwardly? Then a Christian would be “living” as Jesus did.
But they do not.
Actually, for many centuries Christians blamed Jews for Jesus’ death. Many still do. But how can one blame Jews for the death of one’s Christ yet still be Jewish inwardly? Then would one not be blaming themself? If one asked a Christian today if they were Jewish inwardly, what response would they give? In my opinion: No. They’re not Jewish at all. But it still comes back to that verse above: if a Christian is to live like Jesus then shouldn’t they be Jewish? To a Christian: absolutely not.
If Jesus’ disciples were Jewish like him then why would they condemn themselves to an infinite (figurative) amount of abuse by the followers of Jesus? It doesn’t make sense. Were they living like Jesus by writing Matt: 27:24-25: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’ All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!'”? What gain would they have in saying that even if they knew for a fact that Jesus’ followers would fade away in time? The writer of that passage was Jewish. And if he believed as 1 John states, then he, in effect, would be condemning himself. And, if Christians are supposed to be inwardly Jewish (but not outwardly) then are they condemning themselves or half themselves to this condemnation that they inflict upon Jews? And if all Jews are to blame and Jesus was an inwardly and outwardly Jew, then was Jesus to blame, as well? Apparently so. Makes no sense but apparently so…
There is one aspect that paints Christians as being outwardly Jewish: they reference the first five books of the Pentateuch (Torah) constantly. When they talk about ‘God’s Law’ they reference the 10 Commandments . They make a bevy of monuments of it almost everywhere they are. When they speak out against homosexuality they reference the Pentateuch, even on the subject of abortion, adultery, and many other things they consider to be “sinful”.
Why would they reference the first five books of the Pentateuch so often if they didn’t believe they were outwardly Jewish?
Part II: Why Isn’t Jesus’ Words Good Enough?
I wonder, at times, if Christians really prefer the New Testament to the Old Testament?
Here you have two books that are opposite of each other not only in verbiage but in intellect and in emotion. The consensus is that the Bible (as a whole) was written by 50 people (with varying edits throughout by anonymous people). If we go by the basic authorship without dwelling on individuals who may have contributed to what work and when, then we can come to a better understanding. Some people like to contend that the writers of the Bible were all nothing more than farmers and sheepherders; and while this view is true for some, for others it may not be.
According to Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan literacy during the whole of Israel during the ancient times when the different parts of the Bible was written was less than 3% of the whole population (Jewish only). In rural areas it could have been only one person for many miles (klm) around. In more urban areas, such as Jerusalem and the like, then it was quite a few but still relatively small numbers. Romans, before and after conquering many places and intergrating other cultures and peoples into their society, had a large percentage rate of literacy until Roman Catholicism took over and like their Jewish ancestors: only a few were permitted to be literate (reading/writing).
If this is more likely truer than not, and I do not doubt the calculations Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan has made, then how could so many Hebrews/Jews who were (supposedly) no more than farmers write the Bible? Maybe literal writing but the Bible is muchly written in parables, metaphor, similes, anecdotes, analogies, etc., and yet these simple farmers could compose such works with complete understanding? The same with the authors of the New Testament? I am not saying it isn’t possible that some of them did but the sheepherders? The fig tree growers? The breeders? The carpenters? The blacksmith? The soldier? What need, in Hebrewism, or Judaism, in ancient times, did they have of reading and writing?
One could say, “What need do they today?”. But these are different times; the modern world is much more technologically advanced than those of our ancient kinsmen.
Let’s forget for a moment on whether Jesus actually existed and if he had the ability to read and write (though he was said to be a Rabbi). Let’s just go by his words as dictated by the varying books of the New Testament:
Why is it, as a child, Jesus is only recorded of speaking once: Luke 2:49 (KJV): “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
There were people who believed he was the Christ from birth and yet his first recorded words is when he’s around 12 years old? One would think that everything he stated, from birth; would be recorded but it wasn’t. Why? Such an important person to so many people, even then, yet not until he was 12 years old? Then nothing else recorded until he’s 30 years old. Seems sort of weird that this one line was recorded, and nothing else. And, being the Son of God he must have such knowledge yet even Jesus, not in his childhood nor in his adulthood, wrote anything down.
Matt: 3:15 (ASB): “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Apparently Jesus said this before being Baptised. I know that Christians believe Jesus is God but this is one of the many confusing aspects that some non-Christians have: Why would God Baptise itself to itself? Wouldn’t it have been better that John the Baptist got Baptised? There’d be more significance to that, human-wise, than a god Baptising itself to itself. Just sayin’.
In Matt: 4 – Jesus is battling Satan. The reason I am not quoting the words he said is because based on his own words: he didn’t first state them. He states over and over again “It is written”. Well, there’s no actual evidence that Jesus wrote anything so what he speaks to ‘Satan’ was written by someone else. I am sure it can be found somewhere in the Torah because Jesus was Jewish. However, Christians attribute those words to Jesus because apparently he said them. Jesus, “it is written” didn’t attribute the words to himself but that doesn’t matter. It’s sort of like the song “Hurt” sung by Johnny Cash. Many of his fans think he wrote it but another singer wrote it named Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. But to them, since he sang the song so gracefully, to many people the song is now his and who cares about the original author? Jesus said the words: he forever owns them but then of course he’s ‘God’, they’re all his words anyway, right? So, what’s the Christian’s purpose? When Christians get Baptised, is it for themselves as it was for Jesus or is it for ‘God’?
Most likely, it is for themselves. A four year old protestant girl says she wants to be Baptised, it certainly isn’t for Jesus/God, it’s for her, her Mommy, and her Daddy because she doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand anything but making Mommy and Daddy happy. Same with a six year old, an eight year old and probably even a 12 year old but by 12 they’ve been so indoctrinated into Christianity that they never had a choice to begin with. How is indoctrination what Jesus wanted?
To me, and some people may disagree with me, to me indoctrination is the limitation of one ideal superseding all other ideals and then taking away one’s inherit choice.
Take Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis on the subject of whether they indoctrinate, or not:
“We equip parents so that they can show their kids the major problems with evolutionary ideas, show them the difference between observational and historical science, and reveal to them how the evidence confirms God’s Word from the beginning.”
That is taking one’s choice away. “We equip”, meaning “We help to mentally train Christian parents and show them that “Evolution” conflicts with “Creationism”. An argument can be made that the god of the Bible [i]created[/i] Evolution but since Christians are taught by their religious leaders, churches, and the like] “Evolution is a Communist atheist plot to steer our children from the one True™ God, our Lord Jesus Christ!” they essentially take the choice away from the child, and anyone else.
Now, granted, I am speaking of the Christianity I grew up in but I’ve read more than enough about other denominations to know they have similar stories, too. In Catholicism “choice” is taken from birth.
How do you “accept” something in your heart when someone has already accepted for you? Not all Christians do this. My parents didn’t but most people, especially parents, never even allow a choice to be made. Entire denominations don’t allow choices to be made but that’s exactly what acceptance is: a choice one makes about something. Making a choice for yourself is fine, making it for someone else, especially after indoctrination and “fire and brimstone”, is not. They accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior because many Christians (subconsciously or consciously) forced them to. Does that still make them a Christian?
Part III: What’s Up With All the Idols?
First, the most obvious: the crucifix:
“Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.”
Idolatry is defined as: the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of a god.
Is not the crucifix an idol? What’s worse is that it’s a torture device. So, they worship a torture device as their idol [i]and[/i] sometimes showcase their god nailed to it as if his death is to be revered.
Then you have paintings of Jesus which is a representation of a person that they have no idea what he looked like but that they should realize he looked more like this:
That is a picture of Serapis, a Greek-Egyptian God. The representation is of long hair, a beard, and light-skinned. Over time different versions have surfaced but they’re all basically the same: long flowing hair, beard, and white. People back then would notice a man like that but that wouldn’t be Jesus so Christians worship a false god named Serapis. Who wants to worship a Jew when you can worship a Graeco-Egyptian god?
Christians have many idols: statues, crucifix, representation of the 10 Commandments, inscriptions, etc., and they worship each and every one of them as their own separate gods.
Part IV: How Many Christians Are There Really?
Based on the above: how many Christians are there really? Some say there’s a combined total of over 40,000 separate Christian denominations in the world. Every year there are several new interpretations of the Bible and several more translations. Either way: each [i]version[/i] changes something. Maybe something insignificant and maybe something actually quite significant.
Many Christians say that Christianity isn’t a religion, others say that only they are the True™ Christians and everyone else are heathens. Each individual Christian, even the indoctrinated ones (as mentioned above) interpret the Bible in the way that best suits their own beliefs of the world. There are weak Christians and Strong Christians, there are those who are Cafeteria Christians, cherry-pickers, and so many more to list that I may run out of room.
Each group usually contend all the rest are not Christians and only they are the real ones but if you view each one individually (the denomination) none of them are really the same. Not all of them believe in the Trinity, and there are Christians who do not believe Jesus is the son of the god of the Bible nor god in human form.
In one way or another they all disagree with each other about things written in the Bible, things said by their church or someone else’s; disagreements with those in their own family. And if a Christian does something bad then s/he is not a True™ Christian. If a Christian does something good, it was the power of Biblegod working through them. If a storm goes through a town, that’s Biblegod’s wrath. If in that storm two people die but one lives, that’s Biblegod’s grace. There are Christians who believe wholeheartedly that all of it is true, others that some of it is, and the rest disagreeing and you learned Christianity wrong or you’re trying to deceive.
Catholics believe Protestants aren’t Christian and Protestants believe Catholics aren’t Christian. It’s funny, really because you have all these denominations working against each other (and other religions and non-religions) and deny the other of being Christian.
So if they all are denying the other then there are no Christians.
David Garrett Arnold
September 04 2016
Please leave comments here:
-  even though there are actually 613 Commandments ↩
-  https://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/illitera.html ↩
-  because he’s god, remember and he baptised himself to himself ↩
-  a synonym for “equip” is “mentally train” ↩
-  whether correct or not is irrelevant for this scenario ↩
-  generally speaking[/nb] that [[i]paraphrasing ↩
-  wiki ↩
-  Yes, inscriptions can be idols. ↩
-  some say they are not actually “denominations” but different organizations ↩
-  whether they’ve actually read it or not ↩
-  philosophically speaking ↩
-  specific doctrine only, not the entire doctrines of the Bible ↩
-  similar to Cafeteria Christians but instead of one specific doctrine they choose specific verses or lines, and usually out of context ↩
-  funny enough when it comes to statistics then, and only then, do they consider each and every denomination “Christian” ↩
-  Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and Christian Scientists to name a few ↩
-  except in statistics ↩