Monday, March 31, 2008

Muhammad and clay birds

There is an ancient Greek text called The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (Not to be confused with the Gospel of Thomas). The Infancy Gospel of Thomas says that Jesus:


“…made soft clay and fashioned from it twelve sparrows. And it was on the Sabbath when he did this. And there were also many other children playing with him. Now a certain Jew saw what Jesus was doing in his play on the Sabbath, he at once went and told his father Joseph: ‘See, your child is at the brook, and he has taken clay and fashioned twelve birds and has profaned the Sabbath.’ And when Joseph came to the place and saw it, he cried out to him, saying: ‘Why do you do on the Sabbath what ought not to be done?’ But Jesus clapped his hands and cried to the sparrows: ‘Off with you!’ And the sparrows took flight and went away chirping (Infancy Gospel of Thomas. 2.2-4. New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, edited by Wilhelm Schneemelcher, 1991).
With one exception, virtually no one believes this story is true. First, the story wasn’t written until about 100 to 150 years after Jesus’ death, which is much later than our earliest sources about Jesus.

Second, our earliest sources about Jesus are all Jewish and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas shows no knowledge of first century Judaism.

Third, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ did his very first miracle, not when he was a child, but as an adult when he turned water into wine.

Fourth, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas betrays elements of Gnostic thought which is characteristic of the second century AD but not the first century AD.

Finally, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas tells a series of bazaar stories about Jesus that portray him as a vindictive little brat, which doesn’t fit anything else we know about Jesus from much earlier sources.

For example, according to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, when a little boy “took a branch of a willow and…dispersed the water which Jesus had gathered together,” little Jesus called him a “godless dunderhead” and placed a curse on him causing the boy to wither up.

On another occasion, a boy was running and bumped into Jesus.’ Jesus cursed that child too and the boy fell down dead! Parents in the village understandably began to complain to Jesus’ father, Joseph, so according to the story, Jesus punished the complainers with blindness!

For these reasons, virtually no scholars (or anyone else) believes that the stories about Jesus in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas are true—the only exception is Muslims. Muslims believe the story is true because Muhammad—who lived more than 300 years after the story was written—seems to have believed it! At least twice in the Qur’an Muhammad talks about how Jesus took a clay bird and made it come alive (Sura 3.49 and 5.10).

This creates a dilemma for Muslims. Since they believe that the teachings in the Qur’an were given to Muhammad from God word-for-word, they are forced to believe a story which no one but Muslims believe, written 100 to 150 years after Jesus lived. If the clay bird story isn’t true, it would mean that Muhammad did not get it word-for-word from God, and that would place the Qur’an, the prophethood of Muhammad and all of Islam in question.

Although Muhammad had great respect for Jesus, Muhammad adamantly denied that Jesus was the Son of God. That’s interesting because the same Infancy Gospel of Thomas that tells the story of the clay birds, also tells a story about Jesus standing in the Temple of God and calling it “My Father’s house.” In other words, according to the writer of the clay bird story which Muhammad believes, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

Obama lied about survey

Barack Obama apparently lied about his views on a survey he once took. The survey has been found, with Obama's signature on it. The story broke in Politico but see the analysis in Hot Air.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Qur'an, Sura 19

Robert Spencer's commentary on the Qur'an, Sura 19 is now available on Hot Air.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Terrorism and poverty

According to UPI:
Alberto Abadie of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government said there is no significant relationship between a country's wealth and level of terrorism once other factors, like the country's level of political freedom, are taken into account.

The researchers reviewed the World Market Research Centre's Global Terrorism Index and found no clear correlation between terrorism and poverty.
Hmmm, I wonder if there is a correlation between terrorism and being raised in a Middle Eastern Muslim country.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Expelled, The Movie

Watch the trailer for "Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed." Then go see the movie when it comes out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Giving: Left and Right

In my last post I mentioned that Obama, like many Democrats just like to help the poor with your money. This was supported today by an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune written by George Will. The article points out that :
•Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

•Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

•Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George W. Bush.

Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

•In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

•People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

Please read the entire article at Star Tribune, if for no other reason than to read the bumper sticker quotations! (Hat tip: John W.)

Obama's giving

An article posted today in Christian Newswire calls into question Obama's committement to the poor:
Senator Obama's 1% giving to charity calls into question his commitment to the poor and needy and exposes his lack of conviction to the most vulnerable in our society.

Recent tax returns made public by Senator Obama, from 2000 though 2004, show that he gave less than 1% of his income to charitable causes.
I disagree. I think Obama is very committed to the poor. Like many Democrats however, he just wants to help them with other people's tax dollars.

I think the government should help those who--through no fault of their own--cannot help themselves. I sometimes think Republicans are too uncompassionate toward such people. But on the other hand, I think Democrats in the past have been so undiscerning about government handouts that they have actually enabled lazy people and have promoted the very poverty they sought to eliminate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Radical gay agenda

Read "Unmasking the Gay Agenda" by Matt Barber. The views Barber exposes are not the views of all gay people, but they seem to be the views of the radical movers and shakers in the gay rights movement.

Hillary and the truth

Yesterday, Recliner Commentaries wrote about Hillary's shaky relationship with the truth. An article in Time Magazine documents this point in detail.

Qur'an 18:83-110

Robert Spencer's commentary on the Qur'an, Sura 18:83-110 is available on Hot Air.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary's experience

As an example of her extensive foreign policy experience, Hillary Clinton talked about how she came under sniper fire when she visited Bosnia. The press then pulled up old video of the trip and demonstrated that it just wasn't so. Today Hillary admitted her "mistake" and said it just showed she was human.

A caller to a talk radio show begged to differ with Ms. Clinton today. He said he was in the military and had been under fire. He said that if Ms. Clinton had really been shot at, there is no way in the world that she would have forgotten about it. He said there was no question in his mind that she was lying and that her lie brought discredit the the men and women of the Secret Service who protected her.

A politician lying? Please, tell me it isn't so! Aside from the possible lying issue, the real problem seems to be that the more Hillary's extensive foreign policy experience is examined, like chasing a rainbow, the more elusive it becomes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The God who wasn't there

Over the Easter weekend I watched a DVD entitled, The God who wasn’t there, edited and narrated by someone named, Brian Flemming. Since it was an all-out attack on Christianity I thought it deserved a thorough critique (this is probably the longest article ever posted on Recliner Commentaries).

Introduction

The DVD begins with images of the earth revolving around the sun, and the sun revolving around the earth. The narrator asks, if Christianity was wrong about the Solar System could they be wrong about Jesus also?

Of course we might also ask, if atheists who ran the former Soviet Union (and were responsible for the deaths of about 100 million people) were wrong, could they be wrong about Jesus too?

The point is that what medieval Roman Catholic bishops believed about the solar system has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence of Jesus. Of course, the narrator is smart enough to know that. The little solar system scene was not about rational arguments. It was about emotionally directing the audience down an anti-Christian path.

The path continues with testimonies of numerous happy—though not very well informed—Christians coming out of a Billy Graham crusade. The narrator then says, “of course, those aren’t the only faces of Christianity.” What follows are pictures of mass murderer Charles Manson with a caption reading “aka Jesus Christ”—as if Charles Manson actions had anything to do with love for Jesus!

Another picture was shown of a woman said to have been a devout Christian who cut off her baby’s arms for God—as if her actions had anything whatsoever to do with Christianity. Pictures of Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye were also thrown in.

I’m not a particular fan of Pat Robertson or Tim LaHaye, but regardless of what you think of them, when their pictures are placed in the same group as a mass murderer and a woman who cut off her baby’s arms, you know that we are not looking at an objective treatment of Christianity! What followed was a mockery of the story of Jesus from birth to ascension using cheesy old Hollywood film clips.

The case for a mythical Jesus

In a nutshell, we could summarize the case for the non-existence of Jesus as laid out by the DVD in the following six points:

First, the Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel written and the other three were derived from Mark.

Second, the Gospel of Mark mentions the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in AD 70. Since Jesus couldn’t possibly have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem occurred, the Gospels must have been written after AD 70. Since, Jesus died in AD 33, that means there is a 40 year gap between the time when Jesus died and the when the first Gospel was written.

Third, all we know about that time gap comes from the letters of Paul and Paul never even heard of the idea that Jesus was a real person who lived in the recent past. This is clear because there is no mention in any of Paul’s letters of Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, John the Baptist, Jesus’ miracles, Jerusalem, Pilate, Jesus’ trials or anything Jesus ever said.

Fourth, the only thing Paul knows about Jesus is that he died, rose, and ascended into heaven, and Paul doesn’t place these events on earth. Rather, Paul places these events in the mythical realm just like stories of other savior gods of the time.

Fifth, since the Gospels are filled with outrageous improbabilities they cannot be understood as historical.

Sixth, since allegorical literature was extremely common back then, and since the story of Jesus fits the pattern of ancient mythical heroes, it is clear that the Gospels take Paul’s myth and make it appear historical, just like many stories on the internet which start out as fiction and are eventually believed as actual, historical events. The Gospels, therefore, are myth or symbolic narratives, not historical accounts.

Let’s examine each of these points one by one.

First, the Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel written and the other three were derived from Mark.

Although most scholars would agree that Matthew and Luke were derived in some way from Mark, few would agree that John was derived from Mark. The narrator’s understanding of biblical scholarship is apparently lacking.

Second, the Gospel of Mark mentions the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in AD 70. Since Jesus couldn’t possibly have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem 40 before the destruction of Jerusalem occurred, the Gospels must have been written after AD 70. Since, Jesus died in AD 33, that means there is a 40 year gap between the time when Jesus died and the when the first Gospel was written.

The narrator is right that most scholars think the Gospels were written between AD 70 and AD 100, and that these dates are largely based on the fact that Mark records the destruction of Jerusalem. Many scholars once just assumed that Jesus couldn’t possibly have predicted the fall of Jerusalem, so the Gospels must have been written after that time.

Actually, this opinion is now somewhat outdated. Many critics today--even some pretty radical critics--are now starting to recognize that Jesus really did predict the fall of Jerusalem 40 years before it actually fell! They have reluctantly come to this conclusion because the vast majority of them believe in a “Lost Gospel of Q” in which Jesus alludes to the fall of Jerusalem. They acknowledge that Q contains the words of Jesus and that it was written before before the fall of Jerusalem.

What many critics don’t seem to realize, however, is that this undermines the main reason for dating the Gospels after the fall of Jerusalem! There is actually much more evidence that Matthew, Mark and Luke were written before AD 70 than after AD 70, and there are many scholars today who believe that this is the case. But if Matthew, Mark and Luke were written before AD 70, the narrator’s case for the 40 year gap is destroyed along with his case for the mythical Jesus.

Even if there was a 40 year gap, however, that means nothing. Ancient historians (and modern ones too) often write about events that occurred long before their time, but scholars don’t automatically assume the events, therefore, never happened. For example, almost everything we know about Alexander the Great was written about 400 years after he lived and is recorded in only one source! By contrast, what we know about Jesus comes from multiple sources written as early as 20 to 70 years after he lived.

Third, all we know about that time gap comes from the letters of Paul and Paul never even heard of the idea that Jesus was a real person who lived in the recent past. This is clear because there is no mention in any of Paul’s letters of Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, John the Baptist, Jesus’ miracles, Jerusalem, Pilate, Jesus’ trials or anything Jesus ever said.

First, scholars call Paul’s letters “occasional” letters, which means that Paul was addressing specific problems and issues in specific churches. He was not writing to re-tell the story of Jesus any more than a missionary might repeat the story of Jesus when they write a letter back to their home church from the mission field.

Second, although there is no reason Paul should have mentioned Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, John the Baptist, etc., in his letters; contrary to the assertions presented on the DVD, Paul nevertheless, knows Jesus as an actual person of history. For example, Paul says in the letter that we call “First Corinthians,” that Jesus was buried and raised from the dead and that this fact was witnessed by Jesus’ disciples and more than 500 other people, many of whom, Paul says, were still alive when Paul wrote the letter in AD 55 (1 Corinthians 15:3-6; cf. 12-20).

Furthermore, in an earlier letter to the Galatians written about AD 49, Paul writes about how fourteen years earlier he went to Jerusalem and met with the leaders of the church, Peter, James and John, and that they gave him their blessing to preach his gospel to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:1-10). In other words, Paul is not making up his own mythology about Jesus—those who actually waked with Jesus and heard Jesus preach, gave their blessing to Paul to preach his gospel.

And while the Paul never mentions Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, John the Baptist, etc., what the narrator doesn’t tell his audience is that Paul says Jesus was born and raised Jewish, had a brother named James, knew some of Jesus’ disciples by name including the fact that Peter was married. Paul knew that Jesus had a last supper with his disciples on the night of his death and that he was betrayed and executed by crucifixion (Galatians 1:19, 3:16, 4:4, 5:11, 6:12; First Corinthians 1:17-18, 9:5, 11:23-25; Romans 1:3 and Philippians 2:3, 3:18. See Eddy, Paul and Gregory Boyd. The Jesus Legend. Grand Rapids : Baker, 2007, 209).

In other words, by selectively picking out some things in Jesus’ life that Paul doesn’t mention, the narrator concludes that Paul doesn’t mention anything of a historical nature about Jesus’ life and then further concludes that Jesus must not have existed!

The narrator also argues that Paul never quoted from Jesus. While Paul doesn’t quote Jesus verbatim, scholars have demonstrated that Paul was to a great extent simply passing on and contextualizing the teachings of Jesus. I won’t repeat the evidence here but anyone who is interested should consult the outstanding book by Oxford University scholar, David Wenham entitled, Paul; Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity?”

The idea that Paul didn’t know anything about the real historical Jesus is just factually wrong.

Fourth, the only thing Paul knows about Jesus is that he died, rose, and ascended into heaven. Paul doesn’t place these events on earth but, just like the other savior gods of the time, in the mythical realm

This is an old theory which many scholars now reject. First, nearly all scholars acknowledge that Paul experienced a dramatic change in life, changing from someone who persecuted Christians, to someone who worked tirelessly and suffered immense persecution to preach Jesus.

Pagan myths would likely have been disgusting to a former Pharisee like Paul so the idea that Paul’s whole life changed dramatically when he started borrowing from non-Jewish or pagan myths to create some kind of mythical Jesus, and then was willing to suffer beatings and imprisonment for the myths he knew were fictional—is harder to believe than the message Paul preached!

Second, if you actually read the myths about Mithras, Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Tammuz, or Dionysus you will find that they don’t look anything like Jesus as all! The supposed parallels are arrived at by cherry-picking the stories--and even then the imagined parallels are a stretch.

For example, with Osirus, there is no real resurrection. The Osirus myth says the god’s body was drowned, dismembered and scattered but later gathered, reassembled and rejuvenated. The story of Attis records his death but not a resurrection or even a rebirth. The story of Augustus’ “virgin birth” was nothing of the sort. Augustus’ wife was said to have slept overnight in a pagan temple during which a snake crawled up inside her vagina and impregnated her! Some parallels!

Third, the narrator didn’t bother to tell his audience that much of the evidence for such supposed parallels comes from a hundred to three hundred years after the time of Jesus! If there are parallels at all it is because pagan authors are borrowing from Christianity!

Finally, far from writing in the “mythical realm” Paul argues that if Jesus did not really rise from the dead, his whole ministry was worthless (1 Cor. 15)! That hardly sounds like he is basing his ministry on a myth.

Fifth, since the Gospels are filled with outrageous improbabilities that cannot be understood as historical.

First, the DVD quotes Robert Price—a noted proponent of the Jesus myth theory—as saying the gospels are filled with “outrageous improbabilities.” But as the world-famous Jesus scholar, N.T. Wright, once said, “History is filled with improbabilities, but my goodness, they happened!” Wright is right. History should be determined primarily on the basis of historical evidence, not simply on what someone thinks was improbable.

Interestingly enough, however, Price doesn’t mention Jesus’ miracles or resurrection as examples of the “outrageous improbabilities,” though I’m sure he regards them as such. To do so would be like saying, “I don’t believe Jesus existed because I don’t believe in the stories about his miracles or resurrection.” This would have been an honest way of dealing with the evidence (I’m not implying that Price was in any way being dishonest) because in fact, this is why many people don’t believe in the Gospel’s portrayals of Jesus. They simply don’t believe the supernatural events recorded about his life. Most other arguments against the Gospel’s views of Jesus are just smoke and mirrors.

The best examples of “outrageous improbabilities” Price provides, therefore, are 1) the “slaughter of innocents”, that is, the killing of the babies in Bethlehem at by Herod at the time of Jesus’ birth 2) the Jewish supreme council meeting on Passover eve to get rid of Jesus and 3) Pontius Pilate releasing “a known killer of Romans” and turning Jesus over to be killed after trying to let him off the hook.

Price’s only argument about the “slaughter of innocents” is that it is mythological and derived from the book of Exodus. This is like arguing that given any two similar events, the second one must be mythical and derived from the first. So, for example, the assassination of John F. Kennedy must be a mythical story derived from an earlier Presidential assassination!

Of course, Price would say this is nonsense, but so is his dismissal of the killing of the babies as mythical simply because the book of Exodus has a story about the death of the firstborn. The fact is that there is nothing unhistorical about the possibility that Herod the Great—who even had members of his own family killed—killed a few babies to eliminate one who might one day threaten his throne. This is entirely in keeping with everything historians know of Herod’s character.

Another “outrageous improbability” Price provides is the Jewish supreme council meeting on Passover eve to get rid of Jesus. Passover was a time in which hundreds of thousands of people descended on Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Given the “hell-on-earth” Jews had suffered in the previous two hundred years, they were desperate for a “Messiah” to come and liberate them from oppressive, pagan Roman rule. Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Passover to the cheers of huge crowds who had heard of his mighty works. Perhaps he was that Messiah. Perhaps this Passover would be when he would “make his move.”

The Jewish authorities were well aware of the enormous potential for disaster that could be caused by a Messiah, or Messiah wannabee during a feast like Passover. If things got out of hand, the Romans would come in—as they had done before—and slaughter people by the thousands. It may well be that the Jewish Council believed this was a matter of national security that couldn’t wait. When viewed in historical context, not only is this not improbable, but may even be likely.

Another scholar, not mentioned in the DVD, argued that it was very improbable that Jesus entered Jerusalem to cheering crowds (triumphal entry), but a few days later the crowds were yelling, “crucify him.” But to Jewish people the idea of “Messiah” was a king who was going to kick out the pagans. The idea that pagans would gain control of the Messiah was absolutely unthinkable. So when Jesus came to Jerusalem there was high expectation that this miracle-working Messiah might make his move against Rome. When the people later saw him beaten, bloody and chained to Roman soldiers, they became furious at being deceived by what the now saw as an imposter. Far from being improbable, these stories are very probable.

The other outrageous improbability Price provides is the story of how Pontius Pilate released Barabbas, “a killer of Romans,” and turned Jesus over to the crowds after trying to get him released.

First, Price is right that the idea that Pilate would show any kind of concessions to the Jews is unusual, but Pilate’s career depended on keeping peace in Judea, and even military men often make political concessions when it is to their advantage.

Second, we don’t know who instituted this custom of releasing a prisoner on Passover. It may be that Pilate was just carrying out a custom begun by a previous governor and that to drop the custom now could cause more unrest than it was worth.

Third, Pilate’s attempt to release Jesus was probably not because he felt any compassion toward Jesus, but simply because the religious leaders wanted Jesus killed and because Pilate hated them, his knee jerk reaction was to deny their wishes.

The fact is that all we have is what was written in our ancient sources. The more we start re-writing history based on what seems improbable to us, the greater the risk that we are not really recovering history, but re-writing history and creating our own myths.

Sixth, since allegorical literature was extremely common back then, and since the story of Jesus fits the pattern of ancient mythical heroes, it is clear that the Gospels take Paul’s myth and make it appear historical, just like many stories on the internet which start out as fiction and are eventually believed as actual, historical events. The Gospels, therefore, are myth or symbolic narratives, not historical accounts.

First, histories and biographies were common back then also. Just because allegorical literature was common says nothing about the genre of the Gospels.

Second, scholars have shown that the Gospels simply do not fit the genre of myth. When Luke, for example, writes

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas…”

...he is obviously trying to place his story in a concrete historical place and time. This is no story about Zeus on Mt. Olympas! The emphasis on history is even more pronounced in the sequel to Luke’s gospel (the book of Acts) in which dozens of places and events find historical verification.

The Oxford scholar, C.S. Lewis, who was an expert in myth, once wrote that he knows myth and the Gospels are just not myth. For a more recent study see, Burridge, Richard. What are the Gospels; A comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Third, the DVD then tries to argue that Jesus is just a myth like Romulus, Hercules or Zeus. It does this by listing 22 supposed characteristics of the “hero tradition.” The DVD argues that the story of Jesus follows this tradition closely.

The 22 characteristics are listed below with an asterisk (*) next to the ones the DVD says are true of Jesus and an X next to those in which the story of Jesus does not fit the pattern.

1) The hero’s mother is a royal virgin*, 2) The hero’s father is a king*, 3) The hero is often a near relative of his mother*, 4) The circumstances of his conception are unusual*, 5) He is reputed to be the son of a god*, 6) At birth an attempt is made often by his father to kill him*, 7) He is spirited away*, 8) And reared by foster parents in a far country X, 9) We are told nothing of his childhood *, 10) On return he goes to his future kingdom*, 11) After victory over a king or Jinn or dragon X, 12) Marries a princes X, 13) He becomes king*, 14), King reigns uneventfully* 15) The king prescribes laws* 16) He later looses favor with his subjects* 17) He is driven from the throne of the city* 18) He has a mysterious death* 19) Often at the top of a hill* 20) His children if any do not succeed him* 21) His body is not buried* 22) He has one or more sepulchers*

When Jesus is compared to other mythological heroes we find that Oedipus and Thesius meet 22 of the characteristics, Jesus meets 19, Romulus and Hercules meet 17, Perseus meets 16, Zeus and Jason meet 15, Robin Hood meets 13 and Apollo meets 11.

A closer look at these characteristics, however, will show that the whole thing is contrived. While Jesus' mother was a descendant of David, she was a poor peasant, hardly a "royal" virgin. Jesus’ adopted father was not a king, he was also a peasant—unless you count God as his father but that is counted under his reputation as son of God. To count this twice is stacking the deck.

To say that the hero is often a near relative of his mother is also contrived. Most people are near relatives of their mothers! Jesus adopted father made no attempt to kill him as the fathers of heroes in other hero stories. It is true that we are told almost nothing of his childhood, but that is a characteristic on ancient bios, or biography, not just of heroes.

Jesus’ future kingdom is not just Galilee or Judea, but the world. The whole story of the Gospels is how Jesus will one day be the king, but he was never an earthly king and never ruled, eventfully or uneventfully.

Jesus certainly taught the crowds, but not in the sense of an earthly king prescribing laws. He did not loose favor with his subjects, but with those who never were his subjects to begin with (unless you count Judas). He couldn’t be driven from the throne of the city because he never sat on the throne.

There was nothing mysterious about his death and his body was in fact buried. The whole thing was contrived to make it look like Jesus was just like ancient mythological heroes, but when you count up the actual similarities, Jesus doesn’t even make the list of “heros.” If you actually read the Gospels and then read the stories of these mythological characters, you will find that they are as different as night and day!

But on the other hand, even if the Gospel writers had written their stories in such a way as to make them conform to some accepted pattern, that does not mean they are necessarily unhistorical. For example, someone once showed that Abraham Lincoln fits the hero pattern better than Oedipus, who is at the top of the list! Others have shown that stories about Napoleon, Churchill, Kennedy also fit the myth patterns!

Finally, Barbara and David Mikkelson (from Snopes.com) were interviewed in the DVD to show that fictional stories can take on a life of their own and become believed as actual history. The difference is that stories about Jesus were being told at a time when both the eyewitnesses and enemies of Jesus were still alive and could debunk false rumors going around (just like Snoops.com debunks false internet rumors).

Few of those who spread internet rumors would be willing to put their life on the line for the rumors they spread. Everything we know about early Christians supports the fact that they were so convinced that what they believed about Jesus was true, they were willing to face beating, prison and even death.

Seventh, since there were ancient Jews and Jewish Christians who thought Jesus had been killed a century earlier under Alexander Jennaeus or Herod, this diversity of opinion about Jesus supports the idea that Jesus of the Gospels was a myth based on earlier stories circulated before the time Jesus was supposed to have existed. The Jesus of the Gospels, therefore, never existed.

First, the idea that early Christians had any significant disagreement about when Jesus lived is simply not true. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts and First Timothy all agree that Jesus was executed during the rule of Pontius Pilate who ruled Judea from AD 26-36.

That Jesus was crucified during the rule of Pontius Pilate is confirmed by Ignatius, an ancient Christian leader whose letters are not in the New Testament. It is also confirmed by the Jewish historian, Josephus and the Roman historian, Tacitus. Both Luke and Tacitus also place Jesus during the time of Emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37).

Contrary to Price, the Gospel of Peter is no exception to this. The Gospel of Peter says that Jesus was tried under Herod. Far from being a disagreement about when Jesus lived, this fact is confirmed by the Gospel of Luke (23) which affirms that Jesus was sent to Herod by Pontius Pilate, who then sent Jesus back to Pilate. This Herod is Herod Antipas, a contemporary of Pontius Pilate and the son of Herod the Great.

In the DVD, Price doesn’t say where he gets the idea that Jesus lived during the rule of Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC), but in his book entitled Jesus, he says that “it is attested in both the Talmud and in the Toledoth Jeschu.” Price doesn’t bother to mention that the “Toledoth Jeschu wasn’t compiled until the fifth century AD, and the Talmud wasn’t compiled until AD 400 (Palestinian Talmud) or AD 600 (Babylonian Talmud).

So essentially, what Price is doing is throwing out the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, First Timothy, Josephus and Tacitus—all written from about 20 to 100 years after Jesus death—in favor of two documents written about 400 or more years after Jesus’ death! Some might say that something other than objective scholarship is going on here.

Conclusion

Finally, nearing the end, the DVD then moves on to blood sacrifice, mockingly saying, "of course Christians today aren’t obsessed with blood sacrifice" anymore. What follows are some of the most graphic clips from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and an extended list of every instance of violence in the film. The DVD emphasizes how this film was so overwhelmingly accepted by Christians. The point seems to be to portray Christians as violent, bloodthirsty, animals.

Of course the narrator didn’t bother to mention all the slasher films that many non-Christians (and sometimes even Christians!) attend regularly—Films that show people being brutally terrorized, tortured and slaughtered for the shear bloodthirsty pleasure of the audience.

Christians did not go to Gibson’s Passion film to satisfy some blood-thirsty pleasure any more than they would want to watch a film of any other close loved one being tortured! But the historical fact is that Jesus was crucified, and crucifixion could be every bit as brutal as Mel Gibson portrayed it to be.

The value of The Passion lies in the fact that modern Christians let the words “Jesus died for your sins” roll of their tongues without so much as a moment’s thought about what that means. Indeed, most Christians had no idea about the brutality of crucifixion before Gibson showed them. Gibson’s film was so powerful to Christians, not because we enjoyed the brutality—we didn’t, not at all—but because it dramatically demonstrated the amazing extent to which God would go to save us from judgment.

Of course any talk of saving us from the penalty of our sin leads to the other side of this coin—hell. The DVD emphasizes the horribleness—not only of hell itself—but of the doctrine of hell and the very idea that people would go to hell.

It is important to note that whether there is a hell or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether God exists. The narrator’s argument is something like saying, “I don’t like the idea of hell so I refuse to believe in God.” This is absurd. You may not like the horror of the Iraq war either, but it would be rather ridiculous to therefore, to conclude that George Bush doesn’t exist! Serious scientists have, for years, been looking for extra-terrestrial life in the SETI project. If they ever found evidence for such life, it would be rather ridiculous for them to deny its existence just because they found that it was malevolent!

What many people want to do is to create a God in their own image—a God who fits their view of what a god should be. Of course this is usually a god who will look with fondness on them even when they lie, steel, cheat, envy, slander, lust, maliciously gossip, cause strife or heartbreak, or live arrogant, uncompassionate self-absorbed lives. They simply deny the existence of any god who does not fit their own personal desires and either make up a god to suit them, or deny that God exists at all.

But we should consider the alternative. No final judgment means that for the billions of people throughout history who have been brutally oppressed, tortured, starved or slaughtered, there is no justice. Ever! The Hitler’s, the Stalin’s, the Saddam’s of this world—or even many of those who have misused or abused you—all get away with it.

More and more people who are raised in the public education system are now understanding that no final judgment means that there is no right or wrong and that whatever you can get away with is perfectly OK. Of course this doesn’t prove the existence of a final judgment any more than the doctrine of hell proves the non-existence of God. The point is only that there is a downside to the idea of no final judgment.

The video ends with the narrator interviewing the head of a Christian school he once attended. It is clear that this school principal was completely unprepared for this interview. Eventually it also becomes clear the school principal had been duped into the interview on false pretenses. The principal says he thought the discussion was going to be about the narrator’s behaviors that got him kicked out of the school in the first place. We began to wonder if the whole video project was an act of hateful vengeance against a Christian school that disciplined him for bad behavior.

I’ve only scratched the surface of arguments that can be marshaled against this DVD and against the Jesus’ myth theory. Anyone who wants an in-depth discussion of the issues should read the outstanding book, The Jesus Legend by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory Boyd, Baker, 2007.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama and the passport files

The passport files of McCain, Clinton and Obama were all breached by State Department contract employees. Of the three candidates, Obama protested most loudly and angrily.

There is now word, however, that one of the contract workers works for a company headed by an advisor to Barack Obama! (LGF).

That might mean nothing. It might mean everything. It certainly warrants further investigation.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Yesterday was “Good Friday,” a rather strange name for the celebration of the crucifixion of Jesus. The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most well attested historical facts in all of ancient history.

It is found not only in first century AD New Testament sources like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Paul’s letters, Hebrews, and First Peter, but also in other ancient Christian sources not found in the Bible, like Ignatius, Polycarp, Epistle of Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Hegesippus, Mileto of Sardis, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origin, and the Diatessaron. In fact, Jesus’ crucifixion is even attested by early non-Christian (even anti-Christian) sources like Josephus and Lucian, and in a round-about way by Tacitus.

The crucifixion of Jesus is an accepted fact in the scholarly world. In fact, almost the only ones who reject this fact are Muslims. According to the Qur'an, Jesus only appearned to be crucified. The Qur’an refers to Jews boasting about killing Christ:

“That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus The son of Mary, The Apostle
of God’’—But they killed him not, Nor crucified him, But so it was made to
appear to them (Sura 4:157).

The Qur’an contains the words of Muhammad as remembered by his earliest followers. The sources I cited above which affirm the crucifixion of Jesus were written from 400 to almost 600 years before the time of Muhammad.

So why does Muhammad deny something as historically solid as the crucifixion of Jesus?

Muhammad was hoodwinked by a group of people we often call "Gnostics", who believed that Jesus was divine but not truly human. As a result, they didn’t believe Jesus could really die. So about 200 to 300 years after Jesus’ death, they argued that Jesus was not really crucified and that he died only in appearance. For example, one of the Gnostic writings, says,
“I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance…They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. It was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons…and I was laughing at their ignorance…for I was altering my shapes…” (Second treatise of the Great Seth 55-56).
A similar document says, “The Savior said to me, ‘He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hand and feet they drive the nails in his fleshly part, which is the substitute…” (Apocalypse of Peter 81)

So supposedly, while “the living Jesus” was being crucified—one of the most brutal tortures imaginable—he was laughing because the nails had been driven into the hands of a substitute?! This is the pool of ideas from which Muhammad got his idea that Jesus was never crucified.

While Muhammad accepted the Gnostic idea that Jesus was not crucified, he rejected their idea that Jesus was a divine being. That is interesting because their reason for thinking Jesus was not crucified in the first place was because, in their view, Jesus was divine, but not not really human!

So if you think it is historically plausible that Jesus was not human at all, and that he was some kind of shape-shifter ("I was altering my shapes"), and was laughing on the cross because it was not really him on the cross but a substitute, then maybe Muhammad’s view of Jesus not being crucified might make sense to you.

But if, like virtually all scholars, you dismiss such nonsense as unhistorical, then you should also recognize that Muhammad was not a prophet of God at all, but was merely an ordinary man who was duped into believing this, and the numerous other historical errors he relates in the Qur’an.

AIDS vaccines increase risk

According to the Daily Mail:

"The search for a cure for Aids was in crisis last night after it was revealed that two supposed 'miracle' vaccines not only fail to protect people from the virus, but could put them at greater risk of becoming infected." Read the rest in the Daily Mail.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Breaking: Clinton's passport file

According to breaking news from CBS this morning: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton her passport file was breached in 2007. This comes after similar news about Sen. Barack Obama's file."

The only thing that gives me any consolation at all is that in both cases, it was the government that discovered and reported the incidents (as opposed to having the incidents covered up by the government but discovered by the news media or whistleblowers).

Nevertheless, we simply cannot have government using private files against our presidential candidates (or other citizens). This really must be investigated to find out who did it, who (if anyone) authorized it, what were their intentions and has the information been disseminated and used.

Power, Faith and Fantasy

After 600 pages of detailed discussion of the history of U.S. Middle-East relations from 1776 to the present, Michael Oren, the author of the outstanding book, Power, Faith and Fantasy provides this assessment:
“The history of U.S.-Middle East relations…was not one of unqualified kindness and altruism. American oil companies pumped billions of barrels of Arabian oil not for the betterment of the indigenous populations but for their own enrichment [This hardly seems fair. The oil companies not only made themselves rich, they made these countries wealthy beyond their wildest dreams]. Successive administrations had backed the oppressive regimes that advanced America’s interests and conspired to overthrow popular leaders. Yet for all its demerits, the record of American interaction with the Middle East is rife with acts of decency and graced with good intentions. The United States was unrivaled in introducing modern education and health care to the area, in extending emergency relief, and building infrastructure, in obtaining the freedom of colonized nations and in attempting to achieve security and peace. On balance, Americans historically brought far more beneficence than avarice to the Middle East and cause significantly less harm than good (Oren, Michael B. Power, Faith and Fantasy; America in the Middle East; 1776 to the Present. New York : Norton, 2007, 603. The words in brackets above are mine).
The assessment that overall, America’s policies brought much more good than bad to the Middle East flies in the face of many on the Left who argue that it is America’s Middle East policies that have brought on the wrath of Islamic extremists. The fact is that we did not deserve to have 6 killed and over 1,000 wounded in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centers, or to have 19 killed and 372 wounded in the attack on the Khobar Towers in 1996, or to have 244 killed and over 4,000 wounded in the attack on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, or to have 17 killed and 34 wounded in the attack on the USS Cole, or to have 3,000 dead in the attack on the twin towers in 2001.

Those like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and many others on the Left, who blame America for these atrocities, place themselves on the side of the very terrorists who seek to kill us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's passport file

The Associated Press is reporting:
Two contract employees for the State Department have been fired and a third
disciplined for inappropriately looking at the passport file of Democratic
Sen. Barack Obama's passport file, a spokesman said Thursday.
This occurred on three separate occasions: January 9, February 21 and March
14. A spokesman for the Obama campaign has called for a complete investigation.

I hate to agree with the Obama campaign, but they are right. This needs to be investigated.

Geraldine Ferraro not pleased with Obama

Tonight, Brit Hume pointed out that Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro was not pleased with Barack Obama's reference to her in his speech. According to Ferraro, "To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable...."

"Ferraro said she had 'no clue' why Obama would include her in his speech and said Obama's association with Wright raises serious questions about his judgment." (Daily Breeze).

I agree. It does raise questions about his judgment. Obama, however, has countered arguments about not having as much experience as John McCain has by saying that he has better judgment. It appears that he has neither the experience or the judgment.

Obama's church and Hamas

According to an article published today in WorldNetDaily:
Sen. Barack Obama's Chicago church reprinted a manifesto by Hamas that defended
terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence.

The Hamas piece was published on the "Pastor's Page" of the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter...
That was July 22, 2007. Yet Obama still defends the church. Read the entire article in
WorldNetDaily.

Child pornography and the public library

A librarian in California noticed that a patron was downloading child pornography on a library computer, which is in violation of federal law, so she called the police. The man was arrested and "A search warrant turned up thousands of images of child pornography on Chrisler's home computer. He is currently behind bars, awaiting trial" (OneNewsNow).

This librarian should get a commendation. Instead, the library fired her! When a pubic library refuses to install blocking software, and does not police it's computers, and fires a librarian who reports a child pornography crime, shouldn't the administration of that library be on trial for aiding and abetting that crime?

Bishop E.W. Jackson

From today's Christian Newswire:
Black minister and graduate of Harvard Law School, Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr.,
has begun a campaign to make clear that Jeremiah Wright does not represent
black preachers or what is being taught in black churches across America.

Says Bishop Jackson, "This kind of virulent Anti-American bigotry is anathema to the black church experience where we focus on love, forgiveness, personal
responsibility and a healthy dose of patriotism and prayer for our country."

Kudos to Bishop Jackson!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's speech

In an article on Townhall.com today, Michael Medved analyzes Barack Obama’s speech. One of the points Medved makes is how “Obama many times references the 'comments,' 'remarks' or 'statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.' He speaks of 'the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube' as providing the basis for “the caricatures being peddled by some commentators….”

In response, Medved quote from an e-mail he received from the pastor of a large multi-ethnic church. That pastor wrote:
“What I heard coming from Rev. Wright was not just a phrase taken out of context, but a philosophy...And if you listen to all the different controversial statements, the GD America Sermon (not just a few statements) pretty much sums up the philosophy. And the way the congregation responds lets us know that the philosophy is not just the pastor’s, but the church’s. The point I’m trying to make is that making an inflammatory statement (or two) is not the same as a church’s or pastor’s philosophy. And if Obama didn’t know the pastor’s philosophy after being a member of the church for over 20 years…it speaks to the lack of judgment he has.”
Hits the nail on the head! Read Mr. Medved’s excellent article at Townhall.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's church

Barack Obama gave a great speech today about his pastor and church. Unfortunately, he did not deal with one of the core issues. Can you imagine if John McCain had spent 20 years in a church whose website said,


“We are a congregation which is Unashamedly [White] and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the [White] religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are a [European] people, and remain "true to our native land,"… We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a [White] worship service and ministries which address the [White] Community” (Trinity United Church of Christ).

Every person in America (except possibly members of the KKK and other White Supremacist groups) would immediately recognize this as thoroughly racist and repugnant, and McCain would be out of the race.

But replace the words “white” with “black,” and the word “European” with “African” and you have the statement on Barack Obama’s church website describing “About Us.”

But there’s more. Imagine the reaction if McCain’s church had a “[White] Value System” which included:

Commitment to the [White] Community
Commitment to the [White] Family
Adherence to the [White] Work Ethic
Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the [White] community (Tucc)

Again, everyone would immediately recognize and condemn such statements as disgustingly racist. But replace the words in brackets with “black” and you have the “Black Value System” promoted by Barack Obama’s church for over 20 years (since 1981)!

If it would be racist with the words “white,” it is racist with the words “black.” Note that these statements are not isolated, off the cuff, remarks by an emotionally charged preacher. They are essential, core values of what Obama’s church is, and has been for over 20 years.


If it would have been wrong for McCain to be part of a "white values" church, why is it be OK for Obama to be part of a "black values" church? And shouldn't churches be promoting "biblical values" which demonstrate and emphasize the love of Christ to all people regardless of skin color, race or national origin?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kennedy dumping diesel fuel

Democrats are champions of environmentalism. Apparently, however, that doesn't apply to Ted Kennedy, one of the members of the "most ethical Congress in history."

Just after Kennedy and his guests left his yacht, a photograper asked a crewman about diesel fuel that had been dumbed from the yacht into Nantucket Sound. The crewman said the fuel had gotten into the bilge and that he had been told to dump it! (See NewsMax for the story).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Qur'an Sura 18:60-82

Robert Spencer's commentary on the Qur'an, Sura 18:60-82 is now available on Hot Air.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama and Rezko: the plot thickens

Obama now admits (probably because the news will come out in Rezko's trial anyway) that Rezko played a much larger fundraising roll than previously acknowledged. See Chicago Tribune.

911: America's fault?

I just saw a tape of Barack Obama's pastor preaching a sermon on how 911 was basically America's fault. That's like saying a woman brought on her own rape by wearing a skirt that was too short! America did nothing in the Middle East that deserved the deaths of 3,000 innocent people and the fact that Obama has remained under the teaching of this pastor for so long is deeply concerning.

Clinton and Obama: Experience?

At a recent press conference, Hillary Clinton reportedly said:
“I think I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I think Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White. And Senator Obama has a speech that he gave in 2002” (Hillary Clinton).
I hate to agree with Hillary but when she’s right, she’s right. Well, at least she’s right about McCain and Obama, but she has drastically overstated her own experience.

During the Clinton administration, Greg Craig was the assistant to the president and a senior foreign policy adviser to President Clinton. In an interview for National Journal he said about Hillary,
The point that I am making is that her claims of the nature of that experience are overstated. The fact is she did not sit in on national security meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the situation room. She conducted no negotiations. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy. She did not have her own national security staff. That's the fact.
Craig, who is an Obama supporter, went on to say “Now the experience that she did have -- watching and sometimes sitting in the room where discussions were going on and also meeting heads of state and foreign ministers -- that is good experience….”

Yeah, I suppose it is. I once watched and sat in on a meeting of Congress from the visitors’ gallery and that was a valuable experience too, but it hardly qualifies me to be president!

As it turns out, Hillary didn’t even have the security clearance to be involved in high level discussions so if her involvement was really as extensive as she says it was, perhaps we need a criminal investigation into just how much classified information Bill shared with his wife.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sex differences

For an excellent article on sex differences and how radical feminists censor science, see Ashley Herzog's article on Townhall.

Public Islamic schools

According to an article just published in Human Events:
Can you imagine a public school founded by two Christian ministers, and housed in the same building as a church? Add to that -- in the same building -- a prominent chapel. And let’s say the students are required to fast during Lent, and attend Bible studies right after school. All with your tax dollars.

Inconceivable? Sure. If such a place existed, the ACLU lawyers would descend on it like locusts. It would be shut down before you could say “separation of church and state,” to the accompaniment of New York Times and Washington Post editorials full of indignant foreboding, warning darkly about the growing influence of the Religious Right in America.

But such a school does exist in Minnesota, in a different religious context, and so far the ACLU has uttered nary a peep.
Unbelilevable! The longer the ACLU, People for the American Way and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State remain silent about these kinds of issues, the more they enforce the idea that they really aren't anti-religion. They are just anti-Christian!

Read the entire article in Human Events.

Cutting off fingers

Today, LGF passed on the story of how Jihadists cut the fingers off of their innocent hostages.

What is even more disturbing than Jihadist degenerates cutting off the fingers of innocent hostages, however, is the total silence of all those America-hating Leftists who so self-righteously, and endlessly condemned America's waterboarding of three terrorists! Apparently, in the minds of the Left, it is a horror beyond belief to waterboard terrorists, but no big deal when our enemies cut fingers off innocent people!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ohio State fascism

Last year Recliner Commentaries commented on the case of Scott Savage, an Ohio State University librarian who committed the unforgivable sin of recommending a book that was critical of homosexual radicals. He "was condemned publicly by a 21-0 faculty vote on March 13, 2006" and accused of sexual harrassment. Eventually he was cleared, but it has now come out that the faculty continued to harrass him and even tried to get him fired long after he was cleared (WorldNetDaily).

I'm usually hard on "liberals" but the time has come to recognize that this isn't liberalism. True liberalism recognizes the importance of free thought and open dialogue. What is happening at Ohio State is not "liberalism," it is closer to fascism!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1 in 4 with STD's

According to the Associated Press:
At least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, or more than 3 million teens, according to the first study of its kind in this age group.

A virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in teen girls aged 14 to 19, while the highest overall prevalence is among black girls—nearly half the blacks studied had at least one STD. That rate compared
with 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-American teens, the study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
This is what those who oppose abstinence education have brought us. They will argue, of course, that abstinence education doesn't always work, but it is much better to shoot for the moon and miss, than it is to shoot for the gutter and hit it.

Obama and Rezko: e-mail

According to the New York Times / MSNBC:
An e-mail message made public on Monday in the fraud trial of Antoin Rezko,
a businessman and political contributor, brought attention to Senator Barack
Obama’s role in discussions involving a state health planning board that Mr.
Rezko is accused of improperly influencing.

Read the article at MSNBC.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Republic of Montana?

Next month the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about whether the Second Amendment right to bear arms covers individuals, or just “collective right” of a state to have a state militia like the national guard. According to an article in the Washington Times:

Montana officials are warning that if the Supreme Curt rules in the D.C. gun ban case that the right to keep and bear arms protects only state-run militias like the National Guard, then the federal government will have breached Montana's statehood contract.

Nobody is raising flags for the Republic of Montana, but nobody is kidding, either. So far, 39 elected Montana officials have signed a resolution declaring that a court ruling of the Second Amendment is a right of states and not of individuals would violate Montana's compact.

"The U.S. would do well to keep its contractual promise to the states that the Second Amendment secures an individual right now as it did upon execution of the statehood contract," Montana Secretary of State Brad Johnson said in a Feb. 15 letter to The Washington Times.

The article says that “in 1889, the settlers of the Montana territory struck a deal with the federal government: They agreed to join the union, and the government agreed that individuals had the right to bear arms.”

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Qur'an 18: 1-59

Robert Spencer's commentary on the Qur'an, Sura 18: 1-59 is now available on Hot Air.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Homosexual hypocrisy

According to the Christian Newswire:
On January 28th, 2008 the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sent out a press
advisory promoting "Sisters Saturday Night Mass." According to their release,
the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will present a "Leather Mass" at
Bacchus House, Saturday March 8th 2008. "The Sisters would like to invite all to
come and dance and frolic in the name of "Kink Fetish Fantasy"… [t]he Sisters
have a fun night planned for all who attend, Come dressed in your most "SINFULL"
Leather Fetish Wear. We have hot music... lots of irreverent Sister fun on
stage, and just when you're pumped up from dancing, The Sisters of Perpetual
Indulgence will present our Confessional Contest, with prizes for the "Hottest"
confession!"

Homosexual activists demand tolerance and acceptance for their lifestye, and even push for hate laws to protect them from any perceived injustice. Yet many of them engage in the most disgusting anti-Christian bigotry and hate-speech imaginable (See also the Folsom Street Fair!) while the rest of the gay community (not to mention the media) is totally silent. The hypocrisy is nearly as disgusting as their hateful bigotry.

Is this what Hillary and Obama are advocating when they advocate gay rights?

Shooting in Jerusalem

A couple days ago a terrorist attacked a Jewish school in Jerusalem killing about 10 students and wounding numerous others. What was not so widely reported in the American presses was the fact that the gunman many have killed dozens more if not for the fact that he was shot dead by one of the students who was licenced to carry a gun.

Planned Parenthood whistleblower

According to the California Catholic Daily:
A former executive of Planned Parenthood-Los Angeles has filed a federal
whistleblower’s lawsuit against all nine Planned Parenthood affiliates in
California. The suit alleges the affiliates knowingly engaged in a criminal plot
to fleece state and federal taxpayers out of more than $180 million over the
course of at least six years.

The article goes on to say:
Employees of Planned Parenthood-Los Angeles misused a corporate American
Express card. “Instead of using the card for legitimate non-profit purposes,
employees were using donor money and other PPLA money for Victoria’s Secret and
private video purchases. Other instances of credit card abuse occurred as well.”

Perhaps if donors stopped donating and taxpayers demanded a stop to government funding, we could finally get rid of the scourge of Planned Parenthood.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

FARC supports Obama

Yesterday Recliner Commentaries reported on how a couple of laptop computers recovered from FARC terrorists in a raid by Columbia, connected Hugo Chavez to FARC.

Another name has reportedly come up on one of those laptop: "The FARC Terrorists were hoping and expecting that Barack Obama would win the US elections in November because he was most aligned with the Colombian Marxist group." Read the whole story at Gateway Pundit.

The faith of Obama's grandmother

Obama’s grandmother doesn’t seem to remember what religion she is. After the picture of Obama in traditional Kenyan or Muslim garb was circulated, Obama’s grandmother said she was a Christian. Last April, however, she said she was “a strong believer in the Islamic faith” (LGF).

Muslims are allowed to lie if it advances their faith. This is a tradition that goes back to Muhammad himself. As far as we can tell from the evidence, Obama is no Muslim. The jury is still out on how deeply he is involved in corrupt Chicago politics.

Bomb explodes in New York City

At about 3:45 AM this morning, someone in Times Square in New York City threw an improvised explosive device at a military recruiting station. Read the story at ABC News.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gloria Steinem's rant

Michelle Malkin on Gloria Steinem's rant for Hillary:
The 73-year-old activist sulked about Barack Obama's ascendancy to The New
York Observer, blaming voters who "want redemption for racism" and complaining
that not "as many want redemption for the gynocide."

What does she mean by gynocide? "There are six million female lives lost in the world every year simply because they are female," Steinem asserted, making a passing reference to pregnant women killed by male partners. Presumably, she's not including the millions of unborn girls aborted around the world every year because of their gender. (Not exactly the kind of empowerment the fist-raising, bra-burning
pro-choicers had in mind.) And nothing in Steinem's record indicates that she's
thinking of the untold numbers of girls and women murdered for "honor" in the
name of Allah by Muslim relatives.
Well said.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fox News; fair and balanced

A study by The Center for Media and Public Affairs has found:
Fox News Channel’s coverage was more balanced toward both parties than the
broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates
combined were split almost evenly – 51% positive vs. 49% negative, as were all
evaluations of GOP candidates – 49% positive vs. 51% negative, producing a
perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties.

On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs. 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative – 40% positive vs. 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive vs. 59% negative.

Obama and fear-mongering

Obama has been charging his opponents with fear-mongering.

If someone pulls the fire alarm in a building that is on fire, that is not fear-mongering! The people who were yelling for others to clear out of the Twin Towers were not fear-mongering.

So here’s the thing: If you really don’t think jihadists or others pose any significant threat to the West, then you can feel comfortable voting for Obama on this issue because he apparently thinks all warnings and expressions of concern are merely fear-mongering.

On the other hand, if you think that bin Laden and al-Qaeda, Ahmadinejad and Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, the saber rattling by Russia or the nukes in Pakistan, may actually pose a very serious threat to the West, then warning about that threat is not fear-mongering at all, and you should vote for Hillary or McCain, because if the threat is real, Obama has his head in the sand and he will just make the danger much, much worse.

"A cycle of sexual exploitation"

From the most recent FRC Action e-mail:

Some startlingly honest quotes from researchers who have studied the health of homosexual men were published by a "gay" newspaper in Michigan last week.
Speaking of one study at a conference of the American Public Health Association
late last year, former U.S. Centers for Disease Control researcher Ron Stall, Ph.D., M.P.H., said, "You had a syndemic [interconnecting epidemics] situation going on among a group of men, 80 percent of whom were college graduates, three-quarters of them were white, who were living in some of America's richest zip codes, and yet they had a health profile that looked like they were living in a favela [hillside slum] in Brazil." The gay newspaper article blamed these health problems not on the choice to engage in homosexual conduct, but on society's "homophobia." Yet that homophobia" obviously wasn't severe enough to keep these men from getting college degrees and earning enough to live in "America's richest zip codes." Another CDC researcher, Richard J. Wolitski, stated that homosexual men report being victims of childhood sexual abuse at "rates that range between 12 and 37 percent [which is] much higher than rates for other men, which typically range from 1 to 4 percent." And those who "came out" as "gay" at an earlier age were the most likely to have had "forced sex
before they were 18." Isn't it time we acknowledged that a cycle of sexual exploitation, not homophobia, is the source of these harms?

Rush Limbaugh and Hillary

I heard that Rush Limbaugh is encouraging his supporters in Texas to support Hillary Clinton in order to keep her in the race and contine the fight between her and Obama. I guess the idea is that the more Hillary and Obama destroy each other, the more it benefits the Republicans.

Frankly, I like watching Hillary and Obama lessening their changers of being elected as much as the next guy, but I think what Rush is doing is dirty politics and undermines the democratic process. Play fair!

Guess I'd never make it in politics.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Barack Obama and gay rights

On Sunday Barack Obama said,

"I will tell you that I don't believe in gay marriage, but I do think that people who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and that the state should not discriminate against them…So, I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view."
I certainly agree with Obama that gay people should be treated with dignity and respect, but Obama’s concern about visiting the hospital or transferring property is a red herring. You shouldn’t have to be gay or married to designate who your hospital visitors can be, or to whom you want to transfer your property. Sexual orientation or marital status should have absolutely nothing to do with either.

But Obama’s appeal to the Bible is laughable. Read the Sermon on the Mount for yourself (Matthew 5-7). You will find absolutely nothing for or against same-sex marriages in the Sermon on the Mount! Later in the same book, however, Jesus is reported as condemning “sexual immorality” (Matthew 15:19) and there can be no serious doubt that in a first century AD Jewish context sexual immorality would have included homosexual sex.

St. Paul, another first century Jew, is very clear and explicit:
For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged
natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up
natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men
committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due
penalty for their error (Romans 1:26-27).

Notice that Paul's statement is not about what we now call "sexual orientation." It is about behavior.

Obama’s idea that the Sermon on the Mount is somehow “more central than an obscure passage in Romans” is problematic on at least three counts.

First, It removes Jesus from his first century Jewish context.

Second, Playing the Gospels off against Paul’s letters is simply not a “Christian” position and Obama claims to be Christian. Ever since the early second century and possibly even the first century, Christians have held Paul’s letters in esteem as scripture just as much as the Gospels.

Third, Implying that some passage in the Sermon on the Mount is in clear support of same-sex unions while Paul’s letter to the Romans is “obscure” is either be ignorance or an outright lie--and since Obama has been going to church for twenty years, it’s hard to understand how he could be that ignorant of the Bible.

Gloria Steinem disses POW record

Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Saturday, radical feminist Gloria Steinem dissed McCain’s time as a POW saying, "I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don't think so," (NYSun).

That’s about as tactless and clueless as saying, “Hillary was just a housewife! That’s supposed to be qualifications for President? I don’t think so.”

McCain’s experience as a POW means that unlike Hillary, Obama or even George Bush, McCain knows what its like to be in the military and he knows what its like to be tortured, so, presumably he would not take sending our troops into battle lightly.

But the real experience comes from the fact that McCain has more than twice as much experience in Congress as Hillary and Obama combined! That should probably count for something.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Qur'an 17:2-111

Robert Spencer's commentary on the Qur'an, Sura 17:2-111 is now available on Hot Air.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Right to Privacy

I went to pick up a prescription at the drive-through window of my pharmacy recently. The security cameras were taking my picture.

As I drive down the freeway my car is often being monitored by dozens of cameras.

When I stop off to get gas at the convenience store, the cameras are taking my picture there too.

When I go into my bank, or even if I just get money out of the ATM, security cameras are recording my every move.

When I walk through the mall, I am being constantly monitored.

When I go to my local Target, not only is my every move being monitored, but a TV screen displays my entry to everyone else entering the store as well.

If I go downtown, I will be monitored by cameras as I walk down the sidewalk.

When I go to the airport, not only am I being monitored, but my personal belongings can be opened and handled by strangers, often in full view of dozens of other strangers who are not even security personnel.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I personally like the fact that these cameras help to catch criminals and allow us to see road conditions before we even leave the house. And wild horses couldn’t get me on a plane that was not being protected by strong security measures.

My only point is that if we genuinely had a constitutional right to privacy, all of these cameras should presumably be unconstitutional, shouldn’t they?

The “right to privacy” is a farce, fabricated by the high priests of the Supreme Court to justify killing unborn babies. Now that the justices have created this new “right” they are free to selectively apply, or not apply it however they like.

The Constitution was designed to keep government in check and to limit government power. But when the Supreme Court justices feel free to read their own personal views into the Constitution, the Constitution can be twisted to mean anything the court (i.e. government) wants it to mean, and we no longer have any meaningful constitutional protection from govenment.

McCain has pledged to appoint justices who will interpret the Constitution according to the intention of the original framers. Clinton and Obama want justices to interpret the law according to their personal views (i.e. whatever happens to be politically correct or expedient at the time). If you vote for Obama or Hillary, you might just as well vote to tear up the Constitution because the result could pretty much be the same.