My response to a claim from an email exchange that I didn’t get to address during our conversation.
“There are actually lots of extra biblical non Christian sources that wrote about the life of Jesus and wrote them with in 100-150 years of his life. Historians like Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny, Trajan, Hadrian, Talmud, Toledoth, and more. What they wrote correlates with the biblical account.”
While I have heard of some of these, a few I’ve never heard of so I just want to go through each and see what claims are made for each. I would like to point out that I don’t think I was ever a mythicist. I see no contradiction is accepting that a preacher called Jesus existed; though, I will make clear that I don’t see any reason to believe the supernatural claims about him. What I know about these sources before this post is that most, if not all, are merely evidence that the Christian sect existed, not that a supernatural, god-man existed.
The first place I went to get information is Wiki, other sources will be linked when used.
After doing the research below, I wonder if those who spout these names, as sources of information that confirm the existence of Jesus, have done the same. A few of these are so sketchy that I wouldn’t use them and would think even a believer could see that they aren’t helpful in their arguments.
A Jewish historian, ~90CE, credited with two mentions of Jesus. Josephus is one of the ones I’ve heard of before but really don’t know what he was supposed to have said.
The first reference in Book 20, a reference to Jesus as the brother of James:
-Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law.
This reference seems okay though it does have some criticism surrounding it.
Critics like to point out that in the same passage Josephus references Jesus Damneus and Jesus son of Gamaliel. Richard Carrier says “who was called Christ” was likely an addition not written by Josephus in the original text. While supporters say it is used to distinguish this Jesus from the other two.
-While the authenticity of some passages in Book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews has been subject to debate, the overwhelming majority of scholars consider the discussion of the death of James in Section 9 of Book 20 to be authentic. –Wiki
I think that by this consensus of people who know better than I, I will agree that this passage is likely talking about the biblical Jesus. That being said, I don’t think there is any reason for me to convert instantly. This is simply a passage that may be used to verify that he actually existed, not the claim that he was more than human, and it was written approximately 60 years after he supposedly died. That seems like plenty of time for stories to spread. Mythicism may be out of the window but post-mortem apotheosis seems more likely.
The second reference, in Book 18, and quite possibly the best a believer could hope for:
-About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared. – Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3
But then there’s this:
-Scholarly opinion varies on the total or partial authenticity of the reference in Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities, a passage that states that Jesus the Messiah was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate, usually called the Testimonium Flavianum. The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian expansion/alteration. Although the exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, there is broad consensus as to what the original text of the Testimonium by Josephus would have looked like. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus
The TF contains some obvious Christian glosses that no Jew would have written; such as “he was the Christ” and “he appeared to them alive again the third day.” – http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm
If there existed that much doubt about this source I would definitely not be using it to back my claim. That criticism even lends credence to the apotheosis hypothesis (that’s fun to say).
-After reading the rest of the text of this passage we find that the Jews were so angry about the stoning of James that they they demanded that King Agrippa fire Ananus. Why would the Jews be angered over the killing of a Christian, since Christians were seen as heathens by the Jews? After the angry Jews get their way, “Jesus” is put in charge, Jesus son of Damneus and not Jesus son of Joseph. It seems as though “who was called Christ” was simply a margin note that got added to the text. The context would suggest that Jesus and James are brothers and after James is killed his brother is made to be high priest. And therefore the passage has nothing to say about any Christians but rather Jewish infighting. –http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Testimonium_Flavian
In the end, I will accept that the writings of Josephus are possibly factual accounts of the existence of a man named Jesus. They can’t be used as anything more than that and I have already admitted that I am not a mythicist. I would agree that most of his information came from Christian sources but I don’t think that is any reason to disregard all of the information.
A Roman historian, ~100CE, provides an account of the persecution of the early Christians and the crucifixion.
-Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty (i.e., Crucifixion) during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus… -Tacitus, Annals
So, he states that a man called Christ, whom a sect of Jews were named after, was crucified by Pilate. But he calls Pilate a procurator, not a prefect. Tacitus would surely know the difference, even if we don’t.
-Thiessen and Merz, while stating that Tacitus provides few details the source of which is unclear, conclude that there was a Jew named Christus who Pilate had executed, and he began a religious movement which was widespread during Nero’s reign.
I think this next quote is relevant to most of the people/references on this list considering the events were so long ago, so poorly documented, and the claim is so extreme.
-In his book Jesus, Charles Guignebert states that “so long as there is that possibility [that Tacitus was simply repeating the story as it was being told], the passage remains quite worthless.” Without more information, which we don’t currently have, the passage proves nothing (it can’t be used as evidence for or against).
-Scholars generally consider Tacitus’ reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ
The IronChariots Wiki gives a list of other objections to the claim of relevance of Tacitus. Many of them lead me to believe that Tacitus was merely documenting what the Christians at the time were saying.
-Given that we are lacking key information, and that the passage itself provides very little detail, a determination about Tacitus’ diligence in investigating it cannot be made. Any statement which assumes he did exercise due diligence (i.e. that what he said was based on fact) is speculative.
My final judgement…Confirmation of a man named Jesus, leader of a set of Jews, but nothing about a deity. Even with just these two sources I am confident that the Christ Myth theory is debunked but I won’t go all the way to say that Jesus was the savior the bible bills him as.
Roman historian, ~115CE, reported to mention Jesus by name.
-“As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome” –Suetonius
This one is pretty short and I’ll just copy/paste the whole of the article from the wiki.
-Elsewhere in the same work (The Lives of the Caesars) Suetonius talks about how “Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.” under Nero demonstrating that Suetonius knew the difference between Jews and Christians.
Suetonius wrote in the year 115 CE, so this is far from a contemporary account. He doesn’t cite or list sources and Christianity would have been decently established by this time.
The name in the text is not “Christus” but “Chrestus,” which by no means is the usual designation of Jesus. It was a common name, especially among Roman freedman. (Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, book 2, letter 8, section 1; “What! Do you suppose that I meant you to send me an account of gladiatorial matches, of postponements of trials, of robberies by Chrestus, and such things as, when I am at Rome, nobody ventures to retail to me?”) Hence, the whole passage may have nothing whatever to do with Christianity.
I don’t think that most of the people who parrot the names of these “extra-biblical, non-Christian sources” have actually looked at them, just as I hadn’t. This is not a good example to use in favor of Jesus.
If Suetonius was a sketchy source, this one is worse. This “reference” to Jesus is from a 9th century source working on a manuscript of a 3rd century commentary of Thallus’ writings about the supposed darkness referenced in the Bible after the crucifixion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion_darkness
“On the whole world there pressed a fearful darkness, and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. Thallos calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun in the third book of histories, without reason it seems to me.” –Africanus, http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Thallus
So, Africanus is commenting on, criticizing really, something supposedly said by Thallus from 200 years prior. Not to mention the name is spelled differently though that is easily explained away I know.
Pliny the younger, I assume, was apparently a Roman lawyer and the only mention relevant seems to be:
“Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshiped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.” –Pliny, the Younger, http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Pliny_the_Younger
This in no way confirms the existence of Jesus, it only confirms that there were Christians. This couldn’t even be used as evidence against a mythicism view of Jesus. I guess I have to concede that Christians do exist based on this source, but again I’ll say it doesn’t have anything to do with a halfling Jesus.
So, Trajan was the Emperor of Rome from 98-117CE, he is who Pliny the Younger was writing to in the quote passage above so there isn’t much more to say about him that wasn’t said to Pliny. There is a passage of him replying to Pliny but it too is only about the treatment of Christians in legal matters, not about the veracity of their claims about Jesus being a god.
Emperor from 117-138CE, after Trajan, his secretary happened to be Suetonius. Again, he doesn’t actually say anything to confirm the existence of Jesus. The only account I can find of him that is useful:
“I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed by without examination, so that these men may neither be harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it.” Hadrian further explained that if Christians were found guilty they should be judged “according to the heinousness of the crime.” If the accusers were only slandering the believers, then those who inaccurately made the charges were to be punished.” http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm
All he is doing is speaking of the way to treat Christians based on their crimes not based on the fact that they are Christians. A noble quote, for sure, but not evidence for the existence, let alone godhood of Jesus.
A piece of evidence that would make an apologist not bring up Hadrian may be this:
“There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, by others to worship Christ.“ http://caesarsmessiah.com/blog/2011/11/hadrian-wrote-that-serapis-and-christ-were-the-same-god/
He wrote that Jesus and Serapis were the same god. Strange indeed. If you want Hadrian to be used as evidence that Jesus existed then we would have to also accept that Jesus and Serapis were the same deity.
The Talmud, a collection of Jewish rabbinical teachings, supposedly referencing Jesus’ death, the passage in question:
“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!” –excerpt from the Talmud, http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Talmud
One criticism states that Jesus was crucified, not hanged as the passage states, but I can explain that away by saying the hung him up on the cross. A better criticism is that the Bible recounts Jesus being tried and then executed the day after his trial which was either on or after Passover; no 40 day waiting period and not on the eve of Passover.
Matt 26:2-5 – Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified… …But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
The Bible says he was killed after the Passover; it seems more likely that this reference to an unnamed person who was hanged is someone else and the passage is just vague enough to be used for Jesus.
I’ve never heard of this source before and in asking for clarification I get this response:
Well of course I have never read teledoth just know him as early historian who wrote about the life if Christ. Let me ask around about that pRticular resource though.
You are citing a source you don’t even know about? Please agree with me that this is fallacious thinking. Considering what I’ve come across I would bet that many people who cite these “sources” haven’t done the least bit of research on them either.
I searched for a source by this title and the only thing I could come up with was the Toledot Yeshu.
Ok, so yes you are right I think. That is the one that has been referenced for me. Have you read?
If this is the source you were speaking of I must confess that I am sure that you didn’t actually look at the sources you sent to me. Laughably I read about this so-called source; it is called an “anti-gospel” and a parody of the life of Jesus.
The stories claim that Jesus (Yeshu) was an illegitimate child, and that he practiced magic and heresy, seduced women, and died a shameful death.
Jewish and Christian scholars agree that isn’t worth discussing as fact.
This scurrilous fable of the life of Jesus is a medieval work, probably written down in the tenth century. …. Though its contents enjoyed a certain currency in the oral traditions of the Jewish masses, it was almost totally ignored by official or scholarly Judaism
I hope this isn’t a source that is seriously being sent around but I fear it is still being parroted to extend the list of so-called sources and evidence for the apologist arguments. In stark contrast to giving veracity to the claims of believers, giving sources like this is harmful to the discussion.
This is one that wasn’t in the original list given to me but I came across it and wanted to see what it had to say too. Perhaps you know of this one but have decided to leave it out because it isn’t good enough but that would mean you approved of the others that were so bad. The passage in question is:
“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” –Lucian, http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Lucian
The sarcasm or vitriol in this passage is thick. This isn’t an eyewitness account of either the “distinguished personage” or the death of the “sage”. The link says it was from ~120 after the death of Jesus. I can accept that this is speaking about Jesus but it doesn’t seem like anything more than someone talking about the Christians, he certainly doesn’t give them any credit in their beliefs by speaking about them as he does.
I would like to comment that it seems funny that the names of the ‘extra-Biblical, non-Christian sources’ seem to be in the same order everywhere. The list that was given to me in the email exchange is the same order as the list on IronChariots and the same as I’ve heard numerous times, though it could just be me counting the hits.
If we accept most of the above as evidence enough that Jesus existed, the following points are made:
- There was a Jew named Jesus who founded a religious movement
- He was ordered executed by a Roman prefect named Pilate
- His martyrdom is likely what fueled the growth of the movement
However, we have not made the points that:
- The man had magic powers
- The Biblical account is factual
- The Bible is a reliable historical source
- What people believe today is true
- Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Emperor Trajan, Emperor Hadrian, and Toledot Yeshu are useful names to drop as extra-Biblical, non-Christian sources of Jesus related factoids.
If you are one of the people who has been giving the above as sources of confirmation of the claims of Jesus…
This post is not to say that I am smarter than anyone else. I feel like I have openly investigated the sources and criticized them fairly. Please take the sarcasm in this post as friendly. Above all take the information in this post back to your circles and make sure people stop citing some of these sources as confirmation of the life of Jesus. Admitting that some of the sources aren’t useful doesn’t mean you are admitting that Jesus wasn’t god; it means you are intellectually honest with both yourself and others.
Noah’s Ark is likely one of the biggest stories from the Bible. In this post I want to show that it just isn’t likely to have happened, and perhaps just couldn’t be possible.
And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
So, we have a few very good math problems ahead of us. Not only are they just math, they aren’t even that complicated of a problem. Before we begin I will lay out the parts of the problem that are similar to each version.
First, the size of the Earth. NASA (clicky click) states that the volume of the Earth is 108.321 x 10^10 km³. These are big numbers, but I have all the room I need, it’s my blog. The average radius, the mean of the equatorial and polar radii, is:
(6378.1 km + 6356.8 km ) / 2 = 6367.45 km
That is the radius we will use to find the volume of the Earth and compare it to what NASA gave us.
V = 4/3 π r³
V = 4/3 * 3.14 * 6367.45 km³
V = 1.33 * 3.14 * 258164563961 km³
V = 1078146900000 km³
V = 1.0781469 x 10^12 km³
NASA reports the volume of the Earth to be 108.321 x 10^10 km³. I’d say a difference of 500 km is close enough, yay us!
15 Cubits Flood
So the text states that the waters went up 15 cubits. That is the first measurement we are going to work with. I am going to do the math to see how much water would be required to raise the sea level 15 cubits. But, how big is a cubit?
Because I want to give as much leniency to the story as possible I went to the group that takes the story most literally, Answers in Genesis.
They state that the cubit could range from 17.5 to 20.6 inches. I think the best bet for this problem is to take a middle point between the two.
(17.5 + 20.6) / 2 = our cubit
19.05″ = 1 cubit
15 cubits = 19.05 * 15
15 cubits = 285.75″
285.75″ = 23.8′
That doesn’t seem like a flood to me and it certainly doesn’t seem like it would cover the mountains. We are going to go with this measurement first.
So to find out the volume of water we simply find the volume of the Earth during the flood and take away the volume of the Earth. The 15 cubit flood raised the water level 23.8 feet so we add that to the mean radius we found earlier, a difference of only 0.00011%.
23.8′ + 6367.45 km = intra-flood radius
23.8′ = 0.00725424 km
0.00725424 + 6367.45 = 6367.45725424 km radius
If we then plug that radius into the equation to find volume during the flood, V(f):
V = 4/3 π r³
V(f) = 4/3 * 3.14 * (6367.45725424 km)³
V(f) = 1.33 * 3.14 * 258165446319.04806285631451844903 km³
V(f) = 1078150536917.6085 km³
V(f) = 1080852668589.0812231584367839066 km³
Then subtract the volume of the Earth, V, from V(f) to find the volume of the water, V(w).
V(f) – V = V(w)
1080852668589.0812231584367839066 km³ – 1.0781469 x 10^12 km³ = V(w)
2705768589.0812231584367839065848 km³ = V(w)
That’s a really hard number to imagine, at least for me it is. Let’s make that volume into a sphere and see how it shapes up (I know it’s a bad/good pun however you see puns). If we take that volume and place it into the equation to find volume and work backwards we can find the radius of a sphere of water, r(w).
V = 4/3 π r³
r = ((3V)/(4π))^(1/3)
r = 0.62035 * V ^1/3
r(w) = 1188.4360369823730308866574874648 km
r(w) = 738.5 miles
That’s it. A sphere of water with a diameter of >1400 miles would be needed to raise the sea level to just 15 cubits. You know what else is about 1400 miles in diameter?
That’s right, a ball of water the size of Pluto would be needed to raise the sea level just 15 cubits. Like I said above though that’s only 23.8 feet of water, nowhere near covering the high hills or mountains.
Maybe we didn’t go by the Bible well enough. It does say “…and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”
“and the mountains were covered” Flood
The tallest mountain we know is Mt. Everest at 29,029′ above sea level. If we change our math enough to cover it, not even counting going over it by 15 cubits, how much water would be needed then?
We are going to add 29,029′ to the radius of the Earth from above. Because water levels itself it would need to be at this level around the entire planet to cover any part of it. If you hold that the Earth was covered by a layer of water 15 cubits deep like a film over all the mountains and hill then I can’t do anything for you, that’s ridiculous (and I’m the one doing math to figure out Noah’s flood).
The radius of the Earth from earlier plus the added distance to the top of Mt. Everest:
r = 6367.45 km + 29,029 ft
r = 6376.2980392 km
An addition of just 0.1389%. If we then use that in the volume formulas from above we get the volume during the flood (I cut out the math but you are welcome to check for accuracy):
V(f) = 1085360995411.5541311496090510458 km³
To find the volume of the water, V(w):
V(w) = V(f) – V
V(w) = 7214100000 km³
Now, let’s find the radius of the sphere of water that would be required for that volume:
r = 0.62035 * V ^1/3
r = 1198.6641207880081840568342435861 km
r = 744.8 miles , d = 1490 miles
Isn’t that interesting? I know I am shocked. It’s less than 100 miles difference. That being said, that amount of water is staggering. Where did it come from and where did it go. Those are the big questions.
I know immediately the believer would bring up:
…all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
There just isn’t that much water underground, nor in the clouds, nor in the ice caps, nor in all of those combined. According to the USGS, all combined, there is about 1409560910 km³ of water on the Earth. That’s about 20% of the water needed to cover the Earth above the mountains.
Another theory I remember hearing is that the water came from an asteroid or some such object. Like we found the object would need to be nearly the size of Pluto to contain enough water, and that still leaves the question of where the water went after the genocide was complete.
The water couldn’t have been absorbed into the planet. Our planet is powered by a magmatic engine that would solidify if cooled by water. Without the core spinning we lose both our magnetic cover and our atmosphere.
It simply didn’t happen. I’m sorry if you can’t accept this point, but I feel like I have shown very clearly that the evidence just isn’t there to accept your claim of a global flood.
Well, that’s it. That was actually fun for me. I messed up the math in a few places because of the exponents and units but I feel this final post is error free. If you disagree with the math I urge you to do it for yourself and see that the only way Noah’s Ark would have actually happened is by magic. Be truthful to yourself and align your beliefs with those things that are provable. And let’s not even get started on the animals.
I don’t know how I did it but I came upon an almost year old post by an old acquaintance which happened to be a response to this post by an unacquainted third-party. This is my response to each in turn. My initial comments are directed at the unacquainted one or to anyone who holds similar views. Just in case the links don’t work I’ve posted them below.
Original Post: http://brianhblack.blogspot.com/2014/04/an-honest-concern.html?spref=bl
Witzlaw’s Response: http://blog.witzlaw.com/2014/04/reblog-raised-brow-tech-honest-concern.html
I was brought to your blog randomly (and, yes, a year late) but I must make a few comments about what you have written. I am admittedly much less pithy with my comments than you and for that I’m sorry. First and foremost about this meme and the following quote:
“What leaves me laying awake at night is that people can force repercussions on someone for their beliefs, totally contradicting the first Amendment of the Constitution.”
In reading this quote I am forced to assume that you aren’t aware that the Constitution is a restriction on the actions of the government only. The Bill of Rights offers specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government. The Freedom of Speech says only that you can’t be prosecuted by the government for your speech, it says nothing about the backlash you can receive from its citizens.
The Free Exercise Clause guarantees a person’s right to hold whatever religious beliefs he or she wants, and to freely exercise that belief. Since when did exercising a belief mean that someone else couldn’t have the same rights as you? Your belief is that homosexuality is wrong and you shouldn’t marry someone of the same gender, the free exercise of your belief isn’t being hindered; Believe it, but you can’t force your belief system on everyone else. The only way your right to free exercise would be dampened would be if the government said that you could only marry someone of the same gender (just so you know, I would be against that position as strongly as I am against yours). Being unable to force everyone to follow your belief system isn’t persecution.
“I understand the hate, the fact that we are closing an option for them.”
I don’t think you understand the hate completely. Most of the ire that is directed at the religious is based on the religious person’s stance that their belief is more important than everyone having the same rights. Believing, in your head or heart, that a homosexual person is sinning is very much different from taking actions against that person. Whether it be refusing service or publicly harassing/demeaning them.
I wonder what your position on race relations is. Some very similar statements to those you are making about sexuality were not too long ago made about race. I’m not saying that you are a racist, I want you to think about how hard people fought against desegregation and interracial marriage and now it isn’t even a thought in our mind (most of us at least). Marriage equality will be accepted in the future, don’t be one of those protesters everyone sees pictures of in the history books!
“Three years of late night programming and frustration may go to waste if employers start to reject potential leaders on the basis of what they believe.”
“As soon as someone takes a stance against gay marriage, you may as well quit your job.”
This could very well have been a legitimate fear decades ago but there are restrictions (laws) put in place to keep an individual safe from faith-based discrimination in the work place. Thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you can not lose your job because of your faith/belief; religion is a protected class. You can however lose your job if your actions bring the company into a negative light. It is then no longer about your faith, it is about your actions. In most jobs you are acting as an extension of the company and as such you are acting as that company, quite like in John 15:2, if you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to you get cut out. Religious belief has very little to do with most careers and shouldn’t even be brought up, especially yours unless you are currently coding for some church.
“It is an opinion and a belief that I hold to be true from God Almighty. It won’t affect how I work in a position at a company.”
What if your company was contracted to program something for a gay person? Would it then affect (it’s affect, by the way) your work? If not, good for you! I hope it wouldn’t, as it very well shouldn’t. What if you said you couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work because of that belief, do you think you should be kept on at that company? How could your belief that you personally shouldn’t be homosexual or marry someone of the same gender have ANY impact on the quality of work you would/could do for a client? Why would their sexuality even come into play/question?
Hopefully you say ‘it doesn’t, it wouldn’t affect my work’, again I say kudos, why then would their being able to get married possibly affect your belief system?
It is well-known, perhaps more so than Mormons against gays, that Jehovah’s Witnesses are bound to not receive into their body that which isn’t from their body; most notably no blood transfusions. This is a religious belief that they hold dear and will fight to be able to keep, but what is different in this scenario is that they aren’t out in the public arena denigrating those people who have had a transfusion, they aren’t attempting to pass legislation to make it illegal for people who don’t hold the belief to abide by it, they aren’t screaming “persecution” because someone disagrees with them.
Those who want to ban marriage equality must admit that it isn’t about their beliefs being attacked, it’s about attempting to make everyone see things the way they do. Why not hold your belief about homosexuality like the JWs hold their belief about transfusions; Think it’s wrong, don’t do it yourself, but it’s none of your damn business if someone else does it as long as they aren’t forcing you to do it.
Lastly, and possibly annoyingly, you could do with some spell and grammar check, specifically, change the “effect my carrier” to ‘affect my career’ as I assume that’s what was meant.
And now I switch my commentary to Witzlaw’s post.
I don’t see this as being very far removed from posting the Family Proclamation (which, incidentally, I’m going to do here), in a public forum, such as my own timeline on Facebook, in my own blog, or over on Twitter.
Actually, it is a bit different. You aren’t the CEO of an internationally recognized company. Also a financial contribution (however small compared to his salary) is a bit more meaningful and has more grip than posting the Proclamation to your personal Facebook wall. What’s that saying… “Actions speak louder than words”.
The last General Conference was, I thought, pretty emphatic about the need to respect others, but doing so does not require that one adopts the views or orthodoxy of the person(s) with whom you disagree. In my mind, it means that one acknowledges the differences, agrees to disagree on those points, and then move on.
This is the best thing I’ve seen you write but I wonder if you see any hypocrisy. In not simply holding your belief but attempting to make marriage equality illegal the protesters are trying to make everyone “adopt the view” that homosexuality is wrong. I said it above and I’m sure you read it but I’ll ask again; Why not be like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are with transfusion? Respect and “acknowledge the differences”, “agree to disagree”, don’t require others to adopt your view, and “move on”.
I don’t know much about you Sander but I think you are in law, as part of that I assume that you very well know the laws about the EEOC and protected classes. I must confess that I was a little stunned that you didn’t say anything about these things when you responded. At the very least you could have reassured this person that their job wasn’t in limbo.
I will leave you with a quote routinely attributed to Paul Mattingly (I know it isn’t actually his, it’s a joke from the Ice Cream Social Podcast).
“You have the right to be offended, you don’t have the right to not be offended.”
Believe it guys, I’ve hit 100 posts already.
I wasn’t sure when I started this blog if I would keep up with it, I know I said I would, but you know we say things sometimes that we want to be true but we can’t actually KNOW are true. Amazingly that statement has come to mind a lot over the last few months in my dealings with coming to terms with my dissension from religion. I’ve met and talked to many people who say so many things that they just can’t have the knowledge they claim to have. I have had very few successes in getting those people to admit they can’t know that but I have also had a few victories getting people to listen to reason.
I do not say victory in that I have made them reject the premise of god and religion I say it because they admitted that they say some things just because you have to say that to remain a faithful follower. Making these few people actually look at what they are claiming to know and they realize it is just recitation and not actual knowledge is uplifting for me. That has been my goal from the beginning; not to make everyone I know become atheists, but to make everyone I know actually think about what they hold so dear.
I’ve started a read through of the bible, following a podcast/blog I found called Bible Skeptic Podcast, to ensure that when I come into a conversation or debate that I have the knowledge that is necessary to refute claims that are being made. Already I have come across verses that I thought I knew but I learn now that they actually say what I thought they did, and I’m only into Exodus. Its going to be fun but its going to take time. I’m keeping my blog and my website up to date on my progress as much as I can if you want to read along and we can discuss as we go.
Christmas is coming up too. With this being my first year out as an atheist, I am sure my family is confused about my position on Christmas. Knowing this I am debating composing a letter to explain my position, which is basically that I don’t (and haven’t for a long time) expect any gifts but I will celebrate the time of year with family and friends and food. The holiday was originally not associated with Christianity and that can easily be brought back.
I am not going to waste this momentous post completely on my ramblings about religion, I’ll waste a little on my dear family too, I guess, lol.
Sariah has gotten a haircut and is doing great in her preschool at Little Country School House. She’s made good friends with a little girl, Liya, and potentially two little boys have crushes, Gabe and Colton, guess its time to get a gun and a cleaning kit. She’s growing up so fast and I’m so proud of what she knows and how much she likes to learn. I try my hardest to teach her everything I know when she asks questions but I know I have to reign it in to not overwhelm her. I’m so glad that we got the opportunity to enroll her though I wish it had come a different way than Crystal losing her job with CMCSS.
We had a rough patch personally and financially and I don’t think we’re completely out of either one but we’re on our way. As I typed that last sentence the song “If we make it through December” came to mind. I can take some creative license and change some parts of the song to coincide with our lives recently. Like he says, this is meant to be a happy time (this post, not just this time of year).
Sariah has had so much fun playing with one of our neighbors, Jr, but sadly this week they will be moving away. We’ll miss you Tiffany, Brandon, and Jr! Thanks for the memories.
Sometimes when we are at home I think Sariah is acting bad but then we go to Monkey Joes or Kids-N-Play and I just feel bad about ever thinking it. I am so proud of her and how she acts that I can’t put it into words; it’s awesome. I just can’t understand how some of these parents can just let their children go crazy and destroy everything and be mean or aggravating to everyone else around. I don’t like Sariah being mean but when one of those kids are around I just tell her she won’t be getting in trouble if she does the same thing to them that they do to her. Took your toy? Take it back! Push you? Push them back! Don’t be mean but don’t let them take advantage of you.
In other news, the lab I work at is having a rough patch too. A weekend coworker of mine quit, the hematology section leader quit, our director quit, our quality lady quit, all in all i think we’re down about 15 positions. Melinda our assistant director, now interim director, has had to take on the responsibilities of at least 4 positions in the absences and it doesn’t look like help is coming soon. I feel so bad for her and everyone seems to get mad at her but when you have to think about the whole lab and there are 10 people out on injury or pregnant, s#!ts gotta get done somehow. I’m on her side and will back up her decisions most of the time.
We’re in the process of getting an automated blood bank instrument to help with the workload and I really hope it turns out better than most people think it will. I like the idea and I think it will help for the off shifts but I just don’t know if day shift really needs it. I know it will come in handy if we are still down so many positions by the time it is correlated, but we’ve still got work to do before then.
Speaking of creative license (i know that was a bad transition but whatever) have you seen the movie City of Bones? If you haven’t yet, DON’T! Don’t waste your money on the theater version, wait until it shows up on torrent or something, its not worth paying for anyways. I cannot believe that I urged Crystal to read that series and then wanted to go see the movie so bad that I went after a 14 hour work day and it turned out that bad. I’m sure lots of people have given some good points but they are so few and far between that they aren’t worth mentioning. I do still urge people to read the books because the book is great.
Well, this is it 100 posts, Its hard to realize that I’ve actually kept at it this long, usually I give up on projects; you should see our crafting stuff at our house. With crystal being a teacher, Sariah being a child, and me wanting to do so much cool stuff but giving up…we’ve got a lot!
Sariah is constantly changing her mind on what she wants to dress up as for Halloween and is really excited about her 5th birthday coming up. I’ve decided to be Ralph and one of Sariah’s potentials is Vanellope, but she quickly turns to mermaid or princess too.
Well, that’s about it. That is a recap of our lives recently though I’m sure you are aware much more has happened that I have not written about and even more that I’ve just forgotten. Lots of love from the Darks house to you and yours. Thanks for reading and keep following along.
Chapter 6 – The Sons and the Flood
The Sons of God
Verses 1-4 seem like they are thrown into the mix and don’t really flow with the story.
Who are the “Sons of God”? It just doesn’t say.
They could be angels, but another theory says they are descendants of Adam mixing with the pre-Adam women. Both likely, neither with more evidence for or against than the other, so its just up to us to decide which to follow.
I must say though, it seems less likely that the children of angels would cause so much bad that god would have to send a flood to wipe the slate clean.
Also, how many people do you know that live to be 120 years old?
Preparations for the Flood
So, v.5, we’re 9 or 10 generations into humanity and god says he’s made a mistake and needs to start over.
v.7, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created,’ sounds like what my mom said growing up, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it’ Except ONE person was just and perfect.
God can only blame himself, he is the creator, he created the serpent who tempted Eve and the imaginations of man to be like they are. Either he isn’t as all-powerful as is claimed or he isn’t the only eternal being around.
Noah found favor with god so he is told ‘behold, I will destroy them with the earth.’
It says that Noah was the only perfect one, why were his sons saved?
So, God gives Noah directions to build an ark (v.14-16):
Instead of detailing the problems with the story of Noah, which I understood as problems even as young as about 10, I will outline the problems and give links that go into more depth than I have the space to do.
-Dimensions of a wooden ship
-Dimensions of a ship to contain EVERY species of animal and plant to be saved
-A family of 8 living on the boat and taking care of all of the animals and plants for the duration of the flood
While Noah is building such a large ship wouldn’t his neighbors question why? It is expected that no other person prepared for the catastrophe? Even today, if one crazy person starts talking about zombies or some global catastrophe there will be quite a few people who at least plan for the disaster even if they don’t fully believe it will happen.
Seeing all of the problems with the story of Noah and the flood it is more likely that the flood was a local flood and Noah (if he even existed) gathered the local animals to save them.
I have no confidence in the story of Noah because of these problems but also because of the multitude of other flood myths from other belief systems. Each of the flood stories is dated to different times, attributed to different gods, and with different but similar heroes.
Chapter 5 – The Generations
This chapter is boring, so not much commentary this time.
The majority of the chapter is spent explaining the ridiculously long lives of the first generations of humans. 930, 912, 905, 910, 895, 962…ridiculously long.
When Lamech was born, there were nine generations alive! That’s great-great-great-great-great-great
-v.24…Enoch seemingly was taken to heaven without dying.
Remarkably Lamech lived exactly 777 years. He wanted anyone who harmed him to be punished 77-fold. AND he was the 7th generation of human! Too many coincidences, seems more likely that it was made up to me.
At the end of the chapter, v.32, Noah is said to have bore 3 sons in the same year. Either 1-triplets which would likely have been commented about; 2-polygamy, again; or 3-another fairy tale.
My rebuttal to a viral picture/quote going around Facebook recently. The majority of the text in this post is directed at a single person but if you can read it open minded you shouldn’t have a problem with all the yous.
I apologize in advance for the length of this post and I will offer this TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read): Giving rights to groups that previously were denied doesn’t equal taking rights away from the first/main group, and a penis is just a penis, not a rod of superiority; love and take pride in yourself!
Ok, you may be offended by my writing this but I really could care less, this is all getting out of hand. I know you didn’t actually write this yourself but you shared it as if you agree with what it says so I will assume you do.
“I find myself again being put in that same category as a second class citizen,”
The civil rights movement did not take rights away from the majority group. The Civil Rights Movement extended rights to groups that previously had none or had less. Some of the white people in the 50s and 60s felt like their rights were being taken and given away, but just like Christians now, they were/are wrong.
Christians are not comparable to the African race in the story of the Civil Rights Movement, they are the white people! Christians are the majority; they had rights that are now being extended to other groups. During the civil rights movement the whites were the majority and had the rights that were being extended to other groups. White people don’t have the right to eat at a restaurant and not have black people around; they don’t have the right to have the front of the bus; they don’t have the right to decide about the nation with no say from other groups of citizens. Christians don’t have the right to proclaim this a “Christian Nation” and forbid other religions from exercising their beliefs during events; Christians don’t have the right to say anyone who doesn’t believe as we do can step outside while we pray to our god; Christians don’t have the right to control the government. This nation is not and was never intended to be a theocracy.
Your church came to the same decision about equal rights eventually (even though it took far too long for that to happen especially in a church that was supposed to have been revealed from an all-knowing creator god).
“Tell a Muslim he can’t pray at school or at the airport or downtown when prayer time is called for, and see what happens.”
Saying someone or some group can’t do something is wrong, saying someone or some group can’t make other people follow their beliefs is NOT. Who has proclaimed that Christians can’t pray? Where has that come from? The only thing that has been said is that you can’t MAKE other people pray with you, for you, or like you against their will, and this is only in matters of the state (government).
“We refuse to sit by and let you or anyone else mock, attack, demean, or laugh at our beliefs,”
Unfortunately for all groups we have this little thing called the Constitution. It states that just because there is a majority who wants one way they don’t get it just because they are the majority. The minority has a voice too. The establishment clause of the Constitution guarantees the separation of Church and State, and good ole amendment one allows me to “mock, demean, or laugh” at your religion and any idea I see fit.
Another analog to the above story seems to be the plight of women in the “Church.” I recently read an article about the church coming to terms with equal rights for all, View it here. This article is based on the April General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which would be a pivotal moment in the history of the church as it would be the first time a female member would be allowed to pray at General Conference. Of course I was glad to hear this news and I did watch a clip of the conference but didn’t get to see the prayer.
Back to the analog: The males in the church don’t think their rights (to prayer and leadership) are being taken away and given to the female members, do they? Unfortunately, I found this rebuttal to the article, found here. This guy’s response is based on unchanging scripture and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This is probably one of those verses that is supposed to be taken figuratively or has been “misinterpreted.” Its pretty clear what this verse says and its not an isolated event, check 1 Tim. 2:12.
I don’t know how widespread the belief of female subservience is in the church, but it seems like some do feel their rights are being taken away and unjustly given to the female membership. It doesn’t mean he is right; Just as some whites thought their rights were being taken and given to the inferiors; Just as some Christians think their rights are being taken away and given to non/other-believers. I hope against all hope that you do not believe that an eternal being would condemn half of his creation to be subservient. If you do believe this I feel sorry for you. YOU ARE NOT A LESSER BEING THAN ANY MAN! YOU ARE A MASTERPIECE OF EVOLUTION (or creation if you must) NO ONE SHOULD BE GIVEN ANY MORE OR LESS RIGHTS THAN YOU. I LOVE YOU BUT IF YOU CANT ACCEPT THIS AS TRUTH I WILL HAVE TO BREAK TIES. CRYSTAL MAY CHOOSE TO STAY IN CONTACT BUT YOU WILL NOT TEACH THAT RUBBISH TO MY DAUGHTER.
To my dear wife, daughter, mother, sister, and all females in my life (and around the world, too): I apologize for the caps lock but the emphasis was needed. I love you all, you are all of equal value to the human condition as any other person including myself. I see no reason why an extra appendage should give me rights over and above what you have. A penis does not give me superiority, it gives no one superiority. You are not a second class citizen and I will do anything in my power to help you not feel like one.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading; my subject today is controversial to say the least, but as a parent raising my daughter who will soon enter the public school system I feel I must voice my opinion. A debate rages in our community (both locally and nationally) that our children are only being presented one side of an argument and that we owe it to ourselves, our children, and to the future generations to allow equal time in the classroom for alternative theories to be taught, but do we really?
I, of course, am speaking of Intelligent Design. The proponents of ID are trying their hardest to present the argument as science based, but at its very core it is founded to teach the Bible and the God of Abraham to our children. They would have us believe that Intelligent Design, or Biblical Creationism, deserves the right to be heard by the students of our schools just as much as Darwin’s THEORY of evolution. This is a blatant and vulgar misuse of the word theory and they know and exploit it. If we were to follow their logic there are a few more ‘theories’ that need to be added to the list that would deserve equal time and attention if we were to allow Intelligent Design.
Our science classrooms lack any information on other scenarios for the creation of our world; the time we have given to Darwin should be divided between Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, Last Thursday Creationism, the creation legends of ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Vikings, the Mayans, the creation from Muslim literature, the creation story from Hindu, and all of the hundreds of other MYTHS of creation.
You may laugh at this if you wish, you may think I am only here to be humorous but I must tell you that we are on a slippery slope. If we allow one religion into our science classrooms we must allow them all and it will not stop there, we must then allow equal time to any idea that someone comes up with. Our science classrooms and our dear teachers are here to teach SCIENCE, not mythology, leave that to the Social Studies and History.
The science classroom is for ideas that can be investigated; for ideas that are empirical and measurable; for ideas that can, if necessary, be proven wrong. Religion allows for no investigation, measure, reason, or fallibility. Science is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results, looking at the many different denominations and religions that our world supports, obviously, the same cannot be said of religion. Biased interpretation is arguably the fundamental building block of Intelligent Design and many other of the “controversies” I mentioned.
Many people would, quite correctly, have the argument debated on the grounds of religion in our classrooms bringing up the first amendment to the Constitution and the Establishment Clause. In Everson v. Board of Education Justice Hugo Black wrote:
The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State‘ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.”
Obviously, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution will not allow for the invasion of religion into our public schools, but the argument of allowing ID and their mythological beliefs about the origin of our world and ourselves need not be debated only on the grounds of the Constitution but on the validity and merit of their “science.”
The so-called evidences they use to reinforce their ideas have been found to be based on sloppy and or out-dated science and are held to be infallible truths. The popular online community Talk Origins has compiled a list of creationist claims and a response to each; to be found here. The community at Answers in Genesis has actually compiled a list of arguments that should be avoided because of the overwhelming evidence against those arguments; this can be found here. I would not dare to ask you to take the word of Talk Origins or myself for each claim as true, in fact quite the opposite, I urge you to investigate the claims of ID and the creationists for yourself.
Thank you for your time. I hope this finds you well and logic and reason dictate your response.
I found out that a coworker of mine is a Young Earth Creationist and I expressed my feelings of wanting to discuss some of the claims she holds. She said that she would love to as she was once a scientific person who went to a meeting of Creationists with her science notes as to refute some of their claims but was unable, and she may be able to turn me to the truth. This, she claims, is her basis for believing the claims of Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis group. I have ordered the book and plan to do a read through and blog about my progress.
I sincerely doubt that my position will be swayed by the likes of Ken Ham and his pseudoscience but I said I would read and discuss it with her. Below is the first of our encounters and is the story of my relationship with religion growing up. If she agrees to continue I will try to blog about our discussions (possibly posting the transcripts).
You already know that we are on opposing sides of this argument but I would like to have a back and forth with you about it. I do not want anything we talk about to interfere with work, as such, I think we will have to not talk about it when we are at work, unless it is a claim we can both agree on. If you are willing, I would like to possibly have an email back and forth about the claims of Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism in particular. If you feel like we shouldn’t do this as it may disturb work I will let it go and we will go our separate ways and continue as we were before. Either way, I will give you the story of how I got to where I am on religion. I would very much like to hear your story even if you don’t want to continue our debate.
I was raised in a Christian home; my mom took my sister and I to church as often as possible but at least once a month we had to miss because of her work schedule. In high school I took control and would go to church on my own most of the time, as my mom was working every weekend. It was easy to miss going when I was on my own and could come up with a million reasons to not go. I continued in my off and on attendance, all the while holding the belief in my head/heart though I never held the bible to be a completely literal account of what happened.
I believed that most of the events did, in some fashion, happen even if they had been exaggerated or elaborated them, as people do to their stories. When I met my wife I was introduced to a new religion (denomination/sect whatever you want to call it) in the Latter-day Saints. I fell for my wife and for her religion, both maybe quicker than is advisable. My wife got me going to church much more than I had been and I was learning about something completely new to me, I had never thought about or, perhaps, even encountered a Mormon before, now I was one. Looking back now, I don’t see how I could have overlooked so many apparent flaws in the doctrine and foundation of the LDS church. As I started actually studying about the church and its claims, I found more and more blatant fraud and problems with it. I know now that I should have done this investigation at the onset but I learned and have moved on.
The problems I discovered about the claims of the LDS church led me to immediately disavow my relationship with the church and its teachings, but as I learned more and more about why the LDS church is not true I also came on to atheist information. I easily debunked the LDS, but the more I read the more I blossomed all of the doubts I have ever had about God and religion.
As I grew up I could never understand why an all-powerful being couldn’t or wouldn’t help the people in Africa living in conditions that I wouldn’t let my worst enemy live in. I couldn’t believe that a loving family could live eternally and be in paradise/heaven if one of its members didn’t proclaim the same belief and spent their eternity in Hell. I couldn’t fathom how an all-knowing could have this one book that he gave to this one set of people in this one part of the world and they have the only means of being saved, but the worst part of it all is that one book can/could/would/have been translated and interpreted so many times that by now who knows what the true version and meaning is.
I have always been a school person. I mean that I loved learning; I loved reading about the ancient mythos surrounding the Romans, the Greeks, and the Vikings. I could easily understand why in their ignorance (the true meaning of the word not the demeaning one) they attributed natural phenomena to the “Gods.” As a kid I could easily draw a line between their “gods” and my God, but as I read more and more about atheism and freethought I came to realize that the Abrahamic god is just the same; We attribute anything we haven’t described scientifically to god. The best quote for this enlightenment was “Once you realize why you don’t believe in the gods of ancient Greece and Rome, the Vikings, Hindu, Islam, etc. You will realize why I don’t accept yours.” Probably not an exact quote but the bones are there and you can understand it. Another is, “I contend we are both atheists, I only believe in one less god than you do.”
When I found out about Young Earth Creationists I was confused, in my mind they attributed things that we had explained scientifically back to god and said that science was flawed or misguided. I was excited to learn that you claimed the belief because I really wanted to meet and talk to someone so that not all of my information came from the internet; the land of the extremists.
I am sure you have heard of and been warned about atheists, but I am not the hardened anti-theist you have heard of. I am not the staunch “god cannot exist” atheist from the internet. In fact, my position is actually that of a completely neutral person, I am the Switzerland of god claims. I have learned that I require evidence that is more than a personal revelation or a collection of stories written decades or more after the events.
While browsing the stories on the Yahoo news page one caught my attention. Click Here to read. Basically, it says there are a few rules that players have changed and/or forgotten about over the years and some people don’t even know they’re doing it wrong. This instantly clicked into my head as the same way most people have gone about learning about the Bible. My favorite sentence in the article,
“Perhaps because so many people learn the game from their parents, siblings and friends,
no one has bothered to read the actual rules for a while.”
Doesn’t that just ring true for the Bible and Christianity, and all religions at that.
We’ve almost all taken the knowledge of the Bible from our parents/friends and few have read the “rule book” for themselves. I actually have started to study the Bible so I can say I am one of those few, it really does change your perception of the religion and the stories if you read it yourself. Its easy to see that some or most of the stories in the Bible could possibly have gotten changed centuries ago over the years of verbal communication especially if the rules of a game were changed in today’s world. In addition, we haven’t got anything to gain by tweaking the rules to the game but back then if they could have their “Messiah” be better than the other messiahs they would have exaggerated some of the stories. Don’t even get me started on the changes that have been made to the Book of Mormon.