Unmasking Doctrine

Unmasking Doctrine #4: Deity of Christ: Sinless Life

Good evening Heathens and Hell-Bound friends and foes alike! It’s been a great day so far and I am excited to get back into this series.  The last time we were here we discussed the virgin birth, you can find that article here, Unmasking Doctrine #3: The Deity of Christ: Virgin Birth. Tonight we will be talking about the next portion of this Fundamental “truth” the sinless life of Christ.

So the scriptures given are as follows…

jesus

Now, this may come as a shock to you, the gospels never once say that Jesus lived a sinless life. Not one single time. So how is it that this has come to be such a crucial Christian belief. This is pretty simple…

  1. If Jesus sinned then how could he be god, god doesn’t sin.
  2. We like our godhead sin free.

That’s it…that is the reasoning for Jesus supposedly living a sin free life. The only scriptures that truly support the idea of a sinfree Jesus come from the scriptures mentioned above, that’s it.

So let’s look at those two books.

Hebrews and 1 Peter by conservative accounts were written somewhere between 60-70AD. That’s 30-40 years after the life of Christ, if he ever existed. I say if he existed because I don’t see there being much evidence that an actual Jesus figure existed. It’s more likely to me that the Jesus archetype is a conglomerate of numerous spiritual leaders around that time. Tonight is not the night to go into this subject.

shrugged

Anyway 30-40 years after Jesus supposedly died we have two accounts that claim he lived a sinless life. This to me is at best simply an overblown myth or at worst a way to try to promote Christ as the figure in the godhead that most of Christianity believes him to be. Not only do I reject the idea that Christianity teaches of a sinless god, but that the idea of any human being living a sinless life is a complete and total impossibility.

Let me first explain how this might occur in the overblown fashion:

My great-grandmother has been dead for nearly 30 years. Here is what I know about her.

  • She was married at the age of 14.
  • She went to church her entire life.
  • She gave birth to my grandmother and her three sisters.
  • She lived in my hometown the majority of her life.
  • She really liked Andes mints.
  • She was a very sweet and gentle old lady.

That’s it…I can’t tell you much more about her. Am I capable of claiming that she lived a sinless life? Well, I never experienced anything from her that I could claim to be sinful and so sure, she lived a sinless life. I could claim that but I also know that she was human and there is no such thing as a human being that doesn’t have a bad day now and then.

elderly

I could have used my great-aunt as an example as well, she was perfect, sweet, loving, and just a plain good old lady. I remember she got very upset when I talked back to my mother once and made me apologize. Imagine a sweet elderly woman who gives you hard candy and pinches your cheeks, that was my great aunt.

Now imagine the shock when I found out that she was a prostitute for nearly 20 years of her life. My grandmother just mentioned it one day out of the blue and it completely warped my mind. My entire picture of this perfect and sweet old lady was dashed to pieces knowing that she blew guys for chicken and pork back in the day.  Oh, and that’s not some euphemism, she literally was a prostitute so that she could feed her family and was at times paid in chicken and pork.  I’m not bashing her, she did what she had to do, more power to her, but the image I had about her was completely wrong.

My idea of these two women are completely overblown, and if you were to ask me about them, I couldn’t honestly tell you about there lives in any truthful manner. I could only tell you what I had been told about these two women.

MythBusters_title_screen

Myth building

Now, like I said before, this could also be used as a means to promote Christ as a member of the godhead. God is all-good so god can’t sin. “Well, the gospels don’t mention that Christ lived a sinless life, and other books don’t mention this, so just to clear things up let’s make sure to get a reference in a couple of books to help cement Christ as also being god.”

I say that this could be the reason because the New Testament is filled with references to things being done so that some prophecy from the old testament could be fulfilled. This would be like me writing one book and then later writing another book and saying that the characters do something simply because the first book said they were going to do it. It’s called storytelling, and often times a sequel is made many years after the original and so the author or authors fit the new story to fit within the confines of the old story. Unless your name happens to be George Lucas, and if it is you just say, “Fuck it.”

So let’s talk about the books themselves.

We have no idea who wrote Hebrews, it’s been attributed to Paul even though there is almost no correlation or similarity to any of his other writings. Even the oldest sources that we have state that they have no clue who wrote the book. Origin, an early church father states;

“Whoever wrote the epistle, God only knows for sure.”

shrugged
Actual Picture of Origin

That basically means….”who the fuck knows. Somebody wrote it but really, who knows.”

1st Peter on the other hand is very clear that Peter the Apostle, first pope of Roman Catholicism, wrote the letter. Well, actually it’s not clear who wrote it, it’s in the exact same boat as Hebrews, no one really knows who wrote this book, they just know someone wrote it or it wouldn’t exist.  Church tradition has held that it was written by Peter, but that’s all there is to it, tradition. There is no historical backing to the claim that the Apostle Peter wrote this book.

So the sources for this claim, that Christ was sinless, are questionable in authorship. I’ve given conservative dates for when they were written, it’s possible they were actually written at a much later date. Things just don’t add up here, if it was important that Christ be sinless, why wouldn’t it have been mentioned in the gospels at all?

It’s Ridiculous

flair

I am an incredibly easy-going person. It takes a lot to get me upset. I can sit here and read posts from trolls all day long without my blood pressure raising even the slightest. However, I have bad days. I have days where I just say fuck it and go off on everyone that I come into contact with.

Now, you are trying to tell me that Jesus was a guy that never had an off day. He was always perfect, always good, never said anything hateful or disrespectful. He was a mayo sandwich wrapped in another mayo sandwich.

It makes no sense and even less sense when you think about the myth.

So Christ is supposed to be god in the form of man, who came to earth to live as one of us, go through all of our struggles, die for our sins, and grant us a means to salvation. Well, if he was perfect then it takes a whole lot away from this narrative. How does a perfect person know what it’s like to be me? How does a perfect person have any sense of struggle? The whole narrative of god becoming man to redeem us is destroyed if we are to believe that he was perfect. I mean, when he had a nail smashed through his hand we are to believe he didn’t say, “HOLY FUCK THAT REALLY FUCKING HURT YOU BASTARD!?!?!” Cause I smashed my hand on a pallet today and I sure as hell cussed up a fucking storm.

angry-jesus
Bad Day Jesus is soooo much cooler.

If god became man then he should have become man, he should have had all our faults, dealt with all of our sins, and got caught wanking off by his mother. If he lived the life of a normal human being and then still chose to go through the rest of it, maybe then he might be worthy of admiration of some sort….though human sacrifice to appease god is really fucking weird and gross. It would still at least be something…as it is we have nothing more than a bad fairy tale.

 

 

 

Deep Thoughts · The Diary Of My Mind

Deep Thoughts: Apophenia and Pareidolia

Before I get started, if you are new to this blog perhaps you would be interested in my journey from Pentecostal minister to evangelical atheist, preaching the good news that god almost certainly does not exist and so you can quit worrying about hell. If interested you can find the beginning of my journey here, My Journey Away From Faith: Part 1.


So let me give you a scenario…

Imagine it’s 30,000 years ago and you’re walking through the woods late at night. You really shouldn’t be out here but those berries were so damn good that you just couldn’t stop eating them and time got away from you. As you’re walking you hear the leaves rattle, you hear a twig snap, and something catches the corner of your eye. It could be a large nocturnal predator, it could be a hunter from the next tribe over, or it could simply be the wind. Do you continue along your way, run in the opposite direction, or try to find your way into the nearest tree? If you make the wrong choice you might not survive and so you choose to climb and wait things out. As soon as you find a good seat in a large branch you look down to see a wolf making its way through the brush below. You made the right choice and live to see tomorrow. Good job!

Now why did I bring up this scenario?

Well, humans have great instincts, it is what has allowed us to survive as long as we have and yet those instincts can also play tricks on us. These tricks often come in the form of apophenia and it’s sister phenomena pareidolia.

Apophenia – The tendency to make connections or perceive patterns in seemingly unrelated things.

Pareidolia- The tendency of the mind to find patterns where they do not actually exist.

Apophenia

stick figure

The picture to the right is a man…but wait…no it’s not. Yet anyone reading this blog will be able to recognize that the figure made of simple shapes is a representation of a man.  It’s a series of straight lines with a big circle on top, a couple small circles for eyes, and a rounded line for a mouth. Yet find me a single human being that truly looks like this, if you could I imagine that person would have an incredibly hard time standing up. Yet, this is a very simple example of apophenia, the circlepicture itself has absolutely no connection to what an actual human being looks like and yet we are all able to recognize exactly what the image represents. Take the pieces apart and the image loses meaning entirely, hence we do not recognize the circle to the right as being a head. Nor would we recognize a single line as being a spine, an arm, or a leg. Only together do we see the pattern as meaning something possibly useful.

A more detailed example of apophenia is what I gave above in the story of the primitive man and the wolf. A series of sounds and a slight amount of movement was enough for the person in the example to recognize the possible threat of a predator. Taken on their own they would not be anything to really worry about yet together they become something that is enough to cause the fight or flight response to kick in.  This can be of great use is you are trying to evade predators or neighboring tribes but it can also work against us and build ideas of monsters in the dark, dragons in caves, and leviathons of the deep. We will discuss this more later.

Pareidolia

Most of us have experienced sitting in the grass on a warm spring day looking up at the clouds. One looks like a dragon, one a rabbit, and another looks like a spaceship, yet do they really, the truth of the matter is more often than not they do not. Another example of this can be seeing images in wood grain, hearing footsteps or voices in an empty house, or seeing a phantom out of the corner of your eye. Some examples of pareidolia can be pretty convincing…

The interesting thing about this phenomena is that it is greatly subject to suggestion. Take the cloud example, you look up and your friend says, “That one looks like a dick.” You try to see what he’s talking about and so he points in the general direction, describes what he is seeing and eventually you do see the dick in the clouds…isn’t life grand.  The reason for this is that our minds are constantly seeking patterns, and it can be both really good at this as well as really bad at it. Suggestion helps us seek out the patterns easier and so once one person sees it, two can see it, and even thousands may at some point see the exact same patter….going so far as to eventually worship that pattern.funny-pareidolia-jesus

Hello Jesus, why are you hiding on this dogs ass? That’s a silly place for you to hide….

As I said before our minds are constantly attempting to find patterns in the things we see as well as the things we hear, but due to pareidolia, our minds can make connections where there is absolutely no connection to be made.

Earlier I mentioned monsters in the dark, dragons in caves, and phantoms in the corners of our eyes. While some of these may seem silly, most of us can remember a time when we have been horribly frightened by something that was not actually there, this happens often when we are children yet can still occur no matter how old we are.

Examples:

cookie

Monsters in the Dark

Humans are not known for their nocturnal vision, we are diurnal creatures and so for our eyes to work well we need a decent amount of light. In low light situations our minds grasp at any shape it can find and then builds upon that shape to give us an idea of what is there in the dark. A full hamper in the corner may take on the shape of a beast with numerous arms once the light goes out. A pair of shoes under a bed can become a vampire to the child brave enough to look under their mattress. Our eyes are shitty at night and yet our  minds try their best to make sense of whatever sensory information we get, it’s a crap shoot but it worked out enough as a survival tactic for thousands of years that it still sticks with us today.

dragon.jpg

Dragons in Caves

Caves are dark, sound travels strangely through the walls of a cave, and at the mouth of an open cave the wind passing by the entrance can sound like a growl or a ghostly wail. Secondly, as you venture deeper into a cave the temperature can be much warmer than the temp outside the cave, giving the idea that something hot must exist within the confines of the cave. Dragons breathe fire and so obviously a dragon would make a cave warmer than it is outside. Many caves have insects which use light to attract their pray and a glowing bug or two can look an awful lot like the eyes of a beast if fear has already crept into your mind.

phantom

Phantoms in the Corners of Our Eyes

Our eyes are really shitty….I mean they are the only eyes that we will ever have and so they work as well as they can but they aren’t all that good to begin with. I’m blind in one eye and it took me years for my brain to compensate and learn how to judge depth in a decent way. I still would not be a good choice for a softball team or any activity that requires good depth perception.

Our eyes also have a fairly narrow field of actual vision. The rest of what we see is actually populated by the brain and so anything outside of that field is up to the mind to figure out. I think we’ve all had a time when we thought we saw something out of the corner of our eye but when we turned to see what it was there was nothing actually there. One might come up with gargantuan ideas of ghosts haunting our house, never quite being fully seen but always there. Our eyes are just not built to get 360 degrees of information and this is due to our need to focus on the task at hand. If you are trying to track a deer, you need to be able to see the deer, you don’t necessarily need to see everything around the deer and so our brains fill in the gaps.

volcano.jpg

Apophenia At It’s Worst

The volcano destroyed half the village last year. This year we killed 5 virgins and guess what, the volcano didn’t destroy the other half of the village. Killing virgins must satiate the volcano’s need for blood and so each year we must kill virgins to keep the village safe.

Last week Johns boat was destroyed by a wave, we saw a large shape in the water that had to be a sea serpent and john drowned and was almost certainly eaten by the beast. Dave was smart, he killed a chicken and rubbed its blood on the bow of his ship and no waves or serpents affected him. Dave also came back with a massive load of fish and so the chicken blood must have worked really well.

prophet.jpg

Pareidolia At It’s Worst

I heard a voice in the wind that told me to write the words of the lord. Here are the rules that this voice led me to write down. No Lying, no murder, and no goats in milk…it’s strange but I hate lying, murder, and I really hate goat and milk stew….it’s fucking disgusting.

I saw a light break through the clouds and standing upon the clouds I saw a man who told me the world was going to end soon….

Conclusion:

Both of these phenomena have their evolutionary strengths which allowed them to continue being passed down in our genes. Yet they are built for humans that live in the wild and so the more we began to gather together, the less reliable our instincts were. They began playing tricks on us, making us see monsters, demons, gods, and demigods in every aspect of our lives.

It’s my opinion that much of religion and religious believe are derived from these phenomena. Someone saw something, suggested it to others who claimed to see the same thing, they built beliefs around what they claim to have seen, and religion was born. The wind, the rain, the sun, disease, all things could be explained by patterns that their minds found.  Over time huge legends were built, books were written, and doctrine created and religion thrived.