A flawed Christianity 101: can you spot the mistakes?

Reader Michael sent this National Geographic video, which, in line with their new and irritating touting of religion (and lack of criticism of its tenets), presents Jesus as as a real being. Reader Michael spotted some errors and distortions in this short clip. As he said:

Some major assumptions, inaccuracies & cock-ups – how many can WEIT readers spot?

I’ll put Michael’s spots below the fold

Read below to see the mistakes and misstatements caught by our reader:

0:00: Image of the Shroud of Turin. Not JC’s shroud.

0:00: “a man emerged from the desert with a message…” – This assumes JC is a real historical figure

1:17:  “According to tradition Jesus was immaculately conceived by God.” No. The RCC [& a few others] claim God acted upon Mary at conception keeping her “immaculate” ie free from original sin, this is not the same as the Virgin Birth of Jesus which is what the narrator means

1:30: Persecution & crucifixion spoken as if factual
3:04:  Image labelled as “Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris”, but it’s Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseilles

73 Comments

  1. Anthony
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I would argue “monotheistic” is in error as well.

    • George
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      If you can accept the “logic” of the trinity, then you can argue for monotheism. Bart Ehrman does a good job explaining this unexplainable concept.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and intercession by the Saints raises them to at least demi-god status. But trinitarian Christianity claims to be monotheistic, and has some very elaborate rationalizations, so we’ll have to leave it at that.

      • grasshopper
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Whatever happened with Jesus was part of God’s plan. At least with Trinitarianism, God “harmed” nobody but himself when he had himself killed and resurrected. Of his own free will. I see Unitarian Jesus, however, as a pawn manipulated by an authority figure in pursuance of a plan, much like a child can be persuaded to strap on a suicide vest and be told their impending death is for the greater good. Jesus just had to be killed for the plan, else why would anybody want to write the New Testament?

        • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Again: Christians, if consistent, should regard Judas as the greatest of the saints.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and intercession by the Saints raises them to at least demi-god status.

        Which leaves angels where? 3/4 gods?

        • Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          In Anaheim.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Let me guess – a football reference? Round-ball, or oval-ball?

            • Diane G
              Posted December 13, 2018 at 4:09 am | Permalink

              Baseball. Technically, “the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim,” IIANM.

  2. boggy
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    ‘Jesus was immaculately conceived by god’.
    The Immaculate Conception was the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ which was without sin from beginning to end. Immavltade deived from the Latin macula = stain.

    • boggy
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Sorry, immaculate and derived.

    • Christopher
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      I know from personal experience that Catholics do not like it when you ask if immaculate conception means they didn’t spill a drop, nor do they like it when you ask if confirmation is like RSVPing your spot in heaven. Religious people can be sooo touchy! I mean, I was barely 20 and had little understanding of religion, so little in fact that I didn’t know Easter was a religious holiday until I took a philosophy course in college. The pope may be inflammable and speak ex-catheter, but not me.

      • Diane G
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        😀

    • rickflick
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      “without sin from beginning to end.”

      Of course what they really mean is without sex. How could you have anything divine from a dirty filthy thing like sex, which is fun and not noble and pure?

      • Filippo
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        If I correctly recall, The Good Book somewhere says that “Fornicators shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This wreaked havoc with my lustful adolescent predisposition as I sat in the choir loft at my Southern Baptist church. But not too long after, in college, I wondered why there was not uttered a similar sanction against murder, rape, spouse abuse, child abuse and a score of other offenses.

        • rickflick
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          I’m surprised it took that long. 😎

          • Doug
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

            There’s the old joke about the Baptist minister who told his congregation “Fornicators shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” And the congregation enthusiastically shouted “AMEN!”
            Then he said “Sodomites shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” And they shouted “AMEN!” Then he said “Drunkards shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

            There was silence. Then someone said “All right, now you’ve left off preachin’ and started meddlin’.”

  3. Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “… centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ” should be “… centered on the teachings attributed to Jesus Christ”.

  4. steve oberski
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    June 7, Seattle: A host on the local Fox radio station says he’s appalled that I can’t find a debate partner for this evening’s event at Town Hall. After all, Seattle is the home of the Discovery Institute: powerhouse of the “intelligent design” movement. We go on to debate matters on-air, and when I say that I also can’t find any Catholic who really believes in the Virgin Birth, he responds that he jolly well does. No you don’t, I reply, not really. Yes I do, he insists. I believe in the Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ. I have to break it to him that the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth are two different things: it was Mary who, according to a Vatican dogma dating back only to 1854, was immaculately conceived. I run into this kind of thing all the time: what else do people imagine they are believing? And hasn’t it come to something when I have to tell Catholics what their church teaches?

  5. mikeb
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Gospels are not the “earliest” accounts of Jesus, if you take into consideration Paul’s earliest letters. True, they don’t say much about a human Jesus.

    “Born in the first decade BC” is a fudge of the birth date scandal fueled by the error-prone gospel writers: If you believe Matthew, birth would be 4 BC. If you believe Luke it would be 6 AD.

    “Immaculate conception by god” is an idiotic remark, as noted in a comment above.

    “In some accounts he is a carpenter.” No. In exactly one–Mark, where Jesus is referred to briefly as a “tekton.”

    Paul knew about the alleged Jesus and Christianity long before his epilectic seizure and vision.

    In the part about putting together the “gospels” and other writings, there’s no mention of the dozens of lost and suppressed works, such as the Gospel of Thomas.

    Not to mention–the whole video is so unctuous and made my skin crawl.

    Mike

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Gospels are not the “earliest” accounts of Jesus, if you take into consideration Paul’s earliest letters.

      Precisely. Even the apologists can’t shove the first gospel, Mark, any earlier than AD 70*, which postdates the alleged dates of Paul’s letters. But no mention of any gospel appears until the mid-2nd century, about the same time the Epistles suddenly show up.

      Bottom line: dating a document by its internal dating claims, without any knowledge of its provenance, is crap historical methodology. But, hey, all biblical history (sic) has is crap methodology.

      * Due to the Olivet Discourse a.k.a. “Little Apocalypse” having to postdate the razing of the Temple. But philologist Hermann Detering has convincingly argued that the Olivet refers instead to the even greater destruction by Hadrian in 136.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Detering has convincingly argued that the Olivet refers instead to the even greater destruction by Hadrian in 136.

        Not that convincingly. If he had been convincing, everybody would be saying Mark is post 136, which they are not.

        • Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          I find it convincing. See what you think:
          http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/pdf/2000_detering_synoptic-apocalypse.pdf

          (NB: Detering only argues for a late dating of the Olivet Discourse. That does not rule out an earlier composition of other sections. Like most of the NT, GMark shows signs of extensive redaction.)

          Without the orthodox gospels timeline, the very foundations of Christianity rest on shaky ground. To be convinced of these mythicist positions would make it very hard indeed to remain a believer.

          • Posted December 10, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

            I find it convincing

            Sorry, I did not mean to imply that you don’t find it convincing, just that few others people do.

            Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely have a read of it.

            Without the orthodox gospels timeline, the very foundations of Christianity rest on shaky ground.

            Even on the standard view, the gospels were written 40 – 70 years after the events they purportedly describe. We do not know who the authors were or what their sources are. Well, we know one of the sources for Matthew and Luke was Mark because they copied most of it out wholesale. They contain contradictions, bits copied out of the Old Testament and obviously made up stuff.

            How shaky do you need the foundations to be? I think they are quite shaky enough even without placing Mark in 136.

            By the way, I’ve read the early part of your link and I see Detering’s case is going to rely on Matthew being earlier than Mark. I don’t think that is tenable. I think it is almost a certainty that Mark predates Matthew.

            • Posted December 10, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

              I am persuaded by Detering that certain elements in the Little Apocalypse better describes the events of 135-6 than 70.

              But I also think GMark predates GMatt. I discount the existence of Q, but am willing to entertain the possibility of a pre-existing Little Apocalypse that was incorporated into the gospels – at some point.

              My Greek is limited to recognizing words, so I really can’t form a judgement on Detering’s stylistic argument that Mark cribbed from Matthew. The conundrum could be resolved if Mk 13 is a later interpolation based on Matt 24.

            • Posted December 10, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

              FYI, I checked my notes and two mythicist bloggers, Neil Godfrey and Michael Turton, are also persuaded by Detering’s dating but reject his Matthean priority.

              But as you mention, even the Olivet can be dated to close to 70, forty years of implausible ‘oral tradition’ is still required. it also means Jesus did not predict his own death — somebody made that up.

              • Posted December 11, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

                There’s enough evidence in the gospels themselves that, if the first one was written in the decade after the events they purport to describe, a neutral observer would still say they cannot be considered reliable historical sources for the events they describe.

                I find the dating of the gospels a strange hill to die on. You can have a reasonable discussion as we are here, but some sceptics seem to insist on a particular dating as if their lack of faith depended on it. I once saw a sceptic argue the whole Christian canon was forged by Eusebius. He was getting battered metaphorically from all sides. But I think he was a True Believer.

              • Posted December 11, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

                Dating the gospels is critically important. The near-universal consensus is that GMark was the first gospel and must postdate AD 70. But most christian accounts make that exactly AD 70, and some even call it “around AD 70” — a terminus post quem is not ‘around’!

                Marcion produced his unidentified euangelion c. 145, Justin Martyr c. 150 mentions an unidentified “memoirs of the apostles”. The first mention of the canonical gospels by name comes only c. 180 by Irenaeus.

                All the evidence points to a mid-2nd Century origin for the gospels. But that evidence is ignored or suppressed as it seriously undermines both the orthodox story of the church’s birth, and the historicity of the gospels.

                And yes, there are plenty of poorly-informed mythicists eager to find a ‘Gotcha’ that’ll take down christianity in one fell swoop.

  6. Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    — Does not mention that the Gospels give contradictory accounts.

    — Deceptively hides the fact that teachings of Jesus emerged decades later, that the Bible was cobbled together from various translations and sources and decided upon by a committee, and that there is no unbroken line of information that was preserved; it’s rewritten, translated and edited numerous times and even once in a reified form as “one book”, could take on any kind of meaning. At least they mention that euphemistically by stating that it changed according to spirituality “needs” of its deluded followers.

    — Jesus teachings aren‘t about forgiveness, and Christianity wouldn‘t have made it to a world religion if it were the case. It did not spread because people liked that nice message, but because zealous intolerance, warfare, fire, swords and torture chambers helped it succeed.

    — Hides what happened to Jesus after he was resurrected. That’s, I guess, the crazy Xeno part of their cult. He was somehow made alive and then what exactly? So that people saw a miracle, as he flies into the clouds? Dematerialises into another dimension in a pang of rainbow fire and flickering smoke? The obvious purpose of this bit as a Bronze Age “proof” (somebody saw something) makes it truly ridiculous.

    — And it also deceptively pretends there was a Christianity, which is ahistorical nonsense of the highest order. Still today, truly faithful Christians cannot even marry each other easily. At all times, they were cross with each other, fought and murdered each other, with no regard to Jesus’ alleged teachings. Of course I know, religious wars are also due to very worldly, political reasons and affiliations — but that’s a big QED, not a weakness. It exposes the whole thing as a power-political scam, where nobody, not even the people in charge, take anything in their holy writ seriously as they pretend when they preach to outsiders they can’t straight murder and torture (thank Eris for the Enlightenment, humanism, democracy, and so on).

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Hides what happened to Jesus after he was resurrected. That’s, I guess, the crazy Xeno part of their cult. He was somehow made alive and then what exactly? So that people saw a miracle, as he flies into the clouds? Dematerialises into another dimension in a pang of rainbow fire and flickering smoke? The obvious purpose of this bit as a Bronze Age “proof” (somebody saw something) makes it truly ridiculous.

      Not even (what Christians call) the Old Testament was written in the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age had been over for more than 1,000 years by the time of the first century.

      Leaving that aside, the gospels are very much in agreement on the general gist of what happened during and after the crucifixion. This is, at least partly, because they copied each other. There are well known inconsistencies of detail (e.g. what time was Jesus crucified, what day was Jesus crucified, what did he say on the cross, how many women went to the tomb, who did they meet there, when did they get to the tomb) but the general story is Jesus gets arrested. He’s tried by some high ranking Jews. He’s tried by Pilate. He’s condemned. He’s crucified and dies on the same day. His body is taken down and put in a tomb. A couple of days later she women go to the tomb and find him gone and there is a person/angel or people/angels there to explain why he is gone.

      After that, it all completely falls apart. Mark doesn’t have a post resurrection narrative, at least not one that wasn’t faked decades or centuries after the gospel. The other gospels have post resurrection stories but they are all completely different. The only conclusion is that each author made up his own narrative because there was no consensus on what happened after the resurrection. Then, later, a mashup of the three accounts was added to Mark to hide its embarrassing omission.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        The Bronze Age had been over for more than 1,000 years by the time of the first century.

        Well, it seems likely that a lot of the OT was written in the Babylonian Exile and shortly after (with later editing and munging, no doubt), so around 500-600 BC. Still many centuries after the start of the “Iron Age” (not that they stopped using bronze then).

        • Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          A lot of research is coming out that points to the OT being written no earlier than c. 250 BC, in Alexandria, and heavily cribbing from Homeric & other Greek writings.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            They’re probably still arguing over translations to this day. But between picking up the Utnamapishtim story from the Gilgamesh story, which is hypothesised as about 500-600 BC during the Babylonian captivity, and the pasting together of the two non-synoptic Genesis stories and the three different “gods” getting welded together into one … the actual Hebrew Bible has been pretty stable since not long into the BCs. There’s some first-century BC rebellion that gets a mention – I think it ended up with a Roman massacre, as a sign of God/Lord/Elohim’s favour. But I think that’s the last of the more-or-less historical bits in the Hebrew BuyBull. There are volumes and volumes of interminable legalistic commentary being layered up on top for centuries (no theologian dare to forget another’s work, for fear of being cast into the same oblivion themselves) but that’s not the actual holy books themselves.

          • Posted December 11, 2018 at 4:15 am | Permalink

            I think that’s a little too late for parts of it. However, some parts are even later. For instance, Daniel is dated to around the middle of the 160’s BCE because you can pinpoint the exact year when his prophecies stopped working and that’s 164BCE

  7. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Nat’l. Geographic hopes to clear up things for schoolchildren who are still looking for an immaculate contraption.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Well that’s probably better than premature ejaculation. 😉

      cr

  8. Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Jesus came out of the desert is in contrast to what we know of the vegetational habitat of the Near East 2000-4000 years ago. It was an arable grassland and easily supported the many sheep, goats, and cattle, much like western Nebraska today.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t terribly impressed with the reference to Judea as a “far-flung province”. I mean, it’s in the middle of the Fertile Crescent, had been a Roman province for some decades before the alleged birth of John Cleese. Hell, it borders where writing was invented.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Oh, Judaism as the overarching religion of the time? Seriously? They probably struggled to make a majority even in Judea! Over the empire as a whole – barely able to keep the lions fed.

  9. Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Moses and the exodus of thousands of Jews would have starved to death if they had wandered about a desert

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      How long did moses and his mob spend wandering around the desert ,40 years .

      Didn’t anyone say to him during that time .
      “Listen here mush ,we are sick of wandering around this desert ,we have passed that big rock over there at least five times .Can’t we just stay here ,or let someone else have a go at the leading thing ?

      • Zetopan
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Since Moses is fictional and the ancient Hebrews were never in Egypt nothing about the wandering for 40 years is even remotely historical.

        The pyramids and not even talked about in the various bibles and the ancient Hebrews didn’t even know about the existence of domestic cats! The latter is impossible if they had even spent a day in Egypt since the cats were everywhere and of course worshiped by the ancient Egyptians.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      They would have starved to death in about a week flat, once any food was exhausted, I think.

      Of course, as you noted above, it wasn’t really a desert, so presumably they were snacking on the indigenous herbivores. I seem to recall it was described as a ‘wilderness’, which is a delightfully ambiguous description.

      Still, Google maps indicates that the distance from the Nile delta to the Jordan River is 220 miles, which I could walk taking it easy in well under a month. Are we sure someone didn’t write ‘years’ in mistake for ‘days’?

      Alternatively, they were advancing through the desert at the staggeringly slow rate (and I mean staggering) of 5 and a half miles a year or 80 feet a day or 17 millimetres a minute. That is approximately the speed a snail crawls.

      cr

      • Zetopan
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        “They would have starved to death in about a week flat”

        Not true at all! That great “scientist”* Immanuel Velikovsky “proved” that the comet Venus[sic] was expelled from Jupitor’s red spot and whizzed by the earth raining hydrocarbons which not only provided the Earth with oil that it didn’t previously have, but also provided carbohydrates** for the ancient Hebrews wandering in the desert for 40 years*** with food. Of course the entire human race suffered from “collective amnesia”**** and forgot all about this.

        *Profoundly scientific illiterate quack psychiatrist.

        **Hydrocarbons and carbohydrates are easily confused if you don’t have a clue about anything, which pretty much sums up Velikovsky’s billiard ball view of at least the solar system.

        ***A 100% fictional event so no actual explanation of how it happened is required.

        ****Hence the “quack” rating. Such nonsensical apologetics can be used to “explain” anything. You don’t recalled being possessed by 27 demons last night because of your amnesia! Just ask a priest or other “supernatural” expert[sic] and they will be happy to update you, often for a price (after all, gawd always needs money).

  10. Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    If the evidence that Jesus really existed is inconclusive, asserting that he did exist is no more a “mistake” or “error” than asserting that he didn’t. Both are conjectures.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The mythicists don’t assert that Jesus didn’t exist; they say the evidence is inconclusive. That is less of an error than claiming that he surely did exist.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The ‘hard’ mythicist position is that no Jesus whatsoever existed. A broader position, that the Jesus of Nazareth as described in the gospels is not historical, has two centuries of robust scholarly work to support it.

      This putative documentary’s jumping off point, that the gospel accounts are historical, is unsubstantiated and speculative.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    My moms used to have a print of Leonardo’s “Last Supper” hanging above the kitchen table. I used to sit there eating breakfast in the morning wondering why all those dumb bastards were sittin’ on the same side of the table.

    Long hair don’t care, I reckon.

  12. Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    NG is an arse, truer than a virgin birth and a gid fiddling around with a womens reproductive organs.

  13. Malcolm
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Saying that we know of Jesus only through the gospels also ignores all the Gnostic Scriptures and other apocryphal literature that was suppressed by the church after the Council of Nicaea. Some of the traditions about Jesus have there only source in those documents.

  14. Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    “… it’s through belief in christ & his teachings that believers have access to God and the afterlife.”

    Though they are described as “amazing”, the actual content of JC’s teachings is almost entirely absent from the Gospels. Paul is explicit that faith in Christ Jesu’s death & resurrection alone is sufficient for salvation.

    “[Christianity] began in the province of Judea.”

    No, in Galilee, part of the Tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, a Roman client kingdom distinct from the province of Syria-Judea.

    “What we know of Christianity’s earlier days comes from the … Gospels.”

    Uhh, and the Pauline Epistles, and Acts, plus a slew of Patristic writings, apocrypha, gnostic MSS, etc.

    NB: Mark & the first 10 Pauline epistles first appeared c. AD 145, all with prior provenance unknown.

    “Jesus was born in the first century BC”

    Between 6 and 4 BC per Matthew, but definitely AD 6 per Luke. But please, pick any year as it suits your needs.

    “… in some accounts Jesus had been trained as a carpenter or a builder.”

    Greek word used was tekton = any craftsman. (Mk. 6:3 “the tekton”, Matt. 13:55 “the tekton’s son”)

    “… by the age of thirty took to preaching.”

    Luke 3:23 “about thirty”

    In Mark & John, lacking Nativities, Jesus first arrives as a grown man of unspecified age.

    Some patristic writings declare Jesus was as old as 50 when he died.

    “… forgiveness of past sins was key to achieving righteousness…. (Matt. 6:14-15)”

    Odd this is chosen as the most important teaching of JC. (see below)

    “… the Jewish religious leaders … declared Jesus an agitator….”

    per Mark & Matthew, Jesus was charged before the Sanhedrin with blasphemy.

    Only in Luke do we also find the Jews presenting Jesus as an ‘agitator’ to Pilate:
    23:2 ’They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”’

    23:5 ‘”He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.”’

    Luke also reports Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, considering the former under the latter’s jurisdiction, a side trip not mentioned in the video.

    [Identify High Priest as]“(Caiaphas 18 – 36)”

    Mark merely refers to an unnamed “the high priest”;

    Matt 26:3 adds “who was called Caiaphas”;

    John 18:13 states Jesus was first taken to Annas “for he was father in law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.” Per John 18:14-24, Jesus as tried before Annas, not Caiaphas.

    NB: Joseph Caiaphas was high priest AD 18-37, Annas AD 6-15.

    according to the gospels, the body of Jesus was resurrected

    It’s not as straightforward as that: “he is risen” in Mark 16:6 does not necessarily mean bodily resurrected, “he goeth before you into Galilee” (16:7) can be viewed as allegorical for ‘to Heaven’, and Mark originally ended at 16:8, well before all the mistaken identity on the road to Emmaus due to Jesus “manifested in another form” (i.e., not in his original body), not mention the other gospels’ sticking of hands into wounds, zombie Jesus digesting fish & honeycomb, etc.

    “Christians assembled writings … that became the Bible.”

    Christians did not collect the elements of the OT, as implied by the graphic. Also no mention of the copious christian apocrypha.

    “… simple message of peace & forgiveness….”

    The Tao of Christ is shockingly sparse and wholly unoriginal. JC’s message was mostly: ‘believe in me and you get into heaven.’

    Finally, the video’s close insinuates that from one singular christian sect, all of today’s sects branched out. In truth, early christianity was a fractured cloud of sects fiercely at odds with each other on fundamental christology and eschatology. Only in the 4th Century did the originally tiny, latecomer sect in Rome, by virtue of its alliance with the Imperial throne, become ascendant, with the rival sects assimilated or repressed.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      That was a thorough list!

      “[Christianity] began in the province of Judea.”

      No, in Galilee, part of the Tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, a Roman client kingdom distinct from the province of Syria-Judea.

      That is according to the myth text, I assume? There seems to be several early religious centers; perhaps Alexandria is the first arguably evidenced by historical records (as Philo of Alexandria and later city history seems correlated with christian development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo ).

      • Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Playing along with National Geocatholic’s first premise, I took Jesus’ mission to the be very start of Christianity.

        James’ jewish-christian sect was based in Jerusalem (Judea.) Caesarea in Samaria (part of the Roman province of Judea, though distinct from the traditional Hebrew kingdom of Judea) was home to much early christian activity. Antioch and Alexandria were also major Christian centers.

        But the documentary’s thesis of a unified early church sprouting from a single seed requires also a single geographic origin.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      That was a great debunkery.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see the alternate rendering. Thanks for the research.

      • Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. It’s a hobby of mine.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:35 am | Permalink

      Talking about Judea, doesn’t that map include Samaria as Judea?
      As far as Nazareth goes, I wqas under the impression it was established it had nothing to do with the place Nazareth in Gallilee, but referred to a kind of religious/ascetic-type of title.

      • Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        In the 1st Century AD, Samaria was part of the Roman province of Judea. Samaritans and Judeans, of course, despised one another.

        Except for one obvious interpolation, the greek word used in GMark is “Ναζαρηνος” (nazarenos, that is, ‘nazarene’). Meaning ‘keeper of faith’, it is the name of a later sect, and per Tertullian, the very first christians were also known as nazarenes.

        The term originally referred to someone who took a particular religious vow, including abstention from eating meat, drinking wine, or cutting one’s hair. Samson and Absalom are also called nazarenes ‘from birth’.

        The greek for a resident of a geographic Nazareth would be ‘nazarethnon’.

        René Salm has done extensive research and published two books showing that the village of Nazareth was not inhabited during the first half of the 1st Century AD.
        cf. http://www.nazarethmyth.info

        A lot of inconvenient details are swept under the rug by creative translations of the original Greek.

    • Diane G
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Nicely done!

  15. Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
    ―Thomas Jefferson
    Source/Notes:
    Letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp (30 July 1816), denouncing the doctrine of the Trinity – 1810s

    • Posted December 9, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      That’s not one of the writings right-wing politicians want us to think about when they claim we should follow the “founding fathers”.

  16. JAH43
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m not feelin’ the love here so I guess I’ll need to chalk up this little pile-on to religious hate. Can’t we disagree with people and still be nice?

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      If pointing out grievous errors committed by persons claiming to be authoritative is not ‘nice’, TFB.

      • JAH43
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        If you say the way in which the errors are pointed out here is “nice” then so be it.

        • Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Where do you find them not nice, and how could they be ‘nicely’ reframed?

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Good example of nice? You proved his point.

  17. Steve Gerrard
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The closing thought has some grammar issues:

    “a man from Judea’s simple message of peace and forgiveness remains just as powerful now as it did two thousand years ago.”

    It should be “as it was,” not “as it did.”

    The use of the possessive for “a man from Judea” is problematic, though understandable. We have to determine for ourselves that it is the man’s simple message, not Judea’s.

    It could be rewritten thus:

    “A man from Judea had a simple message of peace and forgiveness. It remains just as powerful now as it was two thousand years ago.”

    It remains the case that 68% of the world is not Christian, 75% is not Muslim, 84% is not Hindu, and for any other religion, more than 90% do not believe in it. All religions are minority beliefs.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Well, trying to spot the mistakes in a religious video from an atheist perspective is a bit like trying to spot the errors in Alice In Wonderland. It’s 100% fiction therefore everything in it is false.

    The only difference is that Alice is a far better-written and more entertaining read.

    cr

    • rickflick
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      +1

  19. Posted December 9, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I wonder why people think there is “a Christmas story” when it is a conglomerate of several stories in the gospels that are distinct and in many ways contradictory. (At least in the KJV; I’m not familiar with other versions).

    • Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      In all versions, the two nativities contradict each other.

      You either get shepherds visiting a stable, or magi (indeterminate number, no names) visiting a house. Pick one. Or if you’re into apocrypha. how about a cave?

      • Matthew
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        While in Thailand, I got to watch a nativity play at a local Christian school. An announcer bellowed, first in Thai, then English, “Behold, The Cave of Bethlehem!” Curtains parted revealing a very Disneyesque Styrofoam set of a cavern complete with plastic baby jesus.

        I’m still pretty fond of that moment.


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