Month: November 2014

Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus?

Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus? Are they just stubborn and knuckle-headed or reject it on a whim of personal arrogance? That is sorta what I thought in the past.

Turns out Jews have some big theological reasons as to why they remain Jewish. (Sure one could argue that their theological reasons are wrong, but they certainly exist.)

Jews claim that:

  1. Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies
  2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of Messiah
  3. There are mistranslated verses “referring” to Jesus
  4. Jewish belief is based solely on national revelation

See what they mean by these here: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html

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Some early Christians believed the magical Phoenix was a real bird

Some early Christians believed some pretty weird things.

The First Epistle of Clement gives us an example. It was written around the same time as Revelation and was widely received in the early church, even being included in some early Bibles (Codex Alexandrius) and listed as a book of the Bible in an early canon list (Canon 85, in the Apostolic Canons).

In this epistle the author articulates that he believes the magical Phoenix to be a real bird.

“Let us consider that wonderful sign which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent” (1)

Is selfless suicide, done for others, morally wrong?

If someone becomes an organ donor, and commits suicide with the intent of donating their organs to help others, are they doing something morally wrong?

This act of suicide is an act that mimics the biblical story of Christ’s death for his friends. In addition the Bible says that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

So is there a type of suicide, done for the intent of helping others, that is morally good?

 

Ancient Egyptians had a radical religious fascination with cats.

Ancient Egyptians had a radical religious fascination with cats.

When a cat died, their human family would go into a deep mourning and shave their eyebrows. Yes their eyebrows.

But thats not all, according to one ancient tale the Egyptian city of Pelusium was captured by the Persians who released sacred animals in front of their army.

Polyaenus claims that, according to legend, Cambyses captured Pelusium by using a clever strategy. The Egyptians regarded certain animals, especially cats, as being sacred, and would not injure them on any account. Polyaenus claims that Cambyses had his men carry the “sacred” animals in front of them to the attack. The Egyptians did not dare to shoot their arrows for fear of wounding the animals, and so Pelusium was stormed successfully.” (1)

If this legend is true, it would mean the Egyptians chose martyrdom over harming cats.

Male circumcision was invented thousands of years before the Jews

Male circumcision was not invented by Abraham or the Hebrews, but has been around far longer.

Archeologists say that the early evidence indicates that Africans, Aborigines, and Ancient Near East peoples practiced circumcision for 10,000-15,000 years before the era of the Hebrews.

According to Dr. Gerald Larue (professor emeritus of Biblical history and archeology at UCLA), scholars have discovered indisputable evidence of circumcision in Egyptian tomb artwork and bodies that has been dated as early as the 40th century BC (this would be around 2,000 years before the date that conservative bible scholars say Abraham lived in). (1)

What is also fascinating is that when Columbus reached the New World, he found many of the local natives were circumcised (2), meaning that circumcision may have developed in multiple cultures independently, or that it was such an ancient practice that the people who crossed into the Americas some 20,000 years ago had brought the practice with them.

There are two alternative stories of the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem

History writing is never objective, but always biased based on the perspective of the authors. When you read the history in the Bible you only read one side of the story, the Jewish side.

As an example, consider the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem.

a. The Biblical account depicts the Jews as winning the war, and even says an angel of the Lord destroyed the Assyrian army. (2 Kings 19:35)

b. The Assyrian account, recorded on Sennacherib’s Prism, says that the Assyrian King Sennacherib destroyed forty-six of Judah’s cities, redistributed these to other kings under Assyrian rule, took a quarter million Jews captive, and finally trapped King Hezekiah in Jerusalem “like a caged bird.” It states that the “terrifying splendor” of the Assyrian army caused the mercenaries reinforcing Jerusalem to flee and finally when Sennacherib received a large tribute from Judah he left the city.

See the full text here:

http://www.utexas.edu/courses/classicalarch/readings/sennprism.html 

Why would Jesus ascend “upwards” into the sky?

Where would he go? Past the clouds and into space? Past the moon, Jupiter, Saturn? Since a rocket flying up takes you into one direction of the universe, is heaven in one direction because Jesus flew up into one direction?

If heaven is not “up above” but in a different dimension towards which one can teleport, why would Jesus create such a misconception by flying up above the atmosphere, only to magically disappear and teleport to that different dimension? Isn’t that a little deceptive?

Or perhaps this was a way for prescientific people, who believed heaven was literally above the clouds (Job 22:14/Isaiah 40:22/Amos 9:6) to write the story of Jesus?