Religion

Bible

In some cases, the Bible’s philosophy is so barbaric and violent that it defies explaining why anyone would want to consider it sacred at all. (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:111)

Textual criticism is the scholarly discipline that seeks to reconstruct the most original text possible for any particular written work. … The findings of textual critics devastate any claim that the Bible has been transmitted faithfully from any original text. (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:114)

Biblical archaeology has helped to bury the Bible… (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:117)

…the Bible also has been detrimental to human beings. For every page of Hamlet that we might enjoy innocently, there is a passage of the Bible that prompted someone to kill another human being. One can’t say that about Hamlet. The differential in detrimental effect is also a main argument for ending a privileged status for the Bible in any modern canon. (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:125)

Biblical studies as we know them should end. Biblical scholars all agree the Bible is a product of another age and culture, whose norms, practices, and conception of the world were very different from ours. … We have seen how textual critics, even after knowing that the original text is probably irrecoverable, do not announce to most churches that their Bibles are at best constructs that cannot be traced earlier than the second century for the New Testament and the third century BCE for the Hebrew Bible. … Why do we need an ancient book that endorses everything from genocide to slavery to be a prime authority on our public or private morality? Why do we need any ancient text at all, regardless of what morality it espouses? (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:128)

Christianity

“Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.” (Loftus 2011:42)

All evidence and scholarship confirms Christianity was for a long time a tiny fringe cult that was so socially invisible that the most experienced Roman legal expert of his generation, Pliny the Younger, a Roman senator… had never in his life even seen any Christians. (Richard Carrier in Loftus 2011:53–54)

If Christianity is just one more false religion, like Islam or Buddhism or Mithraism or anything else, then the evidence would be exactly like what we have: a movement founded on little verifiable evidence but instead exploiting known natural psychological and sociological processes to leverage its success in the marketplace of ideas… we know the odds of such feelings and experiences being had even by believers in false religions is 100 percent. Christians experiencing such feelings, too, proves nothing precisely because this is already expected even if their religion is false. (Richard Carrier in Loftus 2011:69)

Just keep in mind that Christians are not bothered in the least that they are risking Allah’s hell by not being Muslims. We all risk the hells of other religions. … Christian theism has no more credibility than Scientology… because they are all based on faith. … or the many other resurrected savior cults that preceded it (such as those of Zalmoxis, Romulus, and Osiris). … All such attempts to dismiss our rejection of Christianity tacitly admit that the Christian faith does not offer good reasons to believe based on sufficient evidence. (Loftus 2011:84)

The probability that the Christian God exists is thus inversely proportional to the amount of reasonable alternative scientific explanations there are for religious claims (i.e., the more science can explain without God, then the less probable it is that God exists… There are surely cases in which someone murdered another person, but no one suspects he did the evil deed because there is just no evidence to lead anyone to think he did. There are many hundreds of claims that we should never believe, even if they are true. That’s the case when it comes to Christianity. Even if it’s true, thinking people cannot accept it because it’s wildly improbable. (Loftus 2011:86)

… time after time, in order to defend what they believe, Christians must continually retreat to what is possible rather than what is probable. (Loftus 2011:92)

In order to justify God’s goodness, Christianity minimizes the value of human life. Despite all its rhetoric to the contrary, it is actually a pro-death faith… (Loftus 2011:100)

Jesus

… we discover that all the actual evidence that Jesus rose from the dead consisted of unconfirmable hearsay, just like every other incredible claim made by ancient religions of the day. (Richard Carrier in Loftus 2011:63)

The quest for the historical Jesus is an abject failure. (Hector Avalos in Loftus 2011:123)
Yahweh

Yahweh

…those depictions of Yahweh that make sense only if the limitations of embodiments are assumed to be of constraining effect on him. Thus we find him needing to rest in order to be refreshed (Gen. 2:1; Exod. 31:17); having to travel to obtain information and to verify reports (Gen. 3:8–11; 11:5–7; 18:17); needing to test people to discern their beliefs, intentions, and motives (Gen. 22; Deut. 8:2; 2 Chron. 32:31; etc.); being forced to act based on a fear of human potential (Gen. 3:22; 11:5–7); being of insufficient power so that his people could not defeat the enemy because it had iron chariots during the battle (Judg. 1:21) and desiring assistance in some matters (Judg. 5:23; 1 Kings 22:20–23; Isa. 63:3–5); etc. (Jaco Gericke in Loftus 2011:138)

What betrays the all-too human origin of the divine mind is the simple fact that the ideas Yahweh entertains about reality are hardly better than the superstitions and misconceptions in the indigenous knowledge systems of the people who worshipped him. (Jaco Gericke in Loftus 2011:140)

In Yahweh’s sky-palace, things like shofars, swords, scrolls, and chariots have been around forever and will be so ever more. … Yahweh instinctively acts like a god of his time. (Jaco Gericke in Loftus 2011:145)

Those who consider the Bible as affirming human dignity do not seem to understand that it knows no human rights. (Jaco Gericke in Loftus 2011:148)

In one text, Isaiah 43:10, we even find presupposed that Yahweh has a limited lifespan… (Loftus 2011:149)

Yahweh is powerful precisely because he can do evil when he wants, whether natural, moral, or metaphysical… (Loftus 2011:150)

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