Search This Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2012

George Washington's letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island


[Newport, R.I., 18 August 1790]
While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, [1] from all classes of Citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Go: Washington

Too much government intrusion into the private sector

After retiring from politics, George McGovern bought a hotel in Connecticut. It went bankrupt. McGovern then wrote an article in the New York Times headlined "A Politician’s Dream is a Businessman’s Nightmare". In the article McGovern acknowledged that he had never grasped how hard it was to run a business until he did it himself. He wrote that he wished "that during the days when I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. The knowledge would have made me a better US senator and a more understanding presidential contender." He goes on to explain how needless regulations, Federal, State, and local rules--many that he says he supported--created impossible conditions for doing business. In the current debate between an ever expanding federal government and a government that is limited, this is a compelling letter. McGovern was a huge proponent of bigger government.

A Politician's Dream Is a Businessman's Nightmare


`Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.'--Justice Felix Frankfurter.

It's been 11 years since I left the U.S. Senate, after serving 24 years in high public office. After leaving a career in politics, I devoted much of my time to public lectures that took me into every state in the union and much of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility--complete with an experienced manager and staff.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

Today we are much closer to a general acknowledgment that government must encourage business to expand and grow. Bill Clinton, Paul Tsongas, Bob Kerrey and others have, I believe, changed the debate of our party. We intuitively know that to create job opportunities we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

My own business perspective has been limited to that small hotel and restaurant in Stratford, Conn., with an especially difficult lease and a severe recession. But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: `Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape.' It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

For example, the papers today are filled with stories about businesses dropping health coverage for employees. We provided a substantial package for our staff at the Stratford Inn. However, were we operating today, those costs would exceed $150,000 a year for health care on top of salaries and other benefits. There would have been no reasonably way for us to absorb or pass on these costs.

Some of the escalation in the cost of health care is attributed to patients suing doctors. While one cannot assess the merit of all these claims, I've also witnessed firsthand the explosion in blame-shifting and scapegoating for every negative experience in life.

Today, despite bankruptcy, we are still dealing with litigation from individuals who fell in or near our restaurant. Despite these injuries, not every misstep is the fault of someone else. Not every such incident should be viewed as a lawsuit instead of an unfortunate accident. And while the business owner may prevail in the end, the endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening.

Our Connecticut hotel, along with many others, went bankrupt for a variety of reasons, the general economy in the Northeast being a significant cause. But that reason masks the variety of other challenges we faced that drive operating costs and financing charges beyond what a small business can handle.

It is clear that some businesses have products that can be priced at almost any level. The price of raw materials (e.g., steel and glass) and life-saving drugs and medical care are not easily substituted by consumers. It is only competition or antitrust that tempers price increases. Consumers may delay purchases, but they have little choice when faced with higher prices.

In services, however, consumers do have a choice when faced with higher prices. You may have to stay in a hotel while on vacation, but you can stay fewer days. You can eat in restaurants fewer times per month, or forgo a number of services from car washes to shoeshines. Every such decision eventually results in job losses for someone. And often these are the people without the skills to help themselves--the people I've spent a lifetime trying to help.

In short, `one-size-fits-all' rules for business ignore the reality of the market place. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels--e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales--takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.

The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thieves cannot inherent heaven.

Luke 23:43, Jesus tells the thief- “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:20).

"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the Heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth" (Luke 12:33).

The verses are pretty clear, a thief cannot be in heaven. So, was Jesus lying when he told the thief that he would be in paradise today with Jesus?

If Jesus went to heaven when he died why did he tell Mary he hadn't yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17)? Now this is at least three days after his conversation with the thief on the cross, and he said, "I'm not yet ascended." Furthermore, according to Acts 1:3, he didn't ascend until forty days thereafter. This, of course, makes at least forty three days from the conversation between Christ and the thief on the cross to the ascension of Christ. Therefore, it is evident, that Christ did not go to heaven the day he and the robber died.

So, a thief cannot go to heaven and Jesus lied when he said the thief was going to be in heaven with him that same day. Yet, for some reason, we are told that Jesus is sinless. Pretty sure Christians consider lying to be a sin. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Is Jesus equal to god the father?

Jesus is Jr. god is according to the bible. 

There are things that Jesus cannot do. 
Matthew 20:23 
But to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 
Mark 6:5 
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 

After all, it took god to raise him from the dead: 

Acts 2:24 
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 
Acts 2:32 
This Jesus hath God raised up.... 
Acts 4:10 
Jesus Christ ... whom God raised from the dead.... 
Acts 13:30 
But God raised him from the dead. 
Galatians 1:1 
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 
Colossians 2:12 
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 
1 Thessalonians 1:10 
... his Son ... whom he raised from the dead.

Did Jesus perform many signs and wonders? It seems not. 

Matthew 12:3916:4
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.
Mark 8:12
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
Luke 11:29
This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Has the word of god been altered?

Rev. 22:18-19 
18. For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, "If any man shall add unto the things, GOD shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 

19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, god shall take away his partout of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." 

The Book of Revelation has been traditionally dated by scholars to have been written in or about 96 AD.

Most Christians seem to think that the bible (as it is now, with its sixty-six or so books, divided into chapters and verses) has existed for thousands of years. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the bible that most Christians are familiar with is a fairly recent contrivance. The religious term "canon" refers to the divinity of a specific set of writings. Just which books are canonical and which are not has been the subject of debate among Judeo-Christian leaders for the last two thousand years. The Protestant Church did not agree on which books should be contained in the bible until as late as 1647, at the Assembly of Westminster.

New Testament Books which are now accepted by Christians, but which were for a time rejected, are Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
Books now excluded from the canon, but which are found in some of the older manuscripts of the New Testament, are Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Paul’s Epistle to Laodiceans, Apostolic Constitutions.
Books accepted as canonical by some Jews, and for most part by the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, but rejected by the Protestants, are Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Book of Wisdom, Song of the Three Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, Ecclesiasticus, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 5 Maccabees.

The New Testament did not exist in the time of the apostles. It did not exist in the time of the Apostolic Fathers. It was not in existence in the middle of the second century.

For nearly two centuries after the beginning of the Christian era, the Old Testament-- the Old Testament alone constituted the Christian canon. No other books were called scripture; no other books were considered inspired; no other books were deemed canonical.

To Irenaeus, more than to any other man, belongs the credit of founding the Roman Catholic church; and to him also belongs the credit of founding the New Testament canon, which is a Roman Catholic work. No collection of books corresponding to our New Testament existed before the time of Irenaeus. He was the first to make such a collection, and he was the first to claim inspiration and divine authority for its books.
Dr. Davidson says: "The conception of canonicity and inspiration attaching to New Testament books did not exist till the time of Irenaeus" ("Canon," p. 163).
At the close of the second century the Christian world was divided into a hundred different sects. Irenaeus and others conceived the plan of uniting these sects, or the more orthodox of them, into one great Catholic church, with Rome at the head; for Rome was at this time the largest and most intluential of all the Christian churches. "It is a matter of necessity," says Irenaeus, "that every church should agree with this church on account of its preeminent authority." (Heresies, Book 3).
In connection with this work Irenaeus made a collection of books for use in the church. His collection comprised the following: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First Thessalonians, Second Thessalonians, First Timothy, Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon, First John, and Revelation-- twenty books in all.
In the work of establishing the Roman Catholic church and the New Testament canon Irenaeus was succeeded, early in the third century, by Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria. They adopted the list of books made by him. The books adopted by these Fathers were selected from a large number of Christian writings then extant-- forty or more gospels, nearly as many Acts of Apostles, a score of Revelations, and a hundred epistles. Each church had one or more books which were used in that church. No divine authority, however, was ascribed to any of them.
Why did the Fathers choose these particular books? Above all, why did they choose four gospels instead of one? We never see four biographies of Washington, of Cromwell, or of Napoleon, bound in one volume; yet here we have four different biographies of Jesus in one book. Irenaeus says it is because "there are four quarters of the earth in which we live, and four universal winds." Instead of this artificial reason he could have given a natural, a rational, and a truthful reason. While primitive Christians, as we have seen, were divided into many sects, the principal sects may be grouped into three divisions:
1) The Petrine churches, comprising the church of Rome and other churches which recognized Peter as the chief of the apostles and the visible head of the church on earth;
2) The Pauline sects, which accepted Paul as the true exponent of Christianity;
3) The Johannine or Eastern churches, which regarded John as their founder. A collection of books to be acceptable to all of these churches must contain the favorite books of each.
The First Gospel, written about the time this church union movement was inaugurated, was adopted by the Petrine churches. The Second Gospel was also highly valued by the church of Rome. The Third Gospel, a revised and enlarged edition of the Pauline Gospel of Marcion, had become the standard authority of Pauline Christians. The Fourth Gospel, which had superseded other and older gospels, was generally read in the Johannine churches. The Acts of the Apostles, written for the purpose of healing the dissensions that had arisen between the followers of Peter and Paul, was acceptable to both Petrines and Paulines. The Epistles of Paul were of course received by the Pauline churches, while the First Epistle of John was generally received by the Eastern churches. The collection would not be complete without a Revelation, and the Revelation of John was selected.
The work instituted by Irenaeus was successful. The three divisions of Christendom were united, and the Catholic church was established. But this cementing, although it held for centuries, did not last, as was hoped, for all time. The seams gave way, the divisions separated, and to-day stand out as distinctly as they did in the second century; the Roman Catholic church representing the Petrine, the Greek church the Johannine, and the Protestant churches to a great extent the Pauline Christians of that early age. But while the church separated, each retained all of the sixty-six canonical books, save Revelation, which for a time was rejected by the Greek church.
The New Testament originally contained but twenty books. To First Peter, Second John, and the Shepherd of Hermas Irenaeus attached some importance, but did not place them in his canon. Hebrews, James, Second Peter, Third John, and Jude he ignored. Tertullian placed in an appendix Hebrews, First Peter, Second John, Jude, and the Shepherd of Hermas. Clement of Alexandria classed as having inferior authority, Hebrews, Second John, Jude, First and Second Epistles of Clement (of Rome), Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, and Revelation of Peter.
Regarding the competency of the founders of the New Testament canon, Davidson says: "Of the three fathers who contributed most to its early growth, Irenaeus was credulous and blundering, Tertullian passionate and one-sided, and Clement of Alexandria, imbued with the treasures of Greek wisdom, was mainly occupied with ecclesiastical ethics." (Canon, p. 165). "The three Fathers of whom we are speaking had neither the ability nor the inclination to examine the genesis of documents surrounded with an apostolic halo. No analysis of their authenticity was seriously contemplated." (Ibid, p. 156).
Completion of the Canon
The Christian canon, including the New Testament canon, assumed something like its present form under the labors of Augustine and Jerome toward the close of the fourth century. St. Augustine’s canon contained all of the books now contained in the Old and New Testaments, excepting Lamentations, which was excluded. It contained, in addition to these, the apocryphal pieces belonging to Daniel, and the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and First and Second Maccabees.
St. Jerome's canon contained Lamentations, which Augustine's canon excluded, and omitted Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and First and Second Maccabees, which Augustine's included. Roman Catholics accept the canon of Augustine, including Lamentations; Protestants, generally, accept the canon of Jerome.
While Jerome included in his canon all the books of the New Testament, he admitted that Philemon, Hebrews, Second Peter, Second and Third John, Jude, and Revelation were of doubtful authority.
Referring to the work of Augustine and Jerome, Davidson, says: "Both were unfitted for the critical examination of such a topic." ("Canon", p. 200).
Christian Councils
Many believe that the Council of Nicea, held in 325 A.D., determined what books should constitute the Bible. This council did not determine the canon. So far as is known, the first church council which acted upon this question was the Synod of Laodicea which met in 365. This council rejected the Apocryphal books contained in Augustine's list, but admitted Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. It excluded Revelation.
Various councils, following this, adopted canonical lists. One council would admit certain books and the next council would reject them. The third council of Carthage in 397 adopted the list of Augustine which admitted the Apocryphal books and Revelation and rejected Lamentations.
The actions of none of these councils were unanimous or decisive. The list of books adopted was adopted simply by a majority vote. A large minority of every council refused to accept the list of the majority. Some advocated the admission of books that were rejected; others opposed the admission of books that were accepted. As late as the seventh century (629), at the sixth Council of Constantinople, many different canonical lists were presented for ratification.
The damaging facts that I have adduced concerning the formation of the Christian canon are admitted in a large degree by one of the most orthodox of authorities, McClintock and Strong's "Cyclopedia of Biblical and Ecclesiastical Literature."
Dr. McClintock says: "The New Testament canon presents a remarkable analogy to the canon of the Old Testament. The beginnings of both are obscure... The history of the canon may be divided into three periods. The first, extending to 170, includes the era of circulation and gradual collection of the apostolic writings. The second is closed in 303, separating the sacred from other ecclesiastical writings. The third may be defined by the third Council of Carthage, 397 A.C., in which a catalogue of the books of the Scriptures was formally ratified by conciliar authority. The first is characteristically a period of tradition, the second of speculation, and the third of authority, and we may trace the features of the successive ages in the course of the history of the canon. But however all this may have been, the complete canon of the New Testament, as we now have it, was ratified by the third Council of Carthage, 397 A.C., from which time it was generally accepted by the Latin church, some of the books remaining in doubt and disputed."
Concerning the work of these councils, William Penn writes as follows: "I say how do they know that these men discerned true from spurious? Now, sure it is, that some of the Scriptures taken in by one council were rejected by another for apocryphal, and that which was left out by the former for apocryphal was taken in by the latter for canonical." (Penn's Works, Vol. I, p. 302).
In regard to the character of these councils, Dean Milman writes: "It might have been supposed that nowhere would Christianity appear in such commanding majesty as in a council... History shows the melancholy reverse. Nowhere is Christianity less attractive, and if we look to the ordinary tone and character of the proceedings, less authoritative, than in the councils of the church. It is in general a fierce collision of two rival factions, neither of which will yield, each of which is solemnly pledged against conviction." (History of Latin Christianity, Vol. I., p. 226).
The Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, and Protestant canons, no two of which are alike, were fixed by modern councils. The Council of Trent (1645-1563) determined the Roman Catholic canon. While a majority were in favor of the canon of Augustine they were not agreed in regard to the character and classification of the books. There were four parties. The first advocated two divisions of the books, one to comprise the acknowledged books, the other the disputed books. The second party proposed three divisions-- the acknowledged books, the disputed books of the New Testament, and the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament. The third party desired the list of books to be named without determining their authority. The fourth party demanded that all the books, acknowledged, disputed, and apocryphal, be declared canonical. This party triumphed.
At a council of the Greek church held in Jerusalem in 1672, this church, which had always refused to accept Revelation, finally placed it in the canon. The Greek canon contains several apocryphal books not contained in the Roman Catholic canon.
Both divisions of the Protestant church, German and English, declared against the authority of the Apocryphal books. The Westminster Assembly (1647) formally adopted the list of books contained in our Authorized Version of the Bible.

Ancient Christian Scholars
Most Christians believe that all of the books of the Bible, and only the books of the Bible, have been accepted as canonical by all Christians. And yet, how far from this is the truth! In every age of the church there have been Christians, eminent for their piety and learning, who either rejected some of these books, or who accepted as canonical books not contained in the Bible.
Not one of the five men who contributed most to form the canon, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, Jerome, and Augustine, accepted all of these books.
Late in the second century Melito, Bishop of Sardis, a contemporary of Irenaus, was deputed to make a list of the books belonging to the Old Testament. His list omitted Esther and Lamentations. The Muratori canon, which is supposed to belong to the third century, omitted Hebrews, James, First and Second Peter, and Third John. The Apostolic canon omitted Revelation, and included First and Second Clement and the Apostolic Constitutions.
Of Origen, the great Christian Father of the third century, "Chambers' Encyclopedia" says: "Origen doubted the authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the Epistle of James, of Jude, of the Second of Peter, and the Second and Third of John; while, at the same time, he was disposed to recognize as canonical certain apocryphal scriptures, such as those of Hermas and Barnabas." In addition to the apocryphal books named, Origen also accepted as authoritative the Gospel of the Hebrews, Gospel of the Egyptians, Acts of Paul, and Preaching of Peter.
The Rev. Jeremiah Jones, a leading authority on the canon, says: "Justin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, and the rest of the primitive writers were wont to approve and cite books which now all men know to be apocryphal." (Canon, p. 4).
Theodoret says that as late as the fifth century many churches used the Gospel of Tatian instead of the canonical Gospels. Gregory the Great, at the beginning of the seventh, and Alfric, at the close of the tenth century, accepted as canonical Paul’s Epistle to the Laodiceans.
Early in the fourth century the celebrated church historian, Eusebius, gave a list of the acknowledged and disputed books of the New Testament. The disputed books-- books which some accepted and others rejected-- were Hebrews, James, Second and Third John, Jude, Revelation, Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, Acts of Paul, and Revelation of Peter.
Athanasius rejected Esther, and Epiphanius accepted the Epistle of Jeremiah. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Gregory, Bishop of Constantinople, both rejected Revelation. Chrysostom, one of the greatest of church divines, and who gave to the sacred book of Christians its name, omitted ten books from his canon-- First and Second Chronicles, Esther, Job, and Lamentations, five books in the Old Testament; and Second Peter, Second and Third John, Jude, and Revelation, five books in the New Testament.
Protestant Scholars
Many Protestant scholars have questioned or denied the correctness of the Protestant canon. John Calvin, founder of Presbyterianism, doubted Second and Third John and Revelation. Erasmus doubted Hebrews, Second and Third John, and Revelation. Davidson thinks that Esther should be excluded from the canon, Eichorn rejected Daniel and Jonah in the Old Testament, and Second Timothy and Titus in the New.
Dr. Whiston excluded the Song of Solomon, and accepted as canonical more than twenty books not found in the Bible. He says: "Can anyone be so weak as to imagine Mark, and Luke, and James, and Jude, who were none of them more than companions of the Apostles, to be our sacred and unerring guides, while Barnabas, Thaddeus, Clement, Timothy, Hermas, Ignatius, and Polycarp, who were equally companions of the same Apostles, to be of no authority at all?" (Exact Time, p. 28).
The Rev. James Martineau, of England, says: "If we could recover the Gospel of the Hebrews, and that of the Egyptians, it would be difficult to give a reason why they should not form a part of the New Testament; and an epistle by Clement, the fellow laborer of Paul, which has as good a claim to stand there as the Epistle to the Hebrews, or the Gospel of Luke." (Rationale of Religious Enquiry).
Archbishop Wake pronounces the writings of the Apostolic Fathers "inspired," and says that they contain "an authoritative declaration of the Gospel of Christ" (Apostolic Fathers).
The Church of Latter Day Saints, numbering one half million adherents, and including some able Bible scholars, believe that the modern Book of Mormon is a part of God’s Word, equal in authority and importance to the Pentateuch or the Four Gospels.
Martin Luther
The greatest name in the records of the Protestant church is Martin Luther. He is generally recognized as its founder; he is considered one of the highest authorities on the Bible; he devoted a large portion of his life to its study; he made a translation of it for his people, a work which is accepted as one of the classics of German literature. With Luther the Bible superseded the church as a divine authority. And yet this greatest of Protestants rejected no less than six of the sixty-six books composing the Protestant Bible.
Luther rejected the book of Esther. He says: "I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist." In his "Bondage of the Will," he severely criticises the book.
He rejected the book of Jonah. He says: "The history of Jonah is so monstrous as to be absolutely incredible." (Colloquia, Chap. LX., Sec. 10).
He rejected Hebrews: "The Epistle to the Hebrews is not by St. Paul; nor, indeed, by any apostle." (Standing Preface to Luther’s New Testament).
He rejected the Epistle of James: "St. James' Epistle is truly an epistle of straw." (Preface to Edition of 1524).
He rejected Jude. “The Epistle of Jude,” he says, “allegeth stories and sayings which have no place in Scripture." (Standing Preface).
He rejected Revelation. He says: "I can discover no trace that it is established by the Holy Spirit." (Preface to Edition of 1622).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Search: Police sent to confiscate 4-year-old's overdue library books

Retrieving a few overdue library books from a 4-year-old girl recently required the expertise of Pennsylvania's finest (the books included this book and this book). Sheriff's deputies were sent to the young girl's home after phone calls and a postcard from the library failed to secure the tomes' safe return (have police been sent to collect overdue books before?).
All this story needed was McGarrett from Hawaii 5-0 saying "Book 'em Danno"

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why a blood sacrifice?

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:3-5).

Here is the story as recounted in the bible. Both Cain and Abel came to worship before the Lord, both brought a sacrifice. But there was a difference. Cain brought a sacrifice of the fruit of the ground. His offering was a bloodless sacrifice. However, Abel brought forth a bloody sacrifice, and the fat thereof.

The result of their worship before the Lord was that Jehovah had respect unto Abel and his offering, but he did not have respect towards Cain nor towards his offering.

And why was that?

Moses’s record supposedly makes it easy to understand what the problem was. The written account specifically denotes the differences between their offerings. One was of produce, the other was a blood-bearing sacrifice. And the god of the bible loves blood. He is always very excited when blood is involved. However, we are never told why a blood-bearing sacrifice is better. Cain is also never told not to offer produce instead of a blood sacrifice. Instead, the god of the bible just rejects Cains offering. Here is what he says to Cain. "Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?" 

Where does it say why the offering is unacceptable?
Now, it is critically important to keep in mind one aspect of the biblical god. He is considered to be all knowing. Therefore, he knows everything that will occur in the future. Why is this important? Cain kills his brother because he is upset that god favored Abel's offering over his own. The biblical god would know that Cain would be upset over this slight and what action he would take. Does he therefore warn Abel against Cain? Um, no. Does he tell Adam and Eve what is going to occur and that their first born child is at risk? Um, no. Does he talk with Cain about his temperament or the evils of envy or about making a more acceptable sacrifice? Um, no! Does he do anything, anything at all, to prevent  Abel from being killed? Of course not. The biblical god does not care when people die. He is constantly killing people or commanding that his followers kill people in the Old Testament. Killing is the the default response of the biblical god. 

Since god knew that Cain would kill Abel after he rejected Cain's offering, he is the one responsible for death of Abel in the story. 

Obama on same sex marriage

President Barack Obama has once again endorsed same-sex marriage, a position he held in 1996 and later conveniently abandoned during his campaigns for U.S. Senate and the White House.

I realize that politicians are rarely truthful but this is absurd. He was all in favor of same sex marriage when his opinion on the topic was irrelevant to his political ambitions. However, as soon as he realized he needed a more conservative stance on the topic, he immediately claimed that new position. Obama was never against same sex marriage, and anyone who believes he changed his mind or "evolved" to this current view is simply willing to hide from reality.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bionic eye gives sight to the blind in medical breakthrough

They have the technology, and now scientists in the U.K. have given sight to the blind using bionic eyes. Electronic microchips implanted into the eyes of a group of British patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable genetic condition that causes blindness, have partially restored the vision of the formerly sightless so that they're able to view the world as a "grainy black-and-white image." The implant's first British recipient said the bionic eye gives him "some imagery rather than just a black world." Another patient reported suddenly dreaming in "very vivid color for the first time in 25 years" because a part of his brain had been reactivated.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It’s a finding that most believers will likely find disheartening. Atheists, on the other hand, will certainly relish in the results. According to research published in the July 2012 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science,atheists are more driven by compassion to help their fellow man than are highly religious individuals.
Robb Willer, a co-author of the study and a social psychologist at the University of California,described the findings in a recently-released statement.
“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” Willer said. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or repetitional concerns.”
At the root of the study is the overall question of whether logic, emotion or other factors serve as motivating forces in the decision to help others. But beyond that, the complex nature of religious adherence — or lack thereof — comes into play.