The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Book Recommendation: The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin With A Mythical Christ? (Earl Doherty)


From the Back Cover

Why are the events of the Gospel story, and its central character Jesus of Nazareth, not found in the New Testament epistles? Why does Paul’s divine Christ seem to have no connection to the Gospel Jesus, but closely resembles the many pagan savior gods of the time who lived only in myth? Why, given the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire in the first century, did only one Christian community compose a story of Jesus’ life and death-the Gospel of Mark-while every other Gospel simply copied and reworked the first one? Why is every detail in the Gospel story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion drawn from passages in the Old Testament? The answer to these and other questions surrounding the New Testament will come as a shock to those who imagine that the origins of Christianity and the figure of Jesus are securely represented by Christian tradition and the Gospels. With the arrival of the third millennium, the time has come to face the stunning realization that for the last 1900 years, Christianity has revered a founder and icon of the faith who probably never existed.

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January 25, 2012 Posted by | Apologetics, Biblical Criticism, Biblical Scholarship, Books (Recommended) | 1 Comment

Church Fathers: Spirit Filled Anti-Semites, Misogynists, and Racists


Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting disturbing excerpts from the works of those known as Church Fathers. I wonder why this isn’t a topic of discussion in seminary? These individuals are revered by many as “godly” men. Yeah right.

Church Fathers, a miniature from Svyatoslav's ...

If you’re not familiar with the term Church Fathers, here’s a definition:

Those persons whose views the Church considered to be foundational for the development of early Christian orthodoxy and spirituality. The time of the Fathers is classically divided into three periods: the foundational years (until the Council of Nicaea [325]); the formational period (until the Council of Chalcedon [451]); and the decline of the patristic era (in the Latin Church, until the death of Gregory the Great [604] or perhaps Isidore of Seville [636]; in the Greek Church, until the death of John of Damascus [749]). Viewed as founders of the mainline ecclesiastical tradition, the category of Fathers includes apostles, bishops, martyrs, apologists, heresiologists, theologians, and historians.

The authority of the Fathers is based upon their support of the tradition. The teaching of any specific Father which diverges from the tradition bears no particular weight unless approved by a general council. The Church accepts the unanimous agreement of the Fathers with respect to scriptural exegesis as faith without error. The balance of their combined teachings in theology and doctrine, especially when the Fathers are taken in relation to one another, is given specific consideration in matters of modern ecclesiasical debate.

Jefford, C. N. (2000). Church Fathers. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (D. N. Freedman, Ed.) (255). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Church History, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Harlot Shall Be Burned with Fire: Biblical Literalism in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Religion Dispatches: Sarah Sentilles

I must admit that part of me is relieved to have these disturbing passages out in public. These bloody verses that insist women be punished with violent death—often for perceived or imagined sexual transgressions—are usually overlooked, downplayed, skipped over, ignored. Most people like to pretend they aren’t really in the text. Especially people who claim to take the Bible literally.

Passages like these should render biblical literalism impossible. Their existence illuminates that literalists always engage in selective literalism, choosing the passages that support the arguments they want to make. And what is the rubric for selective literalism other than convenience and the maintenance of oppressive power relationships? When faced with such verses—or even passages about keeping kosher or not being around women who are menstruating—many a literalist will argue something like “that was then and this is now,” while in the very next breath (I’m talking to you, Rick Santorum, and you, Michele Bachmann) they’ll insist that homosexuality is an abomination or that women should submit to their husbands. Why? Because it’s in the Bible.

The film could, in fact, be read as an argument against biblical literalism; a warning about the misogynist violence embedded in the biblical text…

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January 14, 2012 Posted by | Biblical Criticism, Biblical Studies, Women | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Defending Misogyny With The Bible


Look at the men behind him nodding in agreement.

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Theology, Women | , , , , , | Leave a comment