Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view f...

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view from Divinity Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King agrees that the fragment, written in Coptic, she analysed,

“does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we’re in the same position we were before it was found. We don’t know if he was married or not.”

In the previous postings I mentioned already that when we look at the accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible and the many non-religious writings of the early centuries, there is no mention of his marital status, while the accounts do mention Jesus’ mother, father and siblings.

Darrell Bock, a senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminar said:

“There’s no indication we have that Jesus was married. One could say the text is silent on Jesus’ marital status because there was nothing to say.”

Bock agreed with the notion that the text fragment shared similarities with the Gnostic Gospels and said the text could be referring to a gnostic rite of marriage but

“it’s a small text with very little context. We don’t know what’s wrapped around it to know what it’s saying.”

King writes:

“the importance of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ lies in supplying a new voice within the diverse chorus of early Christian traditions about Jesus that documents that some Christians depicted Jesus as married.”

In “Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh” and “Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage” I pointed out to the Wife of God, indicating the Book of books speaks about God being married to Israel, but this being spiritually talking about the relationship of Jehovah God with His Chosen People, Israel, or the Israelites, the religious Jews. From the Old Testament text we can understand that Jehovah God cast Israel off as a wife, and that it was impossible for Him to marry her as a “virgin” (Jeremiah 3:1-18; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 2; 3:1-5). We can see what faithless Israel has done and find God giving her the notice or her certificate of divorce and having sent her away because of all her adulteries.

“She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.” (Jeremiah 3:8 ESV)

"Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, &quo...

“Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him…” (Photo credit: -Reji)

God had made a promise to Abraham, that his seed would multiply and God would make a people for Him out of his descendants. God always keeps to His promises. One of them, at the beginning of human history,just after the foundation of the earth, was also that He would provide a solution for the sin the first man and woman (the 1° Adam and Eve) committed. There He indicated already His special relationship with the human beings, and planned for a son to whom He would give the throne to restore the paradise and bring to fulfilment the clean and safe Kingdom of God (the 2° Adam).

” And [Psa. 102:25-27 says “Thou, Yahweh/Adonay/Jehovah”], “Lord, in the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hand. (11)  They will be destroyed, but you will remain. And they [i.e., the heavens and earth] will all wear out like an article of clothing. (12)  And you will fold them up like a robe, and they will be changed like an article of clothing. But you will stay the same and your years will never end.” (13)  But which one of the angels did God ever say [this] about [Psa. 110:1], “You should sit at my right side until I put your enemies [in full subjection] beneath your feet?”” (Heb 1:10-13 AUV)

“So [then], we [Christians] should pay closer attention to the things we have heard, so that we do not drift away from [believing and practicing] them. (2)  For if the message spoken through angels proved to be binding [Note: This is a reference to the Law of Moses. See Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19], and every violation [of it] and disobedience [to it] received a just penalty, (3)  how will we escape [punishment] if we neglect such a great salvation? [For it was] first announced [to people] by the Lord and then confirmed to us [i.e., the writer and other Christians] by those who heard Him [i.e., the original apostles]. (4)  God also testified, along with those people, by [giving them] both signs and wonders and various miracles, and by [supernatural] gifts distributed [to them] by the Holy Spirit, as He desired. (5)  For God did not place the coming inhabited world [Note: “The coming inhabited world” here probably refers to the present Christian age. It was viewed as “coming” from the perspective of Old Testament times], under the control of angels [and] that is the world we are talking about.” (Heb 2:1-5 AUV)

With regards to which of the angelic messengers “emissaries”, none where invited tocome to sit next to God, but His son Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was first lower than the angels (remember God is, was and always shall be the Most High) was placed higher after his resurrection and invited to come to sit at the right hand of God to become a mediator between God and man. In case Jesus was God he could not be sitting next to himself nor take on the duty of mediator or intermediary. His position as arbitrator for man and woman would be of no value either when he would have been God and the end judge of it all. The third party has to be someone other than the principals who are involved in a transaction. In the Bible is also written that he would hand over the Kingdom of God to his Father. In case he himself is the same person as the Father there is no use nor any possibility to hand over the Kingdom to himself.

But in the text in front of us we hear about the world to come: the New World. The angels are ministering spirits, servants, with no royal dignity; having a subordinate role of serving God. God’s concern is not with angels, but with us, and He accordingly sends those angels or messengers of God, to bring help to those who will inherit salvation.

“And if children, then also lawfully-allotted ones, lawfully-allotted ones surely of God, moreover, lawfully-allotted-with the Anointed One, if- we -wholly suffer-with Him, in order that, we may also be given splendor-with Him.” (Romans 8:17 AS )

In the Old Times God shared His passion with His people, who kept stubborn and did not want to recognise the Promised One, the Christos, or Christ the Messiah. God placed Jesus in a higher position than His angels and by doing this God’s glory becomes Christ’s glory and finally, in measure, our glory also, because in him, Jesus Christ, we can be saved and become part of the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul brings some ‘with’ words in his 8° letter to the Romans (8:1-39), that testify of what we are and what we do jointly with Christ. There it is said the Anointed One should be from-within us, being lawfully-allotted ones,  joint-heirs with the Anointed, even when we ourselves still dare to groan inside ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the ransom of our body, we may find not such an adoption, becoming children of God, but also finding the redemption of the body we still have here on earth. (In this world.)

God did not spare His own son Jeshua, but delivered him up for us all. (Romans 8:32) This Jesus is raised up, and is actually at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34) In the Old World the angels were in charge.

” Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, And see the reward of the wicked.  (9)  For thou, O Jehovah, art my refuge! Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation;  (10)  There shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent.  (11)  For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.  (12)  They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:8-12 ASV)

But now God choose a cornerstone in His son, to whom angels already came to minister him in his lifetime (Matthew 4:11; cp Matthew 26:53)

” You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,  (8)  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  (9)  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:7-9 ESV)

We all share in flesh and blood, the same as the son of God Jesus Christ partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the evil, the adversary of God. For ages God’s People where thrown through and fro and often did not make a proper choice. Because of His great dissatisfaction god was not inclined any more to keep the bond of His ‘marriage’ with them alone. Too many times the Israelites were  ill-disposed to their Creator. They often behaved unlawful and that hurtled the Most High in such a way that He allowed His son to provide a New Covenant, to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:15).

God renewed His bond or covenant with His son and with the Spiritual Israel, which had to become the Church of God, the Body of Christ where the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus) would be the cornerstone, to bring the lovers of God close to Him and to put down the adversaries or hostile ones, their necks under his foot.

Besides the heavenly Bride, the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel, in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated, from her divine husband, who shall then be reunited to the Lord and be mother Church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her. Note, we ought, as Scripture does, restrict the language drawn from marriage—love to the Bride, the Church as a whole; not use it as individuals in our relation to Christ, as Rome does in the case of her nuns.” { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

In his teaching period Jesus explained that some people may prefer to stay single “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12). We should understand that by choosing celibacy to have more time to devote to proclaiming and living out God’s kingdom. They would find earthly responsibilities, such as those that go with marriage and parenting, a hindrance to their kingdom calling. This is similar to the situation of the disciples who were called away from their professions (fishermen, tax collectors, etc.) in order to follow Jesus with singular purpose. As I mentioned earlier such people consider themselves as married to Christ. They have taken Christ as their “bride“, like Jesus preferred to stay single and be the spouse or “wife of God“.

We always should remember that the Old Testament uses a lot of metaphors, and marriage is such one of them. Early Christians also used such metaphors to describe the relationship between celibate believers and Christ. Nuptial imagery is commonly used to describe salvation and heaven in the New Testament; and later Christian martyrs are sometimes called or portrayed as brides of Christ.

In the most difficult book of the bible, the apostle John describes in his vision the marriage scene in which the Bridegroom makes His Bride His wife. The ones who accept Christ as the son of God and their saviour may be glad and rejoice, and give honour now to him they wanted to follow and God raised out of the dead. He, the Lamb of God has now been taken up in heaven where the marriage of the Lamb took place. The ‘new’ wife of God or the wife for us in heaven has made herself ready in the presence of the one who is presented in fine linen, clean and white, like so many women their wedding dress. For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, the ones who are set-apart from the world.  The followers of Christ may become part of the new Israel, the new chosen people of God, though they might have been gentiles, they are now called righteous and also sons  and daughters of God. We should know that blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus Messiah. We all better listen to the true sayings of God.  We best remember what He has done for us and whom He provided for us and how we should worship that only One True God,the Father of Jesus, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;  (8)  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  (9)  And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  (10)  Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:7-10 ESV )

A woman, of course, only becomes a wife on the completion of her marriage to the man to whom she has been engaged or espoused. In this age of Grace, the church is the affianced Bride of Christ. At the marriage of the Lamb, she becomes His wedded wife (Ephesians 5:22, 23; 2 Corinthians 11:2). { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

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The "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

Conclusion

Professor King has devoted much of her scholarly career to making a case that the early church falsely constructed an orthodox understanding of Jesus that minimized the role of women. Back in 2003 she released The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, in which she argued that at least some ancient texts pointed to Mary Magdalene as an apostle. In 2012 she told the writer for Smithsonian: “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history.” {It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship}

King saying

“it does not make sense that a forger with poor Coptic and scribal skills could also manage to acquire the right kind of papyrus and ink, and leave no ink out of place at the microscopic level.”

in her judgment may be right that “such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely” and that the world has a genuine old manuscript. But this does not mean it is a worthy “gospel” fragment or a sacred text.

King said.

“Is Jesus talking about a real wife, or the church, or a sister-wife? Who is the Mary—his mother, his wife, or some other Mary entirely?”

As I tried to explain in these 10 chapters is that we might understand it that when we would like to translate it with “wife” we should understand it to be a “woman” or female person in the bond of covenant-ship of being a pupil or follower of Christ.

What also might be important is that certain conservative ideas about the role of women in church herewith would be contradicted. If the papyrus fragment reflects religious writing copied from earlier texts, perhaps ones in the fourth century, it would speak to early Christian concerns about the role of the family in the early Church, which famously called upon its adherents to put aside family and civic loyalties, King suggests.

“This is not evidence that Jesus was married. We don’t know,”

Professor King originally interpreted the document as a debate about celibacy and had said:

“But early Christians were extremely interested in questions about whether they should be married or be celibate.”

Last month she added:

‘Now when I come back and read the fragment, it seems the major issue being talked about was that Jesus was affirming that wives and mothers can be his disciples,’ she said in an interview earlier this week.

The Harvard Divinity School writes:

If ancient, this tiny, damaged fragment provides tantalizing glimpses into issues about family, discipleship, and marriage that concerned ancient Christians. The main topic of the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is one that deeply concerned early Christians, who were asked to put loyalty to Jesus before their natal families, as the New Testament gospels show. Christians were talking about themselves as a family, with God the Father, his son Jesus, and members as brothers and sisters. The particular focus in the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, however, is on women: his mother, Mary, his wife, and a female disciple. The disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy, and Jesus states that “she can be my disciple.” These signs indicate some controversy over whether women who are sexually active (mothers and wives) can be disciples of Jesus. Other early Christian writings defend marriage and reproduction against fellow Christians who think virginity and celibacy are required for all, or who argue that “women are not worthy of life.”

This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what role claims about Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife makes it possible to say that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married. This conclusion potentially has significant implications for the history of ancient Christian attitudes toward marriage, sexuality, and reproduction.

I agree with professor King that the papyrus may show that there were early Christians for whom …

“sexual union in marriage could be an imitation of God’s creativity and it could be spiritually proper and appropriate.”

For her the so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ may have been thrown out

“because the ideas it contained flowed so strongly against the ascetic currents of the tides in which Christian practices and understandings of marriage and sexual intercourse were surging.”

This representation of Jesus as a man with earthly passions and needs has not survived in the doctrines of the established churches, which emphasise celibacy and asceticism as a spiritual ideal. We as Christians should remember how Jesus preached equality between man and how we all had to love each other becoming one, united. Men and women equally united in the lord Christ Jesus, having the bride Jesus, him married to spiritual Israel, the Church.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus's wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus's Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus’s wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus’s Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

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Find in this series:

 Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

 Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

 Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

 Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

 Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

 Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

 Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

 Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

 To be continued with:

The Bride New Jerusalem

 

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Additional reading:

  1. God’s promises
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  4. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  5. Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News
  6. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  7. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  8. God’s salvation
  9. Written to recognise the Promised One
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Messiah
  13. One mediator
  14. Slave for people and God
  15. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  16. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  17. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  18. Accommodation of the Void
  19. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  20. Angels
  21. Father counterpart of the mother
  22. Invitation to all who believe
  23. Belief of the things that God has promised
  24. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  25. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  26. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  27. United people under Christ
  28. Fellowship
  29. What’s church for, anyway?
  30. Church sent into the world
  31. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  32. Misleading Pictures
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  35. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  36. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  37. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  38. Signs of the Last Days

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Please find also of interest:

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big a Mystery as Ever
Given that King announced the discovery at a professional conference and immediately made preliminary test results and high-resolution photographs available to the world, it is difficult to know what she could have done differently.   Certainly a more somber title—something in Latin perhaps—would have conveyed more nuance and garnered less attention, but getting attention for the discovery and the field was King’s aim. It used to be the case that papyrus discoveries were routinely announced on the front pages of the Times of London, but things have changed. It’s tough out there when you’re not a Kardashian, and a catchy title and clear message can go a long way. It’s rare for scholars to pass up the opportunity to reach a broader audience when the opportunity presents itself, even if that means giving up some precision.

It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship

Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment probably is not a forgery — or at least that it dates back to ancient times. The analysis suggested that the fragment dated from about four centuries later than Professor King had first suggested. This would place the fragment, if authentic, in the context of eighth-century Egypt — hundreds of years after the New Testament was written and completed.

The language used by the national media in reporting the story this time reveals the lack of confidence now placed in the fragment. The Boston Globe reported that the tests “have turned up no evidence of modern forgery,” but the reporter had to acknowledge that at least one of the scholars writing in the Harvard Theological Review insisted that the fragment is not only a forgery, but an amateurish effort. The New York Times ran a story that featured a headline announcing that the fragment “is more likely ancient than fake.” Note the uncertainty evident even in the headline.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship,”
One British newspaper notes that the claims about a married Jesus seem more worthy of fans of Dan Brown’s fictional work, The Da Vinci Code, than “real-life Harvard professors.” If the fragment is authenticated, the existence of this little document will be of interest to historians of the era, but it is insanity to make the claims now running through the media.

No Evidence of Modern Forgery in Ancient Text Mentioning Jesus’s Wife,”
Specialists said, hypothetically, that a highly skilled modern forger could have obtained the right kind of ink and meticulously applied it to a blank piece of ancient papyrus.

Determining the age of the ink using conventional testing methods would destroy the tiny document, roughly the size of a business card. Groundbreaking work by Columbia University researchers may soon uncover a way to date the ink without harming the fragment, which would offer a more definitive verdict about its authenticity.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ likely isn’t a modern forgery, scientists claim
The Vatican has previously said that the document is most likely a modern forgery, but scientists from Columbia University, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say their analysis strongly suggests that it is indeed part of an ancient manuscript and that it wasn’t edited or tampered with. The researchers used micro-Raman and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the composition of the ink, looking for clues as to whether it may have been applied after the original document was damaged.
“There is absolutely no evidence for that,” Timothy Swager, an MIT chemistry professor who worked on the project, tells the New York Times. “It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible.” The researchers dated the fragment to between the sixth and ninth century AD, noting that it bears a strong resemblance to other texts from that era.

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Is Real: What Now?
As with all scholarly work on the ancient world, it seems impossible to ever fully resolve disputes over the text and its interpretations. This isn’t the last word on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, but it is a fragment of understanding about how early Christians saw their savior.

No Forgery Evidence Seen in “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” Papyrus
One report in the journal, by epigrapher Leo Depuydt of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, claims grammatical errors dog the text and concludes, “The author of this analysis has not the slightest doubt that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that.”

Overall, he suggests that the papyrus was forged from a copy of the ancient Gospel of Thomas text, discovered less than a century ago in Egypt.

King refutes those criticisms in a response in the journal, arguing that the grammar errors are misinterpretations by Depuydt. She also argues that writings similar to the Gospel of Thomas were then prevalent in the eastern Mediterranean, so words from that gospel would not necessarily be a sign of forgery.
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In the journal reports, a chemistry team led by MIT’s Joseph Azzarelli concluded that the age of the papyrus scrap matches that of a verified Gospel of John papyrus from antiquity. The team relied on microspectroscopy of the papyrus, which found the fragment only slightly less oxidized—aged by exposure to air—than the verified gospel.

Likewise, Columbia University’s James Yardley and Alexis Hagadorn looked at the pigments in the ink on the fragment. They found it similar to “lamp black” ink used on other ancient texts.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’: Doubts Raised About Ancient Text
In an effort to confirm the origins of the papyrus and discover its history, Live Science went searching for more information about Laukamp and his descendents, business partners or friends.

Our findings indicate that Laukamp was a co-owner of the now-defunct ACMB-American Corporation for Milling and Boreworks in Venice, Fla. Documents filed in Sarasota County, Fla., show that Laukamp was based in Germany at the time of his death in 2002 and that a man named René Ernest was named as the representative of his estate in Sarasota County. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

In an exchange of emails in German, Ernest said that Laukamp did not collect antiquities, did not own this papyrus and, in fact, was living in West Berlin in 1963, so he couldn’t have crossed the Berlin Wall into Potsdam. Laukamp, he said, was a toolmaker and had no interest in old things. In fact, Ernest was astonished to hear that Laukamp’s name had been linked to this papyrus.

Is the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake after all? Fresh doubts cast over ancient papyrus that suggested Jesus was married after another in the collection with the Same handwriting is proved to be a forgery
Fresh questions over the authenticity of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ papyrus have been raised after a text from the same collection written in the same handwriting was proved to be a fake, experts say.
Debate over the fragment’s authenticity is set to continue as some will no doubt question these latest findings.
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Additional tests showed that the ink’s chemical composition is consistent with other inks used by the ancient Egyptians, while microscopic imaging found no suspicious ink pooling that critics of the papyrus said was evidence of the ink being applied in more recent times.

At the same time, other papyri from the collection were tested for means of comparison. One of those was a fragment from the canonical Gospel’ of John written in a rare ancient dialect of Coptic known as Lycopolitan. A Lycopolitan version of John, which was first published in 1924, is now available online.
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Many people over the centuries have tried to work out a ‘bloodline’ for possible descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Many historians agree that there is no historical, biblical, archaeological or genetic evidence to support the idea.

New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

Once we started carbon-dating papyrus, forgers started using authentically ancient papyrus. Once we discovered how to identify ancient ink by its chemical composition, forgers started creating precisely the same ink.

Like steroids in sports, it’s safe to assume that the best bad guys are always one step ahead of the science.

And yet, the dating of the papyrus and ink did shift the burden back on to the doubters. And just this past week, they seem to have discovered something as close to proof as we can really expect in cases like this.
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Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.
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This forgery was detected not through lab analysis but through good old-fashioned humanities-based detective work. This was Sherlock Holmes, not “CSI.”

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Looks More and More Like a Fake

Just recently, Christian Askeland, a research associate with the Institut für Septuaginta-und biblische Textforschung in Wuppertal Germany, revealed new information that casts further doubt on the papyrus’ authenticity. His work is set to be published in the journal Tyndale Bulletin and is currently posted on a blog.

Askeland analyzed a second papyrus that, according to documents published in the Harvard Theological Review, was also purchased by the anonymous owner from Laukamp. It was presented to Harvard as a papyrus believed to be genuine.

This second papyrus, which has writing on two sides, includes text from the Gospel of John — and is a fake, writes Askeland, its lines being copied from a papyrus published in 1924. In addition, the researcher notes this papyrus has similar handwriting and ink to the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, making it likely that the Jesus’s wife papyrus is also fake. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

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  • Centuries-Old Document Stirs Up Jesus Marriage Debate (fox8.com)
    A newly revealed, centuries-old papyrus fragment suggests that some early Christians might have believed Jesus was married. The fragment, written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, says in part, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …”Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1 1/2- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment on Tuesday in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.
  • ‘Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife’ Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Experts Say (huffingtonpost.com)
    “The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued,” King, whose specialties include Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, said in a statement Thursday. “This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family.”The legible lines on the front of the artifact seem to form a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples. The fourth line of the text says, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Line 5 says “… she will be able to be my disciple,” while the line before the “wife” quote has Jesus saying “Mary is worthy of it” and line 7 says, “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …”
  • The Great Debate: Death and Taxes Matthew 22:15-33 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    Jesus has boldly claimed authority as Israel’s Messiah by His triumphal entry, His cleansing of the temple, and His possession of the temple for His teaching and healing ministry (Matthew 21:1-17). It is while Jesus is ministering in the temple that His adversaries,  the religious elite of Jerusalem  choose to challenge Him publicly, demanding that He declare the source of His authority for all He has been doing (Matthew 21:23).
  • did jesus kill himself (or, maybe, have himself killed)? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Famously, some liberal theologians suggest Jesus only submitted to the cross after his example was wasted on the folk. Or, some suggest he was the first martyr. Neither of this, I think, does justice to what I am going to propose in my new dissertation. If we allow for the moment that devotio means, in its simplest form, “self-sacrifice,” then we can allow for an exploration of suicide as a form of devotio even if the proper term is not used.
  • The revelation of Jesus that John saw and heard (correctunderstandingofshinchonji.wordpress.com)
    The revelation that John saw, heard, and recorded is the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rv 1:1). Anyone who learns this revelation of Jesus is not learning from mere men; he is learning from Jesus and the angels coming in his name (Jn 14:26; Rv 10). This revelation contains prophecies and their fulfillment (Jn 14:29; Rv 21:6). The prophecies record the events of betrayal, destruction, and salvation (2Thes 2:1-3). The fulfillment of Revelation includes battles and the handling down of judgment (Rv 13; Rv 12). Revelation describes the war between God and the devil, and the battle between God’s promised pastor and the pastors of the devil (Rv 12).
  • Psalm 2 (The coming reign of Jesus on Earth) (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
    the scenario of Psalm 2:2 shows that the rulers of the earth are aware not just of God but also about Christ his anointed One. It means that the around that time (which will soon come) most people will have the Gospel preached to them as a witness. So there will be some rulers who will try to go against the Gospel teachings.
  • The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong (salon.com)
    If the essence of marriage involves a covenant-keeping relationship of mutual self-giving, then two men or two women can fulfill that purpose as well as a man and a woman can. But is lifelong commitment between two adults sufficient for realizing a Christian basis for marriage? Or is there something unique about heterosexual relationships that prevents same-sex couples from truly illustrating Christ’s love for the church?
  • The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife ~ A Rogueclassicist Perspective (rogueclassicism.com)
    We also saw some things from the Smithsonian, which may have added some gravitas to the story:

    … and it became apparent that this was connected to a documentary on the subject which was funded by the Smithsonian and which will appear on the Smithsonian Channel later this month.

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Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

When one compares the cohesive developments of scientific understanding with the diversity of religious belief in the world you will find lots of variations and many different thoughts of which some will be contradicting.

We do agree with Theo Philo, who writes:

“I must admit with Baggini, the scientific understanding seems to have more continuity globally than does religious understanding.  Although certainly there are disagreements and different schools of thought in science, there is nothing like the full blown comprehensive, fundamental, and irreconcilable contradictions that exist between different religious traditions in the world.”

“In fact, people from radically different religious traditions often find themselves working side by side in the field of science taking for granted the same scientifically established truths on which they base their further inquiries.  It seems reasonable to suppose that such cohesion in the discipline of science is largely owing to the chief method of inquiry: induction.” {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

In the previous article you could find that we do have the things that can be seen and scientifically proven, but that we do also have things which can not be seen and which can not be scientifically recorded or testified. We can witness many things we can not understand, and in the past lots of things where contributed to either natural phenomena or gods, being which should have been responsible, because many people do not want to believe that anything can happen without man intervening or without a god causing it to happen.

Today there are still lots of people who do not want to know about God, but as soon as something serious happens in their life (a death, a serious accident, an earthquake or flood) they accuse God of doing that to humankind, though God has nothing to do with it. therefore many do question:

  “What is the best explanation for the observable phenomenon of the world and the universe?”

People are mostly connected with their inner soul (their own being), their psyche, their rational and irrational thinking. They would love to make sense of one’s own personal experiences of the world rather than global or universal phenomenon in general (which would need to include the personal and social experiences of people in general—including those of other religious commitments). {Theo Philo}

The subtle nuances of Hick’s pluralist hypothesis avoid claims that all religions are different paths to the same truth and accepts as a starting point the contradictory claims of the world’s major religious traditions, views that Baggini rightly excludes as untenable. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Faith should not always be the believe in a god or in the God or be the major element of believing God’s revelation without needing any human arguments to establish it. It is easy to believe in the things we can see, hear and feel. Having faith in the things one has good evidence of is not exactly ‘faith’ but more a believe that it is so.  Faith goes a step further than just believing those things we can be aware of or which can be proven scientifically. It is also more than having the experience of something but it is associated with that inner feeling for those things which not always can be explained. It is also more than the expectation that something would happen because our reasoning just says so and it happened so often before, like the sun ‘going under’ knowing that it does not go deep under the earth or expecting the sun rise, knowing it will not come out of the underworld to lighten the upper-world.

According to Theo Philo:

It seems right to reserve the word “faith” in the common vernacular to refer to belief in God, miracles, transcendent realities and deities in the absence of the “ordinary support of evidence or argument” and therefore either go beyond reason or [at least seem to go] against it (33).  The field of apologetics in the Christian worldview that seeks defend Christian faith need not be taken to presuppose that one must have good evidence and argument before one accepts faith, but can be seen rather as more of a defense mechanism against attacks of skeptics who claim that Christian faith is irrational, as Baggini understands it (93).

Faith is the belief in things not seen yet and having hope in that what the person beliefs would be or become a reality and part of its or their own life. Faith also does not have to be build on everything which can be made clear or would have to sound sensible.

Faith is not the same as believing.  Believing in nothing is also faith, because the person has the faith he is right and the other is wrong. As such atheist also believe in things, like the world is round or did commence with the Big Bang or with something else. They also might think or believe this or that may happen when they die or with the world in the future.

All people have to make choices in their life of what they want to believe and what they want to follow as something where they can believe in or have faith in. In Scriptures we are told that we do have to make choices to take care of our life. In the Book of books is warned that we should make the right choices to find the right path, because there are many directions human being can go to.

Faith is much more than religion, believe in the seen and unseen. It is a state of mind which demands action. In the previous chapter we spoke about the Soul which was presented by the ancient philosophers and storytellers as the Psyche or Eros, which had everything to do with love, which makes us heads turn round. That ‘love‘ is an action which demands an other action. So also faith requires action. It is more than just a state of mind, a state of heart, an intent, or emotion. Biblical Faith is so much more than the worldly faith which can do not much. We do believe the words of the Holy Scriptures which tell us that the Biblical Faith can move mountains.

Faith can be found on earth, though Jesus asks his followers if it would be possible to find it when he returns (Luke 18:8). After Jesus had rested his soul and was resurrected by his Father, the apostles their soul found peace when the Comforter had given them the power to speak about their faith in Christ. Today there are still many, but not so much, who still keep the same faith as Jesus and his followers. They feel they are ‘one’, ‘united in Christ’ having one master, one faith, one hope, one and the same direction on the path of Truth and aiming to enter together the small gate to the Kingdom of God.

” (1)  I call upon you therefore, I the prisoner of the Master, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,  (2)  with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  (3)  being eager to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace –  (4)  one body and one Spirit, as you also were called in one expectation of your calling,  (5)  one Master, one belief, one immersion,  (6)  one Elohim and Father of all,1 who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Footnote: 1Mk. 12:32,34, 1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Tim. 2:5, Mk. 12:29-34.  (7)  But to each one of us favour was given according to the measure of the gift of Messiah.” (Ephesians 4:1-7 The Scriptures 1998+)

Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto the Creator of heaven and earth. Those who want to believe in God do have to take the right steps and must believe that God is the Most High, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after him. (Hebrews 11:6) Those who have faith in Christ would love to have the love Jesus had for all those around him. And there where many people with different beliefs which came to see the Nazarene. The rabbi created a pluralistic community of tolerance where unconditional love was practised and still should be practised by those who call themselves Christian. Jesus world is one where the virtue of good deeds outweighs the virtue of formal creeds and where nobody imposes doctrines on others.

Religious authority may by many placed in a denomination. But the church or community Jesus had in mind is not build on an other than God and on the person Jesus, who should be the cornerstone. In case it is constructed on a book, it should be the Book of books, the Bible or Holy Scriptures. Faith and religiosity do not lie in an other person, or institution, but in ourselves. For all people in the community believe should continuously be growing and that should make the religious wisdom ever changing. God His Revelation is continuous and we all have to grown in His Wisdom. All are created in the image of God, believers but also atheists. All have the inner feelings or that what some would call “instinct”.

Faith in God and His son brings people of the same faith together to dwell with each other in peace like brethren and sisters and helping each other to seek knowledge in God’s Gift of Knowledge and Guidance, which can be found in the Bible. In Christ we are liberated of the chains of the world and should also be willing to give all others that freedom, to serve humankind in fellowship — “to the end that all souls (= all beings) shall grow into harmony with the Divine” — Thus do we covenant with each other, and with God.

Most Non-trinitarians or Unitarians do have similar views on our relationship with others in the world, Jesus, the son of God and his Father, the Only One God. They are ware that scientists have good reason to point at the natural causes of disasters. A great deal of the suffering and injustice in the world is owing to human agency, and it is up to human agency to set it right.

According to us those who do not believe in God should still have a purpose in life, and to make the best of it they also should have certain faith in something or somewhat.

Theo Philo quotes in Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

a purpose or meaning given to a creature by its creator just isn’t necessarily the kind of purpose or meaning that we are looking for in life when we wonder what the point of living is for us.  If the only point in living is to serve somebody else’s purposes then we cease to be valuable beings in our own right and we merely become tools for others, like paper knives or cloned workers.  This is why a belief in a creator God does not automatically provide life with a meaning.

We do believe the Divine Creator has implanted in every human being the capacity to think and to make choices. Created in the image of the Creator each person has some elements of God implanted in his or her genes. This makes that each individual can use his or her brains to find the truth. For God each individual is himself or herself responsible for the choices he or she is going to make on the path of life.

God does not want to see or is interested in people being content with being a slave to someone else’s purpose and adopt that existentially for himself or herself so that it becomes not just a purpose for somebody else, but for him or her also.

Baggini compares this to a cast system where a certain class of people genuinely thinks it’s their purpose to work for the aristocracy and the upper class.  This certainly puts a dark spin on the otherwise glowing boast of theists who claim to have a “higher” purpose. {Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

It is wrong to think

the religious has to take something on complete blind trust

The Creator wants people to consider what they do. He would love to see people who make the right choice because they thought about it and have reasons to make such or such a choice. We do agree that there are many religious people who actually don’t have any clue what the meaning or purpose of life is, but that they simply trust God has one for them.

Baggini writes in his book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

“there is still the troubling doubt that a meaning that is given to us by others isn’t necessarily the kind of meaning which makes life meaningful for us. … So God or no God, if life is to be really meaningful it must be so in a way which speaks to our own projects, needs, or desires and not just the purposes of whatever or whoever created us”

Such a personal speaking in our inner self, our inner soul, is what going to form us and shall make us into the being that we shall be at the end of the ‘ride’, the ‘end of life’, when all the books of our being shall be closed and we shall find ourselves facing death in peace or in angst.

When people start the race of life, they at first have not enough background to think reasonably and to put their words and way of thinking in good order. When they get older they should come aware of what is good and and what is bad, even when they do not believe in a god or in the God. As we become older and get more knowledge we can open our mind to the “Beginning of everything” it is the Divine Creator, so that He can call us. When He calls us it it up to us to decide if we want to listen to His Words deep in us and want to find His Words in the Book of Guidance He has given the world. Once called the ball in in our camp and we do have to make the goals.

On our way we can encounter all sorts of people and can read all sorts of book, which can give us more knowledge or can get us to think so that we can build up our knowledge to come to more wisdom. With all the information we can get we can come into a state where we do not need to have scientific proof for certain things. We shall have enough knowledge to know which works (books, documents, documentaries, films) we shall be able to trust. But we shall have also enough knowledge to get to know which words we do have to follow and to believe. The seen and unseen shall than not be so important, because the mind shall be constructed to find the necessary building-stones to continue to build in faith.

When we allow knowledge and intelligence create the background for our life and are prepared to change things, we can let faith conquer. when we reached that stadium faith shall be able to give life. Than faith does the impossible. Though we should be aware that faith has to be practised and that it is dead when there are no works to proof the faith.

“(17)  Now this I say, Torah, that came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously confirmed by Elohim in Messiah, so as to do away with the promise.  (18)  For if the inheritance is by Torah, it is no longer by promise, but Elohim gave it to Aḇraham through a promise.  (19)  Why, then, the Torah? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. And it was ordained through messengers in the hand of a mediator.  (20)  The Mediator, however, is not of one, but Elohim is one.  (21)  Is the Torah then against the promises of Elohim? Let it not be! For if a law had been given that was able to make alive, truly righteousness would have been by Torah.  (22)  But the Scripture has shut up all mankind under sin, that the promise by belief in יהושע {Jeshua} Messiah might be given to those who believe.  (23)  But before belief came, we were being guarded under Torah, having been shut up for the belief being about to be revealed.  (24)  Therefore the Torah became our trainer unto Messiah, in order to be declared right by belief.  (25)  And after belief has come, we are no longer under a trainer.  (26)  For you are all sons of Elohim through belief in Messiah {Jeshua}.  (27)  For as many of you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah.” (Galatians 3:17-27 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead.  (18)  But someone might say, “You have belief, and I have works.” Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works.  (19)  You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder!  (20)  But do you wish to know, O foolish man, that the belief without the works is dead?  (21)  Was not Aḇraham our father declared right by works when he offered Yitsḥaq his son on the altar?  (22)  Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected?  (23)  And the Scripture was filled which says, “Aḇraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.”  (24)  You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.  (25)  In the same way, was not Raḥaḇ ? the whore also declared right by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  (26)  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also the belief is dead without the works.” (James 2:17-26 The Scriptures 1998+)

People of faith may look at the people of science and may listen to the men of philosophy, but they also should give priority to the Words of the Most High and trust in His guidance, trying to find out about the seen and unseen, and not just taking everything for granted, always should he be prepared to question things and to do his research.

Every day we should try to get more knowledge and consider that the Spirit fathoms all things, even the inmost depths of God’s being. For what man is there who knows what a man is, except the man’s own spirit within him? We should keep looking for answers and new things. From the beginning of creation god has given man the right to name things and to create things for himself. We should not stop trying to answer the many questions that come unto us. We also may look at the world religions where they may or may not worship a godhead. (It is wrong to think religion requires a belief in God. There has never been a universal legal definition of religion in English law, given the variety of world religions, changes in society, and the different legal contexts in which the issues arise. The court decided: Religion should not be confined to faiths involving a supreme deity, since to do so would exclude Buddhism, Jainism, and others)  The Christian religion or faith in God and in His son is all about not just A god but about the True God, though many of us may not know exactly what or Who He/She/It is. (see previous posting.) So, also, no one comprehends what God is, except the Spirit of God.  When we choose to follow Christ Jesus we took a stand and we should know that it is not the Spirit of the World that we have received, but the Spirit that comes from God, that we may realize the blessings given to us by Him.

We should speak about these gifts, not in language taught by human philosophy, but in language taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words.  The merely intellectual man, when he is vain, shall probably reject the teaching of the Spirit of God; for to him it is mere folly; he cannot grasp it, because it is to be understood only by spiritual insight. But the man with spiritual insight is able to understand everything, although he himself might be understood by no one.  For ‘who has so comprehended the mind of the Most High Supreme Being as to be able to instruct him?’

Real Christians, however, have the very mind of Christ.

“(4)  And my word and my preaching were not with persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  (5)  in order that your belief should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of Elohim.  (6)  Yet we speak wisdom among those who are perfect, and not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age that are being brought to naught.  (7)  But we speak the wisdom of Elohim, which was hidden in a secret, and which Elohim ordained before the ages for our esteem,  (8)  which no one of the rulers of this age knew, for if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master of esteem.  (9)  But as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him.”1 Footnote: 1Isa. 64:4.  (10)  But Elohim has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all matters, even the depths of Elohim.  (11)  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? So also, the thoughts of Elohim no one has known, except the Spirit of Elohim.  (12)  And we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from Elohim, in order to know what Elohim has favourably given us,  (13)  which we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Set-apart Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual matters with spiritual matters.  (14)  But the natural man does not receive the matters of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him, and he is unable to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (15)  But he who is spiritual discerns indeed all matters, but he himself is discerned by no one.  (16)  For “Who has known the mind of יהוה {Jehovah}? Who shall instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-16 The Scriptures 1998+)

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Preceding article: Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

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Please do also find to read:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  3. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  4. Experiencing God
  5. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  7. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  8. Faith
  9. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  10. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  11. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  12. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  13. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  14. Choices
  15. Always a choice
  16. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. To be chained by love for another one
  19. No man is free who is not master of himself
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  22. Choose you this day whom ye will serve
  23. It is a free will choice
  24. For those who make other choices
  25. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  26. Answering a fool according to his folly
  27. You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone
  28. What’s church for, anyway?
  29. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  30. The one who has not had a taste of love
  31. Casual Christians
  32. Christianity is a love affair
  33. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  34. What Jesus did: First things first
  35. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  36. The Greatest of These is Love
  37. A treasure which can give me everything I need
  38. The task given to us to love each other
  39. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  40. God demonstrates his own love
  41. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  42. Unarmed truth and unconditional love
  43. Unconditional love
  44. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  45. No fear in love
  46. When we love we do not need laws
  47. Love envieth not
  48. Love turns one person into two; and two into one
  49. Love is like playing the piano
  50. Love will cure more sins than condemnation
  51. If we love one another, God lives in us
  52. Spread love everywhere you go
  53. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  54. Blessed are those who freely give
  55. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  56. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  57. Work with joy and pray with love
  58. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  59. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  60. Growth in character
  61. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  62. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  63. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  64. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  65. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  66. Parts of the body of Christ
  67. Breathing and growing with no heir
  68. God loving people justified
  69. United people under Christ
  70. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

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Additional reading:

  1. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  2. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  3. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  4. Concluding Remarks :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  5. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  6. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  7. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  8. Direct Faith & Belief
  9. Understanding faith for our salvation
  10. We Have the Best Home
  11. Warning! Get Out of Her – My People!
  12. Researching outside of the Bible – is it safe
  13. “Exercise Faith” / “Believe” and the New World Translation
  14. Why Watchtower has no place criticizing other Christian faiths as unscientific

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  • Why The Big Bang? (thebuybulljournal.wordpress.com)
    The difference in The Big Bang and Creationism and why The Big Bang has credibility and Creationism has none.
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    Believing in something does not make it true. No amount of belief makes something true.
  • Come on, atheists: we must show some faith in ourselves | Zoe Williams (theguardian.com)
    This week a 23-year-old Afghan man became the first person to be granted asylum in this country on the basis of his atheism – which, his lawyers argued, would have made life impossible in his country of birth, where religion permeates every aspect of life.
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    Australia accepts the principle of atheism as a belief to be protected, while the United States doesn’t. It’s one of those things nations can cherry-pick from the fruit bowl of international law without feeling that their “civilised” status is compromised. It may be the only belief of that kind right there in the 1951 refugee convention, but with no back-up institution vulgar enough to insist upon it. That is part of our problem, us atheists: we don’t organise.
  • The Irrationality of Relying on Science Alone: God and Science Are Not At War (stopsines.wordpress.com)
    I want to be clear up front that science is not the means to “discovering” God. Science is an immanent discipline. It studies this dimension of our existence. I have always been curious then as to why we’ve tried to use it to justify our belief or lack of belief in a transcendent being. While we hold that science only tests the physical reality, we do not hold that God is bound by the dimensions of this physical reality. By nature, he is beyond time and space. This is what it means to be God. What potter is confined to the size and shape of his clay pot? God is beyond or outside of our dimensions. This is what I mean by transcendent. This is why I say that science will never arrive at God. It is an immanent discipline, testing only what is confined by time and space, and therefore cannot discover transcendent truths.
  • Philosophy v science: Julian Baggini talks to Lawrence Krauss (3quarksdaily.com)
    Julian Baggini No one who has understood even a fraction of what science has told us about the universe can fail to be in awe of both the cosmos and of science. When physics is compared with the humanities and social sciences, it is easy for the scientists to feel smug and the rest of us to feel somewhat envious. Philosophers in particular can suffer from lab-coat envy. If only our achievements were so clear and indisputable! How wonderful it would be to be free from the duty of constantly justifying the value of your discipline.Philosophy-science-009However – and I’m sure you could see a “but” coming – I do wonder whether science hasn’t suffered from a little mission creep of late. Not content with having achieved so much, some scientists want to take over the domain of other disciplines.
  • Atheists Should Accept the Grim Truth Wherever They Find It (str.typepad.com)
    Atheists should point out that life without God can be meaningful, moral and happy. But that’s “can” not “is” or even “should usually be.” And that means it can just as easily be meaningless, nihilistic and miserable.Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances. Lives can go terribly wrong in ways that can never be put right…. Not much bright about that fact.

    Stressing the jolly side of atheism not only glosses over its harsher truths, it also disguises its unique selling point. The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy.

  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
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    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
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    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Julian Baggini – Can you be too intelligent? (prn.fm)
    Our brains are incredible things, for sure, but without the motivations, desires and preferences generated by our animal natures, they would have nothing to do. At this time of the year, for example, we celebrate good food, good drink, good friends, and family – good or otherwise. From a purely rational point of view, none of these things would have any value, because reason alone distinguishes only true and false, not good and bad, better or worse.
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