Christianity / History / Religion

Historical Jesus Files: The Rationalistic View of Biblical History

Nearly 180 years ago David Friedrich Strauss analyzed what he called the rationalistic doctrine of historical Jesus studies.  It is here where the biblical scholar peels back the layer upon layer of myth and legend associated with the Jesus story in order to arrive at the true kernel of some past individual from which the entire … Continue reading

Christianity / History / Religion

The Great Commission: How can anyone take the New Testament seriously?

Here is the famous closing to Matthew, describing what the post-resurrection Jesus said to his disciples (and all subsequent believers):

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20 (RSV)

Here’s Paul talking about his calling from God: Continue reading

Atheism / Christianity / Religion

Antichrist and the End of the World

Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, ~1499-1502 (Source: Wikipedia)

Let’s look at the Christian concept of “antichrist.”

Using my bible software to search the term I came up with four verses: 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7. Let’s start with 1 John 2:18, RSV:

Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.

Right away you see a problem for Christians, at least if you want to apply notions of the Antichrist to current events. The anonymous author of this passage was probably writing somewhere around 1,900 years ago yet claims to be living in the final hour before Christ’s return. He’s not talking about some date way off in the future. To any honest reader the last hour can only mean one thing: the author assumes he and his readers were living in the end times. Continue reading