It’s Chanukkah! Let’s Talk About The Greeks (and their dying gods).

Starting today I’m home from work for ten days as the Center closes for winter break. It’s always a nice (forced) vacation. But it is particularly timely because we can finish out the rest of Chanukkah unencumbered by work concerns and can donate our attention to family time and hopefully to discussions about our beliefs and where we will go from here.

So we’re getting ready for Chanukkah IV and Shabbat; cleaning, running errands, the norm. Then the thought occurred to me: I don’t have to prepare for anybody else other than myself and my family. There won’t be a houseful of people coming tomorrow. I can actually spend Shabbat with my family! I took a very easy deep breath of relief. I wonder if we’ll visit a shul or if we’ll decompress at home? Either way it will be a welcomed change of pace from the messy life of messianics.

Speaking of that, I was able to gently force a conversation with my wife last night about the book Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe In Jesus. One small part of it touches on this scenario:

Who does this sound like to  you?

  • He is said to be G-d made flesh, the savior and the Son of G-d
  • His father is G-d and his mother is a mortal virgin
  • He is said to be born in a cave on December 25th before shepherds
  • He offers his followers the chance to be born again through baptism
  • He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony
  • He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm branches to honor him
  • He dies as a sacrifice for the sins of the world at Easter
  • After his death he descends to hell and on the third day rises from the dead and ascends to heaven in glory
  • His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days
  • His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine, which symbolize his body and blood

If you said Jesus, you’d only partly be right. It also describes the life of Osiris-Dionysus a.k.a. Bacchus.

"Bacchus" by Caravaggio.

Bacchus

Most educated Christians already know these things and despite the fact that these myths occur before Jesus’ time, they explain it away with the very uneducated and feeble argument of Diabolical Mimicry–that somehow the Devil in his wisdom (and apparent independence from G-d) created mock scenarios of Jesus’ life and mission so as to confuse people for when the real “Son of G-d” would come to the scene. How utterly helpful.

I don’t know the effect this is having on her yet but I’m hoping we can continue to talk about the many facets that comprise the lie of Jesus and the religion of Messianic Judaism/Christianity.

The Temptation of Christ, 1854
17 comments
  1. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Yawn.

    http://www.bede.org.uk/jesusmyth.htm

    My favorite part of the treatise:

    “Language is important. Christian terms such as ‘salvation’, ‘Eucharist’, ‘word made flesh’ and ‘lamb of god’ are common currency today. Therefore when translating or paraphrasing pagan sources always use modern Christian language. Never mind that the ancient pagans would not have known what you were on about – you are not talking to them. In this way you can call a woman being raped by various kinds of wildlife a ‘virgin birth’, you can call having ones body parts stuck back together a ‘resurrection’ and you can call just about every Greek hero a ‘son of god’. Also it is helpful to use King James Bible phrases and style when quoting pagan texts. It gives them some more gravitas.”

    JM, I understand if you no longer believe Jesus is the Messiah, but why do you have to go after fringe theories to justify yourself? This is tin-foil hat stuff. Even atheists laugh at it. Don’t believe me?

    http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/2011/05/nailed-ten-christian-myths-that-show.html

    Come back to sanity please. Nobody in their right mind, who has actually read Greek mythology, would compare Jesus and Bacchus. And equating him with the Egyptian deity Osiris? Do you know anything about this subject area? Perhaps you should research your source material before blindly using it to construct arguments.

    What’s your problem? These are not the actions of a man in his right wits, especially someone generally as rational and knowledgable as yourself. You appeared to have a good head on your shoulders when we met, so what gives? Why are you tearing down everything you’ve worked for so callously?

    I suggest you do further research, on both sides of the Jesus issue, from more reliable, scholarly, mainstream sources before moving forward on the whims of crackpots. If my language seems inflammatory, it’s intended as a shock to slap you back to sense. You stepped on some major conservative Jewish toes with that open letter of yours.

    There’s no glory in martyrdom if you do it to yourself.

  2. Geoffrey Miller said:

    “Most educated Christians already know these things and despite the fact that these myths occur before Jesus’ time, they explain it away with the very uneducated and feeble argument of Diabolical Mimicry–that somehow the Devil in his wisdom (and apparent independence from G-d) created mock scenarios of Jesus’ life and mission so as to confuse people for when the real “Son of G-d” would come to the scene. How utterly helpful.”

    What kind of Christians have you been dealing with? Certainly not educated ones. Educated ones would be more like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, Pope Benedict XVI, N. T. Wright, G. K. Chesterton, Etienne Gilson, Scott Hahn, Francis Beckwith, Peter Kreeft, heck, even Lee Strobel and his gang and many consider them lightweights.

    I have nowhere, not once, encountered or read anything as absurd as you cite as the “educated” Christian’s best argument. The Christian world you inhabited must have been very, very small indeed. I’m afraid much of what you know is in error. But to understand, you’ll need to open your mind and read. I’d be happy to recommend sources, but warning–dig too deep and you may end up Catholic like me. If you want resources and recommendations, just ask.

    First, throw your prejudices out the window. Including those related to anti-semitism. And forget about your master’s degree (was it even from an accredited institution?).

  3. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Clarification: Many consider Lee Strobel &co. to be lightweights, but I do not. I think they are fine apologists.

  4. The reason that you have never seen such an argument before is because you, sir, are yourself not versed in this area. The argument of “Devilish Mimicry” was first expressed in writing by the early church father Tertullian (ca. 160 – ca. 200 CE), who was one of the most prolific early church writers. Such theories of mimicry as expressed by Tertullian and others were necessary in defense of their new religion precisely because the “life of Jesus” presented in the gospels was so close that it was nearly identical to the mythical lives of the popular and well-known Roman gods that were mentioned. The many references in the NT to pagan terminology – especially in Paul’s letters – often was a source of religious embarrassment to the emerging Christians as they strove to prove themselves within the Roman empire.

    If you are unfamiliar and unversed in the basic history and teachings of the Catholic church and its followers, perhaps you should do some reading. With the Internet, most of these texts are available in English online without cost. You may benefit from becoming knowledgable about your own faith’s teachings before you begin to tell others about them.

    The fact is that subjects such as the concept of a virgin birth has no precedent or ante-cedent in the Tanakh or Jewish literature AT ALL. Rather, it was a thoroughly non-Jewish concept that was rampant in the ancient world. Persia, India, China, Japan, Rome, Greece, Egypt, and others all had virgin birth myths about their hero/savior gods from ancient times. Any serious scholar knows about this and sees these connections. Quoting sites that exploit these claims to make the imbalanced claim that Jesus never existed is merely trying to embarrass your competition (your aims in this are proven by your snide remarks and personal attacks throughout your comments).

    The “Jesus Myth” theory or any other that attempts to prove that Jesus never existed is incorrect in its conclusions. But this does not undo the very real facts of the strong parallels between the Gospels and such mythology. Rather, Jesus certainly did exist, but by the time that the gospels were written down, compiled, and edited the popular religious myths of Rome were already fused with the life of Jesus and the events of his life were set along a familiar timeline to that of Bacchus and Osiris, et al. What did not occur in the life of Jesus was simply made up (e.g. the virgin birth narratives, the resurrection narratives, etc). This happened due to the intense influx of Roman non-Jews through the work of Paul and his colleagues.

    Psychological studies have proven that when people are sloppy in their research in an effort to be expedient and then proceed to attack the other party with sarcasm in a religious discussion, it is merely to cover up how much they truly doubt their beliefs on the inside and are trying to hold on to them out of fear. I suspect that the reason you made such a disrespectful effort to write out your comments and fill them with such venom is because the fact that your religion amounts to rehashed pagan mythology mixed with Judaism is extremely troubling and embarrassing to you as a Christian.

    I further suspect that the “toes” that were stepped on were your own, and not those of religious Jews. I say this since an open letter telling Jewish leaders that Christians and Messianics are regularly showing up as imposters at their synagogues and lectures, and further offering assistance to point them out, could not possibly hurt the toes of Jewish leaders, but is instead a direct blow to those liars and thieves who participate in such deceptions.

    Please quit questioning the education of others before you have obtained one for yourself.

    Good day,

    Yehudah

  5. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Alright, how is this a “Virgin birth” of Bacchus?

    ***
    Dionysus had a strange birth that evokes the difficulty in fitting him into the Olympian pantheon. His mother was a mortal woman, Semele, the daughter of king Cadmus of Thebes, and his father was Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus’ wife, Hera, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that Zeus was the actual father of the baby in her womb. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood. Though Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he agreed. Therefore he came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals, however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in the ensuing blaze. Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh. A few months later, Dionysus was born on Mount Pramnos in the island of Ikaria, where Zeus went to release the now-fully-grown baby from his thigh. In this version, Dionysus is born by two “mothers” (Semele and Zeus) before his birth, hence the epithet dimētōr (of two mothers) associated with his being “twice-born”. [1]
    ***

    Having an affair with a mortal woman, according to many accounts disguised as a bull, is hardly virgin birth. I’ve looked through several books and sources on mythology to find the claims Jeisyn made. I cannot substantiate any of them for either of the gods mentioned. If you could cite your sources, that would be very beneficial.

    Moreover, the only birth story I could find on Osiris is that of Plutarch. Again, I can find none of Jeisyn’s claims.

    http://www.jimloy.com/egypt/osiris.htm

    I’d like to point out the extremely fanciful, surreal, otherworldly approach of these mythologies compared to the relatively mundane and earthly text of biblical narrative. We’re dealing with two completely disparate genres which served entirely different purposes to their readers. Stephen Larsen is a great author in this area and is very good at explaining the role of the extremely bizarre mythology of most of the ancient world.

    Concerning Tertullian, I am unfamiliar with his writings. There are several hundred Church fathers, all of which have varying degrees of importance to different theological traditions within Catholicism. If you could please reference the relevant passages on diabolical mimicry, I would be happy to comment. So far, I could only find references on a few message boards and independent Web sites.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus#Birth

    • The only reason that Bacchus is even mentioned is because, as you may discover as you learn a little about the history of religious syncretism in the ancient world, and especially in the Greek and Roman eras, empires attempted to line up their own pantheons with the pantheons of the kingdoms and cultures which they absorbed. Thus, the god Bacchus was equated by the Romans with the Egyptian deity Osiris. However, when you look into Egyptian mythology, you find that the mythos of Osiris changed and that there were several versions of his cult and many versions of his son, Horus, with some references being to a conflated Osiris-Horus. So, you cannot simply learn about Bacchus legends and then equate them with Osiris legends because they won’t be the same. Naming the gods side by side in scholarly discussion is a shorthand meant for those familiar with this subject. The light shed on the Jesus story from Greek versions of similar myths, such as those associated with Bacchus, is that the resulting god-men were seen as the incarnations of the supreme god – most often a womanizing Zeus. This theme is a separate issue that could be discussed as paralleling Christianity, i.e. that of human incarnations of deity.

      I also think that your assertion that there are “hundreds of church fathers” is comical since the official record – being generous – shows that there were less than fifty. Again, you want me to give you sources? The burden of proof is on you, sir, since I have actually done the research, where you are grasping at chance articles that you accidentally find while Googling.

      You are covering for your own ignorance because you are embarrassed. In my last comment, I asked you to visit a l-i-b-r-a-r-y, not to just continue to discuss things you have already admitted you know nothing about.

      You may just want to do what Pablo Christiani was asked to do during his debate with Nachmanides: just stop talking. You see, the more he spoke, the more he was shown to be completely wrong and incapable of defending Christianity. It seems to be the same for you; the more you comment, the worse it gets for you.

      Remember, l-i-b-r-a-r-y NOT search engines.

      I will not help you with providing sources. If you can’t find them, then you don’t deserve to be a part of this discussion.

      Happy Saturnalia,

      Yehudah

      • Geoffrey Miller said:

        Wikipedia lists approximately 150 Church fathers, and this is a conservative listing.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Church_Fathers

        I believe that qualifies as hundreds. And I have referenced some books on the claims, but cannot find them. Besides, online resources are more convenient for readers. And there are collections of Tertullian’s writings available on the Web.

        However, when you make claims saying “Jesus is exactly like Osiris because…,” you need to cite the source documents for your claims. I can say anything I wish and tell another person to go look in a library, but that’s not very good scholarship.

        Also, I publicly apologized to Jeisyn for using ad hominem in my initial postings. It was wrong and an act of raw and misguided emotion. But the tone of your subsequent posts is arguably worse than mine. I apologize for riling you up like that.

      • Geoffrey Miller said:

        Oh, little typo. I cannot find the books I referenced online so readers may assess them. It would be quite silly for me to reference books I couldn’t find!

      • Geoffrey Miller said:

        And Yehudah, happy Chanukah! I can’t believe I almost forgot. Is it the fifth or sixth night?

  6. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Also, concerning the article I linked on “Jesus Mythers,” the relevant portion is “Pagan Similarities.” I feel that Jeisyn is massaging his source material to create similarities where none, in fact, exist. I apologize that I was unclear in my argument. In an earlier post, Jeisyn equated Jesus with Mithras, so it was not unreasonable to assume that he was arguing the non-existence of Jesus and his composition from pre-existing pagan mythology.

  7. Perhaps you still don’t understand. You were perfectly clear in your arguments, it’s just that you were completely mistaken. Not only were you mistaken in your attribution of “Jesus Myth” motives to Jeisyn, but your very arrogant tone combined with your complete incomprehension of even basic historical facts is what I was responding to in my comments.

    It certainly was unreasonable to assume what you did, as you only had the short caption of an image inserted into the post upon which to base your tirade. I suspect that your true motives in any forum in which you decide to express your brute ignorance is to simply make fun of your opposition and their views so that you don’t have to engage in any real scholarly discussion – something for which you repeatedly show yourself to be completely unsuited.

    As for the equation of Jesus with Mithras and your claim that no similarities exist between them, you still persist in your gross lack of familiarity with early Christian writers. Both Tertullian and Justin Martyr – two of the earliest and well-known patristic authors – comment specifically on the striking similarities between the rites associated with the worship of Mithras and those associated with Jesus (e.g. initiatory baptism, a commemorative meal, a sign of the cross on the forehead, et al). Their explanation for these relationships is the argument of “Devilish Mimicry” (i.e. that the Devil somehow pre-counterfeited the life of Jesus within various mythologies) mentioned previously. Are you sure that you are a studied Catholic?

    Many other such relationships exist between early Christian practices, elements of the Gospel narratives, Catholic iconography – and the rites, mythology, and iconography of non-Jewish idolatrous cultures that pre-date Jesus and Christianity by sometimes hundreds of years. One such striking example is the Temple at Luxor in Egypt, which was built in ancient Thebes and dates to 1400 BCE. On the walls of the Luxor temple, the mythos of the cult represented there is told in sculptures, text, and artwork. The story is told of the Egyptian god Thoth announcing to the virginal queen Mut-Emwa that she is about to become pregnant and give birth. Another god, Khonsu, impregnates the divine queen by holding a cross to her lips (the cross was a symbol of life and fertility to the ancient Egyptians). She then gives birth – apparently to a child that is the virgin-born son of queen Mut-Emwa and also the incarnate son of Amun-Ra – and the child is visited by three figures who offer him gifts. The similarities between this and the later Mary, Gabriel, Jesus, and the Magi – along with the religious symbol of the cross – are very telling. There are many, many such parallels between Christianity and pre-existing pagan mythology. To someone who has actually taken the time do the research instead of simply deciding what they will believe regardless of the historical realities, the amount of evidence in this regard is overwhelming.

    You see, sir, that in the course of discussing a subject, there is a concept known as “onus probandi” – the “burden of proof.” What this means is that when someone makes an assertion of any kind, that individual has to bring sufficient evidence to substantiate his claim. This is especially true if the assertion flies in the face of established and well-known facts. You see, while I am able to substantiate the claims that there are pre-Christian parallels in mythology to the Jesus story – and certain elements of the Gospel narratives – you have not been able to likewise for your claims. You, like a drone who has no thought other than what it has been programmed to say, just continue to make baseless assertions that are in denial of what almost the entire world of historians, Egyptologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists know and have known for quite a long time. In fact, the church fathers – such as Tertullian, Justin Martyr, and others – also knew it. It seems the only person who isn’t aware of these things is you.

    If you want my advice, I think that instead of ridiculing the “Devilish Mimicry” argument postulated by the church, you should read up on it and then adopt the position, holding onto it with both hands. Not only is it the best that Christian arguments have to offer in this discussion, but it will also allow you to have a “religious exemption” from having to actually answer to the facts or give sufficient evidence for your assertions. The position of outright denial that you expressed previously only serves to rob you or your comments of any respect.

    Research of any kind is generally done in a building filled with books covering a wide variety of subjects.

    It’s called a library.

    Yehudah

  8. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Is one of your source books “Sixteen Crucified Saviors” perhaps? This sounds like the content of that book. It has been totally discredited in the secular academy, which is where my training in comparative religion comes from. I am familiar with many of the points you have mentioned, but as far as I know, these were at best overzealous inferences by rationalist propagandists during the Enlightenment, and at worst, complete fabrications. I would be interested in knowing your sources, because what you say does not line up with mythology as I know it.

    A very good online article, which references credible sources, can be perused at a reader’s pleasure here: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/JesusEvidenceCrucifiedSaviors.htm

    Again, online sources a very convenient for our readers, and we must keep their needs in mind.

    I did check into the writings of the Church Fathers you mentioned, and here is a relevant passage in Justin Martyr’s letter to Typhro which I had forgotten about. I honestly had no idea some have made it the basis of such an elaborate theological counterargument.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.lxix.html

    From the context, it seems that Justin is attempting to attract pagans to Christianity. He does indeed know that the mythology he references is very different from the historical claims of New and Old Testament documents. It is also worth noting that he mentions similarities between the ancient Jews and the worship of their pagan neighbors, of which there are quite a few parallels. Modern scholars are not unaware of these.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_mythology#Comparative_mythology

    I would like to add that this article does not go into similarities of worship. We know that kingdoms surrounding Israel and Judah had religions with specialized tribes of priests, centralized national temples, sacred covenant boxes, and animal sacrifice for atonement of sins. Law codes are also laid out in much the same format as they are in the Torah, with the specific blessing/curse arrangement notable in ancient near East cultures.

    Of course, once one gets beyond the superficialities, distinctions between Judaism and other religions that arose in the fertile crescent are quite sharp. But so it is with Christianity. If Christianity needs the plea of diabolical mimicry as you assert, then Judaism certainly does as well. Just look at the flood stories for starters.

  9. WIkipedia is well-known for its errors and equivocations. “Hundreds” of church fathers. If you count church writers into the 10th and 11th century as “early church fathers” then I guess, heck, why not throw in the Dominicans and Franciscans of the middle ages, or Martin Luther too. He was pretty much a writer of the early church, right? Usually when one speaks of “Church Fathers” in an academic setting, they are referring to a time within the first 3-4 centuries. But then again, who knows when to start counting for that reckoning? Should we start with Peter or the Constanine at the Council of Nicaea?

    Christians always go to the Tanakh and start bull-dozing the accounts of national and world history that it contains when they feel that the limits of their ability to defend the authenticity of their religion has been reached. So funny. Jews are well-aware of the parallels between its own account of history and the contemporary accounts and traditions from other cultures. It only serves to strengthen the idea that such events took place. Since there are flood stories told similarly from almost every culture on earth, does that serve to disprove the Tanakh? That would be like saying, “Well, since everyone agrees that it happened, the Bible must be wrong.” The logic in this common train of Christian thought completely evades me.

    Tell me, is it “Diabolical Mimicry” to have the devil pre-counterfeit the events of history that would be written down in the Tanakh? So he orchestrates the events of history and their belong recorded by cultures and civilizations worldwide? The implications of this only lead to absurdity. We Jews do not need any such plea and we have never made such claims. Or are you trying to say that just as the “devil” mimiced the events of history to later prove that the Tanakh contains real historical events, that he also mimiced Christianity to later prove that it contained real idolatry and mythology? If so, I agree whole-heartedly.

    You should know that Jews have never been bothered by our Torah or Tanakh being similar to other ancient Near Eastern writings or cultures because such parallels prove it to be a historical document. These things do not bother us, rather they encourage us in our religion. I do find it funny, however, that Christians’ argument in favor of just believing the irrational and unbiblical nonsense presented as “truth” in Christianity is that “if we start to think honestly, then everything will fall apart, so we just adopt a blind faith.” Not only is this ludicrous, but shows just how little authenticity is contained in their religion and its history. We Jews have never been afraid to ask any of these questions.

    Please quit being simplistic. You think that I am just giving direct quotes as if learning about history was like reading a newspaper? One researches, reads the conclusions of scholars, and formulates a broad understanding in his mind from everything that he or she has read. No, the books above (nor the links) are my sources. And, no, I never said “Jesus is like Osiris because…” Quit being simplistic. I am finished engaging you in this discussion because it is frankly a waste of time being that after several comments, you have remained firm in your dedication to ignorance. You continually throw out more and more nonsense because you are desperate not to look foolish for maintaining a belief in Christianity and further by not being able to properly defend it. Go ahead, write a response filled with feigned apologies and an attempt to look like the victim of my “tone.” I am sure that no one reading this feels sorry for you. You began this discussion by posting your disrepsectful drivel, so if you can’t take it when knowledgable people forcefully disagree with you and hold you responsible for what you say, then next time think before starting up.

    Further, since we Jews don’t have the directive to “love our enemies” (which Christians continue to fail dismally at) or to “bless those who curse us,” your apology for your “act of raw and misguided emotion” is not accepted. I do not forgive you.

    And don’t “Happy Hanukkah” me you disingenuous anti-Semitic liar. I know that to you I am just a xenophobic Jewish supremecist who is guilty of genocide. And hey, why haven’t you called me a “christ-killer” and accused me of deicide yet? You probably think I am part of a world-wide plot to subjegate the goyim through the world banking system. Which night is it you want to know? Look at a calendar. You don’t care about me, my people, and least of all do you care about Hanukkah, so don’t patronize me with your fake attempts at being cordial.

    Completely sickened by you,

    Yehudah

  10. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Yehudah, I have put ad hominem aside. Why do you persist?

  11. Geoffrey Miller said:

    You seem awful defensive…have the tables been turned by any chance?

    And don’t be ridiculous. I love the Jewish people. I merely oppose fundamentalism and ignorance in any religion. Strange conspiracy theories about one race secretly wanting to subjugate another is precisely one of the many things I’ve written against. And I don’t believe in attributing corporate guilt to people. All the ancient Hebrews are dead, so what culpability could you possibly have supposing the campaign against the Canaanites really were genocide? This blaming of an entire group of people for the wrongs of individuals no longer living is one of the problems I see with fundamentalist Judaism.

    And I would never impugn the Jewish people with some collective guilt for crucifying Jesus. Again, same reason–corporate guilt is an invalid and barbaric concept. And the New Testament, in the passion narrative, has the Jews calling Jesus’ blood upon them, with the clear connotation that they are unknowingly asking redemption and forgiveness.

    It was wrong of me to write my initial posts with such a polemic charge, but it seems that one good thing came from my stumble–your true character appears to have been revealed. Will you be able to recover a neutral tone, or will you succumb to the same rhetorical foible you cautioned me about? The more outrageous your personal attacks, the more desperate and insecure you appear. Do you not see how you’re working against yourself?

    The claim that many portions of the Old Testament are founded on earlier pagan mythologies and practices, unlike the claims you’ve presented about Jesus, is accepted by the vast majority of scholars, both Jew and Gentile. My point is, the pagan-origin sword cuts both ways and one should be very careful wielding it. I could easily spoof Jeisyn’s post about Jesus and Bacchus to equate Noah and Utnapishtim, Adam with Gilgamesh, and Yahweh with Vishnu. The point is to show that your present argument, if true, could be used to demolish your own belief system. Hopefully, this will give you pause to think about it and see if something is wrong with it.

    Also, like many fundamentalists, you seem prone to misrepresenting your own religion’s teachings on matters that could get in the way of a hyper-aggressive, macho stance toward outsiders.

    I present to any readers of this thread the real, rich, reasonable, authentic Jewish teaching on forgiveness: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/repentence.html

    I hold absolutely no grievance against you, Yehudah. “Withholding forgiveness is considered cruel and is itself a sin.”

  12. Geoffrey Miller said:

    Another relevant quotation from the article linked: “However, there are at least two common offenses, defrauding the public and damaging another person’s good name, in which the damage inflicted comes dangerously close to being irrevocable. In the first instance, it is nearly impossible to locate and compensate every individual who has been defrauded; in the second, it is equally difficult to find every person who has heard and accepted an ugly rumor (see Lashon ha-Ra). The point is not to demoralize would­be penitents, but to underscore how cautious people must be before committing acts that have irrevocable consequences.”

    Please be careful, brother. By your own standards, you are coming dangerously close to this. I have said nothing of the sort of things you are speaking against me.

  13. I am not your brother, but I think that I was a little harsh.

    “Ad Hominem” or not, I really don’t feel like discussing religion with you further. There are several reasons for this:

    1) My initial repsonses were merely to show you that you were not so correct as you thought afterall. I displayed this clearly and the discussion has changed into you acting the saint, and I the villian. Correspondence with someone having your attitude is rather maddening. First you waltz into the discussion with all kinds of arrogance and pomp, and then when you are met with the timbre that I used, you suddenly turn into a sheepish and righteous little lamb who never meant any harm. Remember, we can read your earlier posts, too.

    2) You have proven that you will believe what you believe in spite of facts to the contrary. The fact is that there ARE parallels between paganism and Christianity; other gods and Jesus. But this does not matter to you because you believe what you believe. The reality is that Christianity is not provable as a Bible-based religion. Most of its claim to authenticity comes from the NT and that is that it has a long history with many followers (both of which are irrelevant). But even if the mythology parallels did not exist, the teachings of Christianity are in direct contradiction to the Tanakh. So the nature of your faith is merely to assert reality rather than to take what the Torah says into account. Miracles, god-men, new additions to Torah, cancellation of commandments, popes, and all the rest – it doesn’t matter how or who, they are 100% unacceptable to Torah Judaism. This is an impasse between us from the outset.

    3) You have inundated this blog with posts in an apparent effort to turn this into your own forum for expressing your opinions and starting religious arguments. The fact is that this blog is not for that purpose and, again, the only reason I began responding to your comments in the first place is because such nonsense and arrogance just should not be allowed to stand without answer. Despite what you may believe, you do not have an equal right to air your opinions and to express yourself on the blog of another.

    The direction of the discussion is now on the cusp of a disputation of sorts between Catholicism and Judaism. I have absolutely no interest in this, no matter how rousing it may be. This is not the forum for that sort of event and I have absolutely nothing to prove to you. Like I said several times before, the “onus probandi” is on you – and Christianity in general. We received the Torah, wrote it in our language, canonized the Tanakh, and have preserved it for millenia. It says that no one can add or detract after Moses…period. So when Christianity comes to overturn all of this and to tell the Jews that they have a need to depart from their ancient tradition in some way, the burden to prove this falls squarely on them, not on us. If you want to know about what I believe, feel free to study Orthodox Judaism. I already know what you believe, have studied it thoroughly, and have rejected it outright.

    And please don’t talk to me about authentic Jewish teachings on anything. We jews have absolutely nothing to learn from you, although I think that with the violent history of the Catholic church – while oddly teaching to “love your enemies” – they could take a lesson from Judaism WHICH HAS NO SUCH HISTORY.

    In conclusion, I bid you good day.

    Yehudah

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