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Things the christian church doesn't want you to know
The Christian church has a lot of secrets. Some of them are pretty scary; some of them are quite interesting. Most of them they'd prefer to never see the light of day. Here are a few interesting things about Christianity that most Christians don't even know.
Nowhere in the bible does God say abortion is a sin
The "Pro-Life" movement is a fundamental arm of the Christian church. Most religious people believe it's their God-given duty to protect the lives of unborn children.
The reality is, nowhere in the bible does it say God does not approve of abortions or that they are a sin. Nowhere. In fact, the bible documents many cases of God performing abortions, or telling his followers to murder pregnant women. The bible also makes it clear that a fetus is not a person, should not be counted in a census, and is considered property as opposed to a life.
For more details see: Abortion and the bible.
There's no direct evidence Jesus historically existed
You will hear a lot of preachers authoritatively say Jesus was a real person, "It's a fact."
Unfortunately these people are either ignorant, lying, or haven't done their own research and are taking as fact what someone else told them. The truth is, There are no actual first-hand accounts that Jesus existed. In the world of history, we call it "contemporaneous accounts" and it's a critical aspect of evidence to prove something or someone was real. In the case of Jesus of Nazareth, all the evidence is hearsay.
But what about the gospels? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
The first thing Christians point to in order to prove Jesus was real are the four gospels - the stories of his life. Surely that proves he was a real person, right?
The first problem with the gospels is: Nobody knows who their authors were. The names "Matthew", "Mark", "Luke" and "John" are arbitrary. There's no indication those named people were the original authors. Biblical scholars often use codes to indicate who an author was, not indicative of identity, but writing style and bits of information from their writings that give clues as to when the passages were written (i.e., If we know a historical event like the destruction of a temple that happened at a particular time and we have multiple accounts of it from different sources, then we have a date, and if the writer mentions this event, we have clues to indicate that the scripture had to have been written after that date). In cases such as this, scholars can speculate for example, that the person who wrote Luke, also wrote the book of Acts. But in many cases, that's about as specific as they can get to the identity of the authors of the gospel.
Furthermore, there's no evidence any of the authors of the gospels ever knew Jesus personally, and many of them had no knowledge of many aspects of Jesus life. There's also plenty of evidence to indicate that the four gospels had a singular common origin, and that, instead of four perspectives on one character, what you really have are four different translations of an earlier source document. If you go through the gospels side-by-side, you can clearly see that they all share similarities that indicate they were copied from the same source, but embellished along the way by each copyist.
Most importantly, the gospels are hearsay. None of the authors were there. The earliest copy of any gospel is at least 30-40 years after the time period when Jesus was around. There's no indication anyone who wrote the gospels ever knew Jesus personally.
As you will discover later on, it might be reasonable to assume something so old would be lost to antiquity and not surprising there are no writings from the time when Jesus lived that have survived. Except there are writings from the time that have survived, and the churches have maintained power and protection since those times and there's no reason for such records to have been lost or destroyed unless the records themselves point to the possibility that nobody at that time knew of the Jesus character.
But there were historians of the time who wrote of Jesus, like Tacitus and Josephus
Well, not exactly. This is another area where even many preachers are ignorant.
It is speculated that Jesus was born around 3-0BC and died some time around 33AD. Nobody argues that.
It's also established that both Tacitus and Josephus weren't even born until after Jesus died. This is another fact that is uncontested by all major scholars.
The two most cited "contemporary" examples that point to Jesus' existence are the writings of two Roman historians: Josephus and Tacitus. Here's the problem: It's all hearsay. Neither Josephus nor Tacitus ever lived during Jesus time, so even if their mentions of Jesus was real and not a forgery (which is suspected due to the context in which the Jesus phrases were inserted into their work), it is obvious they never knew Jesus and were only reporting something they heard. Josephus supposedly wrote of Jesus in his published work, "Antiquities of the Jews" around 94AD. That's 60 years after Jesus died! Most scholars, even Christians, recognize that Josephus' work was probably forged by later Christians to include the Jesus reference, but it's still moot because he wasn't a contemporary. The same thing goes for Tacitus, who was born in 56AD, at least 20 years after Jesus supposedly died.
The bottom line is: nobody who was alive during Jesus time ever wrote of him or knew him. There are records that have survived from the time period when he was around in Rome, but nothing about Jesus. This would be expected if he was just an ordinary person, but not someone who was going around performing miracles, being worshipped as the savior, rabble rousing and then being crucified and later raised from the dead! The fact that nobody at the time knew anything about this is very unusual.
For more information and details about who "should have noticed", look at A Silence That Screams.
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