April 9, 2007

Thoughts on Passover and Easter

First off, I stayed clear of both celebrations this year. I didn't even accompany my wife to my neighbour's house for Easter turkey, or whatever it is people eat on Easter.

I admit, I watched a few National Geographic's and Discovery Civilization "documentaries" about Jesus and the Exodus. Now, you have to understand, it has only been three years since I made the discovery that a historical Jesus and a historical Exodus have zero contemporary evidence attached to either. I always assumed that lots of Jews left Egypt around 3200 years ago, and that Jesus was a Jewish rebel rabbi.

For me, it started innocently enough. I was just looking for descriptions of what Jesus looked like from historical sources, because at the time there was lots of news about Mel Gibson's The Passion, which was just announced as going into production.

I started doing internet searches, and wound up finding out that there is no historical evidence that Jesus even existed. In fact, there were lots of similar stories to what the Christ story evolved into over time. There is historical evidence that the similar stories were part of the cultural myths, and they were there way before Jesus supposedly lived.

The Exodus revelation happened for me in a similar way. Actually a Jew hater asked for evidence that Jews left Egypt around 3200 years ago. Again, I did my internet searches, and now I'm convinced that Judaism most likely combined the Zoroastrian beliefs and the monotheistic views of Akhenaten. There is very little out there to make me believe that Judaism even existed prior around 700 BC and perhaps, it is even younger than that, when Ezra wrote the myths down. That could have easily been the birth of Judaism. For sure, there is no evidence whatsoever that Jews were slaves in Egypt, and the numbers who supposedly left were improbable regardless of evidence (but so are the plagues).

Watching from the perspective of knowing that no evidence exists, when tons of evidence should exist (please apologists, just shut up on this one), I just shook my head a lot and watched theologians and pseudo historians explain what happened.

To me, when it comes to these dolts trying to figure out/make excuses as to whether Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married or had sex, for example, is like watching someone trying to figure out if The Cat In The Hat was gay or not.

If you take a step back, and listen to all the speculation and excuses, like why it took 40 years for Jews to cross the Sinai, when it takes 10 days to walk it going into a gale force wind, you just have to laugh...........if you are a rational human being, that is.

Both the Jesus story, and the Exodus story, sound like children's stories to me now. I just can't get over how easy it is for so many adults to fall for these obvious make believe tales.

I guess if the stories were based on real people and events, the stories would never have made past the 200's.


  1. I've had the same experience regarding the historical Jesus question. It's pretty weird being on the other side. And so frustrating to listen to these folks talk about the evidence! How did they manage to spend so much time studying the question without having any insight into the mythical nature of the story? Or are they just taught to ignore those questions?

    Love the church sign! LOL

  2. Oh yeah, and Christians traditionally eat ham on Easter. I think it's a dig at the Jews, myself.

  3. At my family's seder this year, my uncle was going on about some documentary he saw that gave natural explanations for the 10 plagues, such as a red tide to explain the nile turning to blood.

    I responded by saying that we shouldn't try to explain miracles that we don't even know happened.

    Check it

  4. To me, when it comes to these dolts trying to figure out/make excuses as to whether Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married or had sex, for example, is like watching someone trying to figure out if The Cat In The Hat was gay or not.

    The Cat in the Hat was gay?!

  5. It is politically correct to laugh at the "church sign?" Well, if it isn't. It is too late, as I already did.

  6. See here for a good summary of the latest thoughts on the historical Jesus.

  7. Sacred Slut, oh yeah, it is supposed to be ham, but I checked with my wife and my heathen neighbour had turkey instead.
    I think when anyone really takes an honest, introspective look at the stories they believe in (which rarely happens with believers), it must embarrass the hell out of them.

    Johnny eh, that was a good read, and it pretty much sums up what I know about the history of the Exodus and the Jews. I'll edit the link into the post.

    Michael, take a look at this picture in the New Testament version of the Cat in the Hat. How can he be straight?

  8. Theo, I have quite a few links on my sidebar regarding the question of whether Jesus existed or not.
    I'm not sure I agree with this one on how quickly Christianity spread, considering the first known historical quote describing Christians came from Josephus around 85 AD. Although, I agree with the author regarding the fact Jesus started out as a metaphor (most likely by Paul) and evolved into a real person by the time the NT was actually written.

    BeepX2, it is quite alright to act politically incorrect on my site.

  9. BEAJ, why do yo keep misspelling my name? Do you hate me?

  10. Sorry Jonny, I'm just wilfully ignorant when it comes to spelling Johnny with an "h".

    I just stopped by your blog. Make a few more posts and then go to Deep Thoughts and get on Mojoey's Atheist blogroll.

    You need blogrolls to get exposure.

  11. is like watching someone trying to figure out if The Cat In The Hat was gay or not.

    I have to admit that this is a new one for me. Never thought about it before.

    Of course it doesn't make a difference to me who the damn cat wants to sleep with.

  12. I always figured a lot of the Judeo-Christian mythology came from similar sources as, say, Greek-- not entirely fictional, but sure didn't happen like they describe. Dunno about Jesus specifically, but for example, you take a story about a guy who makes a boat to survive a flood and puts all his livestock in it. Odd, but plausible enough. Then the boat gets bigger with each retelling, and the flood lasts longer, and the animals diversify... Eventually you get a ridiculous, impossible exaggeration.

    Mythology: The Urban Legends of the Ancients.

  13. BEAJ:
    I don't need to check the picture. The Cat is an "I can read it all by myself" book, and I'm trying to teach it to my daughter.

    Like the mouse, the Cat has no genitals!

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  15. Basiorana, local floods happen all the time. Recently there was a finding that a tsunami caused by a volcano hit the Sinai 3700 years ago. This could be the origin of the Ark story, and it could also have been used in the Exodus story, many many years after "the fact"

    Michael, remember to teach your daughter the God inspired words of Seuss: “Be Who You Are And Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter And Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”

    837, too artsy fartsy for me.

  16. Wait a second. You mean Charlton Heston didn't part the Red Sea?

  17. BEAJ- I'm right there in believing that there was no historical Jesus, but there is pretty good evidence to believe that there were Jews in the ancient near east and that they had come from Egypt- evidence includes language relationships between Hebrew and Amharic for example that prove that Hebrew is an African language.

  18. Amishav, the Hyksos left Egypt in the 1500's BC. Some wound up in Judea, and most likely affected the language.

    But that is not evidence that there were Jews who left Egypt. Some pre-Jews left though.

  19. The reason it took 40 years to cross Sinai is staring you in the face.

    Like all men, Moses did not like asking for directions.

  20. Shlemazl, you may not know this, but you subliminally stole the joke from me. December 8th 2005

  21. I'm surprised that no-one (not you, not the various bloggers you link to) have mentioned G.A.Wells. His various books on the subject ("The Jesus Myth", "What's In A Name", "Who Was Jesus?" and "Religious Postures") were the first comprehensive refutations of the (skimpy) evidence for an historical Jesus that I encountered (in the 1980s and 1990s).

    Ultimately, of course, it doesn't matter very much whether there was a historical character by that name. It wasn't an uncommon name, and there were plenty of charismatic preachers and rebels running around. The various miracles cited in the Gospels are so obviously based on popular myths and legends, and the Gospel accounts are so clearly post-hoc confabulations, that there is no reason to pay any attention to the stories as anything more than a convenient back-story for a carefully crafted late-Roman state religion, put together for political reasons.

  22. Geoff, if you scroll down my sidebar, you'll find six or seven links in my Did Jesus Exist section. I've done many posts on the subject, and I think my readers are well aware of them.
    Have you read the piece by Bidstrup?

  23. BEAJ:

    There's archeological proof that there was a kingdom of Judah and Israel, so I am not sure where you were going with the notion that Judaism was founded in 700 BC. There's even the Tomb of Esther, and proof that the story of Purim in fact is based on historical reality.

    Here is just one piece of archeological evidence that refutes what you have said, BEAJ.

    Mesha Steele

    I also don't understand where you are going with this, and frankly, your writing sort of echoes that of Muslims, who try to delegitimize all of Judaism.

    By the way, re: Jesus, Josephus wrote about him, and that's where the historical (non religious) account comes from. (source)

    That said, my personal belief is that I think Jesus probably did live and was a rabbi revolutionary - just like hundreds of other rabbi revolutionaries. Jesus the myth did not form until Paul invented much of the myth. I believe the Jews were basically a tribal people until they formed the Kingdom of Israel (to be later broken up into Judah and Israel). That is when the Jews formed as a people, and prior to then, they may have been in Egypt as slaves, but they were "pre-Jew" Jews, if anything. As to whether the miracles of the Exodus happened...we have no independent account that any of it happened, so if you don't believe in the bible, then there's no point trying to justify it according to secular reasoning. If you believe in the bible, then you will probably believe all of it did literally happen.

  24. Red Tulips, I'm just being consistent when it comes to requirements of evidence.
    Lets look at yours. Josephus mentions Jesus, 50 years "after the fact." I am not saying Christianity didn't pop up. It did, and by the time of Josephus' writings, Paul's dream man had evolved into a real person many Christians were following. His mentioning of Christ has no relevance on whether Jesus existed or not, except I ask, why did it take so long for a historical account to take place.

    As far as the Mesha Steele. Again, I'm not saying that there was a distinct group in Judea who fought others for land. I am saying that it is quite probable at the time they didn't have a religion that resembled the Judaism we see today.
    And that includes the foundations of Abraham, Adam and Eve and Noah. These 3 myths most likely were incorporated in Ezra's speech and may have been just out there like many of the Mithran/Dionysus like myths that were finally incorporated in Christianity by the time the NT was written.

    Esther lived in the 500 BC's, and by that time, there was most likely Judaism basic ideas were starting take place, but they too could have been romanticized and added to by Ezra.

    I'm not trying to delegitimize
    all of Judaism, I am just trying to equate what was written with the evidence that was around.

    I'm totally with the idea that an ethnic people did live that were at least the ancestors of the Jews of 450 BC-70 AD Judea, and they trace back to at least 1000 BC, but I see very little to no proof that there was a religion that was even close to universal prior to little before the time of Ezra. Perhaps 650-700 BC tops.

  25. Also, for a religion that prides itself on oral history, why can't anyone find the first temple? There is evidence however that whoever lived in Judea around 900 BC also worshiped Goddesses, amongst other deities.

    Sorry if I sound cynical, I just am.

  26. Bacon, I recently read a book about Ancient Israel from Abraham to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.

    While there is very little archaeological evidence to support a United Kingdom under David and Solomon, it is not improbable that it existed. The book mentioned that based on archaelogical findings, early Judaism featured a consort for Yahweh, so it was not strictly monotheistic back then.

    The drift towards a stricter monotheistic Judaism appears to have begun in the late kingdom period before the Assyrian conquest and it became full blown during the Hasmonean period wherein the temple in Jerusalem became the focal point of the religion.

    What struck me as really bizarre was that when the Romans were besieging Jerusalem, the Jewish priests in the temple continued to sacrifice lambs to Yahweh on a daily basis right up until when they ran out of them. Meanwhile, the populace was starving as a result of the Roman blockade.

    As for the Exodus story, what likely happened was that a band of Canaanites were slaves in Egypt and then fled at some point. They mixed into the general Canaanite population and over time it was seen as part of the history of them all. After all, many of us here in America whose ancestors arrived after the country's founding will still refer to George Washington as "our first president" and that "we won our independence from Great Britain". The story of America's past becomes the story of all of us who are Americans regardless of when our ancestors got here. I believe that is a useful analogy to the Exodus story.

  27. BEAJ:
    You said remember to teach your daughter the God inspired words of Seuss: “Be Who You Are And Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter And Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”

    She already knows that, intuitively. She's really a very bright child.

    Red Tulips (and BEAJ):
    As far as I've ever been able to find, every account of Jesus' life was written at least 50 to 80 years later.
    He is said to have lived in a time of turmoil, when there were, as Red Tulips said, scores of "rabbi revolutionaries" making things difficult for the Roman authorities.
    It's possible that Jesus was real, and was part of that. It is also possible (indeed, more likely, I think) that the Jesus of the New Testament is an amalgamation of those anti-Roman street preachers.