Misquoting Jesus - Edited Edition

I found this lecture very interesting, but a little long for reference purposes. So, I have edited the lecture segments into those topics that address textural alterations, both accidental and deliberate, and inconsistencies between Gospel accounts.

I have also added most of Ehrman's answers from the Q&A session that followed the lecture.

I find it horrifying that so much prejudice and oppression has been based on this highly flawed invention.

Playlist url.

Transcription errors .
Earliest fragment of copy (P52) and palaeography .
Estimating the numbers of mistakes .
Intentional mistakes .
Altered account of end times .
Late addition of adulteress story .
Late addition of snake handling .
Did Jesus feel anger or compassion? .
Discrepancies in resurrection accounts .
Discrepancies in crucifixion accounts .
Forgiveness and oppression – politically inspired textural alterations .
Alterations aimed at silencing women .
Summary of textural criticism .

Q&A topics
Marcion of Sinope .
Gospel of Judas, and Gnosticism .
First Clement and First Corinthians .
First Council of Nicaea .
Impact of textural errors .
Attempting reconciliation of discrepancies .
Ignoring long-recognized biblical discrepancies .
Authority – whom to believe .
Inclusion and canon .
Trinity and Torah .
Language, oral tradition, accuracy of Jewish scribes .

The full lecture can be found in this playlist.

Playlist: Religion is the Great Hijacker

This series is rather negative about clerics, which is, in my opinion, understandable. However, I do not buy the contention that many clerics are closet atheists. I suspect that many if not most clerics have bought religious nonsense hook line and sinker. Most clerics are probably not rational* enough to have spotted glaring scriptural discrepancies for what they are.

Nevertheless, I do believe that most televangelists are in it for money and power. They probably believe little of the nonsense that they sell to their generous flocks. VFX's recent bid for donations is a case in point.

* I mean free of cognitive dissonance and open to critical evaluation of their own beliefs and the basis for those beliefs.

More Apologetics Debunked

ProfMTH's excellent series on the "DID the disciples die for a lie?" apologetic argument.

Consider the emotionally-appealing-to-believers argument thoroughly debunked. However, as ProfMTH explains, Christians invent excuse after excuse after excuse for cognitively dissonant information.

Search for Truth about the Bible

Search for Truth about the Bible:
This is a very good series on errancy in the Bible. It was made by a deconverted fundamentalist couple, and is both fair and thoughtful. At time of posting, the series is incomplete. I shall try to add to the playlist as videos are uploaded. You might wish to consider subscribing to the channel.

playlist url.

Part 1 - Slavery:
Part 2 (First Half) - Genocide and Murder in the Old Testament:
Part 2 (Second Half) - Genocide and Murder in the Old Testament:
Part 3 - The Value of Women:
Part 4 - Can God Lie or Be Involved with Deception?:
Part 5 - Can god change his mind?:
Part 6 - (First Half) Temptation & Testing:
Part 6 - (Second Half) Temptation & Testing:

Christian Reconstructionists

The End Days
Old article, but scary nonetheless. I am so glad that I don't live in America—or Alberta. My condolences to those of you who are alarmed by what is happening to your country.

Even though this took place in 2007, I doubt that they have given up their struggle for theocratic domination and submitted to psychiatric treatment.

The writer clearly has an opinion of these "good folk" that matches mine. I might have suspected liberal bias if I had not had many encounters with these types on the Internet. In view of my clinical assessment of some the fundies that I have encountered, I think that the writer was using very mild language.

I am confident that you can deduce why I am highlighting the article excerpts in brown.

Christian Reconstructionists Trying to Take Dominion in America
Monday 02 July 2007

"A recent conference held by American Vision, a radical ministry that toils away to "help Christians build a truly Biblical worldview," displayed the growing organization of the dangerous Reconstructionist movement.

...hundreds of Religious Right activists and their families made their way there for a four-day "Worldview Super Conference." They came to hear fundamentalist Christian speakers rail about the nation's moral confusion, claim the public schools are bastions of secular humanism and warn that Christians, especially their type of Christians, are in danger of being persecuted by America."

I am not in favour of persecution of anyone, but it would be nice to see these types disempowered.

"Based in Powder Springs, Ga., American Vision also produces reams of material that push Christian Reconstructionism, a form of fundamentalism that argues for a re-writing of American history, dismantling secular democracy and constructing an America governed by "biblical law." Reconstructionists seek to impose the criminal code of the Old Testament, applying the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, witches, incorrigible juvenile delinquents and those who spread false religions."

Yes, folks, you too can have a homegrown version of Sharia law. I imagine that a burqua would damage Britney Spears' career.

"Despite its overtly radical theocratic agenda, American Vision is allied with some of the Religious Right's most powerful outfits. This year's conference was cosponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-funded Religious Right lawyers' outfit that James Dobson and other religious broadcasters helped create; Michael Farris's Home School Legal Defense Association; the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell's Liberty University School of Law; and World Magazine, Marvin Olasky's influential evangelical Christian periodical.


"Defamation," Cass argued, "is the precursor to persecution." Defamation leads to marginalization, he continued, and marginalization sets the "stage for discrimination," which inevitably leads to the final stage of religious cleansing."

Which, of course, is exactly what these, er, bigots do to any group of which they disapprove. Their hit list does not merely include the traditional bonfire favourites like homosexuals* and apostates*, but Christians who aren't Christian enough or Conservative enough for these, er, bigots. Needless to say, they despise Obama with a unifying passion. I fear that many of them, despite their obsessive concerns for embryos and fetuses, would happily burn Obama at the stake.

Papa Cass gets even more charming:

""Genocide being the ultimate expression," Cass declared, "the deliberate, systematic extermination of a group of people." Kind of like what is happening in Sudan's Darfur region, he added."
That sounds suspiciously like a hint to me.

I guess that he assumed that his audience would actually know that Sudan is in Africa.

"On the conference's first day, attendees gathered in Ridgecrest's Spilman Auditorium were treated to a lengthy rant against public schools by a Baptist preacher from Texas.

All the railing against public schools and other state-supported institutions has long been a focal point for Christian Reconstructionists, whose goal is a society where their harsh version of biblical law permeates everything. DeMar provided a platform for some of the movement's most radical voices.

"If we encourage our daughters to pursue a careerist philosophy," the Vision Forum's mission statement reads, "if we fail to make our homes economically vital, hospitable centers for love and learning, we are hypocrites."
Well, many of them undoubtedly are hypocrites, but not for that reason.

Good Christians must subjugate their women. It says so in the Bible.

The article goes on, but I'm feeling rather queezy at the thought of American women struggling under the domination of these equine vacuities.

If you are not nauseous, here is the link.

* Just in case it is not clear that I am being facetious here, let me be clear that I am horrified that "Christians" used to burn people at the stake for homosexuality and apostasy (or even heretical disagreement with any aspect of Church dogma). Even more horrifying, some religions continue to kill those considered guilty of homosexuality and apostasy.

JREF and YahwehTube

YahwehTube has reinstated the JREF account, presumably because there was a huge fuss - 10+ pages of mirror videos. If the copyright owner was not even aware that an inadvertent copyright violation had been made, then who tipped off YahwehTube? Persumably the fundie Xtians who are currently whining about anti-Christian discrimination after their votebotting, flagging, and false DMCA campaigns all backfired.

Correction: I was tired when I listened to this. He actually says that YT took the account down because three videos contained copyrighted material and YT removes material because of an "automated" list. This does not alter the fact that fundie Xtians play dirty.

So, was our anger at YT inappropriate?

Knee-jerk removal of entire accounts is utterly ridiculous. I'll explain.

Irritating though WMG's greed is, YT has merely stripped soundtracks rather than take down accounts. I suspect that YT adopted this policy because it has generated anger at WarnerMegaGreed rather than at YT. This probably puts pressure on WMG to make a more reasonable deal with YT.

(We are given the option of re-activating the video with YT approved material—usually so awful that they can't give it away.)

The policy of stripping WMG soundtracks demonstrates that YT has the ability to handle videos with copyrighted material in a variety of ways.

Inadvertent, and advertent violators (those who know that they did not personally compose and record original music tracks), add to YT's stockpile of profit-making videos. (There are original artists on YT—they too are usually so awful that they can't give it away. This is why they don't have record contracts.)

It is understandable that YT is quick to remove material that might prompt legal action against YT.

However, I think that the three-strikes-your-out policy should only apply to guideline violations that include genuinely pornographic material, hate speech, gratuitous violence, and such like. (By "genuinely pornographic material" I mean to exclude those instances of flagging by religious nutters who are easily offended by bare shoulders and kissing.)

YT refuses to print a list of to-be-targetted or likely-to-be-targetted tracks. It does have software to prevent activation of uploaded videos that contain targetted tracks. This software prevents new uploads of WMG material and has stripped the soundtracks of already uploaded videos. This is a reasonable way to proceed in view of the fact that some third parties suddenly decide that they are not being remunerated sufficiently for tubers to advertise their product.

Further, YT states that YT will be exempt from law suits while its uploading tubers are not exempt from prosecution. Since the intent of copyright law is to protect profits, it seems unreasonable that the little guy who does not profit should bear the brunt of litigation. As far as I know, this travesty has not occurred.

One of my videos does have a soundtrack that is blocked in some countries. I was notified of this. Since it is my only problem video, I obviously have the choice of deleting it. If I had hundreds of uploads, then shifting rules about which material is on a hit list could easily result in a sudden unnotified account deletion, such as happened to James Randi.

If YT wishes to keep third parties and tubers sweet, then it ought to rethink the way that they handle accounts that could fall victim to shifting policies and automated software. Simply strip the soundtracks from offending videos or delete those videos with egregious violations.

Transcription Errors in a Total Invention

Bart Ehrman discussing "Misquoting Jesus" in a Stanford University lecture. Be warned, the lecture is long (Ten segments of approximately 10 minutes, including lecture and Q&A). It is, however, very interesting if you are intrigued by the errors that arose after the myths had been invented and put to papyrus.

Playlist url.

Also long (almost 60 minutes), an interview with Bart Ehrman.