Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


JESUS WAS NOT THE ONLY IMPRESSIVE MAGIC MAN OF HIS DAY

The Mormon story of the young persecuted man struggling to put God's word the Book of Mormon out and becoming God's prophet sounds impressive until you realise that there was a lot of other unusual stuff going on in religious circles back then.  It is the same with Jesus.  Remove the tale from its context, take the carrot out of the soup pot, it is going to look intelligent and good and possible and even plausible.

The New Testament says that God had a son called Jesus.  Jesus came from a virgin mother.  He died for sins and he rose again.  Christians are his body so they are to believe that he is with them as much as he would be if we could see him.  Jesus was the Messiah who managed to show his identity by doing miracles even raising the dead and casting out demons.

All early Christian sources claimed that Simon Magus, who became a false Messiah, had incredible miraculous powers. Even the Bible says Simon Magus was said to be the Power of God and was regarded as such by ALL the Samaritans, a sect similar to the Jews, and who was famed for his miraculous powers. Acts 8 says all that. It says that they all gave heed to him from the last to the greatest. To call Simon the Power of God is an even stronger title than calling him the Son of God. A man who has the Power of God must be so trusted that God gives him his power to rule as if he were God or the man is God. Not a single hostile source from the time of Jesus or shortly after spoke of him as claiming to be the power of God or the Son of God. And the Bible which opposes Simon as good as gives those titles to him! Who should be considered then if you want to adore a Messiah?
 
Justin Martyr, the first nearly competent theologian the Church had, said that Simon could do real miracles and said that virtually all the Samaritans - who at that time were a Jewish spin-off that outnumbered the Jews - believed. The Samaritans were very close theologically and religiously to the Jews. Simon is more convincing than Jesus because the New Testament itself says he had strange powers despite being opposed to Simon's claims. Also when a whole religion accepted him as a prophet and miracle-worker and saint and never turned against him it shows that his wonders were better than Jesus'. If this involved trickery then people were easily fooled by good magicians and conjurers. The trick of getting a body out of a tomb and producing apparitions of Jesus - perhaps men pretended to be Jesus and some special effects were used to make them look like they were from Heaven - would be nothing in comparison. We do see magicians accomplishing better feats than the resurrection trick - if that was what it was - in situations harder to control than at a tomb outside Jerusalem.
 
The First Apology of Justin we read: "After Christ's ascension the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods. These men were not persecuted by you. They were even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of a village of called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and in your royal city of Rome did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god. As god he was honoured by you with a statue erected on the River Tiber. Almost all the Samaritans, and a few of the other nations, worship him and acknowledge him as the first god."
 
Justin was mistaken about the statue - it turns out that the statue was not of Simon but of a pagan god. But it is possible that Simon was identified with this god so that putting up the image of the god counted the same as putting up an image of Simon. The god was thought perhaps to have been Simon appearing centuries before. Simon believed that his companion Helen had been Helen of Troy in a past life. He certainly believed in reincarnation.
 
Christian critics of Simon said he preached righteousness and good living but argued that this was only a bait. In fact, the Samaritans would not have accepted him unless he supported their moral code - Samaritanism was a religion with a strict ethic based on the Law of Moses. It has been claimed that Simon was the favourite disciple of John the Baptist. If Simon was indeed John's disciple, then he was a holy man. The accusation of magic and sorcery against him to explain his miracles would remind you of the Jews saying that about Jesus' miracles.
 
No non-Christian or non-partisan witness ever said that Jesus did miracles. Non-partisan witnesses did for Simon. Jesus did not manage to convert all the Jews to serving him - he got a handful. There were many sceptics and many who hated him. Nobody was interested in standing up for him when he was arrested and put to death. He even said that it was a bad sign if somebody claiming to have God's message was popular. That was a rationalisation.
 
According to Irenaeus, a major Church father from the late second century, Simon claimed to be divine and hinted that he was the Messiah. Irenaeus declared that Simon said that it was said that he suffered in Judea but that he hadn't suffered at all. Simon was claiming to be Jesus who suffered the cross there. Perhaps, this reflects heretical Christian teachings that Christ did not really suffer or die on the cross but it only looked as if he did. If Jesus was really a contemporary of Simon, Simon could not have claimed such a thing and especially if he had become a Christian as the book of Acts claims. There could not be two Simons at the one time. Simon seems to be saying Jesus lived centuries before him and was a previous incarnation or appearance of his.
 
Simon was believed by the early Church to have got himself beheaded and appeared alive three days later. He was apparently alive in 200 AD which would mean he was then about 200 hundred years alive! We read in early Christian literature that he was expected to rise from the dead in Rome after three days! Maybe he did or maybe there was a legend that he did!

Simon was more endearing than Jesus. His beloved Helen was a prostitute rescued from a brothel. Simon blamed evil on a bad God who was ruling the world and destroying the work of the real good God who was more powerful than him. He was a lot less callous than Christians who could watch flesh eating bugs eat a baby to death and still say God has a reason for this. Simon could condemn it totally saying it was a bad God letting it happen.

Jesus had no rivals grudgingly writing that he did miracles but Simon did! He is proof that the Christians are using evidence for the faith not because it matters but to sell their faith product. It is an abusive lie to treat evidence like that.