Monthly Archives: March 2011
As it turns out though, this story was not originally in the Gospel of John or any of the other original Gospels. It is not found in any of the earliest surviving manuscripts, it is not in the two 3rd century papyrus witnesses to John (P66 and P75) nor is it in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus or Codex Vaticanus. The writing style is also very different from what is found in the rest of John and includes a large number of words and phrases that are alien to the gospel. The story was actually added and snuck into the Bible some time during the late 4th century or early 5th century to make Jesus and the Bible appear more appealing.
Mark 16:9-20 where Jesus ascends bodily to heaven is not in the earlier scriptures but rather was added later. None of the earliest scriptures that we have such as the Alexandrian Unical Mss, Vaticanus, and Sinaiticus have versus 9-20, they all just end at 16:8. Also early Christian writers noted that the ascension was not in the earliest manuscripts. Jerome and Eusebius both state that the best manuscripts available to them did not contain the extended ending. Also there are significant linguistic and stylistic differences between 9-20 and the rest of Mark. As noted on page 103 of “An Introduction to the New Testament” by new testament scholar Douglas J. Moo, the longer ending also contains several non-Markan words and expressions.
John 5:7 – “The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
John 8:7 – “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
John 8:11 – “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Luke 24:12 – “Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
Luke 22:20 – “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Luke 22:44 – “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Luke 24:51 – “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”
Mark 16:9-20 – “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. After a time, someone asked, ‘How much will a brain cost?’
The doctor quickly responded, ‘$15,000 for the brain of a religious person – you know, a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or such; or $2,500 for an Atheist’s brain.’
The moment turned awkward. Most of those assembled were Christians, except for Ed, the black sheep Atheist of the family, and they smiled at each other over the fact that their brains were considered so much more valuable than those of a non-believer. Finally Aunt Tilly, unable to control her curiosity, blurted out the question everyone was dying to ask, ‘Why are believers’ brains so much more valuable than them-there non-believers’ brains?’
The doctor smiled at Tilly’s obvious innocence and patiently explained to the family, ‘It’s just standard pricing procedure. We have to price the Atheist brains a lot lower because, after all, they’ve been used.’
I had never done it before, never thought about it in fact, and I doubt that very many other Atheists have either, which is why I mention it.
Twice this week I engaged in what, just for fun, I’ll refer to as spontaneous acts of morality. I am writing about them not to toot my own horn, Darwin knows I do enough of that, but hopefully to start a trend.
The first incident occurred in the parking lot of my local Kroger. An elderly man approached me, obviously distraught. The battery of his car was kaput, and the serviceman leaning against it had given him a price of $29 for the call and jump. The fellow explained he only had $11 and needed help. He held out his license to me and offered it as collateral until he could get to his bank and withdraw the money to repay me.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said as I returned his license and handed him a twenty dollar bill. “Pay me back by helping someone else out when the opportunity arises.”
He accepted my offer with several thank yous and a promise he would do a good deed in return. He was halfway back to his car when it hit me, and I called out to him, “By the way sir…” He turn to face me and I finished, “Just so you know, I’m an Atheist.” He looked puzzled at first, then smiled and waved.
Then today I was in a local wine shop. I had selected three bottles each of Orin Swift’s The Prisoner and Abstract, both excellent zin blends, and a bottle of 1988 La Grande Dame Champagne. (A splurge to be sure on the Champagne, but they had it on sale for $139 and it goes for $199 everywhere else I’ve seen it.)
I got busy scanning my credit card while the clerk rang up my purchase. “That will be $179 with tax”, he announced. I looked at him, then at the POS monitor which clearly read “Items: 6”.
I picked up the bottle of Champagne, handed it back to him and said, “I suspect you missed this.”
“No, I rang it up,” he responded.
“You couldn’t have,” I insisted.
He finally examined the register tape and, sure enough, the Champagne hadn’t scanned.
He looked stunned. “Wow, thanks for being honest, most people wouldn’t have said anything.”
I started to demur, then thought better of it, leaned across the counter and said softly, “By the way, just so you know, I’m an Atheist.”
He stared at me for several seconds, then grabbed the box containing my purchase and said, “I insist you let me carry this to your car for you.”
After placing the box in my car he held out his hand. “Thanks again.”
Week after week, month after month, year in and year out, Atheists go about their lives at least as moral and caring as the population at large. At the same time we are constantly told that we can’t be as moral as religious people, because, well, we don’t have a god to scare the shit out of us.
Beginning this week, I am proclaiming my Atheism every time I do a good deed In doing so I intend to make it difficult at best for anyone with whom I have come in contact to ever think or repeat such a slur again. I strongly urge you to do the same.
- AVOID CUTTING YOURSELF WHEN SLICING VEGETABLES BY GETTING SOMEONE ELSE TO HOLD THE VEGETABLES WHILE YOU CHOP.
- AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH THE FEMALES ABOUT LIFTING THE TOILET SEAT BY USING THE SINK.
- FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SUFFERERS — SIMPLY CUT YOURSELF AND BLEED FOR A FEW MINUTES, THUS REDUCING THE PRESSURE ON YOUR VEINS. REMEMBER TO USE A TIMER.
- A MOUSE TRAP PLACED ON TOP OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK WILL PREVENT YOU FROM ROLLING OVER AND GOING BACK TO SLEEP AFTER YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON.
- IF YOU HAVE A BAD COUGH, TAKE A LARGE DOSE OF LAXATIVES . THEN YOU’LL BE AFRAID TO COUGH.
- YOU ONLY NEED TWO TOOLS IN LIFE – WD-40 AND DUCT TAPE. IF IT DOESN’T MOVE AND SHOULD, USE THE WD-40. IF IT SHOULDN’T MOVE AND DOES, USE THE DUCT TAPE.
- IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU’VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.