Another 95 Theses

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Another 95 Theses

38: By ignoring the disgusting barbarity, physical and sexual abuse of women, tribalism, terrorism, slaveholding, and human sacrifice of the Old Testament God and his designated servants, and by defending the Bible that describes these atrocities, the church has entirely surrendered its moral credibility to the slavish worship of a book it considers too holy to question.

39: The church has a simplistic and idealistic view of the ancient Israelites as “believers in the promise,” but the evolving religion of the Old Testament never looked anything like Christianity, much less the church’s Pauline grace-and-forgiveness version of it.

40: Contrary to the impression left by the church’s superficial readings, the Old Testament contains no hint of any coming sacrificial Messiah; every single supposed prophecy (including the famous “suffering servant” passage in Isaiah) contains material inconsistent with Jesus and really just concerns events of its writer’s own time.

41: The Old Testament’s depiction of God begins one step removed from primitive polytheism with a human-like deity having physical attributes, limitations, regrets, and insecurities, evolving into a fussy director of priestly regulations and temple worship, then a tribal warrior deity who terrorizes his people and directs the brutal conquest of their neighbors, and finally a distant, hidden God who isn’t much interested in sacrifice or feast days.

42: The church laments the way “God’s Word” is being questioned but has no answer for the Bible’s multitude of undeniable errors and contradictions, which are not just quibbling details but significant problems with the biblical accounts of creation and the natural world, God’s nature and desires, and a lot of the Jesus story—when and where he was born, his attitude about his own divinity, whether he taught entirely in public or kept some things secret for his disciples, the ideals of his preaching versus his own actions, and almost everything about his resurrection.

43: The New Testament provides no reliable historical witness of Jesus, just a few vague references by Paul and some accounts written by other devotees decades afterward that contain a great deal of copied material, significant contradictions, and mistakes about history, geography, and customs of the time.

88: The God who was constantly making threats of bodily harm against his chosen people and fussing about endless details of their behavior declined to offer a single warning about any eternal punishment until late in the Old Testament, leaving ambiguity about the subject even into the New Testament; he allowed it to appear that there really is no hell at all, not even really an afterlife, with several different parts of the Bible describing the end of human existence in the grave, of good and evil all going to the same place.