Another 95 Theses

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Another 95 Theses

46: It is absurd to claim that an omnipotent (all-powerful) God is perfect despite having needs and creating an imperfect universe, is loving despite allowing a world full of suffering, hates sin despite allowing it to flourish, and is righteous despite creating most people as fodder for the flames of hell.

47: God cannot be omnipotent and omniscient (all-knowing) because knowing the future makes him helpless to change it; the omnipotent ability to choose whether to make a change in course defeats the omniscient ability to know whether it ultimately gets changed or not.

48: For a jealous God who demands that people follow a very particular path to reconciliation with him, this God is certainly not exercising any omnipotence to clear that path, since almost nobody manages to get saved unless they have the good fortune of dying during childhood.

49: An omniscient God doesn’t need to try anybody’s faith—not with the cruel stunts that the Bible says were inflicted on Job and Abraham, not by allowing temptations, not by inflicting trials.

50: An omnipotent God could just overlook human faults by divine fiat and grant salvation to everyone (which is what various Bible passages say he wants), and an omnibenevolent (all-loving) God would not hesitate to do so.

51: It is meaningless devotional fawning to praise as “gracious” and “loving” a God who carried out the Old Testament atrocities, has allowed untold billions of people to die of starvation, disaster, war, and disease, and condemns billions of people to eternal torture in hell, which—depending on the preacher’s inclination—is even part of the divine plan.

53: According to the church’s Trinitarian doctrine, God in the First Person made a blood sacrifice of himself in human form (the Second Person) to appease his own displeasure with what he had created; the Second Person proceeded from yet was somehow co-eternal with the First, incarnated into a man by a Third Person of God (the Holy Spirit) impregnating a virgin after thousands of years of monotheistic worship.

54: The portrayal of Jesus expands in the decades over which the Gospels were written, beginning in Mark as a temperamental teacher and miracle worker with limited powers, no claims of divinity, and a great deal of angst about his execution.

55: There are no Greek or Roman records of Jesus, not even a mention until the second century; the only Jewish records outside the New Testament are two passages written by Josephus around 90 A.D., the most descriptive of which is widely discredited as at least a partial forgery.

56: The Gospels describe Jesus performing extraordinary miracles, sometimes before throngs of people, and say his fame spread through the land, yet none of the authors and observers of the day—Pliny the Elder, Josephus, the hundreds of anonymous writers whose personal letters and mundane records have been preserved, even Paul—had any of those events brought to their attention and thought them worth recording.

59: The church makes Satan far more powerful than God, controlling almost all of human culture, all religious teachings including every form of Christianity but one unknown sect, and the souls of everyone but children who die in childhood, the mentally incompetent, and a “truly believing” portion of a hundred thousand or so sect members, who live in fear of the daily temptations he throws at them.

79: Prayer offers only the illusion of influence to the one praying, since an omniscient God knows both the future and our innermost thoughts, and his perfect will about the course of the universe is not subject to change by the typically self-centered petition of some puny human.

80: Preachers pray for the repentance of unbelievers, to a God who has either predestinated everyone from the beginning of time or has proven unable (perhaps unwilling) to do anything about all the damnation that is going on, despite many prayers from the seeking and the self-satisfied alike.

83: With its claims about divine foresight and direction in conception, marriage partners, and (sometimes) eternal salvation, the church makes God into a puppet-master who stage-directs the universe down to its tiniest details in an inane drama whose uncountable trillions of acts and final ending are all pre-ordained.