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So I’m married to a Christian. For the sake of peace in the home, I sometimes attend her church. Our young son noticed not only that I don’t take part in their worship, but when invited to hold hands in prayer, I will refuse.
Having some idea of my stance, he came to me and said rhetorically, “Dad, I know why you don’t hold hands with them; it’s because you’re not a Christian, isn’t it?”
Here’s an edited, but still accurate, version of my response.
Son, it’s not that. It’s not simply because I’m not a Christian that I don’t join them in prayer. Because, think about it, I could be an atheist or not care about religion in general, and think it’s ok to hold hands with them in prayer because it’s nothing to me really. That means I could be a non-Christian and still be fine with lining with them as they pray.
So it’s not simply that I’m not a Christians.
Rather, the true God told us enough about what he is and what he isn’t in the Jewish Bible. And he made it clear that people should not worship something else.
That God has never been or become a man. He isn’t split into parts or isn’t called any other number than one. He doesn’t sleep or get tired, nor does he feel pain or die. He doesn’t condemn and punish an innocent man because of the crimes of another man.
What I pray to and what they pray to are different, and God said not to worship something different.
I hope he understood enough of what I said.
Since I left christianity, rejecting Jesus as messiah or anything of any meaning to my life, I’ve beheld the weakness of the christian position. Almost 15 years of having turned my back on the false messiah, citing biblical reasons for doing so, the amount of christians I’ve personally interacted with that has the biblical acumen to even make a cogent scriptural case for Jesus’ messiahship for themselves, much less than challenging my position, I struggle to even think of one.
My most recent engagement with a christian woman was just more of the same. She couldn’t mount a scriptural case because she didn’t know scripture. No, I’m not going to be kind about this. I’m gonna be plain. She knows the phrases used commonly by christians but has no idea about the biblical location and therefore the biblical context.
It’s odd, in a way. Week after week, these Christians go to church, they do their “bible studies” (which normally involves using study book produced by some organisation which first teaches the doctrine and then points to verses scattered throughout their bible, normally the new testament, that appear to back the doctrine), sit and listen to the pastor’s sermon. But still, after all that, they are generally ignorant about the biblical reasons that they accept Jesus as messiah and, usually, as God.
But watching these people, hearing their “testimonies,” it becomes clear to me that there was never a biblical reason, a reason based on the Jewish Bible, for embracing the Nazarene. They first devoted themselves to the man, and then, on the odd occasion, they’ll look at the common out-of-context passages from the Jewish Bible that seems to sound like the human object of their devotion, and that’s only if prompted by a “blue moon” bible study.
Sometimes, too many times, they’ll hardly know their “new testament” as well.
Due to this lack of intensity where it regards the Jewish Bible, these Christians are either or both uninterested in the topic of the Jewish Bible’s depiction of the promised anointed king of Israel, and unprepared and unable to provide rugged and contextually sound evidence from the Jewish Bible to even consider Jesus to be of any real significance, much less messiah, much less the Transcendent Beyond.
For the christians I deal with regularly, they have nothing of any value when it comes to foundational knowledge about the Jewish Bible. They are all the more evidence that trust in Jesus doesn’t come from truth, but from emotion and devotion to flesh, the way of the idolator.
Just to let you know that my book “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root” is now available for the Amazon Kindle. It can be found at:
Check it out and share it with others who are interested in how Paul routinely misuses the Jewish Bible.
Also if you want it, the book “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root” is also available in paperback, in case you actually prefer to hold a real book. That’s available in the following place.
And in addition, the ebook is available at Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Apple iBooks, maybe some other places too.
Did you know that also in the back of the book, there is a listing of most, if not all, of Paul’s overt quotes of the Jewish Bible throughout the epistles? Knowing the places Paul quotes and their various contexts can help you better defend yourself against the claims christians make about God demanding perfect obedience, or blood being needed forgiveness, that there is a dichotomy between law and faith, etc.
So feel free to take a look or even to share on whatever relevant forums you may be a part of.
With the permission from James Woods, the creator of this site and the author of “Leaving Jesus,” at long last, I take great pleasure in announcing the publishing of my first ebook. It’s called “The Apostle Paul – Saul of Tarsus: The Bitter Root.” It can be found on Smashwords.com at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/756981.
The book description is as follows:
Going through the vast majority, if not all, of the apostle Paul’s usages of verses from the Jewish Bible (the “old testament”), the author, David Dryden, uncovers much more to Paul’s methodology than he ever expected. As well as examining Paul’s usage of the Jewish Bible, David picks apart Paul’s doctrines which have formed and shaped the Christian Church and how it relates to and interprets the books of Moses, the prophets and the other scriptures that make up the Jewish Bible. He doesn’t claim to be an expert or a scholar, but, just as everyone who has read the Christian Bible should think about it says and test it, he uses his “everyman” abilities to find the truth to the best of his ability.
For the author, this journey forever changed his view of Paul from mild suspicion to fundamental condemnation. But how will his journey impact you, the reader?
The primary aim is to share ideas for the sake of truth whether you agree with the ideas proposed or not. If this book can help a person get any closer to truth and to the Creator of the Universe, then it would have fulfilled its purpose.
I hope you’ll consider getting a copy.
I’m working on an edition for Amazon Kindle. I’ll let you know when that’s done.
It’s frustrating at times watching christians attempt to describe what they believe as if it makes perfect sense, little realising that they’ve replaced what God actually said for what they want him to say in order for Jesus to be relevant and useful.
So they see that in the garden of Eden, God says “on the day you eat from the forbidden tree, you’ll most definitely die.” Yet man didn’t die on that same day. So what I hear from them is that the man died “spiritually,” that he lost some relationship with God, that he was consigned to having a sin nature, and a judgment of hell at the end of one’s life.
Some would say this “spiritual death” means a loss of innocence, a time when a man’s faculty of discerning right from wrong would be distorted, compromised and unreliable.
And either or both of these forms of “spiritual death” would be inherited by all humans that followed the first man and woman, the only solution being the execution of “the messiah,” someone who was either God in the flesh, or a sinless human who had some sort of pre-existence.
What is amazing about these christian notions is that it’s based on the notion that when God said “on that day … you must die,” he meant “within the span of a day and a night from the time the man eats the fruit, the man will expire, stop existing, stop breathing.” For those christians, if man didn’t die naturally within about 24 hours of him eating the fruit, then that gives them the liberty to “interpret” novel meanings of death and create a need for Jesus and also create the notion of “spiritual death.”
Let’s be blunt and honest, you and me. When God made man a living being, there is little confusion about what that means, even if it is hard to put into words. God formed man and breathed into him the breath of life, and then man could breath for himself, walk, talk, think, have biological functions. There’s no notion of “spiritual life.” The dude was just alive.
So when God threatens death, there is no valid reason for confusion about what He was talking about. God would take away that vital principle, the “autonomous,” biological and conscious aspect of man and reduce him to being inert.
Why make things more complicated by introducing a concept to the books of Moses that is nowhere there, the ambiguous concept of “spiritual death?” Well, except from trying to force Jesus into the text.
“But David, even you have to admit, man didn’t die on the same day that he ate from the fruit.”
Sure, I can admit that. But that’s not the issue. The first question to ask is what God meant when he said what he said, according to the Hebrew, not the English.
Now an old Jewish commentary/translation called Targum Yerushalmi (or Targum Jonathan or Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) gives its interpretation.
On the day you eat from it, you shall be liable to death. (https://www.sefaria.org/Targum_Jonathan_on_Genesis.2)
A rabbi from old times, RambaN, or Nachmanides, used concepts that were in the books of Moses to bring across his interpretation. He said, in his commentary on this verse, that this statement means that on the day the man eats from the tree, he shall incur the death penalty. The same phrase is used in 1 Kings 2:42 where king Solomon informs a man that on the day that he should leave a place, he will certainly die. The issue is the certainty of death, not the time of death.
Both of these approaches retain the understanding of “you are going to die” or “your death is certain” without resorting to novel ideas to push an agenda.
Think about it! God says “you’re going to definitely die!” To a living being, that makes simple sense. But to turn death into “separation from God,” or “losing a relationship,” or “loss of innocence,” or being consigned to eternal torment or such like is to rip and rid the word of its consistent meaning.
But it should not be surprising that christians load onto the text such novel, innovative and foreign ideas. For too many of them, these chapters describe where three Gods (“elohim,” “God’s spirit,” “let us make man …”) make a perfect creation (“very good” somehow means “perfect”), the evil devil turns into or possesses a snake, where the messiah is supposed to bruise the devil’s head while the devil bruises the messiah’s heel. All these things are supposed to happen but the text is silent on such things.
It seems like christians lose their grasp of language when they find a text they want to shove Jesus into.
Of old have you laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure: yea, all of them shall grow old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed: But you are the same, and your years shall have no end. (Psalm 102:25-27)
I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. (Isaiah 41:4)
Knowledgeable christians should recognise portions of these passages. The Jesus-worshippers among them will say that the new testament books of Hebrews and Revelations applies these passages from the Jewish Bible to Jesus. They will say that since these passages talk about God in the “old testament” and the new testament applies them to Jesus, therefore Jesus is God.
Amazingly enough, these texts refute the very idea that Jesus could be God.
Both of these passages say a similar thing. They refer to the eternity of God. That means the timeless nature of God. God created time, he is outside of its power.
To be outside of time means that God’s nature is exactly the same way right now as it was back thousands of years ago. It will be exactly the same thousands of years in the future. At any moment in time, God can say “I’m the same one,” or “I am he.”
The same cannot be said for a human. Humans grow older. We start this life stupid, lacking understanding and knowledge. We grow, change, mature. I’m not the same person I was when I was born. My knowledge, maturity, size and capacity has changed as well as many other things about me. I can’t say “I am the same” as the person I was when I was born.
Now look at the Jesus presented by the new testament. He wa born, he grew up, he grew in wisdom, his body and mind changed over his life according to the new testament. His body was also changed due to injury and death. That dude was like any human, changing, maturing, etc.
Comparing the changeless, eternal, timeless God with the changing, growing, developing Jesus, stuck in time as any human, it is plain to see that Jesus was not God at all!
Another popular teaching amongst christians is the doctrine that you cannot be good or do good without being possessed by or having indwelling the holy spirit. Yes I did say, “having indwelling the holy spirit.” I used “indwelling” as an adverb. Sorry, I got lost there.
Anyway, this teaching further reinforces the view of the helplessness of man, how we are powerless to obey God without this other influence working in our bones that is not from our own will or strength but from God’s.
Question: “How can I live a holy life?
Answer: In order to address the question of how to live a holy life, we must first understand what holy means. To be holy means to be set apart or separate from sin and evil. God is holy—completely separate from everything that is evil (1 John 1:5). God calls us to be holy, just as He is (1 Peter 1:16, quoting Leviticus 19:2), but it’s vital to understand that apart from God this is impossible. We must have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and filling us with His holiness. We can only live a holy life through the power of the Spirit; thus, the first step to living a holy life is to accept Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 1:13). (from https://www.gotquestions.org/holy-life.html)
He empowers us to do what is right, live in faith and do good works (Ro 7:18, Eph 2:4-10). It is always God’s work in us that means that we are saved in Christ and living new lives for him. It is the Spirit that makes Christians aware of their sin and empowers them to turn away in repentance. (http://christianity.net.au/questions/why_do_we_need_the_holy_spirit)
As you can see, for christians, they are taught that it is highly important to this other spirit (it’s not the human spirit, so it’s an “other” spirit) living in you to “empower” or give you the ability to live obediently to God.
This has to be contrasted with the the books of Moses and the Jewish Bible on a whole which gives a distinctly different picture.
In Genesis 4:7, God tells Cain that there is forgiveness and acceptance if he does what is good; but if he doesn’t improve, sin crouches at the door. God adds something contradictory to the christian doctrine. He says that although sin desires Cain, Cain can master it.
That makes no sense with the xtian doctrine of man being a helpless slave to sin. A helpless slave is the utter opposite of the possibility God reveals to Cain. God says Cain can master it.
In Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Moses teaches that the commandment, the Torah, that he’s taught to Israel, which he received from God, was not beyond their ability, it wasn’t too hard or out of reach. This prophet, who had the most direct communication with Deity, said that the commandment was so close and accessible to Israel for them to do it.
For any who accept the five books of Moses as having high authority conferred upon them by God, it should be of great importance that God never taught or commanded that a man needs the other spirit, His holy spirit, just to obey him. Such an idea is absent from the law of God.
Deuteronomy 30 continues with expressing this ability of the human Israelites to obey God by focusing on choice. Between verses 15 and 20, Moses lays before them the choice to do good and obey God, and to do evil and disobey God. And he says to Israel, “Choose life! Choose good!”
It may not seem like a big thing. I get it. But tell me something, does God, the all-knowing, ever command a person to do what they cannot do? When he commands a man not to murder, that necessarily implies that man has the ability to refrain from taking the physical life of someone else. When he tells the earth to bring forth grass and animals, that means he has already given the ability for the earth to do as it’s told. That’s the power and wisdom of God.
So when Israel is offered a choice by God’s prophet, that necessarily implies that the people have the ability to fulfil either part of the choice.
The message of the Hebrew Bible, over and over again, is that man is not powerless. God has set before any man a choice, a demand. It has been shown to us what is good and what God requires from us: fairness, kindness and humility before God (Micah 6:8). A man can find favour in the eyes of God as Noah did.
It never said you need God’s spirit just to obey him. Guess what? We’re already made in God’s image. That means a whole lot.