Some interesting points Christopher Hitchens makes in this video that are worth considering. He actually highlights aspects of the New Testament that suggest there was, in fact, a man at the basis of the Jesus myth. It’s certainly an interesting argument and one I haven’t considered before. While there is absolutely no hard evidence to support the existence of Jesus, you might infer from the poor attempt at fabrication that the authors of the NT attempted that there might have been someone at the center of it. Otherwise, the fabrication might have been better composed.
Links for this week’s live show:
“Boat People” aka REFUGEES – a problem or an opportunity?
Man Arrested in Brisbane for Wearing a T-shit that said “Jesus Is A Cunt”
Yemen “Bomb Scare” – a CIA False Flag Operation?
My new LOTU podcast – the religion for atheists.
Don’t miss future shows – every Tuesday night, 8pm QLD time on uStream.
This podcast is sponsored by Suave Outdoor Living, contact them for Brisbane Decking.
Dear Apple Australia,
I would like to complain about your product quality and customer support.
I’m an Apple convert. I worked at Microsoft for a long time and so my conversion to Apple was a bit like a religious conversion. I remember buying my first Apple product, an iPod, in 2004 just after I left Microsoft. I felt guilty even buying it, like I was doing something dirty. By the time I bought my first Mac in 2007, I owned a couple of iPods, and an iPod touch and my conversion was well and truly complete.
But the last couple of months have really tested my faith in Apple.
It started on Jan 2 this year when my barely-two-year-old Macbook Pro 17″ died on me. When I took it into the Apple store at Chermside (Brisbane), they told me that the logic board had died and would need a replacement – at the cost of $2500. I had evidence to show that it wasn’t the logic board, it was the Nvidia chip, but the Apple folks disagreed with my analysis. I left it with them for two weeks to examine it but all I heard back was “it’s the logic board”.
Unfortunately I had bought this Mac at a Myer Store in Melbourne and they hadn’t sold me on Applecare, so I was screwed. A two-year-old $4000 Macbook Pro, dead in the water. I wasn’t happy.
Anyway, as I’m an Apple convert, I ended up buying a brand new Macbook Pro 17″ towards the end of January. I bought it via Apple Finance and it cost me something like $5000 including Applecare. It’s tricked out with 8Gb RAM, a 500GB drive, the anti-glare screen, etc. And I love it.
UNTIL… about two weeks after I bought it, the logic board DIED. So, I took it into the Apple Store at Chermside. The “Genius” there confirmed that diagnosis and said they’d put a new logic board in – but it would take 3 – 5 days. Why? Because they didn’t carry any logic boards that fit my machine in stock and would have to order one in, which would take 3 days, then would take them another couple of days to swap them over. I explained to the Genius, whose name was Joel, that I was traveling overseas at the end of the week and I *really* needed may laptop to be fixed before I left. He said he’s try to get it done for me quickly, but this still means I’d have to live without my MBP for a few days – which means a few days of no productivity, a few days of not getting my work done. I edit video and audio on my Macbook and without it, I’m screwed. TOUGH SHIT.
When I told Joel about the problem I’d had with my old MBP, he suggested I bring it back in so he could look at it.
So about three days later, when the new logic board came in, I went all the way back to the Apple Store and Joel said if I could stick around an hour, he’d get one of the engineers out the back to put in the new logic board so I could take it with me on my trip that evening. Great.
He also looked at the OLD MBP and confirmed the logic board was FINE, it was the graphic chip – GRRRR. So he said he’d get it fixed for me also. That’s great but WHY DIDN’T THEY TELL ME THAT A MONTH AGO SO I DIDN’T HAVE TO SPEND $5000 ON A NEW MBP???
Anyway… I leave the old MBP with Joel and take the new one, with the new logic board, home with me. Later that night, just as I’m packing to go to Nicaragua for a week, I turn on my fixed, less-than-a-month-old MBP and discover:
1) it won’t sleep
2) it won’t shutdown
3) the left fan isn’t working
4) the microphone isn’t working
5) the right speaker isn’t working
As I was leaving the next morning, I couldn’t take it back to the Apple Store until after my 8-day trip. So I jumped on the Apple site to try to book a Genius appointment for my return. AHA! The Apple store only accepts booking for five days in advance. So it’s IMPOSSIBLE to book an appointment for 8 days in advance.
So I rang Applecare and explained to the guy on the phone my problem. He said that he too could only book an appointment five days and so “you’ll need to call back in a few days”. I explained I was going to be in the jungles of Nicaragua WITHOUT A PHONE OR INTERNET for the next week and I wouldn’t be able to call back. “Well.. I can’t help you”, he said.
I lost my temper then and said “listen, LEAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE APPLE STORE IN CHERMSIDE AND TELL THEM I’LL BE COMING IN AT 11AM ON SATURDAY FEB 6.” Jesus. What a moron this guy was.
Okay so… I go to Nicaragua, taking my half-working-less-than-a-month-old-$5000-Macbook-Pro with me. I come back, go straight to the Apple Store in Chermside again. This time I see a new “Genius” called Marc. Marc checks my new laptop and confirms – the logic board needs to be replaced – AGAIN.
Oh and guess what – they don’t have any of them in the store, so, yep, I’ll have to wait another three days for them to order a new logic board in. Then I’ll need to COME BACK to Chermside again, leave it with them while they fix it, then come back to pick it up. That will make five trips to the Apple Store in two weeks to get a less-than-a-month-old Macbook Pro working like it should.
I tell Marc I’m not happy about all this and I want to speak with the manager. So that’s when I meet JARROD.
Jarrod’s a scruffy looking guy, probably about 25 or 26. I explain to Jarrod my problem. I started by asking why they don’t have replacement logic boards in stock and he replied “well we only carry the older ones, because the new ones don’t fail”. Well that hasn’t been MY experience,
I went on to tell Jarrod: “I’m not happy. I paid $5000 for a top of the line Macbook and it’s still not working and I don’t want to keep coming back here.” He said they’d fix it. I said “Well I know you will, but that’s not the point. I’m not happy about having to keep coming back here. What are you going to do to make me happy?”, I asked.
Jarrod said they’d make me happy by fixing my laptop. I explained “That’s not going to make me happy. That’s the very LEAST you’re can do. That’s what you should have done THE FIRST TIME. I want you to make me happy.”
Jarrod asked what that would take and I told him I didn’t know. “Be creative,” I told him. But Jarrod didn’t want to be creative. All Jarrod could offer was to fix my Macbook. Again.
When I told him that’s fixing my Macbook isn’t really good enough, that’s just the basic level of what they SHOULD do, he replied “I think you’ll find our service is better than you’d get anywhere else.”
OH REALLY, JARROD?
I think if I bought a top-of-the-line laptop from Dell or HP and it failed TWICE IN THE FIRST MONTH, they would at least send a courier to pick it up from my office and then deliver a new one or a fixed one back to me. I wouldn’t have to visit their office FIVE TIMES IN A MONTH.
But Jarrod didn’t want to help. Jarrod didn’t want to make me happy. Jarrod let me leave the store MAJORLY pissed off that I’ll have to come back TWICE again in the next week just to get this problem resolved.
And all the while I was having this conversation with Jarrod, he was SMIRKING, like this was all some kind of big joke. I was NOT laughing. This is wasting my TIME and my ENERGY. And it means downtime, which costs me MONEY. And Jarrod seemed to think this was some huge joke.
One good note (kind of) – the old Macbook Pro that I took in on Jan 2? Fixed. It was the graphics chip after all. So I didn’t really need to buy the new one anyway.
As someone who extols the virtues of Apple all the time to friends and family and who has converted a few people to the Apple world, I have to say – while I love the products and the company, the Australian operation leaves a LOT to be desired. The quality control and customer support that I’ve experienced in the last couple of months has been terrible. Except for Joel. Joel’s a keeper. I think I might hire him.
Anyway Apple, you haven’t lost me as a customer – yet. I can’t go back to Windows. I guess I’ll wait to see what Google’s Chrome OS looks like.
I just thought you’d like feedback from a VERY unhappy customer. For what it’s worth.
I wonder how many Mormons know Joseph Smith was put on trial for being a conman a few years before he founded the church?
The story goes like this:
“For several years preceding the appearance of his book, he was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c. Although he constantly failed in his pretensions, still he had his dupes who put implicit confidence in all his words. In this town, a wealthy farmer, named Josiah Stowell, together with others, spent large sums of money in digging for hidden money, which this Smith pretended he could see, and told them where to dig; but they never found their treasure.
“At length the public, becoming wearied with the base imposition which he was palming upon the credulity of the ignorant, for the purpose of sponging his living from their earnings, had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice. But, considering his youth, (he being then a minor,) and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape. This was four or five years ago. From this time he absented himself from this place, returning only privately, and holding clandestine intercourse with his credulous dupes, for two or three years.”
The above account is taken from the first published telling of events, written by Abram W. Benton and published in the Evangelical Magazine & Gospel Advocate in 1831, about 5 years after the events occurred (via Omninerd).
The LDS apologists I’ve read online (including the author of the article on Omninerd) tend to try to brush it off by saying “well back then money digging wasn’t unusual”, missing the point that he wasn’t tried for “money digging” per se, he was tried (as far as we can tell from the surviving records) for being a conman, that is, he kept pretending he actually could locate buried treasure using his supernatural powers when, in fact, as far as the records show, he was totally unsuccessful in finding any treasure.
It speaks about the man’s character. And this trial happened 6 years after Smith claims that he had been visited by Jesus. I’d like to ask Mormons to engage their critical mind and ask themselves: is a conman who was going around the country trying to scam money out of gullible people the kind of person that you would put your trust in today? If someone who was a known conman turned up today and told you that he’d been visited by an angel or Jesus, would you believe him?
Read more about Joseph Smith’s career as a hustler here.
In addition, there is plenty of evidence that a lot of Mormon rituals and symbols were copied by Smith from what he learned from the Freemasons. His father was made a master Mason in 1818, quite a few of the original Mormons were also Freemasons and Smith himself became a master Mason in 1840. According to “MORMONISM AND MASONRY” by S.H. Goodwin (1920), Mormon temple worship shares an extensive commonality of symbols, signs, vocabulary and clothing with Freemasonry, including robes, aprons, handshakes, ritualistic raising of the arms, etc. The LDS church was started during a time in the United States when there was a backlash against the Masons. Did Smith just transform the Masonic lodge into a church?
Anyone interested in Joseph Smith’s story should read the classic “No Man Knows My History” by Fawn Brodie published in 1945.
The author of the Bread From Heaven blog wrote a post recently trying to suggest that there is some historical credibility for the myths contained in the New Testament by comparing it to other ancient documents. Following is my discussion with BFHU in the comments section of his or her blog.
Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:47 am Said:
The main difference between the NT and the other documents in the table is that the other authors (except, of course, Homer, and it’s well understood that The Iliad is a myth) claimed to be documenting the life of a supernatural being with superhuman powers. The more ridiculous the claims of ancient documents, the more skeptical any intelligent person is likely to be. Especially when those claims aren’t supported by a single eyewitness or any other evidence. And, let’s face it, the NT is full of ridiculous claims.
bfhu, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:04 pm Said:
The New Testament claims ARE supported by eye witnesses. As for “ridiculous claims” all I can do is quote St. Paul:
I Cor 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Cameron Reilly, on September 10th, 2009 at 5:28 pm Said:
@bfhu – so who are these eye witnesses that support the NT? Name them.
bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 7:43 am Said:
The names of some of the eyewitnesses:
All of the disciple of Jeus:
1. Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter),
2. James, the son of Zebedee, and
3. John the brother of James
9.James the son of Alphaeus, and
11. Simon the Zealot;
12. Judas Iscariot
13. Mary, Jesus’ mother
And many others named in the various Gospels and letters that make up the NEW TESTAMENT.
St.Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the early history of the Church in his book of Acts. He consulted eyewitnesses in order to make an accurate account of the events surrounding the life of Jesus and later the Church He founded.
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
Luke again in Acts 1
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Of the disciples of Jesus, who were the closest eyewitnesses to all that Jesus did, who wrote a book or letter preserved for us in the New Testament: Peter whose memoir was written down by Mark in the Gospel of Mark. Also, Peters two letters, I & II Peter. The apostle John in his Gospel and three Letters.
1 John 1
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Walking in the light
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light;
Revelation 1 (John)
1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—
Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 5:59 pm Said:
Can you find anywhere in Luke where he says that he spoke directly to those people? I think you’ll find he doesn’t. All you have in Luke is a document written by an anonymous author (the name “Luke” was given to it by Papias in the mid 4th century), who, although claiming to have spoken to eyewitnesses, in fact copied in large part from earlier works, namely “Mark” and the Q Source. At least, that is the dominant hypotethis in biblical scholarship currently. How much credibility can we give an author who makes false claims? Very litte, I’d say.
bfhu, on September 11th, 2009 at 6:48 pm Said:
That is your opinion and the opinion of he so called higher textual criticism which I do not accept. And neither do many other scholars. Those who do not want to accept the ancient faith and would rather debunk it have found an excuse with the faithless, doubting German higher criticism. This is the fruit of Luther’s Rebellion. Thanks for your comments but they are unconvincing.
Cameron Reilly, on September 11th, 2009 at 8:11 pm Said:
And therein lies the problem with your argument that there is some kind of historical evidence for Jesus. Your evidence falls apart at the slightest inquiry. You choose NOT to accept the position of historians and instead choose to “accept the ancient faith”. You are unable to provide any critical evidence to support the claim of an historical Jesus.
Comparing the New Testament or Old Testament documents to other ancient documents that are equally unsupported by evidence only serves to lead us to the conclusion that the Bible documents are EQUALLY AS UNRELIABLE as the other documents. We should be skeptical of all of them, especially though of the documents that claim to be a testimony of supernatural persons.
For example: an historical document that says “John went down to the shop and bought a loaf of bread today” is probably more reliable than a document of the same age that says “John waved his fingers in the air, muttered a secret incantation to the God Ba’al, and 12 loaves of bread appeared in a flash of light in front of him.”
So, for that reason, the NT and OT are likely to be MUCH less reliable historical documents than other ancient documents that make more reasonable claims.
Tim Freke is the co-author (with his writing partner Peter Gandy) of many books about the Jesus myth – including THE JESUS MYSTERIES and THE LAUGHING JESUS. I chatted with him recently about one of their books “The Gospel of the Second Coming”, a marvelous book that manages to combine humour and insight – it explains the Jesus myth as a Gnostic parable. As Tim points out during our chat – nobody really thinks there was an historical “good Samaritan” or “prodigal son”. They are understood to be parables. Tim explains that the whole Jesus story is a series of parables wrapped up in another parable – the parable of Jesus himself.
Click on the above image to order your copy today from BookDepository (free shipping!).
In this, the latest show in my series trying to show that the Jesus story is probably a myth or hoax, my guest is a PhD student at the University of Helsinki in the field of biblical study. He chatted with me recently about the evidence to support the theory that there once was a man called Jesus about whom the stories we know of as the Christian bible were constructed around.
Interestingly, Francis doesn’t seem to believe the biblical stories and yet considers himself a Catholic.
If you want to hear my other shows about the historicity of Jesus, check out this page.
Abigail Washburn & The Shanghai Restoration Project
(Undercover Culture Music)
I watched Obama’s Cairo speech live via YouTube (how amazing is that?). My initial impressions were very positive. I, like everyone else, was in awe at his smooth delivery and words of peace. He’s certainly a breath of fresh air as an American President after Bush (even if I do like to refer to him as ‘the infallible chocolate Jesus’, a term I borrowed from Bill Maher who, in turn, borrowed it from Tom Waits. Oh and anyone who thinks that makes me racist, grow a brain. One uptight American blocked me on Twitter for referring to Obama as chocolate Jesus. If I called him the ‘Black Messiah’, would that be racist?).
Anyway, I was impressed with Obama’s speech… until… I watched it again the next day and I started to think about it from the perspective of the citizens of the Middle East and what THEY want to hear Obama say.
Anyone who has read anything about the history of USA – Middle East relations, knows that the reason people in the Middle East are angry about the USA has nothing to do with religious differences or even George Bush specifically. They are angry because for 60 years the USA has been interfering in their countries, overthrowing their governments and taking their natural resources and wealth at the point of a gun. The USA have supported Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the oppression of the Palestinian people. The USA have supported oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, and various African countries (eg Uganda) in return for access to the natural wealth of those countries while the citizens have remained in poverty.
None of this is news to people living in the Middle East. This is their history. This is their reality.
So if Obama genuinely wanted to "change" relations between the United States and the people living in the Middle East, he would have talked less about religious differences and said something more like:
"For the last 60 years, America has terrorized your countries, murdered your citizens and stolen your natural wealth. I am here to promise you that will never happen again and you no longer need to fear us."
Until the USA admits their past crimes and pays compensation to the victims, everything else is just blowing smoke.
It seems to me that Obama’s speech was targeted, not at the citizens of the Middle East, but at Americans who, after feeling ashamed (understandably) by Bush’s warmongering rhetoric, are just relieved not to be portrayed on the international stage as a bunch of neocons. Is this enough, though? I mean, I understand it, but if Americans want to be taken seriously on the international stage again, surely they need to be seen to be talking about the REAL ISSUES, not cosmetics?
Of course, most Americans haven’t read Chomsky or Pilger or Zinn or Monbiot or anything else written by critics of American policy (and I’m not talking about Democrat vs Republican which is just theatre distracting people from the real issues) so they don’t even understand what the real issues are. Most of them still don’t understand that the 9/11 attacks were RETRIBUTION and not terrorism. They were REVENGE for atrocities committed by Americans for decades against the people of the Middle East.
And, of course, most Americans have spent their entire lives being conditioned 24×7 by the American media, being told that they are the good guys, that even when they do wrong it’s an honest mistake made for the right reasons, that Americans are the saviours of the worlds (no wonder they think they’ve elected the messiah).
So few Americans can even begin to comprehend that their Presidential elections are a farce and that Obama is just another in a long line of candidates specially designed by PR professionals to appeal to a certain demographic. As I heard Bill Maher say on a recent show: "You don’t get to be President when you are 46 and black unless you have powerful friends in very high places who believe you will look after their interests. And so far all he’s done is look after the interests of his buddies he went to Harvard with, the American elite."
Obama is a Hollywood President. He looks good, sounds good, has a good backstory, he’s obviously smart, smooth, and can sell the sizzle. And after the Bush years, most Americans can’t get past the joy of the sizzle and ask "where’s the sausage?" They can’t even stand to hear criticism of Obama. Even Bill Maher gets booed on his show when he criticizes Obama.
Anywayyyy…. regarding the Cairo speech, apparently Noam Chomsky has the same concerns.
I have to thank @BrisbaneGirl for this one, she told me about it this morning over coffee.
It seem that back in January, Letterman invited the legendary Bill Hicks‘ mother onto the show to formally apologize in public for cutting Bill’s Oct 1993 stand-up routine from the show. Apparently Letterman and his producer were concerned about Bill’s jokes about Jesus. As Bill Hicks’ fans know, he died 5 months later from pancreatic cancer.
Not only did Dave apologize back in January, he played the banned stand-up routine. It’s pretty moving.
Here it is:
Here are the first two parts of the full interview.