Infographic – Book of Acts – Comprehensive Relationship & Timeline Diagram

*Updated 09-07-2016*

As part of my ongoing historical research efforts, I found it necessary to develop a comprehensive outline of the book of Acts. This has taken several forms, one of which is the following relationship diagram and timeline for Acts. The notion was simple, but the doing turned out to take a good deal longer than I had anticipated. I’ve decided to pause my research long enough to publish this as an infographic, in the hopes that it may prove useful to others. Feel free to print and repost; all I ask is that attribution to JerichoBrisance be included. Further details and notes are below.

Click on image for high resolution PDF.

Acts RD Preview Whole

Additional Notes:  [Read more…]

Mark Twain on Slavery and the Church Taking Credit for Society’s Corrections After the Fact

Posted in an excellent article by Ryan Bell today, a quote worth sharing all by itself:

The methods of the priest and the parson have been very curious, their history is very entertaining. In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery.

Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible.

The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession – and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance.

— Mark Twain


– See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2015/04/07/different-era-same-injustice/#sthash.zLR8RsL1.dpuf

Quote – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Every great scientific truth goes through three phases: first, people deny it. Second, they say it conflicts with the Bible. Third, they say they’ve known it all along.

~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

SnapThought – Wrested from My Hands

Icthus

My faith in Jesus was wrested from my hands by the three-pronged crowbar of God’s creation + God’s character + God’s texts. These three explode away from each other in a cloud of incompatibility. We have been given clear markers throughout Christianity of a man-made, not God-made, religion. In short, the scriptures and dogmas cannot live up to their billing, and much that is claimed never happened.

In talking to other believers and deconverts, I have found basically three sorts:  (1) Those who do not know the issues and rest untroubled. (2) Those who are aware of the dilemmas and, despite being unable to resolve them, choose a faith of forgetting instead. (3) Those whose faith died in a struggle that refused a surrender to apathy.

Infographic: The Breaking of Christian Apologetics

Collapse of ApologeticsIn thinking back over the course of my own investigations, I have noted that several criteria have proven useful again and again. As a person investigates issues of faith and compares different explanations, these principles of vetting can help clear away the clutter that is so happily foisted by various authors. I have dubbed the following five criteria:

  1. The Goose and the Gander
  2. The Burden of Proof
  3. Scaled Support
  4. The Weakest Link
  5. Alternate Cases

In my own investigations, I have found that the most robust cases raised by the mightiest Christian apologists cannot survive the winnowing.

The Goose and the Gander

Principle:

If a rationale can be used to support more than one religion, that line of argument cannot be considered definitive. What is good for goose and the gander cannot adjudicate between them.

Example:

Eyewitness testimony from believers living at the time of Jesus does count as type of evidence. However, it is not unique or definitive evidence. Other religions make similar claims on similar grounds by people who similarly believed. [Read more…]

Christian Agnosticism & Touching Earth

English: Arabic Question mark 한국어: 아랍어에서 사용하는 물음표

I have recognized a repeating pattern from my past conversations, both in person and online, which I believe lies at the very bedrock of believer’s objections to investigative discussions regarding belief, Christianity, and the Bible. Once evidential discussions have run their course, and once a retreat is beaten from that battlefield, believers will very often default to the inner keep of last resorts:

You cannot evaluate the truth of Christianity with analysis or reason or rational argument: you must either believe it on faith or not at all. It is about belief. It requires faith.

I have come to call this a “retreat to grey”, the falling back to a proposition that faith knowledge is different by category from other knowledge – as different as living organisms and dead stones. Things of the spirit cannot be interrogated by the same means as other truth claims. At bottom is an agnostic claim: we simply cannot “know” things in this realm, nor prove them, and certainly not disprove them, by any path of critical thinking or evidence.

But why do we think this? [Read more…]

Quote: Kitchen on Jericho

There has always been too much imagination about Jericho by moderns (never mind previous generations), and the basic factors have ironically been largely neglected. The town was always small, an appendage to its spring and oasis…

~ K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament

Long Reads and Wikipedia

After a year of reading and looking, I arrived at the place of conceding that scholarly consensus about the authorship of the Bible gives a pretty low score to the traditional ascriptions. The best information today indicates that many books were not written by who we thought or when.

Wikipedia - BibleThe ironic and painful part of this is realizing that the answer could have been found very quickly and easily – by simply reading the Wikipedia entry on authorship of the Bible. Heavily annotated, the basic viewpoint there comports with the net information that I’ve seen. That’s sort of sad. If I wanted to know the skinny on the Book of Mormon or the Koran, the first place I would go would be Wikipedia. It was one of the last places I went on Biblical texts. We are very accustomed to learning about our religion from inside our religion.

Authorship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Bible

The Exodus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_exodus

The Flood: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_geology

Three years ago…

Three years ago on Passover, I explained to my congregation that according to archeologists, there was no reliable evidence that the Exodus took place–and that it almost certainly did not take place the way the Bible recounts it. Finally, I emphasized: It didn’t matter.

~ Rabbi David Wolpe
http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Judaism/2004/12/Did-The-Exodus-Really-Happen.aspx

The Curious Atheist

Freely Seeking Truth After Religion

Class Warfare Blog

I don’t want to start a class war; it started a long time ago and, unfortunately, we are losing.

Secular Wings

My freedom from spiritual abuse happened when I walked away from the abusers. My healing and recovery from the complex trauma of spiritual abusers, spiritually abusive faith and toxic religion happened while I was still a Christian and continues to this day. My deconversion came later after many many years of studying the Bible, Christian apologetics, cults and spiritual abuse. When I realized that the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God, the only honest thing I could do was to stop calling myself a Christian. ~ Zoe

Variant Readings

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playing in the rain

A Measure of Faith

Investigating the collision of faith, science and reason

aspiretofindtruth

Seeking answers for some of the big questions of life.

Random thoughts

Random musings about everything.

Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray