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October 10, 2013

How does a Catholic bishop afford a $37 million home?

Think of the hungry and homeless who could be helped with thirty-seven million dollars. Joe. My. God.: GERMANY: Catholic Bishop Called To Resign Over $37M Private Residence
Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, bishop of Limburg, was investigated by a Vatican envoy last month after protests in his diocese against lavish spending at odds with Pope Francis's shift of the Church's focus towards simplicity and poverty. The soaring cost of the stately residence next to Limburg's hilltop cathedral was made public by the diocese on Monday and was immediately criticised by churchgoers and officials. "Such prestige projects simply don't fit with Catholicism," said local Catholic Raimund Champert. "The Church, like the Pope, has a responsibility to be humble and lead by example. We are not in the Middle Ages anymore." Christoph Hefter, a lay member of the diocesan council, said: "The cost is shocking, it is beyond belief." Pope Francis, whose simple style contrasts with the more baroque tastes of his predecessor Benedict, whom he replaced in March, said last week he wanted the Church to serve the poor and strip itself of "vanity, arrogance and pride."

October 09, 2013

Biblical scholar claims he has new evidence that Jesus and the New Testament were entirely fabricated

The guy is clearly selling something, but his evidence is intriguing. Ancient Confession Found: 'We Invented Jesus Christ'
American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled "Covert Messiah" at Conway Hall in Holborn (full details can be found at http://www.covertmessiah.com). Although to many scholars his theory seems outlandish, and is sure to upset some believers, Atwill regards his evidence as conclusive and is confident its acceptance is only a matter of time. "I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm," he acknowledges, "but this is important for our culture. Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people." Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. "Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century," he explains. "When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That's when the 'peaceful' Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to 'give onto Caesar' and pay their taxes to Rome." Was Jesus based on a real person from history? "The short answer is no," Atwill insists, "in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there's simply nothing left." . . . What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."