Betrayal of Jesus
*(hint: the "betrayal" has nothing to do with Judas)
The online commentaries have now been compiled into a comprehensive 184-page book, Betrayal of Jesus, which contains all the material in all of the online commentaries PLUS substantial additional new material synthesized into an overarching theme, and then goes from there to introduce extensive new reference material, amazing new scriptural references you never knew were in the Bible, and entire new sections:
Bible Study like they never taught you in Sunday School!
*Chapter on contemporary issues includes a significant portion covering the pagan origins of "Christian" seasonal holidays such as Easter (celebrating the onset of Spring) and Christmas (celebrating the onset of Winter).
This new, expanded print edition is a valuable resource for those who prefer to read a printed edition and maintain it for reference purposes, or to have as a handy guide when traveling or discussing issues with others. It is also in a convenient format for giving to others who may be of like mind, or who might be interested in considering a different view than what they have taken for granted for many years.
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Webpage Commentaries by Davis D. Danizier and Interactive Forums:
Bible web page:
With respect for the important contributions of the Bible in history, literature, and its ethical and cultural influences, this essay debunks the Christian myth of Bible inerrancy / infallibility, and demonstrates that it is a work of fallible humans, not of divine creation, citing extensive specific examples of contradictions, factual errors, atrocities supposedly commanded by god and failed prophecies.
Paul vs. Jesus web page:
This essay illustrates how the "apostle" Paul contradicts and undermines the teachings of Jesus and other early Christians (most notably James, the brother of Jesus, who fought in vain to protect the integrity of his brother's message). Paul began as a persecutor of Christians and seems to have found a more effective manner by which to undermine and oppose the teachings of Jesus. As the great missionary through whose perspective new followers of Jesus came to "Christianity," it is the vision of Paul, not Jesus' simple teaching of joyful compassion, which has survived.
Atonement web page:
This essay demonstrates the logical, moral and scriptural fallacies in trying to concoct a doctrine that says that one person's sins can be removed or "atoned for" by killing another innocent human in an act of barbaric human sacrifice.
Web page on special issues relating to Catholics and Catholicism:
This essay demonstrates the how the history of the Roman Catholic Church is replete with barbaric cruelty, incredible depths of corruption, and crimes against humanity that are not only part of its ancient history, but continue into the present day.
Web page on special issues relating to Mormons and Mormonism:
This essay demonstrates some of the theology and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) that are unique and intriguing among Christian faiths. The history, beliefs, doctrines and rituals also bring some troubling dimensions that are worth exploring.
Christianity and Popular Culture:
This essay addresses some of the miscellaneous issues of how modern Christianity tries to deal with issues of popular culture, public policy, political influence and social issues and how the views of conservative "Christians" differ so much from the teachings attributed to Jesus, on hot-button issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, preserving the Founders' cherished separation of church and state, and the imagined "war on Christmas" which, like Easter, has more origins from Pagan seasonal celebrations of winter and spring than anything from Jesus or his earliest followers.
Is There a God?:
This age-old question invites much speculation, and there have been many attempts to wrestle with the big issues of the cosmos throughout history -- first in the realm of religious mysticism, and later incorporating issues of science. This short piece attempts to integrate the factors that need to be considered, addresses previous historical efforts, and provides a framework of factors to consider in coming up with whatever feasible answers may be possible.
Author Background | Introduction |
Index to Webpage Commentaries |
Book and Book Orders | Participation in Dialogue Forums
Davis D. Danizier was raised in a household that was religiously and politically conservative and embraced these traditions and was active in teen Bible study activities through adolescence and early college years. Eventually, based on his own encounters with scriptural study and with exposure to insights and writings of others, he became aware of contradictions and rational flaws and scientific errors represented in Christian teaching and scrptures and eventually recognized that, like many other great religions of the world, despite its many positive aspects, it could not be accepted as the divine and singular path to "salvation."
Politically, Dave Danizier is not registered with any particular political party, but tends to support candidates and issues that are progressive. His primary interest, and the focus of his commentaries, is in debunking religious mythologies while also respectfully expressing appreciation for the important historical, ethical and cultural contributions of the great literature that originated out of religious traditions and which has shaped our civilization in both positive and negative ways.
Many who have read my commentaries have jumped to inaccurate conclusions about the tone and intent of these writings, as well as to incorrect conclusions about my purposes and background. First of all, I want to make it very clear that this is not an "anti-Christian" work, and is not meant to attack or insult the deeply-held beliefs of Christians.
I know from the occasional hate mail (and e-mail) I have received that many will interpret these ideas in a negative way, and as personal insults against themselves and their beliefs.
Clearly it is my intent to challenge the beliefs of Christians and give them something to think about that they probably haven't seriously considered before.
Clearly I reject beliefs about Jesus that transform this wondrous teacher and insightful prophet into a god or messiah -- or Christ. But I hope that my sincere affection for this man and his wonderful teachings shows through, especially as I defend his original message against the attacks from the "apostle" Paul who I believe has done more to undermine Christianity than anyone else in history.
I do not hate Chritianity or Christians, though I question some of the things the more evangelical sects believe in. I was raised a conservative Christian and grew up believing the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible word of God. I was active in Christian youth groups and during my teenage years converted other friends to the faith. Most of my family and many of my closest friends maintain a strong and abiding faith in the Christian beliefs and believe me to be sadly in error, but because they know me personally and know that I am sincere, they tolerate me with the hopeful optimism I will return like the lost sheep to the fold (hmmm, perhaps the "sheep" metaphor is appropriate here).
I am not a trained minister and have not completed formal theological or seminary studies. I do not consider myself to be a Bible expert.
But in my amateur studies of the Bible, I encountered many specific problematic discoveries such as direct contradictions, prophecies that covered specific events that passed without the prophecies being fulfilled, and statements that are simply wrong based on modern knowledge that was not known to the primitive ancients.
As I encountered such issues, my initial assumptions were that simple answers must exist and that I was obviously missing something. But when I innocently raised my questions and concerns to responsible and educated persons I looked up to, they responded first with simplistic answers that didn't address the points I had raised and, when I pursued with follow-up questions, they reacted as though I were some kind of radical heretic seeking to undermine all the teachings of Christianity. I gradually and reluctantly came to accept the truth that while there is much good in the Bible and in Christian teachings, especially those attributed to Jesus himself in Matthew and Luke (the refined synoptic gospels), that the Bible could not be seen to be inerrant or infallible and Jesus could not be seen as a messiah or Christ. This discovery was traumatic for me, but I felt it necessary to gird up the necessary moral courage and bravely confront error instead of sweeping it under the carpet or running away from it in cowardice as many are tempted to do.
It soon became clear that the main reason for my Christian faith was not that it was "true" in any grand cosmic sense, but because it was the one that had been taught to me at my mother's knee and thus felt right to me in a deep and meaningful way. The fact became clear that when serious questions of factual error and internal contradiction arose, those I turned to in my own faith could not offer answers better than those in any other faith. If I would not accept such flawed responses from others, then I should not accept it from my own.
But what about the many miracles of Christianity? The personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior? The burning in the bosom as the Spirit whispers confirmation of Biblical truths? I had experienced the depths of religious experience and it was too real to deny. But I also observed that such religious experience was not limited to my own faith. Others in every faith have experienced the same whispering of their God attesting to their truth. The power of this religious experience is very real, but cannot be seen as objective reality because it is common to all faiths, "confirming" competing beliefs, and motivating such passion that adherents will die (or kill) for their beliefs. The experience of religious conviction may be real, but it is the motivating factor behind the most violent wars and the worst bloodshed and hatred in all of history.
To confront such truth - that my cherished Bible and faith were not the perfect messages from God that I had believed in - was a traumatic experience. All areas of my life, my family, friends, social life, were centered in my religion. I was not one of those "wild youths" who sought escape from piety in orgies of sex, drugs or rock and roll; on the contrary, I was a quiet, thoughtful youth, active in church activities and Bible study, and very comfortable in the religious experience which had meant so much to me.
But I had to be honest.
The purpose of this commentary is not to "debunk" the Bible or Christianity or to try to take away from satisfied Christians something of value that they cherish.
First, it should be noted that I hold the Bible in high esteem. It is an important and authentic relic of legitimate antiquity which deserves honor, and is the basis on which the moral traditions of the Western World were founded. It provides tremendous insight into how people lived in ancient times, and what they thought, and how it led to the development of modern traditions. It is also brings the message of well-written moral masterpieces - the best efforts of ancient, primitive writers who also offer amazing insights into human nature and ethics. True, there is much cruelty and harshness, especially in the Old Testament; but there is also much love, beauty and moral lessons that still resonate with truth today. Just as we can learn moral lessons from the ancient writings of China, India and even the Greek fables and myths, there is much of truth in the Bible if we seek it out selectively, using the same appropriate judgment that we would in analyzing the value of our contemporary writers.
Second is my strong admiration for Jesus and the teachings that are attributed to him in the gospels, especially the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (John was written much later, is more strongly influenced by Paul, and is of the most questionable authenticity). Unfortunately, this love and beauty that fill the words attributed to Jesus were severely undermined by Paul, who taught a message almost 180 degrees to the opposite of Jesus. And since Paul was the missionary through whose perspective so many converts found their way to Christianity, the tragedy is that it is his view that become the dominant view of Christendom.
Third, I do not seek to take anything away from contented Christians. This is evident in the manner in which I handle the information I have to offer. I do not aggressively market my message to Christians; I do not hunt them down in their places of worship or seek them out to engage them in dialogues or debates. I do not create online advertisements, or send out bulk e-mail "spam." If those in the Christian faith are happy and content, so be it. However, many are not happy with modern Christianity. They chafe under its rules and restrictions, and they are uncomfortable with the way it seeks to proselytize its message to others, by vigorous preaching (even to the unwilling) or even by seeking control of political agendas to force their values on the unwilling. In their hearts they suspect that something doesn't add up, but they can't quite put their finger on it. They go seeking answers to their questions. I do not go out looking for disaffected Christians, however I have placed notice of its availability in the places they are likely to find it - but only if they go looking for it. I make the information available to those who want it, whether they be the uncomfortable Christians or those who go looking to debate. I don't seek out debate partners, but if they come looking for me I am well prepared to discuss my positions.
I sincerely hope that my tone of respect and of genuine admiration for many of the teachings of Jesus and the Bible's historical importance will come through in what I have written.
I do not "interpret" the Bible; I cite its own words and let its truth, beauty and, yes, its contradictions and flaws stand on their own. We need not judge the Bible. We need only let it speak for itself as we evaluate the modern conclusions and doctrines others seek to derive from it.
Author Background | Introduction |
Index to Webpage Commentaries |
Book and Book Orders "Betrayal of Jesus" | Participation in Dialogue Forums
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Author Background | Introduction | Webpage Commentaries |
Book and Book Orders | Participation in Dialogue Forums