67 thoughts on “The Pope’s tweets are BORING

    1. You would have thought right. Which is further proof that, whatever the Poop is channeling, it has nothing to do with any deity deserving of the title.



  1. Yep, I’d say this is par for the course. I mean, have you even tried to read the Cathechism? Chloroform in print, as Twain would say.

  2. Meanwhile the media pope (Murdoch) tweets on gun control, and that really is news.

    Maybe if Ratzi tweeted something newsworthy, like suggesting HIV+ people use condoms, he might make more of an impact.

  3. Probably, he hasn’t got much involvement and has just instructed the Vatican’s PR department to come up with some vague hand waving, that avoids any controversy.

    Reckon, I could write him a computer program that would generate this stuff on demand – might save some money that could be used to redress some of the problems Catholicism has caused.

        1. The academic consensus (ignoring apologists) seems to be that there was an individual known as Jesus of Nazareth who was executed by the Romans.

          1. Isn’t that like a consensus that there was a man named Bob from New York who rode in a taxi? If he wasn’t the miracle performing Jesus does it count? If it does, then I can claim almost any fictional character as being a real person.

          2. If by, “academic,” you mean, “apologetic,” then you are perfectly correct.

            The extant relevant historical record is quite expansive, and it is utterly devoid of even a hint of a mention of anybody even vaguely resembling the eponymous Christian demigod or the events surrounding his claimed tenure on Earth.

            One might then attempt to re-define Jesus out of existence by claiming him to be some random schmuck who would quite understandably fly underneath everybody’s radar, but this is trivially self-defeating in two ways. First, all the (very late) “evidence” vehemently contradicts any such assertion; and, secondly, even if you could actually point to such an individual from history (which you can’t), he very emphatically couldn’t be “the” Jesus.

            If you were to find an orphan named, “Harry Potter,” who went to an English boarding school whom Ms. Rowling knew, would it make any sense to call him the “real” Harry Potter and that therefore Harry Potter’s existence is historically confirmed? Of course not.

            Besides. We’ve also got the earliest Christian apologists devoting tomes to the Pagan myths they stole Jesus from (just do a quick search for “Justin Martyr Sons of Jupiter” for an introduction), and we’ve got Pagans describing how the Christians were crazy wacko nutjobs akin to today’s Raelians (see Pliny the Younger’s correspondence with Trajan) and how Christians were fools easily duped into adopting Pagan myths wholesale as their own (see Lucian’s eulogy for Peregrinus).

            There can be no doubt but that Jesus is no different from Xenu, Moroni, or any other made-up deity.



            1. “If you were to find an orphan named, “Harry Potter,” who went to an English boarding school whom Ms. Rowling knew, would it make any sense to call him the “real” Harry Potter and that therefore Harry Potter’s existence is historically confirmed? Of course not.”

              If you don’t mind Ben, I’m stealing that for real life arguments. Brilliant!

          3. I specifically excluded apologists, and I don’t think agreeing that there may have been such a historical individual on whom all the subsequent myths and stories were later hung opens the door to endorsing those stories as factual. Quite the contrary, actually.

            I agree with Hitchens (in one of his debates with that dolt D’Souza) that the internal evidence of the gospels suggests there were some inconvenient “facts” that the writers had to work with — ie these writings were not a fabrication from whole cloth. In academic parlance, I think this is called the “criterion of embarrassment”.

            Nonetheless, this case is no stronger than a “balance of probabilities”, and I think reasonable people may come to varying conclusions.

            1. The “criterion of embarrassment” is found nowhere outside of apologetics. In non-religious literature is is known either as adding dimension to your characters or wrestling with contiguity. It is, in an historical context, in a word, bullshit.

              Remember, there were a number of prior restraints the original Christian mythicists had to work within, especially including the Jewish Bible and the Hellenistic philosophy and iconography they were incorporating into Judaism. Later additions to the “stone soup” also had to either incorporate or “correct” the contributions of earlier authors (see G. Matthew v G. Mark).

              And the Gospels were written generations after the “fact” by anonymous authors who didn’t even know the geography and language of the region — and we have no well-provenanced source for the Gospels themselves. Suggesting that a literary analysis of such a work can lead to reasonable historical conclusions is beyond laughable, and Hitch should have been deeply ashamed for doing so.



              1. In this case I side with Hitch, no doubt because I share with him a somewhat different view of what you call literary analysis.

            2. I’m trying to wrap my head around why you think there was a historical Jesus as described in the bible when you admit all the information about him was just BS added later. If your only claim is a guy named Jesus was killed by the Romans, ok so what. There could have been 50 guys named Jesus killed by the Romans. We’re right back to a guy named Bob from New York rode in a taxi. You can’t even get the historical accuracy up to the level of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

              1. First of all because it is an empirical question that in theory has a definite answer. Second, because it makes sense in *my* critique how the Jesus fairy tales developed into the gospels written 40 to 70 years later. For instance, the nonsense in Luke about an imaginary census to get someone known by the Christian community at the time as a Nazarene to be born in Bethlehem.

              2. John, you do realize that you can trivially make up any number of excuses for why the Gospel authors didn’t accurately record history, correct?

                If you’re so eager to dismiss them as unreliable sources for everything but the mere existence of Jesus, why are you equally eager to trust them about his existence, as well?

                If I came to you declaring that I had had coffee with Sir Lancelot after aliens had abducted me and handed me over to Elvis’s two-headed Martian love child to have his / her way with me, how much of that story would you strip away and still conclude that I was a reliable witness to Elvis’s existence?

                Your credulity in this matter does not indicate a reliable sense of judgement on your part. Beware of offers to purchase financial instruments, real estate or vehicles sight unseen.


              3. I’m not saying the gospel writers were reliable witnesses to anything. What I am saying is that their sources did not create a story out of thin air; that it’s more probable than not there was some Jewish zealot called Jesus who had a small following, and after his execution these cultists are likely to have created the first stories on which the rest of the rubbish heap later rested. There was certainly no shortage of charismatic fruitcakes around at the time, and I see no reason why the Nazarene wouldn’t have been one of them.

              4. John,

                Do you have any evidence to support these most remarkable claims you’re making? Or, as usual, is this just a variation on the apologetic “Where there’s smoke it can’t possibly be from the Church blowing it up our asses” theme?

                If your evidence is or relies upon the Gospels, I will remind you that you’ve already impeached them yourself in this thread. If you wish us to now grant them credibility, you must explain which bits are credible and why (other than mere plausibility) we should consider them to be credible.


              1. John,

                You have just claimed that:

                * “there was some Jewish zealot called Jesus who had a small following”;
                * that he was executed, presumably by the order of Pontius Pilate;
                * that his followers invented tall tales about him after said execution;
                * and that those followers evolved into mainstream Christianity and their stories are the foundation for the Gospels.

                Each and every one of those claims is astoundingly remarkable. It not only is utterly unsupported by even the slightest hint of evidence, it is vehemently contradicted by vast bodies of evidence.

                That’s why I’m asking you for the evidence on which you base these claims. Assuming you have some, and it is credible, it would be truly earth-shattering.



              2. I’m still confused, but this is what I get.
                Romans killed a bunch of people. – Accepted
                There were people named Jesus – Accepted
                Some people named Jesus lived in Nazareth – Plausible
                The Romans killed a guy named Jesus who was from Nazareth – Plausible
                People made up some stories about a guy named Jesus that the Romans killed – Plausible
                Am I missing anything, because that’s about as far as I can go without some wild speculation?

              3. Ben,

                I said nothing about Pontius Pilate, nor did I say his original cult followers “evolved into mainstream Christianity”.

                It just seems to me to that the existence of some itinerant fruitcake called Jesus is a component of the most plausible and parsimonious explanation of the evidence at hand.

                You disagree. Fine, I don’t think anything of importance hangs on the disagreement.

              4. It just seems to me to that the existence of some itinerant fruitcake called Jesus is a component of the most plausible and parsimonious explanation of the evidence at hand.

                What evidence?

                And why is it that, every time I ask an historicist for evidence, my queries are either ignored or replied to with significantly younger faery tales about zombies?


          4. Hey, give John C a break – he’s probably right that there was some prophet around at the time on which the many later gospel fragments were at least partially based. And he’s right that many historians who aren’t apologists believe that. There’s a lot of hair splitting going on here.

            1. Thank you. At a practical level, when talking to borderline/turnable Xians (which I do a bit) I find it best to cut to the chase (the resurrection etc) which is a bit hard if you’re stuck in a fruitless debate about whether a person called Jesus existed all.

              1. I agree, there is nothing to be gained from adopting an overly skeptical view on the historicity of Jesus, any more than of King Arthur. But, it seems reasonable to suggest to believers that even if he had existed, that doesn’t mean he necessarily pulled a magic sword from a stone :).

              2. John and Roq,

                How much do you value evidence? How much do you value honesty?

                If you value either, you should care whether or not “The Greatest Story Ever Told” is true, at least in its broad outline, or an obvious fiction in the grand style of religious fictions throughout history.

                And if the Christians can’t even establish Jesus’s mere existence, of what point is it to bother with what he did or didn’t do?

                If somebody came to you telling you about all the wonderful things Harry Potter really had honestly and truly done, would you waste your time arguing why magic wands don’t work, or would you point out that it’s all just a faery tale, and require credible evidence to the contrary before even considering whether any of the incredible claims have merit?


              1. Well there are plenty of books about it. You can read them and make up your own mind. History isn’t precise with such low quality data, but on balance most historians reckon that something underlies the texts although there are mythicists too.

                Probably, there was some Jewish preacher wandering around at the time, that some texts are referring to, but noone can say for certain. That about sums it up.

                Not sure what you are making such a fuss about really. Presumably you’ll be telling us all to grow up or something similar if things run true to form. or are we to be spared such histrionics this time?

              2. <sigh />

                I ask for evidence, and you tell me there are plenty of books that people have written about it. And people wonder why I have so little respect left for the historicists.

                Let me make it trivial, and clear.

                What is the single best piece of evidence dated to the first half of the century which you believe supports the historical existence of Jesus?

                There, that shouldn’t be too much to ask for, should it?


          5. The consensus seems to be to ignore the question:

            “Although most established biblical scholars agree that Jesus did exist, R. Joseph Hoffmann has stated that the issue of historicity versus non-historicity of Jesus has been long ignored due to theological interests.”

            It has no other reference, but I assume this is checkable. Hoffmann is the only historian one can find being claimed to say anything on the matter, which is the exception that proves the rule I would think.

            He is also responsible for the “Jesus Project” ” a colloquium to re-examine the traditions for the existence of a historical Jesus”, “designed to determine “what can be reliably recovered about the historical figure of Jesus, his life, his teachings, and his activities, utilizing the highest standards of scientific and scholarly objectivity.””

            So what can be reliably recovered on this is questionable in history of religion!

            That gets us back to the religious texts as source. “There are three loosely defined historical schools of thought with regard to the historical accuracy of the Bible,

            – biblical minimalism — which holds the primacy of modern archaeological evidence, and maintains the theology and apology, and all stories within it are of a later aetiological character …”

            “The fact is that we are all minimalists — at least, when it comes to the patriarchal period and the settlement.” [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_history ]

            But see Hoffmann on the issue of historicity versus non-historicity of Jesus. My take: the archaeologists says it is all bogus.

            This seems to be an air castle, held up by scientists ignoring the issue and letting the apologists play.

            1. With respect, you do not seem to know anything accurate about Hoffman, his views on historicity of Jesus, or the suspended Jesus Project. Further, most of the “Jesus myth” academic supporters hold a position essentially indistinguishable from the one I articulated above.

  4. “The Pope’s tweets are BORING”

    Why should the pope’s tweets be any different? Virtually all tweets are boring.


    1. Because he’s a cross-dressing, ex-nazi, homophobic, paedophile protecting, bigot who sits on gold thrones and lives in a palace. Only religion could make that boring.

  5. How do people get through the day without the inspiring words of wisdom that religion provides, producing nuggets of truth that cannot be found by any other means?

    Pretty easy , actually.

    Surely if religion was such a great way of finding truth, religious statements would not be so banal?

    1. “Store in a cool dry place.” … “If opened consume within 7 days.” … “Best Before 10:03:2013” … These are a bit more profound! A bit of thought had to go into these.

  6. Dear Rat @ See,

    What’s your favorite recipe for a side of two thousand year aged baby Jebus? How much blood do u suck down with it?

  7. His Twitter photo is nearly perfect. If only his thumb was closer to his nose. I, as a Photoshop opportunist, would have a field day with that.

  8. RE: @Pontifex’s ninth tweet : are you saying that Mary only realised that she was pregnant a week before giving birth?
    (In the tone and voice of a dude who speaks “twitter”, which I don’t.) “Dude, that is, like, one one of the best arguments that I’ve seen in favour of better sex education for children before they become sexually active. I mean, @Pontifex dude, like she could have been doing all sorts of bad shit – not eating properly, not enough folic acid or vitamin “d” to complete closure of the neural tube. All sorts of things. Man! That’s like a really good argument that you’re developing for better #Sex-edukasion, @Pontifex. Right on, dude.”
    (Back to speaking and thinking more-or-less normally.) @Pontifex is going to be having an #faceplant one of these day. I hope.
    My memory of UK punk rock in the late ’70s is ringing a faint bell at the prospect of Jesus born with a major neural tube defect. Hmmm, Google not bringing up corresponding lyrics, though Cr&#9424ss did get within spitting distance (appropriate!), not that they were (are?) terribly attached to the tyranny of lyrics. Or was it “Toxik Effex”?

  9. So the “Jesus and Mo” cartoonist thinks the Pope will want to tweet about condoms, and when he doesn’t, you call him “boring”.

    OMG! Get a life!

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