Hellenism Syncretic Judaism Jesus legend Jesus Scholarship
Apostolic Legend Apostolic Scholarship Over Paganism Over other Christianities
The facts about what we think we know about Jesus

Sixteen hundred years ago, Roman guys with swords decided what will go in in your church this Sunday.

One itsy problem with the claim Christianity borrowed from Paganism is the New Testament. The histories of Jesus' life written by people who knew Him don't mention Him lifting salvation from Osiris, so why should we?

POCM > Triumph reviews the facts, not about Jesus, but about what we think we know about Jesus.The history we believe: where does that history come from, and how did it get to us?

Why do we care about all this? Because if the New Testament stories are not historical, POCM's version of Christian origins looks a lot more reasonable, that's why.

What you'll discover at POCM > Triumph is that there are two versions of the history of what we know. The Sunday School version and the Fact Based version.

The Orthodox legend is the Sunday School version is the version you maybe know. The gospels are the histories recorded by people who knew Jesus (or at least, knew people who knew Jesus). We can trace the gospels right back to the people who wrote them.

The Sunday School version gets its facts from, well, from the Sunday School version. The Sunday School version is an ancient legend passed down from the early church fathers, for eighteen hundred years, through generations of believers.

The Fact Based version comes to us from a couple hundred years of scholarly research, by believers and non-believers, into the actual facts behind the Sunday School version.

Fact-based research has proven a couple things.

First, that the gospel miracles cannot be based on naive ancient understanding of natural phenomena. A close look at the details of how that could have happened turns up too many wild improbabilities. Therefore, the gospels must be myths. [David Strauss wrote about this in 1835. We'll review his analysis.]

Second, the gospels could not have been written by the guys, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, with their names on the covers. There are several reasons for this:

the earliest gospel manuscripts don't have names on the covers; the evidence is, the names were added later.

Matthew and Luke clearly copy from Mark. Not just ideas and paraphrases, but idiosyncratic word for word phrasing that no two, or three, people could have come up with each on their own. These facts force even the most arch conservative believing scholars to admit this "literary dependence." And literary dependence shoots the hell out of the theory that the gospels are first hand histories.

It was early Christian custom to write books like the ones in our New Testament, and after the book was finished, to go back and put some famous apostles name on the cover. Early Christianity had lots of Gospels, lots of epistles, lots of acts. Ours fit perfectly with that tradition.

Now, we don't believe the Gospel of Thomas—in which Jesus brings salvation not by dying on the cross, but by teaching secret wisdom—was actually written by the apostle Thomas. So according to what evidence and what reasons can we believe our gospels were written by our apostles?

It turns out, there are no non-circular criteria you can apply to both our gospels and their gospels and come up with the answer our gospels as unique and true, and the other early Christian gospels as phony.

The point of POCM > Triumph is simply to give you the facts about all this. The history we believe: where does that history come from, and how did it get to us?

When you do look at the history of our history, it turns out the Sunday School version, the "orthodox legend, or, as scholars call it, the "myth of apostolic succession", is not history at all. It is legend. Legend and myth.

The Scholarship Split
I'm jumping ahead here, but under the next big tab, POCM > Scholarship, we'll see that the results of scholarly research are so strong that believers have been unable to disprove them. So believing scholarship has simply abandoned the reasoned discussion and gone off on it's own, to start its own subculture of scholars who start their research with the idea the gospels are basically true. They are scholars not of whether the gospels are true, but of how they are true.


The other thing you'll discover at POCM > Triumph is that how our version of Christianity won out over all the other versions of Christianity, and how it got passed down to us, may be a bit different from what you thought.

Here's a map showing Christian theologies developed in the three centuries after Jesus—before the Roman government got involved in church doctrine. Like other ancient religions, early Christianity invented new theologies as it spread to new cities. Modern Christianity still calls each of these Christianities a heresy. There are heresies all over the map—except in Rome. That's because after the emperor Constantine converted in AD 312, Roman Christianity defined orthodoxy. You converted to Roman orthodoxy or Roman soldiers exterminated you. With swords. Or they tied you up and burned you.

Sixteen hundred years ago, Roman guys with swords decided what will go in in your church this Sunday. Wow!


The final thing you'll learn at POCM > Triumph is that Paganism did not wither and disappear because of Christian moral superiority. Paganism ended when it was brutally and savagely suppressed.



   Greggy's Guesses


Does this mean that I, Greg, know how Christianity began, Who Jesus was, which gospels are closest to Him, and which of His sayings in the NT are truly His? Nope. It doesn't. I don't know these things. And I don't think there is any way to know them. Too much information has been lost.

All I know is, the myth of apostolic succession (as scholars call it) is a phony.

That's it for the POCM > Triumph intro. Here's a riff on the historicity of the New Testament 

Reasons: The words of Jesus and the historicity of the gospel


We saw earlier how ancient authors tarted up their history scrolls with made up phony quotations—"quotations" that looks a lot like the "quotations" in our gospels. Let's revisit our gospels' quotations, and see what they tell us about the gospel authors' commitment to historical accuracy.

You've heard people say, "Jesus said..." this or that. You've maybe said that yourself, quoting the bible. The conservative orthodox theory of Christian origins is that the words of Jesus in our gospels are real, written by people who knew Jesus, or at least (Mk and Lk) who got their stuff from people who got their stuff on the spot. The events are real. The words of Jesus are real.

Liberal scholars have a theory of their own: oral tradition. Our gospels' writers didn't know Jesus personally, they got what He said from a chain of tradition, oral tradition (some written down before it got to the gospelers), leading back to Jesus Himself. Our gospels' words of Jesus are real in the sense that they (or some of them maybe) originated with Him, although they got to us in a half-assed imprecise sort of way.

The thing you maybe haven't noticed, probably haven't noticed unless someone suggested you do the exercise, is how often our gospels' writers "quote" other people. Besides Jesuses's the gospels also record words of the disciples, Herod, angels, demons, satan, tax collectors, and crowds of people all saying the same words all together. The gospels even record long speeches spoken in dreams, and verbatim accounts of inner thoughts that were never spoken, but that Jesus knew because He could read minds.

Here's our historical accuracy question: How'd they do that? How did the gospel writers know, all those decades later, exactly—word for word—what the angel said in Joseph's dream, or Herod said in his secret meeting, or the Pharisees thought in their private thoughts but never spoke? What possible method could our gospel writers have used to come up with the verbatim quotations they claim to give?

Or did the gospel writers get all those "quotations" by just making them up? Is it more likely that "Matthew" knew the words Herod spoke in a secret meeting, or did "Matthew" probably, like everyone else back then, just make up quotes because that was the standard way to tell a story?

And if the only reasonable non-magical explanation is that the gospel writers got their "quotations" by making them up, then .... our gospel writers made stuff up. Just made it up. And it is not true the gospels are historical, not in the sense that the sayings and events we read about in them actually happened.

The exercise
Do this yourself. Take a) your favorite gospel and b) a hi-liter pen, and mark every time anyone says something. Not just Jesus. Anyone. Then ask yourself, how could the guy who wrote this have known the words he's quoting here?

To get you going, I'll do the first eight chapters of Matthew.

 Mt Ch 1: Dream angel, word for word

An angel spoke to Jesus' step-Pa in a dream. And "Matthew" was able to get the conversation, the dream conversation, down verbatim. Word for word. Decades later.

How did "Matthew" do that? What steps could "Matthew" have possibly taken to access the exact words spoken in a dream decades earlier?

First of all, how does "Matthew" know it was an actual angel, a magic messenger from God that actually appeared in Joseph's dream—a deeply pagan idea—rather than just Joseph had a normal, non-magical dream about an angel?

Second, remembering dreams at all is difficult, who can remember dream conversations word for word?

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Third, who can recount the exact words spoken in any conversation decades later? I can't. You can't. And we're supposed to believe Joseph could? Or "Matthew" -- or who?


You read the words of the angel just now, within the last two minutes. Quick get out a pen and write them down. Never mind decades later, do it now two minutes later. The truth is it is not possible to report verbatim conversations in someone else's dream, word for word, decades later. What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible.

"Matthew" made this conversation up. "Matthew" made stuff up. The stuff we read in "Matthew" did not happen the way "Matthew" said it did. "Matthew" cannot be trusted. The New Testament is not historical, not in the sense that the sayings and events we read about there actually happened.

The case is stronger when you consider the original     >>

Go ahead, read this through and get back with me about how accurately you yourself can recount spoken words.


Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Mt Ch 2: Magi, Prophesies fulfilled

Next chapter and "Matthew" has the Magic men describing their trip in chorus.     >>

How does the historicist imagine "Matthew" was able to get these words exactly right—as "Matthew" claims to do—all those decades later, and "Matthew" not being there when they were said?

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

And right away the chief priests and teachers of the law reply to King Herod all together, in a chorus, citing Christian doctrine, quoting the Septuagint version of the Old Testament exactly. One is reminded of Ovid's country folk declaiming to each other in trochaic hexameter.


3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"


People speak / chant together like this in ancient fiction, not in real life. These aren't quotations these are plot lines, literary convention that desperate theology misinterprets as actual words actually spoken. "Matthew" isn't the problem, we are.

You read the words of Herod and all the people's chief priests just now, within the last two minutes. Quick get out a pen and write them down. Never mind decades later, do it now two minutes later. The truth is it is not possible to report verbatim conversations in someone else's dream, word for word, decades later. What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible.

"Matthew" made these conversations up. "Matthew" made stuff up. The stuff we read in "Matthew" did not happen the way "Matthew" said it did. "Matthew" cannot be trusted. The New Testament is not historical, not in the sense that the sayings and events we read about there actually happened.

"Matthew" has King Herod call the wise men into a secret meeting, up at the castle, doors closed, phone off the hook, mum's the word. "Matthew" reports the doings of the secret meeting word for word     >>

Herod speaks concisely, exactly the words "Matthew" needs to move his plot along.


7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

Again with dream angels. Same problems as before.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."



More dream angels. Same problems.

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

"Matthew" thought Jesus was divine—a pagan idea. "Matthew" knew divine men fulfilled prophecy—a pagan idea. So when "Matthew," whoever he was, whenever he wrote, told the story of Jesus he told it the way he knew it must have happened. Ain't gotta guess what Matthew Chapter 2 is about; over and over "Matthew" tells you: prophesy after prophesy fulfilled.

Matthew claims to show you those prophesies being fulfilled, using the words of the people who were there at the time. The words spoken in Matthew tell a clear and convincing story; prophesies fulfilled. Only it cannot be so. What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible. "Matthew" made these conversations up. The "facts" in "Matthew" are not facts at all. The "facts" in "Matthew" are made up.

You got that? The "facts" tell a story; prophesies fulfilled. But the "facts" are made up. It must be that what came first was "Matthew's" belief that prophesies were fulfilled, and what came second was the story showing how that happened. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2, is not history. It is myth.

Mt Ch 3: John the Dipper

Credulous "scholarship" explains away the improbability of the New Testament's direct quotations with the invention that Jesuses's disciples cherished and memorized the master's core teaching.

Here in the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew we find quotations not of Jesus but John the Baptist.

Are we supposed to believe Jesuses's disciples cherished and memorized John's words too? And Herod's? And the Magic men's?

Here's an exercise. I'm about to ask you to record the words of John the Baptist. Read these words to yourself once, then write them down exactly. Or, to be more realistic, have someone read them to you once, then write them down exactly.

Check your work. How'd you do?

What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible.

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" 4 John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 3
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible. "Matthew" made these conversations up. "Matthew" made stuff up. The stuff we read in "Matthew" did not happen the way "Matthew" said it did. "Matthew" cannot be trusted. The New Testament is not historical, not in the sense that the sayings and events we read about there actually happened.

Chapter 4 of the Gospel of Matthew records a long conversation between Jesus and the Devil, who were at the time alone in the desert. "Matthew" was able to record their conversation, alone in the desert, word for word.


1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"

7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 4
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Grow up. This is pure mythology.


18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 4
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Mt Ch 5 - 8: Sermon up on the mountain

Jesus sat down up on the mountain and spaketh He these words, in English translation 2,400 in their numberédness. He spakethed them once, and "Matthew" did wryte them downe. Decades later. Verbatim.

Readeth them now you.     >>
There'll be a quiz after.

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. 31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

33 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

"Matthew" 6

2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

"Matthew" CHAPTER 7
2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' 24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.


Here's the quiz. You read these 2,400 words once. Now, write them down exactly.

Check your work. How'd you do?

What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible.

27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5- 7
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

What "Matthew" claims to do is not possible. "Matthew" made these conversations up. "Matthew" made stuff up. The stuff we read in "Matthew" did not happen the way "Matthew" said it did. "Matthew" cannot be trusted. The New Testament is not historical, not in the sense that the sayings and events we read about there actually happened.

1 When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, "See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."

7 Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."

8 The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" 26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

  Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs."

32 He said to them, "Go!" So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.


Good Books for this section

The scholarly disassembly of the orthodox legend has an oceanic literature. Here's a non-representative smattering:

Introduction to the New Testament
Volume 2
History and Literature of Early Christianity

by Harvard Professor Helmut Koester

This book is a treasure—an excellent place for new students to start and a valuable reference if you already know plenty. A clearly written, readable roundup of modern New Testament scholarship by a giant in the field.

Includes the history of who wrote what, when—and who copied from whom. Not just the canonical books, but also Q, the Gospels of Thomas, Hebrews, etc. etc. Wow.

Also details the history of which sects developed in each region, when. Not what you learned in Sunday school.

Highly recommended for any serious student.




Gospel Truth
The New Image of Jesus Emerging from Science and History and Why It Matters
by Russell Shorto

Instead of pushing his own theories and opinions, Shorto describes the spectrum of modern scholarly opinion, from Jesus-is-a-myth to the-gospels-are-history. You get the names leading scholars in each camp, with a synopsis of their opinions—a great aid to your further reading.

Absolutely the best introduction to modern New Testament scholarship, because it's written not by a scholar with an opinion to sell, but by an interested but dispassionate professional magazine writer who researched all sides of the issue and who knows how to write clearly.

The result is a clear and easy to read overview of modern New Testament scholarship, from Old Testament prophecy through resurrection and on to how modern pastors include, or ignore, NT scholarship in their daily ministry.

Out of print, but occasionally available at Amazon



The Life of Jesus Critically Examined
first published 1835
by David Friedrich Strauss
translated by George Eliot

What you'll find:

An 800 page cause-and-effect analysis of the gospel stories, that basically destroyed the possibility of any rational defense of gospel literalism.

A world-changing classical book that's also fun and easy to read.



The Quest of the Historical Jesus
by Albert Schweitzer

What you'll find:

In 1906 Schweitzer published this detailed account of 19th century's critical scholarship about the New Testament and Jesus.

You can't understand 20th century scholarship NT scholarship unless you read this famous and influential book.



The Formation of Q
by John Kloppenborg

What you'll find:

The world's hottest Q hot shot explains his theory that Q has three layers: wisdom sayings, prophecy sayings, Son of Man sayings.

A highly technical book written by a scholar, for scholars, but still accessable to non-specialists.

Q is the document Matthew and Luke used as the source for many of their Jesus sayings.


Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100-400)
Ramsay MacMullen

A solid scholarly look at the reasons Pagans converted to Christianity in the period before Christianity took over the central government of the Roman Empire. 

You'd think the main tool of conversion was preaching, or maybe people telling how their conversion had changed their lives. It wasn't. The main tool of conversion was magic!

The ancient evidence shows the first Christian evangelism was based on miracle working and miracle healing—basically saying 'Hey Presto! My God is stronger than your Gods.' 

By the end of this period about ten percent of the Empire was Christian. 

By a famous Yale historian. Highly recommended for serious students.




The Historical Evidence for Jesus
by G.A. Wells

What you'll find:

Wells is an emeritus professor of German and amateur scholar of Christian origins. His theory is either that
» there never was a real Jesus, the New Testament Jesus is a myth, or
» there was a real Jesus, the New Testament Jesus is a myth.

Intricate deconstructions of the orthodox legend of Christian origins.

Wells thinks Paul's Jesus was a made up mythical Hellenistic godman, in evidence of which he dwells on the lack of evidence, in Paul and all the other first century epistles, of any history of Jesus' life on earth. The Jesus of the NT gospels was invented later.

It's hard to remember what's in each of Well's books, there's repetition and overlap. I'd suggest starting with The Historical Evidence for Jesus.

Can We Trust the New Testament
Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony
by G.A. Wells

The Jesus Legend
by G.A. Wells

The Jesus Myth
by G.A. Wells


Pagans & Christians in Late Antiquity
A Sourcebook
by A. D. Lee

What you'll find:

an anthology of original sources illustrating the transition from Paganism to Christianity



The Homeric Epic and the Gospel of Mark
by Dennis MacDonald

What you'll find:

Turns out the ancients had this literary convention called "mimeses," in which they deliberately mimicked the structure and ideas of other ancient writers, in particular Homer. That, says professor MacDonald, is what the New Testament writer author Mark did with his gospel.

Which means, some "facts" about Jesus were borrowed direcly from Homer's Iliad. Who'd a thunk it?

Sound nutty? Yes it does. Which is why the professor supports his thesis with oodles of ancient evidence, and a meticulous, rigorous reasoning. There's so much evidence, it's can be tough to keep going. You may well groan, "Enough already, you've convinced me!"


The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q & Christian Origins
by Professor Burton Mack

What you'll find:

The complete text of the famous Q document from which Luke and Matthew copied many of their quotations of Jesus

A readable review of where Q came from.

An non-apologist professor's analysis of Q's implications for Christian origins.

Basically another Jesus Theories book.


The River Of God
A New History Of Christian Origins
by Greg Riley, PhD

What you'll find:

A Harvard trained professor of religion traces the history of earliest Christianity and the origin of Christian ideas—in Greek philosophy and pagan religion.


If this book had been around in 1998, POCM would have been unnecessary.



You are free to copy and paste any words you find at POCM, as long as


You don't charge anyone for the stuff you borrow


Every time you borrow, you tell folks it came from POCM and
link back to the page you got it from, or just to:  www.pocm.info


You really really promise to live with goodness and goodwill in your heart.


What other people think about POCM

The truth is that the plan of salvation was shown to Adam in what is called the Mazzaroth (Hebrew Zodiac) before any books were written.  The Mazzaroth was later perverted by satan into occultic astrology. In the book of Genesis we see evidence that Levitical rules were in place when Cain and Abel brought there sacrifices before God. What I am saying is the religion that Jesus taught was the same as that God commanded in the Torah (old testament). The pagan religions that you repeatedly refer to are a corruption of what God told His people 6,000 years ago.  God creates, satan counterfeits and deceives.  Paganism started at the tower of Babel when satan influenced nimrod and he rebelled against God.  All the nations had known the truth about Messiah but it was perverted with sun worship orchestrated by satan.  You refer to "ancients" that overnight developed civilization, mathematics, etc.; not so, they were influenced by fallen angels (read Genesis 6 and  the book of Enoch) and that is were "myths" about giants and titans come from. One of his greatest weapons is appealing to the arrogance of man.  He has people believe they are so sophisticated, that it is silly to believe he exists.  The problem with Christianity is that it  lost its Hebraic roots soon after the resurrection due to persecution, that is why Jesus warned us about false doctrine. Rev 2:9 "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." You have been duped by a master deceiver, he has been active for thousands of years, he plants seeds of doubt in minds, his hatred for you is without limit, he will laugh at you throughout eternity.



A scholarly and handsome reader Kicks POCM's Ass

My name is Tim King timnterra - at- hotmail -dot- com .

I would like to inform Greg of his mistake regarding the New Testament.

to which Greg says

Tim doesn't even try to answer POCM's challenge to explain the ancient-religions-were-similar evidence with an analysis that is comprehensive and consistent.

Tim's analysis is simply The Bible is True, in support of which, he offer's one of the apologists' regulation reasons: Jesus is Historical.

I will now make a claim and if you wish to discredit it you must provide proof not your opinion.

The method of postulating what we want has many advantages. They are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil.
Bertram Russell

The New Testament documents are the most widely criticized, objected to, slandered, and defamed writings of history. Yet they remain above reproach and are defended by any true scholar of literature as accurate history.

Tim has been told, and he accepts, not only that the NT is history, but that every true scholar agrees it is history. Tim believes the world's most widely criticized books are universally recognized as accurate.

Tim is a very nice man who has spent a long time among believers whose start-with-the-answer scholarship tends more to boosterism than to meddling with facts.

We disagree. We can still be friends.

Allow me to explain the difference between facts of history and myths of history. A fact is placed in a actual time and space where as a myth is "long ago in a land far away" or a non factual space and time.






Tim's analysis is much repeated: Jesus is Historical, and therefore Real and True. Christianity did not borrow Pagan ideas because Real magic godmen don't copy nothin'.

I like Tim's version. He gives the argument more explicitly that most: His set up is:


Facts (he means true events) happen in historical time.


Myths happen in mythical time.

Where he came up with these untrue claims, Tim doesn't say. The answer, of course, is he came up with them by reasoning backward from the conclusion he is determined, by God, to reach.

If you feel I'm stretching, notice Tim doesn't believe his own reasoning. He has no doubt the magical talking animals and other fantastic stories in Genesis are "facts", even though they happened "long ago in a land far away."

When someone gives you a "reason" that only works in the one place it has to work for their theory to be true, and that in other situations gives a completely different answer, you should not believe their analysis.

This is important because the myths you speak of are based in a fictional realm where the New Testament Writings are placed in a concrete factual space and time.

Step 2 is to prove the pagan myths are myths --- because—turning set up S2 around—they are set in mythical time.

That the Pagan myths are myths, I have no doubt. But not because, like so much of the Bible, they are set in mythical time. Many aren't.

Tim's believers' analysis is immune to facts. He's been to POCM, he's written a long essay refuting POCM, but he hasn't actually read POCM. He doesn't know the most basic facts about ancient Pagan religion, or the most basic facts about POCM's theory.

Let me give you an example from the book of Luke. This is how the book starts: "... In The time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah..."

This may appear to be a bland statement, but it is quite potent because it places the events of the life of Jesus in factual space and time. This is not a just story made up from jumbled bits of pagan myths it is History as defined by verifiable testimony.

I ask you to research Herod king of Judea see the time in which he lived and read the events of his life. I assure he was a real man who really lived and ruled Judea at this crucial time in history.

Step 3 is to prove Jesus is real, by turning setup S1 around. Jesus' stories are set in historical time, therefore they are "fact".

Tim, and the many big name believing scholars who repeat this argument, are confused. The setup is A implies B. But the available fact is not A, it is B. And it is simply not true that A implies B means B implies A.

If it did, we might conclude: The Queen farts. Jimmy Swaggart farts. Therefore Jimmy Swaggart is the Queen.

I hope this argument has produced in you a seed of faith that might blossom into a new meaningful life for you.