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Feedback #13

Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.

Received: 12/11/98

I have read your story and in fact i shared some points with you...i am very grateful knowing that there are also some persons who have insights like i do... i would like to know what is "Agnostic"...and if you we're still a believer of God and Jesus Christ?  

Agnosticism basically deals with the area of knowledge, as against Atheism, which deals with belief. Thus, as an Atheist, I hold no belief in and gods. As an agnostic, I hold that questions concerning the existence of God are basically unanswerable, at least at this present time. However, I can say that I see no strong proof of the existence of any god.

Received: 12/10/98

Since everyone seems to have a guess as to when the Rapture will take place (the event beginning the Day of the Lord), I would like to make a guess, too. My guess is that the rapture will take place on or around Sept. 11, 1999. That's based on several things, but I list only a couple here, in the interest of space, in case anyone is really interested. 

One indicating the year is the reign of Uzziah vs the nation of Israel.  Many Orthodox Jews believe Uzziah's reign was a parallel to the modern nation of Israel (as indicated in Isaiah 6:1) and when the time is up, the Messiah will come.  Uzziah reigned just over 51 years.  In May 1999, Israel will celebrate fifty-one years as a nation.  In the Bible, Jesus indicated that His return for His bride will take place on Rosh HaShanah (Mark 13:32; this is also the case in Isaiah 6:1-3 indicating Rosh HaShanah -- when God sits upon His throne), which next year falls on Sept. 11 -- according to man (God may disagree -- another story).  Everything is in place for the onset of the Day of the Lord.  One of the last things to happen was Egypt reneging on the Sinai Treaty and allying once again with the Arabs.  That has happened and Egypt is now preparing for war against Israel. There is nothing left to happen before the rapture.  All is ready. Anyway, I figure my reasoning is just as good as anyone else's.  :-)

Received: 12/10/98

I came upon your web site as a result of a search for 'Nazareth'..It pointed me to your work on the stories of Christ's birth.

I look forward to looking at more of your work.  There is a lot of material there.

I was looking for more information on Nazareth because of some information I had come across, That being:

Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament, nor do any ancient historians or geographers mention it before the beginning of the fourth century. The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth. Josephus, who wrote extensively about Galilee (a region roughly the size of Rhode Island) and conducted military operations back and forth across the tiny territory in the last half of the first century, mentions Nazareth not even once -- although he does mention by name 45 other cities and villages of Galilee. This is even more telling when one discovers that Josephus does mention Japha, a village which is just over a mile from present-day Nazareth! Josephus tells us that he was occupied there for some time. Today, Japha can be considered a suburb of Nazareth, but in Josephus' day, evidence indicates, the people of Japha buried their dead in the ombs of the unnamed necropolis that now underlies the modern city called Nazareth.

Surely information like this is in the hands of any well educated theologian. How has this stayed out of the mainstream of public information if it is true?  I would expect to see a two hour special on '60 Minutes' if it were true, and I haven't found any one who can refute this information.

Thanks for your message. Some good information there. I do remember reading an article by Frank Zindler on this subject, in which he also agrees that Nazareth is not mentioned by any early historians. He suggests that the gospel writers misunderstood the meaning of the word "Netzer". It was originally used by the very early Christians as a reference to the "Branch" of Isaiah 11:1. When the Gospel writers produced their biographies of Jesus, some forty to sixty years after he died, they did not understand the reference to "Netzer", and thought it was the name of a town.

If this is true, it might explain the puzzling reference in Matthew 2:23 which claims that the Old Testament predicted that the messiah would be called a Nazarene. There is no such prophecy in the Old Testament, of course. The author of Matthew may have got confused with Isaiah 11:1.

Received: 12/10/98

I would like to point out a work by Ravi Ben Mordaicai, who using some pretty good materials comes up with a date of 3B.C.E. and the magi arriving to pronounce him king in 1B.C.E.. Using Roman records of a battle fought in the holy land in 1C.E., he gives pretty good credence to a 1C.E. death for Herod. Check it out and see what you think.

The book is called 'Signs in the Heavens'

Received: 12/08/98

Hello, this is a great informative site. May I suggest doing some research to stretch the predictions back to before 1994. Have you heard of Harold Camping? He wrote two books "1994" and "Are You Ready" Predicted September 15, 1994. he was most certain. It was on radio and he had billboards at the airports and the subway, at least in Boston. I will certainly be willing to forward to you any more info I get. Could I also link to your site?

Coincidentally, I just finished reading "End Time Visions" by Richard Abanes. (An excellent book, by the way. Highly recommended.) He does mention Camping in some detail, as well as a collection of other date-setters and date-suggesters from the latter part of this century. I plan to use his book to update the Doomsday List with some past predictions, as you suggested. By all means, you may link to my site. The more, the merrier ;-)

Received: 12/07/98

I just finished reading several of your pages on the web and found them to be most interesting. You have done your homework on Christianity and some of its flaws. The only thing that I did not find an answer for was your last sentance on your story. You say you are an agnoistic, yet you say you have found the truth. Maybe I am thinking of an agnostic wrong, but I thought they did not think theere was a god, but also did not rule out a god. If this is the correct defininition, then what truth are you talking about? It seems to me on reading your pages, you find alot of things wrong, but I could not find what you think is right. If you are intersted, I would like to know. Thank you for your work and for your time.

I guess that my philosophy has changed over time. At this point, I would classify myself as an atheist-agnostic, since the former has to do with belief, and the latter with knowledge. In other words, as an atheist, I do not hold a belief in god(s), while as an agnostic I hold that it is impossible to state at this stage whether we can know that god exists or not. However, what I can say with some certainty is that the god of the Bible does not exist, and the Bible is not divinely inspired in any way. It is simply a collection of ancient writings, most of which are fascinating and interesting in their own right, but they do not teach us anything about god. This is the truth to which I was alluding at the end of my article.

As to what I believe is right, you are quite correct in stating that I have not said anything about that. The reason for this, of course, is that for a long time I was trying to find a new philosophy to replace the old. I think I have come to a point of stability now, and I hope to rectify that oversight soon.

My personal philosophy is probably best represented by secular humanism. This simply states that we humans are our only and best hope for salvation. Since history abundantly teaches us that we cannot rely on any outside help to solve our problems, it follows that each of us is personally responsible for our own happiness. Very often, this involves securing the happiness of those close to us, and indeed society at large. Thus, my personal philosophy can be summed up in the one rule that underpins all of the great ethical systems of history - do not do anything to another which you would not want done to yourself.

Received: 11/28/98

I've just recently found your sight and I really like it. You do appear to be quite level-headed in your approach to the end times events. It's good to see that. I'm writing in some defense of Jack. First, to qualify that statement, he does seem to be a little eccentric in his approach, but none-the-less very interesting. So I do watch him on TV and visit his site as well. But I do tend to be leary of some of the things he says. You must give him a 'A' for enthusiam, though.

What I'm really writing for is your page on date setters list him as predicting the year 2000. The page you have a hyperlink to does give a range of 2001 to 2012, even though "by the year 2001" many of these signs will become more significant. That I don't consider to be erroneous because I do believe that statement becomes more and more valid as we approach that blessed time.

Do keep up the good work you're doing with your site. I like watch how people relate current events to bible prophecy and I do like your approach.

Thank you for your honesty.

You may be correct that Jack actually extends his prophecy all the way up to 2012. However, as you noted, he also expects many of these signs to be in place by the end of 2001. This is, to my mind, a testable prediction. Some of these signs are purely subjective, such as increasing immorality. This prediction really depends on who is making the definition of immorality, and so it could go either way. Other predictions, such as increasing Islamic influence are measurable, to a degree. I guess we will have to wait and see if there really is a noticeable change in these areas at the end of 2001.

Received: 11/23/98

No one knows the day in which Christ will return, but He will one day, and that day is getting close. All that matters is not when He's coming, but that He Is Coming!

Even you one day will have to stand before God, and I hope He doesn't have to say depart from Me! It's your choice, make the right one.

Well, I have made my choice, and I do know that it is the correct one. Christians have made countless predictions of the end of the world for nearly two thousand years now. Every single one of these predictions failed. I see no reason to believe that the current rash of prophecies will be any different.

The reason why I can be so confident is that I have done quite a bit of research on the Biblical books that Christians usually abuse in order to support their predictions. I know that Daniel was written in 164 BC, in response to the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes. The book of Revelation was probably written about 96 CE, in response to the persecutions of the Emperor Domitan.

Each of these books were written at a specific time for a specific purpose. That time and purpose has long since passed away. Consequently, these books can tell us nothing at all about the future.

Received: 11/19/98

i predict that "jesus" will come back between now and dec.99,but there will be a slight change of plan regarding the "rapture". he will stay and "say" that he can straighten things out face to face rather than by proxy (in heaven).so all you "christians" waiting for the "rapture",do not worry,for he's on his way.

Received: 11/17/98

I am visiting your web site and was interested in a prediction of the Raptureby Kenneth Hagin. I read the whole "prophecy" and I feel you are not being completely honest here. He is not referring to the rapture, if you will refer to your whole document. He is apparently referring to the following Scriptures:

Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isa 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
Isa 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Now I don't care for Kenneth Hagin and his teaching, but in fairness, I must admit he is not referencing the rapture of the church in the passage you have listed on your internet site: http://www.primenet.com/~heuvelc/skeptic/haginprophecy.htm

Ah, one other thing. Your man Jim Searcy's predictions are actually the predictions of Chris Beard, a.k.a. St. Christopher. He used to write to me but I questioned him so much over his insane predictions that he quit.

I agree that Mr. Hagin's prophecy is very vague. (This actually seems to be a problem with prophecy in general). However, I feel that he was at least hinting that he expected the Rapture at that time.

Notice that he starts the prophecy with the words "He's coming again. Two thousand years have passed. He's coming." Just after he states that "it" will come to pass in October of 1998, he says "We are going with God. We'll go off and leave some, but we are going with God."

I may be wrong, but it definitely seems to me that Hagin was prophesying the Rapture.

Received: 11/15/98

You are invited to my new web site on the birth chronology of Jesus and John at http://people.ce.mediaone.net/murrellg/jesus.htm.

An interesting analysis, but I note that you didn't address the problem of Luke's chronology. You refer to Josephus' record of the eclipse that marked Herod's death, but I didn't see that you referred to the fact that Josephus places the census under Quirinius at ten years after Herod's death. This was the time that Luke claimed that Jesus was born. In other words, there is about ten years difference between the time of Jesus birth as recorded by Matthew and Luke.

Received: 11/13/98

I am so delighted to have found the truth I have been searching for! I am 20 and joined the LDS church after graduating high school 30 months ago. I am currently studying chemical engineering at Brigham Young University. So, now that I am almost fully apostate in a short two weeks of research on Jesus Christ, I am enjoying myself and couldn't care less if I died tomorrow. I have spent the past two years reading sooo much Mormon theolgy and arguments and agreement with the Bible and a great deal of Church History and even moved to Utah so I could live in this Mormon Utopia and now I just am in unbelief at the blindness of such great men here in Provo let alone the rest of the Christians in the world. So, here is my question, what happens when a person dies and where is information on this and I would really like it if you told me what you think personally?

In answer to your question - I think the evidence about life after death is inconclusive. There are a large number of compelling stories regarding experiences at the very brink of death, the so-called "Near Death Experiences" (NDEs for short). However, it is also evident that parts of this same experience can be duplicated by drugs or electromagnetic stimulation of the temporal lobes. It is entirely possible that what we call the Near Death experience is nothing more than the hallucinations of the dying brain as it is slowly starved of oxygen.

Aside from this area, there is no other compelling evidence that the mind continues after death. In fact, all the evidence that we have today suggests that the mind is generated by the brain. Thus, it seems logical that the mind ceases to exist when the brain dies.

I think you have missed a fabulous prophesy concerning the Luxor pyramid in Las Vegas and New Millenia's eve. Please, read this site! It is good. I am sure you will enjoy its contents. antichrist.com

Also, I wrote you earlier this evening. Well, I forgot to ask about something that I haven't seen discussed. What are the motives for the apostles to write the New Testament, etc? I understand that the 12 may not have written the gospels, etc. (or that they even existed?) I hope my question makes sense. Did they exist? Were they martyred?

I think you may be on the correct track when you note that the apostles may not have existed. There is no external corroboration for the existence of any of the apostles, with the possible exception of Paul and James. (Josephus mentions James in his "Antiquities". Most scholars accept that Paul existed, and wrote at least some of the letters that are attributed to him).

As to what their motivation may have been, I suspect that it is the same thing that motivates all believers - a desire to add to their numbers in order to psychologically affirm their beliefs. Whether they were martyred or not is a question that we cannot answer, since there exists no good evidence in this regard. However, even if they were martyred, it really proves nothing but that they were very sincere in their beliefs. This is no way indicates that these beliefs were true, since the one thing that history amply proves is that people can be very sincerely mistaken.

Received: 11/10/98

Well Curt...its all bout' findin' out huh...research, along with comon sense bout' it all. One doesn't have to be really educated to get the drift of it all in reguards how humans compete for things (mainly power) of some sort eh!. When one just stops to think what they would do if they were in charge of it all, meanin' the areas they are in an' sometimes beyond...one wonders just how they would handle things, rules, regulations, etc, etc. Its a hard call to make for anyone of us, as one or many eh!...but the bottom line is contol of some kind, whether its smoke an' mirrors or just plain violance, somebody is controlin' somebody somewhere, for what ever reason...its just the way we are huh....take care, an' I agree with ya' for the most part.

Received: 11/5/98

I just found your web page and was quite pleased to see the Book fo Commandments listed with the changes made. There is another web page you may be interested in that has this information as well The url is http://members.aol.com/EarlyRR/index.html.

Received: 11/4/98

I beguin to read your home page about mormons and KJV. Why not should God inspire the same words to the ancient writes of book of mórmons or better why God should not use Smith knowledgs about bible to make the translatiopn of the book of Mórmons. Or is not I confirmation that book of Mórmons is a book of God because it's contents is similar to the word's of bible, else is not sure that the ancient languges as hebrew or egipt has a short vocabulary of word and are similar.

Because of all what's the significant diference between a so excelent fraude and a true history to the reedins if it was the case?

Why should somoone fraude a book in favor of the true in Jesus and the bible?

The problem with the theory that God inspired both the Book of Mormon and the Bible is that it presupposes that there is such a thing as divine inspiration. As a skeptical atheist, I find no evidence that this is so. Hence, this defense of the Book of Mormon actually amounts to a circular argument.

As to why someone would produce a fake nook in favor of Jesus and the Bible, I can only ask "Why not?" It is apparent that Joseph Smith intended to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon, He may simply have reasoned that he would have a better chance of making a sale if the book meshed with current ecclesiastical thinking.

Received: 10/10/98

I stumbled across your web site doing some research tonight, and want to congratulate you on the technical quality of your site. I can't say that I agree with much of your analysis, but that's the beauty of the web - the first amenedment in action!

I would like to suggest that you add an area to your web site, in the same spirit as the Skeptical Mormon and Christian information. Why don't you add a Skeptical Atheist Information area, and do some investigation in this area as well. I would like to suggest a book for you to read to begin your study. It is "Creation and Evolution" by Alan Hayward. Don't dismiss it out of hand - I think you will find it a thoughtful and scientifically sound analysis of the issue. He looks at Darwinian Evolution, Recient and Ancient Creation - all from a variety of perspectives. Based on some of your statements about Darwin's Evolution theories - as if they were proven fact, I think you need to look at Hayward's book, and see what a number of athiest or agnostic scientists are saying about Darwin's theory of evolution. It has some major problems - no matter what your theology (or lack of it).

I am a Christian, and I can tell from all the info. in your site that I'm not in your league as far as debating all the pros and cons of the Christian faith. Also, I'm not going to jump on you - as I'm sure you probably get enough of that with this web site out there. I just recognize a thinking person, and I want to pass on some thought provoking material. I hope you'll accept the advice in the spirit it was intended.

Enjoyed your thought provoking site.

Thanks for your message.

I think there are probably several reasons why I cannot, as yet, take you up on your suggestion. First is the very obvious point that atheism is actually defined by what it is not. It is a lack of belief. There is no defined corpus of belief to systematically analyze, as there is with a religion, for example. If, on the other hand, we were to choose an affirmative system of philosophy that contains atheism as a premise, I suppose Secular Humanism would be the closest fit. The second point is another matter of misunderstanding. Atheism and the theory of evolution are not related in any way. Atheism is a philosophy (or, more accurately, the lack of a specific philosophy). Evolution is a branch of the natural sciences. One does not need to be an atheist to be an evolutionist. The two are not synonymous.

In fact, if recent polls are to be believed, the majority of scientists still profess a belief in God, despite the fact that almost all of them accept the reality of evolution. You will also find that most Christian sects accept the fact of evolution, including the Catholic Church. It only appears to be a certain small fundamentalist minority who have a problem with it.

I accept evolution because the evidence is currently in its favor. Should that situation change, I will still follow the evidence, wherever it may lead. I have read many Creationist books in my many years as a Christian. I did, however, studiously avoid reading any real science books on the subject. I was under the impression that this was unnecessary since, since, as I supposed, there was no real evidence for evolution, and that it was nothing more than a vain attempt on the part of man to remove God from the Universe.

Having since read a number of books on the subject, I have come to realize that scientists accept evolution because it is supported by evidence from many different sciences - paleontology, genetics, geology to name a few. It is currently the very best solution to the question of the origins of life. This is not to say that the theory is complete. There is, of course, still much work to be done in the field. It is possible that further research will completely modify our view of our origins, but it is extremely unlikely. Like it or not, the evidence tells us in no uncertain terms that all life on earth is intimately related to each other, and that we all descended from the same ancestor.

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