roman corinthian


Agora of Hierapolis

Hierapolis, Phrygia, Turkey

2nd century CE

170 m X 280 m

The vast plane between Frontinus Street, and the slopes of the mountains to the east, was transformed in the course of the 2nd century CE, into a large square, which has been identified as the commercial Agora of Hierapolis. The Agora is about 170m wide and 280m long, and is surrounded on the northern, western and southern sides by marble porticos (stoai) with an Ionic façade and an internal row of Corinthian columns. On the eastern side you find instead the monumental stoa-basilica, built on a marble staircase 4m high. This monument dominated the square. The stoa-basilica had a façade with two superimposed orders and a portico with squared-sectioned pillars upon which leaned, superiorly grooved half-columns with ionic capitals and bases. The capitals had bearded masks carved on the lateral faces. The upper floor had a row of half-columned pillars made of reddish crushed stone with Corinthian capitals in white marble. The entrance to the stoa-basilica is a propylon, which had an arched entrance flanked by two features that projected over the staircase. The arches are supported by sphinxes on capitals, which themselves take the form of bulls attacked by lions.

Andrew Wood - The Jesus Christ of Grunge

I worked at a record store for most of my college days. The pay was terrible, the customers had bad taste (for the most part), and the owner was always doing some untoward stuff that later resulted in his partner kicking him out of the business… but it may have been the best job I’ve ever had. Why was it the best job ever?  Because my income was supplemented by an unending supply of promo CDs, first crack at all CDs being traded in by customers, and my name always happened to make it onto the guest list of two of the three big music venues in town. Plus my co-workers were a diverse group of equally music-obsessed nerds, punk rockers, hip-hop enthusiasts and an Anglophile manager who became one of my best friends. It was pretty epic, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Working in a record store also gave me special insight into crazy rabbit hole of music theory conspiracies. My buddy Ryan Shaw had this theory about Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone and the first major heroin casualty of the grunge era. His theory was that Andrew Wood was the prophet that rock and roll was promised, that he would be overlooked and ridiculed in his own time, and then sentenced to death for the sins of rock and roll, only to be resurrected and live eternally through his disciples and their testimony. 

In other words, Andrew Wood was the Jesus Christ of Grunge who had to die for the sins of Hair Metal so that Rock and Roll could live on. 

SIDE NOTE: My buddy Ryan was an ordained minister who later became a trial lawyer, so that gives credence to the underpinning philosophy of the theory.  

Much like B.C. and A.D., prior to Andrew Wood there was no “Alternative” but after his death we started living in the Alternative age. Grunge, Indie and Nu-Metal, Emo, and Alt-Country were all new gospels that were written in the aftermath of Andrew Wood’s passing…
So if Andrew Wood was the Jesus Christ of Grunge, who were his apostles?

Stone Gossard as SIMON/PETER - The rock upon which the Temple of the Dog was built, literally. Stone Gossard is the through line for the Seattle sound and was ever present in its inception. From his time at Green River to Mother Love Bone to Temple of the Dog to Pearl Jam and then Brad, Gossard was the foundation stone. Without Stone Gossard, would there even be grunge? Stone is the rhythm (along with his brother Jeff Ament) from which the music is manifested. Gossard may never have been front and center in all of the bands he formed, but he spoke softly and carried a big axe.

Chris Cornell as JOHN - John was the disciple whom Jesus loved the most. 
Chris was Andrew’s roommate and best friend. When Andrew overdosed, Chris was on a European tour with Soundgarden striking his own Jesus Christ pose. Chris was so grief stricken with the loss that he immediately wrote two songs “Say Hello 2 Heaven” and “Reach Down” about Wood. Chris showed them to Stone and Jeff, and Temple of the Dog was formed to honor their late friend. Chris would later hit mainstream success with Soundgarden and with Audioslave (which was just okay but waaaayyy to mellow for a band composed of members of Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden).

Jeff Ament as ANDREW (Simon/Peter’s brother) - Ament was right there with Stone in Green River, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog and then Pearl Jam. He’s the bass that pulses the heartbeat of the music. Plus, his graphic design sense provided the classic look and feel of all the liner notes and album packaging for those bands (which along with flannel, long hair, and Doc Martens worn with shorts, were essential cornerstones of the era). Through Ames Bros. Design, Pearl Jam’s visual aesthetic was really set in stone and their tour posters became must-have’s for screen print enthusiasts everywhere. Music never looked so good.

Eddie Vedder as JAMES, SON of ALPHAEUS - Some people say that James was literally Jesus’ little brother, while other’s interpret it metaphorically because upon dying Jesus said to James that Mary was now his mother, and James was now her son. Either way, Eddie Veddie was the younger brother of Andrew Wood who then took his mother’s hand and ushered in a new era of grunge. Eddie would tell you that he’s no fucking messiah, which is meant as a testament to the love he had for his brother.

SIDE NOTE: I almost had Eddie as Paul/Saul, not one of the original 12 apostles, but one of the most steadfast and true disciples of Jesus whose writings to the Romans and to the Corinthians would help shape Christian philosophy for many centuries to come. As the lead singer and songwriter of Pearl Jam, you could make a case that Eddie is Paul, but I don’t think he’s gentile enough for that. He’s Eddie Vedder, and that’s an entirely different essay.

Simon the Zealot was known for strictly keeping the law of Moses (the Ten Commandments) and had great disregard for where he saw people headed. In Jesus, Simon found someone who was practicing what he preached. Simon would go on to evangelize the gospel in much of the west including throughout Egypt and into Africa. Kurt Cobain hated the mainstream and was a zealot when it came to grunge. He spread the word far and high and carried the tradition well. 

Layne Staley as THADDEUS - Cool name. Cool band. When a jar of flies is kept for too long, the man in a box digs some dirt. Staley of Alice in Chains and Mad Season fame burned out too soon, but man was he cool.

Dave Grohl as MATTHEW/LEVI - Matthew/Levi was the tax collector who gave up his job and life to follow Jesus. He was the author of one of the gospels (Gospel of Matthew). Grohl was a drummer who later gave up that life to lead his own band, the Foo Fighters, who went on to become one of the biggest alternative bands (and David Letterman’s favorite band). 

Kim Thyll as JAMES (brother of John) - James was John’s brother who followed him along and became an apostle. He had a moment of doubt when Jesus came back to life and doubted that it was really Jesus. Kim followed Chris Cornell into Soundgarden and preached the gospel upon a black hole sun. He later had many doubts when Chris left the band and stored to become a pop singer and then started Audioslave, which was terrible. Eventually, Soundgarden reformed and the word could go on being spread, one music hall, arena or outdoor festival at a time.

Jerry Cantrell as BARTHOLOMEW - Cool name. Cool band. Do the Bart, man!

Mark Arm as PHILIP - Philip was an apostle, but he didn’t really matter. He was there at the start and probably did some stuff but you can’t really remember it. That’s kind of like Mark Arm and Mudhoney. He started Green River and recruited Stone Gossard to the band because he only wanted to sing instead of sing and play guitar. Then He formed Mudhoney. They had a moment for a slight minute but most people couldn’t tell them apart from Tad. How’s that for a Judgement Night?

Courtney Love as MARY MAGDALENE - Go listen to Hole’s first record, Live Through This, and you’ll be asking Courtney if you could wash HER feet. From start to finish, that album is all killer and no filler, regardless of wether Kurt Cobain wrote it or not. 

Thurston Moore as JUDAS - Sonic Youth were grunge before grunge was a thing. They ushered in the alt-rock movement and were preaching the gospel way before it was cool. In another world, Thurston Moore would have been John the Baptist, but he blew up the band by betraying Kim Deal (whom the Dandy Warhols rightly worshipped in their song “As Cool as Kim Deal”). So, yeah. Thurston Moore is Judas.         

Paul Westerberg as JOHN THE BAPTIST - He came first and helped lay the groundwork for the alternative movement. This could have easily gone to Michael Stipe of R.E.M., but The Replacements were much better and spawned a legion of followers. The Mats work in the 80s at Twin Tone and in Minneapolis would help to set up the dynamic that would take place in Seattle with Sub Pop. Westerberg couldn’t hardly wait…

With Pearl Jam having recently been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, now more than ever, we should give thanks and praise to the great Andrew Wood, the Captain Hi-Top, Love Commander (it is right to give him thanks and praise). For he so loved rock and roll and that he was forced to suffer, die and was buried for its sins so that rock could be reborn again. May he rest in peace today, knowing that his words still resonate with the masses.

So come bite the apple, my fellow star dog champions.      

Hide your mom. Control your sister.  Yeah.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

A reading from the Book of Stone

rundown of the Italian renaissance

more notes.. YAY!!!


  1. black death = basically the end of the nobles and the rise of the kings 
  2. europe isn’t alone anymore cuz of the crusades and is now interacting and getting new ideas and spreading new ones 
  3. wealthy merchants are getting big cuz of trade and are now using arts and writing to show their wealth
    1. the competition leads to more education and art 


  • well they are right SMACK in the middle of the Mediterranean sea (MARE NOSTRUM) and basically are at the best location for trade. 


  • all of the di’ Medicis
    • literally they were the coolest
    • they were bankers who were patrons of the art 
    • pretty much ran all of Florence (oligarchies) 
    • sponsored libraries, the arts, the Socratic school there 
    • it reached its peak under Lorenzo the Magnificent 


  • medieval
    • God is the fucking best and were all puny humans
    • we have no purpose and are pretty much insignificant 
    • even art was for god and not for the glory of the individual artists 
    • spiritual values and salvation 
  • renaissance
    • people are like the bets thing so set foot on this earth 
    • we gotta focus on the individual and we are awesome
    • people became focused on themselves and the merit
    • new idea of an “ideal renaissance man”
      • well rounded 
      • full range of human abilities
    • people interested in their material possessions: expensive foods, fine music and arts 


  • new focus on secularism and not on religion 
  • people revering back to the classical text from Greeks and Romans
  • studying literature, rhetoric, and history from the classics 
  • Lorenzo Valla 
    • proved that the Donation of Constantine was a sloppy forgery and made the church look stupid


  • the humanist during the Renaissance used the classics to study human nature and use it practically (ehem common core ehem) 
  • taught things like history, grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy form the Roman and Greek classics 
  • believe that this new curriculum would influence the future youth -__-


  • wrote The Courtier
  • spoke about how upper class men and women could become courtiers 
  • it was like a guide to be rich and noble 
  • Men
    • charming, witty, can dance, sing, play music, physically graceful and strong 
  • Women
    • don’t seek fame as men do 
    • be perfectly well rounded but hold your tongues 
    • be well educated but do not act upon it 
    • expected to be an ornament of her husband or father


  • Italy
    • in 1492 when Lorenzo died everything fell to shit 
    • then in the Hapsburg-Valois Wars France and Spain fought over Italy 
  • Machiavelli 
    • Florentine diplomat 
    • believed that Italy needed a ruler who was ruthless and could unite Italy during this turmoil 
    • wrote The Prince to explain this 
  • The Perfect Prince 
    • Eugene Fitzherbert 
    • Li Shang 
    • or…. 
      • the prince must do whatever it takes to get stuff done 
      • he though humans were evil, selfish,and corrupt and the ruler needed to be strong and shrewd to keep the peace
      • the end justifies the means 


  • Patrons
    • Catholic church 
    • guilds 
    • wealthy families
      • art used to display wealth and fame 
  • Characteristics
    • Perspective
      • depth om a flat surface 
    • Chiaroscuro 
      • blending of light and shade 
      • creates volume 
      • real people in real space 
    • Pyramid Configuration 
      • 3D configurations to create symmetry and balance 
    • Classical forms and Christian Subjects 
      • revive standards of beauty- perfect people 
      • combined classical forms with Christian themes 


  • Leon Battista Alberti, The West Facade of Sant’ Andrea 
    • roman arch with Corinthian pilasters that supported a pediment inspired by the classical design 
    • break with Christian traditions because of the Christian building with Roman designs 
  • Michelangelo, David
    • focused on the beauty and perfection of the human 
    • the perfect body emphasizes the Greek influence 
    • in a strong pose rather than serene like in Greek times 
  • Raphael, The School of Athens 
    • has a 3D view 
    • physical representation of past philosophers from the classics 
    • also includes popular philosophers of the time
    • focused on unity, symmetry, and order 


  • humanists began to debate about women’s character, nature and role in society 
  • Christine De Pizan 
    • the first feminist 
    • wrote a history of women to get rid of the male perspective eon women 
  • Isabella D’Est 
    • most famous Renaissance women 
    • large patron of the arts 
    • patron of the arts was an acceptable role for a women during the time 

Theatre of Hierapolis

Hierapolis, Phrygia, Turkey

206 CE

12,000 seats

The theatre at Hierapolis was built in the second century AD under the Roman Emperor Hadrian during a period of extensive rebuilding following a devastating earthquake in 60 AD. It was later renovated under Septimus Severus (193-211 AD). At this time, the scaenae frons was modified and decorated with elaborate limestone and marble carvings. Although the exterior is relatively unassuming as viewed from the front, the interior contains one of Anatolia’s most complete and best-preserved collection of Greco-Roman theatre decorations. In 343 AD the scaenae was renovated and the orchestra was altered so that it could hold aquatic displays. In the later years of the Roman Empire the orchestra was converted into a cellar. Renovation work since 1977 has restored many of the arches and a portion of the stage floor. Prior to this date, the stage as well as its arched support system lay in ruins. Recent archaeological evidence shows that the theatre was in use through the 5th and into the 6th century AD. In 532 AD the scaenae, which had been weakened by seismic activity, was repaired.

Bible Outline for Beginners

So you’ve decided to tackle one of the most influential books in human history. Now, it seems daunting (and it is), but the thing to remember about the Bible is that it’s not actually one book. The Bible is made up of 73 books (66 if you’re reading a Protestant Bible) all written by different authors, during different time points in history, and for different reasons. The best way to really understand the content of the Bible is to keep in mind the context of the book you’re currently reading. It does nobody any good if you treat the Book of Psalms (largely poetic hymns to the God of Abraham) with the same air that you would Deuteronomy (which should be read as sermons delivered by Moses to the Israelites). So, to help you, I’m providing this lovely outline which divides the books of the Bible into nice digestible chunks

Books marked with an ** are part of the deuterocanonical books (those found in Catholic Bibles but not in Protestant Bibles).

The Old Testament

The Pentateuch: The first five books of the bible, called the Torah by the Jewish people. Included in these books are the stories of creation and of the nation of Israel. It also includes the law given to the Israelites by God.

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

Historical Books: These books tell the story of the Israelites from their entry into the Promised Land until the Exile.

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Tobit**
  • Judith**
  • Esther** (deuterocanonical additions)
  • 1 Maccabees**
  • 2 Maccabees**

Wisdom Literature: These books are Jewish reflections of faith and God’s relationship with humanity.

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs
  • Wisdom of Solomon**
  • Sirach**

Prophets: The writings of the people whom God inspired to counsel and confront people and kings.

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Baruch**
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel** (deuterocanonical additions)
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

Books of the New Testament of Jesus Christ

The Gospel Account:
Four portraits and collections of stories and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth

Synoptic Gospels:

  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke

Non-synoptic Gospel:

  • John

Acts of the Apostles: consisting of one book, Acts is the story of the early Christian Church after the Ascension of Jesus. This is not a complete history of apostolic Christianity.

Letters (Epistles): Letters written by early Christians that show the problems and concerns facing the early Church.

Pauline Epistles (attributed to St. Paul):

  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews (author is anonymous)

Catholic Epistles:

  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude

Revelation (Apocalypse): A single book, addressed to people experiencing persecution and questioning the truth of their faith. Revelation offers hope that God’s deliverance will come as promised. Extensive use of symbols and images that early readers would have readily understood.

Mention: strangelookingfish


Ancient Worlds - BBC Two

Episode 6 “City of Man, City of God”

The Temple of Jupiter Baal, in Baalbek.

The Phoenician city of Baalbek was known as Heliopolis (the city of the Sun) during the Hellenistic period.

The city became an important religious center during Greco-Roman times and it was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Roman Empire.

The greatest temple of the city was sacred to Jupiter Baal, (Heliopolitan Zeus), identified with the Sun. The Jupiter worshipped there was also understood to be Baal-Hadad, a local storm deity who had been honoured for centuries. The temple was constructed during the 1st century AD (completed circa 60 AD) on top of a podium and foundations presumably from a previous ancient temple. The temple had more than 50 Corinthian columns, 20 meters high, but today only six columns remain standing.

Baalbek, with its colossal structures, is one of the finest and most impressive examples of Imperial Roman architecture.

Baalbek, Lebanon


Theater of Aspendos

Aspendos, Pamphylia, Turkey

161-180 CE

96 m. diameter

12,000 seatings

A statue of the building’s architect, Zeno, stands in the south parodos. The inscription under the statue records the thanks of the people for the gift of the theatre and says that Zeno was given a large garden near the stadium for his work. Inscriptions in Greek and Latin on either side of the skene read that the wealthy brothers Curtius Crespinus and Curtius Auspicatus built the theatre and dedicated it to “the Gods of the Country and the Imperial House.” In the 3rd century AD a parapet was built between the orchestra and the cavea to protect the audience from gladiatorial and wild animal shows.

anonymous asked:

If its okay to be gay then why dose the Bible speak against it? Isn't everything in the Bible true?

Does the Bible condemn being gay – that’s the Big Question, isn’t it?
This blog exists because we believe the answer is a lovely, resounding no and so we want to affirm LGBTA+ Christians. I suppose it’s high time we answered this question at length, rather than just pointing readers to our resources page. 

Christians who don’t have any reason to delve too deeply into the matter will, at most, pull open their Bible, find those two pesky verses in Leviticus, or read over certain passages in Romans, Corinthians, Timothy, and Jude, and say, “well, there we have it: scripture says doing gay stuff is wrong. So…just don’t do gay stuff.” Simple as that. End of story. Close the book.

But when a Christian realizes that they themselves or someone they love is gay (or another branch of the LGBT+ community, but I’ll focus on same-gender attraction for this post), pointing to those “condemnatory” passages and ending the search right there just doesn’t cut it. Suddenly the question isn’t just a “fun” theological debate; the answer matters; your happiness and salvation – or that of a loved one – are on the line. What about context, historical or textual? Or what if some things got lost in translation? Or…do we dare even wonder it…what if, just maybe, every rule and opinion that made it into the Bible isn’t necessarily God’s opinion?

Maybe you were looking for a simple answer. But even if you’ve only rarely cracked it open, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the Bible is a pretty hefty text. Thus, this question requires a lot of unpacking. This post aims to deconstruct your two-part question – does the Bible condemn being gay, and is everything in the Bible true – one piece at a time. Buckle up and get comfortable, folks, because we’re about to zoom through several millennia of biblical history, explore translation and interpretation, and philosophize a bit on the differences between “fact” and “truth,” advocating for a non-literal reading of scripture and an affirmation of LGBTA+ people, identities, and relationships.

Note: it is possible to read only parts in bold, or to skip to this post’s final section (“Wrapping Up”) if you do not have the time or inclination to read this post in its entirety. 

Keep reading

Christianity is False and Its High Time to Accept It

What follows is an organized way of communicating what I’ve said thus far in a debate on Facebook; I apologize in advance for the length, but if you ever wanted more practical approaches to showing the many flaws of Christianity, here are some ways:

You do realize that atheists see “interpretative” as a copout? When a fact is too uncomfortable to read literally, it is considered allegory. I think Paul’s theology is quite clear about the first man called Adam. In fact, on Paul, Jesus’ entire sacrifice is contingent on the idea of a first man who brought sin and death; it’s dependent on some reading of the Fall in Genesis 3. Of course, I’m not going to push young-Earth or even old-Earth creationism on you or any Christian. I think the more elegant readings of Genesis 1-3 are allegorical. Allegories are no substitute for content though.

That is to say that some of the details are pertinent. Six days isn’t pertinent, but the idea of man and woman are. The idea of a separation from god, via a Fall from grace, is also important. Paul saw this and pounced on it. He made it pretty central to his theology, in fact. I don’t think that can be waved away so easily without sacrificing a cornerstone of Pauline theology. Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 is quite clear about his explanation of sin and its origin. Without Paul’s interpretation, you’re left with wide-ranging conjecture–hence my suggestion that evolution and Christianity are incompatible.

Towards the end, you say that the biggest challenge to atheism is the improbability of abiogenesis. This seems to imply god of gaps reasoning, but I’ll set that aside. Evolution isn’t “only a theory.” I’m sure you’ve heard this and probably think this is an atheist’s way to insult your intelligence, but when we say that theory means something different in science, we aren’t trying to insult you. It’s a simple fact. Theory, colloquially, is a hunch. There’s a loud bang in your next door neighbor’s home and you say, “I have a hunch: Kathy dropped her iron again.” That’s not what science means by theory. A theory in science is a well-established representation of an actual phenomenon in nature; crucially, this means that Darwin’s evolution by natural selection is not synonymous with evolution as observed in nature. We know this because Darwin’s natural selection is not mutation or genetic drift, for example. Evolution occurs via five mechanisms, per se, and natural selection is but one of those five. So it isn’t only a theory; it is a well-established representation of evolution.

Also, evolution need not hinge on abiogenesis. You implied that a theist can accept evolution. Abiogenesis, however, does not have the issues you say it does. Michael Behe and others might cite information theory as a problem and, as they commonly do, they might even employ Hoyle’s fallacy to argue that the probability of abiogenesis is even lower than a junkyard tornado building a 747. This is disingenuous. For one, abiogenesis isn’t a theory; it is a term that describes a cluster of theories concerning the origins of life on Earth. I’ll be the first to admit that solving this puzzle comes with difficulty, but this difficulty shouldn’t discourage anyone so much that they move the buck into a supernatural explanation.

Put it this way, consciousness is also mysterious and yet, if one accepts evolution, namely gradual change in alleles and in populations over time, then consciousness arises naturally; even human consciousness and its perspicacity for quantitative reasoning and logic emerged without divine intervention. The human brain doesn’t escape the evolutionary portrait; it falls squarely within it and can be explained within the confines of the theory. Evolutionary biologists even speak of the evolution of brain regions and parts like the frontal lobe, neocortex, amgydala, and claustrum.

Given what I said above, the next extrapolation is that life emerged naturally as well. In a causally closed universe, this is very likely. Also, life is nothing more than animate chemistry, inorganic elements made organic. Chemists, and even I in my dim capacities as a student, are able to produce organic compounds from inorganic elements. Now all that one needs is a way to bring this to life and give it experience until one reaches all the way up to the higher mammalian brain. This picture is entirely consistent with the naturalism I espouse. Far from the biggest challenge to atheism, an atheist can rightfully anticipate that this is but another god-shaped gap that will be filled with future knowledge. God no longer occupies the gaps that once existed, e.g., the evolution of the eye; the diversity of life; morality; consciousness; the origin of the universe. Soon this gap will close as well and there will be no ignorance to point to.

My honest assessment: you’ve been led astray by the sophistry of apologists. Admittedly, they write in a clear manner and can be quite gifted in communicating their points. I can see why some people are seduced by what they say, but one can never forget that they have a vested interest at the start, which is to say that they started with a preferred conclusion and want nothing more than to prove it or, at the very least, show it to be rational. I don’t ignore that and that is why I consult more disinterested sources. Despite what people like Strobel and Behe claim, information theory presents no problems for abiogenesis. All of the issues present in the study are due to the nature of what’s being studied, namely life’s origins; it’s already a hard nut to crack, but that certainly doesn’t justify a move to the supernatural.

Commanding murder and carrying it out are morally equal. See 1 Samuel 15:3. That’s a command. Or consider the census of Israel. He murdered thousands via his angel; safe to say some were infants and children, don’t you think? How about the plague of the firstborns in the times of Pharaoh? I’m not a Christian because I’ve read the entire Bible. Curious that it’s god’s word, but few Christians care about everything he had to tell us. I realized very quickly that the Bible was neither inspired nor written by a benevolent god.

The Bible need not be read literally all the time, but there’s no way to read 1 Samuel 15 as an allegory. It was written as embellished history. Samuel was anointed of god, a prophet; god often spoke through him. When Saul was cast out and stripped of his kingdom, Samuel delivered that message. So when is god speaking and when is he not? Is it not him when it’s something this horrible?

Historical context: this sort of thing was acceptable as virtually all ancient religions have morally repulsive stories and epics like this. The early Israelites wanted to boast of a conquest that never occurred. They fabricated a history and in turn, proved their god to be nothing more than a figment of their own imaginations, a monster made in their own conqueror image. It’s not curious that war gods show up at different points in history, each having a peculiar interest in the group that believes in this god. Another case of the triangle believing god to have three sides… (And he writes and speaks their language too; what a coincidence!)

If the Bible, supposedly god’s word, reads “Thus the Lord said” or something like that, any reader should assume that the character of god is speaking. It’s like the red letters meant to show when Jesus is speaking. If Jesus suddenly said something deplorable, “bring my enemies to me and slay them before me,” it isn’t on the reader to decide that he didn’t really say that. The Bible is telling you and me that god actually said this–that, at some point in history, he saw such a command as moral. This isn’t in the context of a 3000 year old culture; this is in the context of a timeless entity, an entity who would presumably never issue such a command.

As for the New Testament, it seems you’re not yet as involved with Christianity as I was. The sacrifices of the OT were but a type of the ultimate sacrifice in the NT (see the book of Hebrews, specifically Paul’s explication of what Christ’s Priesthood entails). Abraham’s almost sacrifice of Isaac was an anticipation of Christ. Every sentient mammal that lost its life in these sacrifices were mere prelude to a living, breathing man dying to serve as our scapegoat. The blood sacrifice connects the OT and NT and tells us that the ancient war god of Israel didn’t really change much; he’s still as immoral as he was then, but has mercy now because he became man and died in our place. Yet this only makes sense given other details, like the Fall and aspects of Pauline theology that you appeared to reject earlier today.

I know of plenty of Christians who think god penned the Bible; they all think he inspired it, as in, inspired men to write exactly what they wrote and to an unknown purpose. Passages in the OT leave one perplexed and seem to have no real meaning at all. Leviticus is nonsense; we are reading about people being told about the correct way to sacrifice sheep and various animals, and which animals are deemed unclean.

I’ve given you my basis for morality three times now: one should never treat people as a means but always as an end in themselves. This isn’t my standard; this is Immanuel Kant’s prescription, a prescription that works better than Jesus’ egoist Golden Rule and other ethical theories like utilitarianism and normative relativism. It’s a clear cut standard: humans are autonomous, self-legilsating, rational beings. Sometimes these beings fail to recognize this in others and therefore, commit crimes against other people. That being the case, they are to be held accountable for their actions; we should not mete justice on their kin. As stated, god would have been privy to that truth already. Yet he visits the sins of the fathers up to four generations and punished an entire species for a vague Fall back in prehistory only to redeem us to him through a human sacrifice. It’s a barbaric story that doesn’t inspire me to belief. I can only look at it in disbelief–as I look at similar tales.

These last bits are very practical ways in which one can not only reject Christianity but debase it in its entirety. The OT and the NT are related blood covenants. Even Christians forget this as they sometimes try to draw a thick, rigid line to separate the two. They are not, by any means, separate, but are intertwined in an intimate way. In fact, you can’t read so-called Pauline theology without going back to read where he’s getting his ideas from. Christianity is false and its best for Christians to just leave atheists like myself alone. I have well-thought out and wide-ranging reasons for rejecting this religion: scientific, philosophical, ethical, anthropological, historical, and practical ways for rejecting this religion. If you are not interested in fielding the variety of ways I can challenge your religion, then it’s best to walk away. Stepping into a discussion will guarantee you getting frustrated and hurling insults and even threats. In six years debating these topics, it has been the most common experience. Christians are content in believing they’ve found the truth, so the realization that they might not know the truth is truly unnerving; for them to think that they might be wrong scares them to no end. I’m not afraid of being wrong; I have been. That’s why I no longer believe. Accept that and stop issuing a challenge you can’t handle.

Jesus is coming. Now is the time to get right with God. If you aren’t sure about whether or not you’re right with God, start searching. Read scripture. The Gospels. Romans. Corinthians. Ephesians. Galatians. Find out what God desires. He made a way for you. Take it.


Capitoline of Sbeitla

Sbeitla, Tunisia

2nd century CE

70 m. X 67 m.

From left to right: Temple of Minerva is in the best condition, while the Temple of Jupiter next to it has almost all of its walls still standing. The Temple of Juno has fared worse, but there is plenty to help you imagine what it must have looked in pristine condition.
To the south of the forum is the Arch of Antionius Pius.

The southernmost of the three temples was dedicated to Minerva, which was the daughter of the two gods revered in the other two temples. She was considered to be the virgin goddess of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts and inventor of music.
Her temple appears as the most impressive of the three from the outside, and even the interior is in excellent condition.

The Temple of Jupiter stands in the middle, being the temple of the most important of all gods in the Roman pantheon. It is the largest temple, and deduced from its present, excellent condition, it was the object of first-class engineering.
It is noteworthy that the temple has no entrance by itself, it was entered by bridges across arches from either of the other two temples. 

The Temple of Juno is by far the least impressive of the three making up the Capitol. It is also the most ruined one.
Juno was the Queen of the gods, the wife of Jupiter and the mother of Minerva. The niche in the middle had a statue of the goddess, which has never been found. 


Pompey’s Pillar  

Alexandria, Egypt

300 CE

30 m. high

Its name is misleading. This single column standing on a rocky hilltop in the middle of Alexandria has nothing to do with the Roman Consul and General Gaius Pompey who was Julius Caesar’s rival in a civil war and was murdered by a Ptolomaic pharaoh in 48 BC when he fled to Alexandria.

This legend was started by Crusaders, who thought the 100-foot (30 meter) red Aswan granite pillar marked his burial site. The pillar is instead the a triumphal monument erected around 300 CE for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, but the true significance of this archeological site is what stood here before the pillar.
It is the site of the Serapeum, Alexandria’s acropolis. 


Heroon at Sagalassos

Sagalassos, Turkey

27 BCE – 17 CE

14 m. high

The Heroon consists of a square podium base, on top of which are three steps, then a frieze depicting 14 dancing girls—each holding the garment of their neighbor, and the Corinthian-like structure above it. In the Heroon itself stood a statue  perhaps representing a youthful Alexander the Great who had conquered the city in 333 BC.


Arch of the Sergii

Pula, Croatia

29-27 BCE

The arch commemorates three brothers of the Sergii family, specifically Lucius Sergius Lepidus, a tribune serving in the twenty-ninth legion that participated in the Battle of Actium and disbanded in 27 BCE . This suggests an approximate date of construction: 29-27 BCE. The arch stood behind the original naval gate of the early Roman colony. The Sergii were a powerful family of officials in the colony and retained their power for centuries.

The honorary triumphal arch, originally a city gate, was erected as a symbol of the victory at Actium. It was paid for by the wife of Lepidus, Salvia Postuma Sergia, sister of the three brothers. Both of their names are carved in the stone along with Lucius Sergius and Gaius Sergius, the honoree’s father and uncle respectively. In its original form, statues of the two elders flanked Lepidus on both sides on the top of the arch. On either side of the inscription, a frieze depicts cupids, garlands and bucrania.

This small arch with pairs of crenelated Corinthian columns and winged victories in the spandrels, was built on the facade of a gate (Porta Aurea) in the walls, so the part, visible from the town-side, was decorated. The decoration is late hellenistic, with major Asia Minor influences. The low relief on the frieze represents a scene with a war chariot drawn by horses.


Theater of Agrippa

Ostia Antica, Italy

1st Century BCE

4000 Spectators

Fragments of an inscription tell us that a first theatre was built at the end of the first century BC by Agrippa, the right-hand man of Augustus (opus reticulatum and large tufa blocks). It could hold 3000 spectators. 

The masonry of the present theatre has been dated to the late second century AD. In that period the theatre was enlarged, and could hold 4000 people. A large inscription from 196 AD (originally bronze letters inserted in a marble slab; found on the remains of the stage) tells us that this rebuilding was the work of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. Brick stamps however show that the work had been started by Commodus (176-192 AD).

Perhaps there is a relation with the curious re-founding of Ostia by Commodus as Colonia Felix Commodiana, probably in the years 190-192 AD (he also re-founded, with his own name, Lanuvium - where he was born -, and Rome). The theatre would have been a good location for celebrating the founding of his new colony. Commodus had close ties with gladiators, and he may well have appeared in the theatre as gladiator, or killing wild animals, as he did in Rome and Lanuvium. Commodus associated himself with Hercules, and in the theatre a stucco relief of Hercules, crowned by Victoria, was found. Did Commodus promise the rebuilding of the theatre at this occasion?


Monumental Arch of Palmyra

Palmyra, Syria

3rd century CE

The Monumental Arch was built sometime during the reign of emperor Septimius Severus, which lasted from 193 to 211 AD; it linked the main street of the Colonnade and the Temple of Bel. The arch was meant to integrate the southern and central parts of the Colonnade as its location marks a change of 30° in the orientation of the street.


Antonine Gate

Sbeitla, tunisia

139 CE

The arch is leading into the open courtyard of the Forum with its three openings ans was built on 139 according to an inscription on the entrance archway. It is clearly among the finest arches of any site in Tunisia, and adds a dramatic effect to the arrival to the Forum.
Note that it was never finished, to which the rough surface of the four columns in front testifies.