Moses Was the Founding Father According Texas Textbooks

Texas textbooks will now teach public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.

On Friday the Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education voted along party lines 10-5 to approve the wholly  inaccurate textbooks. The vote signals a victory for Christian conservatives in Texas, and a disappointing defeat for historical accuracy and the education of children.

The textbooks were written to align with instructional standards that the Board of Education approved back in 2010 with the explicit intention of forcing social studies instruction to adhere to a Christian agenda, requiring teachers to emphasize America’s so-called “Christian heritage.”

Credible historians warn the misguided attempt to suggest biblical origins for the Constitution would lead students to believe that “Moses was the first American.”

Scholars claim the decision to include the biblical figure of Moses (who probably never existed, let alone invented democracy, not that the Bible ever claims he did) in social studies education is part of a concerted effort by Christian extremists to promote the idea that the United States is a “redeemer nation” giving a divine justification for supposed American exceptionalism.

Despite the efforts of Christian conservatives to pervert and twist U.S. history to satisfy their religious superstitions, the fact remains Moses was not the first American, and America is not a Christian nation.

Nailed It

Today, on a frigid space rock half a billion kilometers from Earth, history was made.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe has deployed its robotic lander Philae, which touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Philae landed on an area called Agilkia, using harpoons and screws to latch on to the surface. Plans call for Philae to collect samples and take measurements of the comet to help determine its composition and origin. The comet, which is about four kilometers in diameter, is located halfway between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.


Duck Dynasty Warriors

Zach Dasher, the nephew of “Duck Dynasty” star and American Taliban chief Phil Robertson, is running for Congress and he’s pledging to stand up for your Second Amendment rights because you never know when we might have to overthrow the government (witch again, he’s actively campaigning to be a part of).

“You take away a person’s right to defend themselves, then guess what, you can do whatever you want to them.”

“It’s important to recognize that the Second Amendment is not just the right to bear arms so we can go duck hunting or deer hunting or shoot skeet. This is a right to defend yourself, and not just against criminals but against a tyrannical government as well.”

It’s confusing to me why someone who believes in the fantasy of armed rebellion is even running for government office, but I suppose it’s no more confusing than running for office on a platform that says government is the source of all our problems.

The idea of overthrowing the government with arms really hasn’t been a plausible reality since at least the 1860s and it likely never will be again. It’s aslo not clear what Dasher and others like him are referring to when they claim that government can do ‘whatever it wants to’ if they aren’t able to defend themselves. What exactly do they believe the government will do that it can’t already?

It’s also not clear what the threshold is. At what point does armed rebellion become necessary?

When same-sex marriage arrives in Louisiana, will that be the last straw? If a Democratic woman is elected president, will that be the final insult? I ask because those are the only scenarios I can imagine that have any chance of happening in the near future that Republicans such as Dasher would view negatively. What else do they envision?

Talk of armed rebellion against the US government is masturbatory confederate fan-fiction and Civil War reenactment is the closest anyone who speaks of it will ever come to the real thing.

Grave of the Vampire

An archaeologist in Bulgaria says that he has unearthed a “vampire” grave containing a skeleton with a metal stake in its chest.

Nikolai Ovcharov said the spooky grave was found during excavations at the ruins of the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon, in southern Bulgaria.

This “vampire” grave is one of two unusual burials recently discovered by Ovcharov at Perperikon, according to the Bulgarian newspaper 24 Hours. The other reportedly contained a mother and child whose bodies had been positioned in such as a way that they resembled an image of the Virgin Mary and child. Ovcharov said this sort of ritual burial was used as a way to ward off the plague.

Both graves are estimated to date back to the first half of the 13th century.

In 2012, archaeologists discovered two other 700-year-old skeletons pinned down with iron rods through their chests near the town of Sozopol.

It is believed that these people were evil while they were alive, and  that it they would become vampires once they are dead and continue to torment people.

According to a 2012 BBC report, at least 100 “vampire” graves have been found in Bulgaria to date, and similar burial sites have been found in other Balkan nations. Vampire legends, the news outlet said, “form an important part of the region’s folklore.”

Mything in Action

Many antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.”  They think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seeds that eventually grew into Christianity.

However other scholars believe that the gospel stories are actually “historicized mythology.”  In this view, those ancient mythic templates are themselves the kernel. They got filled in with names, places and other real world details as early sects of Jesus worship attempted to understand and defend the devotional traditions they had received.

Naturally, the notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position. For centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were themselves Christians, and modern secular scholars rely heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts. Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under the historical presumptions of their former faith.

The arguments on both sides of this question, mythologized history or historicized mythology, fill volumes, and if anything the debate seems to be heating up rather than resolving. A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity. Many people, both Christian and not, find it surprising that this debate even exists, that credible scholars might think Jesus never actually existed, here are some of the key points that keep the doubts alive:

No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the existence of Yeshua ben Yosef.  In the words of Bart Ehrman:

“What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. As odd as it may seem, there is no mention of Jesus at all by any of his pagan contemporaries. There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing. In fact, if we broaden our field of concern to the years after his death – even if we include the entire first century of the Common Era – there is not so much as a solitary reference to Jesus in any non-Christian, non-Jewish source of any kind. I should stress that we do have a large number of documents from the time – the writings of poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, and government officials, for example, not to mention the large collection of surviving inscriptions on stone and private letters and legal documents on papyrus. In none of this vast array of surviving writings is Jesus’ name ever so much as mentioned.” (pp. 56-57)

The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts. Paul seems unaware of any virgin birth, for example. No wise men, no star in the east, no miracles. Historians have long puzzled over the “Silence of Paul” on the most basic biographical facts and teachings of Jesus. Paul fails to cite Jesus’ authority precisely when it would make his case. What’s more, he never calls the twelve apostles Jesus’ disciples; in fact, he never says Jesus HAD disciples or a ministry, or did miracles, or gave teachings. He virtually refuses to disclose any other biographical detail, and the few cryptic hints he offers aren’t just vague, but contradict the gospels. The leaders of the early Christian movement in Jerusalem like Peter and James are supposedly Jesus’ own followers and family but Paul dismisses them as nobodies and repeatedly opposes them for not being true Christians.

Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts. We now know that the four gospels were assigned the names of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, not actually written by them. To make matter even sketchier, the name designations happened sometime in second century, around 100 years or more after Christianity supposedly began. For a variety of reasons, the practice of pseudonymous writing was common at the time and many contemporary documents are “signed” by famous figures.  The same is true of the New Testament epistles; except for a handful of letters from Paul (6 out of the 13) which are broadly thought to be genuine.  But even the gospel stories never actually say, “I was there.” Rather, they claim the existence of other witnesses, a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase, my aunt knew someone who . . .

The gospels, the only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.If you think you know the Jesus story pretty well, I suggest that you pause at this point to test yourself with the 20 question quiz at

The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest existing “life of Jesus,” and linguistic analysis suggests that Luke and Matthew both simply reworked Mark and added new material. But they contradict each other and, to an even greater degree contradict the much later gospel of John, because they were written with different objectives for different audiences in mind. The incompatible Easter stories offer one example of how much the stories disagree with one another.

Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different people. They include a cynic philosopher, charismatic Hasid, liberal Pharisee, conservative rabbi, a Zealot revolutionary, and a nonviolent pacifist to name a few. A historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been one or many of those things but he could not very well have been all of them at the same time. John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar grumbles that “the stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment.”

Jesus appears to be an effect, not a cause, of Christianity. Paul and the rest of the first generation of Christians searched the Septuagint translation of Hebrew scriptures to create a Mystery Faith for the Jews, complete with pagan rituals like a Lord’s Supper, Gnostic terms in his letters, and a personal savior god to rival those in their neighbors’ longstanding Egyptian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman traditions.

We may never know for certain what put Christian history in motion. Only time (or perhaps time travel) will tell.