Infidelis Maximus Blog

Here's an interesting Blog, and it has an interesting interview with Acharya S, a former member here at DC.


McDowell said...

Acharya starts out in her book, The Christ Conspiracy, with flasehoods like Hitler being Jewish (long disproven by historians like John Toland and Alan Bullock) and saying Stalin was a priest. (He never was, and he was a committed atheist).

She makes intense use of outdated sources and is careless with here quotes...and many of her leaps of logic aren't even referenced.

Further, she exagerattes here academic performance, and she has no higher degrees beyond a BA.

John W. Loftus said...

I suppose we have all had false ideas, and many of us still do but don't think we do. That doesn't invalidate other things she argues for, but I suppose it does mean we should use caution, as we should with anyone we read. Still, Robert M. Price congratulated her on doing some research that no one had ever done before, and she talks about this in the linked interview.

Anonymous said...

Her books are just her version of the truth. It is the way she sees the wrold. She believes the things she writes. Decide for yourself. But I think its a waste of time and money to read anythihg she has written. She is just another Christ-MOnger making money off of flathless people on both sides of the debate. She wants to stral your faith, and if she can, well that means you did not have any to begin with. A lot of trees wer and are still being cut down to make her self indulgent drivel.

tom said...

"Still, Robert M. Price congratulated her on doing some research that no one had ever done before, and she talks about this in the linked interview."

I do find it odd that Price once wrote a scathing and derisive review of Acharya S, but now that they've worked out their differences he has removed the original from his website. I've never seen an explanation of exactly what he thinks he got wrong, and it seems to me not in the spirit of intellectual honesty for Price to make his review unavailable, rather than post a retraction that might be instructive - i.e. it would be nice to know what Price thinks he had right and wrong, and why he has changed his mind.

Does anyone know more specifics about Price's change of heart?

Anonymous said...

Money probably changed hands.

Acharya S said...

I find it very disturbing, John, that you would let stand such derogatory comments, particularly the last libelous remark regarding my relationship with Robert Price. Robert Price has not only been gracious enough to take another look at my work - and I was gracious enough to forgive him the pain his past behavior caused me - but he was delighted by my book Suns of God, as have been many others, and Bob wrote a favorable review of it. Price also wrote a great review of my book Who Was Jesus?, as have others, including Earl Doherty. Bob Price has further agreed to write the foreword to the hard-copy edition of Who Was Jesus? - gratis. Since the mealy-mouthed libelers here haven't read any of my work, it is obvious why they would not be able to understand Price's respect for it.

The people posting here seem to have little better to do than make hateful and jealous comments about others.

I wonder what the purpose of this blog really is, with such low behavior.

As concerns the falsehoods of the first poster here, no, I don't claim "Hitler was Jewish." I mistakenly wrote that Hitler's paternal grandmother was Jewish, when in fact the research indicates it was his grandfather - that was a typo, as I knew it was his grandfather.

I stated that Stalin trained for the priesthood - and that's a fact. You keep setting up FALSE straw men to knock down by your imprecision of words.

My sources are no more "outdated" than the Bible itself. I use a wide variety of sources, dating from as early as I could find. Are pre-Christian texts "outdated?" Illogic permeates your criticisms.

My "leaps of logic?" If they're mine, how can I "reference" them? What nonsense - talk about a leap of logic.

As concerns my credentials, I am a member of one of the most exclusive institutes for the study of ancient Greek culture in the world, where I did postgraduate work. I say nothing more than that, nor do I pretend to hold any higher degrees. Pray tell, sir, what are your credentials to make the fallacious and sophistic remarks about me?

As concerns the complaints of the evident Christian about no "wasting money or time" on reading anything I've written, it is quite clear that you haven't read anything I've written, so you are singularly unqualified to make such a pronouncement.

How embarrassing for all parties here for me to even have to address such petty vitriol.

John W. Loftus said...

Acharya S, people here make all kinds of derogatory remarks, and I'm sorry I didn't do something about the last comment earlier. They do so about me, and everyone else. I have to have thick skin sometimes. I just did not think it was credible nor did I think anyone else would think it was credible. Besides, I have been very busy today and I don't always monitor the comments effectively, since many comments are made every single hour.

Thanks for your clarifications. I honestly don't know that much about your views in order to defend you. I wish I could, but I can't. I value your input though.

Acharya S said...

Hi John -

Thanks for your elucidations. I appreciate that you've got your hands full. I am also well aware of the need for a thick skin, as I've been doing this work online for 12 years!

I laud you for taking on this responsibility. It would be helpful for the "unbelieving" world to not be as dogmatic and critical as the believers. What is the point of replacing these creeds, if our efforts are going to be analyzed in this manner? Are we attempting to substitute one oppressive dogma with another?

Keep up the good work, John, and thanks for the respectful response.

Rene said...

Acharya pretty much summed up the corrections in her response. There are idiots everywhere expounding on things they know nothing about and with sheer dishonest intentions. It has got to be aggravating to her and others who know what she has said and the honesty of HER character.

Such responses as that given by Mcdowell and the chicken anony-mouse really show the deficit of brain matter and ethics that exist out there!

BTW John, I believe I have read two books of yours (can't remember the name of the one..did it have to do with the Vatican Ratlines?). I read "The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People". It was interesting and certainly controversial! We are all conspiracy nuts (the others are just!). I mean that in a flattering way. You undoubtedly have had to develope a thick skin and patience with the kinds of attacks Acharya recieves on a subject also controversial.

You should take the time to familiarise yourself with Acharya's views as she likely is or should be with yours. Keep on the mission of exposing Truth, wherever you think you see it. We may all at one time or another feel compelled to adjust our views.

Steinmaster said...


NOW Acharya claim that NO, it was not Hitlers grandmother who was Jewsish, but his grandfather...also long disproved by the historians mentioned, Toland and Bullock.

But, given the other derogratory remarks about Jews she makes in her book, it is not suprising that she perpetuates this canard...a favorite of anti semitic sites.

As for Stalin, she says he trained for the what? He was a committed atheist who rejected the church, a FACT she glosses over.

There egregious, and simple, errors on her part derail here credibility...she keeps talking about here academic achievement but has never give an lick of proof, which she pretends to place such stock in.

Oh, and are talking about the wrong John Loftus, so your credibility is zero as well.

tom said...

"The people posting here seem to have little better to do than make hateful and jealous comments about others...I wonder what the purpose of this blog really is, with such low behavior."

I neither know nor care whether this absurdly generalized insult was meant to apply to me, but the fact that any level-headed reader would see my earlier post as an honest question worth asking (as opposed to the anonymous followup implying that Dr. Price is not above accepting bribes, and Ms. S of offering them) leads me to assume not.

Still, the implication of the following quote extends her indictment to more than one individual, and I was the only other one who mentioned Price in a way that could possibly be misconstrued (by a paranoid individual) as a bit of slander.

"Since the mealy-mouthed libelers here haven't read any of my work, it is obvious why they would not be able to understand Price's respect for it."

All this presumptuous and sloppy invective comes from someone who launches into a tirade and cannot maintain her composure in the face of the common blog-troll. Still, insofar as I could take some of this abuse to be directed at my own post, I would note in reply that I am not one step closer to an understanding of what exactly has changed in Bob Price's mind, and why. I take this to be a substantive question apart from banal and petty concerns about hurt feelings and past transgressions, and one that a serious person might be happy to consider.

Steinmaster said...

Damn good post, Tom.

And I would like to see some proof of here academic accomplishments...she offers none whatsoever.

Am I supposed to take her word for it?

On faith?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I have not only read your interview, I have read much of your website, and, having read it, I feel you were treated with far more politeness than you deserve -- except for the one anonymous 'money changed hands' comment, which was merely the mouthing of a stupid troll.
I hate to find myself agreeing with the obnoxious Steinmaster, and cannot confirm, yet, his comments on anti-Semitism, but your work is, I'm afraid, for the most part nonsense on the Madame Blavatsky level.

Let me ask you a few questions:
If we do not accept that 'miracles and healings' credited to the Christian God are anything more than myths, why should we have some respect for someone who says, about Princess Diana "she is already being deified and credited with miracles and healings"?

How can we take seriously someone who writes the following -- straight from the more absurd ideas of the Mu-Atlantis crowd:
"In any serious investigation of this subject, we must be able to discern between the "gods" and the "sky people" mentioned by the ancients. As noted, the enlightened ancients knew the "gods" were the planets, representing astrotheology. The sky people were a different matter apparently. Some of them may have been "aliens" in the off world sense, but other legends hold that at least some of these sky people were the remnants of one of the advanced global civilizations destroyed by cataclysm. The legends further say that such advanced people appeared around the world to reestablish civilization after the various cataclysms"

If we reject the words of the Christian who knows Christ resides within him, why should we accept your "I may also be considered a mystic, a "homo novus," or, as it were, a new woman. The mystic or gnostic does not reside in the realm of belief or disbelief. She or he knows, rather than believing. I do not need to believe in the sun. I can see it and feel it. I know it exists. I also know that there is a sentience that pervades the cosmos. I am it. You are it."

or the following comments from the same 'rant' as you describe it:
"By definition, "God" is OMNIPRESENT, which means it is everywhere, in me, in you and in all creation. Behind the creation is the Great Void, where there is no separation and all is one."

"So, no, I don't believe in any god person. I know myself as That Which Is. "

"And yes, I am here to destroy. I am the intellectual aspect of Kali, the destroyer, of Shiva, of Zeus the thunderer, and of Jehovah the flattener of cities. But I am also a part and parcel of the Creative Life Force that permeates the cosmos, and upon the ruined foundations of dead and rotten ideologies I build anew."

How can we, as people who believe the world is governed by rational, scientific laws accept the following:
"Still, it must always be remembered that there are other dimensions, and, it seems, these dimensions at times bleed together and create a mind-blowing newness that firmly shakes us out of our complacent reality. Let us inspect some of these inexplicable and earthshaking events that have allegedly occurred over the thousands and millions of years." which you include in your favorable article on the prankster, Charles Fort and his collections of 'silly season' articles. (Not to mention your favorable comments on the hoaxster Von Daniken)?

If we insist that our findings be be backed by reliable sources, why should we pay attention to someone who uses such people as Gerald Massey and Kersey Graves as bases for their statements?

If we attack crackpot conspiracy theories, what are we to do with the following:
"With the new millenium, increasing numbers of people have heard about the "One World Religion" purportedly being planned by the ruling elite, i.e., the "Illuminati," "Masons," or various other cultic/religious interests."

I'm sorry to say this, but I think that there is one thing the believers and non-believers here can agree on, and that is to treat the 'truth' you purport to bring us with the contempt it so deserves.

[My apologies to those who are used to seeing my disagreements expressed more politely, but I have always found this sort of early-20th Century, FATE Magazine, psuedo-occultism an insult to the intelligence -- even worse than astrology -- and I was simply unanble to find 'nice' ways of saying it.]

Anonymous said...


Hitlers Jewish family connections, "long disproved by the historians mentioned, Toland and Bullock."

- Ahh, this doesn't appear to be correct as there is no consensus still to this day. And, who cares at this point in time. Plus, having actually read her work, the accusation of "anti-semitism" is utterly false - laughably so. LOL. (BTW, Are you claiming that since Cecil Adams points out that the debate is not finished that he's also an anti-semite?)

"As for Stalin, she says he trained for the what? He was a committed atheist who rejected the church, a FACT she glosses over."

- Ah, Stalin was Seminary trained, this is a fact. The book was not about Stalin and everybody knows he became an atheist so your argument is irrelevant.

"she keeps talking about here academic achievement but has never give an lick of proof, which she pretends to place such stock in."

- As Acharya states above, she is a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She's got a BA in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin & Marshall college. That's all she's ever claimed, and these facts are easily verifiable, especially since Robert Price revealed her name to the world. What your snide and disrespectful comments prove is your own inability to do simple research. Here's a photo of mail sent to her from that school that she went to BECAUSE she is an alumni.

What are your credentials and where's the proof of your academic achievements? Do tell...

"There egregious, and simple, errors on her part derail here credibility..."

- And what about the embarrassing errors on your part, i.e. your false assumptions about Acharya's work which demonstrates that you haven't actually studied it? What does that say about your credibility?

As for the sleazy charge of "Anti-Semitism"

- Yes, Acharya debunks Judaism as well as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, to varying degrees. Since you're posting to a blog that debunks Christianity, I guess that makes you some sort of anti-Christian bigot? Acharya's book ALSO relieves the Jewish community of the horrible epithet of "Christ killers," a very important point that you conveniently leave out in your diatribe and vilification.

Oh and BTW, the Palestinians are Semites. Are you pro-Palestinian? If so, doesn't that make you an "Anti-Semite"?

This is so typical of those who attack Acharya - they never seem to actually study her work. How embarrassing, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Prup (aka Jim Benton),

"I have not only read your interview, I have read much of your website, and, having read it, I feel you were treated with far more politeness than you deserve"

- Again, another typical tactic from a few bits and pieces then assume you are credible enough to critique her work without EVER actually reading her books which contain the details in which you seem ignorant. I see this often from folks who like to pretend that they've read her work. Even a cursory investigation proves your vitriol against Acharya false. What does that say about you? You're either a bumbling idiot or a liar. I'll leave it to others to make their on conclusions on that...

Regarding Diana and the miracles, Acharya herself did not say that Diana was doing miracles, she is reporting on a phenomenon - because at the time the piece was written there were other people around the world who thought she was doing miracles. The part about her being "more powerful" in death did not suggest that she was somehow alive and doing these miracles but that the belief that she was doing miracles would make her seem more powerful to these people who believed in these miracles. It appears that every little thing must be spelled out to those who would anally obsess over every little word, as they seem utterly incapable of understanding nuances and subtleties. Also, you have no comment about the humanity expressed in that Diana article, no interest in the beauty of it - only in creating ugliness based on your apparent jealousy and irrationality.

Acharya's work regarding the Anunnaki was designed to DEBUNK the idea that there were "space aliens." Any suggestion to the contrary reveals reading comprehension problems. Another very embarrassing error on your part.

Acharya appears to have been right in her blog post about the "Atheist Inquisition" - you are evidently interested in mind control and in attacking people's character for the slightest transgression against your FAITH. That's not an improvement over THEISM at all. Check out her post regarding the Atheist Inquisition, which was inspired by this very mentality you display and this particular blog, 'Debunking Christianity', in specific. Are you suggesting that atheists kill everyone who even remotely expresses "mysticism" or religious thoughts, feelings? Here's a link to the Atheist Inquisition blog:

The snide remarks regarding Dr. Price and Acharya are purely libelous.

Has anyone else here besides me, actually read all 3 of Acharya's books?

So, Acharya's entire body of work is to be dismissed - and she herself is to be disrespected and viciously attacked - because of a few sentences you don't like and deliberately misinterpreted in order to uphold your nasty opinion of Acharya? My, THAT intolerant and aggressive mentality and behavior is a REAL improvement of fanatical religionists!

What you've proved here is not the flaws in Acharya's work or character but the absolute VICIOUSNESS and INTOLERANCE of fanatic atheists. Nice job. You've made the world less safe for atheists like me. You and others like you make ALL atheists look bad. You sir, are an embarrassment to atheists EVERYWHERE.

I think this demonstrates your own jealousy of the fact that Acharya DOES get a lot RESPECT from very credible scholars like Price, Doherty etc and you hate that. This is a personality disorder on your part. Please get help as I'm sure there's an 800 # that can help you with this. Maybe there's an "Atheist A**holes Anonymous" out there willing to deal with your militant atheistic hate.

I consistently see these... scum on the bottom of the barrel, toss stones first types of juvenile arguments that act as obstacles that distract from the record of the history of Solar Mythology. It's absurd and misguided to paint Acharya as a sinister character when her work is legendary in debunking religion.

Skeptics try to claim that 'Solar Mythology' is "Her Theory". It is *NOT*, 'HER THEORY'. She is NOT the FIRST to write about Solar Mythology nor Astrotheology. What Acharya did was create the largest compilation of this history of 'Solar Mythology' in 2 books to date. 'Christ Conspiracy' is 430 pages, with over 1,200 footnotes & over 100 bibliographical citations. 'Suns of God' is nearly 600 pages & contains over 1,800 footnotes. Suns of God's bibliography comprises over 250 books and articles, most of which are from conservative and respected sources, dating back to the earliest times. Acharya has presented this enormous amount of resources in order to provide a consensus of opinion, precisely because the subject matter is so contentious. To call her work "nonsense" demonstrates monumental ignorance in epic proportions.

"Macrobius, the Roman Scholar explained that many of the popular gods were solar deities or personified aspects of the sun. Macrobius was admittedly an expert in the religions of the day, such that his opinions are well founded that "all the gods of the Greek and Roman mythology represent the attributes of the one supreme divine power - the SUN" pages 67-68 "Suns of God".

"The Christian religion and Masonry have one and the same common origin: Both are derived from the worship of the Sun. The difference between their origin is, that the Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun."
~ Thomas Paine

"We sorely need a new History of Religions School for the 21st century, to apply modern techniques to this important ancient material. Perhaps this book will help bring that about."
~ Earl Doherty, in a review "Christ Conspiracy" by Acharya

The work of Acharya is one of the greatest services ever given to humanity. The exposure of religion worldwide to have their roots based in solar mythology, astrotheology etc, etc. Plus, her exposure of how religion uses their God and holy text as a front and endorsement to commit heinous crimes to other humans, animals and the environment.

* The issue here is to debunk Christianity *NOT* viciously attack Acharya - who has done more to debunk Christianity along with many other religions as anyone. I think, that respect & appreciation is in order, along with an apology.

Anonymous said...

That's truly dispicable. I can't confirm *your* racism yet either. I mean, how low can you go?

Furthermore, you willfully misinterpret her writing. Do you have any reading comprehension? Must I go over it in detail?

And what have you got against the imagination? Acharyas work has always seemed to me to be about two things: historical truth, and inspiring thought and imagination. I mean, what's with the thought nazis? If I found the *legend* of Atlantis interesting and wanted to explore... why not? Why must you agressively insult and degrade people who explore their interests?

Even the full blown believers who are convinced that the Virgin Mary appeared to them in their toast, do they "deserve" to be treated poorly?

Now for the gory details: You ask: 'why should we have some respect for someone who says, about Princess Diana "she is already being deified and credited with miracles and healings"?' Um.... because it's true? Oh, did you think that Diana is being deified and credited with miracles by Acharya? Can't read clearly I guess. What does this say about your credibility? I mean, it seems you are so eager to cast Acharya in a negative light that your reading comprehension went out the window. Talk about being led by irrational emotions.

Would you be surprised to learn that Diana is considered a "saint" by some, and an "angel" by others? Is that so radical a thought?

And what did the ancients mean by "Sky People"? They could very well have meant "People from the Sky", ie: Aliens. Many people today imagine that there are "People from the Sky" visiting earth. Do you think it's an absurd thought that the ancients might have imagined such a thing? Acharya doesn't stop there: "but other legends hold that..." Is it not made clear to you on what level Acharya is speaking? Your credibility is leaving the building...

Regarding your next point, hey, I know the sun exists too. And I know there is a latent/potential intelligence in the universe. I am one expression of it. Living proof. So are you. Do you consider yourself separate and distinct from the universe? Like something special that God put here?

And hey, I'm not an adherent to any bizarre religious beliefs, but I don't have a problem with people who seek some kind of mystical experience. I studied zen for a while and found it fascinating. Acharya's musings on this subject sound very zen.

Regarding the Shiva quote, ever heard of a metaphor or a symbol? Is it Acharyas fault that you read everything so literally? Perhaps if she kept her writing entirely dry and avoided musing or speculating you wouldn't feel so bothered. Maybe if she was as literal as possible, avoided anything sensational like the use of colorful or poetic language, and described everything in stark black and white... Heck, she should wear an abaya for the mind. Would that put you at ease?

In your apparent zeal to castigate you miss phrases like "legend", "allegedly", "purportedly" and other such qualifiers. Yes, she discusses myths. She has a great interest in them, new and old. But one thing I have noticed over the years is that she treats those who believe in these myths with common courtesy and respect. Except for the agressive zealots of all stripes (yes, even atheists) that she has had to deal with over the years.

Anonymous said...

Heaven forbid we should make the great and terrible Acharya S. feel bad. He Acharya S., want some cheese with that whine? Hitler had had many credentials, so did the S.S. and according to you so did Stalin.

Jesus' only credentials was that he was the son of God. But that's not good enough for you. And I did read your books. A friend of mine who is very well read was going to throw them out. He called you a Christ Monger and no doubt he has written you about you "work" if that's what you call it while the people you try and steal faith from are doing real work. When I read your books I just laughed and laughed. I could not take a single word seriously. Your on your way out. No one is listening to you anymore. We have already heard what you have to say and well, no just please go away before you make a bigger fool of yourself. Oh, yeah and don't forget, Jesus loves you. He died on the cross and rose three days later so that all who believe, even you, would be forgiven of their sins and have everlasting life. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if "Debunking Christianity" was not so saddled with the constrained, narrow, biased, uncurious, and hypocritical intellectual piety of Mr. Benton, just perhaps this blog might enjoy wider participation from atheists and theists alike. On this topic, I have lurked and contributed to others that do.

Others account for many of his lapses in critical faculty, but I find his cherished declaration that "the world is governed by rational, scientific laws" fascinating. I would heartily agree. Then why does he leave his critical rational analysis elsewhere when he castigates someone else for the same? How often I have seen others so imperiously impugn sources in scholarship (in this case Massey and Graves) and yet commit the fatally unscientific flaw of not offering one word why? Is he aware of how well or inadequately the sources have been corroborated elsewhere. Has Mr. Benton ever read the sources in question? He has a burden of critical reasoning which he utterly fails to fulfill. One might think he engages in willful bias for its own sake.

I hope he understands that history is not a science, in the sense that its conclusions cannot be "brought" into a laboratory and tested repeatedly for verifiability. It is a humanity, whereby evidences can be collected and inductively evaluated to reach some conclusions, understanding that seldom are any two pieces of the underlying evidences are exactly the same. In SUNS of GOD, the author's bibliography is inclusive of not just 2 sources, but nearly 250.

Worse than the preceding, Mr. Benton heaps fault on this author without ever having read the 3 publications in question. I happen to know that many passages of the author's books are included in her website, but somehow he either avoids them or for whatever reason otherwise does not choose to comment on them. From a reasoned standpoint, I would be curious first to read the publications in question. If I had any doubts or sense of unclarity about the author's conclusions, I would THEN investigate the author's website(s) for any other clarifying information or background.

Mr. Benton's approach on this matter seems anything but scientific. Acharya's publications have been peer reviewed and been deemed respectable in her scholarship. In history, there is always some contentiousness among peers because, again the deductive processes of laboratory reproduction cannot be applied. I would certainly hope that all contributers here would understand that this topic weighs so heavily into cultural bias, it is intensely difficult to find accredited parties to review dissertation objectively. I have read fairly extensively on Christ mythicism and find this author engages the reader in an accessible style, seriously but effectively imparting information professionally researched that has been unknown to the public-at-large for at least many decades.

That Mr. Benton should choose to evaluate the author on other essays in the public domain that are not in the purview of the topic for this blog, he stoops to the cheap, unprofessional, and brings no credit to what goes on here. Others are right when they accuse him of assuming the role of "thought police" -- hardly a desirable direction for continuing scholarship.

If he is unable to stick to the topic and questions at hand, why bother to exchange discourse with blog entries. The standards here are less than the imperious contributers take for granted and the hypocrisy is stifling.

Anonymous said...

Why is it believers must get so personal when someone questions their beliefs?

Acharya has spent years researching her books. You can believe what she has written or not,there is no need to make it a personal attack. That's why faith is called belief and not fact!

Stauffenberg said...

Uh, "anonymous", Acharya engages in personal attacks and ridicule of Christians as a matter of routine.

Who ya kiddin?

She whines constantly.

Would you like cheese with yours?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

First, as I have requested in the past, will people, even if they choose to post anonymously, please give themselves some sort of a name, just to lessen the confusion. (The example of "Anon 1035" is a good one.) There are already eight anonymous comments in this thread, on several sides of the issue.

Before I reach any of them -- which may take me a couple of posts and go over until tomorrow -- I do want to quote Charles Guignebert -- hardly a Christian apologeticist -- on earlier versions of the same idea of Christ as a mythical invention. Speaking of the people who have argued this: "For 'amateurs' they nearly all are who uphold the negative and mythological point of view; some naive and superficial, quite unconscious of the pitiful inadequacy of their knowledge, others well documented, that is to say, conversant with the subject, sometimes even learned in it, but equally ignorant or impatient of the humble and patient discipline of exegesis. They are ever ready to thrust aside or mishandle the texts instead of cautiously and respectfully attempting to extract the truth from them; to impose on them arbitrarily whatever conclusions their own convictions demand, instead of keeping within the limits to which a scrupulous critical and historical sense would confine them. Such flimsy and unfounded speculations may perhaps yield interesting and fascinating works of the imagination, and exhibit a fascinating ingenuity, but they do no service to science, which, though it lives by hypothesis, indulges in paradox at its peril." (Guignebert, JESUS. p.64. The whole of his discussion represents Chapter 1 of his book and would be valuable reading for the supporters of Ms. Murdock. And his book was written before the discoveries at Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea that show manuscripts predating the time of her "Christ conspiracy."

I will agree to read more of her site, though this is hardly the place, as one anonymous pointed out, for a full debunking of her.

(I do see that, because I gopt pulled away from this for domestic responsibilities, that I will have to do most of my responding tomorrow. My apologies.)

But I will respond to a couple of the personal comments made, again, preliminarily. If my writing keeps people away from the blog, I'm sure John will become aware of us and ask me to leave -- I'll continue to comment, but not as a member. He has not yet chosen to do so.

And as for the anonymous who called me intolerant, you are correct. I AM intolerant of a great number of things, homeopathy and biblical innerancy, faith healing and astrology, flying saucer abductions and people who claim to have seen ghosts, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 deniers, Young Earth Creationism, David Barton's historical lies, psychics. And all of them deserve my intolerance, because they are simply lies, myths, or delusions. (I'm not too fond of people who send me e-mail about this fortune I can share in if I'll only help them move the money out of the country, either.)

So far, Acharya has given me good reason for including her in these categories, but, as I said, I will read more, and respond more in depth to the criticisms I received, later. (I got too little sleep last night to be able to be sufficiently coherent tonight.)

Oyyyy said...

It seems a few of the more anal-retentive atheists on this board fell really, really hard from the "faith" tree, or just way to fast, and now they are having some kind of fundamentalist relapse. Cherry picking her work just like those good old cafeteria Christians. This is one of the huge problems with the Atheist community as a whole; no one can agree on how to disagree with faith, and the result is mindless dismissing and insults that becomes so ferocious and heated that everyone loses sight of what was being discussed in a first place. It's a shame really, a damn shame.

Rene said...

Steinmaster said: NOW Acharya claim that NO, it was not Hitlers grandmother who was Jewsish, but his grandfather...also long disproved by the historians mentioned, Toland and Bullock.

But, given the other derogratory remarks about Jews she makes in her book, it is not suprising that she perpetuates this canard...a favorite of anti semitic sites.

As for Stalin, she says he trained for the what? He was a committed atheist who rejected the church, a FACT she glosses over.

There egregious, and simple, errors on her part derail here credibility...she keeps talking about here academic achievement but has never give an lick of proof, which she pretends to place such stock in.

Oh, and are talking about the wrong John Loftus, so your credibility is zero as well.

Rene says: As usual, you have your head up your asshole and hear your own echo! So I had the wrong John Loftus (apologies John--I didn't check your profile). That gives me zero credibility for a simple mistake?! I could care less your presumption of my credibility!

As some of the better anonymouses with brains have already pointed out your deliberate false statements of alleged fact (among many other twisted falsehoods) that Hitler was proven not to have Jewish blood--their answers were corect in that your statement is false. You were corrected and chastised on other simpleminded proclomations, which I don't need to repeat. ( if that were the totality of any significant importance to the whole picture of what Acharya is trying to get across without being misinterpreted, totally and deliberately misquoted and maligned not on the basis of factual or still unestablished statements of fact out there.

However, if you want to see some real anti-semitic stuff, you ain't seen nothing yet. Acharya is not the "anti-semite" that I am...and damn proud of it too! You don't like it, because it does not accord with your "wishful thinking", that is too bad. Stick to playing in the sandbox of your infantile mind.

There has never been a debunking of Acharya's work, that has been nothing more than insincere, dishonest hacks only determined to attack the author and debase her work with "knowing falsehoods", repetitive gibberish, and other unethical practices. NONE have succeeded, because they are eventually shown to be slimy liars and vicous pompous idiots with out legs to stand on. Not worth the time to waste my spit on.

Zero creditibilty is not good enough to explain these people. As I have said, they are bereft of any integrity, civil ethics and less than zero knowledge or intelligence they choose to propound on. It might be my pleasure to drive you crazy, mad with hatred for me and my much harsher "anti-semitic" indictiments (which extends to fairy-tale Christians and Muslim nut-jobs). However, I have a feeling you couldn't even begin to handle it. Acharya is mild compared to me. BUT I do have a thick skin...your kind of drivel runs off me like water off a ducks back!

Give it to me baby and I will gleefully throw it back in your face...heh heh!

Stauffenberg said...

Some interesting points Rene, we all make mistakes.

However, the hostility on Acharya's part, and yours, is not conducive to your credibility.

But on the wider issue, why is it that the really qualified scholars in this field, Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, and Marcus Borg being the best examples, don't ever reference Acharya's work, or most of the sources she uses? (And don't say it is because they don't want to buck the system...they do that in spades.)

Moreover, none of them suggest that Jesus was not historical, did not preach radically, or was not crucified by the Romans.

Frankly, I find Acharya's total mythicist position to be agenda driven and unconvincing.

LIC said...

Spiteful rock-throwing at those who disagree with you does not change a thing. On the one hand, you constantly boast of how well you have documented your points by how many endnotes are contained in your book. Yet on the other hand you desire us to ask you where your information comes from. We see where it is coming from, Ms. Murdock, and we are saying to you that we find it unconvincing and lacking in academic quality.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Good morning all:
Time to have some fun with the various anonymi. First, though, about reading Acharya's books, it is true I haven't. (For that matter, I have yet to read John's books, or Ed Babinski's, or the other books along the side of the page.)

I have a limited book-buying budget, and usually buy only used books. (The recent closing of a local book store and my friendliness with the people there has strained even the modest budget I do have.)

Of course, there are other options. And since Acharya proudly announces in her profile that 'Among other less flattering things, Acharya S has been called "the ranking religious philosopher of our era"' (by whom, I wonder) certainly her books would be kept among the massive collection of the Brooklyn Public Library. Only they aren't.

But I belong to, an on-line academic library. Someone who is that important should be cataloged there. Nope. In fact, Questia has a very good search facility, and not only are her books not available, there is not one reference to the 'ranking religious philosopher' in any book or journal in the entire collection. Hmmmmm!?

Of course, if she were willing to send me copies, I'd even agree to reactivate my own blog and review them there, and link to the review. (It's been a while since I appeared in the Skeptic's Circle.) I might even review them for a blog that has frequently run my work in the past which has a much larger readership.

A few other preliminary comments here, then after a break for cat-feeding, I'll go into more detail.

Anonymous the Benton-hater states that Acharya's work is 'peer-reviewed.' Wrong! The term 'peer-reviewed' has a specific meaning in academia. It does not mean that people have written reviews of the article or book. It means an article or book has been submitted to an independent journal with a board of reviewers who have been hired as experts on the subject and who decide whether the article meets the standard of scholarship the journal requires. ("Independent" is an important factor. There was a recent scandal where a particularly obnoxious quack set up his own journal so he could claim his articles were 'peer-reviewed.' Needless to say, this did not add to his credibility.)

To the best of my knoledge, despite the numerous journals of the study of religion that exist, the 'ranking religious philosopher' has never submitted her work -- or if she has, it has not been published in any. (If I am wrong, I am sure her defenders will correct me with suitable citations.)

One more point before the cats drag me away from the computer or perch on the keyboard. This is in regards to her discussion of Diana. The Anonymous of 5:12 seems to attempt to wriggle out of Acharya's comments by saying that she was only 'reporting' on what people were saying.

The trouble with this is that the article itself is entitled "In the Name of Goddess Diana." Now had this been an article pointing to how silly people were being in calling her a Goddess, or in claiming her as a miracle worker -- much as I might write about the people who set up a religious movement around the person of Elian Gonzales -- perhaps her defender's point might be well taken.

However, none of her defenders seems to have understood the point I made by the reference, and by several other references I made, so I'll put it in bold italics:

The type of reasoning Acharya uses, her use of dubious sources, her acceptance of miracles and the paranormal and supernatural differs in no way from the type of reasoning some of the more thoughtless Christians that post here use. If I criticize them, I must criticize her for the same faults. If I accept her 'intuitions' and 'I just know it is true's I have no reason for dismissing those Christians who argue the same way. That, and not her (un-)importance is why I am spending so much time on this particular crank occultist.

More after the cats (and I) have breakfast.

Anonymous said...


Perhap we could understand the point you were trying to make with your references... if your references backed up the point you are trying to make! And no, I haven't confirmed - yet - the fact that you hate jews, but I'm working on it.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

First to Anonymous the latest: Please, Please, PLEASE keep working on it. I need a good laugh, and this will be sure to be one of the more hilarious posts ever made here. (You can find my websites from my profile, other posts of mine have appeared on AARDVARCHAEOLOGY, and I have been a frequent commenter on DISPATCHES FROM THE CULTURE WARS, RESPECTFUL INNOCENCE, and THE CARPETBAGGER REPORT. It is a shame that I can't direct you to my neighbors, including a Hasidic rabbi, or my wife's family and our best friend who are (secular) Jews and who have been known to ask me to explain to them what some of the obscure Jewish holidays mean, but I respect their privacy. You also could check out many of my posts here.)

I am, btw, curious as to why you even bring this up, since we are discussing an Irish-named Congregationalist Protestant who became a pantheist who uses an Indian penname.

Back to the Anon of 5:18 and her discussion of 'space aliens,' she is a very slippery writer, frequently saying one thing, then some paragrphs later hedging it so if challenged she can duck the plain implications of her first statement. Every so often though, she makes statements like this:
"In addition, it is very wise to keep in mind that, while it appears the various world's governments are covering up the UFO/alien phenomenon, it is also clear that someone in "the government" is using the phenomenon to manipulate the masses in some bizarre and ungainly manner. Within this mind control operation are "UFO cults," such as URANTIA and others that espouse mystical mumbo-jumbo." Calling Agent Mulder...

More later, and hopefully I can make some headway on her "Christ conspiracy" and "Astrotheology" mumbo jumbo.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jim -

Have you checked out Acharya's Memoriam to her deceased mother?

OMIGOD - it's full of mysticism! Let's stamp it out, quick!!!

Frankly, Jim, if you represent atheism/skepticism, I want no part of it.

Oyyyy said...

Internet...serious business! Talk about barking up the wrong tree, prup. Your fine tuned reactionary attitude has got you on a wild goose chase to "expose Acharya, the mystic." It is hopeless my friend. Whatever fear and aggression you need to release go do it somewhere that it can be productive like a real Christian blog. You are pursuing your own fantasy, trying to make it real, and people have been trying to show that that it's an illusion, a false pretense, but you refuse to listen and continue to growl and foam at the mouth(thats a metaphor not "mystic" dribble). You can have your opinions but please discontinue this worthless critique of someone you hardly known anything about. No one is hearing you, man, just let go.

Infidelis Maximus said...

Since I guess I started this whole fracas, I thought I should drop by and respond to some of the nonsense. I have all I can do to keep up with my own blog and don’t frequent this one as much as I’d like, so I probably won’t return to respond to any other baloney you toss out.

First, some of these comments are too damned long. You people need to get lives or editors or both. Seriously. And get a spellchecker while you’re at it. If you’re going to take an hour to type up a lengthy diatribe, at least make sure you spell the nonsense correctly.

Second, as I mentioned in the interview, I only recently became acquainted with Acharya’s work. I find much of it interesting and valuable, particularly vis-à-vis astrotheology. Few have done as much research on this subject as she has.

But regardless of how I might feel about her work, it irks me to see so many hateful and unfounded attacks, especially those of a personal nature. Many of these are either flat out lies or based on specious reasoning or both.

On Hitler’s supposed Jewish roots and Acharya’s supposed anti-Semitism:

Acharya never claims this is a fact, but presents it as something that’s “alleged.” It’s not material to her argument that he was a self-proclaimed Catholic, and she doesn’t spend any time on it. Richard Dawkins makes the same claim (that Hitler was Catholic) in The God Delusion, and Acharya is right to touch on it.

As others point out, even Cecil Adams (who is not a single person, but a whole team of people), says the question of Hitler’s supposed Jewish roots is still open.

Acharya’s books are not any more anti-Semitic than they are anti-Christian or anti-Islamic. She debunks everyone equally. If you’ve got evidence to the contrary, let’s see it. Cite book and page, please.

On Acharya’s mention of Stalin and the priesthood:

That Stalin began life as a Christian is an entirely valid point to raise in a book debunking Christianity and the presumed moral superiority of Christianity. Richard Dawkins makes the same point, at some length, in The God Delusion.

On Acharya’s use of outdated/questionable sources:

Those of you saying this follow a familiar pattern: you tend to generalize. Let’s see some specific examples, please. Are any of you making these claims even well-versed enough to know—for yourself—what is and is not an “outdated” source? What exactly makes a source “outdated?” Do you even know? Can you speak to that like the scholar you imply that you are by such remarks? I rather doubt it.

Regarding credentials:

First, I haven’t seen Acharya “exaggerate” (it’s one “t,” McDowell) her academic credentials. If you have an example, let’s see it. This appears to be yet another generalization designed to do nothing but attack her personally.

Don’t you think that she could go get herself a doctorate from a degree mill if she actually wanted to exaggerate her academic credentials? Has that never occurred to you?

Second, there’s way too much being made of this whole question of credentials to begin with. Yes, they’re important, but they’re just one indicator of the reliability of an author, and not even a very good one. There are thousands of evangelicals holding advanced degrees in theology, ancient Christian history, New Testament, etc., and you think nothing of challenging their most core beliefs, their credentials notwithstanding. Some of them, like Kurt Wise, even have degrees from reputable institutions, yet we think nothing of telling them they’re full of it. People that are even widely-respected in the scientific community such as Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and William Shockley, a Nobel Prize winner, hold or held beliefs we have no trouble finding absurd. Their credentials don’t mean much because we think the beliefs they espouse are fundamentally wrong regardless.

If one were so inclined, one could criticize the credentials of many of the most popular debunkers of Christianity. Sure, Bob Price has two doctorates, but where does he teach? Where has he ever taught? Has he ever held a faculty position at a mainstream school or seminary? Neither Sam Harris nor Richard Carrier has a doctorate of any kind. And, as far as I know, Brian Flemming, director of The God Who Wasn’t There, doesn’t even have a degree, let alone one in a relevant field. So what? Does that make their work less valuable?

Bottom line: a person could have no credentials at all and still be right. A person could have multiple doctorates from reputable institutions and still be wrong. You should be focusing on their ideas, not their background. Credentials are relevant, but they play a minor role in determining one’s veracity.

On her books being a waste of time even to read:

Most of you have read and continue to read the Bible, if for no other reason than to debunk it. Saying a book doesn’t even deserve to be read is such a gross generalization that it demands supporting evidence. Again, you offer very little, most of it amounting to cherry picking and taking her remarks out of context.

On Robert M. Price’s change of heart:

Who cares? Can’t you form your own opinions about her work without relying on what someone else says? She’s only got three books, and they’re not that long. Read at least one of them before dismissing her whole body of work, for crying out loud. What does casting aspersions about the nature of Price’s change of heart say about you? You claim to care about truth—where’s your concern for it when you make such an accusation without a shred of evidence? You besmirch Price, Acharya, and yourself with such garbage.

On Acharya not being able to handle the criticisms leveled here or allegedly losing her composure:

The attacks here are almost entirely personal in nature, perhaps even libelous, and she has every right in the world to be upset. Implying that, for example, she bribed Bob Price to get him to take down his bad review of one of her books is about as insulting as it gets. I’m surprised one of you hasn’t speculated that she might have accomplished her ends via sexual favors. I’m sure that’s next. If someone said anything remotely similar about your life’s work, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be very nice about it.

On Princess Diana: Acharya doesn’t claim to believe Di actually performed miracles; she only says that others have made that claim. What the hell is wrong with that? Her entire article on Princess Di is an interesting read when you think about how other historical personages might have been similarly venerated.

On Atlantis: so what if she wants to investigate this and write about it occasionally? People used to think there was no Troy. Now we know there was. Who’s to say we won’t one day discover that there actually was an Atlantis. There’s nothing wrong with having an interest in it. She doesn’t bring anything about Atlantis to bear on the Christ myth, so why dismiss her work on the subject without reading it?

On sky people: what’s wrong with saying ancient people believed in extra-terrestrial visitors? Is that so hard to grasp? Does that mean Acharya believes in them herself? When Carl Sagan released Contact, did you take it to mean he actually believed we were being visiting by beings from other worlds?

On mysticism: what, a person can’t be a serious scholar if they think there may be something mysterious or mystical about the world? Better get rid of those Bob Price book, then—he still claims to be a Christian of sorts. This is, again, a personal attack that has nothing to do with the facts. If you believe her entertainment of mystical concepts has somehow compromised the integrity of her work, let’s see some examples.

One of you asked why we shouldn’t reject her words right along with those of the Christians who know Jesus lives within them. This is so brain-dead obvious, I shouldn’t have to point it out, but I guess I do: the difference is that the Christian asks you to accept claims about historical events based on their mystical experiences; Acharya does not. If she were saying that, because she considers herself a homo novus, you should just take her word on ancient Christian history, she’d have a problem. That’s what Christians do. She, by contrast, offers you reams of evidence, and merely insists on the right to personally retain some concept of the mystical despite agreeing with you that there’s virtually no truth to the Jesus story.

On the claim that other scholars don’t reference Acharya’s work:

They don’t reference lots of people’s work. You know that, right? Let’s take Ehrman, for example, whom you mention. I can’t recall him referencing many of the other debunkers of Christianity with whom you’d be familiar, either. I don’t think he references Dr. Price, for example. I don’t remember him ever mentioning Sam Harris or Richard Carrier. Does that call these guys’ work into question? As a rule, true scholars cite mostly primary sources, which precludes merely quoting other scholars.

This is another gross generalization based on specious reasoning. And it’s an indirect appeal to authority, which, as a debunker of Christianity, you ought to know better than to mess with.

Also, one of you claimed that Ehrman et al never claim there was no historical Jesus. Not so. Ehrman himself makes this very claim more than once.

I haven’t read every word Acharya has ever written, but I’ll bet most of her detractors haven’t either. What I’m speaking against here is this rabid character assassination. You ought to be focusing on her claims, not her character. If you think she’s wrong about most religions deriving from sun worship, let’s hear why. Don't cavil her to death; focus on the gist of what she's saying. If you think this or that claim she makes is false, explain it. If she cited a bad source, point it out. All you’re doing here is slinging around accusations like so much mud and getting everyone in the forum dirty in the process.

The ironic thing about all this is that some of the worst vitriol is from people on the same side of the Christ question as Acharya. You people need to pick your battles better and realize that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. There's room for a wide variety of unbelievers in the unbelief camp. We ought to train our debunking sights on the bigger targets and the ones doing the most damage in the world: evangelical Christianity, Islamic extremism, etc. When the people in the unbelief camp fight amongst themselves, they only hurt the cause and provide lots of free ammo to the other side. And lest you think I'm being melodramatic in likening the fight with religionists to a war, let me assure you: it is a war, and they are winning.

Anonymous said...

It would seem Mr. Benton chooses to continue to tie a millstone around any reputable standards for illuminating discourse on this blog, with the cheesy tactic of the "patronizing attribution" ploy in reference to Charles Guignebert. I am sure I am not the only one here who can out-condescend Mr. Benton. Allow me to recommend Albert Schweitzer's THE QUEST FOR THE HISTORICAL JESUS. I contend especially the last chapter would be valuable reading for everyone here, most assuredly for the "listed" contributors of the the "Debunking Christianity" blog. You have my every assurance that this thorough study was also first published prior to the discoveries at Nag Hammadi and the Dead Sea.

tom said...

Despite the author's promise not to read replies, I'll comment anyway, since at least some of the language Infidelus Maximus replies to is taken from my posts.

I'll first say that I agree with many of his criticisms of posts on this thread, but when I see my own posts misunderstood, I feel it warrants clarification.
There are two points I've made that Infidelus addresses:

1. Regarding Robert Price:
"Who cares? Can’t you form your own opinions about her work without relying on what someone else says? She’s only got three books, and they’re not that long. Read at least one of them before dismissing her whole body of work, for crying out loud. What does casting aspersions about the nature of Price’s change of heart say about you? You claim to care about truth—where’s your concern for it when you make such an accusation without a shred of evidence? You besmirch Price, Acharya, and yourself with such garbage."

I understand that Infidelus was trying to reply to a group of posts here en masse, so I should be charitable with my reading of his comments. Still, some distinctions are in order. I did ask for details on Bob Price's change of heart, but I never implied that these details ought to consist in something other than substantive reasons that are intellectual or scholarly in nature. In fact, I explicitly criticized that suggestion, I said that further details would be "instructive", and in reply to Acharya, I reiterated the point:
"I take this to be a substantive question apart from banal and petty concerns about hurt feelings and past transgressions"
How much clearer could I make this? I don't give a damn about drama and personal conflicts, I simply think it would be helpful if the author of a scathing review would make his prior criticisms (regarding historical error or use of scholarship) available, with an addendum explaining how his position has changed intellectually. In any other field, in any academic environment, my point would be platitudinous. Yet here, my words have been taken, twice now (once by Acharya and now by Infidelus) to be leaden with innuendo and implication.

I can only say that it's not my mind that is in the gutter.
Again: charity is in order, as Infidelus was replying to some individuals who were making nasty implications. But as his reply lumped my own comments in with these trolls (who, for the record, really ought to just be ignored) an objection is appropriate.

Which leads us to this question of his:

"Can’t you form your own opinions about her work without relying on what someone else says?"

Admittedly, an honest answer would include a partial(and heavily qualified) "no". I have read some of Acharya's work, and have formed my own opinions on it that are not relevant - whether positive or negative - to this discussion. Yet I can claim very little expertise in the subjects that concern Dr. Price and Acharya S. If you can acknowledge that reviews in academic journals are interesting, you should have no problem with my claim that having access to "what someone else says" would be instructive. Further, if you can acknowledge that a formal debate can help a novice understand the essential and distinctive aspects of someone's position in less time than it takes to read the appropriate exigetical works, you should have no problem with my interest in Dr. Price's own disagreements with his prior self.

2. On Acharya's angry response:

"The attacks here are almost entirely personal in nature, perhaps even libelous, and she has every right in the world to be upset. Implying that, for example, she bribed Bob Price to get him to take down his bad review of one of her books is about as insulting as it gets."

Right, I criticized that comment as well. My remark about Acharya losing her temper is partially a result of her referencing my own post and lumping it in with others that attack her personally. She made silly generalizations and unjustly attacked this blog as a whole- and specifically got angry at a comment of mine - because of some trolling idiot making insidious comments. Such disregard for simple distinctions (i.e. between an honest question and a personal attack) comes just before explaining that she understands the need to have thick skin. If she wants to be regarded as a scholar, she should handle herself as one: she is of course entitled to get as pissed as she wants at the individual posters, but when she handles herself in this way, and throws composure out the window while attacking everyone and everything in sight, I think I am entitled to a bit of defense without being called ungracious.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Two quick comments -- as usual, this is a busy day. I wish Anonymous the Benton-hater would actually refute some of my points. (He could also write John with his complaints about me -- of course he couldn't do that anonymously.)

Secondly, why I bother to continue with this. You can't debunk with bunk. You can't say to Christians 'your God is a myth, he doesn't exist, but I have another false god (or Goddess) you might like better.' You can't say 'that thing about resurrection didn't happen, but here are some miracles, some astrology, some nice conspiracies that are just as untrue, why don't you accept them?'

You can't say 'you are wrong in thinking that jesus said what Paul claimed he did, and I can prove it from your own Bible' if you are going to say that, despite the evidence -- and I'll give more arguments from Guignebert later because they strike me as conclusive -- Jesus didn't exist anyway and the whole thing was a Roman myth. (Ignoring by the way the strong evidence that Christianity had existed long before Acharya thinks it did.)

In private e-mail a member of this blog said "why attack Acharya, she's on 'our side'?" But she isn't. Our side, if it is anything, is the side of truth, of facts, of evidence. If there were new evidence discovered tomorrow that Christianity were true, I'd have to join it. But it isn't. And once again,


Anonymous said...

"In private e-mail a member of this blog said 'why attack Acharya, she's on 'our side'?' But she isn't. Our side, if it is anything, is the side of truth, of facts, of evidence."

What an arrogant load of garbage.

Anonymous said...

Prup (aka Jim Benton),

"about reading Acharya's books, it is true I haven't."

- Yes, I know and it's blatantly obvious.

"certainly her books would be kept among the massive collection of the Brooklyn Public Library. Only they aren't."

- Just another snide remark. You could actually request them and the library would get them. It's that easy. Besides, many other libraries do have them and you COULD get them very easily as well. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK THE LIBRARY. It's clear that there's absolutely NO EFFORT ON YOUR PART WHATSOEVER. WOULD YOU LIKE FOR SOMEONE TO READ IT FOR YOU AS WELL??? (If you're such a bibliophile as you purport to be here you should know what an inner library loan is...but you don't)

By the way, I counted at least 60 libraries in the U.S. that have her books, including major universities and cities. Once again, you're ignorant, yet you attack Acharya.

Question for you...ARE YOU in any of these libraries that you boast on about?

"if she were willing to send me copies"

- LOL, OMG!!! You launch vicious attacks, make a constant stream of snide remarks, purposely make false statements, refuse to put forth any effort to get her books from a library to read and NOW you want her to send you free books? Why? So you can do more of the same? Yet, you seem to have no problem launching attacks on work you admit you've never studied.

Point is, now you've dug such a hole for yourself with your vicious attacks against Acharya & her work (that you admit you've never read) WHY would any one trust that you have the integrity of a real man to change your position. You have demonstrated absolutely no integrity thus far. Skepticism is always welcome but irrational skepticism, disrespect and vicious attacks based in ignorance serve only to demonstrate your own lack of character.

Your opinion Jim Benton sir, carries with it absolutely no credibility.

Princess Diana...

poetic expressions of mourning are not allowed in your skeptical fascistic world?

"her use of dubious sources"

- Name them and explain why they're dubious - meanwhile, keep in mind that you've already admitted you've never read her work.

"her acceptance of miracles and the paranormal and supernatural differs in no way from the type of reasoning some of the more thoughtless Christians "

- Name them and explain why they're dubious - meanwhile, keep in mind that you've already admitted you've never read her work. You clearly have no clue what you're talking about.

Here's the "Suns of God" bibliography citing over 250 books and articles. Many from conservative and respected sources.
It also doesn't appear that you have found Acharya's articles debunking Christianity.

Jim Benton, your brand of skeptofascism is no improvement over the religious fanatics you despise. Your "points" are mindless drivel based in arrogance & ignorance. I see no credibility or integrity in your character whatsoever. Nor do I see any reason for anyone to listen to a single word you utter. Again, you're an embarrassment to ALL atheists.

FYI, I see that the Christ Conspiracy has been on Amazon for 8 years, has over 250 reviews and rates FOUR STARS.

Her book Suns of God has a FOUR AND A HALF STAR rating.

I'm sure you've done better somewhere, Jealous Jim. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate Mr. Benton's busy life. I can commiserate. I have many responsibilities that prevents me from participation in written discourse of dubious distinction.

After several posts, Mr. Benton persists in his failure to address the contents of Acharya S (Ms. Murdock's) 3 publications and account for his aspersions on her sources. All this, after how many posts now? It should be clear to all concerned that he has already "reached for the rope" and "hung himself out to dry" where critical analysis is concerned. So much so that I think I could find many readers to concur with me.

How long is this thread? After all these posts there has been little or no critical evaluation of the contents -- the contents folks of the author's 3 publications that are intensely pertinent to the express topic of this blog, debunking Christianity. Does anyone here think this qualifies as a rational exchange on the subject?

It I were the founder here, I would be embarrassed.

Mr. Benton wields censorious allegations as if he were swinging a meat cleaver about anything except the contents of the author's publications, because he will not acknowledge that he has read any. I understand about time constraints and reading. He has not read the works of the other listed contributors, but I would daresay that he has never critiqued anything they have read with caustic derision before undertaking to do so. Nor would I, because it would be uncommonly uncivil to do so. But Mr. Benton opts to do so with someone whose scholarship has been introduced here quite innocently and someone who clearly did not intend to behave uncivilly towards him or anyone else.

It is not only mean, it is irrational. Mr. Benton and others here reveal a Queen of Hearts mindset. To persistently avoid the contents of the author's publications and first critique her "ad nauseum" based on other off-topic compositions in the public domain is irrational and reveals a very conspicuous failure in critical analysis. Let us be clear on this folks, this is utterly irrational conduct and reminiscent of the looney pastimes of characters out of absurdist tomes of literature such as one might find in Eugene Ionesco or Lewis Carroll. Some other poster was "dead on" about Mr. Benton's challenged abilities in reading comprehension with regard to this author's off-topic musings, but I will address that impairment in another post.

Not only does Mr. Benton choose to be uncivil and irrational toward the author and the three focal publications in question on this thread, he chooses to bloviate about it.

Mr. Benton and others here need to be instructed on a matter of competent discourse. When one engages in censorious and caustic attacks on someone else without first familiarizing yourself with the content of exposition in question, that constitutes slander. . . . OK??!! Got it!!??

When one engages in censorious and caustic attacks on someone else without first familiarizing yourself with the content of exposition in question, that constitutes liable. . . . OK??!! Got it??!!

***He does not know what is bunk and what is not, because he has not read the written material in question.****

***He does not know what is bunk and what is not, because he has not read the written material in question.****

After all this slander, he should not be countenanced with the opportunity for any further critique. In matters of civil discourse, he has already forfeited that right. His temperament and disposition are revealed as such that he cannot be counted on to offer anymore competent critical analysis.

The very individual who engages in these kinds of unsupportable gutter calumnies then has the unmitigated temerity to characterize me as a "hater". As referencing the old expression about the black pot and kettle, it should be abundantly apparent that we have an enormous pot here, ladies and gentlemen.

Do you people here really believe that you are making sound and judicious contributions to the continued objective analysis and evaluation of Christianity, either historically or contemporaneously?
I will deal with that question in a future post.

Anonymous said...

"If she wants to be regarded as a scholar, she should handle herself as one: she is of course entitled to get as pissed as she wants at the individual posters, but when she handles herself in this way, and throws composure out the window while attacking everyone and everything in sight, I think I am entitled to a bit of defense without being called ungracious."

"PISSED?" You used the word "pissed?!" Goodness, how unprofessional, uncomposed and unscholarly! Better debunk your entire body of work! Give me a break - the woman's been viciously attacked, and she defends herself strongly. I guess she should just lie down and take it like a good little woman.

Lord Farquart said...

History Channel's got a show called "Vampire Secrets." The narrator describes an old account of a "demon lover" who evaporated before the eyes of two stunned doctors, who later signed accounts of the story. At the end of this segment, the narrator says, "True or not..."

Well, I guess that means the narrator believes the story! And that History Channel should be dismissed for believing in the supernatural! I suppose we should never watch that channel again, regardless of the subject matter.

Such is the sophistry I see here.

tom said...

"Goodness, how unprofessional, uncomposed and unscholarly! Better debunk your entire body of work! "

The analogy you attempt fails for several reasons, the most important of which is that I haven't tried to debunk any of Acharya S's work. The charge is ironic, since the chief complaint of my last two posts is that my comments have been criticized only by being grouped in with, and confused with, those of other posters here. Do try harder if you're going to heckle.

"I guess she should just lie down and take it like a good little woman."

That's pretty sexist. Which is why I'd never say or imply such a thing.
You should be ashamed for making such a chauvinist remark, and for expressing your rape fantasies on someone else's blog.

Stauffenberg said...

Just a couple of points, to give examples of Acharya's lack of integrity.

In this very thread, regarding the Hitler Jewish ancestry issue, she says that although in her own book she mentions Hitler's allegedly Jewish grandmother, that was a TYPO!


What she really meant was that it was his grandfather.


This is tripe, and bunk, and the only purpose of bringing up some historically disreputable remark about someone's alleged JEWISH ancestry is to smear JEWS.

And she calls herself the "ranking religous philospher of our time".

WHO has thus ranked her? This is a blatant example of exagerating her credentials AND a lack of integrity.

BIGOTED BUNK won't win culture wars.

John W. Loftus said...

I was gone yesterday and look what has been said! I'm leaving and will be gone today too. Just a few comments. I was the one who emailed Prup telling him Acharya is on our side. He seems to regularly disagree with me on my own blog, and while he has the freedom of speech he always has the freedom to take it elsewhere. It also appears to me that Acharya is posting anonymously to defend herself. I can understand the need to defend oneself, but please, if it's you, own up to it. Also, it does seem that people are criticizing Acharya without fully understanding her views. If you want to criticize a recognized scholar then you had better know what you're talking about. Also, I've seen people have the same problem with Richard Carrier, while and I myself had a dispute with David Mills over claiming that you are more important than you really are. Carrier said something to the effect that he was a modern day Aristotle, while the back cover to Mill's Atheist Universe says it "rebuts every argument that claims to 'prove' God's existence." It does not. When these types of claims are made, people will attack you. If Acharya said she is the most important philosopher of religion in today's world (or something to that effect), she has invited such attacks, for all of these three claims are false. In any case, read what she has written, stop the personal attacks, and praise her for what she has done on behalf of debunking Christianity. I consider her a friend. I consider her as a human being with feelings who dislikes being misunderstood. She is a freethinker. She is not bound by the contraints of dogma or an inspired book. I expect people here to treat her with more respect, even if you disagree with her on other issues. She has attached one of her books in an email to me and I intend to read it sometime to see for myself. As one myself who is misuderstood and attacked on a daily basis on the web, I sympathize with her. Get the facts. And as one who changes his mind as he understands more, she probably has too. To hold her to everything she has ever said when she might have changed her mind about some things in light of new information, is not treating her fairly.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

First, thank you for pointing out one thing I was relatively sure of, and that was that at least some of the "Anonymous" letters were from the lady herself.

You continue to refer to her as a 'recognized scholar.' Recognized by who? As I pointed out, I checked the Questia archives, which includes the archives of many scholarly journals as well as 1,500,000 books -- and there is no mention of her. I Googled her, and found no scholarly articles quoting her.

(Of course there is that reference to her as the 'ranking religious philosopher' which is unattributed. One writer states it was previously attributed and to whom, but I'm waiting for him to respond with proof of his statement before I mention this.)

Her main source seems to be Kersey Graves. I can only quote the introduction to his work on Internet Infidels, hardly Christian apologists:
"Note: the scholarship of Kersey Graves has been questioned by numerous theists and nontheists alike; the inclusion of his The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors in the Secular Web's Historical Library does not constitute endorsement by Internet Infidels, Inc. This document was included for historical purposes; readers should be extremely cautious in trusting anything in this book." (The 'anything' in the original was underlined, but I used italics because our comment section does not allow them.)

I also suggest that our readers check out Richard Carrier's comments on him. The whole article is at
but these two quotes are typical:
"Most scholars immediately recognize many of his findings as unsupported and dismiss Graves as useless. After all, a scholar who rarely cites a source isn't useful to have as a reference even if he is right."


"All this is not to say Graves didn't have some things right. But you will never be able to tell what he has right from what he has wrong without totally redoing all his research and beyond, which makes him utterly useless to historians as a source."

As for my 'holding her to everything she has ever said' I believe my quotes from her were, and continue to be, typical of her thinking as displayed on her web site.

I also point out that she has described herself as
"Rev. Acharya S
Founder, International Church of Astrotheology" -- though she does not use this on her website.

(Again, I see no reason to substitute one church for another -- or any reason why a Christian would choose to.)

Again I point out that none of the anonymouses seem to be refuting my claims of her occultism, the resemblance of her ideas to theosophism, and to the farther ranges of Christianity, my pointing out of her acceptance of catastrophism (we laugh at YECs for their belief in Noah's Flood, because there is no evidence of it, but there is an equal lack of evidence for this type of catstrophism), her frequent use of astrological terms such as "Age of Leo" "Age of Taurus" etc. -- though she hedges on astrology as she does on many topics.

If there is any merit in her theses, I look forward to seeing it. I too have been known to change my mind, but I, so far, have seen no reason to do so.

And one minor comment to Lord Farquart. The History Channel is not a scholarly source, and it frequently runs holiday documentaries on vampires and Santa Claus and the like, in which they are aiming at entertainment.

If any scholar suggested a personal belief in vampires or a doubt in their nonexistence, I have no doubt he would lose his reputation for scholarship. (Which is not to say they don't make great fictional characters. I love both BUFFY and BLOOD TIES.)

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

The e-mail address for the source I mentioned for her 'ranking' quote seems to be inactive, so, until I am able to find evidence supporting his statement, I will withdraw my mention of it. (If anyone knows how to check archives of older web pages and can see a version of Acharya's site dating to early 2006, can you see if the quote is there and attributed?)

Neophyte said...

First, my apologies are in order. I was an individual who posted anonymously in strident defense of Acharya's scholarship. My reason was clear to myself. I did not choose to offer an identity when, by the time I started participating, this forum seemed to be a den of vitriol, unwarranted incivility and assaults on others personal dignity. I further apologize for contributing to a cycle of rancorous and derisive exchanges. But when someone or some people respond with harangues of inhospitality from a good-faith introduction, I devoutly affirm they should be prepared for an inundation of intensely negative feedback. In the interests fo fair play, I would do it again.

Thank you Mr. Loftus for your gracious and fair-minded intervention. For the last several months I have regarded myself as an admirer of yours and your book is near the top of my reading list which I look forward to availing with great anticipation. Acharya knows me as Neophyte on her forums. I would like to think my curiosity about a wide range of human pursuits will limit my life's experience to being a neophyte in any specialty, even if I were to live to be a centenarian. On other forums, I use the handles 12/25 Truth or Horrified Heartlander.

Your observations about other authors intrigue me. I have just recently completed study of David Mills' book (a neighbor of mine on the I-64 corridor). While I agree that he fails to rebut "every argument that claims to prove God's existence" with every 'i' dotted and 't' crossed, I believe he shapes the argument on behalf of deity manifestly more difficult from a remarkably brief and
succinct overview of the cosmological problem.

Your allegation about Richard Carrier's immodest self -acclamation is fascinating. I have found his essays and blog entries to be uneven -- sometimes nearly brilliant and others somehow incomplete. I rather think the reference to Aristotle is from a laudatory account from another party, about him.

I know this to be the case with Acharya and the source of the abstract that regales her talents on philosophy of religion. She is more a historian and an anthropologist with an acheological specialty. Some years ago, she singlehandedly revived another specialty in scholarship that had quite suddenly chilled in the 20s due to skittishness from publishing
firms about any content that ran contrary to Christian orthodoxy. Astrotheology had been a frequent topic of study in global mythologies and Acharya has courageously excavated a once hidden and obscured scholarship for our available scrutiny. I encounter ever-increasing tenets in more popular venues such as the History Channel. You are right. She makes important and profound contributions to debunking Christianity. She and I have diverged on one point or another over time. A confident atheist who nonetheless occasionally studies traditional esoterics, I do not share her inclination toward personal mysticism. Nonetheless, she appreciates my endeared admiration.

Neophyte said...

At last, it would seem there is no end to Mr. Benton's caustic verbal assassinations or utterly illogical allegations, innuendos, and insinuations.

He does not know if Acharya's main source in her work is Kersey Graves. Certainly most here would agree, to put it charitably, he pulls that one out of his a**. As to be expected, he low roads in biased vituperation. He would shock
all the regular contributors if he were to research the matter evenhandedly.

No doubt he swoons to insult the intelligence of everyone here when he arrogates insistence that others refute HIS claims for her "occultism", "theosophism", "catastrophism", "astrology", and many other "isms" of his unamicable imagination I am sure. HIS claims are his allegations about her, for which the logical burden falls on HIM to corroborate with details and facts. Foisting that responsibility on his detractors is a low brow and cheesy cop out. Has anyone ever seen one verifiable detail that he has yet to offer that supports his claims about Acharya's alleged advocacy? I can attest that he never would if he were to, at long last, read the 3 publications in question.

I am not a behavioral science professional, but nonetheless I am fascinated with Mr. Benton as a case study. I call your attention to his almost paranoid accounts of the author's reference to astrological "Ages". (Oh how that must make fundamentalist Christians grovel and cringe with approbation.) In the narcissisticly authoritarian world-view of a dogmatic apologist or someone otherwise bent on doctrinaire ideology, Mr. Benton could never conceive that the now known-to-be unscientific process of astrology and its respective "Ages" could be a topic of objective historical inquiry. His calcified brain with its trap door rigidified mental acumen could never wrap itself around such an unsettling "heresy".

John W. Loftus said...

Acharya S informed me she has not posted here anonymously, and I apologize for saying she might have done so, although that's all I suggested.

Anonymous said...

Jim Benton: "Anonymous letters were from the lady herself."

- I've posted anonymously myself a few times now. At 5:12 PM, June 08 and 5:18 PM, June 08, and more - and I NOT Acharya.

"Her main source seems to be Kersey Graves"

- Nope, this is completely false and how would you know? Like myself and others have pointed've already admitted that you've never read books by Acharya. It leads one to think you're only here to spread vicious lies & rumors. You've probably never read any of Graves work either - well I have...

Here's a quote in 'The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours' by Kersey Graves 1875 book...

"The author has in his possession historical quotations to prove the truth of each one of the above parallels. He has all the historical facts on which they were constructed found in and drawn from the sacred books of the Hindoo religion and the works of Christian writers descriptive of their religion. But they would swell the present volume to unwieldy dimensions, and far beyond its proper and prescribed limits, to present them here; they are therefore reserved for the second volume, and may be published in pamphlet form also."
~ Kersey Graves

Sadly, Kersey Graves passed away before a 2nd volume was finished.

Acharya mentions him only 7 times in "Christ Conspiracy". What part of the question about Kersey Graves in the interview with I.M. did you not understand?...

IM: "You wrote the foreword to the recent reprint of Kersey Graves' The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors. What do you say to critics who claim Graves was a dishonest hack?"

Acharya "I can assure you that I have not discovered one individual in modern times who has looked into the issues surrounding Kersey Graves as much as I have. When the subject is studied IN DEPTH, it becomes apparent that Kersey Graves made nothing up, as he has been charged, but was working with preceding scholarship. Whether or not that scholarship is accurate becomes the issue then, not whether or not Kersey Graves "fabricated" anything. I have examined many aspects of his work and have not found one instance of "fabrication." More careful citation on Graves's part would have prevented many of these aspersions from being cast upon him."

Here, Richard Carrier agrees with Kersey Graves ...

"...consider his [Kersey Graves] emphasis on the December 25 birth date as a common feature. This is one of the things he [Kersey Graves] gets right, at least regarding Greco-Roman religion: all gods associated with the sun shared the sun's 'birthday,' erroneously identified as December 25..."

Richard Carrier hasn't actually researched Kersey Graves to the degree Acharya has. The article Neophyte mentioned demonstrates one solid example
Beddru is Beddou is Buddha

Acharya's "Suns of God" uses Graves only in order to discuss the fracas surrounding his credibility. She does NOT rely on Graves at ALL in SOG. But, you wouldn't know that, Benton, because you haven't even read her books, which you've been telling lies about.

Jim Benton, you are without a doubt, an embarrassment to all atheists everywhere. It's because of people like you that folks hate atheists.

Acharya has done more to debunk religion than just about anybody, and all you only have to offer are vicious personal attacks, snide remarks and lies. Myself and others have addressed you several times throughout this thread correcting your false assumptions and you still continue with the same vicious personal attacks, snide remarks and lies. You admit you've never read her books - you clearly owe Acharya an apology.

Again, Jim Benton, your brand of skeptofascism is no improvement over the religious fanatics you despise. Your "points" are mindless drivel based in arrogance & ignorance. I see no credibility or integrity in your character whatsoever. Nor do I see any reason for anyone to listen to a single word you utter. Again, you're an embarrassment to ALL atheists.

Again, "Christ Conspiracy" has been on Amazon for 8 years, has over 250 reviews and rates FOUR STARS. Her book "Suns of God" has a FOUR AND A HALF STAR rating.

What have you done Jim Benton?

"The very learned Acharya S has spoken again. In a sequel to her wide-ranging The Christ Conspiracy, she has redoubled her efforts to show the solar - that is, the astro-theological - basis of all religions and mythologies, and to demonstrate that the great savior figures of the world's religions are late historicizations of the sacred sun myths... I regard Acharya... as a colleague and fellow-laborer in the field of Christ-Myth scholarship."
~ Dr. Robert M. Price

"Acharya S has done a superb job in bringing together this rich panoply of ancient world mythology and culture, and presenting it in a comprehensive and compelling fashion."
~ Earl Doherty

"Acharya S deserves to be recognized as a leading researcher and an expert in the field of comparative mythology, on a par with James Frazer or Robert Graves--indeed, superior to those forerunners in the frankness of her conclusions and the volume of her evidence."
~ Barbara Walker

"In Suns of God, Acharya S has given us a deeply researched background of and explanation for the religions that dominate the world and that have dominated human thinking for thousands of years. I found it, not only illuminating, but uplifting. It gave me cause for hope that widespread knowledge of what religions have in common will cause humankind to pause and think twice when the next set of extremists calls for a holy war."
~ David Bergland, Libertarianism in One Lesson, 1984 Libertarian Presidential Candidate

And then there are all the great reviews of Who Was Jesus?...

22 said...

I want to say one more thing, This blog is a perfect example of the typical lies thrown Acharya's way by low lifes who haven't really studied her work. The interview with I.M. certainly did not warrant these vicious attacks at all. Some here probably never read the interview nor have the attackers studied her work beyond a few online articles which DO NOT contain ALL of the details - that is what the books are for. Duhh!!!

They pick bits & pieces to take them out of context or make up hideous lies and rumors. I've even witnessed elsewhere, on a number of occasions, losers taking quotes from Acharya's books & dishonestly CHANGING a word or two here or there to change the quote's meaning entirely. I have all of her books right here - so I know when people are not truthful. Her supporters see it all the time from ignorant, dishonest characters.

This is why those of us who HAVE actually studied her work defend her against those vicious lies and personal attacks very aggressively and will continue to do so. One person starts with nasty comments and then others feel compelled to do the same in a sort of pile on manner. Here in this blog, the attacks and lies continue even AFTER setting the record straight. Here Rational, respectful and sincere criticism is nonexistent in essentially FUNDAMENTALIST fashion. What an embarrassment for those who think of themselves as "FREETHINKERS" - as they are anything but.

Acharya's work goes far beyond just atheism alone. She goes far beyond just what Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and others like them have to offer. Acharya actually explains the mythological and astrotheological connections to the roots of religion worldwide and provides the evidence to back it up. Meanwhile, countless other "religious scholars" know nearly NOTHING about this. Bart Ehrman is just one example.

Again, these are not HER "theories" as those who've never read her work accuse. She is NOT the FIRST to write about Solar Mythology nor Astrotheology. What Acharya did was create the largest compilation of this history and the evidence for it. A legendary feat.

Plus, her humanitarian efforts of exposing religious crimes against humanity by using God and a holy text as a front to commit heinous crimes to other humans, animals and the environment.

Again, the issue here is to debunk Christianity *NOT* viciously attack Acharya - who has done more to debunk religion than just about anyone. I think that respect & appreciation is in order, along with an apology.

"In addition to presenting the troubling history of religious wars in an easily followed narrative, Acharya goes a step further, explaining as only she can how a once-simplistic idea has been carried into our modern world with terrible and nearly unimaginable results."
~ Dr. W. Sumner Davis, Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society; Member, American Geophysical Union; Affiliate, New York Academy of Science

See also the reviews of "Suns of God" on Amazon:

"Acharya S is a wonderful scholar who thoroughly ferrets out a picture of the truth behind the world's religions. To a large extent, this truth is the symbolic mythology of astro-theology, which predates all major existing religious belief systems. Acharya S provides extensive references and documentation of her contentions, exposing the lack of historicity for the personalities associated with major religions."
~ Jed Shlackman

"A siminal [sic] and salient work in the study of religious mythology.
Acharya is simply outstanding. This should be required reading for all Christians provided they use their rational mind to objectively evaluate the evidence."
~ K. Brown

Those here who are actually interested in the depth of Acharya's work can also see her online videos, as well as radio/podcast interviews.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I'm going to say something that is going to surprise some people. I have now read WHO WAS JESUS? And it is several orders of magnitude better than any previous writing I have seen from her. I still have many arguments with it -- I do not believe she has a feel for the milieu, particularly the Jewish milieu where the events took place. I still find her ideas that the Gospels were late creations to be absurd. And while -- as I have said many times -- I have no doubts whatsoever that there was a real Jesus, the Gospels were certainly a mythologized version of his life as a radical Jewish rabbi and failed eschatological prophet. (And Paul's interpretations of his life as simply totally unconnected with what he actually taught.)
Acharya does tend to misunderstand the use of prophecy in the books. Matthew, in particular, tried to rewrite the story so that what he saw as the prophecies were fulfilled, rather than -- as far as I can see -- inventing a person to fulfill them.

But many of her points ARE well made, and none of her 'astrotheology' or conspiracy theories have leaked into this book. It isn't a scholarly work, by any means, but it is aq respectable layman's effort for other laymen.

There are many better works, and many by authors that do not have the baggage she carries with her, but most of the criticisms I have made at her on-line work and her overarching theories certainly do not apply to this work.

She and her defenders may feel she is being 'damned with faint praise' here. Insytead, the praise is sincere, and far more than I thought I would ever find myself forced to tend to her.

John W. Loftus said...

I like her book too and wrote a recommendation for it that she now has posted here where I said: "I found your book Who Was Jesus? to be an excellent summary of the problems inherent within the four gospels themselves. You asked some tough questions of the gospels that I think cannot be satisfactorily answered by Christian apologists, upon deeper analysis. I could only wish uninformed Christians would read it and that it would cause them to study these issues further. For its size Who Was Jesus? packs a powerful punch."

She responded by saying: "I'm fervently working on the hard-copy edition, which will be over 100 pages long, in a pocketbook-type format, so it is easily transferred from hand to hand and transportable. Bob Price is waiting for it so he can write the foreword. It should be a doozy.

22 said...

Jim Benton " I have now read WHO WAS JESUS? And it is several orders of magnitude better than any previous writing I have seen from her."

- REALLY? Compared to what, you twit - you've already admitted that you've never read any other books of hers. So you read a 39 page e-book. I suppose you want a GOLD STAR for that, Jimmy boy. DID YOU EVEN PAY FOR IT?

Jim Benton "It isn't a scholarly work..." "There are many better works, and many by authors that do not have the baggage she carries with her"

- Where? Name them. You wouldn't know scholarly if bit you in the arse. And what "baggage" does she carry? As she deals with quotes right out of the bible. You don't like it, not good enough for you - then lets see you write your own book. Let us know when you're finished so we can critique it. I'm still not convinced that you even comprehended what you were reading.

Jim Benton "She and her defenders may feel she is being 'damned with faint praise' here. Insytead, the praise is sincere, and far more than I thought I would ever find myself forced to tend to her."

- It's difficult for you to praise her books when you've NEVER read them. You clearly didn't read any of the Christ Conspiracy articles I post for you above either.

Jim Benton "I do not believe she has a feel for the milieu..."

- Your review is a pretentious load of crap, making any attempt you can to one-up her work. Meanwhile, what have you done Jim Benton? Where are your books?

Jim Benton, the 'Atheist Inquisitor', is also clearly sexist in his witch hunts in his vicious attacks on Acharya without ever having read any of her books. He called Princess Diana a "twit". Dr. Robert Price enjoys HP Lovecraft style sci-fi, why doesn't this prick Benton, attack him for it? He's scum off the bottom of the barrel. I deplore you Loftus to get rid of this irrational, unreasonable, anything BUT Freethinking scab from your blog. He's embarrassing himself and bringing all other atheists and freethinkers down with him.

Again, Jim Benton, your brand of skeptofascism is no improvement over the religious fanatics you despise. Your "points" are mindless drivel based in arrogance & ignorance. I see no credibility or integrity in your character whatsoever. Nor do I see any reason for anyone to listen to a single word you utter. Again, you're an embarrassment to ALL atheists.

Again, "Christ Conspiracy" has been on Amazon for 8 years, has over 250 reviews and rates FOUR STARS. Her book "Suns of God" has a FOUR AND A HALF STAR rating. What have you done Jim Benton?

* John Loftus, please dump this knuckle head Jim Benton, if you want this blog to be taken seriously by anyone at all. He is an embarrassment to all atheists. He's totally dishonest, lacks character and has no integrity whatsoever. He has no morals - he is the type of person that gives theists reason to question where all atheists get there morals. He makes all atheists look bad. And WHY don't I see other Contributors and regulars addressing Jim Benton and his obvious lack of character here in this blog?

"A nicely compact and efficient mini-book demonstrating how little we can trust the Gospels to provide us with an historical picture of Christian beginnings, let alone a reliable biography of its reputed founder. "The clear contradictions between the Gospels, the wholesale changes and editorializing performed by later evangelists (each one following his own theology and interests) in reworking earlier ones, the pervasive use of the Old Testament to construct the Gospel story - all of it renders the foundations of Christianity a thing of smoke and quicksand.
"Together with her recent tour de force, Suns of God, Acharya S has joined the growing number of pallbearers to the Historical Jesus, providing a few more nails in the coffin."
~ Earl Doherty

"You are very clever to produce a concise text of what Christianity is today, and how we arrived at the finished product. The vast majority of Christians today have no clue what they have gotten themselves into. Most will be dumbstruck with what you have shown... This is very good, Acharya. I wish that I had a copy of this when I was in high school.... I hope you will be able to print a hard copy. I can see a market for a small book like this for people who have never ventured into an Internet forum. The vast majority of Christian pew warmers have no idea about 99% of the problems you point out, and it would be very nice for them to be able to carry this information on their person.
"I can just see a Bible Study class looking into this !!!"
~Loren Ball, NASA-Affiliated Astronomer editor, Christian Biblical Errancy Debate

"Here is wisdom. A sober, balanced and very readable introduction to the core issues of the historical Jesus debate. Ms. Murdock guides the reader through the gospel quartet, noting the areas that trouble the rational thinker, and should trouble anyone concerned to discover for truth rather than defend dogma. She efficiently outlines the difficulties of harmonizing the variant accounts of Jesus' ministry and shortcomings in the case for prophesy or extrabiblical testimony. A great primer that should be in every school library and on every intelligent Christian's bookshelf."
~ Ken Humphreys

John W. Loftus said...

The truth is, I'm a freethinker first, and an atheist second. I would like everyone to understand that about me. I consider both Prup and Acharya S freethinkers...both of them. I do agree with Prub and stand against mysticism. But I find his views to be a type of dogmatic "my way of the highway." He's way too dogmatic to me. I left church a long time ago, where they divided over things like the color of the carpet as well as other more important "insignificant" things. I'm against that kind of dogmatism. Still he thinks very well and I've learned from him. To kick him off this blog would be doing nothing more than doing what he's doing to Achayra S, and as I said I'm against that kind of dogmatism, even on my own blog, although there could be a point where I could consider him a loose cannon on the deck shooting holes in our/my ship. Still, he represents many atheists, even if not me.

Achayra S even said she would come back to DC if he were gone, and I would like her back, despite Prup's protestations. He would continue to comment though, so nothing would change, and Acharya would probably recuse herself again, I don't know. But I'm not a censor here, except for personal attacks, and it is you 22, who is now coming close to doing just that.

Benny said...

Prup, dogmatic? From what I've read from him during my admittedly brief time here, dogmatic is just about the last word I would use to describe him. It is not free-thinking to pretend all ideas are equally valid, and it is not dogmatic to criticize ideas if one explains the reasons for doing so. Prup has given his reasons for criticizing certain ideas from Acharya, now the ball's in his opponents' court to engage those reasons. I personally think it would be a real shame and a detriment to the general quality of this blog if Prup was gone or demoted from contributor status.

John W. Loftus said...

Benny, Prup isn't going anywhere as far as I'm concerned. I do appreciate you defending him since others seem to be defending Acharya. But surely you've read what has been said here. Yes, Prup offers good reasons for his views, but we both read "Who Was Jesus?," and I think his review of it is stilted. The book is an excellent summary, and it is based upon solid scholarship. But he won't say it as forthrightly as I did because he disagrees with other ideas she may or may not have said. I don't think a much better book could probably be written in such a few short pages (39), and I consider that to be a hallmark of a good scholar to do so. I don't find Prup reasonable here. And that's my point. Even when Prup finds something good in her writings he won't admit it without several qualifications that diminish his recommendation because he demands that she must agree with all of his ideas, apparently. I find that sectarian and dogmatic.

Rene said...

John..I would like to start off by apologising again for my confusion in the assumption you were another John Loftus. I know you have been a subscriber to Acharya for a long time now and all this time I held this assumption without! A little embarrassing.

In following this blog subject, I have not seen one iota of detailed criticism of facts regarding her thesis. What I have seen are simply disingenous attacks upon her credibility and of course valiant and exquisite defenses by many (I was impressed by so many of the defensive responses! Infensus' itemised critique of the charges against her was fabulous!) I have less patience for the kinds of empty critiques as given by Benton and others. If anyone thought my responses were "hostile" than they don't know the meaning of that word! Derisive...absolutely, but well deserved.

I admire YOUR stand on free speech! Albeit, I think you are too kind to muckrakers. Benton deserved the good slaps he got and I do not believe he is sincere at all about Acharya's new publication WWJ. I have little respect for the credibility of someone who desires to critique another when they have not read the totality of their work
(admittedly so yet!). In contrast, I wish to commend you on your credibility and integrity on having actually read her works and to know a good and important peice of work when you see it. I fully agree with your observation about "Prup"-Benton's (!) sectarian and dogmatic outlook. Thankyou for bringing Acharya's work to your blog and allowing me to put in my sordid bits..ha ha! Peace!

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

This will be my last comment on this subject in this thread -- and perhaps on the blog itself unless John takes action. But I have been quite sure that Acharya was using 'sock puppets' here, that it was she who was defending herself so fiercely and casting aspersions on my character.

I can finally prove it.

In a personal letter to John, I described Diana as a 'bit of a twit.' I never used the term, or made any comment about her in the blog itself -- and I'll ask everyone to check back through my comments to see this.

I am not surprised that John passed on my comments to Acharya herself -- I would be very surprised if he passed them on to a third (fourth?) party.

But what do we see from '22' but the following in the letter of 7:46, June 11th:
"He called Princess Diana a "twit".

Sorry, but you couldn't resist it, could you, Ms. Murdock. You have lied to us, and more importantly, you have directly lied to John when you denied posting anonymously (and '22' begins the first letter so signed with 'and one more thing, referring back to some anonymous posting, most likely the one directly previous to this, where the anonymous poster claims as well to have posted two previous letters -- the style of which is the same.)

John, if a person can lie to you, lie to us, and be welcomed here, i don't want to be here.

It is up to you, and I'm personally sorry to confront you like this, but the attacks on me I can take, the lies bother me too much to not make a public complaint.

skullnboner said...

Prup...I believe I have already guessed who 22 is and it is not Acharya. It is obviously presumptuous of you to accuse someone of lying, but then one should expect such behaviour from someone who already has it in for the author and has nothing substantive or credible to input about the material. Your purpose is to degrade the author, while making yourself appear worthy of being taken seriously.

Now I am not going to tell who 22 is or how it is possible that person could know the phrase about Diana. It seems to me that I recognise you from the content and style of your arguements from her forums. I may be wrong, but I am not accusing you of anything other than being stupid, which is self-evident here alone. At least you are honest enough to exhibit it without pretension!

22 said...

Skullnboner knows who I am, yes indeed.

John, I appreciate your thoughtful and kind words about Acharya and her work.

Jim Benton "In a personal letter to John, I described Diana as a 'bit of a twit.' "

- Yeah, she told just demonstrates your sexist attitude.

J.B. "you couldn't resist it, could you, Ms. Murdock. You have lied to us"

- Once again, you base your false assumptions in ignorance, like everything else about Acharya. Now, you've accused her of lying. Nice hole you've dug for yourself Jim Benton.

Benny, you clearly glossed over the many posts here where Jim Benton ADMITS THAT HE HASN'T READ ANY BOOKS by Acharya. So his "reasons" aren't so valid and have already been addressed anyway. Instead he offers only vicious attacks probably due to his jealousy of the respect she gets from so many in the field and elsewhere. Acharya has no reason to "engage" such a vicious attacker who is ignorant of her work. Jim Benton displays his irrational, unreasonable, anything BUT Freethinking views throughout this thread. How is that any better than the Christian Fundamentalists? It's not.

Jim Benton "I do not believe she has a feel for the milieu..."

- LOL, I mean seriously, as If to imply that he has the "feel for the milieu"? Meanwhile, what has Jim Benton done? Where are his respected, scholarly works?

"Still, he represents many atheists"

- ...of the worst kind from what I see here. No different than the Christian fundamentalists. I'd prefer to have Jerry Falwell back instead.

"To kick him off this blog would be doing nothing more than doing what he's doing to Achayra S"

- Firing an incompetent person doesn't make *YOU* incompetent, John. Well, you could AT LEAST have addressed his tactic of launching vicious irrational and unreasonable personal attacks against Acharya and her work - work he admits he's never read. Had folks here had the courage to do so early on, maybe much of this viciousness could've been avoided.

Again, skepticism is welcome but at least be rational and reasonable about it - starting with actually reading the books or work one is going to critique, FIRST. The fact that I have to bring this point up says it all about this blog. This is a failure and an embarrassment here. I'm sure theists love it though - they can sit back and say, "look at the so-called Freethinkers launch vicious attacks on each other. No wonder they can't organize together as a powerful group. They bash each other without even reading the books they're bashing".

GREAT WORK!!! I can see why nobody would take this blog seriously with people like Jim Benton here. He owes Acharya an apology for his vicious attacks without ever having read her books.

I'm out of here...

Oyyyy said...

22 said it all. This place has turned into nothing but a cesspool of negativity and contempt via Jim. Any of the numerous attempts to restore reason have been ignored or dismissed, and personal attacks continue to be fired off with no end in sight.I see no reason why anyone should entertain anything Jim has to say anymore because it just simply lacks any merit whatsoever.

I'm with you 22, I'm out of here...

Acharya S said...

John and others -

It is no secret that I ask my FRIENDS to do battle on my behalf - when someone makes IRRATIONAL and UNREASONABLE attacks on me out of the blue, with no provocation. I simply am not interested in such a low-class and sophomoric waste of time.

What did I ever do to Jim Benton? He came out of nowhere and viciously sideswiped me into this petty nonsense that I want no part of. Even the language Benton chooses to use is full of disgraceful and insidious insinuations, obviously coming from an overly suspicious and paranoid mind.

I have shared much information with my FRIENDS, including telling one - "22" - what Benton had said about Princess Diana, because I believed Benton's derogatory remark was a sure sign of SEXISM on his part, explaining at least some of the motivation for his profound and irrational disdain for a woman he's never met. I am very sorry that bit slipped out, John, and that my friend repeated it. Other than that one statement, I can swear on a stack of Bibles (irony) that the rest of the material Benton hysterically and frantically waves about is not mine. Nope, I didn't write it, so, no, John, I did NOT lie.

From what I can tell, Jim Benton HAS lied a couple of times about MY work, and it looks like he's trying to cover his "arse." (That was a nice touch, but also not my own.)

While hostilely and frantically attempting to find holes in my integrity, Benton has ADMITTED that he has never read my books - yet, Benton dishonestly and hypocritically pretends to know all about my work! It is because of this incorrigible and guileful behavior that individuals such as Neophyte, 22 and oyyyy have expressed that they don't ever want to return to this blog. BTW, I had nothing whatsoever to do with Neophyte or oyyy's posts, other than putting out the call on my lists for assistance against this nasty and hateful person who irrationally attacked me out of the blue, without cause.

I don't need "sockpuppets," because I have FRIENDS. And my FRIENDS will do battle for me, come hell or high water, as FRIENDS should do. You can do a search of my lists to find a number of such messages over the years where I ask for assistance from my FRIENDS when vicious, ugly people full of hateful and mendacious vitriol start spewing at me. I am both too busy and not at all interested in subjecting myself to such a despicable display of unmitigated hatred for someone whom these individuals do not even know. Calling my friends "sockpuppets" is simply insulting, the same game Benton's been playing all along, because he has nothing better to do with his time, apparently. An utterly unconstructive waste of my time - and yours too, John.

Over the years a number of my closest friends have seen me irrationally and hysterically attacked, and they have taken on the mantle to support and defend me. A couple of years ago, I was beleaguered in a horrible battle on Wikipedia with a fanatical CHRISTIAN inquisitor that lasted almost a year - this vicious assault began right after my son was abducted, and we had to flee our home under threat by a violent and mentally ill person. The indecency of this individual was appalling, as is Jim Benton's, frankly. This deranged individual on Wikipedia even threatened to commit crimes against me! This spiteful assault on my person was so hostile and prolonged that it took a toll on my health - I will not allow that debilitating stress happen again by other uncivil, ungracious and ignoble individuals.

The fact is that I asked for and received assistance in that Wiki battle from some true-blue FRIENDS, as I have on this blog as well. The messages on my lists are public and an open book. If some of my friends crafted letters, after seeing those messages and even after consulting with me, how fortunate and grateful I am to have such friends!

Such support from friends is nothing new or insidious, as the hysterical and vituperative Benton would like everyone to believe. Since 1995 when I first got online, people have asked me how to answer my critics, and I respond. Sometimes they quote me, and sometimes they don't, but I always tell them to put my suggestions into their own words. I cannot control their output or whatever else they do with my suggestions.

Jim Benton obviously has nothing better to do than to fixate and obsess about me, which is just plain silly, if not sick.

I hope he finds peace in his soul - oops! I forgot, no such thing. (I could have said, "but he doesn't have one," but that would sound mean.)


Acharya S

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Okay, now, let's take a look at the claims against me. (I know I said I wouldn't comment any more, but I realized that I should say something about this.)

Acharya says I am fixated on her. I have made 11 posts in this thread. One was a somewhat complimentary review of her e-book. One was the statement that I wasn't able to confirm something so I was withdrawing it. That leaves nine posts. Acharya and 'friends' have made 20 posts about me.

Furthermore, I have been accused of personal remarks. I have stated my contempt for Acharya's 'reasoning' and her crackpot theories. I have made no personal remarks except for my suspicion that she has used 'sock puppets.'

I, on the other hand have been called a liar, repeatedly, sexist, a witch hunter, the 'Atheist Inquisitor' -- a term she also used for other members of this blog last time she was here -- a 'prick,' an 'irrational, unreasonable, anything BUT Freethinking scab,' 'scum off the bottom of the barrel' and the following was said about me "He's totally dishonest, lacks character and has no integrity whatsoever. He has no morals."
Acharya herself said "vicious, ugly people full of hateful and mendacious vitriol"

Then I am accused of 'his tactic of launching vicious irrational and unreasonable personal attacks against Acharya.'

Meanwhile, no one has answered most of my criticism, no one has explained why, in the over a million books at Questia, there is NO reference to Ms. Murdock, why this highly respected scholar had to have her first books published by Adventures Unlimited Press, which publishes such works -- these are representative -- as
"He maintains that the legendary foreign gods of the Indians once existed in reality, and he suggests a solution to the mystery of who they were. "


MAN MADE UFOS 1944-1994
"A comprehensive look at the early "flying saucer" technology of Nazi Germany and the genesis of man-made UFOs. This book takes us from the work of captured German scientists to escaped battalions of Germans, secret communities in South America and Antarctica to todays state-of-the-art "Dreamland" flying machines."

THE A.R.E's SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS "Evidence points to the enigmatic center city of Atlantis lying under the shallow waters of Cuba, just as author Andrew Colling speculated in his now-classic book, Gateway to Atlantis. "

Subtitle:The Origin and Destiny of Humanity as Told by Star Elders, Shamen, and UFO Visitors"

(If you are wondering, I simply picked the 4th book of the second row on various pages. I could go on.)

Why does the 'ranking religious philosopher of our times' and the 'coolest chick on Earth' need to publish with this publisher, instead of a reputable one?