Science and History
Cruelty and Violence
And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is
beside himself. -- Mark 3:21
Mark for Skeptics
Mark is the shortest gospel and was the first to be written. It served as source material for the other synoptic gospels (Matthew and
Luke). As with the others, no one knows who the author was, but that didn't stop believers from claiming its author was Mark, the
companion of Peter. The original gospel ended without anyone seeing the resurrected Jesus or any of the cool stuff about the signs of true
believers (snake handling, casting out devils, drinking poison, etc.) and the unconditional consequence of non-belief ("He who believeth not is damned.") -- all of
which was added later (16:9-20). Believers have been embarrassed by it ever since.
- Jesus casts out a godly "unclean spirit." 1:23-25
- He heals "all that were diseased" by casting out devils. The devils knew Jesus, but Jesus told them to shut up about it.
- Although the disciples weren't sure about Jesus even after his alleged resurrection, the "unclean spirits" knew that he was "the son of God."
But Jesus told them not to tell anyone. 3:11-12
- Jesus' friends think he is insane. 3:21
- The scribes think that Jesus casts out devils by the power of the prince of devils, Beelzebub. 3:22
- Jesus is angry at those who said that he had an unclean spirit, so he announces the unforgivable sin: blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
- He shows disrespect for his mother and family by asking, "Who is my mother, or my brethren?" when he is told that his family wants to
speak with him. 3:31-34
- He explains why he speaks in parables: to confuse people so they will go to hell. 4:10-12
- He says that those who have been less fortunate in this life will
have it even worse in the life to come. 4:25
- He sends the devils into 2000 pigs, causing them to jump off a cliff and be drowned in the sea. 5:11-17
- He is rejected by those who knew him the best, the people from his home town of Nazareth. 6:2-5
- Any city that doesn't "receive" the followers of Jesus will be destroyed in a manner even more savage than
that of Sodom and Gomorrah. 6:11
- Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law.
- He refused to cast out a devil from a Greek woman's daughter, calling the woman a "dog". After much pleading,
he finally agrees to cast out her daughter's devil. 7:25-30
- He put his fingers in a deaf man's ears, then spit and touched his tongue. This treatment immediately cured him.
- He cured a blind man by spitting in his eyes. 8:22-23
- There were various opinions about the identity of Jesus. Some thought he was Elijah or one of the prophets. And many thought he was a
risen John the Baptist. 8:27-28
- Jesus falsely prophesied that the end of the world would come within his listeners' lifetimes. 9:1,
- He said that John the Baptist was Elijah, but John the Baptist explicitly denied it in John 1:21. 9:13
- He tells us to cut off our hands and feet, and pluck out our eyes to avoid going to hell. 9:43-49
- He will reward men who abandon their wives and families. 10:29-30
- He kills a fig tree for not bearing figs, even though it was out of season. 11:13-14
- There is no sex or marriage in heaven. 12:18-25
- Ointment for Jesus' head is more important than helping the poor. 14:3-7
- These verses are not found in the earlier manuscripts and are therefore considered later additions. 16:9-20
- The risen Jesus transformed himself into a different form, appearing as a completely different person. 16:12-13
- "He that believeth not shall be damned." 16:16
- True followers of Christ routinely perform the following tricks: cast out devils, speak in tongues,
handle poisonous snakes, drink poisons without harm, and cure the sick by touching them. 16:17-18