Christ Mithras CopyCat

Was Christ Merely A Copycat Savior From An Ancient Religion Dressed Up To Be A Jew?

Mithra(s) is a Persian deity which can first be dated to about 1400B.C., the name being mentioned in a treaty.  Later he is imported into Rome, and according to several propagandists is the blueprint for the figure of the Jesus Christ we know today.  He was the deity who punished you if you broke a contract.  He also brought rain, and plant growth.  He was the upholder of truth.

Let’s take a look at the proposed similarities.

Virgin Birth

The first point of contention is that Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th, attended by shepherds, and that Christians adopted this for their deity.

The Bible nowhere indicates that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th. While Mithra had several holidays celebrated about him, they were all in the fall, and were actually just seasonal festivals at which Mithra was paid homage almost as an afterthought.

How was Mithra born?  Texts and depictions of the event show him emerging from solid rock, and I suppose one could attempt to make the argument that the stone was “virginal”, but it is disingenuous to claim he was born of a virgin as there is no evidence except modern wishful thinking to corroborate this.  What we have handed down to us by those that worshipped him is that he emerged fully formed from a rock wall, carrying a torch, and wearing a cute little Phrygian hat.

What about the attending shepherds?  Well in the depictions we have, they help him free himself from the rock wall.  Did the early Christians borrow this?  Considering that the earliest of these depictions date to a century after the time of Christ, if there was any borrowing done, it was on the part of the Mithraic cult.  So no attending shepherds either.

Traveling Ministry, Preaching, and Teaching

While Jesus’ travels and ministry are recorded in great detail, there is no evidence at all that Mithra did so.  And even if he did, it was commonplace for teachers to travel from place to place to share what they knew.

What did he teach?  Where did he teach?  To whom did he teach?  Nothing is recorded to give us any indication that he did so or that his believers believed he did so.

Twelve Disciples

The record tells us quite succinctly that Jesus had twelve companions, or disciples, that traveled with Him.  There is no doubt about that.  But was this copied from the religion surrounding Mithra?

It doesn’t seem to be.  The Persian Mithra had only a single companion called Varuna, while the Roman traditions records two, named Cautes and Cautopatres which were “Mini-Me” versions of Mithra.

So once again, any accusation of the adoption of religious imagery and details taken from Mithra disappears with the facts

Promise of Immortality

This one seems a bit crude, but just about any cult must promise their followers something.  It would seem only reasonable that the cult of Mithra did so as well.

But we don’t know that they did so, there is no evidence that they did so.

The closest piece of evidence we have that Mithraists preached immortality is a fragment of graffiti found in the Santa Prisca Mithraeum dated to about 200A.D. which reads “And us, too, you saved by spilling the eternal blood.” which refers to Mithra slaying the mighty bull, not to his losing his own life.

Working Miracles

This is a moot point.  Mithra, laying claim to deity, had miracles attributed to him.  But did Christians borrow this for Christ?  Why would they?  Moses performed miracles, and Elijah performed miracles, Jewish tradition is rife with acts of the miraculous.  And Mithra had no acts attributed to him such as Christ did such as in walking on water or raising people who had been dead.

Nothing borrowed here.

Sacrifice of Self for Mankind

While the record of Jesus Christ is clear about this matter, the record of Mithra is not.  Many try to make the claim that Mithra, the great bull of the Sun, sacrificed himself for the world.  But we have no evidence that the ancient followers of Mithra believed this about him.  In the evidence we do have Mithra slayed a bull, not for the world but simply because it was a heroic deed.  The bull’s blood was shed, but there is nothing in any ancient source that said Mithra shed any of his own, or was even injured in the event.

Burial In A Tomb & Resurrection

Once again the record of this being part of the Christian belief system and accounting of events is without dispute.

What about Mithra?  There are no evidences in Mithraic literature of Mithra ever being buried, let alone dying.  And of course if there was no dying there was no resurrection to record either.

Once again, nothing copied here.

The Good Shepherd and The Lamb & The Lion

Definitely part of the Christian repertoire, what about Mithra?

No evidence exists that Mithra was ever identified with the term “good shepherd” or a lamb.  The lion was Mithra’s totem animal.  Jesus Christ however is identified as all three of these things, and has an earlier claim on the symbolism of the lion by being a member of the tribe of Judah.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

The claim has been made that Mithra was also called the “Word”, the “Redeemer”, the “Savior”, and “Messiah”.  One current populist author also now includes the titles of creator, god of gods, lord, and others.  Unfortunately when one looks at actual Mithraic literature these titles are nowhere to be found.  There is no evidence Mithra was ever referred to as any of these monikers.

On the other hand, evidence is manifest that Jesus was called these things and very early on.  So it would appear that there is wishful thinking going on, and it’s getting in the way of the truth when it comes to the subject of Christ-copycat-ism.

Holy Communion

Most of us know the telling of the Last Supper, and many claim that Mithra also had a feast wherein he announced a “communion to be had with him by eating his body and drinking his blood.  That they would not be saved without doing so.”  Unfortunately this appears to be more wishful thinking on the part of some as this was not said by Mithra, but is a quote by Zarathustra in literature from the 4th century.

Once again if there are charges of copying to be laid it would seem that the account of the life of Jesus Christ is one of the most plagiarized in history.

I really do not see how any conclusion can be made other than that Christ was definitely not borrowed from the cult of Mithra.  True Mithraic scholars know nothing about any claims of borrowing, indeed those who claim such tend to have certain things in common: a populist writer, a severe shortage of documentation and footnotes, in their personal lives tend to be practicing pagans and Wiccans.  Interesting don’t you think?

There are many other items in the list of “borrowed” theology, but I think we’ve shown that their basis, as in the ones here, are utter nonsense.    You, as anyone, is free to believe whatever you wish.  But wouldn’t you rather base it on your own research rather than the ramblings of the disgruntled or those with an agenda who would lie to you?  Because sooner or later someone will show you that what you believed is a lie.  Or worse, you present it to someone as evidence, who knows it’s a lie, and now thinks you are both uneducated and gullible.

The account of Jesus the Christ is not a re-telling of the tale of Mithra(s) in any way shape or form.

Sources

Bivar, A. D. – The Personalities of Mithra in Archaeology and Literature
Freke, Timothy and Peter Gandy – The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God?
Laeuchli, Samuel – Mithraism in Ostia
Ulansey, David – The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World
Wynne-Tyson, Esme – Mithras: The Fellow in the Cap

photo by: dalbera

Jehovah Jesus

One God Or More?

One cannot talk about Christianity today without some mention over the apparent change in deities between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In the Old Testament – God, some say, is all about wrath, and anger, smiting, war-mongering, killing, flooding, setting on fire, sending plagues…you get the picture.
In the New Testament we are taught that if we know Jesus, we know God. A God who does not condemn, nor throw the first stones.  A God of acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, healing, patience…Jesus, who said that if we have seen Him, if we know Him, we have seen God and know God.

So which God do we believe in?

Who Does Jesus Say He Is?

“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”  The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!”

Here Jesus identifies Himself using the Name of God as given to Moses in the Old Testament – I AM THAT I AM. One might almost say that the name is a foreshadowing, God telling Moses that the person who calls himself by that name, will be Himself in human flesh. Jesus uses the term I AM to describe Himself nineteen times in the New Testament.

At one point in His ministry, children were shouting to Him in the courtyard and the chief priests and teachers became outraged at His acceptance of their worship.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.  “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you Lord, have called forth your praise?”

Here Jesus refers to Psalm 8 and applies it to Himself.  When the young children praise Him, He says they are praising God.

Wrath?

So what about all the wrath in the Old Testament?

Good question. One must remember that in the Old Testament that God has CHOSEN a single race as his people. He zealously protected them. Just as He zealously protects Christians from the New Testament onward.

We must also remember that the Hebrews of the OT lived a harsh life. A harsh life under harsh circumstances. It was a brutal world with cannibals to the right of them, slavers to the left of them, people who would cast their living children into bonfires to appease idols, and people who would kill them just for what they had.

God is not a respecter of persons. Look, He sent His only begotten Son to suffer horribly, in humiliation, and horribly, in our place.

A world out of control. A world without God. A world where man gets his way, if he knows how, and can.

But the New Testament isn’t full of wrath is it?

Let’s look at something Jesus says, something most people don’t realize He said. It is a parable, sometimes referred to as the Parable of the Talents. From Luke 19 – Jesus talks about a nobleman who goes to a far country in order to obtain a kingdom. But the people there don’t want him to be king. He then tells ten of his servants to conduct his business there until he can arrive and take possession of his kingdom, and gives them ten talents. Now some invest it and make more money with the talents. Some don’t and are chastised for not making use of what the master had given them. But when it comes to the people who don’t want him to be king…

“But as for these who are My enemies, those who do not want Me to reign over them, line them up before Me and slaughter them!”

Did you know Jesus said that? The whole parable is about Him coming to claim His kingdom, giving gifts to all the Christians for them to use until He arrives.  Finally, about the ultimate fate of those who do not welcome Him.

Wrath indeed.

Who Does Jehovah Say He Is?

We all know the Christmas preamble –

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jehovah speaking through his prophet Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Jehovah Himself declares that the Messiah will be none other than Himself, since two of the names are Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. Names reserved only for God.

But even more compelling is when Jehovah speaks through the prophet Zechariah about the torture and death the Messiah would undergo.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: AND THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

God, Jehovah, Yahweh, speaking here says it will be He Himself, clothed in flesh, who is pierced on the cross.
Jesus…Jehovah…God.

Jesus said “I and my Father are one, if you have seen me you have seen the Father.”
There is only one God in both Old and New Testaments, and His name is Jesus.
There are many other times that Jesus claims to be God.  Not just a god, but THE God of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament and New Testament are all about Jesus.  Haven’t you ever wondered what with all the smiting and wrath the Hebrews wrote about going on in the Old Testament, yet it is filled with nothing but praise for God.

Singing the praises of His love, goodness, gentleness, kindness, mercy, long-suffering, wisdom, patience…

Who else can they be talking about but Jesus?

Jesus…Jehovah…God.

American Education

Does America’s education system pose the greatest threat to freedom in our time?

One cannot hear about what is going on in the schools in other countries and not be concerned as to whether or not something similar is taking place in our schools.

It is a well known fact that the educational system in America is run – lock, stock, and barrel, by liberal activists who have done everything in their power to inject the liberal agenda into the education our young people receive and to shape the mindset of our children accordingly.

To see what the educated elite want to instill in our young, one need only look at what is going on in schools in a country that does not have our constitutional protections.

Great Britain

Some think that we can see America’s future by looking at Great Britain.

Take the case of Codie Stott.  Codie, a 14 year old girl, had been assigned to a study group by her teacher.  The group was to do a science project together, except that the group Codie was assigned to started speaking Urdu with each other.  Codie of course did not speak Urdu, and apparently these students were not required to speak English. Codie went to her teacher and requested to change groups, her teachers response is unbelievable.  The teacher whirled on this 14 year old student and screamed:

“It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police!”

And “done by the police” she was.  The teacher called the police, who came and arrested this 14 year old girl, brought her to the station, photographed her, fingerprinted her, questioned her on suspicion of committing a race crime, and left her in a cell.

She was later released without being charged.

In another case an 11 year old boy was arrested and put through the system all the way to being brought in front of a judge, for calling another child “bin laden” on the playground.  The judge in the case stated that this was nonsense, wondered whether the police and teachers didn’t have anything more important to do, and was promptly crucified by the teachers union in grand inquisitorial style.

At another school parents called the school to task for giving their young children sex education materials that advocated same sex relationships, the school supported the parents decision and removed the books.  At a different school the same thing happened, except in this case the school refused, and the parents were threatened with prosecution if they removed their children from the school.  The only difference in these two cases was that in the former the parents were Muslim, and in the latter the parents were Christian. Interesting huh?

The whirlwind crazy of multi-culti goes on – field trips to Mosques where the children are required to dress in Muslim garb, teachers ordered to dress like Muslims for a Muslim festival day, husbands and fathers barred from an event because Muslim women are not allowed to mix with strange men.

Coming to American Education or Already Here?

Muslim prayer rooms in public schools in Nashville.
University of Michigan/Dearborn installs footbaths at secular expense.
Minneapolis Technical College installs footbaths.
Footbaths and prayer rooms – Boston, George Washington, Temple, Stanford, Emory, Virginia Universities.
In California one may receive a complete University education at taxpayer expense, as long you are here illegally.
Special loans to buy homes.
Outrage over the demand that illegal aliens not drive without a license or insurance.

Paul Serodio was expelled from New Jersey Medical School for claiming to be an African-American.  Paul Serodio was born in Africa, and is now a US citizen.  His crime…he’s white.

During a class exercise on culture students were required to name how they identify them self and he identified himself as an African-American.  Another female student in the class took offense to this, as he was white.

He was then summoned to the Dean’s office where he was ordered not to identify himself as an African-American ever again.

Paul decided to write an article involving the broadening of people’s perceptions and tolerance.  This brought another summons to the Dean’s office where he was told to lay off it and it might not go on his record.

Suffice it to say that as time went on he was derided, slandered, even physically assaulted, and the frosting on the cake – they demanded he go in for a psychiatric evaluation.

And he was expelled.  Well, suspended.  But in his case it is the same thing.  He cannot take his boards, therefore he cannot transfer what he has learned to another school to finish.

These liberal know-it-alls have destroyed this man’s life and career.

Conclusion

We must be ever watchful, because those who would destroy the freedoms we have will do anything, say anything, and worse yet, use our children as their shields, and pawns.

Everyone should be more involved with your school.  And don’t be timid.  These people are public employees and they need to be reminded they answer to us.

Please join me in telling everyone, something which got Robin Page arrested in the UK, but that we may say here in America with attitude, guts, and pride (while we may, who knows, it may already be too late) –

“If you are a black, vegetarian, Muslim, asylum-seeking, one-legged, lesbian semi driver, I want the same rights as you.”

And if you were offended by that…TOUGH!

The border is that way.

Galileo Earth Orbits Sun

Myths Surrounding Galileo

Lots of myths surround the father of the telescope, except that he wasn’t. That’s a myth.  But he did build a good one, and then looked up into space with it.

The problem is that much like the attribution of the invention of the telescope, all sorts of other untruths have been taught about him.  As a matter of fact, if there had been no Galileo, atheists would have had to invent him to use as a club against religion and stir up anti-catholic and anti-religious sentiment.  Most schools never even teach the fact that the church was at the forefront of scientific inquiry actually funding science and scientists, or that Galileo himself was a very devout man.  In fact the leading astronomers of the day were priests.

The war between Galileo and the Church is called the Galileo Myth.

Copernicus

Now Copernicus was also a man of the church, a priest, who postulated that perhaps the Sun did not revolve around the Earth, but that the Earth actually revolved around the Sun.  The church really didn’t have a problem with Copernicus saying this because it was only a theory.  Copernicus made no claims to absolute fact or truth.

Galileo on the other hand, with the aid of telescope, started teaching the it was the truth that the Earth revolved around the Sun.  The church, siding with secular science of the day, went to Galileo and demanded he bring forth his evidence.  Just good scientific inquiry and request for peer review. Of course, Galileo had his math and his theories, but not incontrovertible proof.  The church requested Galileo not teach it as proven truth until it had been studied further.  They asked him not to be hasty.  He agreed.

But Galileo didn’t keep his part of the bargain and again started teaching that the Earth revolved around the Sun, as truth. Some other jealous ‘scientists’ finked on him.

The Trial of Galileo Galilei

So Galileo was taken by the Inquisition and imprisoned. At least that is what some textbooks teach and lots of people believe.  But no, what happened was that he was asked to come and explain himself, he was housed at the Medici Villa in Rome.  A palace. Free of charge. With servants. Also free of charge.

He was tortured.  Well there again, no he wasn’t. That’s another myth. He attended parties, and had visitors.

But he was tried and convicted of heresy…right?  No again, sorry, he wasn’t.  He was charged with teaching his new theory as truth after he had promised not to, for breaking his word. He did so by writing a book in which he satirized the Pope as an imbecile. He certainly knew how to win friends and influence people

At the close of his trial Galileo is recorded as muttering under his breath “And yet it moves…” referring to the Earth.  Well here again, no he didn’t.  This is a legend started more than century after Galileo’s time.

He was sentenced to house arrest (pretty much for being an irritant, but they could only find him “suspect of heresy”). Heretics were burned at the stake. A house arrest which also allowed him to travel around the city, teach students (which did until he died), write, publish, conduct experiments, and have whatever visitors he wanted.

Galileo was a brilliant, and obstinate man with a big mouth, who thought he knew best and didn’t want to subject his theory to peer review. Yes.

Martyr for science?  No.

Tortured and imprisoned for his discoveries?  No.

Foot soldier in the war between science and religion?  No.

So the next time someone says “I think we should remember what the Church did to Galileo…”, you can set them straight.  The Church followed the course good science should take.

After all, truth is better than fiction isn’t it?

 

Blackwell, R.J. – Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible. London: University of Notre Dame, 1991.
Dante Aligheri – The Divine Comedy. Trans, Sayers, D.L., and Reynolds, B., 3 vols. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962.
Draper, J.W. – History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. London: Kegan Paul, 1890.
Galileo, Galilei – Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. Trans, Drake, S. New York: Anchor, 1957.
Langford, J.J. Galileo, Science and the Church. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1971.
Moore, P. – Guide to Comets. London: Lutterworth. And A Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy. London: PRC Publishing, 1997.
Sampson, Philip – Six Modern Myths. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000.
Whitehead, A.N. – Science and the Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Galileo’s Inquisition Trial Revisited By Jules Speller
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1630galileo.asp
http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/A_003_Galileo.html
http://www.scientus.org/Galileo-Battle-for-Heavens.html
http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/renaissance.html
http://www.ips-planetarium.org/?page=a_appledoorn1990&hhSearchTerms=%22galileo+and+myth%22

BabyBoomers

The Baby-Boomer Generation

If you were born in the baby-boom after WWII through the end of the 1950’s, you’re a baby-boomer. It also means that you are fast approaching retirement, old age, and death. Sorry, it’s just a fact of life.

Another fact of life is money.  Everyone needs to have their needs and their wants taken care of.  So what should a baby-boomer, and you, do to maximize your resources in the next two decades?

Retirement

If you were born in 1949, you are looking at being 65 in 2014.  Hopefully you have enjoyed a prosperous life and have socked away enough to enjoy your retirement in, if not complete style, in contentment instead of want.

However no one can change the past.  What if you didn’t?  What if you’re not a baby-boomer but, like them, don’t have a clue what to invest in?  What mistakes to avoid?

The #1 Retirement Mistake

The #1 retirement mistake made by people alive today is to underestimate their lifespan.  Fifty years ago, if you retired at the age of 58-62 you could expect a retirement that would last 5-10 years.  Perhaps a few more if you took care of your health.

Someone retiring today at the age of 65 needs to expect that they will need resources for 30-40 years.  Medical breakthroughs and an improved standard of living have given today’s generation a retirement almost as long as their working life.  Don’t be caught short at the most vulnerable time in your life.

The Stock Market

Many investors have taken a beating in the recent downturn in the stock market, but history shows it is still a major way to create long-term wealth.  So what should I invest in?

There are going to be several strong fields that people should be investing in right now.

Healthcare – with age comes disease
Healthcare Services – labs, home medical supplies, associated services
Assisted Living Care – nursing homes, centers, staffing for in-home and care centers, transportation
Funerary Services – everybody dies, someone has to provide the particulars for the end of life
Recreation – travel services catering to the elderly, cruise trips are especially popular right now

Real Estate

If there is one thing on Earth that they aren’t making any more of, it’s land.

Do you own a home?  Why not?

As the baby-boom generation retires and passes away, a lot of property will change hands.  The further into the future you look, the more of it that will come onto the market.  They will sell their big homes at a discount to move into smaller more manageable ones.  The next two decades will see some diamonds in the rough change hands, and there is no reason one pair of those hands shouldn’t be yours.

The Internet

Those entering retirement today are more likely to be tech savvy than ever.  Websites, blogs, services and such which cater to senior interests will catch fire and create wealth for another whole generation of geeks.  And there’s no reason why you, are someone already in retirement shouldn’t be the one writing or running one or more of those websites.

We live in interesting times, and a little education and forethought can make our own retirements that much better and longer.

photo by: quinn.anya

Holy Bible

A lot of people are saying that we cannot know what the Bible really says because of how many times it has been translated, and because those who copied the texts added words, changed words, and deleted words.

Is this true?  Is it possible that we cannot trust the Bible as we know it today?

The first argument is that the Bible has simply been copied too many times to know what the original manuscripts even said.

As an example something called “secret whispers” or “the telephone game” is trotted out to show what happens when you pass messages from one person to the next.  The game starts with people being separated into groups, and one person in each group is given a message, usually a sentence, that is then passed along by whispering it to the person next in line, who then proceeds to whisper to the next, and so on.  Finally when the message reaches the last person in line, it barely resembles the original message.

Fortunately this is either ignorance or intellectual dishonesty on the part of the whoever puts it forth as the reasoning for thinking that the Scripture we have today in no way resembles the original.

The problem is, copying Scripture is not a parlor game.  People dedicated not just their careers but their very lives to copying Scripture.  Neither oral tradition nor written Scriptures are in any way like the telephone game.  There were not just one person passing on one text to only one more person, and then repeating the process.  We have multitudes of people all passing along the texts to everyone they knew.

The fact is that we have manuscripts, copies of Scripture, that range in ages across a span of over a thousand years, and across locations hundreds and thousands of miles apart.  The benefit of this is that we can compare later documents with earlier documents to see if there are any changes.  We can compare documents found thousands of miles apart to see how they differ.

We can rest assured that the only significant changes that have occurred are those which are in line with how language has changed overtime.  Such as the fact that we no longer say “thee”, instead we say “you”.

We have over 25,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament alone.

Another argument is that the Bible has simply been translated too many times from one language to another.  This argument shows a severe lack of understanding of how the translation process works.

When ancient documents are translated they are not, for example, translated from Greek into Latin, and then from Latin into German, and then from German into English.  That’s not how it works.  Official translations always start at the beginning with the original languages of Hebrew, and Greek.

If anything, as time goes by and our knowledge of ancient cultures increases, our translations get better and more accurate.  Not less.

Disaffected former Christian and biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman says that we cannot know what the Bible originally said because scribes and the church have altered the texts, and that the manuscripts we have today show anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 different variants.  Meaning that there are 200,000 to 400,000 differences in the texts we have.  They call these differences – variances.  This is quite a lot since there are only 138,162 words in the Greek New Testament.

Is this true?

Yes.

Well at least the part about there being 200,000 to 400,000 variances in the texts.  But it is most decidedly not true that these variances make any fundamental changes to what Scripture says or for the most part even affect the individual words and verses.

The first thing that one must understand is what exactly constitutes a variance.

The most common variant is a misspelled word.  Indeed the most common variant found is the habit in the Greek to put an “n” at the end of a word if the next word starts with a vowel.  Because of this habit many words, especially names, would sometimes appear misspelled because they would have an “n” on the end.

As a matter of fact, as many as 80% of all variants are differences in the spelling of words.  Variants which have absolutely no affect on what a word is translated as.

Other variants include the use of the wrong word, an obvious mistake made by a tired scribe. The usage of connective words such as “the”, “and”, etc.

More variants come from manuscripts such as prayer books and lexicons.  Where someone may have prepared a daily lesson book for example.  A stretch of Scripture may all refer to a particular person, for example Jesus, without mentioning the name in the following verses.  When someone prepared these lexicons and lesson books they substituted the actual names the verses are referring to for the words “he”, “his”, etc.  This just made things clear for the person reading from the lesson or prayer book, it in no way changes the meaning, but it is still considered a variant.

Daniel B. Wallace PhD., one of the foremost scholars of textual criticism says that since 1707 A.D. “No cardinal or essential doctrine is altered by any textual variant that has plausibility of going back to the original.  The evidence for this has not changed to this day.”

Wallace also gives us an excellent explanation of what it means when believers say the Bible is both inerrant and infallible.

The Bible is infallible, in that it is true in what it teaches, its foundational doctrines, and what that means in reference to faith and practice.

The Bible is inerrant, in that it is true on what it touches, in what it records about what God has done in history, faith, and believers.

As Wallace says in his own words: “So if we were to build a pyramid of bibliology, the broad foundation would be – I believe that God has done great acts in history and the Bible has recorded some of those. On top of that would be – The Bible is telling me the truth when it comes to matters of faith and practice.  And at the very top would be – The Bible is true in what it touches.”

The person who says that if I can find one error in the Bible then the whole thing is a wash, is ignorant.  They are ignorant of scholarship, ignorant of methodology, and ignorant of the Bible itself.

Anyone who would argue against faith based on the “possible” inaccuracy of the Bible when it comes to the texts is not presenting an honest argument.  Their goal is to destroy the faith of those less educated than themselves.  Quite despicable really.

The only conclusion one can reach in all scholarly honesty is that we can trust that we have the word God has given to us as having been passed down correctly.

photo by: Jemimus

Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy Changes 2014

Everyone has privacy concerns when it comes to the internet. Seems like just about every website you visit wants some kind of information from you in return for reading, using, or getting something free from their site.

If you own one of these sites and collect personally identifiable information from anyone (and you probably do, at the very least you or your CMS  likely collect their IP, which may be personally identifiable) you need to be concerned with the laws regarding the privacy of your users.

The government and the BBB have announced increased enforcement of internet privacy compliance. The BBB, Better Business Bureau, has a full program setup to look into this and force compliance.

If you’re already in step with privacy concerns you will know that the law up until now has been fairly straightforward. Here is what the law was until the last day of 2013:

  • You must identify what personally identifiable information is collected when someone visits or uses your website.
  • You must state whether this information will be shared with any third parties, what categories of information will be shared, and what categories the third parties receiving this information might be.
  • You must state whether or not you have a process whereby a user may review and/or request changes to the information you’ve collected.
  • You must state how users will be notified of changes to this privacy policy.
  • You must state the effective date of the policy.

For 2014 these are still all in effect.

Plus these below, which are local to California. What this means is that regardless of where you are, if someone who is a resident of California visits your site, you need to be in compliance with California law.

Example – you might live in New Jersey. If a resident of California, uses your website while on vacation in Utah, technically your website must comply with these additional provisions. Not doing so can subject you to legal remedy.

This does not bode well since other States will assuredly rush to enter the arena by drafting their own additional rules. This could become a big mess really quick.

But for now effective January 1, 2014:

  • You must disclose how you will deal with “do not track” signals provided by a user regarding tracking a visitor over time and across third-party websites.
  • You must state how a user can exercise choice regarding this tracking.
  • You must disclose whether third-party websites might track them over time or across other websites by visiting/using your website.
  • You must use the word PRIVACY in all capital letters that are larger than the surrounding type or a different color.
  • You must use “enhanced” notification of your privacy policy

Website owners who use the “enhanced notice transparency approach” will be covered under the amended CalOPPA.

This isn’t just for the big box retail websites, this is for almost everyone.  If you do any of the following, you may be liable under this new legislation:

  • If you collect any personally identifiable information
  • If you use any kind of analytics software, such as Google Analytics
  • If you use Retarget Marketing
  • If you use or host any kind of advertising, even Adsense

But, you say: What can they do to me, I don’t live anywhere near California?

While it’s true that if someone who is outside the US visits your website and doesn’t like that you’re not in compliance, they’re pretty much SOL. On the hand, inside the US, not being in compliance might mean:

  • Being sued
  • Website shutdown
  • Your content legally stolen from you
  • Damage to your reputation and brand
  • The government can freeze your bank and financial accounts
  • Being forced to pay the court costs of those who sue you
  • Pay attorney’s fees
  • Pay regulatory fees
  • You might face incarceration
  • The government might ‘seize’ your assets

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. In November 2013 Google just settled its own ‘behavioral tracking’ case with the FTC to the tune of $17 million dollars.

If this sounds like a lot to take care of…it is. It certainly took me quite awhile to pull just this much info together. But if you’d like a simpler solution and know that you get it right; if you use WordPress you might want to think about the Privacy Simplified Plugin. This plugin will keep you up to date with the latest changes in the law while dealing with all the issues you might face in what you need to disclose. Written by lawyers to comply with the law. Best of all it comes with a money back guarantee.

If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth or you don’t use WordPress, take a look at Online Legal Pages. A solution by the same people who wrote and designed Privacy Simplified it comes with the same great money back guarantee. It solves problems such as Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, Anti-Spam Policy, Earnings Disclaimer, Health Disclaimers and Copyright Notice. Simple to use and keeps you updated.

*And of course, the material disclosure. If you purchase either of these solutions you will help me keep this website free (because I may be compensated for letting you know about them) and you up to date with the latest news.

 

photo by: Steve Rhode

Munging

 

More Website Security

If you will look at the sidebar on the left you will see my contact info. You can email me by clicking on that link, which will open your email client.

Now if I had just typed my email address in, any old email scraper could have crawled my site and lifted it. An email scraper is a bot which crawls around websites, especially business websites and searches for email addresses. It may be someone who wants to spam you. It may be a hacker who wants to spoof your email address (send spam as though it came from your website).

Scraping bots look for certain words or symbols such as “mailto” or “@”. Some are even good at finding email addresses where the owner has gotten tricky and spelled out the word at instead of using the symbol “@”.

So how does one protect their email address from being scraped?

A technique called “munging”.

Munging means using the ASCII code of characters, letters, numbers, and symbols. So if you look at the picture above – you see all those numbers and symbols? That’s ASCII code. If you write out your email address in ASCII code (include it in the html section where you want it to appear, or use your theme dashboard to position it appropriately), whoever visits your website will see your email just as if you had written it out.

Any bot however will only see what you see in the image above. A bunch of numbers. (Using this method will stop about 85% of current spambots looking for email addresses)

So protect your email from spammers, spoofers, and hackers. Learn how to mung.

If it’s too hard for you…here’s a Munging Tool graciously provided by Project Honeypot. A project which tracks spammers and hackers and works with law enforcement to stop them.

 Website Securityelhombredenegro via Compfight cc

Website Security

Website security is an important part of any business. Having your website taken over by a hacker is not something you want to have happen. And it happens more often than you think. Having your links redirected, data stolen, perhaps even a complete rewrite of your site.

What’s that? You say you haven’t even looked at your company’s website in months? Years?  Best take a look at it. Some company from China may have co-opted your entire domain to get an edge over the competition having replaced your hard work (or expensive work if you paid to have your website created) with their own.

Today I want to talk about website security. Specifically WordPress security since WordPress has become, thanks to its flexibility and wide variety of plugins available, a platform of choice for so many businesses.

WordPress

The first thing you should do, or have whoever maintains your website do, is to change the log-in username to something besides “admin”. As a matter of fact, do not allow them to create a username which is any of the following –

admin, admin1, aaa, adm, sysadmin, administrator, user, root, support, test, qwerty, manager, guest, apache, info, operator, webmaster, backup, demo, member, private, or password.

Downloads

Does your site offer a download? Paid or free it doesn’t matter. What did you name it? Hackers will use a simple technique where they will type your URL into the address bar and append the following to the address –

/?s=download

This forces WordPress to search and list all posts which contain the word download, and in all likelihood the very file you were trying to protect.

Robots

A second avenue of attack for those seeking files to download is the robots.txt file. The robots.txt file is a file which tells search engine spiders and webcrawlers not to look at certain pages and directories.

What the hacker will do is once again type in the URL and append the following to it –

/robots.txt

This will allow them access to the text file which will contain some code such as the following –

Disallow:/NothingHere

That line basically means – don’t see the subdirectory “NothingHere”.
So…why wouldn’t someone want a spider to see that subdirectory? Probably because there is stuff there. A lot of the time it’s the download page.

Don’t name your files conspicuously. Don’t put your download pages on your sitemap.

Wordfence

Wordfence is a WordPress plugin that can be installed free of charge. There is a paid upgrade if you would like to enable Cellphone Sign-in verification.

Log in to your WordPress site Admin Log-in.

Looking down the left hand sidebar, click on Plugins/Add new.

Type ‘Wordfence’ into the search box and hit return.

Choose Install from the plugin page.

One you have been notified that the plugin has been installed, activate it. You will need to go to the plugin website for a free API key. Copy it and paste it in the appropriate box at setup. Then fill out the general info.

Now on the left sidebar you should see Wordfence listed. The first thing to do is to choose ‘Options’.
Make sure all of the Alerts checkboxes are checked.

Under Live Traffic View, check the box for Don’t log signed in users with publishing access.

Under Scans to include, check all boxes except for the paid box that is at the top, and the scan files outside WordPress at the bottom of the list.

Under Firewall rules check the box to immediately block fake Google crawlers.

Under How long is an IP address blocked when it breaks a rule choose 1 month.

Under Login Security Options choose – Force admins and publishers to use strong passwords.
Lock out after 1 failure.
Lock out after 1 forgotten password attempt.
Count failures over the period of 1 day.
Amount of time a user is locked out – 60 days.
Check the final three boxes.

Under Other Options input your own IP address.
Check all the boxes.
Save changes.

Don’t worry about setting the lockout tries to only 1 try. If you forget and lock yourself out, you can change both your username and password in cPanel for another go.

Illegal Entry

Hackers will try to spoof your log-in info. That’s why we had you change your username and passwords. But you can check to see how many people are trying to log in as you by going to the Wordfence plugin, and choosing “Live Traffic”. Now look at the tabs across the top of the workpage that comes up and click on Logins and Logouts.

Any of these that are not you should be blocked. Click on block.

Now look to the left sidebar again and click on Blocked IPs.
You will see a list of all the IPs that you have blocked.
Click to block permanently.

Depending on how many people are trying to hack your website the notifications for these attempts should die down within a few weeks of blocking most of the active hackers.

This is a good start for safeguarding your website so you can concentrate on doing business. Not wondering where your website has gone.

BrandingMorphsuits by peter mackinnon


Branding

No, I’m not talking about writing an award-winning personals ad that’s going to score you that hot date.  I’m talking about branding for the entrepreneur. The lone entrepreneur who has no other employees. From the sole proprietor, to the garage-dad fleamarketer, to the baking-mom cookie caterer. Freelancers, consultants, any one person shop.

So we just have to look at the person because they are their brand…right?
Not so fast. First off, a business can have several brands. Even if there is only one chief cook & bottlewasher. Especially the more multi-faceted a business is.  There might be a brand for each targeted audience.

First, we should look at what a brand entails. A business does not own their brand. Not in the way most people think. A brand is owned by the customers of the business. The customers are the ones who think certain things, and feel a certain way about your company.

It’s not just a catchy name or fancy logo. It’s a lot more. Branding encompasses the whole of the look of your business and products, your image, your brands colors, fonts, and tagline. Even the furnishings and office your clients may get to see. How does it make them feel? Think of your favorite place to eat, how does it make you feel while you are there? They spend a lot of time and money-making sure you feel that way.

It’s also your business promise. What you promise to deliver to your clients, over and over and over again. Whether that is excellent service, a unique product, or the best price. Your clients need to feel and believe they can count on you.
The promise you make to your clients is expressed with your tagline or slogan, the business practices you establish, and the end products or results you provide.

Meaningful brands are made on solid principles & values that the business has made public.

A brand is the feeling your customer (and vendors) get from working with you. It’s the feeling that you, that your company is the solution to their needs or problems.

Maybe. The lone entrepreneur needs to step outside their business and see it the way their customers do. You can certainly be a part of your brand. But a business can be sold…you cannot.

The lone entrepreneur developing their brand needs to keep such things as the background of the company, its objectives, the target audience(s), the message, your competition, its distinguishing characteristics, the tone, any creative considerations that need to be in place, even the language and mannerisms you use in dealing with clients.

It’s identity for your business.

In the beginning, its personality might be you. But as you and it grows, it might become multiple companies with different goals.

Don’t confuse your personal identity with your brand. A business brand is much much more.

It can help to know who is speaking when you interact with people. Is it your business, or is it you the person being social?

As you go along you must on occasion re-examine your goals for creating the company, your companies goals (it’s mission statement), and how they fit together and accomplish things as you move into the future.

When someone asks you what you do, or asks about your business, your brand slogan is a good way to capture them and further your brand. No more than ten to twelve words. Make it emotional. Make it informative.

Remember what Steve Jobs said about the iPod – “it’s a thousand songs in your pocket”, and he has grabbed generation after generation with it.

%d bloggers like this: