I grew up among scientists ambivalent about church. At age 10, I argued my friend out of literal creationism. We decided to make up our own philosophy, the basis of Classical Cynicism. We relabeled Christianity Paulism because Paul mostly wrote the New Testament. Confirmed a Methodist at 13, I thought Jesus was a cool guy. At 14, I argued my grandfather to a stalemate about his newfound faith in Joseph Smith. I felt a dozen witnesses to the golden plates bearing the sacred text of the Mormon faith were shills for a real confidence man. They were offered multiple wives. Who wouldn't go for that deal in 1830 with a life expectancy of 10 years?
In medical practice I have sought evidence for the treatments I offer. I have dissuaded my patients from harmful treatments. I have found dietary supplements and religions to be the same opiates of the masses: "the FDA has not evaluated these claims; not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any disease." The best argument against branded medicines can be their product information — if doctors would only read it. Likewise, people should read their sacred texts in their original languages. They would find that there are five authors of the Penteuch, and Paul wrote the Letters before the Gospels. He mentioned no details of Jesus' personal life because he never intended him to be a historical person. This is detailed in R.G. Price's exhaustive review on RationalRevolution.net.
If Jesus was not a real person, denominations can stop warring over differences in theology and go home. They can spend their tithe on clothes or paying down the national debt.
Dr. Theodore Carl Houk, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun