Bible

From Study
Jump to: navigation, search
The instant we admit that a book is too sacred to be doubted, or even reasoned about, we are mental serfs.

— Ingersoll, Robert, The Gods and Other Lectures p. 14

Infallible

The doctrine of the infallibility of the scriptures asserts that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. If the argument of the doctrine were valid we would expect to not find any inconsistencies in the text, otherwise God by association would be found to be inconsistent.

“It is expected, in mere human productions, that errors will frequently appear; but in a work that is divine, there can be no excuse for faults of any kind, not even in a single instance.”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature pp. 106-107

The gospels in their infancy were the subject of several modifications.

“The lesson to be learned from the history of the three texts above examined is this: First, it is quite erroneous to assert... that the text of the gospels bears no trace of having been altered anywhere for dogmatic or doctrinal reasons. On the contrary, here are three texts [in Matthew] which have been so altered. And, what is more, the interpolated texts have been regularly appealed to for centuries and centuries in defense of the very doctrines in half of which they were inserted.”
—Conybeare, Fred. C, The Hibbert Journal, Doctrinal Modifications p. 112

Even throughout the centuries modifications occurred. For example, the ending of Mark was interpolated from the other gospels yet in the most ancient manuscripts of Mark there exists no ending. That is worrisome considering the fact that most scholars believe Mark to have been the most ancient gospel and that all the other gospels to have borrowed from it.

In order for a continued justification of the doctrine it is said that only the ancient original manuscripts, which are no longer existent, were infallible. But to assert such a statement is to infer that the manuscripts that we have today are inferior to the originals and the natural conclusion being that the Bible as it is in its many translations is not the infallible word of God.

“What was written in the 'original originals' is quite unknown. It is important to remember that the words 'authorized' and 'original', as applied to the Bible do not mean 'genuine', 'authentic' or 'true'.”

Authenticity

Many of the books in the Bible were not written by those who they are generally attributed to. There is no evidence that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament nor any evidence that the apostles themselves wrote the gospels. It is only tradition that has upheld these beliefs. Saint Augustine's argument with Faustus reveals that even in Saint Augustine's time this fact was known of the writings of the New Testament.

“It is not without reason that we bring a critical judgment to the study of Scriptures where there are such discrepancies and contradictions. By thus examining everything, and comparing one passage with another, we determine which contains Christ's actual words, and what may or may not be genuine. For your predecessors have made many interpolations in the words of our Lord, which thus appear under His name, while they disagree with His doctrine. Besides, as we have proved again and again, the writings are not the production of Christ or of His apostles, but a compilation of rumors and beliefs, made, long after their departure, by some obscure semi-Jews, not in harmony even with one another, and published by them under the name of the apostles, or of those considered the followers of the apostles, so as to give the appearance of apostolic authority to all these blunders and falsehoods.
—Saint Augustine, Contra Faustum, Book XXXIII

Stories

There are many stories held up by the Christian community at large as being factual and literal that are merely mythological. What follows is some exceptions to many of the notable ones.

“There is as much reason to believe Mahomet as to believe Moses and Jesus, and their apostles and followers. The fact is, there is no reason to believe any of them, unless the stories which they relate are consistent with the nature of things...”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature p. 73

Creation Myth

The creation story in Genesis suffers from a lack of knowledge concerning the nature of the solar system. It depicts the existence of days without the Sun.

“One thing, however, is remarkable in the account, that there were three days and three nights before the creation of the sun, which is the sole cause of day and night. This proves that Moses, or whoever wrote the 1st chapter of Genesis, was neither a good world-maker, nor a good astronomer... Moses makes day and night without the existence of a sun”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature p. 52

It could easily be said that those "days" are only metaphorical in nature but surely that provides little solace to the mind. If that is the case it could likewise be inferred that all astronomical events and bodies (such as the Sun and Moon) that are mentioned are only metaphorical. The whole story might as well be metaphorical - the end result being that the story is a myth.

Flood Myth

The main of the flood story is that the earth was full of the most vile unrighteousness and it was God's desire to cleanse it with a flood. God is said to have had thoughts only to save one man and his family who were said to have been righteous. It would have been just as easy, if God was going to act in a miraculous way, for him to send an angel of death as it would have been to create a flood to cover the earth. Furthermore, it is unclear why God required Noah to invest his time and energy to build an ark that would be useless afterwards. He could have simply asked Noah to climb the highest mountain and only caused the flood to go to a certain height; the results would have been very much the same. Or God could have teleported Noah and all the animals into the heavens while he flooded the place.

“Noah is supposed to have packed pairs of all animals into his ark. The writer was probably aware of only the animals in his neighborhood in spinning this yarn. He would not have spun such stories if he were aware (nor did the almighty disclose it to him) of the thousands of millions of species of animals, birds and snakes on this earth.”
—William, Xavier, World Religions KL 7906-7909

Charter Myth

The story of the Israelites leaving Egypt in exodus is questionable because there exists no archelogical evidence that establishes the credibility of the story. There exists no evidence of a mass of Israelites having lived in Egypt or for that matter having left Egypt.

“And the Lord said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold."”
—NKVJ, Exodus 11:1-2

God is quoted as commanding the Israelites to steal the valuables of the Egyptians. Such a command is in direct violation of the law that God was said to have given them. The 10 commandments explicitly state,

“Thou shalt not steal.”
—KJV, Exodus 20:15

The Exodus depicts God as sending mixed signals to his people and to all peoples of the earth by commanding a particular tribe to do one thing and then later telling them they should not do that one thing he previously commanded them to do.

“When the chosen people of God were able to leave the land of Egypt, he commanded them to borrow from the Egyptians, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, without any intention of ever returning them to their proper owners, but to march off and appropriate them exclusively to their own use. Here was deception, and a breach of trust of so black a complexion, that is was very ltitle better than downright theft or open plunder.”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature Gb p. 108

War Stories

There are many war stories in the Old Testament in which God commanded the Israelites to go to war with another people often unprovoked. Here is another instance where the God of the Israelites commands one thing and later commands the exact opposite. In other words, God is sending mixed messages to his people which only instills in them inconsistent behavioral patterns.

“Thou shalt not kill.”
—KJV, Exodus 20:13

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with that commandment and saw the people of Israel worshipping a golden calf he was instructed by God to tell the faithful portion to murder the unfaithful portion.

“And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.”
—KVJ, Exodus 32:27

It is odd to observe that in most cases in the scriptures, mankind is left to do God's killing for him especially when God could more easily put to death every unfaithful person. Had God done the killing himself there would have been less of a total loss of life since the faithful wouldn't have needlessly died in combat.

“The Bible tells us, that those assassinations were done by the express command of God. To believe, therefore, the Bible to be true, we must unbelieve all our belief in the moral justice of God; for wherein could crying or smiling infants offend? And to read the Bible without horror, we must undo everything that is tender, sympathizing, and benevolent in the heart of man.”
—Paine, Thomas, The age of reason p. 62

There are other instances where God directly tells the Israelites to go and kill all the people of the land - men, women and children. It perplexes the mind why God told mankind not to murder if he was later going to sanction murder in his name. The command would have been better restated, "Thou shalt not kill unless I tell thee." By which the entirety of the commandments could be reinterpreted, "Do or don't do unless I tell you". The end result being, that rather than the commandments being a holy/sacred/unbroken law, they instead become a method for control and manipulation.

It is no surprise then that the Old Testament reads as wartime propaganda. One of the necessary precursors to war is a demonization of the enemy and that can be clearly seen in the scriptures where every next-door neighbor is declared an enemy of God. A man will more readily charge into battle if he believes he has the backing of his country and the backing of a supernatural being. The priest class preached that fanatical message of nationalism supported by supernaturalism. Any man who would even dare marry a foreigner was considered to have done an act unholy in the sight of God and punishable by death. An immortalization of the heroes or kings of war can also be seen in the scriptures most prominently in the character of King David who is said to have slaughtered thousands upon thousands of men for God's glory.

Questionable Verses

Here are a few of the questionable verses that I have come across authors mentioning.

Old Testament

Curds and Honey
“Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good."”
—Isaiah 7:13-15, NKJV
“There is one further observation upon the nature of this prophectic passage, which is, that after declaring that Emanuel should eat butter and honey, and the reason that is offered for this, is that he might know how to refuse the evil and choose the good; as if the way to discriminate with correctness between moral and immoral principles, was to live upon butter and honey.”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature Gb. 98

New Testament

Love and Hate
“You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you...”
—Matthew 5:43-44, NKJV
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
—Luke 14-26, NKJV
“In the gospel of St. Matthew, we are commanded to love our enemies. By what strange perversion of moral sentiment is it, that we are commanded in one place to hate our nearest relations, and in another to exercise a tender and affectionate regard to our implacable enemies.”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature Gb. 112-113
Arbitrary Will
“For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.””
—Romans 9:15, NKJV
“He declares in some parts of the New Testament, that every thing shall be regulated by his arbitrary will without regard to the nature or character of the case. He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardenth. Is it possible that even a christian believer can suppose for a single moment, that the principles of genuine morality can rest upon such an arbitary basis?”
—Palmer, Elihu, Principles of nature Gb. 193
Doubting Thomas
“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””
—John 20:24-29, NKJV
“But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas.”
—Paine, Thomas, The age of reason p. 13?

Number Discrepancies

Throughout the Bible there are many instances of related numbers being inconsistent which help form a strong argument against the Bible being inspired by God. Below are a few such instances.

House of Jacob

“And the sons of Joseph who have been born to him in Egypt [are] two persons. All the persons of the house of Jacob who are coming into Egypt [are] seventy.”
—Genesis 46:27, YLT
“and Joseph having sent, did call for his father Jacob, and all his kindred -- with seventy and five souls
—Acts 7:14, YLT

Source: Macnaught, John. The doctrine of inspiration. p. 118

Exodus

“And the dwelling of the sons of Israel which they have dwelt in Egypt [is] four hundred and thirty years;”
—Exodus 12:40, YLT
“And God spake thus, That his seed shall be sojourning in a strange land, and they shall cause it to serve, and shall do it evil four hundred years.”
—Acts 7:6, YLT

Source: Macnaught, John. The doctrine of inspiration. pp. 117-118

Whoredom

“And Israel dwelleth in Shittim, and the people begin to go a-whoring unto daughters of Moab,... and the dead by the plague are four and twenty thousand.”
—Numbers 25:1,9, YLT
“neither may we commit whoredom, as certain of them did commit whoredom, and there fell in one day twenty-three thousand
—1 Corinthians 10:8, YLT

Source: Macnaught, John. The doctrine of inspiration. p. 43