July 16, 2008

Guest Post: Bible as Human Creation

Below is a fantastic (and very long) guest post from reader and atheist, Bill Carson. Bill lives in Colorado Springs, CO, approximately 100 yards from a certain James Dobson. Talk about a threat to property values! In the post that follows and which he agreed to let me share with you, Bill exposes some of the craziest parts of the Christian bible and asks believers to confront them. He raises some pretty persuasive questions. Frankly, I am baffled as to how Christians can get their heads that far underneath the sand.

It is hard for me to agree with the idea that an all-powerful god would allow so many errors, contradictions and horrible teachings to be in the Bible. It seems obvious that the Bible was written by men long ago with no influence from a god. At least not a god I would be interested in worshiping. Below, I would like to explain why I have come to this conclusion.
  • Ex. 31:15 Kill anyone that has worked on a Sunday.
  • Ex. 21:17 Kill anyone who has ever got upset and used swear words against one of their parents.
  • Lev. 20:10 Kill anyone that commits adultery (adultery is defined as marrying someone that has been divorced according to Matthew 5.32)
  • Ex. 22:20 Destroy those that follow other religions.
  • Deuteronomy 17:2-7 Kill anyone with a different religion.
There are many more outrageous laws and teachings in the Bible. Many Christians will say that since the above laws are in the Old Testament, Christians can ignore them because Jesus came to change those old laws. But, the Bible tells a different story. The writers of the Bible claim that the two verses below are direct quotes from Jesus.
Luke 16:17 “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”

Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But, whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Here is more of God’s word (according to the writers of the Bible).
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
  • Isaiah 40:8 “the word of our God stands forever”
  • 1 Peter 24:25 “but the word of the Lord abides forever”
  • Psalm 19:7 “the Law of the Lord is perfect”
Do any of these verses make it sound like parts of God’s word should not be followed anymore?

Why have so many Christians told me the Old Testament teachings are not relevant when there are so many verses that clearly state that this is not true? The same people who will tell me that the O.T. verses I quote are no longer valid will quote other O.T. verses and claim they are God’s words which should be followed. Many Christians will quote verses that say different things than the verses I quote. Which makes an important point, the bible is full of contradictions! You can find plenty of verses that say you should kill people and plenty of verses that say to be nice to people.

Some of the teachings of the New Testament are not that much of an improvement.
For example:
  • a believer can drink any deadly poison and it will not harm them (Mark 16:18)
  • do not resist who is evil (Matthew 5:39) no one should have fought back against Hitler?
  • whoever curses against their mother or father should be put to death (Mark 7:10)
  • there are verses that still approve slavery in the New Testament (1 Peter 2:18, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2) these verses are telling the slaves to obey their masters
Another major problem with the Bible is this. Most of the stories are not from eye witnesses. They were written by people sometimes hundreds of years later who were trying to promote the religion they were writing about. Also, many of the stories in the Bible are very similar to stories that were written about other religions that had been created by men earlier. The Mormons, Muslims, Christians and Jews appear to have a lot in common. The men involved at the beginning of each religion claim that an angel or god himself told them what to write in their book (Book of Mormon, Koran, Old Testament). But, all 3 books have a lot of words that appear to have come from human sources, not from the mouth of a god or angel.

Many people have suffered or been killed because of those who follow the teachings of the Bible. A human being is probably less likely to want to hurt another person unless there is a book they think comes from the word of God that tells them to kill people that have different religions or work schedules that require work on Sunday, etc. Please do not make the argument that only radicals have done bad things in the name of religion. In many cases, they are just doing what the Bible tells them to do. How is that “radical” to just love the Lord and do what the word of God says?

The writers of the Bible were probably writing words which they hoped would help them to accomplish many different things. Below are some examples:
  • controlling behavior by making people afraid of going to a bad place after they die if they do not obey what the writers of the Bible say
  • keep the religion going a long time (encourage having lots of kids and indoctrinate the kids early to believe that they will go to a bad place when they die if they do not follow the religion of their parents)
  • own slaves Leviticus 25:44 (the writers of the Bible claim their god said it was ok to acquire slaves from the pagan nations, of course their race should not be slaves) and Ephesians 6:5 (they actually included a verse that told slaves to obey and serve their slave masters just like they would Jesus Christ)
When the writers of the Bible include verses like that, it makes me wonder if they were ever concerned that it was going to be too obvious that they were just making up verses that would be to their benefit. Look at the logic.
  1. God’s people can acquire slaves from other nations
  2. God’s people should not be slaves
  3. God says that the slaves need to obey their masters (God’s people)
Isn’t that very convenient for God’s people? (the people responsible for writing the Bible)

The Bible teachings about women are so anti-women that it seems obvious that men, not a loving god had to come up with them. Look at the examples below.
  • Exodus 20:17 women are property of husband
  • Exodus 21:7-11 rules for selling your daughter into slavery
  • Leviticus 19:20-22 if a man rapes a female slave the female should be punished Deuteronomy 22:28-29 rules requiring a virgin to marry the man who raped her
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 women should remain silent in church
  • Ephesians 5:22-24 rules about how women should submit themselves to their husbands Numbers 31:17-18 here the writers of the Bible claim that their god has ordered them to kill all the Midianites except for the Midianite virgins which they can keep for themselves (I wonder if the women doubted whether their loving god really inspired this verse?)
  • Deuteronomy 22:20-21 kill women who are not virgins on their wedding night
Isn’t it amazing that a group of primitive men could write stuff like this and have it catch on and last for thousands of years?
  • there are many examples in the Bible where men have multiple wives (another example of how the people who wrote the Bible keep favoring men over women)
  • get the masses to go to war to conquer new lands (the Bible has helped motivate believers to go kill people in other lands that have different beliefs)
  • get money (10% of everyone's money is supposed to go to the people who created and then later promoted the religion)
  • make their race the most important (the writers of the Bible made sure to claim that their God selected their race to be the “chosen one”) wouldn’t it have been a lot more believable if the Bible was inspired by a god and the people writing the stories did not happen to be the chosen ones?
  • to try to explain things that are probably always going to be unexplainable
There are even examples in the Bible where there are references to the 4 corners of the earth and going up high to see all ends of the earth. It appears that the writers of the Bible thought the earth was flat. Why didn’t an all-knowing god inspire only verses that clearly state that the earth is round?

Many people have told me that even if it is not true, Christianity is still a good thing. Of course women, slaves, non-Christians, gays, Sunday workers and adulterers may have a different opinion. Well, if is ok to believe in something that is probably completely made-up why don’t we make up a new religion where there is not so much bad stuff written in the book the followers base their beliefs from. Maybe the many problems with the Bible are a reason why Scientology was created and is popular with a lot of people. Of course, another question is why do so many people feel the need to believe in fairy tales and a space daddy in the sky? Why can’t we just live our life with the rational idea that we just do not know how we got here and what happens after we die?

Here is the most common point in favor of Christianity. Something had to have created all this. That may be true. Maybe something did create this world. But, how do you know hardly anything after that premise? Maybe this world was created by a few gods working together. Maybe the god or gods that created this are not interested in being worshiped. Worshiping is kind of a strange concept. If you had the power to create an earth with human beings, would you require that they all had to worship you? Maybe whatever created the earth is not paying much attention to us anymore. So, even if it is true that something created all this, we know virtually nothing about how this something wants us to live our lives. The Bible is certainly not a consistent, moral, practical guide to live by. And, I hope that most of this letter shows how obvious it is that a god did not inspire the Bible anyway. Also, it is difficult to respect this something if it has the power to stop really bad things from happening and does not bother to do it. Also, why don’t the creators or creator make it easy for a rational thinking person to know they are around? Is it maybe because they are not involved here on this earth or maybe do not exist at all?

Another common argument is “what if you are wrong?” I have trouble understanding that argument. If you want to believe in a religion just in case it might actually be true, how do you decide which one to believe in? Should I believe in the Greek gods just in case they might be true? Also, I do not see how I can pretend to believe in a religion if deep down I really do not think it is true.

What are the chances that the religion someone chooses to follow is actually truthful? Out of the thousands of religions that have been started throughout history only one could be completely true, and probably they are all wrong. No one really knows what created all this and what happens after we die. It is amazing how many religions are flourishing when there is so little evidence that any of them are telling the truth.

My experience has been that the more I read the Bible the more obvious it is to me that it was written by a small group of men trying to get a religion started that would benefit them. When you read the Bible carefully, does it really appear to be inspired by an all-knowing, all-powerful and loving god? There are just way too many errors, contradictions and horrible teachings for the Bible not to be the work of human beings. It makes sense to me that a group of men are likely to come up with a law where a raped virgin has to marry the man who raped her. If more people would read the Bible carefully, I think there would be a lot more atheists and agnostics in this world.

Bill Carson

Subscribe to Atheist Revolution

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © vjack and Atheist Revolution, 2005-2014. All rights reserved.