Before we can talk about the Bible we must consider another question, a deeper and a far more important question.
First we must consider God.
Throughout history mankind has sought God. Sought to find some proof, some indication, some hope, that God is; or might be.
That search goes on today.
Wisdom seeks to find a trace of God in the vastness of eternal space, seeks some indication throughout the far reaches of the cosmos–within the very heart of nature itself–that there is, or might be, some guiding intelligence–however remote–that would, perhaps, be God. Wisdom seeks, and continues to seek, a trace of God, but has not yet found that trace.
Upon this tiny, remote, speck that we call earth and home, and across the endless reaches of space, wisdom and science finds only nature and the workings of nature. Nothing more!
And yet, while wisdom seeks and searches in vain for a trace of God, ignorance found God. Or, at least, believes it has found God, Ignorance not only found God, but has direct information as to what God said and did, what God wants, what God thinks, what God likes, and what God hates.
The ignorance that found God has nothing to do with religious believers today. God, or the illusion of God, was found long ago; in the childhood of the human race. Ignorance found God long before mankind found science; even before the wheel was invented, or fire was captured and made a friend of man. In that barren, cold, dangerous world stood our remote ancestors. Humanity was in its infancy, struggling to understand the forces of nature, to escape its enemies, to feed itself, and to reproduce its kind. The human mind was emerging from the darkness of animal instincts into the beginnings of reason. Its only thought: Survival! It was a dangerous world with enemies, everywhere and always.
“How great and powerful was our leader who was killed last season” they would think. “If only his might was with us now, we would easily destroy this enemy.”
“Oh great leader help us in this time of our greatest need!”
And so ignorance created faith in the face of necessity.
And God was born!
This God that ignorance found, or formed, looks a great deal like a man. They tell us it has a face, hands, bowels, a foot (maybe two). They tell us it has nostrils and likes to smell the burnt offerings upon the primitive altar.
[NOTES: Face: Ex. 33:11,20,23; Num. 14:15. Hands: Ps. 28:5. Bowels: Jer. 31:20. Foot: Is. 37:25. Maybe two feet: Ps. 18:9. Nostrils: 2 Sam. 22:9,16. Smell burnt offerings: Gen. 8:2]
This God, that ignorance found or formed, also has remarkably human desires and emotions. It hates, it loves, it feels anger and it feels compassion. It has favorite individuals, and a chosen people. This God is definitely of the male sex, and has definite male tendencies. It is often angry, easily enraged, swears, destroys things, pouts, shouts, deceives, and often rests.
Any wife would recognize God.
[NOTES: Hates: Mal. 1-2,3, Rom. 9:11-13. Love: Deut. 7:13. Anger: Ex. 4:14. Compassion: Ps. 111:4. Favorite: Ex. 3:21. Chosen people: Is. 44:2. Angry: Deut. 9:20, 1 Kin. 11:9, etc. Enraged: 1 Sam. 6:19. Swears: Gen. 12:3. Destroys things: Gen. 6:17. Pouts: Ex. 32:9-10. Shouts: Ps. 47:5. Deceives: Jer. 20:7. Rests: Gen. 2:2]
This God that was found by a primitive and ignorant people some thousands of years ago, just happened to have the same world outlook, and the same beliefs about nature as the people who found him. This God thought the sun revolved around the earth, and that a day could be made longer by simply stopping the sun for a while. It is truly amazing, the number of similarities there are between the beliefs of God, and the beliefs of the people who discovered God.
[NOTE: Stopping the sun: Josh. 10:12]
Those people, though primitive, possessed skills, and so did the God they found. This God gave instructions for building a boat, he designed clothes for the priests, gave the formula for a perfume, was a tailor and made coats of skins. This God also made many simple, often foolish, laws that are called “Commandments.” And God did many other things very human, and very peculiar to the time and people who first discovered God.
[NOTES: Boat: Gen. 6:14-18. Designed clothes for the priests: Ex. 28:39. Formula for perfume: Ex. 30:34-35. Made coats of skin: Gen. 3:21]
But of all the human-like things that God is said to have done, the most important thing of all, we are told, was to write books, or to guide the hand and mind of those who wrote. It is the books that God is said to have written, or caused to be written, that are to be considered tonight.
The story I have told about the discovery of God is not unique. Anthropologists agree it has happened many times, and in many different places. Whenever primitive people needed a God they have always found a God, tailor made. It was their own God, and always resembled them a great deal. The God always had the same enemies and the same morals, as the people who found him, and many of those Gods were authors; They wrote books.
I would have no trouble, if I were in a Moslem part of the world, convincing the people there that the Christian Bible is not “the word of God.” If I were addressing Buddhist, Hindus, or people of any other religion I would have no trouble proving, to their satisfaction, that the Christian Bible is not the inspired word of God.
But I am in a Christian dominated part of the world. And being in a Christian part of the world, I feel that I would have no trouble convincing most of you that the Moslem holy books are false, that those books are not the true word of God. You would tend to agree that all those other people, who have other Gods and other religious books, are mistaken. You might agree that they have been misinformed, or even deceived. It would seem that people in other parts of the world are so easily made to believe whatever is accepted in their part of the world. They so easily believe in false idols. Only we, who happen to be born in the Christian part of the world, have the “true truth.” Well, most of us do. There are, of course, the Jews, and those terrible old Atheists, and many others who refuse to accept the “truth” of the Christian Bible …. but they don’t count.
Let us ignore the non-Christians among us and assume the Christian religion–and Bible, is totally accepted in this part of the world. The point is simply this: is truth geographical? Should not the same things that are true in Iran be also true in India, Japan, Africa, Canada, and in the rest of the world? It would seem so, doesn’t it? Scientific truths are universal, why are religious truths not universal? Is it reasonable to assume that we alone are right and all the rest of the world wrong? That we are the ones, the only ones, who have the true God and the true “word of God” book?
Can the simple God of the Christian Bible, that is so like a man, that is so like the people who first found God, can that God be the God that wisdom seeks? Wisdom is well aware of the God that the primitive mind has found. Wisdom is aware of the Bible, and of all the other God books, and is aware of the religions built upon those books and those Gods; and yet wisdom and reason continue to seek God, or even a trace of God.
Once the God idea was established in a tribe it was passed along from generation to generation, the children were taught to believe as the parents believed, and the children’s children were in turn taught to believe. Just as we were taught to believe what our parents believed. Children have always been taught to believe, but never to question.
And so God became a self perpetuating assumption.
In our part of the world the Christian Bible dominates. In these countries there are many people who believe the Bible is “the inspired word of God.” They have been taught to believe that book is the foundation of our laws, the essence of justice, the source of our liberty and even of our civilization. They believe it promises to defeat death and gives hope of another world where happiness will be theirs for all eternity.
I wish it were true.
Those people have not read the Bible, or they have read it with a closed mind. They have failed to see the ignorance, the injustice, the hatred of liberty, the religious intolerance, the persecutions, and the gross immorality that is in the Bible.
They remember the heaven, but they forget the hell.
It is not lightly that I take the task of proving the Bible cannot be the word of God. If the promises, though false, were helpful to mankind, I would pass over them in silence. But they are not beneficial! “Holy books” have never been a help to humanity, and can never be. In fact they are becoming more dangerous every day. The honest historian knows that religious books are, and have always been, a great burden to mankind. And in spite of all our modern knowledge those old books continue to cause hatred and wars today.
So we must examine the Christian Bible, not because it is greatly different from other religious books, of other nations and of other Gods, but because it is the one book that is made to dominate our society by indoctrination. We are taught to believe it in childhood, and forbidden to question it in adulthood. It endangers our modern world, it prevents intellectual maturity and limits the scope of our thoughts to primitive legends.
Is the Christian Bible “The inspired word of God”? Let us think carefully what that claim must mean. With that claim comes the obvious conclusion that the Bible must be “God perfect.” That is to say the Bible must be far more perfect than any mere human minds could possibly have made it. Any mistake in that book, any error or contradiction, in fact or form, would prove that book could not be “God’s inspired word.”
Not only would the Bible be perfect in itself, but it would be equally plain and understandable to every human mind, and every person would understand it exactly the same.
Perhaps you feel that I demand too much of a mere book. That a God who could create the human understanding, could not be expected to produce a book that would agree with that creation.
Personally, I believe it is asking too much of us to believe that God would write, or inspire, a book that mankind could not agree upon. A book that has caused endless wars, persecutions, torture, bigotry and hatred. A book that is so unintelligible that not only do “non-believers” reject it, but those who believe it to be the true word of God cannot agree upon its interpretation. There are hundreds of different Christian sects in the United States alone, and that does not include the countless thousands of private individuals who have their own, personal, interpretations of the Bible.
The very fact of this debate, or any debate about the Bible, is irrefutable proof that the Bible cannot be “the word of God.”
It is often claimed by theologians that the original scriptures were perfect, but that the Bible has lost is perfection through copy errors and by being translated through several languages. Impossible! There could not be an imperfect copy or translation of a perfect book that was perfectly understood by the translator. God would not permit it!
If there is a God.
There are many versions of the Christian Bible and there are many conflicting interpretations of each version. Not only by the ordinary Christian believers and clergymen, but by those scholars who have spent their entire lives studying the scriptures. Such confusion is not the work of God.
From the evil and confusion the Bible has caused, and continues to cause, and from the primitive, foolish and contradictory nature of that book, it is self-evident that the Bible cannot represent the word of God. I will quote a few passages, from one of the many versions of the Bible to show why I reject the Bible. I will quote the King James version, as I read and understand it. I am not foolish enough to believe what I understand the Bible to say, is what the Bible says. Considering the numerous versions and interpretations of the Bible, I am amazed that there is any person on earth foolish enough to believe his, or her, interpretation of the Bible is the correct one; that he or she alone, somehow, has stumbled upon the true meaning of the Bible, while all the other believers, non-believers, ministers, priests, scholars and infidels have misinterpreted, and misunderstood, the Bible.
Some people say there are over two thousand self- contradictions in the Bible, some other people say they cannot find even one. All I can do at this time, is to point out a few, of the many, that seem contradictory to me.
I will begin with the first commandment that God gave to man; the one that no fundamentalist Christian has ever broken.
Genesis 2: verses 16-17 reads: “And the Lord God, commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
According to the Bible, the man, Adam, did not die in the day that he ate from the forbidden tree. For the Bible says that Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden and; Genesis 5: verse 5 reads: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.”
But, as I understand the Bible, there is yet another contradiction to Genesis 2: verse 16-17.
In Genesis 3: verse 22-23 God seems to be talking to some other Gods and I read it to say: (22) “And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil–lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; (23) therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
In Genesis 2:16-17, God said “of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat but of the tree of knowledge.” Now, in Genesis 3:22-23 we find that there is yet another tree in the garden that was forbidden; the tree of life.
As I read the Bible, it does appear that God’s word cannot be relied upon as in this, apparent, contradiction:
Exodus 33: verse 20, God is said to have said: “Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live.”
Exodus 33: verse 11 reads: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speakest unto his friend.”
That seems like a self-contradiction to me, but as I have said, the Bible is obviously incomprehensible, and you may not see anything strange about the two statements at all. I could spend the rest of the evening giving contradictions that are to be found in the Old Testament, so I must skip over the rest.
How about the New Testament, are there contradictions in that too? Well, some say there obviously are many contradictions in the New Testament, and there are others who say there are none at all. I can only tell you what that book says to me.
As I read the New Testament I find the first contradiction in the very first verse, of the very first chapter, of the very first book of the New Testament.
In Matthew 1: verse 1, I read.–“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” And after that verse comes a long line of “begats” until we come to verse 16, that reads: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
Now if Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus, but only the husband of Mary, as Matthew 1:16 says, then Matthew 1, 1 to 16, is not, cannot be, “the origin of Jesus Christ,” as is stated in the first chapter, first verse of Matthew.
But if Joseph is the natural father of Jesus, as is implied in other verses of the Bible, then the story of Jesus being born of a virgin is the contradiction. That legend is in Matthew 1:18 and reads: “Now the origin of Christ was in this wise. When Mary his mother had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”
Also, and most important, if Jesus were born of a virgin and was not the descendant of David, then the words of Peter in Acts 2:29-30 are false. In Acts 2:29-30 Peter says: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. (30) therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;”
Now we have a pretty kettle of fish. If Jesus is the son of God through the “Holy Spirit,” as is stated in Matthew 1:18-20, then either he is not the Christ, or God has “sworn with an oath” a lie to David. Or else, Jesus is the son of Joseph, son of David, son of Abraham, and thus might be the “Christ”; but then he cannot be the son of God by the Holy Spirit, and could not have been born of a virgin.
Again I could spend the entire evening going through the apparent contradictions in the New Testament. But as we are speaking of a book that is said to be the word of God, we need only one contradiction, anywhere in the Bible to prove it is not the word and work of God.
If there is a God.
The Bible cannot be true as it constantly contradicts itself. Yet it might be an inspiration to good morals and proper conduct. So let us see what the Bible says about goodness, justice, kindness, morality and respect for family, friend and neighbor.
Let us look at some of the sexual morals that are in the Bible. I will begin with Genesis 19. As I read the story, two “angels” are guests in Lot’s house when “the men of the city” come to the house and Genesis 19:5-8 reads: “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. (6) and Lot went out the door unto them and shut the door after him: (7) and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. (8) Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known men; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do nothing, for therefore they came under the shadow of my roof.”
Naturally, I cannot know what that says to anyone else, but to me it seems to say: “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known men; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes;”
What kind of father would offer his children to a mob to be used as they see fit? I will be honest with you, if you were a guest in my house, I would protect you with all my might, but if it came to the point of it being either you or my children, it would be you. And I would expect the same, if it were your choice between your children or me. If it were God himself, if there is a God, he would go before my children. I am not a Christian. I am very pro- family, my innocent children come first.
But that is not the end of the story, it goes on and gets worse. In Genesis 19:31-32, Lot’s daughters are talking: “And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our Father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come unto us after the manner of all the earth: (32) come let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.”
And this seedy story goes on until Genesis 19:36 reads: “Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.”
Now I know that is not what the Bible says to you who believe it to be “the word of God.” But to me, it seems to say: “Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.” To me that story is pure filth, but others say there is no filth, and no immorality, in the Bible, so I do not know what that story says to others, but to me it is pure filth. And, to me, filth cannot be a part of “the word of God.”
There are many stories in the Christian Bible that I believe are immoral, pure filth. but that one will serve as an example for the rest. After all, we are considering the Bible as “the word of God,” we need only one “bad” story, only one contradiction, only one untruth or injustice, to prove the Bible is not “the word of God.”
Let us consider God’s justice as recorded in the Bible.
King David obtained one of his many wives through kidnap, rape and murder. The story is in the second book of Samuel, chapter 11, and verse 4 reads: “And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him and he lay with her . . .” I hope you will forgive me for repeating such filthy stories, but that is what the Bible says. The story goes on and Bathsheba is pregnant. David has her husband, Uriah, killed and in verse 26 and 27 we read: “And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. (27) And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
Good! Now we will have a chance to see God’s justice in action. How did God punish David for those most awful crimes? How do you think such a terrible man should be punished? Well, God’s punishment for David’s crimes can be read in the second book of Samuel, chapter 11: verse 15, it reads: “And the Lord struck the child, that Unah’s wife bore unto David, and it was very sick.” and verse 18 reads: “And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died.” Believe it or not; God’s idea of justice for the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, was for God himself to murder Bathsheba’s innocent baby. That is God’s justice according to the Christian Bible.
I don’t know what that story says to a believing Christian, but if what I understand the Bible to say, is what it says, it would take a very deprived mind to believe the Bible is “the word of God.”
Let us consider the Commandments of God, according to the Bible. There are not just ten Commandments, as many people seem to believe, but hundreds. There are no less than 73 chapters filled with the Commandments of God. And a God being what a God is, every Commandment must receive the same obedience as every other Commandment. Now, let us see what God hath Commanded.
Exodus 22:18 reads: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” When Christianity had power these eight words caused hundreds of thousands of innocent people to be tortured and burned alive. That Commandment is of the same group as one version of the, so called, Ten Commandments.
God’s Commandment in Exodus 21:2 reads “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go free for nothing.” Exodus 21:4 reads “If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out by himself.” Remember, these are God’s Commandments, and God’s justice, according to the Bible. Exodus 21:5-6 reads “And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children: I will not go out free: (6) Then the master shall bring him unto the judges . . . and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.”
The Bible always upholds slavery, and has always been the greatest obstacle to justice and human progress in the world.
Another of God’s Commandments is Deuteronomy 13:6-8, it reads: “If thy brother, the son of thy mother. Or thy son, or thy daughter, or thy wife of thy bosom. Or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, let us go and serve other Gods which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; (7) namely, of the Gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth unto the other end of the earth (8) thou shalt not consent unto him, nor harken unto him; neither shalt thou conceal him (9) but thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. (10) and thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
Who said God was pro-life?
I have often pointed out to Christians that Christianity has caused untold suffering in the world. That history is so filled with Christian wars, persecutions, torture, burning and hate that no gentle and kind person would call himself a Christian if they knew the truth of Christian history.
The answer is always the same: “How can I, or any Christian today, be held responsible for what people, who called themselves Christians, have done in the past?” And yet, according to the second Commandment God holds the children responsible for the mistakes, or crimes of their parents, “even unto the third and fourth generation.” In fact the entire concept of Christianity is based upon “original sin,” the ultimate in unjust hereditary guilt. I do not believe in hereditary guilt. The very idea that we, the human race are born in sin because of some small misdeed that Adam was said to have done is foolish. No! It is more than foolish, it is insane. Such insanity is not of God.
The very idea that God would have to be born to a virgin, or anything else, and then have to be murdered by mankind, in order to forgive mankind, is very insane. I believe a God would do just as you would do if your child had been naughty, and you had became angry for a while. You would not say to that child: Bringeth thou me a hammer and hitteth thou me upon thine hand, hard, that I mayeth forgive thee thy naughtiness that thou hath done.”
No! You would go to the child, and you would take that child into your arms, and you would tell your child that you love him/her with all your heart, and that you could never really be angry with him. That he/she means more to you than your own life. That is what you would do, or should do: That is what I would do, and any book that says God would do any less simply cannot be the word of God.
We must not be a slave to a primitive superstition. We must not be afraid to think, to question and to investigate. We must set our minds free: Get up off your knees and stand upon your own two feet, raise your head, open your eyes and start to use your mind. The use of the human mind has risen us above all the other animals and has made mankind master of the entire earth. The human mind–reason–is the only hope we have of surviving in our modern, atomic, world. We must learn to use our minds.
There is good news tonight: Spread the good news!
Our minds are now free to reason;
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