Writing the Bible

Remember, each individual book of the Bible was composed hundreds of years before the whole thing was codified.  The authors never knew that they were writing something that was going to be the holy book.  But I digress – my point is, why in hell, would the priests who codified the Bible in the 300’s keep in the parts where Jesus told his followers he would “return in their lifetimes”.  (Luke 21:32-33 The earth and sky will be destroyed in your lifetime.  Matthew 10:23 – The Son of Man will come again before you can even travel from city to city…)

Why didn’t the priests in the 300’s take those parts out since at that point it was obvious that was false?

If the Bible was the work of a creator of the universe who could communicate with us, it wouldn’t say these things.

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The Bible For Children

I bought the book  The Bible For Children: From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present by Ruth Bottingheimer (1996 Yale U. Press) “used” on Amazon and it was a bit dry and historical, but it told me what I wanted to hear.  That “Children’s Bibles” became popular in the 1800’s, and they drastically edited the various Bible stories to suit the readers’ needs.  “Revisions undeniably aided nineteenth century mothers and governesses who felt incompetent to deal with the Bible’s unaltered text: its manifest improprieties forced them to resort to ‘constant artifice and evasion to divert the attention of inquisitive children from [unfit] subjects’. The Abraham and Isaac story is one of the only potential violent parental/child instances ever detailed; yet that one story is one of the most effective at scaring children into “becoming religious”.  If you piss God off, he’s not going to be so lenient next time.

In another instance, “…the full, and illustrated story of Lot and his daughters has  been so thoroughly suppressed in the twentieth century, that contemporary adults routinely respond to its telling with incredulous consternation.”

The author of the current satirical set of books entitled,  Awkward Moments Children’s Bible contains cartoon illustrations of some of the most violent and innappropriate verses in the Bible.  The author goes by the pseudonym “Horus Gilgamesh” because of the constant death threats he receives.  And all he’s doing is quoting the Bible!

I recall when my oldest child was in pre-school at a local Lutheran church, they held a book fair, and he went through the line and simply picked up whatever book the kid in front of him chose.  I flipped through it and was aghast at the implications therein: “If I die today, I won’t worry because I’ll be with Jesus”.  To my paranoid parental mind, it invited a young child to dash into a busy street. I said as much to the parent standing next to me, and she said, “no, this is when you want to reach them, when they’re young.”  And I thought, that’s interesting.  She was talking about brainwashing.

Children’s Bibles tend to tell basically only the creation story, the flood story, the above mentioned Abraham and Isaac story, Moses in the rushes, Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah and the whale/big fish, David and Goliath, and the Jesus stories.  As much as kids question “why?” when they’re four, for some reason kids don’t question who Cain’s wife was.  Or why God didn’t create Jesus from the get-go, if Christianity is the one true religion.  Or why  their friend goes to Synagogue and not the Baptist Church like they do?

I’m totally going to write a Children’s Bible for Skeptics.

The 100% true Bible

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shal not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

And they both died before midnight.  And the animals roamed the earth with no humans for ever and ever, the end.

 

Reading the Bible

I remember reading the Bible when I was a teenager – kind of as a challenge.  I think I read my little onion-skin paged KJV but soon after that I bought a “The Way” version, written in 1970’s hip language.

But I didn’t think critically about what I was reading – I just read it so I could say I had. I’m sure I didn’t make it all the way to the end.

But if I had read it critically, I would have wondered:

Gen 1:1 “In the beginning” – has God always existed?

Gen 1:2 “the waters” – how was there water?

Gen 1:5 God called the light day on the first day bud didn’t create the sun until the 4th day.

Gen 1:7 “the waters above the firmament” – The Chinese thought the stars in the Milky Way were water.

Gen 1:11 God creates the plants before the sun.

Gen 1:16 (personal favorite) “lesser light to rule the night”

Gen 1:25 all creeping things were good (except that damn talking snake) (clean v. unclean)

Gen 1:27 Male and female he created them (at the same time, and after the animals)

Gen 1:29 – they can eat any plant (oh, those magic mushrooms!)

Gen 1:30 they can eat any animal (unclean ones defined much later)

Gen 2:17 the day they eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they will die

Gen 2:19 God created animals after man in this verse.

Gen 2:22 God created woman after animals in this verse (did he create male and female animals at the same time?)

3:22 The man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. (How many gods are there? And why is it bad to know good and evil?  If they hadn’t eaten the apple, would humans be blissfully ignorant?)

3:23 He drove them out of Eden but didn’t kill them.

4:1 I have gotten a man from the Lord. (what?)

4:12 (Cain) A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be.

4:14 Everyone who findeth me will slay me (Everyone being Adam and Eve)

4:17 And Cain knew his wife (who?) and built a city. (not my idea of a vagabond and fugitive)

5:2 God creates man and woman “and called their name Adam”

5:3 And Adam lived 130 years and begat Seth.  This version doesn’t even include Cain and Abel.

6:1 The sons of God saw the daughters of men and married them.  (Who were these sons of God?)

6:19 Two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark.  They shall be male and female.

7:2 Of every clean beast, thou shalt take by sevens, the male and the female (and one of your choice) and of beasts not clean, by two the male and the female.

7:8 Of clean beasts and unclean fowls – 2 and 2.

7:15 2 and 2

8:7 He sent forth a raven which didn’t return (so there’s only one now?)

8:11 In her mouth was an olive leaf (how did it survive?)

8:20 And Noah built an altar, and took of every clean beast (not defined until Moses) and fowl and offered burnt offerings upon the altar.

10:5 Every one after his tongue

10:20 After their tongues

10:31 After their tongues

11:1 And the whole earth was one language.

 

So if you don’t believe the Bible is 100% fact (and how could you), how do you decide what’s fact and what’s fiction?  Why is any of it fact?

 

 

Facebook censoring

Various Facebook secular sites are being shut down recently, despite very violent memes being shared on religious sites.  People are very frightened of free-thinkers, apparently, and they think that shutting a page down on Facebook makes everything ok.  “Scary Bible Quote of the Day” gets shut down regularly, and the writer behind “Awkward Moments Family Bible” won’t reveal his name because of the constant death threats he gets.  And these are pages that simply quote the Bible.  Rather than check to see if they’re accurate, people would instead prefer to become angry and shut them down and make threats.  Now that’s frightening.