The Blasphemy of Bibleolatry

The Bible is an amazing compendium of ancient wisdom and lore that has been handed down to the present world from its Bronze-Age origins at the hands of primitive sheep herders and fishermen. For some, it is seen as being divinely inspired and inerrantly infallible, while others dismiss it for its harsh cruelty, misogynistic paternalism, atrocities of the worst nature attributed to commands from God, and point to its many internal contradictions and factual errors in rushing to dismiss it as a fraud. As a result, the true nature and history of this remarkable artifact are often lost into the arguments about the extremes of calling it either a cruel hoax or a divine miracle.

All too often the Bible is seen in terms of all-or-nothing, black-and-white extremes, often summarized by the question: “Is the Bible true?”

But as Pilate asked Jesus (John 18:38), “What is truth?” And, what is the truth about the Bible?

There are many who are quick to dismiss it as a fraudulent package of worthless myths, while others proclaim it to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God. But can it neatly fit into either simplistic stereotype?

Is the Bible a fraud?

If someone were to come forth today and claim that they had discovered a new work dating back to Bible times, whether that era is defined in terms of the period written about or the more recent period to which we can trace the origins of actual preserved texts, the first question would not be as to whether every statement in it were factually accurate. It would be to determine, using whatever scientific and analytical tools possible, whether the document actually came from the time and place claimed and if it were really written in the ancient times and places of the Bible. We would try to determine its authorship and compare its contents with those of other documents whose authenticity as ancient documents has already been confirmed.

This is the same thing we would do if newly-discovered texts were claimed for the legends of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Mayans, Incas or any other ancient compendium of mythology.

In that context, as to the legitimacy of its claims to be of legitimate ancient authenticity, there can be little doubt in terms of modern Bible scholarship, evaluation of documents preserved, and the historical record of those documents’ origins, that the Bible is clearly the work of ancient writers. As such, it clearly gives us a window into the thoughts of ancient peoples from whom much of modern ethical thinking has developed.

At the same time, the same can be said of the mythologies of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the civilizations of ancient India, Africa, Mesoamerica and Asia. Archeologists and anthropologists treasure the insights that verified discoveries of ancient documents provide about those ancient civilizations and how they thought and lived. Yet, though treasured and revered, few would seriously consider those writings to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God merely because they are really, really old.

Thus the Bible, and whatever insights and wisdom can be found in it, must incontrovertibly be accepted as a great gift to the modern world. But that, alone, does not make it the infallible, inerrant Word of God — a claim that would have to be evaluated separately on its merits.

It should reasonable be expected that any work that would claim authorship or inspiration from a deity described as omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful), would — reflecting the character of its primal source — be completely devoid of any flaws or imperfections. In fact, one of the claims that has often been made on behalf of the Bible by some of its more simple-minded proponents, is that it consists of 66 books produced over a span of some 5,000 years by more than 40 different writers and yet does not have a single contradiction or flaw in it. As we shall see, this claim is, sadly, far off the mark.

For all the richness, insight and wisdom which the Bible provides, we must remember that it came forth from a people who began their existence as nomadic refugees, first from the lands of the fertile crescent, later from Egyptian slavery, and also from subsequent conquests by Babylon (Persia) and Rome. The books of the Bible were produced at differing times, under differing conditions, by writers who often did not know of each other and were not familiar with each other’s works. The Bible itself was not even compiled into its current form until several centuries after the last event in it (other than prophecies) had occurred. The early Christians did not go to their worship services carrying their neatly-packaged Bibles — the Bible was yet be developed and, in those early times, differing communities of Christians (not to mention the Jews from whom the Old Testament of the Bible originated) had very different and sometimes conflicting compilations which only a few could actually possess in those days before inexpensive printing and production methods. Not until early in the fourth century A.D. did councils of mortal men vote to decide which books would be in and which would be out in the final compilation of a standardized Bible. (And even today the process is not fully agreed upon, as Catholic and Protestant Bibles have differing numbers of books, and varying translations of the Bible include or exclude various contested passages.) It is ironic that many Evangelical Bible literalists claim that Catholics are not true Christians, yet they claim divine infallibility of a specific set of ancient writings selected and compiled by the very body whose theology they find fatally suspect.

The result, predictably, is a book which, when carefully examined, presents us with many stunning and direct contradictions, not to mention obvious errors of fact and logic which we would expect to be unknown to ancient primitives but not unknown to an omniscient deity revealing its contents. Additionally, just as any fortune-teller has many success stories to brag about (as well as a good number of failed predictions to try to sweep under the carpet), so the Bible, in its human frailty, also has many stunning successes in its prophecies (though some might have actually been written long after the events predicted actually occurred), but even the edited version that has come down to us also contains many glaring examples of prophecies in which events were predicted in a specific time frame or context, and that context has passed while the prophecy has NOT been fulfilled as predicted.

Let us examine each of these areas (contradictions, failed prophecies and flaws):


1. The very first page of the Old Testament opens right up with contradictory descriptions of the creation (Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2). For example, if the Institute for Creation Research sought relevant information from Genesis, would they determine that plants were created, then animals, then humans (Genesis 1), or humans, then plants then animals (Genesis 2)?  Note that in both passages, time indicators are clearly established.

In Genesis 1 God’s creative handiwork for each day is described in order. In verses 11-13 it clearly states that plants were created on the third day. In verses 20-25 it clearly states that fish and birds were created on the fifth day and land animals on the sixth. In verses 26-31 it clearly states that humans were created on the sixth day, after the land animals had been formed. First plants, then animals then humans.

In Genesis 2 there is a different and contradictory sequence (many Bible scholars believe these were two separate traditions that were consolidated into a single book). In verses 5-7 it says that before any plants had been created (for there was not a man to till the ground), that God first formed the heavens and the earth and then created man. It specifically states that this came first and even states the reason. In verses 8-9 it says that God then planted a garden “eastward in Eden,” and put the man there to care for it, and planted every kind of tree and plant. But it was not good for man to be alone in the garden, so God decided to provide companions and, in verses 19-20 God created companions. So the creation sequence is: first man, then plants, then animals. (And as a side note, this primitive God of the early writings, who would become more decisive as the traditions evolved, decided that these animals didn’t quite provide enough companionship, so he decided to provide a female companion which seems to have proven much more satisfactory. Shouldn’t an “omniscient” [all-knowing] deity have already known this?)

At its most simple, the contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can be stated as: Genesis 1 says that the humans (male and female) were created last, after animals. Genesis 2 says that the man (male) was created first and animals were created much later for the purpose of being the man’s companions, but that didn’t work out so well (God’s error) so, lastly, God created a female human who turned out to be much more companionable. Well, at least until she listed to that darn talking snake and turned out to be somewhat rather naughty (sinful).

So aside from completely lacking in any of the scientific evidence that accompanies, say, evolution (supported by DNA evidence and extensive transitional fossils), aside from the fact that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the myth of a talking snake in a magic garden, the accounts right in the first two chapters can’t keep their story straight.

2. Likewise, the very first page of the New Testament introduces another major contradiction: inconsistent genealogies of Jesus’ ancestry in Matthew and Luke.

Some have “explained” this discrepancy by claiming that Luke is the genealogy of Mary; such a claim acknowledges error, since Luke specifically states that it is the genealogy of Joseph [Luke 3:23], just like Matthew [Matt 1:16]. So, either there is a contradiction (Matthew says that Jacob is the father of Joseph; Luke says Heli is the father of Joseph, and from there back to Solomon not a single name is the same; not even the same number of generations), or Luke makes an incorrect statement of relevant fact.

Many readers have written to defend the claim that Luke is the genealogy of Mary, but that the Bible says that Heli is the father of Joseph because women were not regarded equally with men in the Bible record, and that the father of Mary is also the father of Joseph, which we in modern times would call “father-in-law.” But if we look at the actual historical context of such usages in the Bible, this explanation is quickly shown to utterly fail.

Wherever the Bible identifies prominent women and cites their relationship to their husband’s families, it uses the term “in-law.” Anyone who owns a digital Bible (on a diskette or CD or on your hard drive) should do a quick search on the expression “in-law” and see how routinely this is used throughout both Old and New Testaments to identify that relationship (e.g., Sarai, wife of Abraham, Ruth, and many others). Women are identified both as to their fathers-in-law and, for men, to their daughters-in-law, throughout the Bible. And when the lineage of a woman is identified it is her own ancestors that are cited, as in the case of Esther (see Esther 2:5-7; notwithstanding that Esther then married the King who would certainly provide her with a fine lineage of his own, if things were counted that way). Is Mary, the mother of Jesus, less important than others such as Sarai, Esther or Ruth? If their in-law relationships or genealogies can be included, why not Mary’s? And, can you find one single other example in the Bible where a lineage is cited through the woman but it says someone was the “father of” and then gives her husband’s name instead of her own?

Please also note that translations prepared by professionals take into consideration the context of cultural variations. Perhaps one might claim that the scholars of the King James (almost 400 years ago) were not sophisticated to reflect these cultural implications; however more recent updates (Revised Standard Version, New International Version, Today’s English) have excellent standards of professionalism in developing scholarly translations, and every one of them identifies Joseph as the SON of Heli, and not one of them has concluded that Heli was the father-in-law of Mary.

3. In fact, the entire accounts of the birth of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are not only completely inconsistent, but also include direct contradictions.

Here are examples of details in Matthew but not in Luke:

•    Wise men from East bring gifts (Matt 2:11)

•    King Herod is on the throne at the time of Jesus’ birth (Herod’s reign ends in 4 BC) (Matt 2:1) and kills all babies under age two (Matt 2:16) though there is no other external historical source, Jewish or otherwise, to confirm what would have been a horrendous holocaust.

•    After the birth, Joseph and Mary flee immediately with Jesus to Egypt (Matt 2:13-15)

•    Note: there is no manger, no shepherds, no Roman census, no travel to Bethlehem (they seem to just be there already) and no story of John the Baptist’s birth, and no mention of the reign of Quirinius (Cyrenius) in Syria, which did not overlap at any time with the reign of Herod.

Here are examples of details in Luke but not Matthew:

•    Story of Zacariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist’s birth (Luke Chapter 1)

•    Decree of Caesar Augusts for a worldwide census (Luke 2:1), which is not supported by any corroborating historical account.

•    Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4).

•    Birth in a manger because there is no room in the inn (Luke 2:7; 2:12).

•    Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) and angels (Luke 2:13-15)

•    After the birth, they linger in Jerusalem for circumcision, blessings, etc., and then return directly to Nazareth. (Luke 2:21-39).

•    Birth occurs when Cyrenius [KJV] (aka: Quirinius in NIV, RSV and historical accounts), whose reign began in 6 AD.

•    Note: there are no wise men, no mention of Herod and no flight to Egypt.

The ONLY overlapping details are the angelic annunciation and that it happened in Bethlehem, which was needed to satisfy Micah 5:2, which is often interpreted by Christians as being a prophecy of Jesus.

More significant are the direct contradictions:

•    Matthew notes that Herod, whose reign ended in 4 BC, is on the throne of Judea (Matt 2:1), while Luke claims that Quirinius (or Cyerenius) is ruler of Syria (Luke 2:2), but that reign did not begin until 6 AD, ten years AFTER Herod had left the throne of Judea as claimed by Matthew!

•    Further, Matthew claims that after the birth, Joseph and Mary immediately take Jesus and flee directly to Egypt (Matt 2:13-15), while Luke claims they linger in nearby Jerusalem for Jewish rituals and then return directly to Nazareth (Luke 2:21-39).

It is certainly probable that two different reporters covering the same events would pick and choose different details or which minor aspects to emphasize. That is not the case here. It is not a matter of telling similar stories with only a few differing details or points of emphasis. They are telling completely different stories.

4. Apostles James and Paul disagreed about a key doctrine: whether “salvation” is by faith alone, or faith and works combined. Compare the direct contradictions (when analyzed for parallel vocabulary and parallel grammatical structure in the original language) in wording between Romans 3:28 and James 2:24.

Additional scriptures support faith alone (Romans 3:27-28 & 4:6; II Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5), while others specify the need for works / good deeds (Matt 16:27, Revelations 2:26 & 20:12; 2 Timothy 4:14; Philippians 2:12; James 2:24-26).

The ultimate contradiction of the Bible is the deep division between the two key figures of Christianity: Jesus, revered as savior and god/man; and Paul, the apostle who spread the infant religion of Christianity throughout the known world. The depth of the contradictions between the “apostle” Paul and Jesus (backed up by his brother James) are clearly the most extreme contradictions in the Bible, and merit their own in-depth analysis. These contradictions also explain much of the difference between conservative “Christians” who follow Paul and the liberal Christians who try to follow the teachings attributed to Jesus, and go a long way towards explaining why the conservatives are so unlike anything attributed to Jesus. This analysis can be found at:

These are just a few examples of contradictions that leap quickly to mind. A longer compilation entitled “Biblical Contradictions,” with hundreds of such contradictions (and still incomplete!), can be downloaded as a text file by visiting our web page at:

P.S. Regarding Contradictions in the Qur’an:

Several readers have written to inquire about contradictions in the Qur’an (or Koran). I have read English translations of the words of the Qur’an, which provide access to content, but do not capture the full poetic cadence and meanings conveyed in the original Arabic, and own print and digital versions translated by Muslims. The Qur’an does contains many contradictions, flaws and factual errors. But having grown up Christian, not Muslim, and addressing a North American readership that includes far more Christians than Muslims. And to the extent that, unlike some countries in the Middle East where the threat is, indeed, from the fringe elements of their dominant faith, the United States is threatened with takeover by religious theocrats, that threat, here, comes from extremist fringe elements of “Christian” sects (such as those who kill women’s doctors and bomb women’s clinics and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Christian Identity Movement, Lambs of God, Westboro Baptist Church, Irish Republican Army, etc.), not Muslims, though that is different in some other countries. Therefore, considering my own background and for this readership, I’ll focus on the Bible. Those interested in the Qur’an can check an excellent website:

Failed Prophecies

1. Ezekiel [chapters 26-28] erroneously predicts that during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar [Ezekiel 26:7] the city of Tyre will be utterly destroyed, become a bare rock [Ezekiel 26:4; 26:14 — KJV says “like the top of a rock”; NIV says “scrape away the rubble and make a bare rock”], and never be rebuilt [Ez 26:14; 26:21]. The city was defeated in battle in 587 BC, during King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, but was not “utterly” destroyed or “never rebuilt.” In fact, Tyre today has more than 20,000 inhabitants at the core of the “old city” (on the original site), surrounded by a metropolitan area of more than 100,000 people! (Even within Bible times, long after the battle described by Ezekiel, Tyre had already been rebuilt and, in New Testament times it is still portrayed as a city (Mark 3:8) and as a harbor where ships could unload (Acts 21:3,7), so this could also qualify as a contradiction.

2. Matt 12:40 clearly says: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Please note it says three days and three nights (the same as in Jonah 1:17 which it refers to). Yet all four gospels report that Jesus died on Friday evening and was resurrected on Sunday morning (at or before dawn, some more contradictions on this point), which would only allow less than 36 hours, not three days AND three nights.

Other than the reference in Matthew 12:40 seeking to link Jesus to an Old Testament reference, the gospels use the phrase, “On the third day” instead of “three days and three nights” (Matt 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Mark 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7), to reflect the chronology of death of Friday (first day), in the tomb Saturday (second day), resurrection Sunday (third day) as recounted in all four gospel accounts.

3. In Matt 24:34 Jesus predicts that the end of the world and all the fantastic “signs” he describes will occur within the lifetimes of the “current generation” or those currently living at the time Jesus spoke those words.

Paul and Jesus didn’t agree on much (see the more detailed artcile on the contradictions between Paul and Jesus and James), but they both share this failed prophecy. In addition to the verse from Jesus cited above, this failed prophecy is reinforced even more explicitly by Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians, in I Thessalonians 4:15-17 which makes it clear that Jesus is prophesied to return within the lifetimes of those still alive at the time the epistle is written.

Even ignoring Paul’s much more specific statements in Thessalonians, some have written to claim that the reference in Matthew is to the generation in which the signs and wonders begin, not the generation contemporaneous with Jesus. However, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the reference to generations also refers to a “future” generation. Jesus is referring to a time indicator of when in the future those future events will occur. He says it is in the future, but before this generation passes away. Those who claim the future reference say that means when the sign starts, “that generation” will not pass. But the scripture says “this” generation (proximal), not “that” generation (remote). Jesus does not talk about a “future” generation. He uses the term “this” which refers to an immediate or current reference. In fact some other versions of the Bible, notably “Today’s English Version” (developed by Reader’s Digest) actually say “the generation now living” which is how their professional translators chose to convert the clear and unambiguous source references into modern English. Translators of most other versions seemed content to leave it with the immediate pronominal referent “this” generation which, in the absence of a more remote referent or specific future reference, makes it clear and unambiguous that the reference is to the people of the contemporaneous generation which Jesus is addressing).

4. Isaiah 7:14 is widely claimed as a prophesy for a messiah, who shall be given the name “Immanuel.” This must not be referring to the son of Mary and Joseph, since they did not name him Immanuel, but rather, Jesus. The only reference to the name Immanuel in the entire New Testament is Matt 1:25 referring to Isaiah’s prophecy, but even Matthew never actually uses that as a name or reference to Jesus and, in fact, there is no Bible record of Jesus being named or even ever called or referred to as “Immanuel.”

Similarly, Isaiah 53:5-12 is often cited as a prophecy of Jesus’ atonement and his taking upon himself our sins. In reality, it has nothing to do with anyone taking upon himself anyone else’s sins, nor is it even remotely related to Jesus. Verse 5 states that the victim described is “wounded” and “bruised with stripes” (terminology that describes a flogging but not a crucifixion). It says nothing about the victim dying — on the contrary, verse 10 explicitly states that this unfortunate victim will live a long life (Jesus died young) and see his offspring (Jesus reportedly died childless, unless you accept the “DaVinci Code” hypothesis). Since Peter makes the connection between this passage and Jesus (IPeter 2:24-25), this can also count as a contradiction.

Atrocities and Other Flaws

Numbers Chapter 31 commands the Israelites to invade the Midianites (verse 1-2), the chapter goes on to describe the cruelty, destruction and taking of spoils of war commanded by god. It says God commands the killing of every adult male, and this was done (verse 7). When they return with the male children and females, they are commanded by god to kill all the male children and all the females who “have known man intimately,” which is Bible language for not being virgins (verse 17).

Further, it tells this bunch of horny warriors, as part of their spoils of war, to keep alive the virgin girls “for yourselves” (verse 18) For what? To baby sit them? Why just the girls and not the boys? Why only virgins? Why is their sexual history relevant? Putting it into historical context, and given what we know of the culture of that time, and the tradition of rape and pillage allowed by conquering warriors for military spoils, in that context it clearly appears that, according to the Bible in this passage, God (through Moses) is commanding rape! (Verses 30-35 showing the command was carried out). Some have claimed that the Midianite virgins that the soldiers were instructed to “keep for themselves” means the soldiers were to marry them. However, the Bible has no record of wholesale marriage between the Israelite soldiers and Midianites. And verses 32-35 of this chapter refer to the captured virgins as “booty” (in the King James Version; the New International Version uses the term “plunder”). It does not refer to them as “brides.” In any case, why would they need only brides; after all the men lost in battle, seems they would be more in need of young men if marriage was the object. And after the soldiers have just killed their fathers, mothers, brothers and any sisters who weren’t virgins, I’m sure they can really look forward to loving marital bliss (at least the Israelites won’t have to worry about “in-law” problems, but one would think a compassionate God would have more consideration for these poor girls).

Deut 22:28-29 “[28] If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, [29] he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. (NIV).” In no way is the rape victim given a choice. The marriage must happen. Perhaps she had refused his proposal! All he has to do is rape her and she’s trapped for the rest of her poor, miserable life, with the person who violated her, no matter how righteous and virtuous she had tried to live. She is a double victim.

Exodus 22:18 commands the killing of witches. Lev 20:27 (KJV) commands the killing of wizards (including Oz?)

Exodus 35:2 clearly states that those who work on the Sabbath should be put to death. Do Bible believers feel they are personally obligated to kill those with Sunday jobs?

So that covers the death penalty requirements mandated for witches, wizards and violators of the Sabbath. Additional requirements for the death penalty include gays (Leviticus 20:13), adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), or anyone who just doesn’t share your same beliefs (2 Chronicles 15:12-13). The questions I would ask my friends who believe the Bible to be literally commanded by God would include:

• Are you personally willing to stone, hang or burn someone who claims to be (or you merely suspect of being) a witch?

• Are you personally willing to stone, hang or burn someone who violates the Sabbath?

• Are you personally willing to stone, hang or burn anyone you know who has ever committed adultery?

• Are you personally willing to stone, hang or burn someone for being gay?

Leviticus chapter 21, verses 17-24, makes it very clear that those with a variety of disabilities are not welcome to approach the altar of God. Will Bible believers initiate a campaign to overturn the wicked Americans with Disabilities Act? Verse 20 specifically mentions any defect or “blemish” in one’s vision. I have to admit that I wear prescription glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Deuteronomy 23:1-2 commands that a man wounded in the genitals be considered an outcast, and that a bastard (the innocent child of illicit sexual relations) be outcast “even to his tenth generation.” (No wonder abortion was practiced, and permitted in the law — Numbers 5:12-28 — and in fact, is not prohibited or even discouraged anywhere in the Bible.)

2 Kings 2:23-24 shows that God, through his prophet Elisha, causes two she-bears to attack 42 “small boys” simply because they made fun of Elisha’s baldness. Additionally, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 commands that parents discipline a disobedient son by stoning him to death. Strict observance of these scriptural commands could do much to streamline the backlog in our juvenile justice system.

Judges 11:29-40 God’s covenant with Jephthah requires Jephthah to give his virgin daughter as burnt offering, and it is done. Not only is this offering of a virgin as a human sacri–fice (and his own daughter to boot!) extremely barbaric, it also directly contradicts the prohibition in Deuteronomy 18:10 against allowing one’s own “son or daughter to pass through fire.”

Beyond contemporary issues such as creationism vs. evolution, the Bible contains many other simple errors of fact regarding science and nature: Leviticus 11:6 asserts that hares chew the cud like cows; they do not. Deut 14:18 classifies bats as birds; they are not birds, they are mammals. Leviticus 11:20-23 describes flying insects such as beetles, grasshoppers and locusts as having four legs; they have six. Not surprisingly, those promoting the Bible as the sole authority on science tend to avoid some of these more embarrassing verses.

The Bible is pro-slavery. There are many examples in the Old Testament where slavery was approved by God; it was even commanded that captives in war be taken as slaves (Num 31; Joshua 9:23). Leviticus 25:44-46 outlines the do’s and dont’s of permissible slavery. Verse 46 specifically permits slavery, as long as fellow Hebrews are not the slaves. In Genesis 9:25-27 God commands Canaan to become a slave (the word “servant” is used in King James Version; the word “slave” is used in the more modern Revised Standard and New International Versions). In the kinder, gentler New Testament, Paul wrote that slaves should be obedient to their masters (Eph 6:5-7 & Titus 2:9-10). In I Peter 2:18, it is even specified to be submissive both to masters who are overbearing as well as gentle! Why didn’t they speak out against this moral outrage? Were they afraid of the law? They could at least have remained neutral on the subject.

Leviticus gives some excellent examples of flaws and contradictions. For those who claim that the Mosaic Law was superseded/replaced by Jesus’ higher law, or that Christians are under mercy and not law, I would just say: don’t go around using the usual passages from Leviticus (18:22; 20:13) to condemn homosexuals if you don’t endorse all of its commandments with equal enthusiasm.

Leviticus chapter 11 enumerates permissible and forbidden foods. Permitted are cloven-hoofed cud-chewing animals such as cows and lambs (v.3); forbidden are cloven-hoofed non-cud-chewing animals (camels, etc.); additional animals prohibited as meat include rabbits (v.6), pork (v.7). Verses 8-9 specify that fish with fins and scales are permitted, but all other seafood (specifies both seas and rivers) is an abomination. So I hope none of you Bible-lovers who are too fond of shrimp, crab, lobsters, oysters, and other shellfish., are feeling too cramped by the Law. And it is not just a matter of “law” — foods such as shellfish and pork are described as an abomination. So even if you believe the Law to be superseded, that would no make these “unclean” dietary products any less “abominable” than anything else so described in Leviticus. Actually, I recommend the entire 11th chapter of Leviticus to anyone who takes the Bible too literally.

Lev chapter 12 describes a woman’s uncleanliness during and after menstruation, and ritual purification for women. I hope all those women who cite Old Testament commandments against anything are strict in the obedience to these rituals. Of course, since they can’t speak in Church (1Cor 14:34-35), we don’t need to hear them griping about it.

So again, those who cite the Law of Moses to condemn homosexuality, show themselves to be cherry-picking scripture very selectively, ignoring the prohibitions against the things they choose to indulge in. Similarly, falsely citing the Bible as the basis for “traditional marriage” of one man and one woman ignores the fact that through most of the Bible, the definition of marriage was one man and multiple prepubescent underage women, who were considered his chattel property. And if you want to follow strictly the Biblical definition of “traditional marriage,” it also means that a rape victim must be forced to marry her rapist (Deut 22:28-29). Fortunately, marriage has been evolving and being redefined for millennia.

I’d like to wrap up this subsection with something that it so absurd it seems like a joke, but I’m not kidding. I recently received in my office P.O. Box a brochure just addressed to “Business Manager” at my address (neither my personal or business name was included — kind of the business equivalent of “occupant”). It was from an organization called “The Geocentric Bible Foundation, Inc.” The headline title blares: “Have Scientists Been Wrong? For 400 Years?” By starting with the premise that The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and everything in it is to be taken literally, and from there citing a Biblical basis for claims that the sun revolves around the earth and not the earth around the sun. While most of even those who believe in Bible inerrancy or even Bible literalism would allow for some allegoric or figurative references and would not accept either the Biblical citations or the interpolated conclusions from them, it does show how far afield one can go if one starts from the flawed premise of Biblical inerrancy and infallibility.

Does the Bible include pornography?

As we see increasing calls from Puritanical modern religious Talibangelicals for more censorship, including banning books from schools and libraries, we need to ask, “Should the Bible also be banned?” Should innocent children be protected from the overtly sexualized content found in many of the passages that don’t seem to get mentioned much in Sunday School lessons?

Here are just a few examples of the debauchery contained in the Bible (there are many more):

Genesis 19:30-38 Lot has sex with and impregnates both his daughters

Genesis 35:22 Israel (Jacob)’s son Reuben has sex with his father’s concubine (mistress)

Genesis 38:2-18 Onan has sex with his brother’s wife but spills his “seed” on the ground to prevent impregnating her

Judges 16:1 Samson has sex with a harlot

Ezekiel 23:17-20 “And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them. So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister. Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.”

Explicit verses in Song of Solomon (erotic poetry throughout entire book):
Song of Solomon 1:12-13; 4:5; 7:3; 7:7-8

Numbers Chapter 31 (entire chapter): God commands Israelite soldiers to kill all the Midianites, except the virgin girls to be kept as “booty” (King James uses the term “booty”; the word “plunder” is used in newer versions to describe these virgin girls).

All or Nothing

A number of readers have written to say that the Bible must be accepted as true in its entirety or else it is entirely false.

I have to admit I do not understand this “all or nothing” extremist mentality. Why do they hold the Bible to this extreme standard, but not other works? I read many books. In each, I accept some parts and reject other parts. There are many great philosophers or writers whose ideas I like a great deal, but I can’t think of a single one with whom I am in agreement with 100% of absolutely everything they teach. Just because I may disagree with them on a few points on which I think the author drifts into error does not mean I reject all the points that are valid. If I think them wrong on a few points, it doesn’t mean that I must therefore completely cut myself off from all their other good points.

I assume that Christians can understand this point: if they find a few flaws in the minor details of works by contemporary Christian writers, I’m sure they can overlook these little errors as the works of fallible mortal humans and still accept the main points that agree with their beliefs. Likewise, I believe that Jesus and some of his followers taught many good and worthy lessons. But they were only human. They were doing the best they could and, for the most part, did a pretty good job. The fact that there are flaws just proves their humanness, but does not mean that because they are imperfect they are therefore evil.

The existence of a few minor flaws, some contradictions, and other failings does not discredit the importance of what these ancient thinkers developed with the limited resources available to them in their primitive societies. It only becomes problematic for those who claim that the writings of these ancient philosophers are not merely the works of wise old men but the inerrant, infallible word of an omniscient, omnipotent deity. Having made that claim, it is problematic for them to explain how a perfect, infallible deity could have left divine scripture which, in fact, can be clearly shown to have the flaws and errors that we would expect from a work written by mortal humans. The result is that they become forced to resort to convoluted reconciliations and tortured mental gymnastics to try to explain why the Bible doesn’t actually mean what it clearly does say.

“Triviality” of Errors Cited

Some have written to claim that the Bible errors I have cited are minor or trivial. I have cited many errors, here and on my website with a link to hundreds more. Some are on significant points of doctrine or important points of theology. Many, perhaps most, are indeed trivial. But that isn’t the point. If one believes that the Bible is God-breathed, authored or inspired to be inerrant and infallible, then to be inerrant or infallible means no errors. It must be as perfect as the omnipotent deity claimed to have inspired it.

The claim that errors are “trivial” is a tacit admission that the Bible that we have does contain imperfections. It doesn’t really matter if the details are minor or the result of clerical errors. The Bible we have is not the perfect, inerrant, infallible word of god.

Based on both the original context and the plain, simple words that have been handed down to us in whatever translation, that there is no possible way of explaining away the contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies.

But even if, in some cases, there might be a possible (not plausible, but merely “possible”) way in which a contradiction might be construed to mean something different than what it seems to mean, even with all their contortions of fact, logic and language, the idea that this process of mental gymnastics has to be exercised hundreds of times to make sense of the Bible that has been handed down to us means that, to everyday people, it becomes functionally worthless insofar as it claims to be the perfect and inerrant word of god as opposed to the collective wisdom of the ancients who laid the foundations for modern ethics, law and culture.

What the Bible IS and IS NOT

But the real question is: What does the Bible itself say about its own “infallibility”? Actually, it says nothing. The Bible in its current compilation didn’t even exist until several centuries after the last book was written. Why are religious zealots so quick to claim divine authorship of a book that doesn’t even claim it for itself (with the exception of specific portions of law and prophecy such as “Thus sayeth the Lord…,” but not to the modern Bible as a whole)? The Bible was a collection of separate writings (laws, plays, poems, songs, histories and letters) by individual religious commentators who never imagined their writings would ever be considered divine. They are just like modern writers, making commentary and analysis, who just happened to have their works assembled and voted on by later believers who then canonized their words. They refer to the sanctity of sacred scripture (the body already canonized before their time — such as the Law of Moses and the writings of the Old Testament prophets) never imagining that someday THEIR writings, letters, or whatever will be added to the canon. Paul the Apostle, who clearly believed that the established scripture of his day was inspired (see 2 Timothy 3:16), also clearly acknowledged that some of his own writings were NOT, as when he wrote in 1 Cor 7:12 “But to the rest speak I, not the lord…” (emphasis added); and 2 Cor 11:17 “That which I speak, I speak [it] not after the lord…” (emphasis added).

It is not necessary for good Christians to accept the Bible as the inerrant or infallible Word of God in order to understand and believe in Jesus’ teachings of universal compassion. After all, the early Christians themselves did not have an “infallible Bible” to carry around with them — it wasn’t even compiled until centuries later. Just as we gain insights and understanding from modern writers and commentators of today, without claiming that they are divine and infallible, we can gain insight and understanding from ancient writers, as long as we consider their works for what they are, with critical thinking and common sense — not just blind faith.

We should accept the Bible for what it is: often wise and inspirational, but many times filled with error and cruelty. It is an important historical relic, and the original seed from which much of ethical theory in the Western world has developed, but its words must be discussed, analyzed and evaluated on their merits — as the writing of men, not of God. It does not claim to be anything more.

So … on to a deeper analysis of the premier contradiction: the disagreement between Paul and Jesus on some of the most fundamental issues of Christian theology.

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About Danizier

Be wise. Be wild. Care for others. Love your neighbor as yourself. The mysteries of the universe are not beyond your grasp.

Posted on April 22, 2011, in Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 172 Comments.

  1. I don’t know if I’ve ever read any ‘scholarship’ so devoid of substance and a complete lack of historical and cultural understanding as this article. I’m not more than a layman and could shred half the arguments the author has attempted to make. I’d love to see him debate somebody like William Lane Craig or Gary Habermas (sp?)… it would be a lot of fun to watch!

    • Always interesting when someone expresses dissent, disagreement and dispute, but can’t actually cite any specific point of error to challenge. They just wish they had someone else, some other expert, who could do it for them.

      Fact is, there are many who go to great, convoluted, complicated lengths, employing tortured semantic gyrations to try to “explain” why the Bible doesn’t really mean what it so very clearly — in historical and textual context — clearly states.

      Unlike Andy, I backed up what I questioned with fully-referenced specifics.

    • It’s true that the many originators and their later copiests and again their further copiests, and all of the translators, interpreters and redactors down through the centuries, must indeed be a very special and set aside swarm of chosen beings in order for the Bible, composed over a couple thousand years, to remain perfectly intact, not one jot or tittle out of place and meaning exactly the same thing in every language. Including nuance and symmetry. Especially if considering both Hebrew and Greek had neither spaces between words nor punctuation when the various treatises and letters and poetry were penned or quilled or carved. Other than all that, totally inerrant. Blessings.

      • Yes, the chain of authority, which would have to be perfect, to perfectly preserve a perfect and inerrant original, makes the consideration of inerrancy improbable to the point of impossibility. More to the point is not the origin and chain of custody of source materials, but the end product. As noted in the article with specific examples, each referenced, the final product is riddled with numerous factual errors, direct internal contradictions and commands supposedly from god to commit atrocities.

        Too much effort is expended in trying to explain away the obvious imperfections of the work of a primitive tribal people, which never amounted to anything resembling a great civilization in its own right (such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks or Romans).

        We do not compelled to explain or rationalize the myths and legends of the great civilizations, so why should we be so obsessed with doing it for one of the most primitive and barbaric (the Hebrews)?

        We should appreciate the Bible for what it is — a compilation of ancient mythology — and not aggrandize it into something it is not.

  2. It’s true that no one calls Jesus Immanuel but if you look to Jesus’ last words in Matthew he sort of refers to it himself when he says ” And remember, I am with you always….” Immanuel means “God is with us”. Surely the writer of Matthew did this on purpose.

    • Paul D., as noted in the article, it is Matthew that references the Isaiah 7:14 prophecy, right there in Matt 1:23, just two verses after 1:21 and two verse before 1:25 noting that the angel commanded that the baby’s name would be JESUS and that he was given that name (Jesus), not Emmanuel as foretold in the so-called prophecy. So obviously the writer of Matthew clearly was familiar with the prophecy. And whether or not the reference to “God with us” at the end of Matthew is an allusion that ties together the first and last chapters of the book, the fact remains it is at best an allegorical allusion, a reference to title or a description. It is not the NAME by which JESUS was known, in his earthly life or thereafter. There is not one other reference to Immanuel anywhere in the New Testament in which it is referred to as Jesus’ name, not even anywhere in Matthew.

      And please understand, the reference in Isaiah 7:14 is quite explicit. It does not say that “Immanuel” will be the title or description of the referenced child; it says the child’s NAME will be Immanuel. Thus this cannot be a reference to Jesus, no matter how hard Matthew wants to try to make it so.

  3. This is my favorite line in this article.

    “It is ironic that many Evangelical Bible literalists claim that Catholics are not true Christians, yet they claim divine infallibility of a specific set of ancient writings selected and compiled by the very body whose theology they find fatally suspect.”

    I have thought this very thing for years but could never quite put it into words as well as this. I was raised fundamentalist and most of my life I was taught that the Catholics were not only wrong but almost evil. And yet these same people accept the New Testament canon that was agreed upon by the very people they proclaimed were not to be believed.

    • I have an Evangelical friend with whom I’ve discussed this very issue. His reply: Yes the Catholic Church created the final Canon in the 4th century because God decided they would. But then when they became the power in Rome, they fell away from their own Truth and became the apostate church of both the Reformation period and present day. Hard to counter that spin, eh? 😇

      • Indeed, Richard Kent Matthews — difficult to argue with an allegation in which the conclusion is defined in the assumption of the premise. A perfect circle!

  4. You talk of blasphemy yet a) you claim the ‘Bible says’ Jesus died on Friday and was raised on Sunday. That is not true. The Bible mentions neither of these days in that regard..these days are purely wrong assumptions because little effort is made to “discern the scriptures” !
    b) You also state Jesus was a Jew. That is a massive blasphemy. Jesus was NOT a Jew.
    But Jesus does tell us who the “JEWS” were ..:- sons of Satan and liars all. John ch 8 v 44. (Verse. 33 tells us they were Edomites.) ( Jesus was a Hebrew Israelite and a Galilean and thus, NOT a Jew. ( Jews are not who pastors preach that they are..and clearly NOT who you claim them to be !.) I didn’t read anymore..but I am happy to discuss with you the TRUTH of the Bible. Unfortunately “pastors” destroy and scatter the sheep because they have no idea what the Bible actually does say…nor understand it..and so they spew out nonsense. Jeremiah ch 23 quotes “the LORD”. on this matter. Check it out ! Sincerely, rodd

    • Sorry, Rodd, you may have sincere intentions, but it is you who, not understanding the context of the time, fail to “discern the scripture.” The word “Friday” (a reference from the Julian and later Gregorian calendars, not the Hebrew calendar of Jesus’ usage) is, of course, not explicitly stated in this Hebraic account, however the date is clearly, specifically and unambiguously identified in all four gospels. Matt 26:17 and Mark 14:12 identify the Last Supper as the “first day of unleavened bread,” which anyone with the slightest knowledge of Hebraic custom and history, would know is Thursday, and continues the chronology of events through the arrest, trial and crucifixion in hour-by-hour intervals, culminating in the death on Friday from the 6th to the 9th hour (Matt 27:45-46, Mark 15:33-34, Luke 33:44 and John 19:14).

      Just to make sure no one lost sight of the date, it is SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED as the day of Preparation, which is specifically described as the day before the Jewish Sabbath (which anyone with the slightest knowledge of Hebraic custom and history, would know is Saturday) in Mark 15:42 and Luke 23:54. For those who really have a hard time following this, the day after Thursday (first day of unleavened bread) and before Saturday (day of Preparation) is, um, Friday. John wanted to make it so clearly that he stated it THREE TIMES – in John chapter 19, verses 14, 31 and 42 (Verse 31 even emphasizing that they had to get his body down from the cross before the onset of the Sabbath which would be at sundown FRIDAY).

      Are you seriously disputing that the death of Jesus was reported to be on Friday? All serious Bible scholars, from the most conservative believers in inerrant infallibility to the most liberal, agree on this point. Only those who are amateurs or who refuse to consider commonly-accepted evidence could possibly disagree.

      The word “Sunday” for the resurrection is not specifically stated in the King James version but is specifically used in some other translations. However, even in the King James version, without using that specific word, the day of the week is clearly, specifically and unambiguously identified in all four gospels. Matt 28:1 says: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week”; similar wording is used in Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1 and John 20:1 — again, some versions actually used the word Sunday in all four passages, others such as the KJV do not but the meaning is clear to those who understand the cultural and linguistic context of the words used. The Hebrew Sabbath was Saturday and after that the first day of the week was Sunday in their contemporary calendar. There are few facts more universally agreed upon by all scholars, from the most conservative to the most liberal, than that Sunday was reported as the day of Jesus’ resurrection.

      Your anti-Semitic claim that Jesus makes blanket statements against Jews as a people is as absurd as it it bigoted and offensive. Jesus himself was a Jew. All of the followers he knew in his lifetime were Jews. He directed specific comments against certain specific Jews, namely the elite religious establishment of his time. Jesus threw out their precious money-lenders; today’s religious conservative establishment elites ARE the money-lenders and believe Jesus would have given them a tax cut.

    • Always great to see anti-semites show their face

  5. False blasphemy. It is a unforgivable sin.

  6. I am confused as to why you find these face value contradictions to be concrete- have you even tried researching the Theistic response to all these “contradictions”?, or does that mess too much with your cognitive dissonance? I don’t mean to be insulting- just frustrated how often this side of belief is uneducated towards the answers of the other.

    • Chris Petersen — I started out as a literalist Bible-believing Christian. When I began to encounter contradictions, I sought out religious guidance because I believed the problem to be that I was missing something. But when I kept getting increasing levels of double-speak from higher and higher authorities I sought guidance from, I began to slowly realize that they were trying to use convoluted mental gyrations and tortured semantic obfuscation trying to “explain” why the Bible doesn’t really mean what the Bible so very clearly says, especially when examined in full context — historical, semantic, cultural and literary.

      I decided to follow where the evidence led instead of joining those who bend over backwards trying to defend the predetermined conclusions.

      Now, if you have a specific example you would like to discuss, please cite it. I cited numerous specific examples with chapter-and-verse references and contextual analysis. The least these believers should do is explain why the myths, legends and superstitions of the ancient Hebrews should be taken as being more literally or factually true than the myths, legends and superstitions of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas or Mayans. You cited not one single example or reference, just a generalized whine. I don’t mean to be insulting — just frustrated how often the blind faith of believers ignores clear and documented evidence and makes broad, generalized statements with no specific examples, documentation or support.

  7. Very entertaining/interesting read. Informative , loved it.

  8. Great article! I think for the most part your article is very well researched, and reasoned in its approach. It is also surprisingly compassionate and considerate, and I appreciate that. 🙂

    I did notice a couple of possible errors, and some alternate interpretations. Though, I apologize for the lack of references in the following paragraphs. If you really want them, I can gather them for you, but it’ll take a while. 🙂

    First, while you stated that all four gospels are in agreement that Jesus was killed on a Friday and rose on a Sunday (therefore contradicting the “sign of Jonah” in Matthew), there is some debate in scholarly circles as to whether John refers to his death being on a Friday or a Thursday (to better coincide with Jesus’ death at the same time as the passover lamb).

    Additionally, in your treatment on Genesis, the structure of the opening passages suggests that it more properly belongs in poetic literature than in any attempted scientific understanding. There is a larger parallel structure encompassing ch. 1-11, but also a smaller example within the creation narrative itself. Additionally, literary links between Adam and Eve’s story, Cain and Abel’s, and the Flood all show earmarks of mythic poetry that any ancient Hebrew would have immediately recognized. They would have understood that they were reading (or perhaps before, listening to) a poetic myth, yet they would have also understood that it spoke some deeper truth about God. After all, there are references to creation in the Psalms, and nobody freaks out about those, because even modern readers readily recognize their poetic character.

    Now, as for questions about the reliability of sources concerning Jesus’ life and ministry, there are absolutely contradictions in the gospels, and in manuscripts. But the vast majority of discovered manuscripts agree on their major points, vocabulary, and structure. Additionally, it is (or should be) universally recognized among scholars that the gospels were compiled from earlier sources.

    Still, research has shown the reliability of oral accounts in cultures which are primarily illiterate. Researchers in Africa have compared modern stories among illiterate tribes, with those written down by researchers 150 years ago, and the reliability of the professional storytellers is amazing. So, even if Mark was written around 50 ce (as Mark suggests pre-Temple destruction themes), with Matthew and Luke between 70-90 ce, and John between 90 and 110 ce, they could still be based on stable oral traditions stemming from Jesus’ teaching and life. Especially since only Jesus and Peter were required to pay the temple tax, the other disciples were younger, and possibly around 15 or 16 years old when Jesus was killed. This means that while they almost certainly did not write the gospels, many may have still been alive when they were compiled and written.

    And as it seems evident that Mark and Luke each used Mark, in addition to Q and their own sources (M and L), and John seems to utilize at least a Signs and a Sayings gospel, then within the canonical gospels we don’t only have four written accounts, but at least six accounts. As for non-Christian sources, we have the disputed references by Josephus ( 93 ce), which while disputed are still defended by a large number of secular scholars as authentic and are referenced in other works as early as 200 ce. He is also mentioned in the Mishna (c. 200 ce) and the Talmud. His followers are mentioned with disapproval by the Roman historian Tacitus in c. 116 ce, as well. Finally, Pliny the Younger, governor in what is now Turkey mentioned the problem of Christians in a letter to the Emperor, in 112 ce. Based on this variety of sources, I think we can reliably say that Jesus existed, and much of what he said and did was reliably transmitted in the gospels.

    I believe in God, and I am a Christian, but I also believe that if God were to reach out to humanity in a relevatory manner, It (for lack of a better term) would utilize the linguistic and cultural tools available. These would include myths, poetry, parables, metaphor, etc. to lay the groundwork for understanding. After all, if God really did reach out to some ancient Hebrews, why would he use precise, modern scientific language? Or if God wanted to reach out to the most people possible, over a period of eons, it would make sense to spread the message through multiple authors.

    Additionally, I think your title “the blasphemy of bibleolatry” actually sums up a major theological point that is often overlooked. I believe the Bible holds many valuable truths about God, and some hints at even further truths. Still, the bible was written by human beings over many hundreds of years, with portions going through many revisions, additions, and possibly deletions. But this really shouldn’t be a problem for a Christian.

    As the opening chapters of John state, Jesus himself is the Word. Even calling the Bible “the Word of God” is idolatrous to me. If anything, it is “Words about God.” It may have been guided by God and influenced by God’s work in the world, but the hand of humanity is heavily involved in its formation. And that’s ok. 🙂 After all, if God really does care about humanity, and if we really do have any say in this relationship, then it is fitting that we would have a hand in the words of wisdom which teach about God. It’s a joint effort 🙂 Albeit, our side of the effort is often flawed, and sometimes misleading.

    As for the miraculous or supernatural? I think they happen, but are much rarer than anyone realizes. Really, the only miracle central to Christian theology is the resurrection. The rest can be disputed as myth while still retaining the basic requirement for the Christus Victor.

    It seems to me that for the most part, God is concerned with human groups in the Bible, and less with individuals. While individuals are often God’s agents, they are almost never the end. If God’s primary concern, as far as humanity goes, is our reconciliation with Itself, with each other, and with creation; then God honestly doesn’t really have to get supernaturally involved that much. If there are any valid miracles, then as “one-off” events, they would be impossible to replicate and their source would remain conjecture. But, that’s a bit off topic for now.

    When it really comes down to it, I think that you and I have very similar views regarding the content and formation of scripture. For you, it has led to a secular understanding and appreciation of its content. For me, it has still helped to shape and inform my faith. I think maybe I find that the most fascinating part of this whole conversation. 🙂 Anyway, thank you for your insights, and God bless!

  9. Wonderful article. This is the sort of research I wish I had time to do.

    I am also exploring similar ideas to develop a sort of “Ethics of Agnosticism”.

    I summarize my faith as: I don’t know if I believe in God, but I definitely believe in the people who believed in God, warts and all.

    I just bought the Kindle version as well.

    • Dale — thanks for the kind words. Regarding your views on agnosticism and the ambivalence about belief in a supreme (or at least superior being), that is an intriguing question that merits further in-depth consideration in its own separate article, which I have addressed at:

      You will find that I share much of your perspective and ambivalence, but offer a framework within which to contemplate some of the great questions of life and beyond.

  10. This article addresses many of the problems I have had with Christianity and the claim that the Bible is absolute and perfect in every regard. Obviously, the Bible is not perfect and being a logical person I cannot ignore this fact. I read the entire Bible in a period of a few months which made inconsistencies even more apparent than they were in my periodic readings before. This was very disturbing to me since I considered myself to be a Christian. It isn’t that I am not a person of faith but this requires more faith than I am able to muster. It sort of left me in a religious no man’s land. Also it troubled me that a group of men picked (probably based on some sort of logic) what to include and not include in the Bible. This made me very curious about what was left out and fortunately most of this is available on the internet – so I read it. While reading the Bible in my study a couple of years ago it was obvious that the book was not from God’s mouth to the ear of the writers. For one thing it is totally unclear and one would hope that the message of the almighty God would be perfectly clear. Also the character of God seems to change greatly from one part of the Bible to another. I arrived a the conclusion that the book is so seriously flawed that I could not base any belief in it whatsoever. In looking at the Bible as a historical record written by more primitive people is now the only way I can look at this book. While I still think that having faith in God and following the example of Jesus by living as close to his example as one might is a really good idea, I no longer look at the Bible the same way. I enjoyed reading your article and somehow found it very comforting. I am not a scholar (I am far too lazy for that) but I appreciate your scholarship and this thoughtful and comprehensive article.

    • Julia, it is quite clear on reading the Old Testament that there seems to be 2 different gods competing with each other. One a god of hate and revenge and the other a god of love and caring. Most Christians seem to throw the two together and this is where we find all the weird contradictions in the bible. Paul seems to prefer the former where Jesus introduced us to the latter and instructs us to love one another. Best wishes in your search for truth.

    • Hi Julia! Years ago, when I first began studying this subject, I had many of the same concerns. But I began to realize that if God really does have any interest in humanity, than it makes sense God would use the tools of culture, poetry, myth, etc. Interestingly enough, many of the passages would have been immediately recognized as myths to ancient Hebrews (especially those living during the Babylonian exile), and yet they were fine with that. After all, if reconciliation between God, humanity, and creation really is the aim of God’s involvement in human affairs, then it naturally becomes a two-way street.

      Hundreds of writers, drawing from all sorts of sources (including Egyptian wisdom literature, and Babylonian creation myths) while still changing them in revolutionary ways, eventually consolidated into what we call the Bible. It is definitely the work of human beings. But at the same time, I think God had a guiding hand in it as well.

      As for the different portrayals of God throughout the work, there are many inconsistencies, for sure. But there are also many consistent features that are worth focusing on. Even in the midst of some of the more brutal passages, God always shows a consistent concern for the oppressed, for the poor, and for “the orphan and the widow.”

      Maybe humanity was so brutal at the time, God was slowly easing them out of it, through a vanguard or “chosen people,” Israel; with the intent that humanity’s understanding and compassion would grow and that the God first revealed to some ragtag Canaanites and Mesopetamians (and maybe some Egyptians) who were congealing under a new identity, called Hebrews. Personally, I think we’re still pretty brutal, but I do think that all of that background and cultural history which led up to Christ was necessary to “prepare the way,” as the beginning of the gospels say.

      Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. 🙂 I might be totally wrong. But I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable to believe that God’s character, work, and even intent are revealed to some extent in scripture (and perhaps most of all, in the person of Jesus).

  11. Please understand that there are actually at least two schools of thought on the Bible among Christians. As a Believer I do consider the Bible to be infallible in that it intends to point people to God through Christ and it succeeds in doing that to true seekers. However it is not infallible as there are obviously errors. Please do not generalize all “Christians” into one group because there are many differing opinions among us.

    • Hi Phyllis Viers — I absolutely recognize that there are differing viewpoints on many aspects of Christian faith. Just as I recognize many perspectives from Islam, from liberals like Malala Yousafzai or the gentle Sufis to the hard-line Wahhabi Sunni extremists (whence derive Al Qaeda and ISIL), and I do not judge all Muslims by the terrorism of a few extremists, I do not judge all Christians by the few extreme literalists and fully recognize that there are moderate and liberal Christians sects, including those that try to follow the Jesus rather than Paul and eschew strict Bible literalism.

      This is why I use terms like conservative “Christians,” with “Christians” in quotes to note that I do not consider them followers of the teachings attributed to Jesus in the Bible, while I do not use quotes when referring to more liberal and non-literal Christians. You can see these distinctions in this article and accompanying comments, and even more so on some of the other articles on my site, perhaps especially the article differing between liberal Christians and conservative “Christians” depending on whether they follow Jesus or Paul.

    • If one accepts that Jesus is the savior, keeps us out of hell and gets us into heaven, believes in baptism, and accepts the bible as literal and infallible, then all of those folks are bunched into one belief system, no matter the details. That’s the way a religion should work. If it doesn’t, it has no strong core. Catholics and Protestants believe what I just wrote, so no matter the practices, the religion is the same. You are all one big group. And those who do not accept what I wrote? They are not Christians in the strictest sense. They’re something, but not Christians. Or they would believe what I wrote at the beginning of this comment.

      Simple as that.

      Same with Islam.

      And no need to argue with me about it. That’s just the way it is. I’m only the messenger.

      • Richard, while I don’t share the need for a messianic savior and, thus, do not see the need to identify as a Christian, the idea that you can lump together all those who do adopt that label (or also the Muslims) is absurd.

        Far be it from me to defend views I know longer hold, but there is a tremendous difference between doctrinaire religious literalists and liberal Christians.

        The doctrinaire literalists believe that every word of the Bible is literally true (completely oblivious of the many factual errors, direct internal contradictions and other flaws, a small sample of which are presented in the accompanying article) and that Jesus fills the messianic role as a bloody human sacrifice who magically makes other people’s “sins” disappear.

        In contrast, the liberal Christians believe the Bible is a human endeavor produced by inspired but imperfect humans (and further degraded through errors in handling, copying and editing down through the centuries), and that Jesus “saves,” not as a bloody human sacrifice, but as a fearless teacher who knowingly put his life on the line (and ultimately sacrificed it) in order to teach the transformational nature of universal compassionate love expressed actively in deeds. The difference between being a human sacrifice intentionally offered to atone for the “sins” of others and knowingly risking (and losing) one’s life to allow others to be saved is the difference between believing that a heroic marine who jumps on the grenade tossed into the foxhole to save his buddies takes upon him their sins or that he just risked (and lost) his life to save others. For more specific discussion of the problem of the conservative “Christian” human sacrifice myth, see my article at:

        In like vein, saying “Same with Islam” is equally simplistic and myopic. There are two main divisions of Islam (Sunni and Shiite) that can be compared in Christianity to Catholic and Protestant and, like major divisions in Christianity, there are many divisions or sects within each. Both Sunni and Shiite have both liberal and conservative sub sets. The Shiite Twelvers give rise to Ayatollahs in Iran, while the Sunni Wahhabi conservatives, at 300 years old a relatively young sect, give rise to the tyrannical Saudi oppression and the rise of Al Qaeda and its offshoot, ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Levant). Still there are also moderate and liberal Muslims such as Malala Yousafzai or the gentle Sufis, and those who resist the oppression of both Sunni and Shiite hard liners.

        Stereotypes are as dangerous as they are inaccurate and, while I defend neither Christianity nor Islam, and reject both, I do demand that criticisms be honest and not based on inaccurate, simplistic stereotypes.

        • One irony with the relatively recent rise of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi Sunnis in just the last 300 years … while today they rail against the influence of the decadent west, they have also begun to campaign against the decadence of literature such as the “1,001 Arabian Nights,” which are not only filled with the adventures of Sinbad and Aladdin, but are also often filled with lewd and lascivious tales of erotic Arabian dancing girls.

          This literature goes back many centuries and long predates the prudish Wahhabis. So when they complain about such ancient literature, more moderate Muslims say, “whoa, hey, this is not Western decadence, this is Muslim literature from Arabs. This is our heritage that long predates YOU, Muslims radicals.” And the fight for Muslim purity persists.

  12. Congratulations on your work. I trully applaude anyone who has the courage of raising his voice against religious fanatism, sadly so present in todays society. The attrocities described in the bible as God’s commandments are so disturbing, I just cant understand how people have given their trust and beliefs to this so so so imperfect religion, christianity in all its forms. Even the basis that we have to accept Jesus Christ as lord and saviour to be saved from eternal suffering in hell is monstruous. Im glad i can have this and other pages to show people how these ancient mass manipulation institutions are being questioned and confronted.

  13. Ingrid Steppan

    I’ve never believed that the first two chapters of Genisus are mixed up. I think God created man, they were foragers not farmers. In order to grow food he needed someone to till the ground and so ge created Eden and out first Adam and later Eve. What you don’t see in our bible is that Adam had a first wife named Lilleth. She was evil. However God sent 3 angels to go and get her. (Long story so read it in Hewish history ) So Adam and Eve have Cain and Able. Cain kills Able , God is disappointed . The offering Cain gave wasn’t good enough, any way we know Able is murdered and then Cain goes over the hill , finds a wife has Enoch and builds a city. Then Eve has Seth. To build ? You need workers. So hunters and gather’s were first then farmers. Where is the book of Enoch, Judith and more. Its my understanding that its a sin to add or take away ! You can find these books in the Etheopian bible but not ours . Why ? And what do you think about humans and then Adam ?

    • Ingrid Steppan — my article is about the Bible. Your comment includes much material not in the Bible, such as the story of Lilith. The story of Lilith actually comes from the earlier Sumerian legends, which were heavily copied (plagiarized) by the Hebrews and which formed the core of the Bible accounts in Genesis.

      As you note, the Sumerian account is actually more consistent than the Hebrew account that survives as the first part of Genesis but, no, I am not going to argue that the Sumerian legends are the one true word of god. Like the legends of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas, Mayans and, yes, the Hebrews, they are just legends. They don’t need to be analyzed or justified to reconciled with fact. They are just legends.

      That said, you seem to miss the most striking contradiction between the first and second chapters of Genesis. Yes, we could debate what it says about the sequence of man and plants, but — as noted in the article — the most striking is that Genesis One describes creation sequentially and says that animals were created first, and then humans, male and female. Genesis two says that the man was ALONE in the Garden. God thought it not good for the man to be alone so decided to create animals to keep him company. See the sequence, first the man, then animals. Then the animals were not so companionable, so god decided to create a more suitable companion and create the female human.

      Genesis One: animals before humans (male and female).
      Genesis Two: male human (alone), then animals, then a female human.

      The sequence is extremely explicit in both chapters, and utterly and mutually-exclusively contradictory.

  14. Just found this site and wish to compliment you for it. So many on BOTH sides think only of extremes: their understanding must be either “perfect” or “worthless.” By the way, my own favorite example of an obviously NON-trivial and theologically fraught contradiction is to simply read the first of the “Ten Commandments” in either Exodus or Deuteronomy (through God’s explicit declaration that he punishes descendants for sins of ancestors) followed by the entirety of Ezekiel Chapter 18; then ask if God punishes children for sins of parents. This issue survives throughout much of the OT, which includes numerous instances of entire families being executed for the faults of the father, and in the NT, when his disciples ask Jesus “who sinned, this man or his parents” to cause him to be born sightless. (Not that Jesus’ answer is very clear though.)

  15. Came across this by accident, skimmed over most of it. Noticed some so-called “contradictions” that really aren’t contradictions at all but me attempting to explain wouldn’t matter to a person who chooses not to see the truth. That truth is that Jesus Christ died to save us all, but not everyone will accept that gift. Truth is, the entire bible points to one person-Jesus Christ. He’s there in the first part of Genesis, all through the Old Testament, all the way to the book of Revelation. So, while it may be true that the bible as we know it today wasn’t compiled until centuries after Christ died, the whole book points at one man, books which were written over a period of centuries. So, it was either an extremely elaborate scheme concocted by men (some who never knew each other) in order to deceive millions, or it is exactly what it claims to be.

    The greatest evidence I have that God is who He says He is comes from the bible, and from Him revealing Himself to me. He sought me out at a time when I had absolutely no desire to live according to what His word says. And no, it wasn’t guilt that caused me to seek atonement or whatever label some will apply to that. As I said, HE came looking for ME at a time in my life when I was content living according to my own wishes and desires.

    That free will to choose or reject Christ was given to you by God and while He desires that none should perish, it’s certainly your choice. Some can’t understand why God would give us free will knowing that not all would choose Him, and to that I ask do you have friends? Family, especially children? Of those loved ones, how many can you force to love you? None. If love is forced, it isn’t love. I pray that all would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, as there is no name given under Heaven by which we can be saved.

    • Michael — you are defending your pre-determined conclusions but offering nothing to support your view as to why the Bible has any more merit than the myths and legends of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas or Mayans. All primitive tribal cultures developed their own myths, legends and superstitions. Those of the Hindus long predate the Bible, which is mostly plagiarized from early Sumerian and Babylonian texts.

      My article cites chapter and verse references. You reject them on a blanket basis, but admit you don’t even make an attempt to explain why hundreds of direct internal contradictions, factual errors and atrocities commanded by your invisible sky god don’t really mean what they so very clearly say.

      As for your assertion “that Jesus Christ died to save us all,” that gross, absurd, bloody human sacrifice myth is more fully addressed in my separate article that specifically addresses this cornerstone of conservative “Christianity,” which completely opposes everything Jesus actually taught, at least as presented in the gospel legends.

      • Yet there are many reasons that the Bible, whether you find it credible or not, holds a stronger defense than any other ancient documentation.

        First was Jewish tradition of documentation.

        Old Jewish custom was to every year gather for a celebration, where at this celebration (actual name escapes me, I’m thinking tabernacles) the elders would read the first 5 books (Torah) word for word to the people. Actually, Jewish boys by the time they became a man were required to know it word for word. There were priests whose whole role was to make sure the “stories” we’re word for word told right.

        Jewish custom also dictated nothing could be written as fact without the presence of actual witnesses at the writing. This of course came about later than ancient text like Job or the Torah. This custom played into the strength of documentation of the Gospels.

        Also, what the Jews had written in their Old Testament meshes with what other ancient cultures have written (ie: Babylonians), as well as there are so many ancient civilizations with a “flood story” (even China)

        Also, we take to be credible documents that have been written hundreds of years after the occurance of the event (ie Alexander the Great), which for the Bible, everything apart from the Torah and Job was recorded promptly after the event.

        Most smart scholars don’t attack the Bible in comparison to history. The best you can do is attack it with Naturalism.

        • Chris Petersen — you make many claims about the credibility and accuracy of Hebrew writings with no factual basis for such claims, and you give the Hebrews far too much credit for their “tradition of documentation,” especially in comparison with other contemporary traditions.

          There is, frankly, not really all that much “documentation” other than the Bible that came from the Hebrews, who were largely a primitive tribal community of sheep herders and fishermen who were repeatedly conquered by superior civilizations such as the Egyptians, Babylonians and Romans that all had far more extensive historical documentation. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all have far more detailed and extensive documentation of historical events and, frankly, almost nothing that corroborates anything claimed by the Bible. In fact, as noted in the article, there are specific statements in the Bible that directly contradict known events.

          And while you note the similarity of the Hebrew writings to those of the Babylonians, you fail to note that the earliest works of the Bible legends are mostly plagiarized from the Sumerians, and the later parts of the Old Testament reflect myths and legends they learned from the Babylonians during their years of captivity in what is now modern Iraq.

          As for the credibility of deities, the Greek deities are older and are based on real phenomena we can observe in the sky and which actually have real power. Their system of identifying the sun, moon and planets with gods evolved in two directions: among realists, it developed into the modern science of astronomy; and among those yearning for superstition, it survives today as astrology. And I dare say that there are more “Christians” who read their daily horoscope than read a daily Bible verse.

          And while many civilizations have flood legends, the details vary widely and reflect the fact that, yes, every area is subject to flooding and sometimes especially destructive floods do become the stuff of legends. But to seriously believe that the entire world was completely covered in water is scientific nonsense; there is not enough water, H2O in any form, to create that much rain or cover the entire earth. When rain water dries up, it does not cease to exist. It has to go somewhere. There is not enough capacity in our atmosphere to absorb that much water. And don’t get me started on the cruelty of a god flooding the entire world because he “repented” of having created humans, and drowns all the children, babies and pregnant women carrying the fetuses that conservative “Christians” so worship until they are born.

          The only reason Christianity survived and flourished, in a form that would be completely unrecognizable to Jesus as described in the gospels, is that the warrior Constantine decided to adopt it as a brand name for his vicious form of tyranny and make it the nominal faith system for the known Western world of that time.

        • Chris, there is a great video on YouTube that demonstrates nothing about the bible was written about at the time, especially Jesus, the main bloke in all of this:

        • First, one cannot use the book to prove the book. Second, to those who think Jesus appears throughout the Old Testament, that is a modern fundamentalist viewpoint that is not supported by any Jewish scholarship. Remember, the early Catholic editors did a lot of editing, even within the translations of the Torah. But especially with the so called New Testament. We have no idea what the authors of the NT had in mind, since most of the original writings have been lost. However, the Book of Revelation makes it quite clear: The Gentiles stole the Messianic Jesus message from the Jewish believers and turned it all into a pagan heresy. John of Patmos declares St. Paul an antichrist. (Ref. Elaine Pagels, Revelations)

        • And to Richard, again you are speaking far beyond your facts and simply stating an opinion.

          First off, your thoughts on “editing” are unfounded. In fact, the “New Testament” was in circulation (in individual books) far before the council of Nicia. Plus, such a vast majority of the Bible itself can be quoted by the writings we have of early Christians.

          Your thoughts on taking the Jewish messiah and paganizing it are also a (foolish) opinion. Do study what Isiah says on the messiah (far before Jesus) and see how this “false Messiah” matches. Isiah even predicted the Jews would hate Jesus.

          Your issue isn’t necessarily the history, it’s that you’ve already deemed it false before examining history and then making (poor) theories that support your ideas.

          As far as “the book can’t prove the book” ok, the book is mentioned and quoted incredibly often, and I’m afraid you are no longer allowed to believe in 75% of history with that idea. A lot of scholars take histor credible until contradicted against other documents.

        • Chris, your facts regarding the history of Biblical content are not accurate. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hamadi files discovered around the middle of the last century provide copies of texts preserved from before the Roman “conversion” to Christianity and adapting it for its imperial purposes.

          The texts clearly demonstrate that later versions were heavily edited, as well that the trove of documents include additional gospels and epistles from the early church that the Roman conquerors sought to suppress and which those who preserved these documents thankfully preserved. There is extensive scholarly documentation about this that is available today, as well as translations from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hamadi documents.

          As to Isaiah, there is NOTHING in Isaiah that predicts the coming of Jesus as described in the accounts in either Matthew or Luke (which are mutually exclusive as discussed in my article). Nothing. None of the key events unique to Jesus life are told, only some generalized predictions of suffering that would have applied to many from the oppressed community of conquered Hebrews. One of the most commonly cited is Isaiah 53, but the passage (in verse 10, from the parts omitted by cherry-pickers) goes on to say that the hapless victim of being beaten with stripes (no mention of crucifixion) will go on to lead a long life and see his offspring, both of which eliminate any possible reference to Jesus as described in the New Testament. Isaiah 7:14 says that his name shall be “Immanuel,” but the only time that name is EVER applied to him in the New Testament is when Matthew tries to link it to Isaiah. That is the ONLY reference. Jesus’ NAME was not “Immanuel,” it was JESUS, by command of god through an angel. Clearly the references of Isaiah all explicitly exclude Jesus.

        • Chris, before you write me off as ‘biblically’ or ‘spiritually’ uneducated, let me share this: I am a FORMER evangelical Christian, an ordained minister, and have been studying the bible for more than 50 years. In doing so, it gradually ‘revealed’ itself to me, with the help of both scholar and historian, to be profoundly unreliable in almost every area, especially historically. Most scholars, if they are honest, will admit to the fact that the bible has not only been highly edited over the centuries, but added to, and redacted. For instance, it is pretty much accepted that only seven of Paul’s letters are ‘authentic.’ It is known that the Gospels were not written by any actually follower of Jesus, that is, disciples. And it is also known that the discovery of the Scrolls and other old documents, as Danzier mentioned, show how unoriginal the canonical scriptures are. Add to that the early century death struggles among bishops and prophets, and you have the makings of a great Fallacy.

          Consider also that the the canonical scriptures were put together BY COMMITTEE in the 4th century, with many books being kicked out due to ‘heresy’ and authoritarian power struggles, and you have the perfect trifecta: Power hungry bishops, misguided emperors, and an illiterate populace.

          The entire Christian religion is one big paganized mishmash.

        • Chris did submit one more post in which he denied being a “New Earthian” (young earth creationist) but said that “if the supernatural is possible and God true…” If, if, IF. IF leprechauns were real I could have a pot of gold. IF Islam were true, Chris and the Christians are in deep doo doo. Sorry, but magical thinking based on “IF” is not a serious adult argument.

          Chris further stated, “If I were to address all of your issues with the scriptures I’d be typing for hours…” meaning that he is not going to address the content of this article (therefore nothing of substance to approve for public display) but he coulda if he wanted to. Woulda coulda shoulda — bottom line: didn’t. If. The essence of wishful, magical thinking by those who spin their wheels trying to defend fantasies instead of following where real evidence leads.

        • Chris also conveniently forgets that Satan, not Jesus, is the real linch pin of Christianity. It has been repeatedly insisted over the centuries that a disbelief in a literal devil, or Satan, is tantamount to atheism, no matter how much one claims to believe in a god, or even Jesus. Without a belief in Satan, Christianity is unnecessary and tumbles as a house of cards. So, holding onto Satan is the key to being a ‘good’ Christian. And the belief is tenacious. Christians see Satan everywhere, even in this comment. Between the tempting by Satan and the angry wrath of god, it’s no wonder Christians are always on the edge of their seats.

          Few see it in that framework, but it is fact. Do away with a literal Satan, and you do away with The Faith.

          It really is a form of devil worship.

        • The irony, Richard, is that Satan also is copied from others. Check out your Bible: there is no reference to Satan, a devil, Beelzebub, Lucifer or that personification of evil anywhere in the Bible prior to the Babylonian captivity, where the Hebrews learned the concept from their Babylonian captives.

          Only after Babylon do they mention Satan or the devil. In the Garden of Eden, no mention of Satan or a devil. It is a snake. A talking snake. Only later, long after Babylon, do later Bible writers in the New Testament retroactively described the talking snake as being Satan or the devil.

          Myths, legends and superstitions evolve.

        • One more thought….

          “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” ~Isaac Asimov

        • Oh my word you guys posted a ton. I’ll reach as much as I have time for…

          You’re analysis of the dead sea scrolls is pretty bad actually… you aren’t aware that this document is championed as showing how very very little the documents have changed over the years? (What like 17 letters in the whole thing?)

          Your analysis of Isiah not predicting Christ is uneducated actually. This is actually incredibly easy to find.

          You are also unknowing in Jewish custom, where name’s are also definitions rather than strict names (See how God has like 9 names, and how Revelation the name will be “King of King’s and Lord of Lords”.

          And you may have issues with the “If’s” about the supernatural, but you cannot deny that it is a possibility. To do so would go beyond your knowledge.

          To Richard- And yes you also assume my lack of education. I’ve been to the universities and have read the objections. I too am an ordained minister. I’m afraid you have succumb to many opinions presented to you to appear rational and have fallen by the wayside. Yes, the council of Nicia (spelling) did determine what goes into canonized scripture. but you seem to be unknowing of the process taken to legitimize text, as well as judge the intentions of the entire council. Most of the Bible we have can put together through the writings and quotes of early Christian Philosophers (IE Augustine) pre Nicia (which was one of the requirements for a text to even make it to canon!).

          It just bothers me how much of what you guys believe to be fact you’ve accepted a mere opinion. Let’s put the council under a microscope and test it. Let’s do experiments on the Ancient believers. Oh we cannot do that? Oh dear I guess we have fallen into those terrible “If’s” again and you select which ones you like and which ones you don’t.

          And I’ll end again the same way I did before. Your pre-existing beliefs on supernature will determine who you interpret the same data we all get. If you make the arrogant claim to say there is none, you shall arrive at the conclusions you have. If the case is an open book to you however (as is the most rational claim), than you will find the fallacy lies in the very start of your reasoning, to give false conclusion.

          Let’s see if I can answer another 10 comments in a row tomorrow 😛

        • Your sources, Chris, are apologetics — definitely much to apologize for — which are commentaries trying to explain why the Bible does not really mean what it so very, very clearly says. My sources are various translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls by real, objective, highly-credentialed Bible scholars, along with their professional and scholarly commentary and analysis. Some of the volumes I have had in my personal library for many years, which I consult actively, include The Nag Hammadi Library, compiled and edited by James M. Robinson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of religion at Claremont Graduate University and a foremost scholarly expert on antiquities; The Hidden Scrolls, Neil Asher Silberman, Guggenheim Fellow and contributing editor to Archaelogy Journal; The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, PhD, former Chair of the Department of Religion, Columbia University and later Professor of Religion, Princeton University. These are not armchair amateurs, self-anointed televangelists or radio preachers. These are real scholars. I also own and regularly consult other sources on the origins and history of the New and Old Testaments, but these are the ones used for discussing Nag Hammadi, Dead Sea Scrolls and other apocryphal gospels.

          And no, Chris, you have not yet actually addressed even one single specific example from the many direct contradictions, factual errors and god-commanded atrocities I have cited. And as for the “if’s” of your supernatural claims, those who make extraordinary claims have the burden of proof in providing extraordinary evidence. If I were to claim gold from leprechauns, I would have an extraordinary evidentiary burden in proving that, as you do for you claims. But alas, you have still provided NONE.

      • I’m sorry but aren’t you reaching beyond fact into opinion? Your reasoning is- Sumerians did hyrogliphics first, Jews were around Sumerians, Jews copied the stories because they are similar.

        So the civ. that writes first gets first claim to a belief? How can you know the Sumerians weren’t actually influenced by Jewish belief pre- writing?

        In fact, C.S.Lewis, once PHD of Ancient literature, took the similarities of ancient stories to tie them all to a common true root rather than blaming every one of them for copying.

        As far as credit towards Jewish documentation, I do give it tons of credit. Should one have changed anything with intention, the result was execution. To what end change it? What we have here is our knowledge that stories over time get fanaticized, and a far more unique situation with the Jews where we have better reason to believe that didn’t happen than not.

        And the most important fact in all of this is that we really don’t give the same scrutiny to other ancient documents. It’s ok that the winners of history wrote history- we can believe what they Said, but the Jews have a story about a seven days and a talking snake- we know it’s wrong there so we don’t have to apply the same standards.

        And your opinion on the survival of Christianity is just that- an opinion. When early believers were so certain of their beliefs that when fed to lions they embrace their death, it turns heads. Early apostles too all lived with this “Jesus” and were all so decieved they willingly died for a lie? That seems highly unlikely too. Pharisees never came against the things Christ did but rather how he did them? (Even Josephus mentions his existence)…

        No man it’s like I said. Highly respectable Atheistic scholars don’t come against the historical soundness of the Bible. The best avenue here is to argue against intentions or meanings.

        • Sorry, Chris, but the “facts” of the stories are provably false. The earth is much older than 6,000 years. The earth’s atmosphere is not capable of sustaining the volume of water needed to evaporate a flood that covered the entire earth. Penguins did not waddle all the way from Antarctica to the Holy Land to get in an ark. The Bible account is provably contradictory just from chapter one of Genesis to chapter two.

          So when you have two different accounts that are pure fiction — the best efforts of pre-scientific, primitive tribal communities trying to explain a complex universe beyond their comprehension — that have so many similarities then, yes, the most logical conclusion is that the later one is copied from the earlier one.

          But I am not going to belabor this point. If you feel I am interjecting opinion, fine. It is not really all that critical to the FACT that the Bible is replete with factual errors, direct internal contradictions, failed prophecies and atrocities supposedly commanded by god, as I have demonstrated with extensive chapter-and-verse documentation.

        • Citing an opinion blog hardly counts as much evidence. In any case, the Bible is set in a historical context, as are the legends of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas and Mayans. They reference contemporary events. They are not historically accurate documents in and of themselves.

  16. The thing to realize about scripture is context. “Scripture” represents putting everything in writing in black and white. Consider it God’s last resort after trying everything else first. It’s existence may not entirely be something for humanity to brag on.

    • What scripture? Which gods? Every ancient tribal society compiled its own collection of myths, legends, superstitions and primitive moral codes. I have cited, with extensive specific “chapter and verse” documentation that anyone can look up in their own Bibles, examples of direct internal contradictions, factual errors and commands supposedly from god to commit atrocities.

      Why does an all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent) deity need a “last resort”?
      Why would that make a difference, first effort or last resort, in creating texts filled with contradictions, errors and god-ordered atrocities.

      Why is the angry, paternalistic, invisible Judeo-Christian-Islamic sky-god of Abraham more credible than the gods of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas or Mayans? At least sun gods and lightning gods (such as Apollo, Ra, Inti and Thor) may be in the sky, but they are not invisible, and they actually have real power.

      Why is the Bible more credible than the Vedas, Upanishads or Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindu gods, which are much older and have lasted far longer? Or the “three baskets” of the Buddhist Tripitaka? Or the Tibetan Book of the Dead? Or the Islamic Qur’an?

    • Further, Paul, your reference to “context,” without citing any specific example, demonstrates desperation. The article cites chapter, verse and is consistent with the context. When someone yells “context,” without citing an example, it is essentially an admission that they found no such example.

    • To attempt to understand what the bible truly teaches seems to be an inherently divisive activity. I’m not sure if it is the pseudoknowledge of Protestant theology or just the act of interpretation, but almost no-one agrees on any interpretation regardless of denomination. I am not a bible scholar obviously but it’s clear Christianity has become an amorphous, ill-defined religion. Recently I’ve thought that we got off the tracks because we don’t understand the Garden of Eden story. Is that not an allegory of God’s love and God’s intention for humanity? When we see this only as a story of sin and not love, we miss the point at the outset.

      • One more point. If we start off with the emphasis on sin rather than God’s love, we quickly sink into being judgmental rather than accepting.

        • Even the word “sin” is misquoted. The original meaning for this word was “to miss the mark”. It is the Catholic church who turned the meaning into something we think of today as a “sin”. They verbed it! So when someone tells me something is a sin, I ignore it completely as they’re not using the word correctly. Plus, their morals are not my morals.

  17. So, why do these books of life still exist thousands of years later?

    • What are you saying, Ray? That the fact that a book stays around hundreds or thousands of years makes it literally, factually true?

      By your “logic,” the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita of the Hindus — which are far older than the Bible — are the direct, true, one and only word of god. Or by your “logic,” the writings that make up the Buddhist “three baskets” of the Tripitaka, which predate all but the earliest parts of the Bible, are literally, factually the true word of god.

      Or by your “logic,” the myths and legends of the Greek gods, which still remain viable today as the foundation upon which belief in astrology is built, and which predate all of the New Testament and much of the Old, are literally true. Oh well, at least the sky gods of the Greeks were not invisible and some, like sun and lightning, have real power. And hey, I’ll dare say that more “Christians” actually read their daily horoscope than read a daily Bible verse.

      I have cited the chapter-and-verse references to point out the contradictions, flaws, factual errors and atrocities supposedly commanded by god in your Bible. I have provided precise references so you can look them up for yourself.

      If your only response is that the Bible is very, very old (because it was written by Bronze Age pre-scientific primitives), then I guess I have made my point.

  18. I liked the play about Jesus – best fictional character ever!

  19. No matter what your position on the Bible you have got to be impressed with the fact it is the best selling work of fiction of all time.

    • Well that is what some people say, but the actual sales figures are hard to come by, and there is not much comparable data for the Qur’an, Bhagavad Gita, Vedas or other compilations of myth and legend, ancient or modern.

  20. i dont think that you and i disagree. and yeah. america. wow.
    i see what you are trying to do. good onya.

  21. of course. and they all say the same thing, dont they? aurelius? rick and morty? theres obvious bullshit and its obvious.

  22. hey thanks for responding. im just saying theres a living word aspect to this that is deceptively easy to miss. no disrespect intended.

    • Yes, and I am sure there is a “Living Word” aspect to the Qur’an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon and the myths and legends of the Greeks, Vikings, Incas and Mayans.

      At least all the rest inspired great civilizations. The Hebrew “Living Word” inspired a desolate, primitive community of sheep herders, vineyard-tenders and fishermen who were repeatedly conquered by just about every one of their neighbors (Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans). But hey, that exposed them to some great material they could weave into their legends.

      • Of course there’s a “living word” aspect to the Roman and Greek gods. Let’s just take one story, akin to a parable in the bible: Achilles. We all know about his heel. We all know he got too big for his boots. We all know how he eventually was killed and how (betrayal in there too). This is the “living word” of this story as the story is still applicable today: everyone has an Achilles’ heel. The bible is no better than this story.

  23. Hey.
    When you say ‘bibleolatery’, what do you mean?

  24. contradictions- agent smith (who is always right) said ‘everything that has a beginning has an end’ life contradicts death, but both are aspects of the truth. the alpha and the omega, that which is seen and unseen etc, whatever that truth is, it is said to ‘call you by your name,’ it wants to know you, whoever you are. so whatever truths you can find in there, in the words, its ok to accept. for yourself, not for anyone else. otherwise it wouldnt be the ‘truth’, it would be someone else’s interpretation of truth, all good if you are someone else.
    so it is essentially the role of that book. you get people saying ‘this is how you decipher the text’, but the text speaks for itself.

    the constant oppositional narrative of the text, for example: ‘ghosts do not exist’ – is flawed by a witness account of jesus hangin out with his crew, but yeah, as a ghost. so why be hung up about it? just another contradiction.
    how would the rapture work otherwise? well, i dunno. its unimportant, were told specifically that we wont know the time as we wouldnt expect ‘a thief in the night’, i guess.

    if you are completely sure that ‘god hates fags’ or what – have – you, the 10 commandments is a great little cheat sheet.
    ‘how do i love my neighbor?’ – ‘love is patient and kind’
    ‘but my neighbors a fag!!’ – ‘so dont covet his ass’

    looking for a transitional fossil? the platypus is the mammals complete living spare parts kit, its all there. worried about the flood? noah saved the indica, the sativa, the poppy seed and the psylocibin, so go get high. thats why you have receptors.
    for what its worth, i enjoyed reading your blog. and getting high.

    • Yeah, Andy, everyone has their own way of dealing with the contradictions (and factual errors and failed prophecies and atrocities commanded by god). Some love ’em, some are in denial, some try to explain why they don’t really mean what they so clearly say and simply ignore them (or don’t know they exist).

      And some people get high. Glad you had an enjoyable time.

      • i think what you say here is pivotal and highlights the fragility that encapsulates this problem. ‘commanded by god’ cant be unpacked without having to resolve the concept of free will, and as what would probably be termed gentile, i cant see where i am even addressed therein, other than to read myself written out of the deal.
        i do get a sense in a firmly non-academic manner that for all these commandments, for all this overhead and the dire nature of this text, god looks to be constantly squirming and contorting and badgering his way through this ordeal of his own manufacture of his chosen people. it looks to be quite clear why they are so.
        and i guess in terms of the often counter intuitive message, when it isnt direct, blunt, contrasted with its inverse, told from every reasonable angle, transposed into metaphor, unintelligable, gruesome and at times unbelievable, it really isnt hard to get the idea. in fact as a guide to productive living during a time of utter chaos. chaos i tell you, it works as well as any. so its ok for me to ignore it. in the very same way that one may choose to ignore an intolerably formatted paragraph.

        and of course, it would be nice if we could all see the same thing. failed prophecies? i tried blockading my neighbor. for years. so angry. i felt so anxious. caused strife in my family, i could not make him see sense. how you say. a stalemate. the whole street tried to help. you know the fence? i paid for it all myself. and still he was angry at me. then i ‘gave’ him my land. it was a trick, though. what am i taking it with me? only cost me more and more money. now i go where i please. now i am free.

        do unto others, be like a child. thats the simplest and most concise teaching against slavery or rape possible isnt it?
        all the wild creatures of earth. waiting for us to catch up.
        the penguin with its gender equality. its civilised and communal existance. the human with its opposable thumbs.

        if the number in my forehead is the pin number of the atm card in my hand, then wow. impressive prophecy. i think the trouble with academic process is the substantial hit to our instinct and our natural curiosity that it delivers. im going to say there are laws that govern conservation of energy. i dont want to have to prove that magnets work on land and underwater, because we have no interest in reinventing the wheel. were looking to find connections, not to test the effectiveness of logic.
        were not looking to engage the logical mind.

        and im not claiming to be correct outside the scope of the personal relationship with god i seem to be able enjoy. an i and i type of connection if that helps. is that delusional? im not george pell. it says that anything named as leviticus or deuteronomy. can only reek of satan. even before the contents are consumed and thereafter studied and discussed and cross referenced and so by design spread the disease and confusion intended. and doesnt it. were not talking about the book of hallelujah or the book of healing light, cause you know whats in that book, dont ya.

        if theres no data that can be attached to purity of intent, i fear that we may never really understand each other at all. a point where our potential for a shared integrity actually gets transformative. the point where intent is redundant, the point of true integration. what they call enlightenment.

        a way of embracing our own potential to perhaps develop sonar, like dolphins have, over time, cause mammals obviously can. to fit a purpose.
        unburdened by unwarranted skepticism.

        otherwise i may be prone to want to think im supposed to pass judgement and perhaps see to the murder of my brother. without noticing a log in my eye. and without anyone else noticing that log. im sure you agree. the confusion must lie with the great flood and its once and one time only offer. he wont wipe us off like that again, so i can rape and pillage if i need to then throw myself on his mercy. yeah. and be forgiven for my lifetimes of lazy grammar and inconsiderate capitalisation. the passionate enthusiasm. yes i knowingly let my crazy out. no. thank you. and yeah i do chuckle to myself when i picture noah wrangling those polar bears across the mediterranian sea. the kangaroos. i would like to know how he caught them.

        our first nations probably had sufficient explanations had they been asked.

  25. Hello and ty for keeping me busy for hours reading your post and all of the comments. It made me wonder whether you have read the book Jesus The Man written by Barbara Thiering. I would assume you probably have and if so, would like to know your thoughts on the book. TY 🙂

    • Actually, Leanne, I have read and studied many scholarly works about Jesus, the New Testament and early Christianity, but (I regret to candidly admit) I am not familiar with the book Jesus the Man by Barbara Thiering. Perhaps you could provide some information about this work and why it might be worth looking into!

      If you liked this page, there are just a few others on this site, with several listed in the upper right corner of the page.

  26. I enjoyed this article. It brought up many faults and questions I have had mall my 65 years of life. While I take the Bible on FAITH, I do not take each word as law. We must remember who TRANSLATED each book! The quotes you must remember when each book was translated, that not all words translated correctly! While I do not believe in each word of the Bible “literally”, I have Faith, generally…e.i…the world being created in 7 days? Really? Science has proven the millions of years for man to evolve. In faith…what is a day? To man, it is 24 hours! To God? 24… hours, days, weeks months, years, decades, centuries?
    Is the Bible divine? Faith would have me believe yes, but religion is man made, so my intellect has me question man, as man uses the Bible for POWER! I believe in God. My belief sustains me through bad times…but do I believe as others? My intellect tells me to question, always, the intent of the person preaching, talking, or dictating!

  27. I once, or maybe more than once, had a discussion/argument about the infallibility of the bible. I take the position that the bible may be the inspired word of G-d, but it was written and compiled by men; therefore, it is not perfect. I believe G-d to be perfect, but our interpretation of him is not. I like how you relate the writings in the bible to the writings of philosophers; it makes a lot of sense to me. Good work!

  28. Haven’t read the whole article and don’t intend to. Would simply like to remind readers that the Word of God in the Bible proves itself authoritative to those who follow it’s counsel for example The Ten Commandments as interpreted through Jesus in the Sermon on Mt. would save marriages; and empty prisons.
    Incidentally, I did not notice any reference in the lengthy diatribe against the authority of the Bible that there are many different types of literature in the Bible: to put all those types of literature in the same bucket seems to me irresponsible.
    Among the billions of lives transformed from despair to peace and new beginnings can also be documented beautifully by the 1000’s of stories that have given rise to the Great Songs of the Faith sung by the faithful Sunday by Sunday.

    • Gary — the Bible no more proves itself than the Qur’an proves Islam, the Bhagavad Gita proves Hinduism or Batman comics prove Batman. They all have moral standards (yes even comic heroes), and all major religions teach moral values against killing, lying, stealing or violating marriage vows.

      Your Bible does NOT teach against slavery (both Old and New Testaments not only allow it but endorse it) nor does it teach against rape (the “penalty” is that the rapist can force his victim to marry him if both are single, and he must pay a dowry to the father) — the “chapter and verse” references are in this article, but maybe your didn’t read that far, or maybe I understand why you don’t really want to. There are many heinous acts that are not only not prohibited in the Bible but commanded. Again, the references are provided, but I understand why you are afraid to look at them.

      As to the many types of literature cited in the Bible, there is reference to the fact that it is a compilation of letters, poetry, songs, sermons, history and various other elements, but maybe that, too, is in the part you didn’t get to. Usually I try to be careful about inveighing against things not in the content of material I admit I haven’t even read. But sure, I did not dwell on those, since multiple elements are not part of what is problematic with the Bible and, yes, there is much that is not only not problematic, but inspirational and of value, as with all other compilations of ancient mythology and legend and primitive moral codes.

      I do not have a problem with a compilation of many kinds of literature, but it is the Bible literalists who lump all these very different types of literature into a single bucket — put them all under a single compilation wrapped in a single cover — and call it the “Word of God” when it is provably nothing of the sort.

      I cited numerous specific “chapter and verse” examples of factual errors, direct internal contradictions and atrocities supposedly commanded by your “loving” god and I barely scratched the surface. You responded to none of these, but just complain that, since it has some good parts and some good effects (while ignoring the wars, atrocities, genocides and terrorism committed in its name), as all religions and ancient books of myth, legend and morality do, that it somehow proves itself despite these numerous documented flaws that you ignore.


      The 1st commandment is that though shalt have no other God but me”, does this mean non believers are fare game for any injustices?, is God the jealous type? Does acknowledgement of other God’s clarify their existence? Let’s try to do the world a favor and highlight what nonsense all religions are, and let reason and logic be our government

      • Libertyhead — your reference is to the first commandment as listed sequentially in the Ten Commandments. The reference to the article is to what Jesus referred to, as the First Great Commandment in the Law and the second which is “like unto it,” citing Old Testament references.

        They are not referring to the same thing.

        • Libertyhead – I work within the business psychology arena and work within thinking complexity. Anyone who can think more complexly than a teenager, or the average American, understands fully that superstition is a function of the brain, and that “god” is a symptom of this function. It is true that religion is part of our psyche, as is art and music and maths, but with one discerning difference: you educate yourself INTO those three arenas, whereas you educate yourself OUT of religion. Let’s try to spread that around some more.

        • Darren, I do agree that there is an innate attraction to humans towards religion. There is clearly a spiritual component to the human psyche that needs to be addressed in wrestling with the questions of time, space, the universe and the existence of any higher power in the universe.

          I try to address some of those concerns in the separate article on this page, “Is there a God?”

  29. Hi Mr. Danzier,

    I just found your site. I’m not a religious scholar nor have I read most of your works (yet), but I’ve come to many of the same conclusions you have over time (I’m 56) by critically questioning what is written in the bible.

    I’ll try to make this short because I have a question to ask, but I would like to share a life event that started my passion to start critically questioning most of what I’ve learned and have been taught about everything throughout my life.

    When I was 16 my father died after a very long ( at least two years), painful battle with bone cancer, kidney failure and other serious health issues. He was also 56 at the time.

    Soon after he passed,I started questioned the crucifixion of Jesus. My father and billions of others, holocaust victims for example, have suffered unimaginable deaths, sometimes over long periods of time.

    Three days on the cross! Really? That’s a suitable sacrifice for the salvation of all mankind? I believe if my father and countless others could go back and choose the way they died or three days on a cross, they’d choose three days on the cross in a heartbeat.
    That the best you got God?

    My question:

    I support the LGBT community and I’ve recently been reading about the contextual definition of the word abomination as it was used during the time of Leviticus. For example, an interesting, scholarly discussion by Dr. Jay Michaelson, Associate Editor of Religion Dispatches at the University of South Carolina.

    Also David Bartlett, professor at Yale Divinity School.

    I enjoyed your commentary about Leviticus is this commentary and was interested in your thoughts on the interpretation of abomination.

    Thank you so much for your time. I’m glad I discovered your writings

    Kind regards,

  30. What a write-up! Should be included in school curriculums so kids can straightaway know that the bible is not all that—–divine.

  31. Peter Whitehead

    Another point I want to talk about – much smaller perhaps than the other points you made; but still ever important if I want defend my position of believing in the Bible.

    It’s under the sub-section, ‘What the Bible IS and IS NOT’. I won’t debate against the whole of this sub-section, as I feel it’s better if I do it after I have made all my points for this article. I will just turn to where you believe from your findings that Paul didn’t think his findings were ‘inspired’… “Paul the Apostle, who clearly believed that the established scripture of his day was inspired (see 2 Timothy 3:16), also clearly acknowledged that some of his own writings were NOT, as when he wrote in 1 Cor 7:12 ‘But to the rest speak I, not the lord…’ (emphasis added); and 2 Cor 11:17 ‘That which I speak, I speak [it] not after the lord…’ (emphasis added).” In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, you are not reading the whole passage – before verse 12, Paul writes, “Now to the married I command, yet not I BUT THE LORD…” (emphasis added in capitals). This links in with v. 12, as Paul will give ‘his’ commandment, but it’s actually the same as the Lord’s commandment from earlier on in this chapter – they both agree that a couple in a marriage shouldn’t be separated or divorced.

    As for 2 Corinthians 11 v. 17, Paul was actually probably meaning, ‘I do not speak this imitating the example of the Lord Jesus or strictly as becomes his follower’. Paul never wanted to up himself, as it was the Lord’s inspiration for the whole of the Bible. And if you ask for evidence of this claim, I will continue to find it; but for now, I will just stick to this passage. Also, Paul was being sarcastic… because he was on the subject of ‘boastfulness’ and being foolish. In verses 18-19, Paul says, “Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise!” this would be like people being sarcastic in modern times; e.g. in a context of a quiz game, someone might ‘sarcastically’ say, ‘You’re OBVIOUSLY the master of this subject now that you’ve got one answer right…’ (capital letters to emphasise sarcasm)

    • Peter — the fact remains that Paul was not intending to write scripture. He was writing letters. When Paul refers to “scripture,” he is referring to the scripture known to the Jews — the “Law” and the “Prophets” that comprise the Old Testament. The existing canon of the New Testament was not even compiled in its present form until more than 300 years later, by the newly-unified Catholic Church.

      • Peter Whitehead

        Actually, quite a few of the writers of the New Testament believed their writings to be inspired from God. I shall look at some evidences for this…

        In 1 Corinthians 2 v. 12-13, Paul writes, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The ‘we’ in these lines would refer to Paul + the other apostles like John, Peter, etc.

        Peter also writes in 2 Peter 3 v. 1-2, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle… that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken by the holy prophets, AND of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Saviour…” (emphasis added by capital letters). This backs up what happened back in the Four Gospels when Jesus said to his disciples (including Peter), “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. (These verses came from Matthew ch. 28 v. 19-20; and there is also Mark’s own words of this account in Mark ch. 16 v. 15-18). Let’s also not forget that Jesus also said to his disciples, “Behold, I send the Promise of My father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (these verses came from Luke ch. 24 v. 49 – this also is written in Acts ch. 1 v.5 & v. 7-8; plus, the actual events of the disciples ‘being baptized’ by the Holy Spirit happened in Acts ch. 2).

        In 1 Peter 1 v. 10-12, Peter makes it even more direct about himself and his fellow ‘co-workers; Peter says that “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully…”, obviously referring to the Old testament prophets – and then Peter says in verse 13, “To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven…”. These ‘reporters’ are the writers of the Gospels, i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

        Paul challenges the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4 v. 2, “for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus”, indicating that the message that Paul was giving or had given had been inspiration from Jesus. Who also earlier on said in the same book, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe”. What this indicates is that people from other churches recognised the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that was dwelling in these apostles.

        In Galatians 1 v. 6-12, Paul said that his teaching carried the authority of God; he claimed that his preaching was the standard of the truth and that other preachers could be tested and measured by it. In verses 11-12, Paul writes, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ”. For this reason, obedience to Paul’s teaching became the measure of a spiritual life: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14 v. 37). My last evidence – which is also linked in with the rest of this paragraph and other passages from this paragraph – is from Ephesians ch. 3 v. 1-7; however, I shall let you read it for yourself, as I’m sure I will need to move on swiftly onto my next point in this ‘reply’.

        I shall type up a whole sub-section from a book called, ‘How Do We Know the Bible Is True?’, in the chapter called, ‘Is the New Testament Reliable?’ I believe this to be a good book – however, if you have never read this book, and you want to try to correct me on some things or disprove what the writers have said, be my guest to get the book and read it. However, as I have already said, I will just write this one small sub-section from the chapter of this book:-

        ‘The idea that the Gospels and epistles were not written down until two or three centuries after the death of Jesus is yesterday’s “scholarship”. Ignatius, who was martyred around the year A.D. 115, wrote of the Apostle’s letters and the Gospels as the “New Testament” [Ignatius, Epistle to the Philadelphians 5, and Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 7:4]. This was typical of all the early Church leaders who acknowledged only the four Gospels for the life and teaching of Jesus. By A.D. 150 the Muratorian Canon listed the books accepted by the “universal church”, and it includes the four Gospels and all 13 letters of Paul [Edwards, ‘Why 27?’ p. 89-90].
        In 1972 a liberal scholar, John A.T. Robinson, published a detailed study of each of the books of the New Testament and concluded that every one must have been completed before they year A.D. 70 [J.A.T. Robinson, ‘Redating the New Testament’ (London: SCM Press, 1972). Conservative Christians agree that all of the New Testament was completed by the close of the first century A.D. ]. In addition he condemned the “sheer scholarly laziness” of those who assume a late date for the New Testament and added, “It is sobering too to discover how little basis there is for many of the dates confidently assigned by modern experts to the New Testament documents” [Robinson, ‘Redating the New Testament, p. 341].”

        • Your lengthy response does not address the points I made.
          I did not say the New Testament content was not written until 300+ years later; I said it was compiled in its present form more than 300 years later, and that is factually accurate.

          While scholars disagree on the exact timing of the writings of most of the content, I am not familiar with anyone who thinks they were written later than 100 years at the most. There were many different compilations of a variety of early gospels, epistles, etc., and the many varied sects each had their own compendia that they revered. But the present formulation and canonization as “scripture,” equal (or superior) to the Law and the Prophets that were, indeed, the scripture Paul was referring to, did not occur until the many sects were unified under Constantine with his cross and sword. Some of my sources include true Bible scholars such as Robert Eisenman, Bart D. Ehrman, Burton L. Mack and some of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scroll compilations of Elaine Pagels, James M. Robinson, and others.

          I do not doubt that many writers of religious materials have often felt inspired. It is not the same as believing one is writing scripture.

          Moreover, the point is not germane to the point of the article, that the Bible, like the compilations of mythology and legend of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Incas and Mayans, is riddled with human error, contradiction and, at least the Old World legends, much violence. There is absolutely no basis for believing that the legends and myths of the Hebrews are any more or less literally true than any of the others.

        • Thanks for the great expositions here. And I, too, am an avid reader of most of your author references.

          Any chance you might one day comment, or write about, the Rapturists of the 19th century, re Darby? Or have you already done so? Refer me, if you have. Thanks.

      • The Apostle Paul was addressing women who were being rude within the church as you used the scriptures. Thus is a doctrinal fallacy as even some believers who don’t study enough don’t see this contradiction. Women have leadership roles in the ancient church both in acts and Romans. Geez.

        • Matt — your comment reflects several very serious flaws.

          First, it is posted in the wrong discussion. It is not a response to a specific point in this article on Bible flaws, but rather a a response to a point made in my article about how the teachings of Paul contradict those of Jesus and his brother James, which can be found (along with its comment section) at:

          It belongs in that discussion. Any further response will not be accepted for display in this forum, but rather should be directed to that forum where it is relevant.

          Second, you are just trying to explain away why the scriptures, taken in their full actual context, don’t really mean what they so clearly say. The article on Paul cited above provided the exact chapter and verse references so you could check them out for yourselves and examine the full context.

          The verses in Paul’s letter found in I Corinthians 14:34-45 and I Timothy 2:12 do not mention women being rude or disruptive in church. You, or whoever you got it from, just made that up. They refer to prohibiting women from TEACHING in church, or speaking in any way and that if they want to learn anything they should learn it from their husbands at home. Read it for yourself. There is nothing like what you claim.

          Further, the passages from Paul’s letters in I Timothy 5:14, Ephesians 5:22-24 Colossians 3:18-19 all speak to the broader picture of the role of women, and that they are to stay home, raise children, avoid leadership roles and be submissive to their husbands.

          All of these passages and references were cited in the article on Paul referenced above. Nothing of the made-up content you describe is included in the actual context. If the issue is addressed honestly, without previous bias and with consideration of the full actual context, the condescending superiority Paul felt over women and his direct and repeated contradictions of Jesus on every major point of doctrine, theology, law, ethics, morality and social order is inescapable.

  32. Peter Whitehead

    I can see that you did a lot of work in your own time on this article, but I believe that on some things your points are wrong. If I would be allowed to, I want to look at least some of the points, but not all in one go (as I haven’t read all the points in this article yet – but I will do – or I need more time to think about the more ‘difficult’ points). I will point out that I’m not the greatest ‘theologian’ or ‘debater’, and therefore I might not argue like other Christians can; but I intend to defend my position of being a Christian, as I believe that both atheists, religious people + others should be equally allowed to give their points. For this comment, I will choose the prophecy of Jesus birth + resurrection in Isaiah 7 v. 14 & Isaiah 53 v. 5-12.

    Firstly, one of your arguments was that the name of ‘Immanuel’ “must not be referring to the son of Mary and Joseph, since they did not name him Immanuel, but rather, Jesus”. You then carry on to argue that the reference of ‘Immanuel’ in Matthew chapter 1 is in v. 28 – and yet in the Bible, there are only 25 verses in Matthew chapter one. This may be just be a typing error, but even so, you should check what you have written. The actual verse referring to Immanuel is in v. 23 – and between verses 21-23, there is a clear link that Jesus is ‘Immanuel’ – ” ‘…she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’, which is translated, God with us’. ” Immanuel is translated as ‘God with us’, and in the Bible and by Christians at least, Jesus is also considered to be God (one God but three persons; the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

    Secondly, for Isaiah 53 v. 5-12, what you wrote was, “it has nothing to do with anyone taking upon himself anyone else’s sins, nor is it even remotely related to Jesus”. If it isn’t related to Jesus, then who is it related to? You also wrote, “It says nothing about the victim dying…” – I’m afraid it does, as v. 7 says, “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…” (Jesus was referred to as a lamb or compared to like a lamb quite a few times in the Bible); v. 8 says, “For He was cut off from the land of the living” (suggesting that Jesus died); v. 9 says, “They made His grave with the wicked – but with the rich at His DEATH…” (I added the capital letters in this example to emphasise my point); and finally in v. 12, it says, “And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death…” When these verses also refer to Jesus having a long life, you rightly declare that “Jesus died young”. However, don’t forget the one small fact that in the Bible, JESUS ROSE UP AND WAS MADE ALIVE AGAIN. Therefore, Jesus did live a ‘long life’; or for the rest of eternity in heaven. Lastly, you seem to state that “Jesus reportedly died childless”. Once again, in terms of physical ‘rules’ you could say, Jesus did have no ‘earthly’ children; however, his ‘seed’ refers to the Christians/people trusting + believing in Jesus (His ‘spiritual’ children), no matter what nation, gender, background, age, or skin colour.

    Please reply back if you want to continue discussing over this plus other points from this article, as I’m interested in what I think, but I also want to set a few things straight from what I believe to be the truthful Word of God.

    Yours Sincerely, Peter

    • Peter — regarding the reference to verse “28” in Matthew 1, yes, it is a typo and I will be correcting it in the original. The references to Matthew’s claim of fulfilling the supposed prophecy from the seventh chapter of Isaiah should be stated as referring to verse 23, and the fact that, barely two verses later, in verse 25, not the nonexistent verse 28, it specifically confirms that the baby was NOT named Immanuel, but Jesus. My clumsiness with a keyboard does nothing to lessen the fact that the prophecy was not fulfilled.

      Please note that the prophecy in Isaiah says that his NAME will be Immanuel. Not his title. Not his nickname. But his NAME. The fact that the name has a specific meaning explains why the name was chosen, it does nothing to ameliorate the fact that, contrary to the prophecy in Isaiah, the supposed infant-savior was NOT named Immanuel. The prophecy was not fulfilled, at least not by Jesus.

      My references to the account in Isaiah 53 demonstrated conclusively why the passage cannot be a reference to Jesus, as it contains descriptions not applicable to the story of Jesus in the Bible. The fact that you can find some points of similarity, such as going like a lamb to slaughter, that would apply to millions of wrongly executed innocents throughout human history, does not change the fact that there are details that rule out any possibility of reference to Jesus.

      Your question as to, if not Jesus then who is it, means nothing to me. I don’t know who it is referring to and frankly don’t care. It could be anyone who fits all of the criteria referenced, which — whoever it is — rules out any possibility it could be Jesus.

      And your attempts to explain why the reference to this poor sufferer’s progeny “seed” in the King James Version, which is a clear reference to biological descendants (“offspring” in NIV and RSV) refers to spiritual rather than biological children, or why “prolonging his days” (at the very most, an additional 40 days before which Jesus supposedly ascended into heaven where “he lives” and sits at the right hand of god, thus also ruling out any possibility that Jesus, who “lives,” “paid the price” if the “wages of sin is death.” I discuss this latter point in my article on that specific issue:

      Your attempt to explain why the Bible doesn’t really mean what it so very clearly and explicitly says, is as desperate as Matthew trying to explain why the NAME “Jesus” is really the NAME “Immanuel,” or how someone who lives to old age and sees their offspring — their “seed” — could be an unmarried, childless martyr who dies at age 33.

  33. Well, I’ve enjoyed reading this, enjoyed the flaming of some people in the comments and the obvious lack of independent thought here. I myself am a Pagan who simply laughs at the bible due to how it is so full of issues. Thank you for putting all these together into a single book, ((And finding some I hadn’t even found yet.)) So, I shall be buying your book next week to leaf through, possibly highlight some things and leave on a table in my home for a bible-thumping friend pick up, or carry it with me just to use when people try to tell me I’m going to hell. Actually, considering that, I might just do both, so maybe I’m buying two.

    Good Article, Hope the book is just as informative and I look forward to it just as much as I look forward to watching LT try to rationalize his fear mongering ways and discredit you while ignoring or changing the evidence you try to use to support your argument.

    • And pardon the typing errors and grammar issues, typing up a comment while dealing with a migraine at work in under a few minutes is bound to cause a few. I shall practice better etiquette next post.

  34. One quick question for Danizier. Why do you continue trying to converse with LT?

    • Letting LT rant back and forth a bit provides not only a bit of entertainment, but also illustrates so clearly the mentality one must have to take the Bible, or any other ancient compilations of legends by primitive tribal communities, as being literally true from the hand of god, rather than as curious artifacts in the social evolution of modern civilizations in their earlier, more primitive states.

  35. Danzier:
    To say that morality only exists if is imposed externally by a powerful cosmic bully is to say that “might makes right” and is not morality at all. Cowering in fearful obeisance is not morality. The only true morality is that which springs from internalized compassion expressed actively through deeds. It is morality we adhere to even when no one, including imaginary sky gods, is watching. If one would not be moral without the fear of god looking over their shoulder, they are not moral; they are merely compliant.

    Agreed mostly. In fact the statement “The only true morality is that which springs from internalized compassion expressed actively through deeds.” sounds very Catholic. But in the end, YOU determine morality personally. You make it sound fancy but in the end what you are saying is that it is just determined by everyone’s opinion individually. That morality is relative. I was looking for a more objective definition. For example: “Morality is what is best for the success of the human race,” etc…

  36. Danzier:
    I do not need a god to tell me that it is wrong to rape and murder children (as the Bible god COMMANDS in Numbers 31); I do not need a god to tell me that it is wrong to abuse women, kill people for working on the Sabbath or for being accused of being witches. And neither do you. Do you agree that killing and raping children is wrong? Your Biblical god never says so; in fact, he COMMANDS people to do that. Do you agree that killing someone for working on the Sabbath or being gay is wrong? How do you know that, since your god never says so. Congratulations, you do have a moral compass after all and it did not come from god because he did not direct those things.

    Again I argue that is was you being raised in Western Culture that led you to believe these things are wrong. A culture influenced primarily by the Catholic Church and it’s offshoots. If you lived in the South Pacific 400 years ago I’m sure that you wouldn’t need a God to know that canibalism is OK. And Numbers 31 makes no mention of God ordering these things on Children. Just to exact revenge. And yes I think revenge is wrong since I was raised Catholic and follow mainly the teachings of Jesus. If I were raised Jewish 2500 years ago I might think that revenge is just and right. I am very much against the rape and murder of Children as are you. But how far does that murder extend with you? Are you agains the slaughter (30 million and counting) of unborn babies? (and Catholics didn’t burn witches, that was the protestants)

    • Hugh, your tirade that demands that churches control the most private parts of women’s bodies and equates women making their own private medical decisions with murder is the moral equivalent of slavery and the traditional religious subjugation of women.

      I am not going to go into that in detail here.

      There is an excellent site that addresses why your attempts to control women’s bodies is moral bullshit, and I will refer you to that site:

      The best overall site I have seen on women’s reproductive rights has several really excellent pages, fully documented and insightful. The main page, with an index to the other pages, is at:

      Some of the specific other pages:

      Judeo-Christian Religious and Scriptural Aspects of Reproductive Rights
      Even though we are a secular nation with separation of state and church/temple/mosque, for those who claim (without basis) that the Bible opposes abortion, a well-documented treatise proving that THE BIBLE IS 100% PRO CHOICE (well, at least for the husbands, if not the wives):

      Moral Aspects of Reproductive Choice
      Life begins BEFORE fertilization; both the egg and sperm were alive and human before that point.
      Includes some hilarious thought questions that will make your anti-choice conservatives brains go KABOOM:

      Legal and Legislative History and Issues in Reproductive Rights
      Roe v. Wade was decided 7-2, not even close, and written by Harry Blackmun, a REPUBLICAN appointee of Richard Nixon, citing personal liberty issues and the “intent of the Founders” since abortion had been legal in all 13 original states for almost 50 years, until Connecticut became the first to outlaw it in 1821:

      Additional Issues in Reproductive Choice
      Late-Term Abortion, Parental Consent, Abortion in cases of Rape, and more.

      Oh, and get your history straight — Joan of Arc in France was NOT BURNED BY PROTESTANTS.
      She was burned at the stake by CATHOLICS.
      The Protestants in Massachusetts did not burn their accused witches; they hung them.

      In any case, as noted in this article of mine with chapter and verse, whether Protestant hangings or CATHOLIC BURNINGS, it is the BIBLE that commands that witches be put to death.

  37. Danzier:
    What makes us human is not that an invisible sky god invented by primitive, Bronze Age sheep herders and fishermen says so, but that we have higher ordered conscious sentience by which to determine moral sensibilities.

    This would make sense if it were evaluation and accumulated knowledge that led to the belief in God. However these people claimed to have revelation. And since evolution probably doesn’t give enough time in 2000 years to make a noticeable difference in intelligence, I would say they probably had the same IQ as people alive today. if your point is that God revealed himself back then but then hasn’t since so why should we still believe in such fairy tales I would suggest that you were raised protestant. In the Catholic faith we have thousands of continuing revelations and miracles.

    • Yes, Hugh, the ancient Hebrews claimed to have divine revelation.
      They claimed that a divine, invisible sky god commanded them to kill men, women and children, and to rape virgins of conquered peoples.
      They claimed that a divine, invisible sky god failed to prohibit rape, and made the only punishment for rape that the victim be forced to marry her rapist.
      They claimed that a divine, invisible sky god commanded that those who violate the Sabbath, are attracted to those of the same sex, are accused of witchcraft or even talk back to their parents be PUT TO DEATH.

      And the ancient Greeks and Vikings and Mayans and Incas all claimed revelations and magic and “miracles” and great wonders.
      And the Muslims claim that their holy Qur’an was revealed by a prophet who raped a nine-year-old “bride” and conquered “converts” by the sword.

      And today’s conservative “Christian” extremists, after centuries of inquisitions, crusades, conquering and “converting” indigenous peoples by convert-or-die swords and bullets, still shoot doctors, bomb clinics, disrupt military funerals, burn crosses on the lawns of Jews and blacks and reject the science of evolution in favor of the superstition of creation, just as they rejected the science of a spherical earth that had been known by scientists since the accurate calculations of Eratosthenes in Greece since 260 BC until their superstition was shattered by Columbus, or the science of the cosmos revealed, not by the invisible sky god but by very real telescopes of Galileo and Copernicus that were not apologized for until hundreds of years later, under Pope John Paul II.

      Yes, every primitive society has had their “gods” and their revelations.
      Modern civilizations have advanced only when they rejected them and turned to SCIENCE.

      In the past, people got cancer, their loved ones prayed and they died.
      Today, people get cancer, they get science-based treatment, and many live.

      • We definitely agree on so many things, especially about the Bible. But when you mention:
        “And today’s conservative “Christian” extremists, after centuries of inquisitions, crusades, conquering and “converting” indigenous peoples by convert-or-die swords and bullets, still shoot doctors, bomb clinics, disrupt military funerals, burn crosses on the lawns of Jews and blacks and reject the science of evolution in favor of the superstition of creation”

        You are mixing two groups. Todays conservative christian extremists did not partake in inquisitions or crusades, that was the Catholics. Allegations made in one sentence take paragraphs to defend so I won’t bother you with that(plus we’ve been over it before).

        But no one is shooting doctors and blowing up clinics. That only happened a few times and denounced right away by all the major churches. There are no churches advocating these things. And the disrupting of military funerals is by one small cult.

        • Hugh, I gave you the courtesy of allowing a slight divergence from the issue of THIS page, which is about the Bible, and I am going to approve this comment, too, but you need to stay on topic for each of my pages. I moderate comments because I do not intend to turn these forums to turn into rambling, out-of-control free-for-alls.

          As to issues of the role of Christianity in history and government and specific current events and issues, those issues have nothing to do with the Bible, which was produced centuries earlier, and I have a different page that addresses those kinds of issues, which can be found at:

          I also address issues specific to the Catholic Church, and their role in atrocities past AND PRESENT on my page devoted specifically to that.

          Just briefly, and any further exchange needs to move to the correct page, I specifically differentiated between conservative Christian EXTREMISTS and those who are more moderate. But as we are seeing in Islam today, EVERY time religious extremists have had actual political power, they have caused horrific atrocities.

          And no, Hugh, I am NOT “mixing two groups.” It was the same Catholic church which touts itself as being the same yesterday, today and forever, that caused the Inquisition, Crusades, convert-or-die genocides against indigenous peoples in Latin America and the Philippines and which, yes, were absolutely responsible for virtually all witch burnings (which occurred predominantly before the Protestant reformation). The ONLY difference between that time and today, and why there are only small scale atrocities such as shooting doctors, blowing up clinics or involved in protesting funerals or militia movements, is because they don’t have actual political power. When Southern religious extremists did have political power, the Ku Klux Klan terrorists operated on a very broad scale, with virtual legal impunity. And, while today’s Catholic church has, especially under the new Pope Francis, moderated greatly (though his predecessor, Benedict XVI waged terrorism against child rape victims), I do not have the slightest doubt that if Christian extremists did take power, as they are trying to do, that we would return to those kinds of large-scale atrocities.

          Your other comments on politics and abortion have been edited out. Again, I gave you the courtesy of a brief response when YOU brought up the subject, and directed you to more appropriate places to discuss those issues, but I am not going to allow you to drill down further on those tangents.

      • Although I’m enjoying your writing, and I fully agree with most of you’re saying, just a minor correction about Columbus.

        He didn’t proof anything, and neither he did pretend that. It was well known that earth was spherical, and Church didn’t oppose to that idea. As you said, it was a known fact by academics sice Eratosthenes in 260 b.C.

        What was discussed was if it was possible to arrive to Asia going westwards. In fact, Colon was wrong. He thought Earth was smaller than it is. He just was “lucky” and found America in the middle. But the roundship of earth was not a matter of discussion (or if it was, a very minor one).

        I’ve found your essay very instereting, and I plan to keep reading you. 🙂

        PS: I’m sorry for my bad grammar. English is ot my first language (and although I can read it as a native, I cannot write it as well).

        • Jordi, your facts about Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) are correct, and points I have made many times in discussing Columbus’ historical role as a navigator (brilliant), governor of conquered indigenous peoples (cruel and harsh and genocidal in his convert-or-die religious oppression) and pseudo-scientist (dead wrong and would have been, as you note, literally “dead in the water” absent his accidental encounter a new continent unknown to Europeans other than the Norse. I have made these points when the discussion was about Columbus; in this case, it is a passing reference by way of example of the anti-science mentality that dominated during the Dark Ages. And yes, while I agree that the few educated Catholic scholars did understand the science of Eratosthenes and his proof of a spherical world (and accurate calculation of its size), I also conclude that, as religious leaders still do today, they intentionally kept the vast mass of their uneducated, illiterate followers in the dark for the purpose of domination and control.

          Columbus did, however, set the stage for absolute proof that the earth is spherical (actually completed by the voyage of Magellan [Magallanes] after the explorer’s death on Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines [I’ve visited the monuments there, both to Magellan for introducing Christianity to the Philippines and to Lapu-Lapu, the native warrior who killed him and thus struck the first blow against European imperialism]). His error was, in his non-scientific mind, the arrogance of thinking he could calculate the size of the earth more accurately than every educated scientist for the preceding 1,750 years before him.

  38. Danzier:
    But just to address your point briefly (and further discussion should move to the Bible page), humans have the sentient capacity for valuation and eVALUation to determine value and it has nothing to do with god.

    Correct but that has everything to do with the culture in which they were raised doesn’t it? Can you find two cultures with the same value system? Many African tribes didn’t have marriage (It takes a village). American Indians thought it was OK to breed babies to eat them. Arabs had many wives. I could go on infinitely. Did these people know they were doing wrong but then did it anyway? Or did they think that this was just the way things are since it was the culture they were raised in. You were raised in a culture formed by Christian beliefs. I would argue that is where your “sentient capacity” comes from.

    • Totally agreed, Hugh. Great point!

      Primitive, violent tribal cultures tended to have simplistic, violent tribal systems of morality.
      Case in point, as I cited at great length in this article, are the early Hebrews.

      Newly freed from bondage in Egypt, wandering the desert thirstily for 40 years, they were depraved, barbaric, desperate, primitive tribalists. When they finally arrived at the land Moses had promised them was chosen for them by their invisible sky god, they found it inconveniently occupied by various other peoples. They viciously initiated wars of conquest, rape and murdering women and children, all supposedly commanded by god (see Numbers chapter 31), as primitive, violent tribal societies are wont to do.

      Then they are given a harsh Law of Moses that prohibits worshipping other gods (seemingly to acknowledge other gods of which the Hebrew invisible sky deity is jealous) and forbidding worship of graven images which seemingly would include crosses, especially those with the bloody body still dangling upon it. (I can just imagine that, if JFK were to return to earth, the first thing he would want to see is billions of people worshipping little high-powered rifles). Oh yeah, and it prohibits working on the Sabbath (which is punishable by death) and says that those accused of being witches or wizards should be put to death (chapter and verse cited in the article).

      But it does not prohibit rape, child abuse, polygamy or slavery. In fact, it offers specific rules for how to manage multiple wives and slaves and offering specific rules for managing each.

      As the Hebrews evolved and became more civilized, their morally relativistic invisible sky god also evolved and became more civilized. (What a coincidence.) By the time of the New Testament, polygamy has mostly disappeared (though slavery still abounds) and Jesus is able to teach a doctrine based on love and compassion (most of the time, except when he’s in a bad mood) though that is promptly undermined and reversed by the renegade “apostle” Paul who teaches something completely opposite and which forms the foundations of modern conservative “Christianity.”

      Yes, Hugh, the god of the Bible is a slippery moral chameleon, evolving and changing and then reverting back to its more primitive forms.

      Yes, morality depends on culture.
      The morality of the Hebrews is perverse, cruel and vicious.
      Thankfully, as modern civilizations have emerged, they have rejected them in favor of more humane concepts of morality based on what is best for the most while respecting individual rights.

  39. Aida Abdur-Rashid

    I doubt seriously Mr. Danizier if you have read the Qur’an in Arabic the language it was revealed in. Be aware that the Qur’an is the last revelation of Allah’s (God) word. The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in Arabic only. So, any Qur’anic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a QUR’AN, nor a version of the Qur’an, but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Qur’an. The Qur’an exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed. Millions of Muslims have memorized the Arabic in the Qur’an by heart. For your benefit here, In the English translation (found in some Qur’ans) Allah states: { And if you are in doubt about what We ( The Royal “We”, like Queen Victoria used: “We are not amused” meaning herself–alone) have revealed to Our worshipper (Muhammad-peace be upon him), then produce a chapter like it, and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful. And if you do not do it, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones. it has been prepared for disbelievers. And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow…” Qur’an 2:23-25 } Ever since the Qur’an was revealed, over fourteen centuries ago, no one has been able to produce a single chapter like the chapters of the Qur’an (in Arabic) in their beauty, eloquence, splendor, wise legislation, true prophecy, and other perfect attributes. Furthermore, it is quite impossible that the Qur’an would suffer from contradictions, abrogations, changes of any sort. Because Allah promised to protect the Qur’an. Again for you benefit, in English translation, Allah states in the Qur’an: {Indeed, We have sent down the Qur’an, and surely We will guard it.” Qur’an, 15:9 }. You are welcomed to increase your knowledge of Qur’an at:, click on “Qur’an”. Peace to you.

    • Alda Abdur-Rashid — I find your concern to have merit. I understand that, like many works of literature, the full power of the original language in its poetic cadence cannot be fully captured when translating to another language, and I do understand that one cannot read the actual Qur’an other than in its original Arabic. I have three versions of English translations of the meaning of the words of the Qur’an, all prepared by Muslims. I obtained the first one, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran,” translated by Gordon Pickthall, which I still have, more than 40 years ago. It was selected for me by a Sunni Muslim friend who had moved to the U.S. from Egypt.

      In most instances, when I refer to my experience, I note that I have read translations of the meaning of the words of the Qur’an and note that it provides access to content, but does not capture the full essence. Obviously in this instance I was a bit sloppy and failed to note that distinction. Accordingly, I have edited the content of the article to reflect that.

      That said, the site I provide the link to, which identifies numerous flaws and contradictions in the Qur’an, is provided by a reformed Muslim, and if you have objections to his efforts, I suggest you direct them to him. The fact that the Qur’an or those who believe in it claim otherwise is not, on its face, any more convincing that claims of inerrancy by the Bible or those who believe it.

    • Many Jews believe the Hebrew or Aramaic versions of their Scriptures also cannot truly be translated into other languages without distortion. Nor can Sanskrit, Pali, or even ancient Greek. No language can keep all nuance or intimation when translated. So, what you say, sir, makes sense in regard to all languages, not simply Arabic. And as far as hell being fueled by men and stones, only a very mean spirited god would declare such things.

      I disbelieve all religions and if I must burn, I burn willingly. And only when Islam finally settles its Sunni/Shiite/Sufi conflicts can it make any real claim to Truth.

      • Agreed, RKM, that nothing can ever be perfectly translated to incorporate all nuances of language, idiom, culture and perspective. The Qur’an is not unique in that respect. The Tao Teh Ching (various spellings) also is notoriously difficult to translate and convey both the meaning of the words and the full cultural contexts of the full meanings. Also true for Shakespeare and the epic trilogy of Milton, which is also written in poetic cadence.

        It seems that the more sophisticated or deep in meaning the work, the more difficult to translate. When I read the Qur’an or Tao Teh Ching or other works translated into English from languages I cannot read myself, I prefer to compare multiple translations prepared by those who share the perspective of the source text.

        As for the conflicts between Sunni, Shiite, Sufi and other branches of Islam, I have engaged in friendly banter with friends who were both Sunni (from Egypt) and Shiite (from Iran, aka, Persia) and find these divisions no more divisive than the historical divisions among Christians, such as the Catholic/Protestant violence that has pervaded Ireland and other parts of Europe for centuries.

        As for burning, I find the threats of post-mortal torture to be meaningless scare tactics. And actually, so do Muslims and the various sects of Christianity. Muslims do not seem to be frightened by the threats from Christians who, in turn, also do not reciprocate the threats from Muslims. I am not concerned with the threats from either, any more than the threat of Santa Claus to withhold stocking-stuffers on Christmas.

        • You are right, of course, about the Catholic/Protestant divisions since the 15th century. But my comment was directed toward the comments by the (apparent) Muslim commenter. He/she made the point, basically. that Islam is superior to all other paths. That’s why I suggested cleaning one’s own house before complaining about the dusty table in another’s.

          As a non believer on most levels, I find it amusing that, underneath all the so called public face, the Protestants still dislike the Catholics and vice versa. In some places around the world, the tension is still quite real. So is hell.

          Oh, well…

  40. This is great. Just found you.

    A remark…

    One thing good believers fail to remember about the Garden story is, God himself said that the couple had become as gods, knowing good and evil, just as the serpent told them. He did not cast them out of the Garden because they sinned. He cast them out because they had awakened and would soon make their way to the Tree of Life and become immortal, hence, God’s competitors rather than his puppets. Can’t have that, now can we? And in case your friend LT is interested, the serpent is the ancient symbol of wisdom, not evil. And he proved his stuff by being the one who told the truth. God sought to deceive the Innocents. But he failed to do so.

    • Richard — very insightful observations.

      • Dear Mr Danizier,
        Your remark on Richards remarks quoting nuances a of fairy tale “insightful” and drawing any conclusion of it makes me wander how far rationality did take you.
        When will you come to conclude a fable is a fable and nothing in it bears any reality good only for kids bed time stories or maybe not.
        Quite disappointing.

        • Otto — many analyses of fables, whether the legends of the Greeks, Vikings, Hebrews or Incas, all of which were believed to be literally true at some time in the past (or present) or of modern writers acknowledged from the outset to be fictional, have often been described as “insightful” without accepting them to be literally true.

          Whether as fictional allegory or by providing a window into the thinking of pre-scientific primitives as a part of the process of how our modern culture evolved, legends and fables can often be interpreted with insight and understanding.

          I don’t think many could possibly ready my articles on the Bible or on Christian mythology and come to the conclusion that I believe the Bible legends to be literally true. But, for good and ill, they are an important part of the history of our civilization, and we can and do gain insight by understanding them in their proper, limited role. In the same way, I gain much understanding of how our culture and civilization developed by reading thoughtful, insightful analyses of the Greek and Roman legends but I can assure you that I do not at all fear being attacked by a Cyclops, or believe that Zeus or Apollo were real deities, and only think of Aphrodite (Venus) as being real in some of my more interesting fantasies.

        • To Otto S…

          As Mr. Danizier points out, analyzing fable and myth serves to help us understand our history, often in ways literal fact cannot. Much if not most of the structure of ancient and modern culture has been constructed around our myths.

          My major point in my earlier remark is to suggest that people often do not analyze their myths deeply enough before turning them into law or dogma. We have always been taught the Doctrine of Original Sin by the Church as coming directly from the Creation Story in Genesis. In reality, when the myth is dissected more closely, it turns out, if one is paying attention, that the Couple came out of the Garden awakened. Hence, Original Blessing. Had the Church looked at it that way, it would have save us a couple thousand years of physical, emotional, and spiritual torture.

          The Bible is myth from cover to cover, and in some places, outright lies. So, the more one understands that, the easier it becomes to break free from the prison it creates.

        • I would concur in equating the Bible as the mythology of the Hebrews and, like many legends for periods of time, has been used to create dogma used for controlling people. Certainly, that includes extensive deception — the “outright lies” Richard Kent Matthews refers to.

          But like all ancient works of mythology, it also includes some references to historical events and people. Some of the kings, Roman emperors and governors, and others from neighboring states are rooted in fact, though heavily distorted and embellished with exaggerations with generous helpings of magic and “miracles.” This is also true of other myths. In recent decades we have uncovered some independent evidence to corroborate the existence of some of the people and events in the Odyssey, Iliad and other Greek myths. Sure, the accounts in the myths, which formed the basis of their ancient religion, are heavily distorted, embellished and exaggerated, with much magic and marvel added, but it does give us a window into the thinking and perspectives of ancient peoples and civilizations and the powers that controlled them.

  41. Dear Mr. Danizier,
    From my early childhood, growing up in deeply Catholic environment, I always had problems with the language of Paul vs. the sayings of Jesus. It was always looking so contrary in the way they preached. Only decades later I grasped the contradictions in the essence of the teachings and you are right on in your assessment in my humble opinion.
    Thanks to Paul and the Catholic Church of basing much of her teaching on his “believe this and believe that” system that is not sustainable it is the R.C church’s fault in propagating these stories and lead people into plain ignorance and delusion by the millions. To this age educated people who profess knowing God cannot comprehend the world is older than 6 thousand years.
    Ignorance in my opinion is the most damaging of all negative powers in that it is carried on from generation to generation. As one teaches the next. Getting out of this circle it takes a miracle of sorts.
    Equally damaging of Pauls’ version of his gospel is that he did connect Jesus to the fables of the OT. If it were not for him I would argue that the OT would play no role in the gospel of Jesus or only an academic one, outside the Jewish world maybe. It appears to me that Paul had to prove himself constantly to be a credible “disciple” and used reverences to the OT to prove his erroneous points more often than not with references to “written this and that” followed by a completely unrelated subjects.
    Jesus on many occasions referred to the mosaic laws as completely irrelevant and promised that nobody following them would enter the Kingdom as he envisioned. Non of these laws are relevant. After all his message addressed more what is beyond morality since morality alone is insufficient. Beside this the OT cannot even live up to the lowest of morality standard in today’s world as you give plenty of examples.
    That we give so much credibility to fables of snake talking and God writing on a stone plate and that sort of tales of an ancient time, we can give thanks to the R.C Church. She is continuously propagating this nonsense and never distanced herself. The book of Mormon could not have been taken seriously by so many were it not for the church preparing people to believe in the most grotesque and absurd. In light of this Mr. Smith is not so unbelievable after all.
    Unfortunately, in all of this the message of Jesus gets mingled up and associated with this talk of plunder.
    If I had a wish could you look into my assertion and elaborate as to what extend that Paul had influence in the OT becoming part of the gospel and people making connection to Jesus. More often than not “Christian” preachers find answers in Isaiah when supposedly talking about Jesus and in every R.C mass the OT is referred to as the World of God.
    I admire your patient in taking every response seriously and hope you could help me understand more. And if you could please publish your books in Kindle version.
    Otto Sponring

    • I have had a number of requests for the book to be available in e-book formats for Kindle, iPad and Nook. We are working with the publisher to arrange that and, when completed, will add links to the page.

  42. Danizier – keep up your good work. I fear your rationality and intellect are wasted on the average American and religitards such as LT, but DO NOT STOP. This is something we humans need to do: remove the bible and Qur’an and others from our future. LT doesn’t get it. You’ve given him enough examples and quotes. It’s time to let him go.
    But you MUST go on!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Darren. I don’t agree that we need to “remove the bible and Qur’an and others from our future” any more than we need to remove the legends which brought us the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Hindus, Incas or Mayas — all of whose deities were once believed to be literally true by large numbers of people.

      We do not need to remove them, but to put them in perspective; to appreciate their role in history, mythology, literally and human social evolution. What we need to remove is belief in them as being literally, inerrantly, factually true. The problem comes when superstition triumphs over fact, and its followers so rabidly fanatic that they are not content with merely their own superstition but feel the need to demand that everyone else believe the same and live according to the rituals and habits their mythology dictates (even if they, themselves, fail to do so).

  43. Hilarious at best!! You ADMITTTED the bible was compiled amongst separate writers, YET it still transcends time and is written in ways 100 top scholars of our day couldn’t perform!! But, AGAIN as you contradicted yourself, the writers were feeble minded goat herders. HOW could such lowly type people many many years ago write this time enduring masterpiece? I KNOW addressing this question will be IGNORED and at this point you are already thinking of your “LT has bizarre comments blah blah blah”…but let’s analyze this masterpiece that you FAIL to disprove all the while also FAILING to reverse the burden of proving on those who believe.
    Alliteration: a literary technique only to be heardin the original Hebrew amongst a few others.
    Allusions, Anthropomorphisms, Assonance, Hyperbole, Idiom, Imagery, Metaphors…JUST to name a few!! TIMELESS MASTERPIECE!! So go ahead, go burserk about “proof” and your failed “logic”, have at it 🙂

    • Yes, LT, the ancient Hebrews were, indeed, primitive by our standards of science, logic, fact and technology.

      The Vikings also were quite primitive by our standards and so were even the Greeks.

      Does LT doubt that the Greek mythological writings of the Iliad, Odyssey or Theogony are TIMELESS MASTERPIECES? Ditto for the Vikings and their Prose Edda and Poetic Edda, and the classic sagas.

      Muslims and Mormons claim that their respective “prophets,” Mohammed and Joseph Smith, were uneducated young boys who produced what their followers also claim are TIMELESS MASTERPIECES (the Qur’an, for example, is in a melodic rhyming cadence throughout, filled with poetic alliteration).

      Applying LT’s standard, it is going to be difficult to explain how the Greek gods, Viking gods, Islam and Mormonism are ALL TRUE – ALL OF THEM – and all on equal footing with the Bible because, in a time before TV, movies and the Internet, primitive people became adept at storytelling, as they spun fantastic creation myths and sky gods to explain a world beyond their pre-scientific ability to grasp.

      This does not change the FACT that, however clever the tales or inspiring the poetic alliteration, all of them are filled with internal contradictions, factual errors, atrocities commanded by the respective deities and failed prophecies. No matter how many times LT or other apologists try to explain why the Bible does not really mean what is so very clearly says, in its original context, or why modern people should base our lives on the visions and imaginations of ancient primitives, he can’t get the round peg of delusion to fit into the square peg of reality.

  44. “”And you have still not provided a single shred of objective, external, observative evidence to support your ancient Hebrew creation myth of a talking snake in a magic garden.””

    This must be your favorite application of “I gotcha moment”!!! I have a book that says it happened, PROVE it didn’t?? I dont need scientific observable evidence, just PROVE it didnt!! WHERE is Zeus or Thor’s awe inspiring life changing book?? PROVE they are one in the same. But you wont, cause you cant. I could SINGLE-HANDEDLY PICK APART EVERY instance you make your false claims. I just picked out the obvious. And seeing how relatively SIMPLE your FALSEHOODS bear out to be pure crap, I am NOW failing to see what the point is?? And that, has been OBSERVED!!

    • LT demonstrates a fundamental failure to understand basic principles of logic.

      One cannot prove a negative. The assertion of an affirmative factual claim carries the “burden of proof” for providing the evidence for it. I do not need to prove the Bible false any more than you need to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist or that the Greek god Zeus, along with many others, is false, even though the Iliad, Odyssey, Theogony and other works report them as being completely factual and there was a time when intelligent, highly-educated Greeks believed them to be just as literally true as what LT believes about his legends.

      In like vein, the Viking legends of Thor and the other Norse gods described in the extensive compilations of the Prose Edda ad Poetic Edda, as well as various other compilations of sagas, were also once believed to be literally true, and you cannot prove them false.

      Or perhaps this is just LT’s way of admitting that, unable to provide the slightest objective, observable evidence, he is simply going to declare the laws of logic and reason to be without merit. This is common among modern superstitionists.

      Which brings us to the next fundamental principle of logic missed by LT: circular reasoning. To believe the Bible is literally true just because it says it is (when, in fact, it says no such thing and was a bunch of separate works that were not even compiled into a single collection until more than 300 years after the last one was finished) is no more valid than to believe that the Greek or Viking legends are literally true just because they were originally written as being factual and were literally believed at one time, or that the Islamic Qur’an is literally true because it claims to have been spoken directly by god to Mohammed.

      But thank you for the admission that you “don’t need scientific observable evidence.”

      This, of course, comes as no surprise from superstitionists who reject logic and science.

  45. I’m looking at my Strongs amongst other lexicon aids, ALL say the same thing. “Flying creatures” is the LITERAL translation. AGAIN, NO contradiction and FLAT OUT disproves your mis-insinuations. And what is with this proving grounds of the bible versus Thor/etc?? WHERE is Thors bible?? WHERE is the AMAZING book of Zeus that NOBODY cares to read?? Has their EVER been a book, pass down through the ages that INSPIRED soooo many people?? I’ve looked for Thors life changing work, NOT FOUND!!

    • I provided the link in response to your previous comment, below, to Strong’s online. You claim to be looking at something in print. I stand by what I can actually demonstrate from the source.

      My view is backed up by ALL professional translators who are not amateurs looking up something in a Hebrew-to-English dictionary, but are actually experts in providing equivalence of actual, full meaning in context and, if it meant “flying creatures” in this context at least one of them would have interpreted it that way. But not a single one of them did. In fact, there is a separate listing of other “flying creatures” such as insects that would not have been necessary if your bizarre attempt to re-write your ancient book of mythology were valid.

      Every actual linguistic professional, from the Old English of King James to the modern language of Zondervan’s evangelical NIV, all agreed that the writer of Leviticus thought bats were birds.

      At this point, you got caught making stuff up, and you are just repeating yourself.

      And you have still not provided a single shred of objective, external, observative evidence to support your ancient Hebrew creation myth of a talking snake in a magic garden.

  46. Every falsehood you point out can be easily refuted!! If just ONE, YES ONE thing you wrote had ANY truth, it would be worldwide breaking headliner news!! CLEARLY…it’s not. If you just want I believe in evolution/and or the comment on “extensive transitional fossils”, which ALSO is easily REFUTED, then enjoy!! It would only take just ONE SIMPLE thing you said to be true….YET….no dice 🙂

    • LT describes my extensive recitation of “chapter and verse” as falsehoods (suggesting he finds the Bible to be full of falsehoods) and claims that every single point can be “easily refuted” — but … he can’t actually refute a single one of them.

      Living in denial is not the equivalent of refutation.

  47. How silly trying to say Matthew and Luke contradict since some information is in one book and not the other. What would the point be to have the two exact same verbatim by verbatim books in the same Canon? Duh! They were written by two different authors about the events they witnessed. I actually feel sorry for Atheist’s. Deep down God knows you are searching for Him which is why you can’t stop arguing about his Word, can you? Someone who is confident in his beliefs generally doesn’t need to argue over and over again..

    • Liz — let’s say two sports writers for competing media or, heck, even the same medium, cover the same sports events.

      Sure, we would not expect them to write the exact same story verbatim and, sure, we would expect their own individual personalities and perspectives to guide the differences in style and as to which points they emphasize.

      But Liz — they would at least get the same facts right. They would have the same score. They would have the same play-by-play. They would have all the same objective numerical, quantifiable, measurable stats.

      Obviously you either did not read, or did not understand, the article you pretend to respond to.

      The differences between Matthew and Luke in general, and in the account of Jesus’ birth in particular, have almost NONE of the same facts and, as to specific points of detail that I specifically identified, such as their completely contradictory genealogies and complete differentiation on historically verifiable contemporary facts, are completely contradictory, inconsistent and, other than Jesus being born of a virgin in Bethlehem, do not get one single other fact the same, and include numerous facts that completely render impossible the “facts” claimed by the other.

      If you cannot address the specific facts at the same level of detail and documentation that I did, then your whining about the FACTS you find inconvenient is your problem.

      And your comment about “atheists” further suggests that you have not actually looked at this site, since I am not an atheist, as addressed in my essay titled, “Is there a god?”

  48. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, SO SHALL the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matt 12:39-40

    The scribes sure love to invent lies. They should have wrote 2nights and 2days instead. Why such nonsense can be found in New Testament? Well the answer is scribes put made up stories at their own will in Greek text as Aramaic Logia have been eradicate entirely. Thus no men could perform a check on changed words of God.
    Is Greek texts pure word of God. Where is Logia of Jesus in Aramaic. Where is Matthew’s Aramaic gospel?

    P46 (175CE) is Greek manuscript with the largest percentage of difference on record. This just proved that Church have been changing words since early 2nd century at will.

    Here is the words of the early church father, Origen (3rd century CE):
    “The differences among the manuscripts have become great, either through the negligence of some copyists or through the perverse audacity of others; they either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please.” Origen, early church father in “Commentary on Matthew.”

    Regarding the oldest surviving fragment, Colin Roberts compared P52 writings using ONLY 5 samples from the early 2nd century CE back in 1935 and concluded based on those 5 samples; P52 was from the early 2nd century.

    (Brent Nongbri’s 2005. The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel)
    What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. – Brent

    Compare with 4th century codexes. You will be surprise how Holy Spirit inside the scribes fail to prevent them from changing words of God ever since the beginning.

  49. It seems to me (correct me if I’m wrong), that your view of the Bible is based on a need to remove God from the understanding of the text. This seems odd knowing that the Bible simply put (you know how I like to make point as simple as possible) is a book about the creator of the universe and His relationship with the descendants Abraham.

    I have some constructive criticism, are you more interested in your position or correctly presenting the truth?

    As I have read your criticism of the Bible it appears to me you are lacking some basic understanding in the way Hebrews think and write. Also we have to allow, not accept, some discrepencys in the new testament because we don’t have the Hebrew originals (except Matthew) and as I have stated everything in the new testament is commentary except the words of Yeshua. With these basic tools of Hermanuics we have a starting point to understanding the Bible.

    I want to offer a different understanding of some of your contradiction.

    Creation, Genesis 2 is nothing more that further explanation of the creation of man in chapter 1. I will also note that this a pattern though out the Bible.

    There is no need to consider differences in the new testament for reasons already stated.

    I will say this some of your arguments need more review, like being stoned on Sunday when sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is the Sabbath.
    Also have you ever considered that Mark and Luke were not part of the twelve?
    And to call the laws of Yah (God) flaws because they disagree with our 21st century ideals is dangerous because it show no accountability to the creator of the universe.

    Yah’s word are loving instruction on how we are to have positive relationships with are heavenly Father and with each other. It is as simple as that (once we have sifted though all of the man made crap).


    • I am unsure as to where you got the idea that I am trying to remove god, who is the central point of the Bible, from the Bible. That would be like claiming that someone was trying to remove Zeus from Greek mythology or Thor from Viking mythology. I would, however, challenge anyone who tried to claim, in today’s world, that Zeus or Thor are literal beings who run our world or universe.

      As to your alternative explanations of the contradictions, I do understand that there are differing re-tellings and re-summarizings of parts of the Bible, such as the Creation myth. The fact is, however, that the chronology in Genesis 2 is not merely a re-telling. It is a different, and CONTRADICTORY sequence. It is not a synopsis of the first version; the sequences in the two accounts are mutually exclusive. The original article goes into detail here; I’m not going to repeat it.

      As with other ancient collections of myths, fables and the early stages of attempts to develop moral and legal codes, the Bible represents important historical and cultural significance. But to take it as being literally, factually true in all its details is to exalt the superstitions of ancient, primitive, nomadic sheep herders and fishermen above real science.

      There is absolutely no evidence of divine origins or divine authority, and certainly no more so than the Qur’an, Book of Mormon, Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Tripitika or the ancient myths and legends of the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Vikings, Incas or Mayans.

      The extensive chronicling of direct internal contradictions, failed prophecies and factual errors of which I have provided a few examples, further confirms that, while the Bible has important historic and cultural importance, it is absurd to take it as literal “gospel” factual truth.

    • Well spoken David!! I’ve seen many haters of God/bible “attempt” to use the two separate stories of creation as one and how they contradict themselves. I have also seen the obvious refuting of it and how that makes them look silly!!

      • The contradictory sequences of creation in Genesis chapters one and two are cited in the article and, since LT has not refuted them, do not need to be repeated. Yes, they have been cited by many because the contradiction is so glaringly obvious. LT claims that he has “also seen the obvious refuting of it” but can’t actually refute it which, I guess, using his words, makes HIM took “silly”!

        • It is a common misunderstanding. Genesis 1 gives the “order” of events. Genesis 2 provides more content. Taken together, as you certainly have NOT, the two chapters provide a harmonious and more COMPLETE picture of the creation events. Chapter 1 is a “general” description, chp 2 is more specific!! Twofold accounts were common in ancient theories. The first would give a loosely chronological account, the second is topical. I could go on, I don’t see the purpose with a wild goose chaser. You’re too silly

        • The account in Genesis chapter 1 is all about chronology, the whole chronology and nothing but the chronology.

          It says,
          On the first day…
          On the second day…
          On the third day…

          Genesis chapter 2 is also fully chronological and, in fact, while it does give content, as LT notes, it is even more specific as to CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE because it gives the REASON for the order in which the creation occurred.

          Read Genesis chapter 2:
          God created a garden.
          But there was no one to till the garden and therefore (sequential causation) he created a man.

          And, contrary and contradictory to the sequence in Genesis chapter 1, where animals are created before man, god created the man first and THEN, after that, he saw that it was not good for the man to be alone, so (sequential causation) therefore he then created (after the man) animals to be his companions. And then, oops, that didn’t work out so well, your “inerrant, infallible” invisible sky god made a boo-boo, so he tried again and then made a woman who, what do you know, turned out to be a much more palatable “companion” than, say, sheep. (What can you expect from horny, lonely sheep herders.) And that worked out just hunky-dory until the woman was tempted by a talking snake to eat an enchanted fruit and got the man into heaps of big-time trouble.

          If LT doesn’t see the chronology here — the “order” of events — then there is not even an attempt to be reasonable.

          Oh by the way, if you get to the fourth day, that is the day when god created the sun and the moon.
          Amazing how, in LT’s little world dependent on myths and legends written by Bronze Age sheep herders and fishermen, they managed to have days and nights before the creation of the sun. Amazing!

          Science is based on data which can be proved by observable, replicable, quantifiable facts, even when the ignorati deny their existence in favor of ancient superstitions.

          I would ask LT to provide the observable, replicable, quantifiable facts that objectively prove the existence of a talking snake in a magic garden who tempted a naked lady to eat an enchanted fruit that made a god very, very angry — so angry that he had to rape a teenaged virgin girl to impregnate her with his only begotten son, who is really himself, so he could grow up and offer himself as a bloody human sacrifice to himself to make OTHER people’s “sins” magically disappear.

          Yeah, LT, as an ancient myth it is quaint.
          If you want to claim it as literal fact, PROVE IT.

  50. Patricia McLaughlin

    I love the homophobes that point to Leviticus. It doesn’t forbid female homosexuality. (Or father / daughter incest.) Crimes of rape were property violations. Women were property. Male homosexuality is the same sin as Onan. Casting their sperm in the wrong place. How many adulterers are currently stoned? Masturbaters or coitus intertuptus persons are struck dead by the God of the OT?

  51. Danizier,

    This is the first thing I have read by you, and I have to say, you really hit a home run. Your writing style is far superior than any of these “haters” posting on your very logical approach to mythology. It’s funny that certain people arguing with you just side step fact after fact or they just avoid your rebuttal questions. It’s about time I found somebody who can write with a voice of reason.
    I totally agree with you that the ancient texts of the Nordic people, Egyptians, Romans, even the Bible with its (to quote you) “…many specific, direct internal contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies…” have inspiring tales and much wisdom. I have realized that the “sheeple” need something to help them sleep at night. Much of these people (let’s be honest) were child-indoctrinated. To not see the blatant errors you have laid out (which there were tons!) is just plain ignorance. Ignorance is what Big Church pastors really bank on. Without it, the multi-billion dollar industry would never exist. As you mentioned the Catholic Church hoarded the occult knowledge in the past. I feel that many pseudo-Christian parents and school teachers do the same. They only tell you the portions that line up with their beliefs and will never speak of the thousands errors and contradictions. To not speak of the plethora of trivial errors contained within the Bible would be like telling a child that crime doesn’t exist in the world, it’s just not true. This is no different than any other hustle going on at the moment. Tax free money? People willing to do anything you say? These pastors have it way too easy. All they do is speak to the weak minded masses and tell them fairy tales out the book or take the fire and brimstone route. Either way, in my opinion, they hinder true spiritual growth. It’s funny because in the 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene addresses what any charlatan has figured out. The bigger the crowd and the bigger the lie, the easier it is to convince people the bull-spit you feed ‘em. Herd conformity at its finest. Whether it is magic elixirs, or eternal life, charlatans and pastors are conmen, nothing more, nothing less. Why people continue to submit blind faith in an easily disputable religion baffles me.
    To sum up your well researched, very thought out, and intriguing blog is AMEN.

  52. magazin Greetings, I honestly enjoy your site. So much usefull data. Thanks for your time for sharing this with us. All the best!

  53. Terry Brueghel

    In Isaiah 44,45 he predicted the rise of Cyrus as he led the Medi- Persian Empire in it’s conquest of Babylon. He called Cyrus by name over two hundred years before he was born! In great detail the fall of Babylon was predicted. In verse 4, God said “I have even called you by your name, I have named you, though you have not known Me.” How did God get Cyrus’s parents to name him Cyrus? How did God allow him to do the unthinkable and conquer Babylon. He is God and can do what he pleases.

    • Terry, you have absolutely no evidence that anything that “predicts” something else was actually written prior to the event. In any case, every fortune teller cites examples (usually, not always, unprovable) of things they claimed in advance. You have no evidence. None of the original texts have been preserved, and even you noted that there could be errors in how they have been handed down when you were trying to explain away the contradictions.

      Anyone can make guesses about future events and sometimes get lucky. But if your god is so perfect in prophecies, he can never get any wrong. I cited examples of specific predictions that did not come true within the time and/or manner specified. Those are the ones you need to reconcile. Anything else is just trying to dodge the specific contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies that are pervasive throughout the Bible.

      You make claims that your invisible sky god is more real that other ancient gods, including those we can actually see and actually have real power to generate heat, light, life and energy. You have absolutely no evidence to support a myth about a literal belief in an actual talking snake in a magic garden, who condemns the entire human race because he stole a fruit, that can only be repaid by a human sacrifice. It’s nuts. It is the mythology of primitive, nomadic sheep herders and fishermen trying their best to explain a complicated universe they did not understand. No better and no worse than any other ancient primitive myth.

  54. Does the OT god contradict one of his his own standards in Deut 18:11 by putting a lying spirit in the mouth of prophets and showing he knows people will question the lying spirit ,in 2 Chronicles 18:22??
    snip from the online Mishneh Torah
    י לֹא-יִמָּצֵא בְךָ, מַעֲבִיר בְּנוֹ-וּבִתּוֹ בָּאֵשׁ, קֹסֵם קְסָמִים, מְעוֹנֵן וּמְנַחֵשׁ וּמְכַשֵּׁף.

    10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer,

    יא וְחֹבֵר, חָבֶר; וְשֹׁאֵל אוֹב וְיִדְּעֹנִי, וְדֹרֵשׁ אֶל-הַמֵּתִים.

    11 or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer.

    so much for people who go to funerals and consult their dead relatives and even talk to them when they feel down or even when they pray for them as per the catholic faith or perhaps they carry on a conversation with their lost loved ones near their grave site, or maybe they will look at a picture of them and say “I wish you were here” as a question on top of that they have to remind themselves they are an abomination for showing natural human mourning in the form of questioning, I find that unacceptable….

    another thing I wonder is if they even had a word equivalent to “necromancer” in ancient Hebrew that was translated/converted by what one researcher claimed was Ezra into Aramaic,what types of errors can arise in translation from Hebrew to Aramaic? both languages of which id imagine would be ancient and not modernized renditions

    • Well written and insightful, Mortec — but as to having equivalent words from one language to another, we must remember that all languages have some words (often culture-linked) that are completely unique.

      And this is why we need trained, professional interpreters and translators, rather than amateurs digging through Strong’s and thinking they can translate on their own without regard to historical, cultural and linguistic context and affect.

      But do consider, that if an errant jetliner were to go off course and fly low over a primitive native tribe that had never had contact with the Western world, especially if it were to accidently drop a videoplayer (that miraculously was still running), while these people would have no words in their language to describe these things far outside their experience, they would still have words to describe them. Perhaps for jetliner, “huge, gigantic shiny bird flying through sky” and for the video player, “flashing colored stone with magic spirits of strange people and places.”

    • But that is not to say that cultural and historical perspectives to result in translation errors and misunderstandings, even by professionals. Certainly that is part of the reason (along with more complete sets of more recently discovered text copies, and the changes in our own language as it has evolved) why more modern Bible (and other) translations tend to be more accurate, if not as literarily poetic, than the more ancient ones.

  55. Davis,

    I’m so glad that I came across your website. I deeply appreciate your essay. I have long been bothered by the evangelical doctrine that a true Christian must hold the bible as ‘inerrant, infallible and absolutely authoritative’ or be seen as impugning God. This proclamation is too often used to intimidate and stifle discussion of what the bible actually is. I agree with you that the evidence for this ‘infallibility, inerrancy’ axiom is entirely inconsistent with what is actually known about the writing and transmission of the old and new testaments.

    I’ve recently been considering that the ‘infallibility, innerrancy’ is wrong-headed for another reason though. When a sincere enquirer examines the biblical story of the life of Jesus and considers becoming a believer, that individual necessarily makes an assumption the bible is a record of divine intervention in the world and there is a divine intervener. With that assumption, the record of Jesus’ life (generally the NT) takes on a central importance in the individual’s life. At this point, however, the evangelical hammer descends and the individual is informed that regarding Christ as Lord, revealed in scripture is not enough. The individual must now regard the bible as the ‘end of all revelation’ or their sincere faith is seriously flawed (at best) or blasphemous (at worst). What is the need for ‘infallibility & inerrancy’ when a person is already accepting that God is communicating to humanity and the bible is giving a play by play of this communication? The important assumption is already in place and allows a much richer interaction with scripture than is provided by the evangelical doctrine. Moreover, the doctrine itself is based on the assumption of that divine intervention is possible and has happened in Jesus. It just stifles the openness of faith and attempts to warp a person into mindlessly accepting the ‘authority of scripture’.

    Anyways, this is a long blog but I consider you are on the right track. I hope to provide some additional thoughts.

    Little t

  56. So, you’re human yourself. I find many errors within your own understanding. I appreciate the verses you point out. Some of the verses, I could argue have to be understood in the light of shadow or type or natura, but also in the sense of the reality, the fulfilment, and then also spiritual. To appeal to you, may be a waste of time, but nevertheless, I’ll attempt to do so. First of all, Yeshua never spoke of a universal salavation. He certainly made the provison for all, but He clearly repeats over and over again that there will be those who will perish for all eternity. But I don’t epect you to want to admit this, for then, you’ll become accountable. As to type, shadow or natural verses spiritual, within, what people refer to as the olt Testament, one was stoned for wrong doing. Within the New Testament, one is not stoned per se by one’s fellows any longer. However, when any person breaks the laws of the Most High God, that person is overtaken by evil spirits. An aspect of their spirit dies, and dying a mere means of being separated from LIGHT, LOVE, LIBERTY and LIFE. In a sense, they sinner is ‘stoned to death’ by evil. This occurs in the spirit realm. As we are spirt, soul and body, the innermost person, the spirit, expereinces a cut off from LIFe Himself. So the Old Testament, I often try to tell people, is a natural picture of a spiritual reality.

    • Yes, I admit to being human, imperfect and that there are likely many errors in what I write, since I often go back and correct them and likely make new ones.

      The big difference? I do not claim to be inerrant, infallible or the “word of god.”

      Beyond that, you do not address ANY of the very specific, explicit contradictions, failed prophecies or factual errors within the Bible that I cited.
      As I noted, I acknowledge the Bible to have much merit, much inspiration and much historical value.
      But it is the work of fallible humans, primitive sheep herders and fishermen trying their best to explain a baffling universe they did not (could not!) comprehend.
      It is NOT the inerrant/infallible word of an all-knowing, all-powerful deity.

      Your comment seems to suggest that, in your heart of hearts, you know that I am right on this point.

      • One of the liberating things about NOT claiming to be a divinely inspired prophet writing the “word of god” is that you have the freedom to subsequently admit an error, change your mind, and move forward.

        Those who claim to write “inerrant/infallible” words of some mysterious sky god are stuck. When contradictions, factual errors or failed prophecies occur, they have to rationalize and jump through tortured mental gymnastics trying to explain why their error isn’t really what it “seemed” to be, no matter what it so plainly, painfully says.

        I am a mortal writing for myself.
        I am not a prophet.
        I do NOT claim to speak for god.

        I am free to acknowledge error, correct mistakes and be a human in all the exhilarating, liberating imperfection of what that means.

        • Terry Brueghel

          It would seem from reading your extensive thoughts on this subject that you have what appears to be almost hatred for what you call a “Sky God”. That you would go to almost unequaled lenghths to disprove His existence. I admitting as you have, am a speck of dust in this world yet I would not be so bold as to say that a collection of ancient books that has survived extreme scutiny is at best good historical fact. Do you think you are the first to try?Funny even Charles Russell tried to disprove the bible and after failing decided to rewrite it according to his own distorted view. To bad he couldn’t read or write Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Yet he continues to lead people astray via your local Kindom Hall. Can you translate the entire bible to determine the “Actual Meaning”?

        • That you can conclude “hatred” from “reading” my “extensive thoughts” demonstrates either a poor level of reading proficiency or not reading as extensively as you thought. To call my views “hatred” because — based on specific factual reasons — they no longer conform to yours (as they once did) reflect your bias, not mine.

          The mere lack of belief in mythological beings, accurately described, is not the same as “hatred.” I am going to assume for the moment (feel free to correct me if I am in error) that you do not literally believe in the facts of the Greek, Roman or Viking myths and legends, even though they offer us much insight into how ancient people lived and thought and, in many cases, offer inspiring fables to illustrate moral teachings. Does that mean you “hate” Zeus? How about Apollo, the Sun God in ancient Greece (or his counterpart Ra for the Egyptians or Inti for the Incas)? At least Apollo, sky god though he may be, is not invisible, and has real power in the here and now of this life, to power our homes, workplaces and cars, and to provide heat, warmth and is the source of all life on this planet. Do you hate him?

          Do you have hatred for the multiple gods written in the ancient Hindu texts of the Vedas? Upanishads? Bhagavad-Gita? How about the Buddhist writings? The 10,000 pages of the Buddhist Tripitaka that dwarf your Bible or the Tibetan book of the dead? Do you believe them to be literally true? No? Do you hate them?

          The Bible, like all of the texts listed above, is an important work that gives us great insights into the people and times that produced it. It was written by simple fishermen and sheep herders to explain, often with great imagination, insight, creativity and, yes, wisdom, a complex universe beyond the ability of their pre-scientific experience to comprehend, and to lay the foundations, based on even more primitive earlier models such as from Sumeria and Hammurabi, legal, moral and social codes. It is an important document. It is not literally the word of god. The fact that there are so many specific, direct internal contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies, a few of which I have specifically enumerated, verifies this.

          Many people have disproved its literal factual claims, and to do so is not at all difficult. The fact that such proof is not found acceptable to those of superstition is not surprising, nor is it, in the long run, all that meaningful.

        • Terry Brueghel:
          Would YOU be able to write an authentic substitute for the Greek or Roman or Hindu legends? In the original language? Reflecting all the local customs and culture?

          Does that mean, by your standard, that they are literally true?

          Sorry, but if you apply the same standard to the Bible that you apply to all other ancient writing, the Bible comes out no worse, but no better, either.

        • Terry Brueghel

          I’m sorry but even an eighth grader could read your ” writings” and conclude a deep agenda within. Apollo, Ra and Inti representing the sun god is so far from the God of the bible whom not only created all life but whom desires a personal relationship with his creation makes that comparison silly at best. I see the struggle that you have with Paul, excuse me” The Rogue Apostle Paul” simply because he laid down the complete guidelines to the churches and removes any confusion that the Christ Is God whom came to die for yours and my wicked sin. You cannot prove that the bible is mythology simply by comparing it to other ancient texts and asserting they are the same. The bible tells truths of a God that is in direct contrast with mythilogical gods

        • Well, Terry, your rambling diatribe seems to be addressing quite a few different topics, several of which are worthy of being addressed in their own separate blogs. This one is about the specific internal contradictions, factual errors and self-contained internal failed prophecies (in which a specific event was predicted within the scope of Bible chronology which did not come to pass as predicted).

          You have not addressed any of the specific points germane to the point of this blog.
          It is my intent, in maintaining the integrity of this forum, to keep the discussion on topic.
          Further comments that are off topic or are better covered in a different blog will be removed.

          I suggest you direct your comments about Paul to the blog dedicated to that subject:

          And in doing so, address the specific reasons for my objections to Paul, which echo those of many others cited, rather than just complaining because you don’t like facts you are not able to respond to.

          And as to your comment about how “Christ Is God whom came to die for yours and my wicked sin,” I have a blog specifically dedicated to the absurdity of believing that killing an innocent human sacrifice somehow makes other people’s sins magically disappear, as well as the underlying premise (by Paul, not Jesus) for why it is even necessary. I suggest you direct your comments about the atonement to the blog dedicated to that subject:

          And yes, there is a big difference between the sun god (Apollo, Ra, Inti and many others throughout history) and your invisible sky god. There is actually a sun in the sky. It is not invisible. And it actually has real power, not the imaginary power of Bible belt believers who pray to stop tornadoes and hurricanes, and then are the region hit hardest by both.

        • Terry Brueghel

          Ok I will respectfully post in the correct sections going forth however I will address your comments. From your writings and replies I can deduce that you are an atheist( correct me if I’m wrong) or you worship the sun in which you can see and feel it’s power. God is not invisible at all. He is all around us and in us down to the very DNA strand he used to create us. You cannnot see or feel it or expose it yet you believe that it is there. You are therefore forced to have faith in it simply because it had been brought to your attention that it exists. You make a good point in saying that if an omniscient omnipotent god claimed authorship of a work that it would be devoid of flaws and imperfections. First you would have to learn to read all of the original text of said document and determine what that deity actually wanted to filter down to its readers. You agree that humans make mistakes and so if when you published your book the editor made some mistakes but you the author deemed them exceptible isn’t that your right as the author? Furthermore in 200 years when you are long gone and someone picks up your book and sees what they perceive are mistakes discredits everything that your book says. Even if those mistakes are irrevelent to what the book is truly about. Christ says I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. He knew that he would be sacrificed and like all good books you must read it in it’s entire form to understand what the Author wanted you to really see.

        • Again, you have both guessed wrong and submitted to the wrong section. You would not need to guess (and get it wrong) about what other people believe if you would just read their actual statements on the subject.

          The fact that someone does not accept a specific belief system about deities does not mean they rule out the possibility of higher beings in the universe. I am assuming that you do not believe in the Greek, Roman, Viking or Inca deities, but that does not mean I assume you don’t believe in any deity at all.

          No, I am not an atheist, though I do understand that surprises some people. I specifically address my views on this subject, and my reasons for them, in the blog titled, “Is there a God?” which can be found at:

          A complete list of my blogs, with synopsis of and links to each, is found in the very first blog in this series (a few of which are listed in the top right corner of each blog page):

          Your assumption that, in order to determine the content of very old works, I would have to read all of the original text and blah, blah, blah is absurd. There are trained, professional linguists, translators and scholars of antiquities who have done that and, no, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But based on your own “logic,” you have no basis for denying the inerrancy, infallibility or god-ordained perfection of the ancient scriptures of other faiths. The Hindu Vedas, Bhagavad-Gita, Taoist Tao Te Ching and Buddhist Tripitaka are all older than most parts of the Bible, and even the more recent Islamic Qur’an is more than 1,400 years old.

          And based on your own standard, you have no way of knowing what Jesus said at all, since he never wrote anything or, for that matter, anything at all in the Bible since you have not read the original source texts (none of which are even preserved in their original autographs which must mean, by your standard, that they no longer actually exist at all).

          And if you have read this treatise, you will know that I am not talking about minor human errors of copying or preservation. I am talking about key points of history, theology and doctrine, including the doctrine of salvation itself on which Jesus and Paul contradict directly and explicitly.

          The contradictions, factual errors and failed prophecies I have cited are real and they are there. However they got there, they are there and, therefore, however the errors got there, the Bible is not inerrant or infallible and is not the word of god or, if he/she/it is so all powerful, he might have been able to do a better job of protecting and preserving it.

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