Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Bible - what is it?

 Forgive me please for sensitivity to religion – I was born and spend most part of my life in the atheistic country. Religion was not prohibited, technically, but just not welcome. So, here it is like too much freedom for me I want to know and want it right now. Also, this damn naturalistic background... Geology doesn’t co-exist well enough with spiritual conceptions. This situation may be a source for my maximalism. Let me ask for forgiveness again...


It is just something to think about.
Count of Verses (

God – who is he?


  1. Perfect God can’t produce non-perfect result. Examples of non-perfects:
· Man in general – absolutely clear that God himself is not happy with his creation:
Genesis 6
5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The
LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--
men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.” In the KJV it looks this way: 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
· Chosen people. Another strange situation – chosen people are rejecting his son! Not exactly perfect behavior.
· Church – very bad creation! Not clear why it is necessary at all.
o Different denominations – people are not united by church, but disintegrated and separated.
o Pharisees
o Religion wars
o Catholic church problem with adultery etc. Not only catholic, I guess… Priests are pretty much normal people with normal human weakness.
· Universal Flood – God clear is not happy with what he has done and promising not to do anything like that again.
Genesis 8
21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And
never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
Here we have a contradiction: apocalypses suppose to kill everybody again, right? I’m not very strong on this point, lets investigate it later.
· Satan. If God creates everything, then Satan is included. Not very perfect movement.
· Omnipotent God can’t achieve his goal. See examples of non-perfection. Flood was started to remove sinned people from the Earth. It doesn’t works – people still sinful.
I need to define other properties of the God (holy, what else?).


Killing people.

Endless commands to kill people, especially in the Old Testament. Not easy to link it to “loving God”. Please, pay attention, all killing are commanded by God! And if it is actual only to BC time, may be whole OT and Bible is not actual now? Or just partial?
· Exodus 13
14 "In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of
Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.' 16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand."
· Leviticus 20
10 If a man commits adultery with another man's wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress
must be put to death.
11 If a man sleeps with his father's wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman
must be put to death…
12 If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them
must be put to death.
13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They
must be put to death
14 If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they
must be burned in the fire
15 'If a man has sexual relations with an animal,
he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16 If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it,
kill both the woman and the animal
27 A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be
put to death. You are to stone them;
· Numbers 25
3 So
Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord 's anger burned against them.
4 The Lord said to Moses, "Take
all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord 's fierce anger may turn away from Israel."
5 So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor."
· Numbers 31
16 "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord 's people. 17
Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
· Joshua 8
24 When Israel had finished
killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day-all the people of Ai.
· Judges 21
10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and
put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11 "This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin." 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
Here are examples how church and people implemented God’s rules:
· Salem Witchcraft Trials. Between June and September of 1692 five men and fourteen women were eventually convicted and hanged because English law called for the death penalty for witchcraft (which, incidentally, was the same as the Old Testament). During this time there were over 150 others that were imprisoned.
· Sixteen people were hanged in New England for witchcraft prior to 1692. In the 1692 witch-hunt nineteen were executed. So you've got thirty-five people. One hundred fifty imprisoned. This is not at all to diminish or minimize the impact of the American witch-hunts which resulted in thirty-five deaths. But thirty-five is not millions. It is not hundreds of thousands. It's not even hundreds. It's thirty-five. This was not genocide.
· Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft in 1431. Over a period of 300 years, from 1484 to 1782, the Christian church put to death 300,000 women accused of witchcraft, about 1000 per year.
· There were two Inquisitions. One of them began right around the end of the first millennium in 1017. It began as an attempt to root out heretics and occurred chiefly in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Spanish Inquisition followed in the fourteenth century and was much bloodier. It began as a feudal aristocracy, which forced religious values on society. Jews were caught in the middle of this and many of them were killed. About 2000 executions took place. The Inquisition that took place at the turn of the millennium, less than that. So we're talking about thousands of people, not millions.
· There were actually seven different Crusades and tens of thousands died in them. Most of them were a misdirected attempt to free the Holy Land. Some weren't quite like that. There were some positive aspects to them, but they were basically an atrocity over a couple hundred years. The worst was the Children's Crusade. All of the children who went to fight died along the way. Some were shipwrecked and the rest were taken into slavery in Egypt.

Family relations and Friendship

· Exodus 32
27 Then he said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other,
each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."
· Luke 14
25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and
does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Jesus only for Jews

· Matthew 15
21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
24He answered, "
I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
26He replied, "
It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
· Matthew 10
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Other religions.

Here is what you have to do with people who don’t believe God:
· Deuteronomy 13
1 If a prophet … and he says, "Let us follow other gods" …5
That prophet or dreamer must be put to death 6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), … 9 You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone him to death, … 12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock.

Woman rights

Very clear commands what to do…
· Numbers 31
16 "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the Lord 's people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but
save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
Here is another one. Just take her, use and let her go if you not pleased… Where could dishonored women go back then?
· Deuteronomy 21
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives
a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

God‘s Law

· Deuteronomy 13
Worshiping Other Gods
1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.
The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
This means that you can’t change law. But Jesus did! Working on Saturdays, eating pork etc.


Very bloody process…


Question for me here is why God needs money? Why you have to give 10% of your income to church?


Trying to classify myself:
· I'm not an atheist of sure because I never reject an idea of God. We just have to define clearly what we understand under this term – God.
· I'm not believer also - I can't accept Christian ideas as a rule for my life.
· I'm not a seeker because I have pretty solid naturalistic opinion. What is intrigued for me in religion is philosophical aspect and attempt to understand others conceptions. I'm not "seeking" for a God. It is really not important for me if God exist or not. More and more I'm going to naturalistic philosophy. All nature is divided for me on the two major parts - one I understand (or I think that I understand applying known for me natural low), and another I'm not understanding for one or another reason (not enough education, experience, brain etc). In this philosophy I don't need a God, but if God exist, he is a part of not understandable yet nature and I'll be more than happy to know more about him.
· Yes, I am a seeker. I'm trying to understand nature and universe. I'm trying to learn and understand another philosophical ideas and conceptions. My mind is open to critically accept others opinion.
Here is what I think. Let us to imagine a closed system. Like a box in the vacuum. Everything what we possible can observe or understand is inside of this box. Nature, universe, law of physics – everything. Apparently, God can’t be a part of this system because we can’t completely understand God. God must be outside of our system. Also, God must be outside of the system because he design and implement this system. So, he can’t be a part of something what he had designed himself. From my point of view, such God can be described as “Another Power” – something absolutely outside of our system, of our understanding. Property of such “Another Power” will be omnipotence – everything is possible if you apply this power.
Interestingly enough that God’s role in the human understanding is dialectical a much. Ancient people were thinking that God is involved in creation of everything. With development of science we found that natural law can be applied to explain a lot of phenomena. More and more often we do not need a God to explain one or other effect or natural process. I think that such evolution is perfectly leading to understanding of the conception of God as a temporary substitution for un-understandable phenomena, sort of “placeholder”. Like in programming, we creating an empty method as a placeholder. Then, as we evolve, we implement concrete action in such method. Same way in the study of the nature, we fill in more and more “mystical” pages in the natural law.

Bible contradictions

I don’t want go long way here. Just need to mention that Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions. It is understandable for a human product but can’t be with God’s inspired book.
Genesis 7:4 I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights
Genesis 7:17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth,
Genesis 7:24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
Genesis 8
12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year,
the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
As I mentioned, no needs to spend time here. Lot of sources carefully listed all contradictions.

Common Cense

In the Genesis God decided to kill everybody,
  • Genesis 6:7 - So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.”
What was animals and birds fault? Were they sinning? Did they change they self after God made them? Or they were designed not exactly perfectly? But God is perfect and can’t produce non-perfect result. Or they were killed without reason? Again, not a very nice of God…
In here God is promising to destroy people and the earth:
  • Genesis 6
    12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them
    . I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
In fact, he didn’t…


Whole cosmological picture very well represents science of ancient time.
Sequence of events in the Genesis:
1. Earth. Light.
2. Sky
3. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
4. God made two great lights-the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
5. God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems.
6. God made the wild animals. God created man in his own image
Jeremiah 31
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
35 This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is his name:
Jeremiah 33
21 then my covenant with David my servant-and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me-can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.' "
Mark 13
24 "But in those days, following that distress, "`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' [1]
26 "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
Revelation 6
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Isaiah 40
21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned
above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
Religion was and still is significant break for science. It is understandable – more we know about nature, less we need God to explain this nature. I can’t believe that a lot of parents teach kids that God created everything 6000 years ago…


· Evil is necessary in any religion to explain why everything is not good.
· Christmas is a same time as Osiris birthday. Nut then gave birth to five children, first Osiris, then Horus the Elder (not to be confused with Horus son-of-Isis), then the evil Set (who was so mean, he dug himself out of his mother's body), Isis (who fell in love with Osiris while in the womb) on the fourth day, and Nephthys (future wife of Set) on the fifth day. Literally the son of two gods, Osiris' birthday falls five days before the end of the calendar year, and is celebrated traditionally on December 25th. (
· What is important, to my mind, is that Dec. 25 was SELECTED by the church fathers to celebrate a same time as a pagan (in Russian this word has a very bad meaning) religions was celebrating of Mithras (sun god) birthday. And, if I'm not mistaken, Dionysos (spelling?) was born in the same time, no, probably not, he was a spring god... Anyway, just a tradition raised to consolidate young church.
· If God made nature (!), what was before nature? God alone? Or there was something what we can't understand with our knowledge? But in this case it is not supernatural, it is just super-our-knowledge.
· My point is: by accepting supernatural God as creator you are stopping investigate process of creation - you can't understand supernatural by definition because you are just part of nature and can't go super-yourself.
· From other side I do not believe in supernatural. To my mind EVERYTHING is NATURAL. Another story is that I can't understand a part of those natural phenomena. You'll agree that atomic bomb or power station will be more than "supernatural" for observant from 17 century. He, observant, will argue to death that only God can kill whole city with one small bomb. Now we know better...
· Jesus Seminar - for me gospel of Thomas has a same right to be accepted as canonical ones - another gospel from many others. As I don't believe in divine inspiration of New Testament (nether Old), I don't think that Church Fathers were qualified enough to tell me "where to read and where not".

Bible – what is it?

I want to make clear what kind of Bible we are talking about. Lets take look on the historical sequence of events (main line, I'm not talking about small sects and denominations):
1. Time Before Christ. No canonical Bible exists. Two most popular religion books between Jews were "Hebrew Bible" - used mostly in Judea, and "Septuagint Bible" - Greek translation of Jewish Scripture. If we recall a huge Hellenistic influence, we can conclude that second one, "Septuagint" was very popular. Difference in 15 (or so) late Jewish books (second century BC) - lately so called Apocrypha - included in the "Septuagint".
2. Early Christian Church. Both Bibles are used to develop Christianity.
3. About 100 AD Jewish Rabbis establish canon based on the "Hebrew Bible". No Apocrypha included. Christian Church didn't accept this canon.
4. Council of Hippo, 393 AD. - approve "Septuagint" as Old Testament.
5. Ancient Christian Bible manuscripts – Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus (4-5 century) are based on the "Septuagint".
6. Around 1000 AD Orthodox Church separated. This is just a milestone, nothing to do with Bible.
7. 16 century - Martin Luther reformed Roman Catholic church and established Protestant church. "Hebrew Bible" approved as Old Testament, Apocrypha still in the Protestant's Bible as separate part.
8. 19 century - Apocrypha is dropped from the Protestant's Bible. (I'm not sure what event lead to this?)
As a result, we have a few different versions of Old Testament:
1. Jewish Bible - uses canon and order of Hebrew Bible
2. Protestant - Hebrew canon but Septuagint order.
3. Catholic - Septuagint canon and order, deuterocanonical books in the end.
4. Orthodox - Septuagint canon and order.
Also, we have to remember that Jewish Bible doesn't include New Testament.
Here are a book and some links I used to compile this historical sequence:
1. Josh McDowell "Evidence that demands a verdict", 1979.
Now, if we are agree on the historical overview, lets take a look on the Bible.
From the Koukl's article:
· "the Bible can only be two things... either God's supernatural Word ... Or it 's a statement of beliefs of the leaders of Christianity". - It is a very good statement and very solid position. Lets remember it!
· "... we have God's supernatural protection if it has a supernatural quality to it ...can't an infinite God oversee the care of His Word? It doesn't matter if man or monkeys were responsible for taking care of it." - I definitely would agree with this logical conclusion a few years ago when I didn't new that God give man a free will. Unfortunately, God didn't write Bible himself, he delegate it to man. As we know, man is full of sin and have (and use it a lot – remember Adam and apple?) a free will. Example with a dog doesn't work - dog is not allowed to have a free will. And if monkey write Bible - it will be better, no free will for them! Situation becomes even more complicated if you remember about Satan. Again, as we can see, evil is very success in disturbing God's plans. Why we so sure that Satan didn't mess up God's Bible idea?
· "Maybe the Bible isn't supernatural, it's a statement of beliefs of the leaders of the church. Okay, if that's the case then who has the final word on which books belong in the Bible? The leaders of the early church. ... It's their decision to decide which books represent their beliefs." - Good enough. The leaders of the early church propose Catholic Bible. It was "their decision to decide which books represent their beliefs" – I agree completely! Doesn't this statement means that only Catholic Bible is real one? But do not forget, there were another group of leaders of early church - Jewish Rabbis, who set up another Bible, Jewish one, without New Testament. Great, we assume that they represent "their decision to decide which books represent their beliefs". So, we have two group of leaders and two Bibles. Now, 16 century come and Martin Luther combined Jewish Bible with New Testament from Catholic Bible. And, I agree, for protestants it was "their decision to decide which books represent their beliefs". Today, in the 21 century, we observe a large amount of different beliefs and denominations. We can just look around and see Steven who belief in the 6000 years old Earth and Universal Flood, and Jeff, who is much more liberal on both questions. In bigger scope we have Catholic, Orthodox/Eastern Christian, African indigenous sects, Pentecostal, Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregational, United, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventist, Latter Day Saints, Apostolic/New Apostolic, Stone-Campbell ("Restoration Movement"), New Thought (Unity, Christian Science, etc.), Brethren (incl. Plymouth), Mennonite, Friends (Quakers), Jesus Seminar etc. They use different flavors of Bible and/or different understanding of the same Bible, and, again, it is just "their decision to decide which books represent their beliefs". What I'm trying to say in this rather long passage is that The Bible is "a statement of beliefs of the leaders of the church". This also include Koran, Torah, Talmud, Avesta, Tripitaka, Zita, Gita (Russian spelling, not sure in English...) and other non-Christian spiritual books.


· If The Bible is a supernatural book, there were at least two major actors involved - God and Evil. We agree that God didn't give us the Bible; he made man to write parts and then compile parts to the canon. Man may (or may not - uncertainness!) use a free will applying his own brain instead of following God's guidance. Also, men were tempted by Evil. We can see in the history that evil's temptation is very powerful (Adam, Sodom and Gomorra, Christian wars, Catholic pastors and adultery etc etc). So, logically, we can't be sure that Bible is EXACTLY what God want to tell us. It may or may not...
· If the Bible is not supernatural (and it is my opinion), it is a statement of beliefs of the leaders or the founders of the church. Usually it reflects time of compiling and best suits contemporary to this time people. Later as time passing by it becomes historical and ethical document. We are not going to kill friend by stones if he worship other God. We take this part of Bible as something belongs to Jewish people before Christ, not as rule prescribed to us by God. And we don't take literally Jesus' "I came here with the sword". We understand that it is allegory, right?
· Religion in general is something what person has to decide for yourself. I don't need to list here all World religions. Number and variety is huge. Some states are governed by religion (Israel, Iran, Iraq etc), in others religion is separated from the state (USA, Russia etc).
· Bible. Genesis, 6000 years old Earth, Universal Flood and other places in the Bible show me that man definitely placed his own view on some events. I don't think that God tell Moses wrong story. Moses most likely misunderstands it. Moses get messages from God. He, with his education, cultural background and experience interpreted God words to the OT. Is it a reason why Genesis is so naive? Theological doctrines are result of interpretation of the interpreted by Moses words of God. Those interpretations have a historical time meaning. Other words, we can apply our mind, education etc and correct Biblical picture of the universe and moral.
· I do not believe that the Bible is God's inspired Word because:
o I'm not sure that God exist
o Bible contents a large amount of myth-like (my opinion) materials.
o A content of the Bible was changed since origination.
· I do understand and respect the Bible as:
o church father's rule for believers
o great artifact of ancient literature and philosophy