Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Trustworthy is the Bible?

Can anything in the Bible be considered well.... gospel truth?  Christianity is based on the factual truth of most of the New Testament, leaving aside the parts that are inconvenient to one's prejudices, of course. 

People who want to take the Bible literally should be aware of some well-known facts about their favorite book: 
  • No part of the Bible survives in manuscript sources from the time they were supposedly written.
  • None survive in copies that agree 100%
  • None are error-free in any copy
  • There are many, many contradictions in the Bible, even in the most "recent" parts
  • The New Testament wasn't codified until 325 C.E.
  •  The Torah (First Five books) took final form ca. 900 - 450 BCE
  •  The Talmud was completed ca. 200 CE & 500 CE (two parts)
  • The Old Testament was codified after the New Testament was
  • Writings that were widely believed to be legitimate were not selected for inclusion
  • Writings that have proved to be forgeries were selected for inclusion
  • The Synoptic gospels were written at least 50 years after the death of Christ
  • The Book of John was written almost 100 years after the death of Christ
  • Mark, the earliest Gospel, says Christ will return before the apostles' demise, but he didn't
  • Mark, Mathew, Luke and John didn't actually write the books named for them, nor do they have any connection to them whatsoever
  • Paul went against Jewish law, insisting on Baptism rather than circumcision, in order to appeal to gentiles.
  • Paul was not the undisputed leader of early Christians
  • Paul never met Christ in person, and he was at odds with people who did
  • Many of the letters attributed to Paul are forgeries
  • The Gnostic Christian theology was suppressed because it disagreed with the idea that Jesus could be both God-spirit and human (they thought he was God-spirit only)
  • The Ebionites were suppressed because they disagreed with the idea that Jesus could be both God-spirit and human (they believed he was human only)
  • The places mentioned in Exodus were only settled at the same time during the 7th Century B.C., not during the supposed time of the Exodus
  • Old Testament stories made Israel look bad because the final editors were residents of Judah and were trying to establish Judah as the true heart of the Jewish faith
  • The New Testament's anti-Jewish bias dates each part - the more anti-Semitic, the later the book was written, because the earliest Christians considered themselves Jewish
  •  Old Testament law was only thrown out so that gentiles didn't have to get circumcised or change their diets to become Christians, i.e., the O.T. laws were inconvenient
  • Mathew & Luke are based on Mark, with some embellishments that seem to have specific agendas.
If your history textbook had this many problems, you would throw it out!


L.Long said...

Your just being a non believing atheist. We all know that the king james version is the true buyBull and you just need faith and you would know this.
I will not pray for your salvation.
Nice summery of the buyBull, not that any believer will believe it.

L.Long said...

And then there are the huge amount of crap the xtians believe that is not even in the buyBull (ie where does it say materbation is wrong??) or is in the buyBull but is believed in the wrong way (ie Who cut Sampson's hair? No SHE did not).

LadyAtheist said...

Not to mention the shit they make up out of whole cloth to make themselves feel better. Murdered babies turning into angels that "help" their omnipotent god, for example!

Eric Haas said...

One minor quibble: Contrary to popular belief, the First Council of Nicaea (325 CE) did not address the biblical canon at all. The Catholic canon was decided in the 5th century, and reaffirmed at the Council of Trent in 1546.

Also, you could add that the various books of the Bible are full of redactional seams that show that they’ve been edited multiple times by people with different theological views.

LadyAtheist said...

Points taken. Since writing this post I've been reading Bart Ehrman's "Lost Christianities" which addresses some of that.

My next post will address even more stuff... stay tuned!