The Book

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

A book is nothing more than an object consisting of pages glued to a cover with a title. Yet within these pages, we often find stories involving mystery, fantasy, suspense, romance, science fiction, etc. We can also learn things from books, such as how to build a computer, how to lose weight, where to go for vacation, what to fix for dinner, even how to stay safe during an earthquake.

But there is ONE book that, for rather curious reasons, tends to stand out from the crowd. It is a very old book; in fact, it was written over two thousand years ago.

It is a somewhat intriguing book in that while it includes stories of torture, murder, baby-killing, slavery and other distasteful activities, it also includes what some consider a “love story” (although one might be hard-pressed to identify the reasons behind this notion).

The book I’m referring to is called the “Holy Bible.”

To many, this book contains “special” words provided by a supernatural and invisible being who whispered in the ears of select individuals many thousands of years ago. Since writing had not yet been invented, these unique individuals verbally shared what they heard, which meant that each person who received this “special” information passed it on to the next person by word of mouth, who would then pass it on to the next person, who would then pass it on to another person, who … well, you get the idea.

Eventually, after several hundred years, certain individuals learned to write and the oft-repeated stories were recorded on scrolls made from papyrus (a plant-based paper). As these scrolls were passed around from person to person, it was inevitable they would become worn out and need to be “re-copied,” which undeniably resulted in copying errors.

Further, as the years passed and the world expanded, new and different languages were introduced so dedicated individuals began translating the words into their native language. What is puzzling is that thousands of people in the modern world are convinced the contents of the “Holy Bible” they hold in their hands is totally true to the original versions produced so many thousands of years ago.

They are further convinced its contents justify/prove/validate their perspective on life and how they should treat their fellow human beings (even though, as mentioned previously, there are numerous stories that support and/or endorse rape, murder, torture, etc.).

Moreover, they use words from this centuries old book to deny many scientific discoveries and instead cling to beliefs related to creation, the shape of the earth, the age of the earth, the birth of humankind, etc.

From the perspective of many, such dedication and commitment to the contents of a book written in an entirely different day and age by individuals who had absolutely no concept of today’s world and its many and varied innovations … is simply incomprehensible.

I think the following comment by someone on another blog sums it up quite well:

I would imagine that any book that was indeed the inspired word of the supreme being of the entirety of everything (aka GOD) would be the first and last book anyone ever needed. In other words, there should be ONE and only ONE book at the Christian bookstore. Further, the author of such a book (aka GOD) being so awesome, would not need the help of mere mortals to get his (everyone knows that GOD is man, right?) point across. 

Yet, as we all know, this is not the case. Do you ever wonder why?

Advertisements

63 thoughts on “The Book

    • Yes, of course. But the question is WHY didn’t “God” make “his” book clear enough that it needed no other explanation? If the “Holy Bible” is the answer to all the questions of life … why are there still questions?

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Excellent post, Nan. I agree that comment (Frank’s, wasn’t it?) sums it up perfectly. Apologetics has become big business, yet if the Bible was as clear as it should be if it indeed came from God, it would be unnecessary. Why would the Almighty need us to clear things up for him?

    Liked by 5 people

      • Sorry for the cryptic undertones Nan. 😉

        In relation to the comment you quoted at the end, the never-ending reasons there is no such thing as an Immutable God or His Immutable “Word” (the Bible as your image aptly shows) because that “God” was/is created from man’s own brain… a bipedal primate that has evolved over 300,000+ years and is constantly mutable. Its brain, that is constantly mutable as well, was/is remarkably brilliant as well as remarkably flawed. “God” is not literally visible, touchable because He/She/It is a figment of man’s hyper-active imagination… often of himself… the God-complex. As the facts and evidence adequately show all throughout history, often our “creations” are (horribly?) imperfect. Time exposes this sooner or later. LOL 😁

        Liked by 3 people

  2. From what I have read over time, the errors (oh, those leaky quill pens) compounded themselves, and when they did, readers mentally filled in the spaces with their own versions. In one notable instance, the “Red Sea: of Moses’ fame, was not that far from a small lake called the “Reed Sea” that dried up nicely every year. So when Moses led his troops across the desert, they crossed at the Reed Sea, which had conveniently dried up. Oops, I left out the “e” . Oh well, who will notice.

    And Burning Bushes are noted for spontaeously bursting into flame in the desert. Moses got the credit for that one, too.

    A lot of the magic in the bible was ‘witnessed” by people who believed in fairies, elves, and ghosts. And a lot of the magic was akin to the stage magic we see today. Much of it was mass hypnosis. Much of it was probably bad beans for supper. Or hunger.

    And as I’ve said before, if God was God, we wouldn’t need no stinking book, and we wouldn’t need no rules, since he would be running the show. And we wouldn’t be humans.

    Interesting, how so much greed, pain, cruelty, and war is ascribed to “well god told me…”

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Something big in my area years ago was the preachers admission to this. Without guile, they would state to the effect, the Bible is stories, handed down, forged, copied, mistranslated, bought and sold, embellished, ad libbed, killed over, suppressed and changed at will, survived oppressive popes and pharisaical scribes to have what we have in the word of god Today!! Who else could do this but god?! Praise the lord!
    (hands clapping) Christianity plays a card on human emotion and psychology. Merely word play, given authority by those in power to control.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. If one assumes that the Bible was written by a perfect being of infinite power and intelligence, the fact that it is full of ambiguities, confusion, and contradictions which all require elaborate interpretation is indeed mysterious. If one assumes that it’s a collection of texts written by several groups of people with differing agendas and under differing circumstances over a period of centuries, the mystery evaporates.

    A related question which has always struck me is that so few fundamentalists ever bother to learn ancient Greek and Hebrew. Yes, those languages are difficult for an English-speaker, but if I truly believed that one book held the final truths about the supreme being of the universe, what is right and wrong, and how to avoid eternal agonizing punishment after death, I would certainly want to read it as originally written, rather than depend on the work of translators who even fundamentalists must agree were fallible humans, even if they believe the original text was the infallible word of God.

    Liked by 6 people

    • The fact that we accept the errors (man made, whatever) as part of the Blble, and soldier bravely on through it, without even stopping to wonder why, if this was the word of god, wasn’t that error or those errors immediately corrected by the big guy himself?
      I mean, because god…

      And why would he allow mere scribes with leaky styluses (styli?) and short attention spans even NEAR this thing?

      I agree, if someone hands me a sloppily printed copy of something, with words missing, or transposed, I would surely want to see the original…

      Liked by 5 people

    • Belief requires no work , understanding requires constant application , yet still it slips away just as you think you have grasped it.
      ‘ Then to this earthen bowl did I adjourn
      My lip the secret well of life to learn:
      And lip to lip it murmured — while you live,
      Drink — for once dead you never shall return.’

      Liked by 2 people

        • I thought you did not believe in God ? If not then they are the words of man transmitting his own ideas ; some ideas are good , some not so good and some downright evil and some with the best of intentions go awry.

          Liked by 3 people

            • Of course you can talk or write about what you wish within the limits of defined free speech, but as I see it you are attempting a black and white view of the concept of God . To my mind even the most apparently dastardly crimes such as murder cannot be viewed in this way.

              Like

            • I am not ”attempting” anything of the sort.
              I wrote a little poem, nothing more.
              There is truth in it, of course. But that truth is merely to illustrate the fact that the god of the bible is an invention.

              If you believe otherwise I would be very interested in what evidence you have to demonstrate such a belief.
              Please, go ahead and enlighten me.

              Liked by 2 people

          • When Ark says something like “the words of God poison at will” — does that sound like someone who believes in “God”?

            In actuality, the bible is totally “the words of man transmitting his own ideas.” So I must ask … what is your point?

            Liked by 3 people

            • Not difficult Nan all concepts are created by man and are subjective. Man is a mixture of good and evil because of his moral nature and this means his concepts can be used for good or evil. It is impossible for a concept to be wholly used for good because human nature won’t allow it to happen. Take communism as conceived by Marx and then consider how it has been used.

              Like

            • Want to just politely interject this please… 🙂

              And ALL humans throughout all of human history operate, live, adapt, and evolve in and on essentially the same cognitive range as the next. No exceptions. No one person or one group of humans live and operate (or have) with impunity on some superior mental, emotional, or ‘spiritual’ levels… and just because they claim to.

              Any action or belief-system by a person/group is subject to the other 7.6+ billion humans… and its history and agnotology.

              Liked by 2 people

    • …so few fundamentalists ever bother to learn ancient Greek and Hebrew.

      Bingo! Or learn their contextual linguistics too. But then, linguistics or paleography are NOT the only disciplines necessary to truly understand Second Temple Judaism/Messianism under the large, powerful, influential Hellenic Roman Empire! When Fundamental Xians and apologists don’t bother to take their eyes out of their VR Goggles of the 4th-century CE canonical Bible, then they will NEVER glimpse the litany of major fallacies, problems, and failures their Pauline Christology possesses.

      If the ostrich never pulls its head out of the sand, then how should we expect them to grasp the difference between facts-truths-verifiable history versus supernatural (neurological) effects in mind/body caused by peer-assimilation, peer-pressure of theatrical group performances (church), all caused simply by the Placebo-effect? It’s almost like the lab mouse or chimpanzee learns that their certain behavior begats rewards of tasty food, good feelings. Mob-Herd mentality proves this every single time.

      Liked by 4 people

    • then again, if we did learn the original languages of the Bible, and discovered all those discrepancies, who would believe us? “Well, you must have read it wrong, honey…”

      And if those discrepancies exist, and scholars have found them, why not publish the original (albeit translated) book instead of the one we have?

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Hello Nan. May I approach your question from the other side, the side of one desperate to believe? As some may know my childhood was not pleasant. I got interested in the original star trek, before the only TV allowed for me to watch was sports which I still hate to this day. I so desperately wanted to be the Spock character. No emotion, no fear, no anger, able to control hurt. To me way back then it was the perfect solution to all my problems. I wanted anything I could find about this show, and I would even take beatings to watch it. Simply put the idea of being able to be so much in control of your life, to ignore pain, to not feel…that was my bible and Spock was my god.

    Years later I can see it was a coping mechanism for the life I had to endure. But I think the bible, god, and the church is the same for many people, maybe the most of them, as Spock and his abilities and the show was for me. It is a way of dealing with what they can not handle, it gives comfort, it gives a way out. It is a buffer from this world they can not change or handle. It gives them a mind set to let the things in this life that hurt them to be held back, to accept them without totally breaking , to have a shield from what hurts them the most. Simply put it is a cover over the things too hard to deal with or that they can not change / are helpless to stop. I sometime think religious people accept all the god stuff regardless of errors or evidence against because it gives them something to cling to as the world they live in gets too much for them to deal with. As my child hood did me and so I retreated into books and I aspired to a fictional being who had no emotion, no fear, was able to control his pain, and was stronger than those around him.

    Does this make sense? They cling to their god as he is all they can not be and what they desperately need to shield them from the hurtful life ending in a death being the end of them. Thanks. Hugs

    Liked by 9 people

    • It makes perfect sense, Scottie. But my reaction is … it’s sad. It’s sad that people feel they must believe in something that doesn’t exist. Even though you admired the qualities of Spock, you at least recognized he was a TV character. He may have embodied what you wanted to be, but you saw he was simply a man playing a part.

      But we’re talking ADULTS here. People that must deal with “life” and all that entails every single day of their lives. Isn’t it time to recognize there is no “magic” Guy in the Sky that’s going to make it all better? Good grief! Haven’t we by now learned to put on our own antiseptics and bandages to heal the hurts and pains of life?

      Liked by 5 people

      • You are correct. I would rather know the true of reality we live in than live the deliberate delusion that the Pastor, who shall not be named, claimed he would chose his delusional faith over the truth of what really was. I admit I really do not understand those people who would rather be ignorant of reality. I have spent my adult life trying to learn things, trying to understand the world. I have only manged to learn a fraction of what I wish I can know, and often I watch or read people who I can not really follow because I do not have the education to understand what they are saying. But that doesn’t mean I want them to stop sharing their knowledge or to pretend their discoveries are wrong just because I am not able to understand. Hugs

        Liked by 9 people

    • Yes all creatures shrink from reality because it’s pretty nasty , it’s why birds build nests , bears seek caves , ancient people’s built fires and dwellings. Modernity has almost allowed complete escape , we are cocooned in technology and we proudly peep out at the world. Now we have refused to go to the world it will come to us by degrees as the century advances. The rich will retreat into their bunkers but the lights will go out and the aircraft will not take to the skies. The religious will still gather and point the accusing finger and tell us how we have wrecked the world not for one moment doubting that they were free of guilt.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Modernity has almost allowed complete escape , we are cocooned in technology and we proudly peep out at the world. Now we have refused to go to the world it will come to us by degrees as the century advances.

        Umm, I would like to say that I, for one, do not belong in that category/group! LOL 😄 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        • I don’t expect anyone would own up to being dependant. Many years ago when I was at work I discovered that nobody watched television yet everybody knew last night’s programs. I expect they caught the odd look at the screen while their wife was engrossed.
          ” Oh would some Power the giftie give us ,
          to see ourselves as others see us “

          Liked by 2 people

      • Protecting oneself against reality does not mean shrinking from it or refusing to recognize it. On the contrary, protecting oneself against a problem is recognizing it. My apartment gives me a safe place for my books and computer and keeps the rain and wind off me. It is not denying the reality of the rain and wind.

        Our technology enables us to go to the world on our terms and bend it to our will, unlike our ancestors who were at its mercy.

        The lights will not go out, and the aircraft will continue to take to the skies, and the religious with their accusing fingers will be mocked as they deserve, and the centuries will advance, and the day will come when not only the world but all the galaxy is ours, and the Bible and the guilt are forgotten.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I like your confidence , it shines with a belief in the march of progress , but an increasing number do not share such a vision. Many are in fact scientists who give us only twelve years to save the planet. Of course what they mean is to make it comfortable for the billions of humans , the planet can carry on quite well without us.
          I don’t believe the end is nye ; we will see fragmentation and a turning back of the clock as every man for himself takes command of the situation. Natural selection made us to survive but it also made the rat for the same purpose , and it may well be the rat is better equipped for the new situation.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Without getting into a long discussion of global warming, yes, it’s the most serious threat we face, but I believe it’s most likely we’ll beat it. Every country on Earth except the US is committed to the Paris agreement, and there are huge investment projects in renewable energy all over the world. Even if those ultimately aren’t enough, humanity will resort to geoengineering-type solutions rather than accept disaster.

            The one thing that would guarantee disaster is “turning back the clock” or trying to slow down the progress of technology. We need the best tools we can create to deal with the problem.

            Liked by 2 people

            • kersten, you tend to make comments that have nothing to do with the subject of the post. If you want to have wide-ranging discussions, please set up your own blog. When you’re visiting mine, I would prefer that you stick to the post topic. Thanks.

              Like

  6. If the Bible is right when it tells us that none are perfect and we should give up on that and just seek forgiveness, then we would expect to find a world in which:
    People are imperfect and don’t handle that which is perfect very well,
    Some who claim to have been forgiven and some who don’t,
    And a Bible whose message never changes…

    Oh wait…that’s what we’ve got…never mind.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hazarding a guess, he seems to be saying that there’s one statement in the Bible that (in his opinion) describes reality accurately, therefore (by implication) the Bible as a whole is a valuable guide to reality.

        You know, like the Harry Potter novels contain the accurate information that London is located in England, therefore everything else in those novels must also be true.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sorry – tried to keep it short – thought it was clear but perhaps not.

        Every generation has seen those who hate the God of the Bible and those who love Him. This theme abides as one of it’s central messages. Cain vs. Abel, scoffers vs. Noah, Pharoah’s Egypt vs. Moses’ flock, Jesus’ sheep and goats, wheat and tares, etc.
        Millions claim to know God and millions claim there is no God. (Some who claim to have been forgiven and some who don’t…) That which often escapes people is that, both believers and unbelievers are living lives that are continually validating this major dualistic principle woven through the Bible.

        The Bible does not change. It can’t; someone would notice and it would be in all the papers! lol It’s not a moving target like most of the world’s religious thinking. People’s attitudes toward it, however, are as varied as the stars in the sky. But it is a simple point of logic that, if these attitudes are mutually exclusive, then some (perhaps most) are, frankly, totally wrong. We are now in an age where greed and control are driving version changes at an unprecedented rate. But His original words are still the same.

        Unbelievers are always complaining about the Bible continually telling us how bad we are – how imperfect! Here’s another theme we don’t have to convince anyone is all over the Bible. So when was the last time you met someone who was perfect? Is the Bible right on this point too? And here, again, people miss what the Bible teaches about perfection anyway because they don’t want to know. Who has figured out that the 10 commandments were not given because God expected, or even wanted, them to be kept? I will leave you to find the verse in the N.T. that clearly explains it.

        My point is that, like it or not, we are all involved in proving the Bible right; for good or for bad. If you love the Bible, Jesus already predicted it; “My sheep hear my voice.” If you hate the Bible, Jesus already predicted it; “…every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”.

        Like

    • And a Bible whose message never changes…

      Hahaha! And if I can throw another wrench in that malfunctioning bible machine…

      Which “Bible” or testaments, epistles, gospels, apocryphi are you referring to and as importantly… which time-period? 😄

      Does this mean we are to accept any and all “supernatural revelations” from a person? In my years working in the Psych/A&D inpatient and outpatient rehab and treatment programs I witnessed 100s and 100s of “spiritual revelations” of all sorts. 😮 So that’s the alternative method for God to speak!? YIKES!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Who made humanity this way? Who is to blame? Imperfect, blind mortals, or an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful Creator deity?

      Granting His existence, I would argue that it is your “God” that is to blame, that He should ask forgiveness from US.

      One may argue that it was flawed
      since the beginning
      that the dice were loaded
      that God had it all within
      that He is the Source.

      O heavenly Father!
      pathogenic agent of contamination.
      harbringer of catastrophe,
      icon of the impending Fall:
      but what difference does it make?

      Altitudines Satana
      the vertigo of Liberty
      tipped the scales.
      A shadow of horror is risen.

      This will not be redeemed
      no matter how sincere the genuflection
      and ardent the confession.

      Deathspell Omega-Drought EP

      Liked by 1 person

  7. In a sense, because the book talks about the human condition which I don’t think has changed in any way, it has application for us. We still have need for social justice as Amos seems to do in his preaching or is it Jeremiah? There’s still murder- brother killing brother- and all. It doesn’t have to capture the scientific discoveries because each culture develops its own science and most often dies with most of it.
    I think the mistake is to claim it is the word of god.
    In India, there is an older poem, the Mahabharata which talks about man and his fights, his relationships with others and so on.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I agree the human condition is constant and is a mixture of good and evil but there are those who believe the situation has changed due to civilisation made possible by technology. Steven Pinker makes the case that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history , not because we have changed but because war no longer pays.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think Steven Pinker is misguided. War pays and it is for this reason the US invests so much of its money in war. If you ask the generals in Sudan, they will tell you war is profitable. US mercenaries are making money in the Congo because war pays. It is easier to extract resources in a state of perpetual war.
        And some think technology makes most people dumb, reduces their attention spans and so on. I think it all depends on who you ask

        Liked by 3 people

        • There is a difference between posturing for war and full scale all out confrontation. Some animals fight to the death others slip away gracefully in defeat. The manufacture of weaponry is big business , made even bigger by the march of science.
          You are right technology cossets us and millions feel safe holding a mobile phone or on Facebook.

          Liked by 1 person

    • It doesn’t have to capture the scientific discoveries because each culture develops its own science and most often dies with most of it.

      Actually, it’s the other way round. Science is consistent regardless of culture. Scientists in Canada, Spain, Japan, etc. all have the same value for the speed of light, the same concept of natural selection, the same laws of chemistry and physics and so on. Religious taboos and myths vary randomly from culture to culture.

      Different parts of the Bible even contradict each other, and different versions of the Bible contradict each other. Jesus’s concept of “social justice” seems awfully different from that of Old Testament law.

      The Bible repeatedly condemns homosexuality, but nowhere condemns slavery. It endorses war, genocide, and subjugation of women. It’s a very poor guide to justice of any kind.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I disagree with your claim on consistency of science.
        We don’t know how the Romans made concrete or how the Egyptians moved the stones to build the pyramids. This is all science they died with. What you are looking at is what has been discovered in the last 500 years or so and that’s a very short time scale. But to say more on your point, science deals with the nature which apart from extreme events has remained unchanged for eons. It is likely that any intelligent species can make sense of it someway.

        And yes, different parts of the bible contradict itself. I don’t deny that fact. But you forget it is a hodgepodge of different authors whose works were redacted, edited and translated and put into one binder.

        And you are right, again, that it doesn’t condemn slavery, homosexuality etc. This is not in dispute. It comes from a specific place and time and the mistake is that people living in the 21st century are using it as their rule book. It is them who are nuts.

        Like

        • Maka: You are talking about technology here, not the fundamentals of the scientific method. We have not discovered, through the application of human reason, the technology the Romans and Egyptians used, but that does not mean the forces of nature studied by science are different per se.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome maura. Yes, I agree. Fairy tales do sell … and there are lots of them in the bible. Naturally believers deny this, but when you’re reading about Jonah and the whale, talking serpents and donkeys, and people coming back to life (just to name a few), one can’t help but wonder where their sense of reality comes from.

      Do stop by again!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Much of the bible has been lifted almost whole cloth from greek and roman myths. Jonah and the whale, odysseus and the big fish. Mary and her baby in the desert, Astarte and hers, born in the winter in the desert…all those saints. all those greek and roman gods, ready to be refurbished and reused. All those spring festivals, all those winter solstice festivals, yes indeedy. how convenient.

    Liked by 2 people

    • A lot of Babylonian/Sumerian mythology in the Old Testament. Most Rabbis now acknowledge that the Old Testament is fiction. Invented by returning elites acting as satraps of the Persian??? Empire to justify and gloriify their return to power in Palestine over the remaining populations.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. For more of why fundamentalism is erroneous, see Marcus Borg’s “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time.” Very good stuff. Trying to take myths literally is an incredible distortion…on the other hand, the myths, and for that matter those old Grimm’s and Aesop’s fairy tales and fables contain amazing truths.

    But the current politcization of the Bible is really nothing new. Ask yourself why the debt jubilees (forgiveness of debts every seven years) are not receiving the same amount of publicity as gay marriage or abortion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Adam! Thanks for stopping by. You make some very good points. I especially like … “Trying to take myths literally is an incredible distortion.”

      I agree Marcus’ book is very good. In fact, I used it as part of the research for my own book. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Take Some Time To Share Your Thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.