As a Christian, I believed that the bible was the infallible word of God, written by man, but guided by his hand. Everything written in it was authorised by the almighty himself and anything that contradicted what it said was wrong, no matter how much evidence there appeared to be to the contrary.
As a Christian, you have to accept this. As long as you do, you have an answer for almost everything and your faith can remain strong. It’s why Christians defend it so fiercely. If there is one flaw in this bible, that means God is flawed and once a crack appears in your foundations of faith, it is in danger of crumbling around you.
Even as a committed Christian, something began to disturb me about the bible. It wasn’t all the incredible stories. I could believe them, because after all, God’ is God. He can make anything happen. God creates the world out of nothing? No big deal. God impregnates a woman by immaculate conception? No big deal, he was able to create a man out of dust. God can bring two of every species of animal in the world to go onto Noah’s Ark? Why not? He could teleport them there if he wanted to. (Although it never occurred to me to question why he didn’t just let them all die then create new animals after the flood was over).
No, the incredible stories didn’t get to me as a Christian. My chief concern was why so many people felt they needed to pull words out of the bible, go back to the original Hebrew or Greek meanings and come up with a whole different meaning to the verse they plucked it from. Why didn’t we have an accurate translation?
At first I tried to accept this and continued to try to decipher the bible at face value. But over the years it became harder and harder to trust what it was saying. Sure, I was still able to believe it was the infallible word of God, but was it so infallible when read in the English language?
As I became more sceptical of Christianity, I began to notice that a Christian could always find some verse in the bible to back up any argument. There are probably some of you reading now who will pick up on a scripture I have quoted and try to tell me it means something totally different to what I take it as meaning. That wouldn’t surprise me at all, because I’ve seen people argue over the meanings of scriptures all my life.
I also have to wonder why God would allow his divine book to cause so much confusion. You would think a being like God would be able to write a book that would never be open to interpretation.
KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid! That’s all he had to do.
So what else have I learnt about the bible over the last few years, that I refused to notice while I was a Christian? Several things…
It reeks of man’s ignorance, man’s primitive understanding, man’s widely held beliefs at the time. Things we now know to be untrue.
Many metaphors we use from the bible are very unlikely to have been considered metaphors back in biblical days, eg. Thinking from the heart, The ends of the earth, the four corners of the earth, the rising of the sun. It is more likely these were false beliefs of the age that have only become metaphors now that we know they are not true. That always appears to be true with other metaphors we use in life, eg. Freezing the balls of a brass monkey, flying by the seat of your pants, straight from the horse’s mouth, room to swing a cat. Many years ago, phrases like these meant something different, but now take on a metaphorical meaning.
Earthquakes, floods and such things are natural disasters, not brought by God like the ancient people of the bible always believed.
Mental illnesses like Epilepsy are not caused by demons as Jesus believed and they are treatable using medication.
Diseases were not punishment from God, but a result of microscopic organisms that the bible writers clearly had no knowledge of, which you'd think they would if they would if the bible was God's word. But no, no knowledge of anything that wasn't already known about by man at the time.
Modern translations may have altered some words in the bible to avoid ridicule: eg satyrs have become goats, Cockatrices have become vipers. What were the original Hebrew meanings though? Did the people of the time actually believe in these mythical creatures?
Even the simplest of stories in the bible can be considered absurd and ridiculous. Just look at the Story of the stolen blessing.
The gospels were not first hand accounts and were written well after Paul. Paul has even created his own gospel – very different from what Jesus actually said. Most of Christianity is based on Paul’s teachings, not Jesus and Paul tended to elaborate a lot on what Jesus taught. One has to wonder why Paul felt he had the right to do that and why his writings are taken so seriously, especially considering he has been proven to be wrong in some of his beliefs. Eg. Believing the gospel had been preached to every living creature under the sun.
This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
The many apparent contradictions. I’m not even going to go into that subject, because it is so controversial. Needless to say, it continually amazes me how when debating scripture you can take opposing sides in an argument and always be able to dig up scriptures to support your case. Simply spend some time debating on message boards to find out that!
One of the most interesting studies on this I read was the claim that the gospels were manipulated for particular target audiences. Each one had hidden agendas.
Some may say this is fine, but I tend to be a little cynical that each story should be adjusted simply just to gain conversions from different people groups. It makes me wonder just how much adjusting was done and just how true the entire story is. It also makes me wonder just how powerful the gospel can be if this type of manipulation is required.
The bible does not contain accurate prophecies. It contains a lot of most-likely retrofitted prophecies and a lot of vague ones that can be taken many ways, but little, if anything that can be proven to relate to recent events. The biggest prophecy of all has not been fulfilled. The one about Jesus returning again. That surely has to count as a failed prophecy by now. If not, what would you accept as the time period we could use to judge its falseness? If the Koran had said that Mohammed would return soon, what time limit would you give that book before you judged it as a false prophecy?
The evidence stacked against the bible that shows it is not God's word: