It’s not a purposeful lie, and that’s true of all religions. Overwhelmingly, the people that taught you your religion, sincerely believed it too, because the folks that taught them did, as did their teachers before them and so on down the line, going way back, millennia back in most cultural traditions. About 2 millennia or so for the main religions operating on earth today. Their scriptures, whether compiled in a Bible, a Koran and hadith, Pali Canon, or the Vedas and Upanishads, date back roughly 2-3 thousand years to the first century BC for most, 1st century AD for the New Testament and Pali Canon, as far back as the second millennium BC for the Vedas and as late as 8th century AD for the Koran and hadith.
The big 4 religions: Xianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism all teach their children that their culture’s writings are holy and contain the real deal about ultimate existence, how to live a moral life, and the correct way to worship and prepare for an afterlife. Of the 7.4 billion of us on the planet, almost 5 billion are members, from devout to in-name-only of these 4 religions. There are close to 2 billion ir-religious folks, defined as having an absence, indifference, rejection of, or outright hostility to religion. You can count yours truly among the latter category.
Since I know Xianity best and live in a predominantly Xian country, I’d like to relate a few things, well, maybe a lot of things, off the top of my head without resorting to the many and varied references I’ve read, mostly over the past ten years, that we weren’t told about Xianity, and the Bible in particular, which the vast majority of my Xian friends and colleagues, coworkers and acquaintances and most certainly another generation of children currently being raised to be believers in the Xian faith, are not informed of, though they should be.
It seems to me at this moment in time that it is purely a historical accident that these 4 religions hold sway. Thankfully, an accident (a trainwreck, in my opinion) from which we are rapidly recovering from as of late. The world is incomparably less religious, especially the Western, or more accurately, the developed world, East or West, than it was a millennia ago.
With Xianity and Islam of course, the dominance is mostly a matter of conquest. The Roman and Arab empires, including continued later expansion once they had waned, carried their religions to the masses of their conquered lands. With the two reincarnation religions its mostly a diffusion to dominance from their geographic center. Any map of the world’s religions shows this pretty neatly in a glance. This odd reverence for things dreamed up and written down thousands of years ago by primitive men in primitive times, that are somehow claimed to carry eternal truths, which then take precedence all too often, above directly contradictory and obviously better modern knowledge, is solely a function of repeating this assumption to another generation of the cognitively immature, and ready-to-believe-their-elders, young children of the world.
Thereby, these 2-3,000 year-old primitive myths, silly afterlife stories and pre-scientific explanations perpetuate, bringing sexual repression, homophobia, divisiveness, misogyny, and science denial along with them.
There is a truism among us secular types that the best way to make an atheist is to read the Bible: the whole thing, and to note the voluminous contradictions, outright fantasies, historical fictions, blatant absurdities and most tellingly, the barbaric violence. One quickly loses “faith” in the old saw of it being a “Good Book.” It readily appears as the historical fiction that it is, full of repressive injunctions and cultural mythology of one particularly un-advanced Middle Eastern tribe, from an ignorant and barbaric time and nothing more. There’s 2 billion of us alive today as I noted above, and countless millions more who have lived and died without the use of any of religion’s claims and proscriptions for right behavior. Furthermore, there are well over 5 billion of us who are non-Xians who will never, ever open that nasty little book or ever rely on it for any moral guidance of any kind. This same observation is true for any of the worlds religions: that the vast majority of the rest of us, are utterly indifferent to everyone else’s creeds, their rituals, absurd ideas, false claims and repressive tendencies, which along with all of us dastardly secularists milling about in large numbers, kinda negates the claim that any one religion must be the right one and is necessary for a moral life. It just aint so that anyone needs religion. We are all ir-religious in that regard, by our very behavior acknowledging the uselessness of all the other religions by ignoring them completely. Us Unbelieving Scum types just add one more to “things to ignore” pile.
“Religions would collapse under the weight of their own absurdities without child indoctrination”.
Whoever first said that, it couldn’t be more true.
So let’s look at the Bible a bit, shall we? We will start with the Old Testament, (the Hebrew Bible) and look mostly at Genesis, then move to the crux of Xianity (pun intended): the New Testament stories of Jesus.
The Old Testament
Genesis begins with a creation myth borrowed from Mesopotamia, the Enuma Elish creation story. We know this. The Genesis account is not the uniquely revealed word of some god speaking only to Hebrew patriarchs. Ain’t so. It is a modified version of an earlier cultures myth. Period. No-one learns this in Catechism, Bible study, VBS or from your minister or priest. All that we truly know now about the Bible, one has to discover on their own later in life to find out they have been sold an old credulous perspective that doesn’t wash with what we know about when, how and by whom the Bible was written. In addition, the generally ascribed idea is that all 5 of the first books of the Bible (the Penteteuch, or Torah): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, were written by Moses. The “Book of Moses” is still taught to children worldwide. This is nonsense, since Moses then manages to describe his own death in Deuteronomy and scholars can trace the authorship of much of the OT to 4 different sources, each employing different vocabularies, styles and theology. Moses did not write the Book of Moses.
To make matters worse, despite the Holy Land and surrounding areas being the most dug up, archaeologically investigated pieces of land on earth, mostly by good Xian folks bent on proving various aspects of the Bible and by plenty of competent academic scholars just trying to discern the past, there is absolutely no evidence of Moses and his exploits. No evidence of the Exodus at all. There is no evidence of millions of Jews ever leaving Egypt, wandering around the Sinai for years. And there is no historical confirmation of anyone named Moses.
Despite the Bible’s predilection for naming every major and minor king and ruler of tribe after tribe, throughout the OT narrative, we find that in the Exodus story, from the captivity in Egypt and beyond, Pharoah is never named. We have Nebuchadnezzar, Omrie, Assyrian kings by the score, petty rulers and tribal chieftans listed ad nauseum…but somehow with the most famous and well-documented king names of ancient history, those of Ancient Egypt, from the most prominent empire for which we have a nearly 3,000 year historical timeline, and for which Joseph and Moses supposedly spent decades involved with; we have only “Pharoah,” no name. Nothing, no one, no exact time in history to tie the epic saga to, and absolutely no evidence from the voluminous Egyptian records either that describe any captivity of the Jews or their subsequent departure. We do have a few Egyptian Pharoahs named in other Biblical tales, but glaringly not this one. It quickly strikes one who is not previously indoctrinated that the Biblical stories are all true, that this is merely another fantastic and unrealistic old fairy tale, just more ancient mythology. Most likely, it all never happened. Not good. How many Xians have any inkling of this fact?
Historical fiction such as this should not be taught to children as any sort of truth, any more than children on the other side of the world should be lied to that the Buddha reached nirvana and was born out of a slit in his mothers side.
Genesis, employing the adopted Mesopotamian myths, describes an earth centered universe, with the stars, sun, and moon, stuck in the firmament which held back the waters of the heavens. A decent enough, and quite reasonable attempt at an explanation for the rotation of the heavens, rain and a blue sky, given the complete lack of real knowledge of the earth, sky, and space in the first millennia BC, but also unavoidably, completely false. The Bible is not the inerrant words of some god, nor any sort of science document from the very first lines on, yet children are told all over the world this is eternal truth from the Deity, not to be questioned, and supersedes any later knowledge. Over 40% of Americans believe in Creationism and the Flood, (another borrowed myth, from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh). They have been horribly conned and it starts right with those opening verses. From there, the nonsense compounds. There were no giants ever roaming the earth, women are not made from men’s ribs, there was no Tower of Babel, we know how the diversity of languages evolved, modern genetic diversity could not have sprung from 2 people (Adam and Eve, another borrowed myth) or Noah’s 8 people after God drowned the millions he created just to sin against him (including innocent infants and toddlers, too young to know any sin…imagine that, a 9 month old or 4 year old drowning…and we teach this shit to children?), women don’t have babies in their nineties, humans never lived 100’s of years, and if a man should want to gut his child for a barbeque, following the voices in his head…he needs medication. The Abrahamic fabrication is nothing to admire or cherish and one shouldn’t be proud of such schizophrenic mayhem as the base of any religion. This is the founding story, the revered patriarch of the world’s 2 largest religions and Judaism? We base our morality on a book full of such primitive fantasy and barbaric absurdities?
No-one gets their moral sense from the Bible.
The rest of the Old Testament is one ugly, nasty little story after another. For but one of dozens of awful examples of the immoral depravity appearing throughout the OT, Psalm 137:9 evidently written (not by King David) about the captivity of the Hebrews by the rivers of Babylon brightly explains, “Happy is he who taketh and dasheth thy little ones heads against the stones” evidently referring to what revenge might be taken upon the Babylonian captors. Imagine if our soldiers tried that with our enemies in war: disgust, dishonor, and court-martial with a lifetime pass to Leavenworth prison with no chance of parole would be their reward for such a measure of happiness. I wonder if a soldier who had lost it like that, should he be a good Xian, could use the defense he was just following the Good Book he was brought up on? No civilized person today thinks conquering armies who slaughter civilians and take young females for sex slaves are committing moral acts. ISIS, repeating these sort of acts in accordance with their scriptures, emulating their warlord Prophet, echoing the Biblical injunctions from another god, is condemned ’round the world for perpetrating the most immoral horrors imaginable. The vast majority of humans on the planet recoil in disgust at the thought of anyone dashing an infants brains out on a rock, and would condemn it as the most immoral of acts. Whatever criteria people of today, all over the planet, Xian and non-believer like me alike use to determine moral content, we all certainly are not using what is in the Bible as our guide. We all reject Biblical “morality” (such as gays and adulterers to be put to death) and instead use our own evolved human empathy and civilized social perspectives to include our enemies children as not to deserve Biblical style revenge. The vast majority of humans on the planet think it would be equally immoral to kill gays and adulterers. Unless of course they take their religion seriously. What an awful, ugly, immoral collection of primitive nonsense.
And there is no evidence of David’s rule and exploits either. Despite all those decades of archaeology, especially in Jerusalem, the “City of David” itself, there is not one inscription, not one image, not one proclamation, not one monument, not one shred of evidence David ever ruled that city, much less existed, save a single oblique reference on a stela from another 1st millennia BC ruler, listing his exploits in conquering his neighbors, including a few poor wretches from the “House of David” and that’s it.
Try Judges and the utterly far-fetched military exploits of Gideon, beheading his enemies with righteous indignation like any good ISIS recruit nowadays would at the behest of his god. Read of the countless rapes, the abject homophobia, and other atrocities: burning entire villages down with men, women, and children in them, slaughtering every living male, and the women that “have known men,” keeping the virgins for your pleasure…on and on it goes at the command of, in service to the One God. If the sonofabitch did exist, he wouldn’t deserve anybody’s worship.
One could spend a week reviewing the atrocities, hopelessly immoral commands or “and their blood shall be upon them” behavioral proscriptions that have ruined lives for nearly two millennia now, all over the globe, especially those of homosexuals and women.
Some “Good Book”.
There is no reason whatsoever to continue the lie that this is, or ever was a Good Book and that one needs it to know anything of the real world we find ourselves in, nor how to behave with our fellow man, anymore than we need to teach children they must pray and make offerings to an elephant headed god to insure their new hi-rise condo in Mumbai is sufficiently blessed.
The New Testament and the stories of Jesus Christ.
There’s 27 books in the NT, 13 are epistles of Paul. They are the earliest written scriptures about Jesus. Paul never met Jesus. Writing sometime around 55 AD, a couple of decades after the life and death of JC, Paul is abundantly clear that his knowledge of Christ comes solely from the visions he had of the resurrected Jesus. Not of Jesus bodily resurrected, no doubting Thomas bodily appearance to stick his hand in the side of…just a spiritual appearance in Paul’s visions. And he is also adamant he got his knowledge of JC “from no man.” Not from the apostles, but only from his visions or the scriptures. Consider his visions. Knocked down by a blinding light, and hearing a voice in his head. This is what we are supposed to take as real knowledge. Some have suggested his description of his conversion reads like an epileptic seizure. It is also very common for schizophrenics to ascribe the voices they hear in their head to religious figures.
Paul’s epistles though not appearing first in the New Testament, are the first accounts of JC written. The Gospels date decades after Paul’s writings. So it is more than interesting that he seems to know nothing of Christ’s deeds or sayings while on earth. He mentions nothing of JC’s miracles, teachings, parables. No walking on water or changing water into wine, no Sermon on the Mount, nothing. He is unaware JC was born of a virgin, and his brief mention of the resurrection appearances doesn’t wash with the later Gospel accounts. He claims JC appeared to Peter, the 12, the 500, and then to him. And remember his “appearance” is only a vision in his head. The Gospel accounts of the resurrection contradict one another irreconcilably but all agree JC appeared bodily, not in visions, to differing groups of only women at the tomb first, not Peter. He later visited the apostles, but there were only 11 as Judas had died (the Gospel accounts of Judas’ death also are hopelessly contradictory and rather weird). There is no mention of any appearance to any 500 anywhere in the Gospel stories, the only sources we have for JC’s actions on earth. How is it Paul is so unaware of so much of what the Gospels tell us if he actually knows anything of JC?
The response of the Biblical scholars is that the Gospels hadn’t been written yet. Paul didn’t have any of this info as it hadn’t been invented yet. Mark, the first Gospel written, around 70 AD, was reworked in the following decades to different ends in Luke and Matthew, with John being written even later still, around the turn of the century. Xian apologists will claim “it just wasn’t Paul’s ministry” to talk of Jesus’ earthly deeds, but it makes perfect sense when one considers what we know about the Gospels, and how and when they were written, which we will consider next. Paul not knowing any of the Jesus narrative also makes sense in that JC’s life and deeds are completely unknown to any other 1st century sources. There is absolutely no information about Jesus other than from the Gospels. None of their stories are corroborated anywhere. Even the name “Jesus Christ” is never mentioned outside of the New Testament.
The first century AD was actually a very well documented time with dozens of historians and other writers reporting significant events of the era. But we have nothing about Jesus. It is as if he didn’t exist. Some scholars now are leaning toward the hypothesis that the whole thing is a myth, not just the unreliable, contradictory, often fantastical and uncorroborated details of the Gospel stories of JC’s life, but JC himself may be nothing but a mythical figure. Like the stories of Zeus and Osiris, or closer to home, the fictional historical accounts of the exploits of David or Moses, (complete fantasies appearing in the OT), it wouldn’t be the first time a spiritual, holy figure was said to have lived a life on earth that was wholly made up. It was actually quite common prior to JC’s time. A good intro to the Mythicist Hypothesis about JC is available HERE.
There are only a few 2nd century sources, which scholars agree are authentic, from various historians which only mention the existence of Xians (not JC himself), in but one short paragraph or a sentence or two at most. That’s it. That’s all we have. There is not one report of anything the Gospels claim that JC said or did. Nothing. Only the fact that Xians were around decades later and in small numbers. Xian apologists used to list a dozen or so supposed sources they claimed corroborate the life of Jesus, but after well-publicized skeptical analysis and rebuttal, all these sources were demonstrated to only briefly mention later Xian communities. The apologists can’t get away with hosing people on that one anymore. There is just too much information available to the contrary.
So Paul not knowing anything of JC’s deeds and sayings is not at all that surprising as he wrote at least a decade or two before the Gospels appeared. Paul couldn’t know there were only 11 disciples, not 12 to appear to, for example, as the stories of Judas, after the betrayal killing himself or just dying weren’t written yet. The Judas story in fact is one of many very odd fantastical stories that belie mistranslation and confusion of one NT writer rewriting another. According to Matthew he hung himself, but the author of Luke-Acts (many scholars believe the same author wrote both) in Acts has him falling head first and his guts just exploding (“his bowels burst asunder”). They read together like silly, embellished myth. Even if one story were somehow historically true, the other then must be a complete fabrication. Once again, so much for having “faith” in the in-errancy of any Biblical writings.
Worse still, of the 13 epistles of Paul in the NT, scholars, even conservative Evangelical and Catholic ones agree he didn’t write at least 6, if not seven of them, among them the Pastoral Epistles of Titus, and Timothy 1 and 2, which contain the verses which have set women’s rights back for 2 millennia. Writing in someone else’s name was a common practice of the time, known and derided as dishonest as forgery is looked upon today. If someone of little fame wanted to get their stuff read, well, just use a more famous person’s name and it may get circulated. It worked for the forgers of Paul. But since Xian teachers trust Paul’s exclusive visions of JC appearing to him alone as his source of divine knowledge, it seems more than a bit disingenuous that those epistles not written by him remain in anyone’s Bible as supposedly also providing eternal truth. Xian apologists of course, say the forgers got it mostly right anyway so it is still scripture. The verses about women not having authority, being silent, not teaching, and being submissive to the husband still cause all sorts of havoc to this day, in relations between women and men, and women and society. The longstanding perspective that women were inferior to men, didn’t need to be educated, should obey the husband as decision maker, didn’t need to vote, etc., was maintained mostly by the clergy, sanctioned by the phony epistles of Paul.
In my book, “The Arrogance of Religious Thought” I relate a story from all too recent times, 2006, where a Christian Campus group I knew was agonizing over having a female as president because they weren’t sure if Paul’s proscription of women not being in authority was only meant for those times. Did he just mean in church? Did a campus group in the 21st century count? “Oh, what should we do?!” Despite being the most capable and dynamic candidate to be their leader, they decided she couldn’t be president, to keep in line with scripture. If I had known at the time, I’d have sent them to the Biblical scholarship that shows Paul didn’t even write those verses, in fact we don’t know who did! So carry on. Insanity. Who hosed those kids so badly that they felt it so necessary to consider such nonsense here in the 21st century? We have modern medicine and smart-phones, social media, global travel and connection, a wealth of scientific information in the palms of our hands, most of the world’s countries have adopted democracy and more people than ever are enjoying a comfortable, safe life than ever before, with a long life expectancy, and opportunity free of slavery or violence. Yet, we convince children at a young, impressionable age that they must abide by Bronze Age repressive and just plain primitive and ignorant ideas…all because we have conned them into believing they are part of some set of divinely revealed or inspired “scriptures” when all evidence says they are nothing of the sort. This must stop, with all religions. Our sole sources of misogyny, homophobia, arbitrary divisiveness, and science denial are religious teachings.
In my brief stint among the very religious communities of Western KY, I’d met two middle aged women, both students in my classes, hailing from Baptist and Church of Christ denominations, both recently divorced because their husbands had decided they didn’t need to go back to school and should be perfectly happy at home raising children as god intended. Neither husband could fathom why their wives weren’t obedient as it says in the Good Book they should be, either. What if they had known Timothy 1 and 2 were forgeries? Oh hell, they probably wouldn’t have believed it anyway. This is what religious training does to otherwise reasonable people.
So we never heard that Paul wasn’t really an apostle who walked around with Jesus, that he didn’t even know him, never met him, only had visions, knew nothing of JC’s sayings and deeds and that half of his epistles were forged in his name. I don’t remember being reminded of these facts in CCD, and I’ll bet they are not part of the curriculum of too many VBS or Bible study classes. We get incensed if our kids get wrong information from school, downright irate if we find they have been lied to, but we give religion a free pass to continue to teach outdated, watered down, and outright untrue perspectives. The availability of all this information from Biblical scholarship nowadays, makes it easy for believers to see for themselves when they get older that they have been sold a story, one not true at all of the Xianity they have been taught. Given the wealth of info on other faiths, one can examine all the stories that are most likely not true within ANY religion. Information kills religion, education is the key.
About those Gospels.
Few Xians know the Gospels were written completely anonymously, and that we have no original manuscripts of any of them. Only copies of copies of copies exist, and no complete ones until the 4th century AD! We only have small fragments that date back to the 1st and 2nd century. Later Church fathers, writing 100 years and more after the fact, Iraneus in particular, gave the names to the Gospels that we have inherited. Again, we have no idea who really wrote any of the Gospels. They are not from apostles and there are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the NT. None. We were all really hosed on that one. Again we weren’t outright lied to, but all this info is left out so one just assumes these are the words of the apostles and eyewitness reports. The Gospel manuscripts are not signed, and do not refer to themselves in their 3rd person narratives. The Bible introduces each one as “The Gospel according to…” and then a name added with no evidence of who that author really was. We were never taught what Biblical scholars have known for some time, especially that they were not apostles or followers of apostles.
Mark, the first Gospel written (after 70 AD), according to Church legend, was supposedly penned by Peter’s secretary who wrote down JC’s deeds as Peter related them. There is absolutely no evidence for this claim and a lot against it. Whoever wrote Mark, was well-trained in Greek (all the NT was written in Greek, the OT in Hebrew, then translated into Greek, that OT version is known as the Septuagint). He was not an illiterate Aramaic speaking Galilean contemporary of JC, as his disciples would have been, knowing no Greek, much less being able to read it and certainly not being able to write it. Most people of 1st century AD were illiterate. Less than 1% could read (a little), even less could actually write in any language. All of the Gospels were written by authors well educated in Greek, decades after the alleged events of JC and his disciples they portray. They weren’t apostles or buddies of apostles. Mark, in addition, writes from a third person narrative perspective, he never says “Peter said this, Peter asked me to note this, or Jesus and Peter did that.” It doesn’t read at all like a report of Peter’s secretary. Along with Mark not being an illiterate, Aramaic speaking citizen of Galilee, he tellingly seems largely unaware of Jewish customs and Palestinian geography as well. There are many good analyses of the Gospel ascribed to Mark available for anyone to investigate and they don’t wash at all with what we are taught.
Worse still, the earliest manuscripts of Mark end at 16:8 “…and they told no-one.” The women discover the empty tomb and then tell no-one because they were afraid. End of story. Nothing further. They don’t go tell the apostles and there is no resurrection of Jesus. No resurrection account, nothing. As Mark was the first Gospel written (which also has no nativity story, no manger, no Wise Men or shepherds, no star…it begins with JC as an adult being baptized by John The Baptist), it provides none of the detailed resurrection story as related in the other 3 Gospels, Acts and Paul. All of which hopelessly contradict one another. It is worth reading them in parallel and noting the blatant differences and absurdities. Later manuscripts of Mark have endings added after 16:8, at least 6 different ones. Yes, 6 different endings of the Gospel of whoever wrote Mark. That sort of destroys the whole Biblical in-errancy idea right there once again, now doesn’t it? How can there possibly be more than one ending of Mark if this is holy scripture which is unquestioningly believed? Well, not only do we not know who actually was the author, just that he was not an eyewitness to Jesus, nor Peter’s secretary, and we have no original manuscripts, just early and later copies, we also have no idea who the later scribes were that added these endings which in many ways match up to the resurrection accounts in the other NT books, all written after Mark. Taken together the NT reads like embellished myth, not reporting of any actual events.
Much of Mark’s 900-some verses appear verbatim in Luke and Matthew. This fact and other detailed analyses of the original Greek in the 3 Synoptic Gospels, (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the Greek copied and translated from the Septuagint (sometimes incorrectly, even garbled) leads scholars to believe that Matthew and Luke are rewrites of the original Mark, composed 10-20 years later in the decades of 80-90 AD. And it is in Luke and Matthew that we find hopelessly contradictory Nativity stories, and only in Matthew and Luke. The most important event on earth, as Xians would have it, the birth of Christ, is unknown to Paul, Mark and John. They know nothing of the virgin birth for example, which many scholars claim is due to a mis-translation of Hebrew for young woman (alma) to “parthenos” (virgin) in Greek and we end up with a virgin birth for Jesus like so many other gods of this era: Osiris, Apollonius, Mithra and others. The accounts of Matthew and Luke differ so widely we don’t even know when Jesus was born, sometime between 4 BC and 6 AD. Matthew’s account includes the Wise Men, the Star, the flight into Egypt and Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, none of which appear in Luke’s version which only tells of an angel and shepherds and the absurd census story requiring Joseph and Mary to travel back to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem, none of which is found in Matthew. Reading the Xian apologist verbal gymnastics attempting to reconcile these two fanciful stories is an experience in itself.
As kids we get told a composite Nativity story which is quite absurd when one reads the two accounts as they were written. The typical creche scene where the Wise Men and shepherds are together at the manger is just such an unquestioned accepted image, few Xians ever actually read their own Bibles to see how impossible that setting truly is. It didn’t happen. Most non-believers have actually read the Bible, that’s how they lost their faith. Herod did no census, the Romans never did one requiring folks to register back where they were born, and no historian anywhere recorded Herod’s slaughter of male children, despite his deeds and misdeeds throughout his entire career being very well-chronicled by a number of sources. Matthew’s fanciful tale of having Herod kill all the young male infants of course, is an obvious repeat of the Passover story from the OT and even uses some of the same phrasing in Greek taken from the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible. The sheer fabrication of fantastic elements in the nativity stories rival the imaginary exploits of OT figures in blatant myth-making. The Gospel of Matthew is noted for its elements that stretch credulity not found anywhere else in NT accounts, such as the infamous graves opening up all over Jerusalem and hundreds of zombies walking about at the moment of JC’s death on the cross. Funny, no-one else mentions it. Right. Except it is not funny that children all over the world are lied to that these stories are eternal truths about, and given from some god. Having an elephant headed god in your religion or believing the Buddha crawled out of his mother’s side both don’t seem any more ludicrous than Luke and Matthew’s mythic Xmas compositions in comparison.
The Gospel of John is considered separate from the 3 Synoptic Gospels as it does not repeat verse upon verse of Mark, has no nativity story, John thinks Jesus was “born of a woman” (no virgin birth story here) and has miracles like the wedding at Cana found nowhere else in the NT. This Gospel is considered by most scholars to have at least 3 anonymous authors all edited and pasted together into one document as well. John also is the most anti-semitic of the gospels, letting the Romans off the hook, and shifting the blame to Jesus’ fellow Jews. Bart Ehrman, the New Testament scholar relates the recurring experience he has teaching the NT to college freshmen in the American South of their utter disbelief and consternation in learning that Jesus was also a Jew. I had similar experiences at the naivete of those brought up in Evangelical Xian denominations who had no idea Catholics were really Xians. Be that as it may, the Gospel according to John was thought to be written latest, near or after 100 AD. It set the stage for nearly two millennia of blame, dehumanization, and persecution of the Jews culminating in the Nazi Holocaust, perpetrated by German citizens who were overwhelmingly either Catholic or Lutheran, who merely followed the violent horrific exhortations found in Martin Luther’s infamous tract “On the Jews and their Lies.” If you want to read anything horrifically racist and almost adolescent in its petulant content, coming from a revered Xian authority, google it. How anyone upon reading it would still want to identify as a “Lutheran” is beyond me.
The Bible is a mess. It is not a good book. But it is really no different than any other culture’s absurd and fanciful mythologies. The vast majority of all human cultures that have ever been examined think they alone are the chosen people, specially ordained and singled out by their god. It is just one of thousands of belief systems that by historical accident of having been adopted by the Roman empire ended up the number one religion on earth. Despite Xianity having almost a 700 year head start, Islam is catching up fast in total number of believers. Islam has no more claim to truth than Xianity does. But for the first time in history, non-belief is rising just as rapidly, with its emphasis on reason and tolerance, promotion of science over superstition and mythology. We are all one species, we could be one tribe… without religion getting in the way.
This essay has been on my mind for some time now, and at nearly 6,000 words, it represents just the tip of the iceberg as far a Biblical atrocities, absurdities and contradictions are concerned, which constitute but one reason why so many of us don’t believe the handed down, cultural myths we were taught as kids to be unassailable, or true for all time. They are, in all reality, no more true than the stories of Greek, Roman, or Egyptian mythologies, Hindu or Buddhist scripture or Islam’s alleged “holy” writings. All religions are equally absurd and fanciful. Mormonism and Scientology are but more recent examples of the same ludicrous and quite dangerous myth-making.
It is time we outgrow this nonsense.
And thankfully, we are.
end religion now
All of them.