Judaism, Christianity and Islam are built on a faulty premise

This may be old news to some, but maybe not to others, so here goes!
A valid conclusion is tied to the truth or plausibility of its supporting premises. The truth of the three Abrahamic religions is tied to the presumption that scripture is true.
Premise: The Bible tells us about God.
Premise: The Bible comes from Divine Inspiration, God.
Premise: The Bible must be true.
Conclusion: God Exists.
The faulty premise that I am talking about is the proposition that the various religious scriptures came from Divine Inspiration. To say that "God exists and all we know about him comes from the Bible and the Bible comes from God, therefore it is true" is circular reasoning, AKA begging the question. The argument begs us to accept the presumption that God Exists in order for the propositions to be true.
If we accept the proposition that the Bible comes from Divine Inspiration, then we must necessarily presume (already believe) that (1)God exists, and that (2)scripture came from him and Scripture must be correct because it came from God. These are two unstated premises that the argument depends on. The critical questions in this argument are "how do we know that God exists" and also "How do we know the Bible came from God". Since it doesn't follow logically to say that we believe in God because the scriptures tell us that they came from God and the Scriptures tell us about God, then we need "corroborating evidence" to support the conclusion that God exists. To support a claim such as this I presume would be an easy matter since the preponderance of evidence should overwhelmingly support the creator. I would suppose that a careful analysis of the Tanakh, the New Testament and the Quran would reveal a preponderance of evidence supporting their validity. But in fact this is not the case.

As I understand it, in these three faiths, the scriptures are considered Divinely Inspired. To avoid linguistic confusion, we need to define what "inspired" means. To the faithful, I think we can say that they believe that "Inspired" means more or less by "Revelation from God”, but in another context, the term "inspiration" means more or less the “motivation to describe or portray" an idea. We can be motivated by Godor we can be motivated by the Idea of God.

If we stipulate that the Scripture came to us through divine inspiration/revelation, then we would expect it to have some characteristics of documents that came from one mind, assuming that God only has one mind. And we can check to see if these characteristics exist. We can check for consistency and continuity. For example if a Dan Brown novel contained inconsistencies such as exist in the gospels regarding the 'empty tomb' (only because Easter is around the corner, but you can insert your own example here), I don't expect it would be a bestseller. I expect people would not take it seriously since it would lack consistency and continuity.

And if we stipulate that the scripture came to us through ideological inspiration then we would expect other types of characteristics consistent with documents that were the result of many minds, such as the types of inconsistencies and problems of continuity that we all know exist in the Bible.

What is needed is some corroborating evidence that lends support to the idea that a God exists and he had an active part in the creation of scripture. We need something besides the Bible. Lets look at some characteristics of the Bible and think about what they may mean.

- Generally speaking, over the years churches have more and more assumed the position that the effective understanding of the Bible comes from interpreting it as metaphor. For example, I have heard devout protestant Christian ministers say that the Bible is not a "science book" or "a History Book" in response to the criticism that there are inconsistencies in these areas.

- Forgive me for dredging up a tired example, the Catholic Church forced Galileo to recant his belief in the Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the Sun. This was later demonstrated through science to be the case as we all know. I would not have expected the creator to have been so ambiguous about this.

- The Laws of Deuteronomy and Leviticus are likewise minimized and rationalized away as only being applicable in a different time. Some of them were insightful, some of them common sense (Deut.23:12-14) but I expect that a God, rather than saying that excrement should be buried outside camp because it is indecent and he would turn away from them, I expect a God would have explained that there were properties of excrement that were dangerous and life threatening. Maybe an introduction to germ theory. In fact, in all cases where Christians and Muslims point to this or that as evidence that God gave advanced knowledge of this or that, It could have been done better. These days, we explain science to children better than God did to his beloved.

- Slavery was supported in large part by Jesus' advisement to slaves to obey their masters. Logically, I don’t see why slavery would be permissible in those days and not now if Jesus advocated it.

- The faithful concede that there necessarily must be copyist errors in the Bible to explain some difficulties. I would have expected that the alpha and the omega would have wanted his word as error free as possible and would have been able to make that happen, even across languages. Maybe he could have made a holy language, which was perfect that would have preserved everything perfectly.

- Archeological discoveries in the Near East and specifically in Ugarit of documents that were written about and in praise of other Gods pre-date the Bible scriptures which paraphrase or match verbatim. It seems that some of the Biblical scriptures were borrowed. It seems that the story that I grew up with, that David wrote the Psalms and Moses wrote the Pentateuch, can't be true. Is this still being taught in Sunday school?

Internal inconsistencies exist, regarding all sorts of things including the most important event in the history of mankind. The resurrection of its Savior, God incarnate. And all this from scripture that were supposedly given to us by inspiration or revelation from one mind.

The discussion above does not support the claim that scripture was the revelation from one mind, but more neatly supports the assertion that scripture was the result of many human minds through ideological inspiration. The closer you get to the original documents, the less likely it is that scripture was the product of one supernatural mind, through human beings. It was put together out of lots of little pieces written at different times and places and is similar to other writings from other times and places from other cultures. And It is clear that those authors did not write them with the intention of them being put into one volume. Scripture is, in a word, Folklore; In two words, Oral Tradition. As John W. Loftus said "the Bible debunks itself".

So, if we concede that the scriptures are not the product of God, then we really don't know anything about God, including if he exists or not.

16 comments:

Randy Kirk said...

Confirmation of the truth of God and knowledge of who God is comes from at least(besides the Bible):

1. Overwhelming masses of humans believe they have perceived God.
2. The complexity, beauty, awesomeness, grandeur, scope, etc., of creation speaks of some kind of mind greater than ours
3. Billions of folks have tested their faith daily, and have found it to be satisfactory enough to continue with that faith. Some haven't, but most do.
4. The Bible is unchanging for at least 2000 years, and can be used as a standard against which to test its approaches. No other system offers such a standard.
5. God has shown himself in many, many ways. Those ways don't satisfy everyone. It is likely that no way that God could reveal Himself would satisfy everyone.
6. There is no other explanation even conceivable (at least so far) as to the consistency of the rules of nature.
If you need more such evidence, visit http://Godvsnogod.blogspot.com

MiSaNtHrOpE said...

Ranndy:

Your point 1 was used in the Soviet Union to destroy thousands if not millions of people, and it is also often that society at first (popular opinion) is false (evolution, racism, WW1, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Upton Sinclair, among many others), and only disproven by a brave minority.

Point #2 is simple-minded, points merely to aesthetics and based upon no evidence. Animal behavior -> Natural Selection. I see no micromanager.

#3: Tested their faith? Honestly? Let us weigh God's "hits" and "misses." It only works because the Huxleyan masses wish it to work, in the same way as John Edwards' Crossing Over show. Michael Shermer's Why Do People Believe Weird Things? Chapter 1. Pat Robertson may say anything, and they will believe it.

#4: The Bible is unchanged because it is a book of literature and is not worthy of changing. However, it is widely known where the Bible came from and it is not at all a reliable historical document. See the History Channel. Did you know that more than half of all currently found biblical documents are MISSING from the Bible, such as the Gnostic texts?

#5 That gets into the PoE. God has not shown himself, except in hallucintions and dreams, which, any psychoanalysist will tell you, are hardly ever literal, and are often subjective (your own interpretation, not independent from your current ideology).

#6 "God Did It!" seems less concievable even compared to the most questionable ideas among the scientific community. As Richard Dawkins points out, the Multiverse argument sounds exponentially more plausible than believing in an omnipowerful invisible man.

nullifidian said...

#1. So the truth of reality is now dictated by concensus? I guess American/Pop Idol is one of the best TV shows ever, then.

#2. Sunsets and rainbows: is that the best that an omnipotent god could do?

#3. Again, truth by consensus. If people are satisfied with a belief that the status quo is AOK, this doesn't prove the existence of gods.

#4. Please. Read something, anything, about the historic and deliberate construction of the bible.

#5. Here's an idea: how about the god willing itself into being, as a 10 mile tall giant amongst the people, thousands or millions of times simultaniously to all in the world? Is this beyond the ken, will or ability of the god? I'd be convinced, probably.

#6. Just because an explanation, no matter how vague, has been posited doesn't automatically imbue it with truth. Besides, "a magic man done it" is by no means the only explanation available, and it doesn't even begin to explain anything anyway.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Randy,

Confirmation of the truth of God and knowledge of who God is comes from at least(besides the Bible):
Randy, you wouldn't have clue what god was if it wasn't for scripture. If you grew up a Hindu, you'd say the same thing about brahma, vishnu and Shiva only from an Indian perspective.


1. Overwhelming masses of humans believe they have perceived God.

How have they perceived god? Through the five senses or some other way i'm not considering? How much is overwhelming and does that include non-christians?


2. The complexity, beauty, awesomeness, grandeur, scope, etc., of creation speaks of some kind of mind greater than ours
That is one way to look at it. Other people look at relationships between objects and see how they work together and have made a lot of progress in making predictions that have been true and added value to civilization, Medicine comes to mind, so does civil engineering as well as things like GPS, the computer you are using and such. The complexity, beauty, awesomeness, grandeur, scope etc of that mind speaks of some kind of mind greater than it. But who created that mind?

3. Billions of folks have tested their faith daily, and have found it to be satisfactory enough to continue with that faith. Some haven't, but most do.
Billions of muslims, buddhists, jews, hindus, non-believers have tested their faith daily, and have found it to be satisfactory enough to continue with that fatih. some haven't but most do. Well, that explains it.

4. The Bible is unchanging for at least 2000 years, and can be used as a standard against which to test its approaches. No other system offers such a standard.

So the bible can be used to test its approaches, that is what I would expect. But the other religions can say the same thing about their scripture. Can you elaborate on this some more, I don't think I get your point. Most of the laws found in the bible can be found in other disparate cultures because they were a result of humans figuring out how to solve human problems.


5. God has shown himself in many, many ways. Those ways don't satisfy everyone. It is likely that no way that God could reveal Himself would satisfy everyone.

How has he shown himself? Through creation? That is, at the very least an open question, and I am sure that it wasn't the god or gods of the bible, tanakh, quran, upanishads etc that created everything because scripture is oral tradition, and oral tradition by definition is folklore. Look it up.


6. There is no other explanation even conceivable (at least so far) as to the consistency of the rules of nature.

Physicists conceive it every day. In fact they work with it. They slam particles together, slow down light to 20kph and make a copy of it that can be stored etc. They understand it well enough to do all that and it makes sense to them (and me) that it is all self sustaining. If you want to say that god is the reason it all works, more power to you, but I will counter it by saying that it is Brahma and you can't possibly refute it for the same reasons you can't refute physics. You don't have any evidence except for the bible and the bible was created out of folklore of the canaanites, then the israelites, then the jews and then it seems to have gotten hijacked by pagans.


If you need more such evidence, visit http://Godvsnogod.blogspot.com.

You haven't given anything substantive here, so the last thing I want to do is go somewhere else when I can get it here without moving.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thing, everything the bible has predicted has come true. However there are things that have not come true, and those are yet to come such as the rapture and the tribulation. Hopefully those things come soon so that those on here can believe.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Oh my, how familiar the arguments are. Oh well, it is Spring Training time, guess I can use some batting practice.

I almost wish I could arrange an automatic response to one argument, the 'argument from design.'
It's simple, "even if this argument makes sense and demonstrates A creator, how do you use it to demonstrate that this Creator is the same as YOUR nominee for the post."

The trouble with the argument, and with every religious system except Mormonism -- which makes the same mistake with less excuse -- is that it implies a geocentric 'small Universe' viewpoint. If the Universe is Earth and a few surrounding spheres, then it makes a certain amount of sense to argue that 'Man is the reason for creation.'
But the Universe is a 'billion galaxies of a billion stars.' There are, almost certainly, many other sentient creatures out there on other planets.
Earth is not the center of the Universe, and we have no reasonable argument that a God would create this entire Cosmos just -- as every religion asserts -- to give a home for Man. One Galaxy, maybe, barely, but a billion of them, no.

As for the unchangeable Bible, this is an argument, perhaps, for the Qur'an, which has remained substantially the same for almost a millenia and a half, as far as we know. We have at least the text in the original language. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE THIS FOR THE BIBLE! We have late manuscript copies with many variances. (And how reasonable is it -- if we accept the 'traditional eyewitness' account of the authorship that these floowers of Jesus were bilingual enough to be fluent in Greek that they could have written in this language OR that the first readers of the books would have been able to read them if they had. Would Paul have written letters in Greek to the Churches, or would he have written in the languages the people actually spoke. Hebrew, that I could accept, or Latin, but not in Greek.

And of course most people here have never read the 'originals' and don't have the language skills to -- and certainly I don't. They depend on translations into English. Ther really act like the old joke is true, "If the King James Version was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me."

For Mr. Anonymous -- and can't you just use a name of some sort. Click on the 'other' choice and insert anything --: You say "everything the bible has predicted has come true. However there are things that have not come true" HUH? Giving you the most extreme 'benefit of the doubt' what you may have been trying to say is that 'no prediction has proven false even though some have not yet come true." We could argue that, but I'll ask, instead, why, had he actually written/inspired the book, this "God-claimant" DIDN'T predict, simply and unambiguously, a few things that WOULD come true. That the world was round, that there was a continent as yet undiscovered that would be filled with people, that men would create machines that flew, or that traveled along the ground faster than the fastest animal, that a technique would be discovered for capturing and copying the written word (printing).
(And, btw, Mr. A, you list the rapture as something predicted by the Bible. Yet it took 1800 years before an Irish Protestant preacher named Darby found this idea there -- and most Christians still don't accept it. Will you demonstrate where the Bible DOES predict it, and why, if it is predicted, it is done so so obscurely. If you can demonstrate this came from the original Greek and not from a translation, that would score extra points as well.

Shygetz said...

Interesting thing, everything the bible has predicted has come true.

Ezekiel 26:14

"I will make you (the city of Tyre) a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD."

The ancient ruins of Tyre, standing next to the modern rebuilt city of Tyre

And the LORD spaketh, and he said "Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?"

Anonymous said...

Wow, please read the bible before coming to opinions that what you believe is 100% correct. Jesus said himself that no one will no the day and time when he will return which foolishly Darby tried to do, and check Colossians to read on the rapture. All the beleivers in Christ will be: "caught in the sky"

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anonymous 120pm,
do you agree that the Christianity is built on a faulty premise? If not, where is the fault in my argument?

Anonymous said...

No, no man would or could make Christianity. Who would think of the trinity, my mind can barely comprehend it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anonymous 120pm,
this is off topic, but
I just thought of something,
a couple of Jesus prophecies that either didn't come true or kinda came true is the prophecy that he would return before all his disciples died (he didn't), and 'the sign of jonah'. Please correct me if I am wrong, two nights and one day are not three days like jonahs three days, and in any case, it was at least 24 hours short of three days.

Anonymous said...

To Prup, I don't know about you, but if I was writing to a Greek church, I would write in Greek.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1209,
I can't comprehend the trinity either. It was a construct to explain away the inconsistencies. If you do some research on the first four hundred years or so of the christian church you will see some harsh infighting over the trinity and christology, resulting in charges of heresy between christians.
If some of them didn't buy it in a time closer to christ than I am, is it any wonder that 1970 years later other people don't either?

Anonymous said...

You think the trinity came from 4th century onward?

Why, then, do the angels in the Apocalypse sing to the Lamb as well as to Pantokrator???

Anonymous said...

The advocation of slavery is something built upon the action of the master, not of the slave. Jesus's teachings address the slave, not the master. In order to argue that Jesus made an exhortation to SLAVES that advocated slavery, you'd have to produce evidence that he said "sell yourselves as slaves" or somesuch. A very poor argument.

And yes, there were many writers and even redactors of what we call the original text, but you know what? The amazing thing is not the inconsistency but the coherence of scripture.

Try reading the story of Utnapishtim within the Epic of Gilgamesh, etc. juxtaposed to the first seven chapters of Genesis. See the difference between a God who creates (by speech!) and blesses from a god that creates man solely to work.

ha said...

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