The Bible Debunks Itself (Part 1)

Here are some Old Testament passages that debunk the Bible...

It has been said that the Bible debunks itself, and I agree wholeheartedly. Isaac Asimov said, “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." The difficulties abound. There are scientific, political, moral and inconsistency problems that can be found in almost every chapter of the Bible. But only a limited selection is reproduced here.[1] Some of them do not need comment because they go against every decent moral standard civilized people accept in today's world, even most Christians of today, despite several Christian rationalizations for them.[2]

I’m going to highlight not the best texts, but the worst ones. Nearly everyone does some good deeds, and nearly every work contains at least some good moral teachings. So it should surprise none of us that there is good in the Bible. But even if the good outweighs the bad that does not show why the bad is in the Bible, for Christians believe in a perfectly good God. If this is the case, then the nasty things in the Bible need to be examined and explained, not explained away. I’ll show how some of these passages are just repugnant, while others were used by believers rightly or wrongly to thwart scientific, political, and moral progress.

Of those texts which were misinterpreted and wrongly used by subsequent believers, my question is this one: Why didn’t God effectively communicate his will to his people? Communication is a two-way street. Both the one doing the communicating and the one listening must do their best in facilitating a correct understanding. But with God there is an additional problem, since he supposedly knows how certain texts could (and would) be misused by human fallible beings. From the true scale of the universe to the issue of slavery God could’ve told humans the truth about it all from the very beginning. On the issue of slavery, God could’ve said: “Thou shalt not buy, own, or beat slaves,” and said it as often as needed. He could’ve even condemned all racism, but he didn’t. In fact, my contention is that there is not a single statement in the Bible which reveals a divine mind behind the human authors. Everything said in it can be accounted for much better by the hypothesis that it’s just the reflections and musings of an ancient superstitious barbaric people.

Notorious Old Testament Biblical Passages

The Genesis One Creation Account. This passage is contrary to modern science in so many ways. Notice the earth existed before the universe of stars. Notice also that the earth rises out of the primeval chaotic waters, and that the “firmament” (a hard dome like structure), arose out of those same waters. On the fourth day the sun moon and stars were placed by God in that firmament. Later we read the firmament held back the waters from which the flood came down in Noah’s day (Genesis 7:11 ; 8:2-3). This is the natural reading of the passage.[3]

Genesis 1:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6 And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

The Dominion Mandate. The following passage has been used in opposition to the care of our planet and of the animals in it. Since we have been given dominion over it we can do what we want to with it. God also commands mankind to have children, which has been used against contraception and family planning.

Genesis 1:
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

The Basis For Sabbath Day Blue Laws Forbidding Work. A Blue law is a type of law designed to impose moral standards on a society, particularly the adherence of Sunday as a day of worship or rest. Since God rested on the seventh day so should we (see Exodus 20:8-11)

Genesis 2:
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.

The Inferiority of Women and Homosexuals. The following passage has been used to denigrate women and homosexuals, since Eve was made from man and since another man was not made as a helpmate for Adam.

Genesis 2:
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Women Blamed For the Sin of Man. Because Eve was used to tempt Adam, women have been blamed for what happened when God pronounced judgment on them (verses 13-19). Because of this, women are also seen as the weaker sex, and as such, man is told to “rule over” her (verse 16).

Genesis 3:
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said…To the woman…

“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Curse and Mark of Cain, the First Murder. There is a lot of violence in the Bible. Here is recorded a horrible act. One brother kills another one. This passage has been used to support racism and slavery. Christians have falsely interpreted the “curse” and the “mark” on Cain to mean that his skin was turned black and his descendants were cursed. As such it was also used as a ban on interracial marriage.

Genesis 4:
8 Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground; and from thy face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. [See Note][4]

Divine Genocide: The Flood. This is the first of many passages that show us a God who sends natural disasters upon human beings because of their sins, which is a dominant explanation for such things as droughts, and plagues of locusts.

Genesis 6:
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.

Genesis 7 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.[See note][5]

17 The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20 the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; 22 everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

A Reaffirmation of the Dominion Mandate. Notice that God is seen to authorize the meat eating industry. And once again God commands mankind to have children, which has been used against contraception and family planning.

Genesis 9:
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

The “Divine” Authorization of Capital Punishment. This practice is being rejected by more and more civilized people. It has condemned a lot on innocent people, and disproportionately applies, most notably against black people in America.

Genesis 9:
6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. 7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.”

The Curse of Ham. This passage has been notoriously (and falsely) used to justify racism, interracial marriage and the brutal enslavement of Africans.[6]

Genesis 9:
20 Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; 21 and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan;a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. 27 God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”

Polygamy: Abraham’s Wives and Concubines. Not only does Abraham take Sarah and Hagar as his wives, he also had many concubines (Genesis 25:6). This has been used to justify polygamy. Jacob (Genesis 29:15-30; 30:1-12) and Solomon (I Kings 11:1-3), followed the same practices, as did many kings.

Genesis 16:
1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.  3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

The Palestinian Land Promise. This grant by God has been the source of the conflict over the land of Palestine from the beginning. It was reiterated to Jacob (Genesis 28:1-15) who was renamed Israel and known as the father of the Jews.

Genesis 17:
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. More divine genocide! This passage has been used to label gay people as “Sodomites” and is the source of the oppression, beating and killing of them.[7] Notice also how cavalierly Lot is willing to hand his daughters over to be raped by them and how a slighted God turns Lot ’s wife into a pillar of salt.

Genesis 19:
1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, 2 and said, “My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the street.” 3 But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; 5 and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door.

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. 17 And when they had brought them forth, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; 19 behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die. 20 Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one? —and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.

24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25 and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; 28 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

Incest in the Bible. Enough said.

Genesis 19:
30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the first-born said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night; and the first-born went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 And on the next day, the first-born said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The first-born bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

Abraham’s Attempted Sacrifice of Isaac. For no reason at all God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son by fire; the one previously miraculously given to him (Genesis 17:15). What God with foreknowledge would demand this and then just as he was about to slaughter his son, and say, “I was just checking to see”? Abraham would not have even thought about sacrificing his son, and protested this just like he did God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, if his moral convictions were violated by God’s demand. The silence of God about child sacrifice here is appalling. Not once does God say child sacrifice is abhorrent to him in this passage.

Genesis 22:
1 After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Dinah’s Rape, Deceit, More Rape, Slaughter and Plunder. That the Bible depicts a barbarous ancient era cannot be doubted. Note that Simeon and Levi take vicious and total revenge for the rape of their sister, even to the kidnapping and raping of the wives of the Shechemites. It was another act of genocide. This story reveals one of the most barbaric acts in the Bible, although there are others, as we shall see.

Genesis 34:
1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land; 2 and when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humbled her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob; he loved the maiden and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this maiden for my wife.” 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with his cattle in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard of it; and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had wrought folly in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.

8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; I pray you, give her to him in marriage. 9 Make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us; and the land shall be open to you; dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask of me ever so much as marriage present and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; only give me the maiden to be my wife.”

13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to you: that you will become as we are and every male of you be circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.”

18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his family. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are friendly with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters in marriage, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their cattle, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city hearkened to Hamor and his son Shechem; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came upon the city unawares, and killed all the males. 26 They slew Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away. 27 And the sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled; 28 they took their flocks and their herds, their asses, and whatever was in the city and in the field; 29 all their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and made their prey. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites; my numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”

Onan’s Sin and His Death. The sin of Onanism has been used to prohibit masturbation, coitus interruptus, and contraception. It doesn’t deal with any of these things. Onan was slain by God because he did not fulfill his duties to help produce an heir for his brother. Does such a disobedient deed really deserve death? How civilized is that?

Genesis 38:
7 But Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.

Judah Takes a Tamar as a “Harlot.” Prostitution is the oldest occupation in the world, but this time the father of the Jews, with his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Notice that even though Judah hired a harlot, he wanted to punish Tamar for playing the harlot by burning her, presumably alive.[8]

Genesis 38:
13 And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she put off her widow’s garments, and put on a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot, for she had covered her face. 16 He went over to her at the road side, and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a kid from the flock.” And she said, “Will you give me a pledge, till you send it?” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.

20 When Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he could not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the harlot who was at Enaim by the wayside?” And they said, “No harlot has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah, and said, “I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, ‘No harlot has been here.’” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, lest we be laughed at; you see, I sent this kid, and you could not find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; and moreover she is with child by harlotry.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child.” And she said, “Mark, I pray you, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not lie with her again.

God Kills Many Egyptian Innocent Children. Notice that God desires to kill the first born in ancient Egypt, so he hardens Pharoah’s heart to do this (cf. Exodus 6:1). This was the tenth plague as seen in Exodus chapters 12-13. All of the plagues represent a total assault upon the Egyptian society and their polytheistic gods simply because they were raised to believe differently (Exodus 7-13).

Exodus 4:
21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my first-born son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me”; if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your first-born son.’”

God Seeks to Kill Moses. After calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, God inexplicably seeks to kill him. In this enigmatic ancient passage, Zipporah circumcises someone (Moses, or his son, the text isn’t clear) and then smears the blood of the foreskin on someone (either Moses, his son, or on God himself, the text isn’t clear) to halt the divine attack. Apparently God flies off his rockers if a piece of penis isn’t removed. Understood within the context of that day, circumcision was considered as a kind of child sacrifice in substitute, which appeased the gods by offering up blood without actually killing the first-born son.[9]

Exodus 4:
24 At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. Then it was that she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

No Graven Images. This second commandment was used to prohibit and to destroy some great artwork.

Exodus 20:
4 “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

A Literal Six Day Creation. That the Genesis 1-2 creation account was understood by pre-scientific people to describe seven literal days can be seen when Moses speaks about the six-day work week.

Exodus 20:8-11:
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

The Atrocious Laws About Slavery. Surely no civilized person should accept slavery of any kind, nor any of these specific laws.

Exodus 21:
1 “Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them. 2 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt faithlessly with her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

20 “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his property (NIV).

26 “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free for the eye’s sake. 27 If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free for the tooth’s sake.

28 “When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be clear. 29 But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. 32 If the ox gores a slave, male or female, the owner shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Barbaric Capital Punishment Laws. While some of these offenses are odious to us in varying degrees, civilized people today think a mandated death penalty for the following offenses is extreme, even if we don’t know whether they were all actually followed. Rather than quote them, let me merely list them. The death penalty was demanded for any rebellious son who either struck or cursed his father or his mother (Exodus 21:15, 17; Deut. 21:18-21). The following people were to be executed: anyone who kidnapped another person (presumably another Israelite, Exodus 21:16; Deut. 24:5); any owner of a bull who has a known habit of goring people who eventually kills someone (Exodus 21:28-29); witches, mediums, and sorcerers (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27); shepherds who have sex with their sheep, or any beast (Exodus 22:19); anyone who sacrifices to a different god than Yahweh (Exodus 22:20); anyone who works on the Sabbath day (Exodus 31:14-15; Exodus 35:2, which happened in Numbers 15:32-36); anyone who is an adulterer (Leviticus 20:10; Deut. 22:22); any man who rapes another man’s wife when her screams could not be heard (Deut. 22:25) prostitutes, fornicators (Deut. 22:13-21); any man who sleeps with his mother, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, another man, or sister (Leviticus 20:11-13); any man who marries both a woman and her mother, or maries his sister (Leviticus 20:14, 17); any priest’s daughter who becomes a prostitute must be burned with fire (Leviticus 21:9); blasphemers (Leviticus 24:10-16); any prophet or person who seeks to lead others astray from God (Deut. 13:1-10; if a whole town of people are leading others astray, all of the inhabitants are to be killed and the town with all of its plunder was to be burned to the ground; Deut. 13:12-18); anyone found worshipping other gods (Deut. 17:2-5); and finally, any rapist of a virgin once she was pledged to be married to another man (Deut. 22:23-27); this authorizes “honor killings,” for the virgin has dishonored her future husband. Both the rapist AND the victim were to be killed, unless the rapist does so out in the country where her screams could not be heard). Anyone who afflicts a widow or orphan, God himself will kill him (Exodus 22:22-24).

“Eye For An Eye” Passages. This is barbaric justice, period, and is still practiced in some cultures to this day. The Exodus passage below is also used by anti-abortionists in denying women the right to choose, although the context indicates the harm done that demands the death of the men is that which takes the life of the mother, not the dead miscarriage. Only a fine is demanded of the men if it’s a miscarriage.

Leviticus 24:
19 When a man causes a disfigurement in his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has disfigured a man, he shall be disfigured.

Exodus 21:
22 “When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Usury Laws. Such laws as specifically stated in the Old Testament demanded a sophisticated level of gerrymandering to get around them. They didn’t prevent investment, but made the lender a joint-venturer such that he would have to share the risk. The rise of modern democratic capitalism, by contrast, has raised the standard of living in those countries who have rejected these specific laws. Other examples can be found (Exodus, 22:24; Leviticus, 25:35-37; Deuteronomy, 23:20-21; Psalm 15:5; Jeremiah 15:10; Ezekiel 18:8-9, 13, 17).

Exodus 22:
25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him.”

Child Sacrifice is Divinely Commanded. Exodus 22:29-30: “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The first-born of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do likewise with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.”

God admitted he did this in Ezekiel 20:25-26 where he purportedly said: 25 “Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life; 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born, that I might horrify them; I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.”

The context of the Exodus passage concerns offerings and sacrifices, and it says God requires that first born sons are to be literally sacrificed to him. Hence, unlike other passages where there is the possibility of redemption with a substitute sacrifice (cf. Exodus 13:13; 34:10-20), none is specifically stated here. The concept of "redemption" is an interesting one that goes hand in hand with child sacrifice, because animals were substituted for the firstborn. Yet that says nothing against the idea that a better sacrifice was the firstborn child himself, and many people in the Old Testament did just that. Circumcision was probably a substitutionary child sacrifice (Exodus 4:24).

Child sacrifice should be understood within the whole concept of human sacrifice as a whole, which pleased God (Leviticus 27:28). Human sacrifice was probably only considered evil when it was done in the name of a foreign god, and doing so was punishable by death precisely because it was offered to another deity (Leviticus 20:2; 18:21 Deuteronomy 12:31 18:10; II Kings 17:17 23:10; II Chronicles 28:3 33:4-10; Ps 106:38; Isaiah 57:5,6; Jeremiah 7:31 32:35 Ezekiel 16:20,21 20:26,31 23:37,39 Acts 7:43).[10]

Child sacrifice was something that several Biblical people either did, or assisted others in doing so. Abraham, was not morally repulsed by the command itself (Genesis 22). Then there is Jepthah who probably sacrificed his daughter because of a stupid vow (Judges 11); David (II Sam. 21:7-9); Solomon and his wives (I Kings 3:16); Ahab (I Kings 16:33-34); Ahaz (II Kings 16:2-3); Hoshea (II Kings 17:7); and Manasseh (II Kings 21:6, II Chronicles 33:6). It was a problem for King Josiah ( II King 23:10), for Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:30-31; 19:3-5; 32:35), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:20-21; 20:25-26, 30-31). The prophet Micah wonders if he should sacrifice his oldest son “as a sin offering” (6:6-8). Child sacrifice to foreign gods was so prevalent that it’s named as one of the major reasons why God sent the Babylonians to conquer Israel and forcibly take many of them as captives (II Kings 17:16-18). We even read where the King of Moab sacrificed his son which caused the Israelites to retreat in defeat. Moab’s sacrifice created a great “wrath,” (ketzef), which was an external divine force to the warriors in the story, indicating that his sacrifice caused some divinity to act on behalf of Moab. (II Kings. 3:26-27). In the New Testament God the Father sacrifices his only son (Jesus) as the central redemptive act of Christianity, and God still seeks to fulfill his lust for human sacrifice by burning humans forever in the lake of fire.

“Life is in the Blood.” Regardless of several unnecessary dietary laws themselves, the following verse was (and is) used to deny life giving blood transfusions. Enough said.

Leviticus 17:
10 “If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.

Vigilantism. The blood avenger was someone who, like bounty hunters, could track down and kill a person for killing a family member. If the murder was an accident the avenger could still kill him, unless that person stayed inside six cities of refuge and was not found outside of them. If the person could be lured or dragged out of the city the avenger could kill him.

Numbers 35:
19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. 20 And if he stabbed him from hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died, 21 or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death; he is a murderer; the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.

22 “But if he stabbed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait, 23 or used a stone, by which a man may die, and without seeing him cast it upon him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy, and did not seek his harm; 24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances; 25 and the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the bounds of his city of refuge to which he fled, 27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the bounds of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood slays the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood. 28 For the man must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.

A Rape Victim Must Marry Her Attacker. Enough said.

Deuteronomy 22:
28 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not put her away all his days.”

Holy War. Most civilized people think with Union General Sherman, “War is hell.” And even though the phrase ‘holy war’ in not mentioned in the Old Testament, divinely sanctioned wars are frequently mentioned (Joshua 8:1; Judges 4:14-15; 1 Samuel 17:45; 1 Samuel 23:4; II Kings 3:18), including genocide against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:2). The enemies of Israel were the Lord’s enemies (Judges 5:31; 1 Samuel 30:26). One of the basic images of God in the Old Testament is that he is a warrior (Exodus 15:3; Psalms 24:8; and Isaiah 42:13), and this concept is used in the New Testament to describe God’s war against the devil (Ephesians 6:10-20) and against his armies of unbelievers (Revelation 19:11-21). Many wars in the history of Christendom were justified by claims that God demanded it, as in the Crusades, and that God was on “our” side, even when professing Christian armies were fighting against each other.

Joshua 1:
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, 2 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

Jephthah Sacrifices his Daughter. What’s extremely troubling about this passage is that it’s in the Bible in the first place. It is merely reported as if these are the sorts of deeds that men did with their daughters from time to time. They are not shocked by the possibility that God might demand human sacrifice, nor that Jephthah did. And there is no trace of a condemnation from God for what he did. Also very troubling is that Jephthah makes a completely stupid vow, knowing in advance his daughter might be the first one to greet him when he returned from war, and feels compelled to fulfill it (on vows see for example, Numbers 30:3; and Deuteronomy 23:22-24).

Judges 11:
30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If thou wilt give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whoever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer him up for a burnt offering.”

32 So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33 And he smote them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a very great slaughter. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel .

34 Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances; she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And when he saw her, he rent his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! you have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me; for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” 36 And she said to him, “My father, if you have opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to what has gone forth from your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” 37 And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.” 38 And he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she departed, she and her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had made.

A Levite and his Concubine: More Rape, More Slaughter and More Kidnapping. These few chapters in the Bible describe incredible horrors. It must be read in its entirety to see how barbaric the people, God’s people, were towards each other. According to the Bible God sanctioned the near genocide of the Benjamites (Judges 20:18 ,23,28,35), leaving only 600 men who escaped. And since the people of Israel didn’t want to exterminate the Benjamites they felt obligated to keep a stupid oath they made about not giving their women to them as wives (on vows see Deuteronomy 23:21 -23). So they slaughtered every man woman and child of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead, except for four hundred virgins, and gave these virgins to the remaining Benjamites. But they still needed 200 more virgins, so the “elders of the congregation” encouraged the kidnapping of 200 wives from the virgins of Shiloh . (Judges 21:5-7). This is absolutely stunning and hideous. Where was God? Why didn’t he tell them not to do this?

Judges 19:
1 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 And his concubine became angry with him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of asses. And he came to her father’s house; and when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the girl’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days; so they ate and drank, and lodged there. 5 And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go; but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6 So the two men sat and ate and drank together; and the girl’s father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7 And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law urged him, till he lodged there again. 8 And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart; and the girl’s father said, “Strengthen your heart, and tarry until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. 9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening; pray tarry all night. Behold, the day draws to its close; lodge here and let your heart be merry; and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”

10 But the man would not spend the night; he rose up and departed, and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled asses, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites, and spend the night in it.” 12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel; but we will pass on to Gibe-ah.” 13 And he said to his servant, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night at Gibe-ah or at Ramah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibe-ah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibe-ah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city; for no man took them into his house to spend the night.

16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening; the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibe-ah; the men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfarer in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going? and whence do you come?” 18 And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; and I am going to my home; and nobody takes me into his house. 19 We have straw and provender for our asses, with bread and wine for me and your maidservant and the young man with your servants; there is no lack of anything.” 20 And the old man said, “Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants; only, do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave the asses provender; and they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, base fellows, beset the house round about, beating on the door; and they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren, do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. 24 Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them; and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, till it was light.

27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her upon the ass; and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and laying hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.”

Judges 20:
1 Then all the people of Israel came out, from Dan to Beer-sheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah. 2 And the chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand men on foot that drew the sword. 3 (Now the Benjaminites heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, “Tell us, how was this wickedness brought to pass?” 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came to Gibe-ah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5 And the men of Gibe-ah rose against me, and beset the house round about me by night; they meant to kill me, and they ravished my concubine, and she is dead. 6 And I took my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed abomination and wantonness in Israel. 7 Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here.”

8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, “We will not any of us go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we will do to Gibe-ah: we will go up against it by lot, 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may requite Gibe-ah of Benjamin, for all the wanton crime which they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What wickedness is this that has taken place among you? 13 Now therefore give up the men, the base fellows in Gibe-ah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the people of Israel. 14 And the Benjaminites came together out of the cities to Gibe-ah, to go out to battle against the people of Israel. 15 And the Benjaminites mustered out of their cities on that day twenty-six thousand men that drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibe-ah, who mustered seven hundred picked men. 16 Among all these were seven hundred picked men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair, and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand men that drew sword; all these were men of war.

18 The people of Israel arose and went up to Bethel, and inquired of God, “Which of us shall go up first to battle against the Benjaminites?” And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19 Then the people of Israel rose in the morning, and encamped against Gibe-ah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibe-ah. 21 The Benjaminites came out of Gibe-ah, and felled to the ground on that day twenty-two thousand men of the Israelites. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. 23 And the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening; and they inquired of the Lord, “Shall we again draw near to battle against our brethren the Benjaminites?” And the Lord said, “Go up against them.”

24 So the people of Israel came near against the Benjaminites the second day. 25 And Benjamin went against them out of Gibe-ah the second day, and felled to the ground eighteen thousand men of the people of Israel; all these were men who drew the sword. 26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept; they sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we yet again go out to battle against our brethren the Benjaminites, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up; for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.”

29 So Israel set men in ambush round about Gibe-ah. 30 And the people of Israel went up against the Benjaminites on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibe-ah, as at other times. 31 And the Benjaminites went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and as at other times they began to smite and kill some of the people, in the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibe-ah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the Benjaminites said, “They are routed before us, as at the first.” But the men of Israel said, “Let us flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar; and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place west of Geba. 34 And there came against Gibe-ah ten thousand picked men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard; but the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. 35 And the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel; and the men of Israel destroyed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin that day; all these were men who drew the sword. 36 So the Benjaminites saw that they were defeated.

The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted to the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibe-ah. 37 And the men in ambush made haste and rushed upon Gibe-ah; the men in ambush moved out and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city 39 the men of Israel should turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to smite and kill about thirty men of Israel; they said, “Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the signal began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjaminites looked behind them; and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster was close upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them, and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. 43 Cutting down the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah as far as opposite Gibe-ah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor. 45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon; five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways, and they were pursued hard to Gidom, and two thousand men of them were slain. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men that drew the sword, all of them men of valor. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and abode at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back against the Benjaminites, and smote them with the edge of the sword, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns which they found they set on fire.

Judges 21:
1 Now the men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah, “No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin.” 2 And the people came to Bethel, and sat there till evening before God, and they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3 And they said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?” 4 And on the morrow the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5 And the people of Israel said, “Which of all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, “He shall be put to death.” 6 And the people of Israel had compassion for Benjamin their brother, and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. 7 What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them any of our daughters for wives?”

8 And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. 9 For when the people were mustered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10 So the congregation sent thither twelve thousand of their bravest men, and commanded them, “Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones. 11 This is what you shall do; every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy.” 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the Benjaminites who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. 14 And Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead; but they did not suffice for them. 15 And the people had compassion on Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel. 18 Yet we cannot give them wives of our daughters.” For the people of Israel had sworn, “Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.” 19 So they said, “Behold, there is the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.” 20 And they commanded the Benjaminites, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and seize each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us; because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23 And the Benjaminites did so, and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off; then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the towns, and dwelt in them. 24 And the people of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance.

The Genocide of the Amalekites. This is an appalling act of “divinely commanded” genocide.

I Samuel 15:
1 And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’”

4 So Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley. 6 And Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.

10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I repent that I have made Saul king; for he has turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry; and he cried to the Lord all night. 12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning; and it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned, and passed on, and went down to Gilgal.” 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord; I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Say on.”

17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,he has also rejected you from being king.”

24 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshiped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Putting Away Foreign Wives. Women were pretty much helpless in ancient cultures without a husband of father to care for them, and simply because Israelites had married foreign wives they were divorced.

Ezra 10:
1 While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel; for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. 4 Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” 5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

7 And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8 and that if any one did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.

9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days; 10 And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have trespassed and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. 11 Now then make confession to the Lord the God of your fathers, and do his will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” 12 Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. 16 Then the returned exiles did so... 44 All these had married foreign women, and they put them away with their children.

Dashing Children Against the Rock.

Psalm 137:
8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastator!
Happy shall he be who requites you
with what you have done to us!
9 Happy shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!

Beating and Spanking Children. This verse has been used by abusive fathers. We now have more enlightened ways of disciplining children.[11]

Proverbs 13:
24 He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] A whole host of these and many more passages can be found at http://www.evilbible.com/, and http://www.usbible.com/usbible/default.htm.

[2] The following rationalizations are used by Christians about the violence found in the Bible. Whether they succeed or not I’ll let the reader decide after reading this. (Thanks to Andrew Atkinson for some suggestions on this):
1 It wasn't sanctioned by God himself. Sinful humans committed these atrocities in disobedience to God.
2 God was accommodating to their hardened hearts.
3 The Israelites were better morally than the surrounding cultures.
4 The people of Israel needed a pure bloodline to bring in the Messiah.
5 The Bible (especially the Old Testament) does indeed contain a lot of barbarisms, but through it all God was progressively leading believers to gradually come to civilized notions about morality, which were either finally realized in Jesus, or later in the church down through the centuries.
6 What God makes or creates he has the right to destroy, he is the potter we are the clay. God gives life so he can take it away. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills so he can take our possessions away.
7. Because of our sin and depraved nature we deserve eternal torment, so anything that happens to us or that God does to us we deserve anyway. We should be thankful that God does not do horrible things to all of us all the time, thank God he is so merciful!
8. Many of the laws in the Old Testament were either not ordained by God himself, or not acted upon in reality.
9. What God does can be a mystery and we are not in a position to question his actions. Gods ways are above are ways.
10. Our depraved nature makes us unfit cognitively to judge moral claims. What God does is good by definition.
11. God needed to do some ethnic cleansing and trim the fat from society, the ends justifies the means.
12. God was being merciful to the children by killing them because if he had not done so then they would’ve grown up to be heathens and gone to hell.
13. All of these seemingly horrible acts work out for the greater good some how.
14. That was the Old Testament now we are under a new covenant. Civil, Ceremonial, moral law distinctions.
15. What about the good things God has done?

[3] For a good discussion of this account see Conrad Hyers, The Meaning of Creation (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1984), pp. 9-114.

[4] Where does Cain get his wife, who is he afraid of, and how is it possible to build what’s called “a city” when they were just a small family? None of these questions can be answered with a straightforward reading of this text.

[5] There is a discrepancy in how long the flood lasted. Was it 40 days ( 7:17 ), 150 days ( 7:24 ), or one year (compare 7:11 with 8:13 )?

[6] For two book length treatments of this see Stephen R. Haynes, Noah's Curse : The Biblical Justification of American Slavery, and David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

[7] This passage does not support the claim that God condemns homosexuality per se, since any forceful rape of another human being is wrong. Besides according to Ezekiel their sin was that they did not help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48 -50).

[8] Jonathan Kirsch titled his book depicting the horrible acts in the Old Testament by this incident, The Harlot By The Side of the Road (Ballantine Books).

[9] For a good discussion of this passage see Jonathan Kirsch, The Harlot By The Side of the Road (Ballantine Books), pp. 145-179.

[10] To read a scholarly defence of this view see, Francesca Stavrakopoulou, King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities, (Walter De Gruyter Inc., 2004).

[11] See for instance Thomas Gordon, Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children (Three Rivers Press, 2000).

62 comments:

withinreason said...

here, you forgot the link:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/


:-P

John W. Loftus said...

I didn't try to be comprehensive here, but if someone notices a glaring omission, I'd really appreciate knowing about it. I merely tried to give representative samplings.

Evan said...

It's obvious the Bible shows us a God who has a universal moral code


NOT!

Jim Holman said...

I think you can say that the Bible "debunks" itself only if you're talking about a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. But if a person is operating outside of a literalist framework, most of these "difficulties" simply disappear. Really, it's not the Bible that is being debunked, but a fundamentalist understanding of the Bible.

John W. Loftus said...

Jim, that's what we do here if you hadn't noticed!

You on the other hand pick and choose what you want to accept out of the Bible, just like me! I just accept less, much less, than you do. And I don't pick and choose what I'll accept merely because it's in the Bible.

Jamie Steele said...

John,
Thanks for posting God's Word on your web.
I am reminded that God's Word is
"For the Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

John W. Loftus said...

Jamie, can you defend this distinction between the soul and spirit you just quoted in that passage? There is no evidence that we have both a soul and a spirit.

But the ancient Biblical writers believed in a three-zoned personality. It was commonly accepted in the ancient world before the rise of science. Plato based his ethics on it.

But based on the evidence and upon logic itself most theologians today deny there is a difference. Imagine that! Here's another case of intellectual gymnastics in the very passage you quoted.

Jim Holman said...

john loftus writes: Jim, that's what we do here [debunking fundamentalism] if you hadn't noticed!

Ok, but I think that you're using the wrong arguments.

Many of the comments here don't make an important distinction -- that it's not "the Bible" that is being debunked, but only one particular interpretation of the Bible.

Thus the problem here is not that "God is evil," or that Genesis is "unscientific," and so on.

The real problem is that fundamentalists fail to understand what kind of material is in the Bible -- that, for example, the stories in Genesis are not literal history.

Many of the comments I have seen in this venue imply that pointing out contradictions and factual inaccuracies in the Bible constitutes an argument against Christianity per se. It's doesn't. It only constitutes an argument against fundamentalism. I don't know if a lot of people here realize that.

I have seen several stories here of fundamentalists who come to find out that fundamentalism is wrong, but who then cease to be Christians because of that -- as if the only options in the world were either fundamentalist Christianity or nothing. But there are many other options -- Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the many versions of liberal Christianity.

In effect, many of these ex-fundamentalists still to a large degree accept the fundamentalist worldview -- that the only legitimate expression of Christianity is the fundamentalist one. And if that turns out not to be true, the only other option is -- nothing. This is what happens when fundamentalism becomes conflated with Christianity as a whole.

John W. Loftus said...

Jim, then would you like to join DC since you agree with us, or not? ;-)

I suppose not. And why did you just quote the Bible to me unless you believe the Bible?

Listen, if the show fits, wear it. Otherwise don't bitch about what we write. It's that simple. Where you agree with us then agree, don't go off telling us we missed the target of what you believe. We didn't aim at you. And don't tell us where the target really is. We've chosen to deal with what we do for good reasons.

Sheesh. Please get the point.

Jason said...

At a quick glance:

1. Adam was blamed for the sin of man. Not Eve.
2. The firmament is the sky - the same place where the birds fly. It's not a 'hard dome-like structure'.
3. Homosexuals aren't considered 'inferior'.

As Jim pointed out, these errors stem from an individual's particular interpretation of the Bible. The exercise here is more suited to debunking your misunderstandings of the Bible instead of debunking the Bible itself. :)

Evan said...

Jim and Jason,

The question to you is really simple. Did God have anything to do with the Bible?

If he did, was he more involved than he was with the creation of Shakespeare's plays or the Communist Manifesto?

If he was more involved, how can someone tell what parts of the Bible to pay attention to, and what they can safely ignore?

If he wasn't involved -- why do you believe the Bible is worthy of study?

richdurrant said...

You on the other hand pick and choose what you want to accept out of the Bible, just like me! I just accept less, much less, than you do. And I don't pick and choose what I'll accept merely because it's in the Bible.

Wow John, I might have more in common with you then I realize;)

Jason said...

Hi Evan,

I'm just pointing out a few errors in John's post. Your questions don't really have anything to do with "the Old Testament passages that debunk the Bible".

John W. Loftus said...

If someone sees a section of this long post you'd like to see posted separately for comment, let me know.

Evan said...

Yes, Jason, my questions do have to do with that. Each individual makes particular interpretations of the Bible. If those interpretations are based on the word of God, it's pretty important to worry about the distinctions. If they aren't, then it's of no greater import than two different interpretations of "The Tempest."

The Bible either has privileged status as a book that God helped produce or it doesn't.

The passages quoted strongly suggest the latter. The Bible has NO privileged status over any other book. It is NOT divinely inspired in any way and thus deserves no special treatment of any sort.

My questions are directed towards people who pooh-pooh Biblical literalism but want to retain some notion that the Bible is still valuable.

So if the Bible is valuable -- why is it? Is it because God was involved in its production, or just because it has some nice writing, in the same way that Homer, Voltaire, Lucretius and Ray Bradbury are nice writing?

withinreason said...

it's always fun hurling elephants

Jason said...

Hi Evan,

I'm prepared to discuss the Old Testament passages that "debunk" the Bible as per John's post. I've listed three points that I believe are incorrect - if you'd like to discuss those, are any others, wonderful. If not, I'll have to politely decline your request to talk about the Bible's 'special status' because I don't see the relevance.

Evan said...

Jason,

The Bible's special status is what is being debunked ... If you don't see that I guess I can't fault you for it.

As for your three specific complaints.

1. Where do you read in the Bible that Adam is "blamed for the sin of man." What men were alive for Adam to be blamed for? Who was Adam, where did he live?

2. Where in the Bible does it say that the firmament is "Where birds fly?"

It says this And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven.

If it is not a "domelike structure" as was believed by the writer of the Bible, how could it separate water? Water is a liquid. Contiguous water will not spontaneously separate.

3. As for your final number. Your'e actually right!

No homosexuals aren't considered "inferior". They are considered "dead". In a world guided by the Bible, nobody would ever self-identify as homosexual because their immediate outcome would be a corpse. Good catch on that. The Bible also supports killing people who wear two different types of fabric, or mock someone's bald head.

GordonBlood said...

The reason I dont like coming her anymore John is the evolution of dishonesty I have seen in your writing. Originally I found that though I vehemently disagreed with you, you usually tried to argue soundly. In much of this blatantly playing loose with the facts. Firstly, just because a text is interpreted wrongly does not mean the text says that (Yes John, I know that God could have made all that clear, which is a seperate question of theodicy, not scripture). Of course much of the law and writing in the Old Testament is legend, myth, hyperbole etc. Why? Because noone in the ancient world wrote without such things, indeed you must believe this for obvious reasons (God is a myth for you, yes?) Equally clear is that much of these laws were made by Moses for the Jewish people, not by God directly. Alot of these verses have been used, by certain persons, to justify all sorts of terrible practices and I recognize that. Indeed the only ones that I think can be troublesome are those in which God orders murder of groups of people, though this calls into question whether such events took place and whether or not God's purposes mandate that he do such actions. Essentially Jim explains perfectly the rest of the situation, namely the absurdity of claiming you can somehow "debunk" a historical text in the way you claim.

John said...

Great post John,

I don't understand all these 'non-fundamentalist' christians getting their knickers in a knot! I know plenty of christians who believe in the OT as real history/the real deal - I was raised in such a church. And trust me there are plenty of these christians. I clearly remember being taught that Moses went up some mountain and getting the 10 commandments directly from God. This isnt some vague scripture with mulitple meanings ending up in multiple interpretations.

"Of course much of the law and writing in the Old Testament is legend, myth,"

If I was christian and said this to pretty much every christian I know - they would be very concerned
about my spiritual life.

Jim Holman said...

evan asks: The question to you is really simple. Did God have anything to do with the Bible? ... If he was more involved, how can someone tell what parts of the Bible to pay attention to, and what they can safely ignore?

Permit me some words of introduction. The more traditional, liturgical churches -- Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal -- are, in an important sense, not "based" on the Bible. Rather, the Bible is based on the church.

For example, in Eastern Orthodoxy (EO for short), the central "fact" of Christianity is not the Bible, but the Church. The Church existed long before the New Testament books were written, long before the canon was finalized, centuries in fact.

In EO the Bible is seen as a product of a much larger church tradition. The Bible is one part of that tradition -- an important, critical part, but only a part. Thus, EO christians are often criticized by fundamentalists for their "non-biblical" practices and beliefs. But in EO the focus is on the whole tradition, not just the Bible.

For EO christians, the Bible, in particular the New Testament, is a book of the Church, and cannot be understood outside of that context. If you want to understand the Bible, you have to be part of the life of the Church. You have to experience how the Bible is used as part of the worship of the Church, how it is part of the prayer life of the Church. If you want to understand the Bible you have to be a part of the Church, to experience the life of the Church.

Let me give you an example. Let's say that you wanted to understand the Constitution. One way would be to just read the Constitution and come to your own personal conclusions. Another way, the better way perhaps, would be to understand constitutional law, to study the English common law tradition, to study the history of constitutional interpretation, and so on.

This, more or less, is how the EO church sees the Bible. It has to be understood within the whole context of Church tradition.

In other words, the EO church does not see the Bible as a "rule book" that has to be blindly obeyed. They do not see it as "inerrant." Rather, the Orthodox tradition provides a general worldview, a "gestalt," if you will, that informs the believer on how he or she should live.

So if you have not fallen asleep by now, here's my point. Other Christian groups have a VERY different view of the Bible. They simply don't have "guidelines" on what you should "ignore." They reject the idea that God is a "thing" that can be rationally understood. Instead, God is a Person who has to be experienced in order to be known. And the Bible provides only one part of the tradition in which that experience occurs.

Full disclaimer: I'm not Eastern Orthodox, nor am I a Christian. I am just a student of religion, and all of the above is my best explanation of how the Bible functions in the Orthodox church. Apologies in advance for the long post.

Jason said...

Evan,

1. Where do you read in the Bible that Adam is "blamed for the sin of man."

Adam is said to be the one who brought "sin into the world", not Eve (Romans 5:12)

2. Where in the Bible does it say that the firmament is "Where birds fly?"

Genesis 1:20.

3. As for your final number. Your'e actually right! No homosexuals aren't considered "inferior".

Glad you agree.

Evan said...

Full disclaimer: I'm not Eastern Orthodox, nor am I a Christian. I am just a student of religion, and all of the above is my best explanation of how the Bible functions in the Orthodox church. Apologies in advance for the long post.

Fine. All well and good. You're not even a Christian, which is wonderful.

But even in your excellent explanation -- the CHURCHES believe that the Bible is inspired by God.

Otherwise there'd be no church. The catholic church believes in the apostolic tradition, as do the orthodox, of that there is no question, but they still hold the Bible in a privileged position as a piece of literature inspired by God.

Please go ask an EO priest and let me know what his answer was.

If he says the Bible is a work of literature like the Iliad and holds no special position -- why is he a priest?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John~ Try as you might, I yet agree with Jim H. and gordonblood...you may cause some fundamentalists or others who hold certain interpretations such as outlined to rethink or question those interpretives, but as to produce unreliability of Biblical accuracy or scripture as a whole...a Great Big MISS.

I'll give you an -A- for effort. At least you read the bible even if you don't know what it's saying...but everything you name is simply good Bible study material.

And the wheels keep on turnin'...

Thanks

Trou said...

"This Blog has been created for the purpose of debunking Evangelical Christianity"

This is quoted from the header of this blog. Evangelical is the key word here. What is up with you people who can't get the point of this blog? It seems no matter how often this is brought as a reminder it's as if it never was mentioned.
Oh the frustration of dealing with the closed minds of the perpetually right.

Jason said...

Evangelical Christianity doesn't believe the firmament is a dome-like structure and, depending on who exactly constitutes an "evangelical Christian", they don't keep the sabbath or believe in polygamy.

So even though it's mentioned in the header and no matter how many times it's brought up as a reminder, this topic isn't about evangelical Christians Why the double-standard?

John W. Loftus said...

Gordonblood, fine. I don't miss you.

Jim Holman: Full disclaimer: I'm not Eastern Orthodox, nor am I a Christian.

Fine. You simply don't know the evangelical mind like we do, so I'd say you're ignorant about what they think. May I suggest you do so in your studies before you criticize what I wrote.

A former contributor had this to say about why we take aim at evangelical Christianity:

Not only is fundamentalist Christianity the greatest threat in the United States to science, tolerance, and social progress, but it is also the most prevalent form of Protestant Christianity to be found in our nation, whether you like it or not. It is the fundamentalist religious right that holds the reigns of the Republican party (which currently controls the nation, in case you didn't realize), and it is this same fundamentalist religious right that lobbies for the teaching of lies in public school and fights against funding for embryonic research that could potentially save the lives of millions.

Whether you like it or not, it is this flavor of Christianity that makes the loudest, most obnoxious, most dangerous impact on the world today, giving us plenty of good reason to direct the brunt of our attacks in its vicinity.


Now stop your bitching, both of you.

John W. Loftus said...

Furthermore, this one lone post does not do the work all by itself of debunking Christianity. I never claimed it did. One must compare the Bible with the beliefs of those who claim to believe the Bible and see if they square with each other.

I honestly don't think they do.

As I said, when it came to the Christian rationalizations, that I'll let the reader judge for himself. That's not being dishonest in any way shape or form.

So do it.

Sheesh.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but it seems as though when people comment to one another online (or in person), it's not uncommon for misunderstandings to crop up - people project motives and meaning to others' words that are inaccurate. I believe the same thing happens with scripture (and also other literary and musical works - I can remember when the lyrics to Puff the Magic Dragon - a popular song in the 60's - were presumed to be about drug use even though the songwriters declared it a tale of fanciful myth). Some people maintain guardedness and suspicion and oftentimes maintain offenses even if they are inaccurate.

Scripture alone is not God - to view the Bible in such a way is idolotry and ought to be debunked. As with any other form of empowerment that falls within the realm of manipulation by people, it can be corrupted into a tool for mistreatment. I do find inspiration and affirmation within scripture - I see the Bible as an account of fallible man attempting to find and relate to spiritual divinity.

Evan said...

I do find inspiration and affirmation within scripture - I see the Bible as an account of fallible man attempting to find and relate to spiritual divinity.

So my question is what direction the information travels. Is it all from mankind, in your opinion, or does God ever write, inspire directly, dictate, or edit anything in the Bible?

Specifically, is there anything in the Bible that should be regarded as uniquely privileged information that could not also be found in other great writing?

Evan said...

"For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck."--Luke 23:29

Sounds like an endorsement of at least miscarriage.

Jason said...

It sounds that way about as much as it sounds like the Bible blames woman for the sin of man.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan wrote: "Is it all from mankind, in your opinion, or does God ever write, inspire directly, dictate, or edit anything in the Bible?"

In my prior comment I wrote that I feel that scripture details the way that people try and relate to God. Relate - as in two parties looking to connect - so to me, it is a story that contains more than one perspective. The word can be rightly divided - in other words, I am well acquainted with the human perspective and all the misunderstandings and misinterpretations and wrongful projections that get applied to the spiritual realm but I am also learning about God's view - which is grace

As far as the scripture you quoted Luke 23-29 - I'm fascinated by your understanding and interpretation of that - I hadn't considered it ever to be about miscarriage - I see it as a foretelling of a pattern of suffering. To me, Y'shua told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - He was able to acknowledge and foretell the cylce of mistreatment in the world without indicting us for it. His way of salvation is first and foremost, by way of spiritual enlightenment.

Take care!

Evan said...

MMM --

Blah blah blah.

You think God wrote a book but didn't do a very good job at it I guess.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Evan, do you need a hug???

Insanezenmistress said...

MMM

""""Scripture alone is not God - to view the Bible in such a way is idolotry and ought to be debunked. As with any other form of empowerment that falls within the realm of manipulation by people, it can be corrupted into a tool for mistreatment. I do find inspiration and affirmation within scripture - I see the Bible as an account of fallible man attempting to find and relate to spiritual divinity."""""


I like your line of reasoning.
The bible when seen as these people present it, with a harsh veiw toward those humans who are emotional idiots. (idolatrists)

They do well to debunk such beliefs. As they hold one back form reaping the hidden jems in the scriptures. These are the personal lessons that many christians cling to that builds their faith.

Where a word of scripture is used to learn a spiritaul lesson. Or as a skelital key to understanding god.

I say So what if that persons version of god slaughtered...THATS not god, THAT is the residaule effect of someone having made an image for him.

Thou shalt not have a craven image.

But that wisdom is not exclusive to the bible. Many psychologist use that advice to help the schizto realise the falsness of their mental states, and teach them copeing skills and mindfullness. IF they dont then well.they should.....anyway i am rambleing..........posting now.

Jessy

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Jessy, thanks for your response to my comment - I ramble as well - sometimes I think it is somewhat of an ill-fit, a vain pursuit, to attempt to articulate about spiritual matters - I am coming to the realization that God's spirit is better expressed through acts of love.

Jim Holman said...

evan writes: Specifically, is there anything in the Bible that should be regarded as uniquely privileged information that could not also be found in other great writing?

A couple of points. As far as the West goes, Western literature developed in the context of the Christian tradition. So much of that literature comes out of the tradition, resonates with it, is a reaction to it, or is a rebellion against it.

So yes, you could easily find many of the same viewpoints in the Bible in other literature, but that's because the literary relationship between Christianity, Judaism, and that same literature.

Another point -- while various elements of Christianity could be garnered from literature that is not specifically Christian, the Christian tradition is a unique expression of those elements -- a tradition with its own history of ideas, development, and "dramatis personae," if you will.

Here's another way of looking at the issue. Is there anything unique to you, Evan, that could not be found in other people. Well, no disrespect intended, but probably not. Nonetheless, you yourself are unique; you are the only "Evan," and there's no way we could "recreate" Evan through compiling the characteristics of other people. To borrow from Shakespeare's Sonnet 84, "which can say more, than this rich praise, that you alone, are you." Likewise Christianity is unique and thus cannot be considered irrelevant because parts of it might be found in other writings.

On a tangential topic -- this is why I find it strange when people hold that Christianity is immoral because of certain immoral practices and stories in the Old Testament. The reason that they find these things immoral is precisely because of the influence of the Christian moral tradition. The Christian moral tradition began with the Old Testament, but developed far beyond it and eventually became "domesticated" by the Enlightenment and by secular, philosophical moral thinking.

Some here might find this offensive, but there is a limited sense in which we in the West are are all Christians. We all exist in the context of a moral tradition that was highly influenced by Christianity, even as many of us no longer accept the foundational Christian doctrines.

Evan said...

Jim,

I guess you agree with me that the Bible is a book like any other and for that I should be grateful.

Indeed I am only partly unique in that there is nothing about me that cannot be found in someone or something else.

This is precisely why I do not put myself forward as an exemplar that is perfect, all knowing, all good, and all seeing.

If my arguments make sense, it is the argument's character, not mine that is resonating.

If the Bible says something that is true, it is the truth that is resonating in someone's mind, not the Bible.

I also strongly disagree with your assertion that all morality is Christian. This is precisely the sort of xenophobia that led to the genocide of the Native Americans.

All morality is human; Christians, Jews, and Muslims have no more of it than Hindus, Taoists, followers of Asatru, Ancient Pagans or anyone else.

Also the conflation of the Western tradition with Christianity does violence to the facts. The facts are that the Western tradition of Democritus, Aristotle, Lucretius, Cicero, Averroes, Voltaire, Spinoza and Einstein are definitively NON-Christian and yet they are decidedly western such that Christianity regards all of them as worthy of incorporation or opposition.

There is no sustained Christian critique of Lao Tze on the other hand.

enigma said...

John,
I just labored through this entire article, and I thank you for strengthening my faith. I started reading to find out if I have beleived a lie, but there was nothing here to demonstrate that was the case.

First, the beginning premise was flawed. There is no reason to believe that God intended, or should have intended, that the Bible could not be misunderstood. Most of your observations are really fabrications. You are completely biased without a shred of objectivity. I also find it interesting that you judge God by your morals. If as you say, there is no god then there are no objective morals to judge him by. If this is the best you can do to "debunk" the Bible, then I quess the Bible is safe.

Ironically, I am the opposite of you. I was a committed atheist who found that everything that I believed was wrong. I spent several years working to proof the science that I "knew". After all that time I actually proved that most of the so-called science that I believed was not true, and I became a theist although not yet a Christian. More study eventually led me to Christianity as the only true revelation of God.

I don't know what turned you away, but what you've written on this site has actually reassured me. If it takes this kind of logical fallacy and willful misinterpretation to disbelieve, I am safe.

Thanks again John.

Evan said...

Ironically, I am the opposite of you. I was a committed atheist who found that everything that I believed was wrong. I spent several years working to proof the science that I "knew".

Enigma, I'm curious what in science that you tried to proof caused you to start believing in God.

Let me know what that is.

Insanezenmistress said...

Evan

""""If my arguments make sense, it is the argument's character, not mine that is resonating.

If the Bible says something that is true, it is the truth that is resonating in someone's mind, not the Bible.

""""""



This is good, and along the lines of my own thinking. Truth is as truth does and there is not one single source of truth.

Now how screwed up is this, i have points of agreement with both the chrisitan and the atheist side of the coin.

But if i may try and shed light on what could be the science that might have caused enigma to "find god"

I would call such a science yoga. Or Zen, sciences of knowledge/gnosis. (though in zen there is no need to deify god or ourselves.)

And how can one lose "faith" in science. Well, take cosmology for example, and physics, these are only right in so far as our math is correct. And much of our science (technology) come out of math that is only valid as far as the big bang singularity.

Most of what we know is theory and changing as more is learned. Naturally if more is learned then what came before was incomplete.

I think a spiritaul knowledge is simular. If one way to veiw it renders it false then another way to veiw it may bring to light something deeper and more practical.

The Bible works for people. Not all theses people are tripped up by the equasitions you present.

Does the bible work for me? Only as a kindergarten manaul of spiritaulity. But the more i understand my yoga the more things biblical take on greater implication. (luckilly without becomming a stupified religious faith, such that i agree with your debunkingness of)


thanx for skimming

Jessy

Evan said...

And how can one lose "faith" in science. Well, take cosmology for example, and physics, these are only right in so far as our math is correct. And much of our science (technology) come out of math that is only valid as far as the big bang singularity.

I suppose if someone has absolute faith in science like someone has absolute faith in Christianity then that might happen. But science proceeds by steps forward, steps backward, error discovery, and consolidation of knowledge multiply tested.

Of course science can be wrong. That's what gets careers made in science, showing that what was previously believed was wrong. You don't have "faith" in science, you believe, on the basis of good evidence, that it is the best way to know about our universe.

If some other way of knowing starts getting things done that make dramatic differences in people's lives, it will get the same level of attention as science.

But for someone to have "faith" in science is merely to be transposing the psychological mechanisms that one has for religion on to science, and that is not how science works.

The finest works in science have error in them, and the job of modern scientists is to find those errors and expose them.

This is why so many Christians are uncomfortable with science. Science is not a series of truths, or a big truth, but a method of arriving at truth. And when you use that method, Christianity doesn't really stand up (except in its most nebulous and unfulfilling forms).

Insanezenmistress said...

I agree, Evan that science is what oyu say it is. I enjoy science it is the art of human learning.

I just am also geared toward philosphical "science" or psychological science....and what we call a spiritaul science. Their are some methods for interpreting the bible, christianity, and brings out spiritaul value in some people. I know a person who can weave a beautiful picture of the symbology and meaning of things jesus did that related to the overall of the Old Testament.

He has a "gift". Is he aware of all your arguments? Perhaps, he is by no means a stupid man. Is it faith that keeps him in love with his interpretation an dmeanign of scripture?

No it is just a mental frame work for all his higest ideals. So Philosphy is a science of thinking and discovery of knowledge. It has a scientfitic method also.....that method is HOW we arrive at truth yes. Any truth.

What ever truth we are able to see.

The bible debunks itself yes...but msot people arent realing That bible.

Jessy.

Evan said...

Jessy I just have to disagree with your conclusion, at least if you are talking about the United States.

42% of Americans do not believe humans evolved from other creatures.

Let your mind sift that out for a bit.

Of the other 48%, a MAJORITY believe that God directed evolution. Only 18% of Americans believed man evolved solely through natural selection.

Yet the science we have available to us shows only evidence for man evolving by natural selection and it fully disproves the idea that man did not evolve from other creatures. In another survey 47% of AMERICANS (not Christians) believed the statement "God created man in his current form less than 10,000 years ago.

Thus, a majority of Christians in the US prefer the Bible story to proven facts discovered scientifically.

That should throw some cold water on how you think about what people imagine when they read the Bible.

Insanezenmistress said...

I stand corrected... perhaps i ment gee i WISH....

maybe i was thinking more people where getting their thinking liberated.

SO basically the majority of humans being christians are not interested in scientific facts and strong theories. Is what you're saying.

thats a shame, really. Then the reality of the matter is not many even care about the being good stuff. And never challenge the trueness of what they are beliving.

.....

bleak. where is the place for good hope?

Evan said...

bleak. where is the place for good hope?

I think all people of good will are reason for hope, regardless of their beliefs.

Scott said...

On a tangential topic -- this is why I find it strange when people hold that Christianity is immoral because of certain immoral practices and stories in the Old Testament.

What I find strange is when Christians claim their God invented morality in the Old Testament.

The following was written by the Jains in around the 9th century BCE:

Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.

Imagine if the Old Testament contained such clear and strong moral direction. Would we have had slavery? What about The Inquisition and The Crusades?

enigma said...

Evan,

You wanted to know what in science I tried to proof that turned me to God and eventually Christianity.

First let me say that I love science. I can't get enough of real science. Unfortunatly, good science is in short supply in popular culture these days.

The "science" that started my trip to faith in God was Darwinian evolution. After years of looking for evidence, I found virtually none. Oh yes, I found lots of ideas, masses of fancy grahics and almost total conscensus, but I found no hard evidence and precious little circumstantial evidence. Remember, I started out believing that evolution was real.

What I did find was excellent evidence that showed that Darwinian evolutions was not even possible. Curiously enough, even most evolution preaching scientists (real scientists, not teachers) will admit that it can't happen, but they refuse to accept the obvious alternative.

Then came the Big Bang. There is actually some real evidence for that, but it too ignores some serious problems.

Once you accept that scientists are as willing to lie to you to prove what they believe as any Christian (yes I know not all Christians are honest)then you can start to look for yourself and come to your own conclusions. The hard part is to remove your own biases and preconceptions to allow yourself to see the truth.

It's easy to see that blindly listening to anyone can easily lead to error and I don't ask anyone to believe that I am right without proof. I would also warn anyone to be careful. There are many on both sides of the arguement that can wrap falsehood in a pretty package, and it takes careful examination to determine what is true and what isn't. Most people accept what they like and reject what they don't. This makes a person feel good about themselves, but it contributes nothing to true knowledge.

I believe that being truely right is hard work, but well worth the effort.

Evan said...

Enigma,

You proved my concerns to be true.

I believe you are lying.

I call you out.

What fact of evolution did you once believe that you no longer find evidence for?

enigma said...

Evan,

You misunderstand. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I am merely warning you that what you think you know may not be true. If you look at my last post again, you will see that I don't ask tou to believe me, but to look for yourself. I cannot convince you of anything you are not willing to believe.

This also wanders way off the subject of this blog, which is "the Bible debunks itself".

I don't normally take kindly to being called a liar, but I understand your perspective having been there. I am not here to debate evolution. Look for yourself if you're willing to change your mind.

By the way I'm a little surprised that you were allowed to call me a liar on a blog that clames to disallow disrespectful comments.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Scott stated that the Jains came up with this command: "Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being."

I find it oppressive that someone might indict me as an offender of this law if I should decide to kill an attacking cougar out of self defense. A law or moral code is insufficient in completely conveying the love of God for mankind - a moral code can become corrupted by self righteousness and a legal code is not gracious - it cannot discern. The Old Testament people were promised a Savior - I am wondering how the Jains fared with their legal code??

Evan said...

Enigma,

Once again -- you evince not a shred of evidence that what you claim to be true is true.

I did not say you 'were a liar' I said I believed you were lying.

I still do.

You never believed that evolution was true in any verifiable sense or you would point to at least one fact that changed your mind.

You of course haven't, and won't.

That settles the question for me about whether you are or are not telling the truth.

Evan said...

MMM -- the Jains are still around.

Find one and ask her.

enigma said...

Evan,

I may be an engineer and not a linguist, but I do know that when you say someone is lying, you are calling them a liar. What's more, you have no good reason to think that. A blog is completely unsuitable for this type of in-depth debate. Evolution or any science is much too complex to discuss in such a short forum.

Since you apparently cannot get started on your own I will give a a starting place. The operation of the cell at a molecular level does not allow for evolutionary mutations. All observed mutations reduce the amount of information contained in genetic code which could not lead to higher forms of life. There is also no known or even theorized means which explains differing numbers of chromasomes in various species. "It just happened" is not science. There is also the problem for atheist of the origin of the first life. Even Richard Dawkins admits that life could not have spontaneously occured on earth. The probability for even the simplest conceivable life coming into existance is zero.

I could go on for days, but I don't see the point. I am quite certain that you do not want to know. You are happy in your atheism and believing me to be a liar or a fool makes it easier for you. Believe that if you will, but you may keep it to yourself.

Now maybe we can get back to the subject: "The Bible Debunks Itself"

If you want to discuss evolution there are many other forums available for that. Or maybe you could read "The Origin of Species" and see what Darwin said about disproving evolution. It has been done.

Evan said...

Enigma,

Again. You never believed it in the first place and you are proving it by mouthing a bunch of Creationist drivel that can be explained with 3rd grade level understanding.

You prove again that you are disingenuous.

Let's go through this:

Since you apparently cannot get started on your own I will give a a starting place.

What did you first believe and what changed your mind? You don't say, and that proves you are not telling the truth.

The operation of the cell at a molecular level does not allow for evolutionary mutations.

Except of course it does. The vast majority of mutations are neutral. The most cursory knowledge of biology agrees with this. Of mutations that are NOT neutral again the vast majority are lethal. Lethal mutations will not pass along to further generations. Again, basic knowledge of biology allows anyone to understand this.

To say that cells can't mutate is to argue that no antibiotic resistance has developed, and that cancer doesn't exist. It's not something you ever believed. It's creationist claptrap you are parroting.

Next statement:

All observed mutations reduce the amount of information contained in genetic code which could not lead to higher forms of life.

Ridiculous. There are no "higher forms of life". There are forms of life. That's it. Your statement again proves you put ideology first. There are plenty of observed mutations that create new information. They are called duplications. Look up Hox Genes. If you have a basic understanding of biology you will know that they have been duplicated multiple times in vertebrates. You will then see how vertebrates use the duplicate genes to do additional things. This
ADDS information.

HIV has evolved entire new proteins during YOUR lifetime proving your statement to be false.

The fact is you never believed anything other than you believe now, since you can't characterize your prior beliefs and what changed your mind.

There is also no known or even theorized means which explains differing numbers of chromasomes (sic) in various species.

ROFL.

Translocations. Chromosome fusions. Well known, well documented, beyond doubt to anyone with a cursory knowledge of biology or the ability to use Wikipedia. Again, you never believed anything else or you would show what changed your mind.

"It just happened" is not science.

Correct. It's not. "God did it" is a variant of "It just happened" and is therefore not science.

There is also the problem for atheist of the origin of the first life(sic). Even Richard Dawkins admits that life could not have spontaneously occured on earth.

He admits no such thing. Cite that for me. Of course, since you have never read Dawkins and never thought anything other than what you think now, you won't be able to.

The probability for even the simplest conceivable life coming into existance is zero.

No it isn't. Again, basic knowledge of statistics would show to you that the probability of just about anything CANNOT be zero. There's not a zero probability that you could walk through a solid wall.

Let me explain how we currently theorize life began ON earth. This is of course something you think happened because God did it. I will remind you that "It just happened" is not science.

First hypothesis is that life began at hydrothermal vents and was made of simple molecules such as nucleotides that were catalyzed by clay minerals on the edges of the hydrothermal vents. There is good evidence for this, including the fact that heat shock proteins are the most ubiquitous proteins and are present in all forms of life in a highly conserved fashion. This data requires no faith.

Second hypothesis is that simple macromolecules began to form from clay catalysis, and that a few of these were able to replicate *AND* catalyze, and that the most stable one was RNA, which was able to catalyze reactions and reproduce itself. RNA still catalyzes reactions today, and is still able to reproduce itself today, thus this hypothesis requires no faith.

The third stage is that RNA began to replicate in protected spaces and to develop better and better mechanisms of preservation and catalysis, including the development of the ribosome (A fusion of protein and RNA), and the development of DNA as a more stable storage mechanism. I don't believe it takes much faith to believe that happened, you might.

Once you have DNA and RNA making protein with ribosomes in a protected space, you have a cell. Once that cell develops a lipid layer and becomes free living, you need no further hypotheses for evolution to take place. Not one bit of faith is required to believe that current research can find answers to the above questions.

But of course, you never believed that evolution was true in the first place.

Go back down and read my first post on this blog Enigma.

Show me where I'm wrong.

Of course, I won't hold my breath.

dsjulian said...

Your comments about Blue Laws is incorrect. Sunday is neither the Sabbath nor the Seventh Day of the week.

The purpose of Blue Laws was to keep people sober enough on Sunday to attend church without falling down.

It has only been since prohibition that everyone in America wasn't legally drunk most of the time...

Do the research...

enigma said...

Evan,

You're right. Any 3rd grader could explain evolution to me, but I left 3rd grade behind a long time ago.

You do make my point brilliantly though. I said that an intelligent conversation on science could not be conducted on a blog and you've proved it. In your evolutionist drival you fail to give one solid reference.

I must admit though that I had you wrong. I thought that you were an atheist. I see now that you do beleive in god. You just believe yourself to be him. How else could you know more about me than I know about myself? When I make a point it needs to be proven in writing or it is drival. When you make a point it is to be received a divine revelation. How else would you know everything that Richard Dawkins has ever said? When faced with the facts in a debate he has two options: Deny the facts and lose all crediblility; or admit the facts and try to mitigate them. He wisely choses the later. But you in your omniscience say that he never said them so maybe I was halucinating.

I give up.

I learned a long time ago that arguing with god is a fools errand.

By the way, I loved your movie.

Have a nice eternity.

Evan said...

Enigma, if anybody ever needed proof of the truth of my original assertion, you just proved it in spades. You fail on every level to suggest any single fact that changed your mind about anything. I couldn't have hoped for a more convincing elucidation of your true position than your last post.

You are dishonest and a discredit to whatever ethical system you claim to follow.

Good luck with that and wherever it gets you.

Scott said...

MMM: I find it oppressive that someone might indict me as an offender of this law if I should decide to kill an attacking cougar out of self defense.

If sexual preference is strongly influenced by genetics, which statistics seem indicate, I'm sure homosexuals find Christianity just as oppressive as it too would indict them as offenders for following the instincts they were born with.

MMM: A law or moral code is insufficient in completely conveying the love of God for mankind - a moral code can become corrupted by self righteousness and a legal code is not gracious - it cannot discern.

Anything can be corrupted by self-righteousness. Laws cannot cover every possible situation. However, some texts written at or even before the same time frame are clearly more comprehensive than others. This significantly reduces the chance for misinterpretation.

In this case, a single verse conveyed what the entire Bible could not. Do not enslave, torture, oppress or kill.

We've seen plenty of this sort of behavior in the name of the Christian God. Is this a representation of the love of God for mankind?

MMM: The Old Testament people were promised a Savior - I am wondering how the Jains fared with their legal code??

And, in the New Testament, Peter promised the return of this savior in their lifetime. How's that working out for you?

Scott said...

There is also no known or even theorized means which explains differing numbers of chromasomes (sic) in various species.

Known to you or known to science?

Here's a video which details the fusion of human chromosome #2 in human beings and explains why human beings have a different number of chromosomes than other primates.

MelAndrews said...

The Genesis One Creation Account. This passage is contrary to modern science in so many ways. Notice the earth existed before the universe of stars. Notice also that the earth rises out of the primeval chaotic waters, and that the “firmament” (a hard dome like structure), arose out of those same waters.
===============

I would disagree with your exegesis on this passage. The subject/focus of Genesis 1:1 is the universe where it says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The subject of verse 2 is the earth, where it says, "Now the earth was formless and void (meaning lifeless)..."

So IMO, the heavens (Including all the stars, the earth, and other heavenly bodies, were created in verse one.