A Screwed Up Book From the Beginning: Does the Bible Ever Know What It’s Talking About?

Left: The Jarvik 7 Artificial Heart (Could Jesus Live Here?)
Over a decade ago I debated a Christian apologist over the fact that the Biblical writers had no idea of what the human brain was.

My point was that, if the Bible was literally correct, than both the first artificial heart recipients Barney Clark and Robert Schrader (who died while on these machines) would have been totally  "unable to have asked Jesus into their hearts" since they had in fact had no hearts for Jesus to live in and thus ended up in Hell. This Christian apologist said this was "ridiculous" and was very adamant that the term "heart" in the Bible was used as a purely symbolic term being that the Biblical authors knew full well that the muscle we call the heart was not really the place emotions and thought.  By contrast, I strongly disagreed and reaffirmed the fact that what the Bible said about the heart (Greek: Kardia, from which we get Cardiac) is exactly what is meant. (You see, we atheists are basically Bible Believers!)

Of all such organs the heart was the chief; it was the innermost spring of individual life, the ultimate source of all its physical, intellectual, emotional, and volitional energies, and consequently the part of man though which he normally achieved contact with the divine.   In the recesses of the heart dwelt the thoughts, plans, attitudes, fears, and hopes which determined the character of an individual; here also God (and in the N.T., the power of evil) could work in secret transform that character by implanting new thoughts and feelings.” (Sellers, O.R.  1962 Heart. Pages 549 -550) in vol. 2 of the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.  Edited by G.A. Buttrick.  4 vols. Nashville: Abington. 1962.)

 Thus, this statement by Jesus is typical of the entire meantatlity of the Bible: “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies.” (Matt. 15:19)

Facts will clearly prove that if this very important word is merely a symbolic term in the New Testament, then how are we to know whether (if ever) other important terms such a Resurrection, Heaven, Hell, Virgin Birth, Salvation and the many other doctrinal terms are not themselves simply symbolic terms and the entire Bible’s theological World View is little more than allegory?

Fact is, when placed in a historical perspective, this concept of the heart would be expected of any ancient Near Eastern culture whose understanding of human anatomy was hardly a scientific fact. Most ancient cultures felt the heart was the seat of emotions because it reacted - via the heart rate - depending on the emotional state of the person.  Thus an ancient Semitic person was known to think and feel emotions with his or her heart (Compare Hebrew
  with Akkadian “libbu” / “seru“).

The Semitic Biblical tradition has other claims of organs used as the seat of emotions drawn from her neighbors. As such, the Hebrew Bible also understands the liver (k·kā·êḏ), the bowels (qereb,  mê·‘ay)  and primarily the heart () as emotional seats for mental states which were all later centralized to one organ in the New Testament (under Hellenistic / Greek influence such as the LXX) as the heart.

This concept of the heart was symbolized over a thousand years earlier by the ancient Egyptians who, in the process of mummification of their pharaohs as gods for eternal life, the priests would save all the major internal organs in urns (including the heart) and removed the brain through the nasal cavity throwing it away as totally useless.

For two thousand years the Church has continue this erroneous concept about the heart.  Gospel tracts tell the "sinner" that his heart is corrupt and wicked and that "only Jesus can heal a sinful heart" and that all people "must give their hearts to Jesus".  In the last days all humanity will stand before God and be judged on the thought and intents of the heart.

Catholic icons of both the Virgin Mary and Jesus often show each with a sacred (often wounded) hearts shaped much like the symbol we would see on Valentine cards or love letters. While watching news reports from the Vatican on the death watch of Pope John Paul II, a major news reporter stated that:  
"This heart that loved his Church and the world so much is now starting to fail.

After his death, a Cardinal stated that John Paul II's body would be interned in the grotto under St. Peter's Basilica, but this Polish pope's heart would be removed (cut out) from his body and sent back to his native Poland for burial to show his love for his country.

With respect to the above (and as my summation), as long as Christianity pushes theology (which is of itself a very flawed reasoning system drawn from a pre-scientific ancient world view) as the dogmatic basis for the truth, then any modern society is doomed to have its scientific advances hobbled to an anachronistic mythical religious past. 
Reality proves, over and over, that the Bible is literally Eat Up with erroneous mythology.

In conclusion, the next time a Christian missionary (or Gospel Tract) tells you that you MUST get your heart right with Jesus, simply ask them if they really know what the hell they are talking about!