This blog is a direct sequel to these earlier ones:
Religious fundamentalism is blasphemy!
The chain of Abrahamic religions is too rusty and weak
One of the great tragedies of the Protestant Reformation, in addition to destroying forever the unity of the Christians in western Europe, was that it enshrined the Bible as the sole source of dogma among Protestants. Now, I will grant that the incredible corruption and tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages made the Reformation both necessary and inevitable, but the way it was done by most Protestants made spiritual tyranny inevitable among them as well. This was because they simply replaced the Catholic papacy and church councils with the Bible itself, or rather, how Protestant leaders read the Bible. Calling the Word of God what is actually your INTERPRETATION of words of men writing in the name of God is stretching things beyond any bounds of logic you can imagine, which is why Christians constantly emphasize faith as their standard.
When you read the Bible, you are not reading the original Word of God at all, but something that was written by various authors (in many cases, unknown), copied many times, translated, printed and published in various languages and editions over thousands of years. After all this time, there is really no way we can tell what the real Word of God may be, and instead we are left with something that gives a dim view of God at best. It is like someone telling a long and complex story to a friend, who then repeats that story to another friend, and so on until eventually the story has been repeated about 30 or 40 times and finally the original storyteller hears the story again….and realizes how inaccurate his story has become, even with details added or omitted that he never intended, maybe even with different character names and a different outcome made by people who didn’t like the story as it had been told originally. Nowhere does this analogy become more apt than with the four Gospels in the New Testament, with their own contradictions and altered, added and omitted details. None of them were written by Jesus himself, and they were written decades after the events they describe, as even fundamentalists admit in their own propaganda.
The conflict between Creationism and evolution in the life of creation “scientist” Kurt Wise illustrates the absurdity of Biblical dogmatism clearly. He was unable to let go of his assumption that the Bible was infallible, so he declared, despite his scientific training (even studying under Stephen Jay Gould), that the teachings of the Bible trumped any physical evidence from the universe that supported evolution. This is illogical, since the Bible itself says that God created the universe and mankind, thus one would expect what we find when we study the universe to be the tool by which we can confirm whether or not the Bible is God’s Word. And the intelligence that God supposedly gave us must also be used as a tool to determine what is true or even acceptable, or God wouldn’t have given us brains in the first place.
But the Biblical dogmatist says that without the Bible, most of us would not know of God at all. That may be true, but that would not justify adhering to absurdities or even outright lies for the sake of believing in God. We know that the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree as a boy was made up to illustrate the moral value of honesty (how ironic), but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t exist, since all the other historical records of his military achievements and Presidency are beyond dispute. We need to use science and reason to find out what is valid and reject what is rediculous, or we will doom ourselves.
Jesus himself said that the Jews of his time erred by “teaching as doctrines (of God) the teachings of men.” And that is true whether you believe in Catholic or Eastern Orthodox church traditions or the Protestant dogma of sola scriptura. Either way, you will be led into tyranny. Truth can only be found via science, never dogma of any kind. Science unifies people by showing what is true via objective study of the universe and everything in it, while religion with its baseless assertions divides people.
It must be noted that my statement is just as applicable to Islam, the Quran, and the Prophet Muhammad. The Quran cannot be the Word of Allah, though it contains much wisdom. It also contains much evil and must be regarded critically by science and reason just as much as the Bible.
This YouTube video by AronRa illustrates the problem of assuming that any man made book can be considered the “Word of God”:
‘When you read the Bible, you are not reading the original Word of God at all, but something that was written by various authors (in many cases, unknown), copied many times, translated, printed and published in various languages and editions over thousands of years. After all this time, there is really no way we can tell what the real Word of God may be, and instead we are left with something that gives a dim view of God at best.’
Great point. I hope more people come to this realization, that after textual criticism, source criticism and textual variants, you have a very imperfect book indeed.
You know what’s funny about Awfrick’s comment? Everyone says they believe the saying “Nobody’s perfect”… Yet, those SAME people believe if God was going to ask someone to write the Bible, he would have ONLY asked those who were PERFECT!!! Why do you put God inside a box and assume he was too STUPID to realize that ANYTHING done by man (whether he asked them to do it or not) was going to be flawed???
What are you saying, my friend?
So then we both agree, the Bible is imperfect and flawed? After re-reading your comment, I think we are fundamentally saying the same thing.
The problem is that not only do the beleivers in most religions assume that the writers of their sacred scriptures are indeed perfect or somehow capable of producing perfect teachings, they actually allow those writers to define what is “perfect” for them. That sort of circular reasoning is the basis of all dogmatism. Biblical inerrancy is a lie, not merely because it can be disproven, but because by its very nature it cannot be trusted to represent truth in any form.
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