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There are lots of unanswered questions when looking back through history so, the archaic document that we call the bible, is just one part of the giant puzzle of our origins that we are trying to unravel.

For starters, I believe that the Bible, and similar texts, should not be treated as if they were/are an accurate re-telling of the human story.  

The bible was an opportunity to more accurately record the stories that had been told from generation to generation –  an oral history – meant to provide the foundation of clean living at the same time as providing the genealogy of man. It’s human nature to question the fabric of our lives: as a child we ask difficult questions like “where did I come from?” and, for the ancients with little actual knowledge of the real reason, it’s more comforting to find an explanation that seems to fit all the questions  So writing the documents that ultimately came to be known as “The Bible” was an attempt to document all the theories and assumptions that had been passed down the generations.

Now the first problem, as I see it, is that an oral storytelling is liable to a little “artistic licence” as it’s passed from person to person, a kind of chinese-whispers if you will. Maybe one of the storytellers embellished some of it to make it a little easier to understand.  However, given the chinese-whispers effect, this means that, in all likelihood, the written word was far removed from the original (one has to presume there was one story from which the subsequent versions were embellished.  the written word was far removed from the original (one has to presume there was one story from which the subsequent versions were embellished.

The bible was an opportunity to more accurately record the stories that had been told from generation to generation –  an oral history – meant to provide the foundation of clean living at the same time as providing the genealogy of man. It’s human nature to question the fabric of our lives: as a child we ask difficult questions like “where did I come from?” and, for the ancients with little actual knowledge of the real reason, it’s more comforting to find an explanation that seems to fit all the questions  So writing the documents that ultimately came to be known as “The Bible” was an attempt to document all the theories and assumptions that had been passed down the generations.

There are numerous references in the bible to names of people who begat sons and daughters, whose whole lives are condensed into a paragraph as if their lives were insignificant in the grand scheme.  Also, the bible is littered with inconsistencies. In Genesis, if Cain and Abel were the only children of Adam and Eve, how could the bible tell us “And Cain knew his wife.” That’s nice, but where the hell did she come from? If Adam and Eve and their progeny are so important, surely they also had daughters, one of whom would have been Cain’s mate, so why are the daughters not also named?  I recall a suggestion (can’t recall where from) that posited that Cain must have mated with Eve, his mother.  Of course, by the time these stories came to be committed to parchment, the thought of a mother fornicating with her son to produce progeny was unthinkable.  Rather than attempt to explain the unexplainable, it’s easier to gloss over it and hope no one will ask questions.

There are places in the bible where the same story is repeated in a subsequent paragraph where the wording is slightly different. In my opinion, this is down to the fact that there WERE a number of variants in circulation.  The writers couldn’t possibly know which one was the original or “first telling”, so took the decision to simply include all of them.

The assertion that some of the people of the bible lived long lives, and the one commonly quoted is Methuselah, who was said to have lived to be 969. Further, patriarchs not only lived long lives but apparently also also sired children when they were several hundred years old. What we can’t be sure, however, is how these peoples recorded time – obviously they understood the differing seasons but counting months and years was probably a little hit and miss until there was a consensus of opinion on recording the passage of time.  So it’s not unreasonable to think that the ancients’ year didn’t represent 365 days as we now know it and, therefore, their reckoning of time and of birthdays was not exactly accurate compared to modern calculation.

There are references to “….giants in the earth in those days” and Nephilim – the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” before the Deluge and people are still claiming to find skeletons of these mythical beings!  

More food for thought, I recently came across an article entitled The 14 Weirdest Moments In The Bible and they truly ARE weird!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/call-me-bald-again-i-double-dare-you#.ypG3wy9db

Aren’t all religions fake?

The difficulty is, religion is a highly individual thing and we should not dismiss any of them lightly!  I have my beliefs and I am sure you have yours.  I do not condone the war and bloodshed that is taking place in our day and age in the name of (choose your deity’s name) and am shocked when I am reminded of all the terrible acts of war carried out over the centuries in the name of said deity – just doesn’t work for me.   A ‘loving’ god?  Only for those who follow him/her/it? Eternal damnation for those who don’t follow him/he/it?

evidenceWhen I started writing the text for this section about bible inconsistencies, I was writing from the perspective of my Jewish upbringing and my own questioning what was taken for granted.  To recap: I feel that the text used to create the bible started life as an oral/aural history and, by the time scribes put pen to parchment, the tale had gone though many storytellers and embellished over the course of time.

 

In truth, I consider religion to be wholly man-made since humans have a fundamental need to have something/someone to pray to in hard times and to thank at the good times.

I have a cursory understanding of what’s called The New Testament.   However, and this is my opinion and I know it will be disagreeable to some, when Jesus preached to the people, I don’t think he had any intention of setting up a new religion, he merely felt that the rabbis were out of touch with their congregations and set about speaking to the people, in a way that they could relate to.

Where did the name Christ come from anyway? Researching this I’m told that:-

The word “Christ” comes from christos, a Greek word meaning “anointed.” It is the equivalent of the word mashiach, or Messiah, in Hebrew. So, to be the Christ, or Messiah, is to be “the anointed one of God.  Now, as far as I am aware, Jesus was neither anointed nor recognised by the rabbis as being a rabbi, or prophet. The title (unless I can find information to the contrary, this is what I believe to be the case) was awarded to him due to the merits of his preaching to, and by the people who told and wrote down the story.

In the name of the Father – killings documented in the Bible

People killed by God in the Bible = 2,476,633, underestimating God’s total death toll, as this only includes those killings where specific numbers were given.  This figure doesn’t include victims of Noah’s flood, Sodom & Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc.

Yet God’s adversary, Satan, is described as one who went astray and is definitely bad boy on the block.  How many did HE kill in the Bible? Merely 10 it would appear, and even these he shares with God, since God allowed him to do it as a part of a bet in the book of Job – the 7 sons & 3 daughters.  God allowed this so the blood is on both their hands.

Honestly?  In the first place, I wouldn’t have thought that God was a betting man or is that woman or person?  Surely a supreme being is worthy of more than having a spat with his “adversary”?   It harks of the tales of the Greek and Roman gods I remember reading about, upsetting each other, cavorting with mortals and doing things they knew were wrong, more like children than supreme beings!

christianity vs islam

I do not understand how any person can justify their religion as the reason for persecution, proselytising and murder yet our history books are full of it!

As you can imagine, this is a topic which I feel quite strongly about and also has a lot of facets I want to cover.  I have assembled a large amount of research material that I need to work through to continue, hence this is a work in progress.

I came across an interesting interview, purportedly with an American Bishop, who ‘explains why the church invented hell’.  Now it could be argued that hell was mentioned in the writings that subsequently became the Bible pre-Jesus so blaming the church (particularly when you’re the bishop of a branch of the church) is a little injudicious!  However, in spite of that he makes some interesting comments in regard to the Christian religion, but those could equally be applied to the majority of the world’s religions.  Or as he terms it, the guilt-producing, control business.

What I do like is his comment “The idea that the truth of god can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any human book, is almost beyond imagination for me.  I mean, god is not a Christian, god is not a Jew, or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist.  All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of god…..I honour my tradition I walk though my tradition, but I don’t believe my tradition defines god it only points me to god.”  I do agree.

https://www.facebook.com/AwarenessAct/videos

Edit 22/06/2016

MIT offer their courses online for free and I came across this one which struck a chord with this blog’s topic: Popular Culture and Narrative: Use and Abuse of the Fairy Tale.

What’s interesting is that the course offers the opportunity to look at how Fairy Tales are conditioned by oral transmission and inherited story-telling techniques. In my considered opinion, the same could be applied to the Bible (and, dare I say it other major religious texts, too!).

The syllabus advises “The goal of the class is to teach students how to approach cultural history in a broad-based multi-disciplinary manner, using a blend of folklore, history, psychology and film and textual studies. Students will gain a detailed appreciation of the links between oral tradition and print, and the means by which culture is transmitted down the centuries via a wide range of media.”

Treading on dangerous ground here in likening any religious text to a fairy tale but you can’t deny that the bible is a blend of folklore and moral/ethical codes (Aesop sprung to mind as I began typing this, too!) and once you look under the bonnet all manner of questions spring out at you/me.

To be continued.

Topics in this thought process that I will be researching to append to this blog:

  • Was life planted here by aliens? Was god an alien?
  • Are we lab rats?
  • Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.  Maybe he was a little lonely that day and needed cheering up so took a friend home for tea?
  • Bible versions.  The Bible we read today is entitled The King James Version.  How many versions are there? An awful lot more than most of us realise, it seems. Having found the following link, I haven’t looked at this in great detail but provide it for you in the meantime Wikipedia’s List of English Bible Translations and THAT’S just English!? How many in Aramaic, Coptic or Greek, I wonder?
  •  Bible inconsistencies and contradictions The fact that, in one point in the bible, something will be stated and then, later text makes the original quote seem meaningless.  They can’t both be right, can they?

This final link which I’m reliably informed is from “The West Wing”.  I’ve never watched the programme but I really did find this funny and appropriate to this article! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1-ip47WYWc

If you liked this blog post, please also have a look at my blog Exorcism and Belief

 

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