Conclusion: The Truth about Christianity and the Bible
Updated: Sep 2
"I could not believe that anyone who has read this book would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every literal word was divinely inspired inerrant word of God. Have these people simply not read the text? Are they hopelessly uninformed? Is there a different Bible? Are they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naïveté?" ~ Bishop John Shelby Song
"To this is added another form of temptation more manifold dangerous... the soul hath... a certain vain and curious desire, veiled under the title of knowledge and learning... From this disease of curiosity are all those strange sights exhibited in the theatre. Hence men go on to search out the hidden powers of nature (which is besides our end), which to know profits not, and wherein men desire nothing but to know. ...Hence also in religion itself, is God tempted, when signs and wonders are demanded of Him, not desired for any good end, but merely to make trial of".
~ St. Augustine, "Confessions", Book 10, Chapter 35
I first stepped through a door called science that led to an exit out of Christianity and later all religions. The other complimentary exit door I found decades later were the non-conservative religious scholars who published books and Internet resources for the general public that reflected what they were teaching at the major secular universities around the world. To my surprise, these scholars who did not have a conflict of interest and never signed statements of faith at their institutions, and could thus follow the evidence wherever it led, were better educated and more complete in their thinking than the apologists and theologians I had encountered before during my religious days.
In Part 1 of this second section I detailed truths I have come to observe, that there were many changes to the Bible throughout its history - what I would call contaminations or adulterations of earlier manuscripts. Additionally, even the most conservative religious scholars and fundamentalists agree to many of them yet have chosen to leave them in their scriptures. If they claim the Bible as the Word of God, why would you leave known changes and not remove those parts known to be later contaminations? Does a surgeon leave behind cancerous tissue that is recognized and within reach? Or sponges used in the operation ( lawsuits over sponges accidentally left are not rare). Many of the known later additions and changes conflict with claims of a divine nature to scriptures. Even if they are minor they point us to the man derived nature of scriptures of all stripes.
In Part 2 I discussed some of the major Biblical errors. They are present in the Bible because it was written thousands of years ago by writers who did not know the earth was spherical, spinning at 1,000 mph at the equator, around the sun at 67,000 mph, what the lights in the night sky actually are, and that the animals and plants got here by evolution and not by direct creation. They had no idea about genetics, fossils or biogeography. Or what the stars were - and it shows.
In Part 3 I listed some of the Biblical contradictions that cry out to conclude the Bible is a collection of books written by different male authors at different times and places and of course we would expect contradictions. There are many more that either I have not listed for the sake of brevity or that I have not been exposed to.
In Part 4 I brought forth some Biblical narratives that reflect on the character of God and his immoral qualities. So, even if one is not a fundamentalist and does not approach the Bible with literal lenses, what are we to think of a God that exhibits anger, jealously, insecurity (needs to be worshipped constantly), instills fear and worse loves to kill innocent children frequently and sometimes tortures them first? A God that condemns to death those who are homosexual, found to be picking up sticks on the wrong day, or convicted of adultery, while condoning slavery?
There are so many problems with the Bible that we are more than justified in dismissing its major claims to history and reality, including of course that Jesus was the Son of God and did all the miracles that have been written about him. Jesus never wrote a single word that we have. This is not a collection of books to base your life on and certainly not to place a hope in an afterlife.
The best societies are based on the world view of secular humanism with less religious and fewer supernatural beliefs. A literal interpretation of the Bible given all these issues and more is rationally indefensible. A more liberal figurative interpretation of the Bible as a whole does not reveal a God worth worshipping nor great moral teaching although any great book of literature should be studied. Of course there are acceptable narratives and poetry in the Bible, but many of its teachings such as the golden rule were established long before the Bible was written. We read and study Greek and Roman mythology but don’t base our lives on them as historical. And neither should we hold the Bible to a different standard.
The fact that there is an extensive Christian apologist publishing industry to defend the problems in the Bible and that several conservative Christian schools even grant PhDs in Apologetics should tell us all we need to know about the Bible as a source of sound history and reality, and a God who could not even effectively give His wisdom successfully to His human creations. If the Bible reflects reality and accurate history, why are all the incredible defensive resources necessary? For my family, L'Abri established by Francis Schaeffer in 1955 was a prominent proponent of Christianity. He helped found the active evangelical movements we see today and the Christian abortion political issue. I wonder what he would think today of the progress of science, evolution, and critical religious scholarship that shows all his hard work to defend his faith was in vain.
Of course, little of what I uncovered about the origins of Christianity and the problems of the Bible are unique. They have been detailed by many before me. For example, this article by Burrus lists and discusses 10 common reasons why Christianity is absurd.
This 10 minute video reviewing some of the data from studies that show why some people become atheists and some believers is very close to my journey out of religious belief:
"Theology schools are the wisdom teeth of academia: useless and sometimes injurious remnants of earlier times. If you want to teach comparative religion in college, you can do it in sociology departments, and if you want to teach the history of religion or of how scripture was confected, you can do it in history departments. There is no rationale for a modern secular university to teach theology, for it is the study of a nonexistent being and its supposed wants."
~ Jerry Coyne, 2016
How Paul Created Christianity - his misappropriation of Four Hebrew Bible Texts
The Absurdity of Hell
Episode 12: None of This Really Happened [Pentateuch]
Disgusting Things From My Theology Degree https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvcOfUrHS5U
The Clergy Project [Present and former religious leaders who no longer believe. Many are still in church positions. Over 1,000. A safe and secure on-line community]
Who Wrote the The Hebrew Bible (OT)? How do we know? 40 hours of in depth Biblical Studies by top religious scholars summarized in 1.5 hours.