25 March 2005, 992 words
If Jehovah was a journalist, Hed have been fired from His job long ago. Reporters, you see, are supposed to answer five basic questions accurately: Who, What, When, Where and Why? But, in His Holy Book, God manages to get all these questions wrong at some point.
This will no doubt astonish the multitudes who believe that the Bible is inerrant. But people like letter-writer Jack Learmond-Criqui apparently have a different meaning of inerrant than the Concise Oxford Dictionary (adj. incapable of being wrong) which, after all, is written by mere men.
So, when in 1Kings 7:23, I see pi measured as 3, instead of 3.14159, then I can only conclude that Jehovah gets his What? wrong. But this is because I place my faith in mathematicians instead of God. Maybe, though, UWI lecturer and creationist Christian Dr. Stephan Gift will create a theorem explaining this Biblical error: right after he wins the Nobel Prize for proving Einstein wrong, of course.
In the meantime, though, I will just have to go with what the dictionary says. So in Matthew Chapter 27, verse 9, I read, Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jer-em-y the prophet, saying And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value But this prophecy wasnt made in Jeremiah, but in Zechariah 11:12. Which means that God - or, at any rate, His apostle - got his Who? wrong. And if you cant trust Gods apostle, who can you trust?
Even so, youd hardly think that God would get confused - or let those recording His Word get confused - about so important a matter as His sons birth. Yet, according to Luke, Jesus on his birth was visited by shepherds while Matthew says Jesus was visited by wise men. God also gets the Where? wrong. Luke claims that Jesus was born in a manger and lived in Nazareth, while Matthew asserts that he was born in a house and lived in Bethlehem. And God doesnt even get the When? of His sons death straight: the apostle John says it was the day before Passover, whereas Mark, Luke and Matthew says it was the day after. It is possible, I suppose, that John was asleep when God called to give him the news, but surely God could have left a voice-mail.
But the outstanding example of bad reportage is undoubtedly Jesuss last words. Matthew and Mark have it as, My God, My God why has Thou forsaken me? Luke records, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit, while John says, It is finished. Christian apologists claim that this was just a matter of different people hearing different things because they were at different points. To this argument I can only say that their definition of last is apparently also different from the CODs (adj. coming after all others in time or order).
The unreliability of the Bible isnt only confirmed by its internal inconsistencies, but also by historical researchers. For instance, in Genesis 24:10, Abraham sends out an emissary who took ten camels of the camels of his master and departed. But analysis of ancient animal bones show that camels were not widely used in the region until well after 1000 BCE. Genesis 26 tells of Isaac seeking help from a certain Abilimech, king of the Philistines. However, archaeological research shows that Philistines werent around in that area till well after 1200 BCE. These details reflected the middle of the first millennium, when the writers lived, not the early second millennium, which they were writing about.
In similar fashion, the Old Testament claims that David and Solomon ruled the southern kingdom of Judah from about 1005 to 931 BCE and Israel in north. Yet archaeologists have been unable to discover one trace of the magnificent cities these patriarchs supposedly built. I admit that God may have taken the buildings, pots, and gold ornaments up to Heaven along with Solomon and David: but that would mean that you can take it with you, after all.
Most tellingly, there is absolutely no archaeological evidence of Israelites living for 500 years in Egypt or for 40 years in the desert. So, contrary to what the Bible claims, there was probably no migration from Mesopotamia, no sojourn in Egypt, and no exodus. This is not surprising when you remember now the Bible came to exist: not sent down by God, but compiled from chosen documents by men. Specifically, Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria in AD37, whose choices were ratified by Church Council of Hippo in 393 and four years later by the Council of Carthage.
But in 1945, an Egyptian peasant discovered what are now called the Nag Hammadi scrolls. These documents have an authority equal to that of the Gospels - indeed, some of them have an even greater veracity, inasmuch as they were written for an Egyptian, not Roman, audience, and so escaped certain distortions and censorship. Moreover, the scrolls, unlike all the Gospels except Johns, may well rest on first-hand and eyewitness sources. And one fact in the scrolls which differs from the Gospels is this: Jesus did not die on the cross.
There are, of course, many devout Christians who believe in Jesuss death, but not necessarily his resurrection. Yet whether he rose or not is irrelevant to Christianitys moral message of forgiveness: as the better theologians have pointed out, believers who hanker after miracles are only proving the weakness of their faith. In John 3:16, Jesus says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. But, since in my view God also got this Why? wrong, then I guess Im going to perish. Which, as far as Im concerned, is a better fate than eternity in Pastor Cuffies company.
Copyright ©2005 Kevin Baldeosingh