When and how I initially became aware of the relevance of conditioning and overcame the primary conditioning: the claim that “The Bible is the word of God.”
|English: Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In other words, to be a Christian one must believe in the "inspiration of the Scriptures.”Mind that the first Fathers of the Church and Christian apologists of the first centuries, were fully aware of the value of repetition, independently from the fact that what was being repeated was true or not. A famous scripture, called The Shepherd of Hermas written in the second century, was for centuries held “inspired by God” by Christian churches and widely circulated among them. The Apostolic Father Hermas, who, for a long time was thought to be the fellow-laborer of St. Paul in the work of his ministry, naively confesses that LYING was the-besetting sin of a Christian. In his words: “O Lord, I never spoke a true word in my life, but I have always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words”. To which the holy angel, whom he addresses, condescendingly admonishes him, that, as the lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in time it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as truth (Vision of Hermas,b. 2. C.iii quoted in T. Doane p 436). There is no better synthesis than this of the history of Christianity, born as a lie and which, in time, came to be believed as truth.
There are many books showing or implying that the scriptures are not the word of God. It is ironical that no big book would be needed to show how fallacious it is to support God’s authorship of the Bible. What is needed is the honest analysis of only a small number of sentences, better, words, a total of two or three: for instance, those contained in the so-called "prophecy of the virgin birth" (to which I shall be coming soon,) should be enough to convince the most fanatic literalist that there is no divine inspiration in the Bible. And this conclusion can be reached by applying, ironically, that very criterion that the Church defends to this day to prove the inspiration of the Scriptures!
The Catholic Encyclopedia ( www.newadvent.org > ), under the title "The inspiration of the Bible) says: " “It is here sufficient to add that on several occasions the Church has defined the inspiration of the canonical books as AN ARTICLE OF FAITH (cf. . Denzinger, Enchiridion , 10 ed. , n. 1787, 1809 ). "Every Christian sect, worthy of this name, believes in the inspiration of the Scriptures."
In other words, to be a Christian one must believe in the "inspiration of the Scriptures.”
Is that clear? Are you saying that it is good enough even without believing this dogma ? Not at all! If you do not believe that the Bible is the word of God, the Church does not consider you a Christian: and rightly so. The same article gives the reason of the inspiration:
"These books are considered sacred and canonical by the Church; not because they were composed from purely human work and subsequently approved by authority of the Church nor only because they contain REVELATION WITHOUT ERROR, but because they were written UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY GHOST; they have GOD AS THEIR AUTHOR (sic!) and have been transmitted to the Church as such . Council. Vatic . , Sess . III , const . Dogmatic , de Fide , ch. Ii , in Denz . , 1787 )
“The Holy Spirit himself, with his supernatural power, has inspired and lead the biblical writers to write, and assisted them as they wrote in such a way that they have conceived in their own minds exactly, and have decided to entrust faithfully to writing and to render in exact language, WITH INFALLIBLE TRUTH, everything that God has commanded them and nothing else. Without this in mind, God would NOT be the author of the Scriptures in its entirety "(Enciclica. Provid Deus, in Dena, 1952. ).
A Dr. Baylee, rector of a theological English university and author of a "Manual" entitled "Bayley’s literal inspiration", gives us an even clearer indication of the criterion to follow, to recognize the " inspiration by God”:
"All Bible, as revelation, is a declaration of the mind of God towards His creatures on ALL subjects of which the Bible deals: the Bible is God's word, in the sense it is as if God had not made use of any human agent, but as if he had written himself. The Bible is literally inspired: EVERY WORD , every SYLLABLE, EVERY LETTER, is just what it would be if God had spoken from heaven without any human intervention. Every SCIENTIFIC statement is infallible and correct; all its history and narrations of every kind, ARE WITHOUT ANY INACCURACY” ( Quoted in T. Doane , Bible Myths, p.18 ).
With the above definitions of the inerrancy of the Scriptures and all its encyclicals, the Church has created, to use a term borrowed from the scientific world, "a falsifiable theory." What is a falsifiable theory?
Physicist D.E. Scott says: “A theory is falsifiable only when there is any test to which it may be subjected so that a negative result may refute the theory itself" (Donald E. Scott, The Electric Sky, Mikamar Publishing, p.16). The Bible itself, composed of tens of thousands of words, provides us with an extensive field to detect "that negative result, that single error" which would have the power to falsify the initial dogma which says: "The Bible was written by God”."
This definition of inerrancy of the Bible has been good for almost two millennia to fool simple illiterate people. However, it has rightly become a nightmare for the Church, when, since the nineteenth century biblical exegesis has begun to see whether the Scriptures could be considered truly inerrant. And this is the hot point; because, once you have found a single irrefutable mistake in the Bible, this would overthrow the claim of God’s authorship. And, once it has failed the test, once God has been kicked out of the stage, who else can guarantee the Bible truthfulness?
In this case, there would be nothing more to understand or discuss. Christianity would collapse with a domino effect. Is the implication clear enough? I believe it is, unless we are illogical and dishonest.
A sensible, righteous person, once detected a single mistake would have to evaluate the emotional and logical impact of this discovery and then make a decision in accordance with reason and conscience. And, before reading on, Christians should ask themselves:: "What if instead of one error somebody qualified to do it, would draw my attention on hundreds or even thousands of mistakes?” Could any Christian keep his peace of mind before such a reality? And if, besides involuntary mistakes one found out intentional mistakes and even deliberate falsehoods? What if in addition to general falsehoods, one found out that Jesus himself has lied to us? I believe that the latter case would be utterly devastating and would greatly complicate everyone’s original vision and faith. There is a limit to everything: why accept a faith clearly based on mistakes and falsehoods?
A quick autopsy of the inerrancy of the Bible
Among the thousands of mistakes, inaccuracies and falsities contained in the Bible , one need to examine only one to falsify the concept of the inerrancy of the Bible. Here is a meaningful one:
The virgin-birth prophesy.
Based on Isaiah 7-14, Christians claim that the miraculous birth of Jesus was foretold long before the event. According to the teaching of the Church., the virgin birth is one of the most powerful signs of Jesus’ Messianship because it supports nor only the inerrancy of the Scriptures but also the divinity of Jesus: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bears a child, and shall call him Immanuel “The original Hebrew text reads : ”Hinneh ha-‘almah harah ye-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem o Immanuel”. Here is the right translation : “Behold, the (ha ) young woman (‘almah ) has conceived (harah) ( or “is pregnant, is with child “) and bears a son and calls his name ( or “they call him “ ) Immanuel “ ( see Drazin, “Their Hollow Inheritance”, pp 172-174 ).
This is not a “modern novelty”, invented by non believers: it is in the original Hebrew text!
As early as the second century B.C., that is after the wrong translation of the prophesy by the Greek Septuagint,” says the distinguished Hebrew scholar and critic, Salomon Reinach, “the Jews perceived the error and pointed it out to the Greeks; but the Church knowingly persisted in the false reading, and for over fifteen centuries she has clung to her error.” (Orpheus, p, 19, quoted in Wheless’ Forgery in Christianity, chapter. 2- I would suggest a reading of at least this chapter.)
A suicidal statement.
We could go on for pages, examining the “prophesy” in its context and refuting the untenable “defense” on the part of the fundamentalists. But, leaving the latter apart for the moment, at least Catholics do not need to dwell longer on the doubts I have raised. The CATHOLIC CHURCH ADMITS THE FORGERY!!! Sure enough, with her usual skill to mask the truth. The voice of the Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
” Modern theology does NOT grant that ISAIAH 7-14 CONTAINS A REAL PROPHESY fulfilled in the virgin birth of Christ; it must maintain therefore that St. Matthew MISUNDERSTOOD the passage: “Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet saying :” Behold, a virgin shall be with child , and bring forth a son , etc.”) (Catholic Encyclopedia, XV 451).
This should settle the question, for Catholics and everybody else: There is NO DIVINE INSPIRATION IN THE BIBLE. (This can be easily demonstrated starting from HUNDREDS if not thousands of biblical passages and even using the comments of CE to back them up!).
As a consequence of the above suicidal remark and according to the Church doctrine, sanctioned in the Encycl. of Pope Leo X quoted above, we arrive at the absurd conclusion that GOD Himself MISUNDERSTOOD the passage when he quoted from His own writings (the O.T.)! A clear blasphemy, at which the Church doesn’t even blink.
After this admission, did the Church correct or rectify the error in the Bibles ? Joseph Wheless, in the above quoted work, argues that the “Revised Version kept it , but, with a gesture of honesty , which is itself a fraud, sticks into the margin, in fine type , after the words “virgin “ and “ shall conceive “ the words “ Or, the maiden is with child and bearth “ which not one in thousands would ever see or understand the significance of. “
In addition to the remark put forward by the above author, I should like to add one more that may have escaped his attention: in the word “OR”, placed in the margin, the fraud is again perpetuated. The compilers’ intention is transparent: having the reader believe that what they present is a linguistic alternative and on the same level as the previous one, or at least, that there is incertitude about the translation. There is, however, neither incertitude nor alternative: the meaning of the Hebrew “almah” as “virgin” is plainly FALSE.
How may Christians react after the realization that Mathew’ is a false prophesy? In one of the two following ways:
ONE: Blaming the evangelist for his error; in this case, they are admitting that his gospel is not “inspired by God”
TWO: In spite of the error, still consider it “inspired”. Here the matter becomes much more MORALLY SERIOUS for them: in this case they will practically blaspheme against their God, considering him endowed, with a very human feature: memory lapse! A similar God would be useless even to the most convinced Christian.
Now I am going to nail down the fundamentalists with another full proof argument. Many fundamentalists are not aware or they pretend not to see they are utterly blasphemous (under their own doctrine) when they, in their ludicrous defense of the literal interpretation of the Bible, in order to stick to the Bible notion that the earth is only 6ooo years old, faced with the insoluble issue of the sixty millions year old dinosaurs, and all the other thousands of scientific issues which disprove their belief, they see no shame in claiming that “God tricked man, to confound him (!?) by spreading dinosaurs bones everywhere. Of course, God has deceived all men except for these “elected” who, no doubt, can read His mind! This is a paramount example of human wickedness: provided they can go on defending their own patriarchal interests, they go as far as attributing deceit to their God!
Here is my argument against these morally depraved:
Is YHWEH a revealed name? Or, to put it another way, was he an exclusively Jewish god? Was he a god who first chose the Jews as his elected people and after them the Christians? Or were rather the Jews who selected him among a plethora of pagan gods?
What is Ugarit?
In 1929 a team of French archeologists, discovered the town of Ugarit, now in Syria. The oldest written testimony of the town is contained in some texts dating c. 1800 BCE, which were discovered in the nearby EBLA. At the time both towns were under Egyptian rule, and they continued to be under it until 1400 BCE. Ugarit reached its political economic and religious apex about the twelfth century BCE. The time of its greatness coincides therefore with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan.
Aryold J. Toynbee writes:
“The Jews… adopted not only the Cananite language, but also the Phoenician alphabet. The discovery of the Ugaritic texts shows that the Biblical Psalms, whatever their composition date, are indebted to a long-standing Phoenician hymnology. Phoenicians, most probably, were the intermediaries through whom some of the Egyptian proverbs of Amenenope, entered, almost verbatim into the Book of Proverbs of the Old Testament. The writings discovered there have allowed the scholars to reconstruct, among other things, the pantheon of the deities worshiped in that land.”( from A Study of History Volume XII Reconsiderations, Oxford University Press, London, quoted in www.phoenicia.org.adonis.html)
The Ugaritic (Phoenician) Pantheon)
The Ugaritic Pantheon was composed of many deities. The Father of the gods was EL. Indeed the same EL, will later reappear in the Old Testament under the names of EL SHADDAY, EL ELYON e EL BERITH, names attributed to Yahweh. Subject to EL, there was a council of 70 deities, the sons of El, a kind of divine council, who was collectively called the ELOHIM. (that’s why in the O. T. the verb is in the singular. “Elohim, a plural, in a sense, parallels the English word “news” in that both plurals require the verb in the singular.).El is called “Father of men, creator, and creator of creation, attributes which will be bestowed also on Yahweh in the Old Testament. EL, in the Old Testament, is the god of Abraham. We begin to see that Abraham already worshipped a pagan god.
What is the "mysterious" reason why Jewish theologians adopted the titles of the Phoenician gods and attributed them to Yahweh? -It was, of course, with the aim of eliminating them, and we must recognize that they were very successful (at least until a short time ago!). In fact, if Yahweh IS all these deities together, the other Phoenician deities no longer have any reason to exist! This process is well-known under the name of assimilation, and will be one of the techniques largely employed also in the New Testament, for ex. in the title “Lord”, originally bestowed on Yahweh pronounced by the Jewish readers of the Bible, Adonis( the Lord) and then attributed to Jesus.
Besides the main god "EL", and Baal, one of the Elohim, at Ugarit there were minor gods and goddesses and demons. Among the most popular were Yam the god of the sea, that, at least in one Ugaritic verse is identified with Yau, ie, (YAHWEH!) and Mot (the god of death). Here Yahweh is a pagan god too!
That Yahweists worshiped Asherah, Yahweh's wife, until the third century before Christ, is well known from the Elephantine Papyri. And so, for many believers in ancient Israel, Yahweh, like Baal, had a wife, just like every pagan god! Although condemned by the prophets, this aspect of the popular religion of Israel was hard to die, and , for many, never died.
A DEVASTATING REVELATION
Whose son was Yahweh ?
There is a Ugaritic text which seems to indicate that among the inhabitants of Ugarit , YAHWEH WAS SEEN AS ANOTHER SON OF EL . This is deduced from the KTU 1.1 IV 14 which says: "sm . bny . yw . ilt and that' : "THE NAME OF THE SON OF GOD (EL) , YAHWEH ." This text seems to indicate that Yahweh was known at Ugarit as one of the many sons of " EL " . In 1 Kings 22:19-22 we read of Yahweh meeting with the divine council . This is the same description of the sky that is found in Ugaritic texts: in fact, in these texts the "sons of God” are the children of "EL ". At the same site ( www.phoenicia.org.adonis.html ) , we read: Popular religion among the Israelites as opposed to the "official" religion promoted in the Hebrew Bible, especially the Book of Deuteronomy-was similar to Phoenician religion. The Bible presents a purified, elite monotheism devoted exclusively to the worship of Yahweh. The orthodox, nationalistic parties that produced the Hebrew Bible proscribed the worship of Ba'al and suppressed all but the faintest traces of a theology that included a consort of Yahweh. But both Ba'al and this female goddess continued to live on in Israelite popular religious practices as well as in Phoenician (formerly Canaanite) practice.
More evidence that Yahweh was originally a pagan god?
In the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) translation of Deut 32:8–9 we find evidence of Yahweh being a son of El, “When the Most High (Elyon) allotted peoples for inheritance, When He divided up humanity, He fixed the boundaries for peoples, According to the number of the DIVINE SONS: For YAHWEH’s portion is his people, Jacob His own inheritance.” Scholars such as Mark Smith use this text to show the original separation of El and Yahweh in Israel. According to Smith, this text found in the DSS as well as the Septuagint portrays Yahweh as one of EL’s sons, but later in pure monotheistic Israel the text was changed from “sons of EL” to “sons of Israel.” The latter remains in most modern translation of the Masoretic Texts (a much later source of the Hebrew Bible). (From The God of the Patriarchs and the Ugaritic Texts : A Shared Religious and Cultural Identity By Jed Robinson (32 Robinson: the god of the Patriarchs)
A question for readers of English Bibles: Where does the arbitrary translation of “God” for “Yahweh” come from?
Even we laymen understand that the word “God” is unrelated to “Yahweh”. The following will show, once again, how amazingly feeble is Christian theology. It falls even before the beginning, on the very name of God!
It is very significant that most scholars have connected the root of “God” with the names of three related Germanic tribes: the Geats, the Goths and the Gutar. (as everybody can see, these names have the same root as “god“). These names may be derived from a namesake chief chieftain GAUT, who was subsequently DEIFIED ! The earliest attestation of the word “God “ in Germanic writing is often cited to be in the Gothic Bible of Wulfila, which is the Christian Bible as translated by bishop Wulfila (Ulfilas) into the Gothic language spoken by the Eastern Germanic, or Gothic Tribes. The oldest parts of the Gothic Bible, contained in the Codex Argenteus, is estimated to be from the fourth century. During this century, the Goths were converted to Christianity, largely through the efforts of Bishop Ulfilas, who translated the Bible into the Gothic language in Nicopolis ad Istrum in today’s northern Bulgaria. The words “guda” and ” guþ” were used for ”God” in the Gothic Bible.
In 19th century scholarship, there were a number of alternative etymologies suggested. Morgan Peter Kavenaugh in “The Origin of Language and Myths” claimed that the word “god” was taken from the Buddha’s patriarchal name of Gotama. ( Gautama ) . John Campbell connected further theonyms, “I have shown elsewhere that the English word God, the German Gott, the Persian Bhoda and the Hindustani Khuda are all derived from the same root as that which appears in Celtic Aeddon or Guydion, the Germanin Odin, Woden or Goutan and the Indian Buddha or Gotama””[2 Congres international des americanistes, 1877).
Conclusion: Yahweh and Elohim are Pagan deities adopted by the Jews. “God” is also of pagan origin.
At this point, those who insist to defend the inerrancy of the scriptures would do better to realize they are risking to become the laughing stock of posterity.
How were all these lies protected by the Church?
Christians, have to realize that they have been conditioned by the Church for two thousand years to believe Paul’s dogma which basically says “believe, do not investigate, faith in the Bible is superior to reason and to human wisdom”. This dogma automatically suppresses investigation: suppression of knowledge became one of the strongest religious conditionings of the Church upon Christians, aided by the sword and allegiance with political power. It was cunningly but dishonestly devised to protect the amazingly fragile Christian theology. Accordingly, Christians never bothered to verify the internal coherence of the Bible. The Church has conditioned them to believe that the few edifying selected passages the clergy preached to them from the pulpit, were enough for “their salvation”. Believing in them meant having faith. Having faith meant salvation.
Faith and reason:
However, is it really true that faith is superior to reason as the Church claim?.
Above I have already proved that the definition of inerrancy of the Bible the Church provides the faithful with, is, not surprisingly, based on REASON. That is why, as we have seen, it was possible to refute it easily.
Is there a simple way to explain the relationship between faith and reason?
I think there is. I shall avail myself of a myth, well known and dear to everyone of us, Santa Claus’, a character entrusted by tradition to deliver gifts , during Christmas holidays, to the children who have behaved well.
Here is the usual case of a child of six or seven, who hears his playmates say that Santa does not exist and that, instead, the gifts are being bought and distributed by the parents. When I first heard a similar statement, my first reaction was denial; in fact I thought it impossible that my parents had lied to me.
In spite of that, I immediately ran home and asked my mother the big question.
“It is true that Santa......?” “It is true”, she replied embarassed, but with disarming firmness. Then she added: ”but do not tell Remo...he is still too young... let his parents decide when it is time” And it is at this point when the absolute faith and trust the little boys or girls had placed in their parents undergo a first crack. In this case, we can say that it is a criticism from outside the family, it is the external pressures of the playmates “who already know” that force the depositaries of Santa’s myth to admit its mythical character. It is unbelievable and quite alarming that those children, who one day had got so strongly disappointed, once they become adults, will have the guts to repeat the old pattern and sell their own children that very same falshood, a cultural conditioning society should do without, considering the psychological damages being caused to the children. The realization that Santa Claus never existed and that it is a MYTH is a reality supported by logics and experience, which all parents and society confirm. The conclusion here is that the FAITH the children had placed in their parents, once destroyed, proves to be inferior to REASON(sic!). It was not the truth, it was a lie from the start. Continuing to believe in Santa, from that moment onwards, would have been either a sign of insanity or dishonesty.
A question for readers of English Bibles: Where does the arbitrary translation of “God” for “Yahweh” come from?We can now parallel this myth to the one claiming that God dictated the Bible to a few “elected” ones. The Church has been depositary of this myth for almost 2000 years. When the playmates (literal critics, historians, linguists agnostic, atheists and other free thinkers) refute the inerrancy myth, how do Christians usually behave? Either they neglect to verify the truthfulness of the criticism, as if it were a fact of minor importance, thus refusing an open honest dialogue, or, as they had done regarding the myth of Santa Claus, they go for help to their parents (this time adoptive), the Church. However if the child successfully resolves all his doubt, rightly supposing that his parents, at that stage, are going to tell him the truth, an adult Christian commits a serious mistake when he decides to go and ask for an explanation to those very parents (the Church) who, living on and profiting from the myth, have no convenience to be as truthfull as anybody’s parents.
The Church, well knowing the truth, goes on supporting this myth at any cost, even employing lies and deceit. .Garibaldi, the Italian hero responsible for the unity of the peninsula, well defined the situation of every priest when he declared: “A priest knows he is an impostor, unless he is a fool or has been taught as a child to lie”. He further says: “ The priest is the murder of the soul because in any historical time he has favoured ignorance and persecuted science... he is worse than a murder of the body and more than the other he would deserve death.”
E. Bossi, reflecting on the priestly imposture says: “The priestly imposture is certainly one of the most important factors, perhaps the most important one, of the production of the religious phenomenon: but it alone would not be enough to produce a phenomenon so general and constant, if inside the human psyche, favorable, generating predispositions, did not pre-exist. These consist not only in the Lucretian fear of God, but also in the need of knowing, to which, in the infancy of human kind, instead of reason, there is a prevalence of imagination, which is the creator of religions. That is why it was said that religion is the philosophy of not grown up peoples” (E. Bossi, Jesus never existed, Italian original, p. 113).
If the Church is the last place to turn for advice on issues so vital for her survival, what is the solution? For those Christians seriously aiming at getting to the truth, the only option left is making use of their own rational faculties to decide the issue by themselves. I have given them a few clues in this article. As Galileo used to say: “Only the blinds need a guide... But he who has eyes in his forehead and in his mind, should use those” But here lies the problem for many, because neither the family, nor the school nor politics, and least of all the Church, have trained the minds of the individuals to develop critical means which can help them to make an independent choice; therefore it is understandable that, faced with so important decisions, they cannot even judge the starting point. But, do not get confused. There is ONLY ONE STARTING POINT: VERIFYING THE “INSPIRATION” OF THE SCRIPTURES. Find, out of the thousands mistakes and forgeries in the Old and New Testament, your unmistakable favourite error, and you have got not only the starting point, but the FINAL POINT. All the following confirmation is academical curiosity. Remember, one error is sufficient to falsify the theory! This is the scientific method to always keep in mind. A new era will begin only when the majority of people have developed their rational faculties to such an extent as to be capable of an independent judgment. How long will it take? One hundred years from now? Or rather one thousand.? Ten thousands maybe? However, this utopic dream cannot come true in the present state of our civilization. A drastic change of paradigms will be needed. We perhaps need to rethink, first of all, our economic system based on money. A theoretical answer could come by devising a global economy based on resources, elimination of money and work totally made by robots. Human error and self interests would also be eliminated by having central computers decide in the most rational way. This is already possible to-day. No more hunger in the world. No more peoples to be exploited. Towns totally rebuilt in harmony with the environment, etc., etc. Religions will disappear spontaneously once hunger and social misery disappear. In the present system both the Church and governments have all the interest to maintain them. The present economical system has been planned to have an unemployment rate of at least 4 per cent. It has been planned NOT to solve problems! The drastic change will also mean that a lot of time will be available for self knowledge and joyful investigation. Everybody will be taken into consideration, each proposal examined by local and then central computers programmed to choose the most rational solution aimed at a functional development of the world community. This will open unthinkable new horizons. For sure an utopia. However, as it has happened so many times in the past, to-day’s utopia may become “to-morrow’s reality.”