The Christian god. The Bible presents an interesting picture of God, ie. a god who never
The Christian god.
The Bible presents an interesting picture of God, ie. a god who
never changes (Malachi 3:6) but actually does frequently change
his mind and even regrets what he's done ("repents") - Gen
6:6,7, Ex 32:l4, l Sam l5:35, 2 Sam 24:l6, l Chron 21:l5, Jer
l8:8,l0, 26:3,l3,l9, 42:l0, Ezek 24:l4, Joel 2:l3, Amos 7:3.
Although it is to be noted that Numbers 23:l9 and l Samuel 15:2
say that God never repents.....
It states God is "spirit", ie. non-physical (John 4:24) and yet
he is always called 'him' or 'he' as if he had a male body,
but it also says that although spirit, he has feet (Psalm l8:9),
arms (Jer 27:5), wings (Psa 36:7), hands (Job 27:ll), eyes
(Deut 8:3), a mouth (Isa l:20), ears (2 Chron 6:40),
nostrils (Ex l5:8) and legs (Gen 3:8). He also uses a razor
- Isa 7:20. He also occasionally roars (Joel 3:l6) and
sometimes he even whistles (Isa 5:26) !!! Although he has
never been seen (John l:l8), he has actually been seen (Isa
6:l), and he even revealed his rear to Moses (Exodus 33:21-22)..
Christians argue that it is through Adam's sin that evil
exists and furthermore it is because of his transgression that
all humans must die; this is clearly taught by Paul in Rom
5:12,17,18 and is the central theology of Christianity;
however, this wholly contradicts 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:20,
Jeremiah 31:30 that state a person will NOT suffer for an
If the God of the Bible is truly God, then there is a dilemma;
for God to be God, he has to be omnipotent, responsible for the
creation of everything; this includes evil; if he did not
create evil, then he was not wholly creative, and therefore
cannot be God. In fact the Bible does actually say God
commits evil, eg. Exodus 32:l4, 2 Sam 24:l6, 1 Chron 21:l5,
Jer l8:8, 26:3,l3,l9, Jonah 3:l0. Furthermore he sends lying
spirits (l Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles l8:22) and deliberately
deceives people (2 Thessalonians 2:ll). And not only this, he
admits to being responsible for the creation of evil and
misery - Isaiah 45:7, and that he has deliberately made people
so he can destroy them - Proverbs l6:4.
Christians blame the devil for evil, but the devil and his
desire for power (that supposedly resulted in his fall) must
have come from God in the first place if he created everything;
there is also the "awkward" point that he is hardly mentioned in
the Old Testament - just Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7 where he is called "a
son of God" (!), in 1 Chron 21:1 where he incites the census
(although 2 Sam 24:1 says God did this !), and Zechariah where
he is only a prosecuting attorney (3:1-3).
It is also argued that man has free will to choose; firstly,
what about those who have never heard the Christian gospel (and
some might feel they are fortunate !), or are incapable (ie. the
mentally-ill/retarded) or die in infancy; secondly, considering
man's eternal destiny depends upon this, one would have thought
God would have made as better job of it it, ie. a less
contradictory and a clearer Bible (that doesn't even mention God
is a Trinity !), and not literally thousands of sects (all
saying different things) making up the Christian church;
thirdly, if man chooses through this supposed free will to
reject the gospel, but then spends eternity in hell for this,
where is the free will here ?
God is hardly consistent - He condemns killing (Exodus 20:l3)
but orders it (Exodus 32:27); he encourages wisdom (Proverbs
4:7) but condemns it (l Corinthians l:l9); he protects the
righteous (Proverbs 12:21) but does not (Hebrews
ll:36-37); he cuts off the wicked (Proverbs l0:27) but does not
(Job 21:7-9); he commands respect for parents (Exodus 20:l2) but
encourages hatred for them (Luke l6:9); he blesses peace
(Matthew 5:9) but brings war (Matthew l0:34, Revelation l9:ll).
It continues by saying God will keep the earth (Ecclesiastes
l:4), but will destroy it (2 Peter 3:l0); is invisible and
unseen (John l:l8, l Timothy 6:l5-l6) but has been seen (Amos
9:l, Deuteronomy 5:24); he lives in dazzling light (l Timothy
6:l5-l6), but lives in darkness (l Kings 8:l2)......
Christians maintain that God cares for the world, he is
personally involved in it, he has sent his prophets, he has even
taken on human form himself and lived and died as a human
being, he has sent his Holy Spirit, his Word (the Bible) and
manifests himself through his church; however, how is it that so
much suffering prevails in the world ?
The Bible has Jesus comparing humans' compassion with
God's; he supposedly pointed out that even a human being
'evil as they are' would not let their child starve or
suffer (Matthew 7:9-13) so (therefore) we can look forward to
much more more from God. This is the real nonsense; no human
being would allow the suffering that goes on in the world today
to continue if they could stop it, but a supposedly
caring, loving, omnipotent god does nothing...
What is one supposed to make of a deity that allows so much
suffering to go on which even a mere frail feeble
inconsistent 'evil' human would stop if they could ?
Whilst there are Biblical texts that say one has to be a
Christian to be 'saved' and furthermore only a small number
of people will be 'saved', eg. Matt 22:l4, Luke 13:24, there
are texts that refer to Jesus taking away everybody's sins -
not just Christians, eg. John l:29, and that Jesus will save
the whole world, eg. John 4:42, l John 4:l4. It is also said
that belief in Jesus is necessary for salvation (eg. Acts 2:21,
l6:30,31, Romans l0:9), but in contrast, there are texts that
say a person's lifestyle and (good) works will save them and
it is on how a person lives that they will be judged/rewarded,
eg. Psalm 62:l2, Proverbs 24:l2, Matthew 7:21, l9:l6,l7,
l6:27, Luke l4:l3,l4, John 5:29, Acts l0:35, 1 Cor 3:8, 2 Cor
5:10, 1 Peter 1:17, James 1:27, Rev 20:12,13.
NB. The original meaning of "sin" was a negative event.
In Hebrew, the commonest word for sin is 'hattat' or 'het' -
derived from the root meaning 'to miss', ie. it was falling
below an expected standard, or failing to do something, ie.
like missing the target; in fact the verb appears in the Old
Testament with this original meaning, eg. Job 5:24, Proverbs
8:35f. However, Christians teach that sin is active rebellion
against God, a positive action that separates man from God - but
if a Christian, justified by faith, Jesus 'takes their sin away';
according to the meaning of the word 'sin' - in its original con-
text, it is nothing of the sort. Sin is not something a person
does, but rather, the reverse.
The first two centuries of Christian history demonstrate the
type of person responsible for establishing the church. The
ultra-conservative 4th cent church historian Eusebius of
Caesarea, who was only keen to portray the church in a good
light, had to admit that Papias (bishop of Hierapolis ca.
l30 AD) was a "man of exceeedingly small intelligence"
(H.E. III.39.13) and yet it is from this man that the church
derived most of its information about two of the Gospels that
were accepted into the canon.
Another example of historical inaccuracy is the story of the
number of early Christians martyred; Gibbon ('Decline and Fall of
the Roman Empire', chapters l5-l6) has unquestionably shown that
these figures have been exaggerated out of all proportion and
the numbers involved were considerably less. In fact, even
the stories about the persecution of Christians appear to be
embellishments to the point of fraud, eg. the supposed
persecution of Christians by Nero is yet another example of this;
whilst Christians claim that a considerable number of Christians
were martyred by Nero, this is based on Tacitus who refers to this
(50 or so years afterwards), but the first clear mention of this
by a Christian was by Melito of Sardis in ca. l70 AD.
If it had been such a widespread terrible persecution,
Christian writers would have surely made specific mention of it
earlier than l70 AD. It is highly improbable that there would
have been that many Christians living in Rome in Nero's time
anyway so early on. Tacitus only mentions it, apparently
embellishing the story, because he wanted to paint a bad as
possible picture of Nero. It appears the famous persecution
by Nero of Roman Christians was sporadic, localised and very
short lived, but blown out of all proportion by later Christians.
TRANSMISSION OF TEXT.
There was actually a long dark tunnel period between the
writings of the NT (New Testament) writings and them being
treated as Holy Writ.
The first earliest papyri is Rylands P52 dated ca. l40 AD but
this only has just 6 verses of John. In fact the first complete
MSS of the NT are 4th century (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). All
NT writings were apparently written in Greek - not the language
that Palestinian Jews would have used. There was clearly
tampering with the text in this tunnel period - Eusebius
admits this was so - H.E. 29.6-7. The differences between
the Byzantine, Alexandrian and Caesarean texts show copyists
changed the text (eg. Acts 2:l7 in the Western text).
The 3rd cent Christian writer Origen condemned those Christians
for "their depraved audacity" in changing the text and Jerome
told Pope Damascus of the "numerous errors" that had arisen in
the texts through attempted harmonising. In 1707 John Mill of
Oxford listed 30,000 variants in the different N.T texts and
at the beginning of this century with further discoveries of
manuscripts, the scholar Hermann von Soden listed some 45,000
variants in the N.T texts illustating how they were altered.
Even in the one 4th cent Codex Sinaiticus containing all
the N.T, Professor Tishendorf the discoverer, noted that it
had been altered by at least three different scribes.
Therefore this shows the present-day Bible is not a "inerrant
copy" of the original writings, and secondly cannot be "God's
inspired word" as presumably if this were so, he would have
ensured such alterations could not have been made. Finally, it
also shows the integrity of the early Christians............
Although Christians maintain Jesus' teaching was very new
and revolutionary (eg. Matt 19:3ff), this is just not so. Most
of it is borrowed from the Old Testament and contemporary faiths.
Here he is simply repeating the strict divorce ruling of
Rabbi Shammai. The famous 'Golden Rule' of Jesus in Matt 7:l2
(Do to others as you would wish them to do to you) is also far
from unique; this is found in various teachings predating
Christianity (eg. Confucius, Rabbi Hillel); it is even found
in its negative form in the Old Testament Apocrypha - Tobit
4:l5. Much of Matthew's 'Sermon on the Mount' (not found in
Mark, nor John and broken into pieces and scattered through his
Gospel by Luke's author) contains a good deal borrowed from
pre-Christian religion, eg. Matt 5:9 is found in the
pre-Christian Book of the Secrets of Enoch (52:ll) and Matthew
5:34-37 is also found there (49:l). In chap. 42 of this
pre-Christian book, there are beatitudes which rememble the
Gospel ones both in number and form.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
One example of Christian teaching not being dervived from the
Bible is how Christians say a great deal of the Bible gives
instructions regarding a happy married life. In reality, this is
not so at all.
As far as "Jesus' teaching about the 'sanctity' of marriage" or
even family life, the Gospels say very little on this. Jesus'
teaching regarding divorce arises in Matthew l9:3-l2 and Mark
10:2-12; Luke and John omit this passage. In Mark, Jesus speaks
to his Jewish audience about a woman divorcing her husband -
l0:12 - however no such thing was possible in Palestine ! Here
the author of Mark betrays the fact that (i)he was not an
eyewitness to the events he writes of (ii)that he was not a
first century Palestinian Jew (who obviously would not make
such an error) ie. Christians maintain the author of Mark is the
same John Mark mentioned in Acts 12:12. However it is clear just
from this that he was a Gentile, writing for a Gentile (Rome ?)
audience. He makes numerous errors in his Gospel about
Palestinian life, geography, customs and theology. (iii)the
Gospel writers freely adapted their material to stress the point
they were trying to make. ie. their narratives are not reliable
accounts, but rather editorial compositions/redactions.
Mark also allows no reason for divorce - l0:l2, but the author of
Matt does have Jesus saying one reason was acceptable for
divorce (ie. unfaithfulness) - ie. l9:9. Presumably by the
time Matthew was written, Christians (particularly Gentiles)
were finding Jesus' instruction in Mark impossible to follow, so
Matt's author introduced an escape clause. Matt's author omits
the statement about women divorcing their husbands as he clearly
realised this was an error (he tidies up other errors in Mark).
In 1st cent Palestine, adultery was not a crime against the woman,
but a crime against her husband (!). Mark is therefore wrong in
10:11 and Matt (in 19:9) therefore corrects this and omits the
The statement that Christian life is the basis of a happy
fulfilled family life, is certainly not based on Jesus' teaching.
In fact Jesus says very little on this subject. One of the
occasions he does refer or rather, allude to family life is
when he lists some of the Ten Commandments to the man asking
about acquiring eternal life, and repeats the commandment of
This appears in Matt 19:16-22 where the enquirer is a young man
(19:20) and in Luke 18:18-23, but here he is a ruler. In Mark
(10:17-22) he is clearly not 'young' as he recalls his youth in
10:20. This is a typical example of how the Gospels do not agree.
In Mark, Jesus lists off some of the Decalogue (l0
Commandments) including 'Honour your parents', but he also lists
'Do not defraud' (l0:l9) as one of the Commandments. However,
this is not one of the Ten Commandments. (These are found in
Exodus 20:l-l7, Deuteronomy 5:6-21). Note how Matt (l9:l8) and
Luke (l8:20), correct this error in Mark (they correct others
also elsewhere in Mark). This again is an example of how Mark's
author was not a Jew (who would at least know the l0
Commandments), how he has Jesus saying things which could not
have been said, and how the speech cannot be authentic;
furthermore, it shows how Matt and Luke's authors freely changed
Mark where they saw a mistake; their compositions cannot be
reliable accounts either.
There is also the factor that it is somewhat inappropriate for
Jesus to preach about the honouring of parents when he also
advocates, for example, hating one's family (Luke l4:26), that
his purpose was to break up families (Matthew l0:34-36, Luke
12:51-53), not even burying them when they die (Matthew 8:21-22)
and deserting one's own family (resulting in a reward) (Luke
There is also the question of the writings in the New Testament
canon which were not accepted/used by the early Christians
(James, Hebrews, Revelation) but are now accepted, and that
Christians reject the writings the early Christians did
accept and used (eg. Hermas, Barnabas, the Didache). This in
itself shows the church is not interested in sustaining
the 'original faith' and has chosen the writings that suits
its own teachings. This is all apart from the fact that the
church did not even agree to the 27 writings now in the N.T.
until Athanasius' Easter Letter of 367 AD, but even then, the
dispute continued right on to the 9th century. For example, Jude
in the N.T - supposedly written by Jesus' brother - uses
quotations from two O.T books not accepted by Christians as
being inspired ! Any examination of any of the lists from the
2nd cent (Muratorian) to the 4th cent (eg. Athanasius' letter)
shows what a real muddle the church was in when it tried to
decide what writings would be allowed into the canon. Obviously
the church only accepted the writings that did not conflict with
its own teachings, so in reality the Bible is a man-made book,
ie. its contents were chosen by erring humans, some of which
were hardly honourable, or very orthodox (eg. Athanasius taught
an almost-docetic view of Christ). However, for some strange
reason, Christians, ignorant of their own history, seem to think
the apostles all met up one day in the the 1st century,
collected the 27 N.T writings together and said, "This is the New
Testament !". There could be nothing further from the truth.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank