Opinion of the Bible

Thomas Paine expressed it well… I too have a bad opinion of the Bible. Nice to know I am in such good company.

Paul, who wrote many of his New Testament epistles while imprisoned, would probably have admired Thomas Paine, who also wrote while being in prison for just over 10 months.

thomas-paine

 

During his imprisonment, Paine embarked on his third influential work, The Age of Reason (London and Boston, 1794-95). A deist manifesto to the core, Paine acknowledged his debt to Newton and declared that nature was the only form of divine revelation, for God had clearly established a uniform, immutable and eternal order throughout creation.

 

Paine rejected Christianity, denied that the Bible was the revealed word of God, condemned many of the Old Testament stories as immoral and claimed that the Gospels were marred by discrepancies.

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/paine.html

BRAVO!

And now, in the words of Thomas Paine, an opinion of the Bible.

You form your opinion of God from the account given of him in the Bible; and I form my opinion of the Bible from the wisdom and goodness of God manifested in the structure of the universe, and in all works of Creation.

 

The result in these two cases will be, that you, by taking the Bible for your standard, will have a bad opinion of God; and I, by taking God for my standard, shall have a bad opinion of the Bible.

 

http://www.thomaspaine.org/essays/religion/age-of-reason-letters.html

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Belief in the Bible

Jesus

Have you ever wondered why the teachings of Jesus, or the composite personality attributed to a man named Jesus, were not worthy enough to be followed without having to attribute divinity and a virgin birth, as well as a resurrection to him? I have. His teachings stand tall in my eyes, without all of the excessive embellishments to his life. I don’t need to think of him as being any more divine than you or I to acknowledge that he was a spiritual master worthy of our attention.

Verification

As we learn and grow in wisdom, we have to learn where to place the teachings that for some of us, were the foundation upon which we began building our life. We have to reconcile those teachings with common sense, facts and historical evidence, of which there is none unless you count the Bible itself, which in and of itself cannot verify itself. Logic must prevail.

Ancestral Beliefs

Through no fault of their own (I’ll explain later), our parents and grandparents passed down religious beliefs that simply were not true. They were honorable in their endeavors, and they were honorable in their faith, but they were, nonetheless, wrong in their belief.

My parents and grandparents did not go to college, although my mother was an accomplished student of the Bible and taught Sunday School in a rather large church for many years. My father, while a brilliant and successful businessman, read his Bible every night, then got on his knees beside his bed and prayed, and then he went to sleep.

They had not internet resources to help them study new findings of Biblical scholars and archaeologists. All they saw on TV was televangelism at its finest and like many in their day, they sent their money. They also tithed to their local church and local charities. They were very generous, caring people, unlike many pew placeholders today.

Academic Study

I have taken classes on the Bible, read several college textbooks on both the old and the new testaments, and studied world religions, ancient magical traditions, superstitions and studied anthropology. It is fascinating material for anyone who wants to know the truth and who seeks knowledge above all else.

Cruel Stories or Pranks in the Bible

I have questioned the intention and validity of the stories in the Bible since I was a child. What kind of God places a tree in a garden he made just for Adam and Eve, only to tell them they cannot eat of its fruit? What?

What kind of deity sends Abraham off to kill his own son as a sacrifice to himself? Really? I will not serve such an evil doer. Even though the Bible says God stopped Abraham, it was a cruel prank and I for one, do not find it amusing or enlightening.

What kind of deity has to send his son incarnate to straighten out the people he created? Does that not contradict his self-proclaimed almighty power to do anything he wishes?

The Gnostics were right

The Gnostics believed the Jehovah God of the Old Testament was not the true God. While my definition (now) of God is not the same as their definition, I believe they were right to a degree. In fact, I don’t even think this Jehovah God existed then or now. The Old Testament was written, then divided and rewritten by the two groups of Israelites, and then it was merged again into one text when the Israelites got back together.

We now know that the writers of the Bible were not who they said they were. It was not uncommon in the days that Jesus was said to live, that students and scribes would use the name of their teacher, mentor, or guru without acquiring their permission to do so.

We also know that the new testament writers wrote their texts decades after the life of Jesus, further lending to their being dismissed as having any historical accuracy.

Food for thought

Think about it. Think about a teacher or preacher that you listened to thirty years ago. Now sit down and write exactly what that speaker said on several different occasions, publish it, and claim it to be the gospel truth. Who do you think would believe and trust your memory of these sayings? You could of course claim divine intervention and maybe it would work. It seems to have worked for the new testament writers for nearly two thousand years.

My point is simply to have you question why you believe what you believe. You are a divine being with a mind and a soul. Conduct yourself accordingly and figure out what you believe and why.

Wherever I am, God is.

To learn more: Read “Half of New Testament Forged”

 

 

 

 

Earliest New Testament

Rabbula Gospels, Eusebian Canons

The earliest New Testament consisted of the letters of Paul and the book of Luke. It is believed to have been compiled by a fellow named Marcion around 140 AD.

Marcion was considered a heretic because he did not believe the Old Testament spoke of the true God that Jesus revealed. He accepted only one gospel, the gospel of Luke, relying on Paul’s statement of there being one true gospel in Galations 1:6-7.

Many Bible scholars believe that most Christians believed Jesus would be coming back during their lifetime and therefore no “books” were written for future generations.

Logically speaking, there is no other way to understand it. I don’t know about you, but I’m not wasting any time on someone who promised a group of people over 2000 years ago that he would be back before their generation passed away. No one would believe it if they were not taught that is truth from an early age.

The teachings of Jesus should be more than enough for us to talk about, contemplate and emulate, without worrying about whether or not he is coming back, which does not make any sense anyway. There is no true death. We are spiritual. He is not gone.

Just because decades after the supposed life of Jesus, some unknown writers attributed some quotations to him, does not mean that Jesus truly said them.

The letters of Paul, known as the Pauline Epistles, were written by Paul to groups of worshipers he converted as he traveled the land spreading the gospel. He is widely considered to be the first missionary.

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