The Bible, that is the Torah, is the legacy of Moses. It consists of the books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It forms the basis of the Jewish religion, and has remained essentially unchanged since Ezra and Nehamiah "canonized" the Torah in 444 BC. The "New Testament" consists of materials surrounding Jesus (diaries, letters, narratives, pious fabrications, written and oral histories) that survived Catholic editors 400 years later who were motivated by politics and not, as is obvious to anyone free of theological bias, logic. "Translations" of both the Bible and the New Testament are pitifully lacking; Hebrew (Torah), Greek (New Testament), Aramaic and Chaldean (bits of both) are rich, beautiful, poetic languages with myriad hidden meanings and depth. English translations are pale shadows of the originals. The more mystical or universally philosophical overtones were left out altogether, at Nicea, in 325 AD, when any of the [over 150 versions of the Gospel - hence "Heterodoxy'] writings not in line with the council standards were systematically destroyed to favor the mystically vacant and emotionally mean Orthodoxy. This is when four Gospels (and the other New Testament books) were selected and enforced. (See Bible Roots)
Hosea 13:4 "...thou shalt know no G-d but me; for there is no Savior besides me." So much for Jesus....
Nothing on this page is original. It is compiled and provided here as a resource for people working to heal destructive, voodoo fundamentalism.
(The purpose of this page is to show the futility of dogma; it is not to denigrate the Bible, an amazing compendium of revelation and literature, and one of our only connections to the ancient world. The Bible is a monument of human thought - but alas, the defenders of the New Testament systematically eradicated the competition, to create an illusion that the Theirs was The Great Text.)
The purpose of pointing out contradictions is not to 'disprove the Bible,' it is to defuse the small minded literalists who make Bible-based religions look stupid.
The author of this page also freely acknowledges that many derive true healing and spiritual fulfillment from the Bible and even from Christianity; it's all in the intention. This page targets those who use any religion as a weapon.
This page does not claim to explain anything in Torah or the New Testament or provide a definitive, final answer. Usually the people who claim to have "the True, Accurate and Final Answer" are the ones who are suspect.
The 'Bible,' to the Jews, does not include the New Testament, which is seen to some as an opportunistic add-on. The Christian experience of religion is radically different than the Jewish, so inconsistencies seem inevitable when the two are bound together in one book. To begin to understand the Bible, learn Hebrew. To understand the New Testament, learn Greek.
Christianity exists in translation - and so much gets lost in translation. The Jewish religious experience is joyously human, celebrating and sanctifying all acts of life, including eating, excreting, and mating, while contemplating God and Torah in its original language. The Christian experience, because it is a translation, and because of Paulist and other Hellenistic add-ons, is more theoretical, with conditional joy, and strained, convoluted guilt and denial. It attempts to destroy the human part of us, most obviously in its suppression of sex, and notion of "Original Sin." By splitting God into three, and having a mutilated corpse as its central icon, Christianity becomes Anti-Messiah. (Messiah brings peace...not gore) By inventing a "Devil," God's power is subverted and challenged - inconceivable in a non-pagan, one God system.
Paul's notion of "Original Sin" taints the well of spirituality.
The Jewish Bible was passed on and carefully preserved for more than a millennium when it was finally canonized by the scribe Ezra, in 444 B.C.E. This was the first 'religion of the book,' written and kept by people who had been in and out of exile, and with whom 'God had formed a special bond.' The early Jewish editors were rigorously conservative, and kept the book to the basics. It was written mostly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic and Chaldean.
Before the Bible was canonized (from the Hebrew kaneh, meaning 'cane,' or'upright'), there were prophets everywhere. Jews were literate early on, and many considered themselves authors, commentators, or prophets. Prophecy dwindled after canonization, as the older (and official) texts gained authority.
There were also the numerous claimants to being "Messiah" that annoyed Jewish authorities off and on through the centuries.
Some of the Jewish innovations were the concept of 'ethical monotheism,' and a system of covenants with an immediate, personal deity. The one-on-one relationship with the creator was democratizing; for a homeless, captive people, it provided a way around 'the system.' The Jewish idea of being 'The Chosen People' has been causing friction for nearly 4,000 years - but the Jewish conception of "chosen" less like being "better than," and more like being "singled out."
Rabbi Jesus adhered to the ancient Jewish system of laws, and was a devout Jew (the "Last Supper" was a Passover Seder), but rejected legalistic corruption in the Jewish establishment. For this, conservative Jewish authorities (Sadducees) rejected Jesus, and made it easy for the Romans to crucify him.
Paul of Tarsus Hellenized the story of Jesus, removed its Jewishness, grafted on Pagan Greek ideas, and opened the gates to hordes of converts. The multitude of Christian cults canonized their literature, and added it onto the Torah, calling the combined material the "Old" and "New" Testaments. But Christianity is not the "next phase" of Judaism. It is a religion unto itself, with Judaism as its initial inspiration, but sharply different than Judaism in its teaching. The things in Christianity that sound Jewish are Jewish. Christianity is not founded so much upon Jesus the man as upon Jesus the concept, and the resulting theology that was invented to support it.
The New Testament is not the logical completion of the Old Testament. "Judeo-Christian" is a misnomer, an erroneous concept - Christians and Jews have both said so. Judaism is unrelated to any religion that claims that it is the one and only true religion and the sole ticket to heaven, and that if you don't join, you're damned. [Catholics also reportedly accept that theirs is not the only way to Heaven - if that's the case, it's certainly difficult to understand their role in the torture and killing of tens of thousands of innocents, for purportedly religious reasons. And yes, the Jews killed the Amorites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, etc., a fact that is repeated daily, and which has a constant humbling effect. Jewish guilt about its occasional oppressions of others doesn't make it any easier to contemplate the cruelty of non-Jews.]
Christianity did not begin with Jesus, but after Jesus.
Jesus was an Essene Jew - the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that the ideas he taught had been part of the Essene tradition for 200 years when Jesus was alive. [Jews today do ritual immersions in water (John the Baptist was a Jew also), and believe in the Final Redemption when the Messiah comes, with the revival of the dead.] Jesus was not an innovator. Fifty years after his crucifixion by the Romans, Paul of Tarsus grafted on Pagan Mithraic ideas and began the Christianity we know today, which is so radically different than its mother religion, Judaism.
The absolutist, Heaven or Hell Christian and Islamic world views differ sharply from Torah ("Old" Testament) religion. They read the Bible (and later writings, Koran, New Testament) and see only black and white. The original Bible religion, Judaism, understands the relationship with the Creator differently, seeing it as a contractual relationship, a dialog, or a dialectic. Jews do not believe that theirs is only way to paradise. Christianity and Islam, later interpretations of Torah, are both much more prone to laying down absolute dictums about the fate of your soul. "God, however, does not play dice." (Albert Einstein, Jewish Physicist)
A literal approach to the Bible embalms it. The Bible's function (providing us with a diagnostic tool, a "litmus test" for life) is enhanced by its contradictions and ambiguities. It forces our minds to reach beyond the obvious and find new meanings and hidden teachings. The Jewish oral tradition fills in a lot of the blanks. The Zohar (Mystical Biblical commentary from Spain in the 1200's) says: "The stories in the Torah couldn't possibly be about what they seem to be about, otherwise we could write better stories!" (III 152a).
Anyone who is really interested in the Bible should take the time to learn Hebrew and study it in its original language. Experience has shown this writer that it's worth the effort. All of the hair pulling over the "King James Version" or whatever other translation someone's using is really a moot point.
The Burning Hell, the "Lake of Fire," the Pointy Tailed Devil, these fictions are all medieval-Christian scare tactics, and have nothing at all to do with the Judaism of Jesus. God created humans, and said "It is Good." The God of the Bible (Jesus' God) has faith in humanity, and waits for our gratitude and praise. On the other hand, the New Testament God has condemned humanity, robbed his followers of the Joy of Life, and resorted to bullying and sham to corral the faithful.
The Bible is fractal- filled with thickets and labyrinths, and that is why people love it. It has as many contradictions as any other thought system; and is seen by some as a form of poetry.
Each of these contradictions could provide a seed for great mystical analysis. Use them as a way to raise spiritual sparks, instead of as a cudgel against other people (see Spanish Inquisition).
Here are a few of the contradictions:
Should we kill?
Ex. 20:13 Thou shalt not commit murder.
Ex. 32:27 Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, put every man his sword by his side...and slay every man his brother...companion..neighbor.(See also 1 Sam. 6:19; 15:2,3; Num. 15:36)
Ex 20:5 "...for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God..." (see also Ex 34:14, Deut 4:24, Josh 24:19, and Nah 1:2)
Gal 5:19-20 "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are...jealousy..." (See also 2 Cor 12:20)
Should we tell lies?
Ex. 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness.(Prov. 12:22; Rev. 21:8)
1 Kings 22:23 The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. (II Thess. 2:11; Josh. 2:4-6 with James 2:25)
Should we steal?
Ex. 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. (Lev. 19:13)
Ex. 3:22. And ye shall spoil the Egyptians. (Ex. 12:35-36; Luke 19:29-33)
Shall we keep the Sabbath?
Ex. 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (Ex. 31:15; Num. 15:32,36)
Is. 1:13 The new moons and the Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity. (John 5:16; Matt. 12:1-5)
Shall we make Graven images?
Ex. 20:4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven...earth...water. (Lev. 26:1)
EX. 25:18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them.
Are we "saved" through works?
Eph. 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith...not of works. (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16)
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.(Matt. 19:16-21)
Should good works be seen?
Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works. (I Peter 2:12)
Matt. 6:1-4 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them...that thine alms may be in secret. (Matt. 23:5)
Should we own slaves?
Lev. 25:45-46 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy...and they shall be your posession...they shall be your bondmen forever. (Gen. 9:25; Ex. 21:2,7; Joel 3:8; Luke 12:47; Col. 3:22)
Is. 58:6 Undo the heavy burdens...break every yoke. (Matt. 23:10)
Does God change his mind?
Mal. 3:6. For I am the Lord; I change not. Num. 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent. (Ezek. 24:14; James 1:17)
Ex. 32:14. And the Lord repented of the evil which he had thought to do unto his people. (Gen. 6:6; Jonah 3:10; Sam. 2:30-31; II Kings 20:1-6; Num. 16:20-35)
Are we punished for our parent's sins?
Ex. 20:5 For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. (Ex. 34:7)
Ezek. 18:20 The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father.
Is God good or evil?
Psa. 145:9. The Lord is good to all. (Deut. 32:4; James 1:13)
Is. 45:7 I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things. (Lam 3:38; Jer. 18:11; Ezek. 20:25)
Is God Peaceable?
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. (Luke 2:14; Acts 10:36)
Matt. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. 10:35-37; Luke 22:36)
Was Jesus trustworthy?
John 8:14 Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true.
John 5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
Shall we call people names?
Matt. 5:22 Whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire.
Matt. 23:17 (Jesus said) Ye fools and blind.
Has anyone seen God?
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at anytime. (Ex 33:20; Tim. 6:16; John 6:46; I John 4:12)
Gen. 32:30 For I have seen god face to face. (Ex. 33:11, 23; Is. 6:1; Job 42:5)
How many gods are there?
Deut. 6:4 The Lord or God is one Lord.
Gen. 1:26 And God said, let us make man in our image.(Gen. 3:22; I John 5:7)
Are we all sinners?
Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned. (Rom. 3:10; Psa.14;3)
Job 1:1 There was a man... whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright. (Gen. 7:1; Luke 1:5-6)
When was Jesus crucified?
Mark 15:22 and it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
John 19:14-15 And about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out...crucify him!"
Just because these can be "explained" doesn't mean that they don't exist. Healthy religion contains the spirit of debate, like Jacob wrestling with the angel. The fundamentalist attitude that "everything is carved in stone, finished" is unsustainable.
Just as you can make any sentence you like from the dictionary by choosing certain words, you can prove any point you want by juggling the millions of concepts in the Bible. This is something that both Christians and Jews are adept at. Again, the intention is what matters. The Zohar says something to the effect that: "If people are discussing Torah, and they disagree, it doesn't matter, what's important is that they are talking about Torah."
There are strains of the Christian church who refer to the Bible as a 'Sword'. The metaphor becomes real when they attack the freedoms of others. These contradictions are pointed out for their sake. Many good people believe the Bible is literally God's Word ('sWord?!?), and reverence it and its teachings appropriately. But Jesus said: "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."(Matt.26:52.)
The Buddhist concept of Sword is called 'Prajna'- 'cutting-through' wisdom. This can be related to a line from a letter of Paul's to the Hebrews where he says: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews: 4.12.)
The Bible is perhaps a potent device for meditation or prayer, or a comfort in times of loneliness, grief or adversity, but when used as a weapon, it loses its validity. The Bible's commandments are comparable to Hindu, Buddhist, or many other rule-systems, and serve societies well. Any way that people can feel peace, or improve their lives, shouldn't be disrespected. Unfortunately for peaceful believers, the fanatics twist something sacred into an ugly parody of itself.
I received the following e-mail in 1995:
"i don't what bible you got the verse's out of but you need to look them up your self they are wrong i look up some and it don't read that away"
Wow! I almost don't know what to say. It is not 'doctored,' as some insist; at least not by myself. Either way, it allows for this disclaimer:
Some passages have been condensed for the sake of brevity, as in the following example:
Exodus 32:27 reads:'slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor', and on this page has been shortened to 'slay every man his brother...companion...neighbor-"
JESUS WAS NOT THE MESSIAH PROMISED IN THE TORAH
Here's part of another email received in 2000:
...Jesus didn't fulfill any of the Messianic prophecies. Elijah didn't foretell him and he isn't a son of David. The Christian Scriptures are not historically accurate in their presentation of Pilate, and the entire writing is suspect. The resurrection narrative stands as a terribly garbled account. The theme of a dying Messiah who atones for sin is not to be found in Jewish sources, but is found in abundance in pagan mythology. How can any thinking person be a Christian?
No, Jesus did NOT fulfill the Biblical prophecies. Some of those prophecies are: "For to us a child is born, ... Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom..." (Isaiah 9:6-7) and "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." Is this what Jesus brings when he says: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother..." (Matthew 10:34) or "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
How does setting children against their parents bring peace, or jibe with the fifth commandment (Honor thy Father and Mother)? If Jesus meant "put God first," then why didn't he say it? Why did he put himself first?
Jesus' genealogy, claiming that he was a descendant of David the King (a prophetic requirement), is not only fabricated, but doesn't make sense in light of other aspects of Paulist Christology. This concocted lineage indicates that the line of David was continued in Joseph, but if Mary was a virgin, then how could it be valid?
"Then he (Jesus) strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ." Matthew 16:20
"Yet I am God your Lord from the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, and there is no savior besides Me." Hosea 14:4 [God speaking throught the prophet Hosea]
Bible defenders present mountains of verbiage trying to rationalize Biblical contradictions - further proving that any point can be backed up by something in the Bible. The Bible is so fraught with ambiguity that it makes perfect fodder for endless debate. Like newspaper astrologers, the Oracle at Delphi, dreamwork, or ritual magic, its pronouncements are always open to interpretation - rendering them useful more for those willing to suspend rational judgment, not to mention providing fuel for unceasing discussion about important ethical and psychological issues.
There is the complaint that some of these lines are taken out of context. But these complainers are taking the entire Bible out of context. They miss the point that these contradictions are not presented to invalidate the Bible. They are presented to invalidate fundamentalist literalism.
If a single sentence is flexible in regard to its context, then why are other solitary passages given so much import? For example the line 'in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost' appears only once in the entire Bible,(Matthew 28:19) and yet it is at the center of one of the great concepts of Christianity, the Trinity (Which, by the way, weakens Christian claims to monotheism, in the eyes of Jews and Muslims).
Incidentally, Deuteronomy 4:28 refers to "idols of wood and stone" - the Christian Cross is wood, and inside of the Kaaba, the black box the Muslims all pray to, is a stone, a meteor.
If the context neutralizes what appears to be a contradiction, then doesn't the context also neutralize everything else in the book? The Bible is a holographic compendium of powerful metaphors; it is a fascinating, compelling labyrinth that can be a garden for its scholars; but its authority is chosen, and cannot be imposed on the unwilling.
Even if the context of a passage changes the meaning so much that it 'no longer contradicts,' the fact is, that the apparent contradiction is enough to prove the point that there are contradictions, even if trivial.
An even more objective viewpoint is to for a moment not to even look at individual passages, but to look at the entire Bible, and even the New Testament, in the context of world history, other religions, other sacred texts, and other religious traditions. The Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Levicticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, canonized 445 B.C. by Ezra and Nehamiah) has its contradictions, and the Prophets and Writings have their own contradictions. The New Testament, canonized 812 years later, in about 367 A.D., has its many contradictions and inconsistencies. (see Bible History)
Christianity itself exists in a context - as a derivitive re-forming of Judaism, it shares with Islam the status of "Latecomer." The words: "Amen" and "Halleluyah" are Hebrew, and were considered ancient in Davidic times (1000 BC). These words are intoned many times daily by observant Jews, with Psalms you can find in any Bible, but in Hebrew and not Elizabethan English.
Religion or "God" are not the sources of morality (The source of morality is Your Heart). The immorality of some who claim to be righteous and holy, and the goodness of many without religion, demonstrates this. Religion and morality are two separate concepts that sometimes overlap, but that are really independent of each other. When religionists proclaim that theirs is the one true faith and attempt to convert or destroy those who believe differently, they are committing immorality of a most dangerous kind.
"Occult" means "hidden," and refers to ancient knowledge and tradition forced into hiding by meddlesome Christians. Anything not in the Bible is considered Evil, must be repressed, and becomes "occult." 2,000 years of Christian censorship have tried, but failed to repress older beliefs and the roots of Christianity itself.
The Christian Satan is vastly different than the original Hebrew "satan," an "obstructing angel," that is short-lived and generic. Babylonian influences solidified this entity into a specific, evil being, and now, Christianity has elevated the Devil to an equal footing with God. Bible belt teenagers becoming 'Satanists' and going on killing sprees are the obvious products of a fundamentalist environment; borne of parents who see evil everywhere, from Harry Potter books to Tinky Winky, these kids rebel in the easiest way: becoming what their parents most fear and obsess over. They do it by claiming belief in a "religion" that owes its very existence to Christianity. (And yes, Anton Lavey).
The Christian obsession with the Devil and witchcraft actually fosters and propagates what they try so hard to repress.
Fundamentalist abhorrence of evil is really a lack of faith, because God created Evil:
[Isa 45:7 KJV] I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Trying to avoid the issue, newer translations change "evil" to "woe," or "calamity," but the Hebrew word in the original is "Ra," which translates into "Evil."
As Christianity took over Europe, attempts to suppress Pagan holy day celebrations met fierce resistance. Their solution was to absorb these holidays, purloin them, and make them into Christian holidays.
Christians object to Halloween, because it is of Pagan origin (Samhain). To be consistent, then, they should also reject Christmas (Yule), Easter (Ostara), and Pentecost (Lugnasađ), also Pagan holidays co-opted by Christians in an attempt to erase the true origins. They should also reject the Resurrection (Pagan) and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into blood and flesh (Pagan). Christian demons and devils are no different than Buddhist, or even Hindu ones (Not as colorful though...) Christian God-forms (Father, Son, & Holy Ghost, the Devil) are just as "true" or "false" as any other religions'.
Christians believe that Pagans worship the Earth, and say it is sin to worship the created, instead of worshiping the Creator. This confused notion of separating creator and created is particularly vain, and is used by Christians to justify trashing the land.
Thousands of people were crucified in Judea during Roman times. By concentrating on the suffering of Jesus, the Gospels convey the impression that he was a rare victim of this brutal form of Roman execution.
Leviticus has dire warnings against even touching the skin of pigs-doesn't this imperil the souls of Christian football players?
If one can see through to the underlying metaphor (or parable), and glean the good from scripture, fine. But justifying intolerance with dogmatic fixation on the literal inerrancy of every line in the book leads to simplistic conclusions, and often contradictory ones.
Fundamentalists are obsessed with making the world clear cut and orderly. Subtlety or complexity upsets and confuses them. Alternate points of view, or attitudes of flexibility or openness drive them crazy. Possessed by their own fear of destabilization, they are driven to impose their will on others. They even view their inflexibility as a virtue. Their fear and mistrust feeds on itself, and grows exponentially.
These people to the left are protesting against homosexuality. They are pretending that their bigotry has some sort of spiritual component or basis. Their actions prove, of course, that they are quite removed from anything spiritual. Their myopia makes it impossible for them to understand that sexuality is not something chosen, like one chooses a shirt, or a religion. Click here to learn more about these hate-drunk zealots.
Fundamentalist raving about homosexuality reveals a lack of knowledge of the very scripture they quote, at least in the case of Lesbianism. Nowhere in the the Torah ["Old" Testament] is there a prohibition of lesbianism, or even mention of it.
It has been said that the fundamentalist mind is like concrete; all mixed up and permanently set.
In nature, every creature is born of female (except seahorses, of course), but the Garden of Eden story changes that. A male God creates Adam, the first man, and then Eve is "born" from Adam's rib, as an afterthought. Eve is then held responsible for the downfall of the perfect Man.
In fact, Genesis 1:27, which is earlier than the rib story (Gen 2:21), says: "He created them, male and female he created them." Another way of looking at Eve's placement in creation is that every created thing was more complex and "evolved" than the one preceding it, and so Eve was the ultimate and most perfect thing created.
Yet another approach is brought out that all humanity is descended from Adam, giving everyone a common ancestor, and defusing attempts to place one people over another as "superior."
After Eve colludes with the snake, and everyone passes the buck, the snake bites the dust. Eve's role in this story has been used to justify oppressive attitudes towards women, and nature, especially within parts of the Christian tradition.
The Evolution of Creation
'Creationists' insist that when evolution is taught in schools it should be preceded with the disclaimer that 'It is only a theory.'
Perhaps when teaching 'creation science,' that class should be preceded with the disclaimer:'The Bible consists entirely of mythology, incomplete history, and unprovable claims.' Christian doctrine cannot be proven - faith is NOT proof. Nor is the fact that it is written in black and white proof.
The fact of biological evolution is so much more mystical and awe inspiring than the 6 day fundamentalist metaphor, it's hard to believe they can disassociate their abbreviated, magical/miraculous version of life's beginnings from observed reality. This refusal to adapt the facts into their belief system destroys their credibility almost more than anything else they do.
Genesis says the world was created in six days. It also says that Adam lived 930 years (Gen 5:5), and that Noah was 600 years old when the flood happened (Gen 7:6). We can take these figures literally, believing that "people just lived longer in those days," or if we have a shred of intelligence or honesty, we can surmise that Biblical time reckoning is on a metaphoric scale. Of course, this allows Genesis to agree with observed evolution.
"But do not ignore this one fact beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2 Peter 3:8)
ALL of the universe is one, flowing, fractal mind-form - we call it God, Goddess, G-D, Brahman, Allah, Buddhahood, Ahura-Mazda, El-Shaddai, Jah, Manitou, Tao, math, language, chemistry, history, religion, humor, evolution, and infinitely more. It is "center everywhere, circumference nowhere -" we are the center of the universe, because it is infinite. And we are also an insignificant speck, a bubble on the cosmic oceans.
Time is a human invention, based on the periodicity of day and night, the seasons, and our own mortality. But in the context of infinity, time is meaningless. Evolution/Creation is never/always finished.
YOU ARE THE CROWN OF CREATION
The Structure of the Universe
The fact that fundamentalists of every stripe, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Baptist, Muslim, etc., all claim that they and only they are going to heaven - brings down the whole house of cards. How could they all be right? They are all equally convinced, equally fooled, and equally brainwashed. (The Jews believe that theirs is not necessarily the only way to Heaven).
They say: "Read the Bible with an open mind" which really means "Read the Bible with your mind shut off-"
Why attack Christianity? Ask all of the people they have attacked. Look at their arrogant dismissal of all other beliefs. Look at their bad taste-- bumper stickers that say: "Christians aren't perfect; they're just forgiven." (The implication here is that they are nearly perfect; still better than nonbelievers. They have conveniently absolved themselves of sin, speaking in behalf of their imaginary savior.)
Christians are the only religion that scrawls the sacred name of their God on toilet stalls, tacks it to telephone poles, or lets if fall into gutters.
The crass insensitivity of Fundamentalist zealots is revealed in their opportunism - their habit of targeting people in grief or difficulty. One approached a friend's mother after he broke his neck, hinting that her resistance to Christianity was the cause. The notion that a pack of irrational nonsense would have prevented a car accident, or that it would cure a broken neck is annoying enough; but the egotism of someone trying to get another 'notch on their gun' at such a sensitive time is appalling.
Another example is a how a co-worker told me that his father, a Baptist minister, has systematically manipulated the family inheritance in such a way that his seven other brothers and sisters are completely cut out of receiving any money. He has also disowned his son and refused him burial in the family plot, because his son, 52 years old with a grown daughter, has admitted to himself and the world that he's gay. This man, a Baptist minister, a supposedly moral person, justifies his cold-blooded viciousness to his own family because he believes he's right and has all the answers. Typical behavior, similar to that of Tom DeLay and so many other self-annointed, sanctimonious Christians, who believe that any act, no matter how dishonest, unethical, or deceitful, is justified if it "leads to the cross."
"Fundamentalists" frequently mis-interpret the very scripture they use to browbeat people with. Their blanket condemnation of homosexuality ignores the fact that the Bible says absolutely nothing about Lesbianism - there is no prohibition of women having sex with other women in the Bible at all - yet Gay women are included in Christian busybody attacks on people's private lives. Conversely, while the second of the Ten Commandments prohibits "Graven Images," the Catholic Church is crawling with images and carvings of saints, apostles, and the mutilated corpse of the Rabbi Jesus who they worship.
The "Message," as they call it, that they want to tell everyone about, is nothing new. Everyone has heard it. To assume out of hand that other's religion is error, and that they come with the correct answer, is insulting and only makes the "messenger" look stupid. Don't they get sick of "saving" each other over and over?
Of course, some genuinely want to help the world, and actually do. There's nothing wrong with that. But one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you've got Shiite Moslems, or Calvinists, or the Promise Keepers.
They claim it is "compassion" that drives them to proselytize; but it is not. Nagging doubt presses them to convert others, for when others fall in line, the Christian mythos gets another "yes" vote, so it must be right.
Callous, xenophobic, and lacking experience of the larger world, fundamentalists see the devil's hoofprints everywhere, in anything outside of their sheltered, one-dimensional lifestyle.
Fundamentalists personify the 'Ugly Americans.' (Elsewhere in the world, United States citizens have a reputation for being loud, insensitive, pushy, infantile, and myopic; hence "Ugly Americans.") Fundies achieve this within our own borders, with the same selfish oblivion to the experience of others. Like the loudmouthed polyester-clad boor in Italy, the Fundie assumes that everyone speaks his language, and that they're just pretending not to. If he's just loud enough, and pushy enough, 'these half-wits will get the point.' The natives shudder and avert their eyes in disgust. Believe it or not, different people and cultures can have a different experience of the world than the one in Tulsa, or Dade City.
The fundamentalist inability to appreciate the mystical side of their religion is most to be pitied. Were they able to see more deeply, they would become more flexible, and healthy.
The Passion of Christ [now on DVD at the supermarket], doesn't require much comment. The most succinct analysis I have read is from CNN's website where they quoted "Gianni," a 69 year old businessman from from Italy, who puts it best:
"It was irritating, religious pornography. Christ preached everything against what this film's about. He was a man who preached non-violence, peacefulness, love, and this is a movie of hate. I think it's a shameful movie. It shouldn't be seen by children. It's a product of religious fanaticism."
Fundamentalism is Anti-God
The contradictions that exist in Bible religion are at the core of its mysticism. Contemplating the Trinity or the Binding of Isaac is to contemplate contradiction, which opens the mind to mystery. How can God be all-powerful, creating distant galaxies, and also be active in human history, concerned about our every thought? The mystics of Bible religion freely admit that there are ambiguities and impossibilities in the Bible; they are able to use these to get closer to the Eternal One.
The mystics don't carry signs that say "God Hates Fags," though, because they know better. Only literalists, with their limited learning and understanding, attempt the hopeless task of making every word stand up to modern rational scrutiny (and their own stunted agendas). This is destroying religion, ripping the mystery out of it and turning it into pre-fab fast food. Many people HATE religion, because of its various ugly failings. What do they turn to? Consumer Culture. Tragic, no?
Most religions share similar principles and basic laws; the differences in the outward appearances of different belief systems are like different languages, or dialects. Spiritually-directed people employ their religion to bring them closer to Source, or God; while Ego-driven people use their religion for their power hunger, trying to convert everyone around them. Mysticism is where all religions become alike, and where the differences disappear. The anti-intellectualism of fundamentalism makes mysticism impossible.
Christian Ayatollahs whip their sheep into frenzies by scapegoating and playing on their fears. Simplistic solutions ignore the life-realities of people not in the cult. Spoon-feeding selected propaganda to their flocks, Mullah-Pastors transmit the 'word-' at least their version of it.
Fundamentalism puts the beliefs and opinions of men, of people, first. It grows from a sense of entitlement - the arrogance that true spirituality works to eliminate, and replace with gratefulness and acts of kindness.
The translators and compilers of the Bible left out many things crucial to Jesus' message, because his message was love and did not allow for a corrupt 'religious' bureaucracy.
Some ways Christianity differs from it's mother religion, Judaism
Christianity focuses on man, while its mother religion, Judaism, focuses more on God. Cynically, doubting our ability to improve, Christianity dwells on the corruption in humanity, death, and avoidance of Hell. Judaism, the religion that Christianity evolved out of, puts God and Torah (the Bible) at the center, trusting and cultivating our potential to come near, and says "choose life!" (not referring to the terrible choice some women have to make). Christianity puts intermediaries (Jesus, Saints, Popes, Bishops, Priests, etc.) between people and God; Judaism allows a direct connection. Judaism does not claim to be the only way to get close to God, while Christianity does. Christianity is uncomfortable with learning and an intellectual approach; Judaism sees scholarship as a core element of spirituality. Judaism is not just Christianity without Jesus. Unlike Christianity, un-assimilated Judaism is deeply mystical, intellectual, challenging, and growth-oriented, while at the same time being passionate, humorous, lively, and playful.
These differences don't need to create antagonism however - if people would live up to the higher ethical standards their religions have in common, there would be few problems. [Except of course with Muslims, who are explicitly instructed in the Koran and the Hadith to decimate the infidel]
"The pursuit of knowledge, unless sanctified by a holy mission, is a pagan act, and therefore vile."
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1190-1153)
"An ignorant man cannot be pious."
Hillel 1st century
"But though it is certain that the Catholic Church, through its propaganda, its popular appeals, its schools and universities, opened up the prospect of the modern educational state in Europe, it is equally certain that the Catholic Church never intended to do anything of the sort. It did not send out knowledge with its blessing; it let it loose inadvertently. It was not the Roman Republic whose heir the Church esteemed itself, but the Roman Emporor."
H.G. Wells, Outline of History
Bibliolatry: Turning a book into an idol.
"He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all." Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
"Fanaticism is...overcompensation for doubt." - Robertson Davies, the Manticore
"Why do born-again people so often make you wish they'd never been born the first time?" - Katherine Whitehorn, British Journalist, The Observer, May 20, 1979
I could never be a Satanist because I could never follow a belief system with its roots in the Bible.
"What we really need, after all, is not to defend the Bible but to understand it."
"In order to justify their behavior, they turn their theories into dogmas, their bylaws into First Principles, their political bosses into Gods and all those who disagree with them into incarnate devils. This idolatrous transformation of the relative into the Absolute and the all too human into the Divine, makes it possible for them to indulge their ugliest passions with a clear conscience and in the certainty that they are working for the Highest Good. And when the current beliefs come, in their turn, to look silly, a new set will be invented, so that the immemorial madness may continue to wear its customary mask of legality, idealism, and true religion."
(Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun, 1952, Harper and Brothers, NY, NY.)
"What if we chose the wrong religion? We just making God madder and madder every Sunday."
Homer J. Simpson.
"If you take the Christian bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain."
- Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman
Since logic, reason, and historical precision play no part in Christianity, unfortunately, these disciplines are useless in discussions with Christians.
Q. Why did God invent Mormons?
A. So Christians would know how Jews feel.
As is clearly demonstrated in a multitude of places, including the Jesus Seminar, the "words of Jesus" in the New Testament are fabricated, and cannot be attributed to the actual person of Yeshua ben Nazaret, and cannot accurately be called "The Truth." Overwrought "faith" does not change history, and quoting the book of John is meaningless in light of historical fact.
"Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder's than any other agency in the world." - Richard Le Gallienne (Peter)
"Every judgment teeters on the brink of error. To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous. Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty." Frank Herbert, Dune 1965