posted on Dec, 22 2005 @ 10:00 AM
Getting a little more serious . . .
The most unbelievable thing about the Bible for me is not any particular story in it. There are many stories in it that cannot be literally true,
others that might be true, and still others that probably are true, but the most unbelievable thing about it is the attitude Christians have toward
The books of the Bible reveal attitudes common to the times in which they are written. In them, one can find approval of slavery, rampaging mysogyny,
polygamy, and genocide (read up on the slaughter of the Amalekites). One finds, in the early books, the existence of many gods taken for granted,
even if the Hebrews are commanded to worship only one. Later on, the writings become monotheistic. All of this is perfectly acceptable and
understandable if we regard the Bible for what it is: the historic writings, legends, laws, and poetry of an ancient people, whose earliest existence
was as nomadic pastoralists and who later settled down, built a civilization, and founded a profound world religion. But it is completely
incompatible with regarding the Bible as God's dictation, valid for all time.
The history of the Bible's formation also inspires no confidence. The Old Testament was repeatedly revised and recompiled by the Jewish priesthood.
Who knows what the oldest books said in their earliest editions? The only thing we can say with any confidence is that changes were made on a
political basis. That is perhaps even more true of the New Testament. In the period between Jesus' death and the triumph of Constantinus, hundreds
of writings are known to have circulated. These included a lot more Gospels than the four canonical ones, and a great many writings purported to be
by the Apostles, as well as prophetic visions of the general nature of Revelations. None of these were regarded as canonical, of course.
So how did the canon of the New Testament come to be? When Constantinus became Emperor, he called a convocation of Bishops to meet in the town of
Nicaea. It was his purpose to have Christianity serve as the new Roman state religion, and a force to help unify the Empire. But before that could
happen, it was necessary to unify Christianity itself, which was too diverse and contained elements that were not usable as well as those that might
be. He did not, himself, have the religious authority to do this, hence the meeting of the Bishops -- the Ecumenical Council. The Bishops met to
create a unified Christian creed, and to compile a holy scripture. This they did, in service to Constantinus' political purpose, which fit well with
their own, because like most high priests, they were more political than spiritual beings.
Yet Christians continue to trust the Bible, and regard it as God's dictation and an infallible guide for their own lives. And from this comes
everything that's wrong with Christianity today.