The Church of Rationality

You can believe in whatever you want, but if you want to believe in the truth -- you must be rational.

  "In the absence of compelling reasons to believe, unbelief should be preferred."

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Is the Bible inspired?
 
 
 Genesis Creaton Myth

10 Simple and Obvious Reasons Why Not to Believe in the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.        The Biblical order of creation is grossly incorrect: Grass and fruit trees were certainly not the first life forms, and birds certainly didnít exist before land animals.  This has no scientific support what-so-ever.  Actually nothing much is in correct order. There is also no mention of microbes

2.        There is no mention anywhere in the Bible of prehistoric animals, nor prehistoric people Ė no cave people.  It is also clear that Adam and Eve were not themselves cave people:  Gen 4:2 "Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land."  The first people on earth were already contemporaries with the writers of the story -- farmers and herdsmen -- not hunters and gatherers.

3.        The story of Adam and Eve can be shown to be taken from ancient Babylonian Mythology: ďThe Alphabet of Ben Sira is the earliest form we know of the Lilith legend. It is here that we find Lilith as Adam's first wife.Ē  (Eve comes later)  The entire Genesis account can easily be seen to have been taken from a combination of Samarian, Babylonian, and Greek mythology (see below).

4.     Original Sin:  The creation story culminates in the so called "original sin," which seeking redemption from, is what the entire rest of the Bible is about.  However, there logically could never have been such an event.  All decisions, like everything else, require causes, or as what psychologists would call -- antecedent factors.  All such causes or antecedent factors that would have led to any and all decisions made by Adam and Eve were supplied directly by God.  God made them and everything else in their world.  Like all decisions, given the particular set of circumstances that Adam and Eve were in, there would have been no other decision they could possibly have made but to have eaten the forbidden fruit.  It is logically inconceivable that God could not have been responsible for the behavior of his own direct design and influence.  It is not possible to defeat this argument.  No belief in "free-will" will suffice.  All decisions require reasons -- bar none, and all the "reasons" in the Garden of Eden were provided directly by God.  The exact same argument makes it impossible for the Devil to have come into existence.  God made all the angels and provided all antecedent factors.  No angel could have rebelled if it had not been for the factors God himself provided, thus Satan is also a myth.  If both original sin and Satan are not true, then the Bible has no foundation and it can't be true as to its religious tenets. 

5.        God wanted offerings from Cain and Able and judged those offerings according to their value.  Offerings or sacrifices to a god is clearly paganistic, and proves the Bible is just an extension of false pagan notions and traditions.  Offerings continue throughout the Old Testament.

6.        The story of Noahís Ark is as absurd as anything ever written.  Itís simply impossible to put two of every animal on earth onto a boat, and feeding and caring for them for 10 months would have been impossible.  This story also has its roots in more ancient fables and mythology.  Please see this interesting and humorous discussion: http://members.aol.com/darrwin/flood.htm

7.        The crucifixion of Jesus is just more paganistic notions that the better the sacrifice the more God will be pleased.  How can someone die for someone elseís sins?  How can the barbaric treatment of one man have anything at all to do with the original sin or sins in general?  No one can be punished for someone elseís wrongs, and a loving God would not require such a gruesome act upon any person.

8.        Jesus himself said several times that he would return ďsoon,Ē within the lifetime of those he spoke to, but two-thousand years later weíre still waiting.

9.        Believers rely much upon using predictions as evidence the Bible is inspired, but it can readily be shown that dozens of predictions and prophecies where never fulfilled, and those that were, may have been edited in at a later time or simply written after the event occurred.

10.     The general tenets of the Bible are obviously mythological in nature, even if many accounts and people are actual.  The basic tenets are as follows:  God creates everything including humans, humans sin thus causing all the problems we must live with, bad people descend from the sinners, the bad people are destroyed by a huge flood except for one good family (Why should there have only been one good family?), God demands sacrifices throughout the bible, Godís own son becomes the perfect sacrifice that will make up for humansí original sin, there will be a huge final war that will destroy the world as we know it. Godís son will then return, and we will live happily ever after in paradise (at least for those who believe this bizarre story).  How is this story any different from other ancient mythology?  Please read some of the following for similarities:

Compare the Bible to Greek creation myths:

The ancient Greek Culture 2000 BCE to about 50 BCE

About 1200 BCE., the residents of, what we would call, Greece and Asia Minor shared a common belief in a group of deities that came to be known as The Olympians.  They can be traced to three main sources: Homer, Hesiod and The Homeric Hymns, circa 800 BCE. http://www.messagenet.com/myths/essays/origins.html

In the beginning, Chaos, an amorphous, gaping void encompassing the entire universe, ... Eurynome separated the sky from the sea by dancing on the waves of Oceanus.

In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, the earth appeared.

Prometheus had assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth their various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did (in our image) and to give them fire.

Hephaestus, fashion a wicked but beautiful creature to torment Prometheus. It was a woman, whom they named Pandora, which means "all gifts". She was given a precious and beautiful box, which she was told not to open, but curiosity got the better of her, and out flew "all the evils that plague men." The only "gift" that stayed in the box was "Hope".

In the classic Greek myths, the gods flooded the world and destroyed the human race because of its wickedness. However, Deucalion and his wife were granted safe passage through the destruction by building and provisioning an enormous wooden chest, after which they repopulated the world by throwing over their shoulders stones, which were magically transformed into people.  Deucalion was also strongly associated with the vine as indeed, was Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine and vegetation in general.  A common theme in classical Greek art and myth was that of `Dionysus at sea', sailing in his boat with grapes hanging from the rigging.  Also ancient Greek hymns describe a boat crowded with animals.

Every myth, Greek or otherwise, that has ever been told or written, varies in the telling. The basic themes are repeated in many of them, but details, even story lines will differ considerably, from village to village, eon to eon.

When one understands that the myths have been told for many centuries before being written down, which first occurred about 800 BCE, one can relish the differences in the tellings and enjoy the Greek's brilliant and artful imagination throughout the ages.

Compare the Bible to Sumerian creation myths:

The ancient Sumerian Culture 3500 BCE to about 1900 BCE

Sumerian myths dates to at least pre 2500 BCE -- long before any date given to the writing of Genesis

Sumerian has stories similar to Genesis 1-11. Some the important texts are: Eridu Genesis which parallels Genesis 1-11, The Sumerian King List which is similar to Genesis 5, The Sumerian Flood Story, The Song of the Hoe which tells about the creation of the world and man, Enki and Ninmah which is the earliest text dealing with man's creation, Emerkar and the Lord of Aratta which deals with times before civilization began.

The "earth" in the Eridu Genesis is not the globe. Rather, Genesis speaks of God using pillars (buckling of the land) to raise the earth or fruitful place up between the liquid waters and the waters in the atmosphere. This fruitful place or earth created a place where animal and plant life could exist. If man can evolve from matter, then the ancient mind would say that the gods can also evolve. And in the ancient literature they do, based upon the "survival of the fitest."

The Eridu Genesis is a Sumerian text. It covers the creation of the world, invention of cities and the flood. After the universe was created out of the chaos of the sea, the gods evolved and they in turn created mankind to farm, herd and worship them. Cities and kingship was created but the gods decided to destroy mankind with a flood. Ziusudra (Upnapishtim) from Eridu was instructed by Enki (Ea) to build a boat to survive the flood blown up by Enlil. After the flood he worshipped (prostrated) himself before An (Anu) and Enlil (Bel) and was given immortality for his godly life.

In one Sumerian myth the goddess Ninhursag created a beautiful garden full of lush vegetation and fruit trees, called Edinu, in Dilman, the Sumerian earthly Paradise, a place which the Sumerians believed to exist to the east of their own land, beyond the sea. Ninhursag charged Enki, her lover, with controlling the wild animals and tending the garden, but Enki became curious about the garden and his assistant, Adapa, selected seven plants and offered them to Enki, who ate them. (In other versions of the story he seduced in turn seven generations of the offspring of his divine marriage with Ninhursag). This enranged Ninhursag, and she caused Enki to fall ill. Enki felt pain in his rib, which is a pun in Sumerian, as the word "ti" means both "rib" and "life. The other gods persuaded Ninhursag to relent. Ninhursag then created a new goddess named Ninti, (a name made up of "Nin", or "lady", plus "ti", and which can be translated as both Lady of Living and Lady of the Rib), to cure Enki. Ninhursag is known as mother of all living creatures, and thus holds the same position as Eve. The story has a clear parallel with Eve's creation from Adam's rib, but given that the pun with rib is present only in Sumerian, linguistic criticism places the Sumerian account as the more ancient.

Compare the Bible to Babylonian creation myths:

The ancient Babylonian Culture 1900 BCE to about 500 BCE (was in many was a continuation of the Sumerian culture).

Enuma Elish ~ EnŻma Elish has existed in various versions and copies, the oldest probably dating to at least 1700 B.C.E.

The Babylonian "Epic of Creation -- Enuma Elish" is written on seven tablets.  Ötexts that were not unlike the Genesis creation in the Bible. However, it is generally accepted that the Enuma Elish was written during the time of the Sumerians, well before the book of Genesis. George Smith first published these texts in 1876 under the title The Chaldean Genesis.

The Babylonian God finished his work within the span of six tablets of stone. The last and seventh stone exalted the handiwork and greatness of the deity's work. Thus the comparison must be made that the seven days of creation found in the Bible borrowed its theme from the Babylonians, who had borrowed it from the Sumerians.

The Sumerian epic places Anu, Enil and Ninurta as the heroes. The Babylonian epic stars Marduk. Some portions of the tablets are illegible.]

Comparison of Bible's 1st Creation Story with Babylonian Creation Story

The Babylonian creation story is called by its first two words "Enuma Elish." According to archeologists, it was originally written circa 1120 BCE. It was discovered in 1875 CE. It bears many points of similarity to the first creation story in the Bible:

Item

Jewish Creation Story

Babylonian Creation Story

Source

Genesis 1:1 to 2:3

Enuma Elish

Date of writing (liberal belief)

8th or 9th century BCE

Late 12th century BCE (this is probably the date of the actual tablets that are stored in London.  The myth itself goes back to at least 1700 BCE.)

Date of writing (conservative belief)

13th century BCE, the time of Moses

Same as above.

Author (liberal belief)

"P," authors of the Priestly tradition.

Unknown.

Author (conservative belief)

Moses.

Unknown.

Creator(s) of the universe

A single God, YHVH.

A God battling a Goddess.

Initial state of the earth

Desolate waste; covered in darkness.

Chaos; enveloped in darkness.

First development

Light created.

Light created.

Next development

Firmament created - a rigid dome over the earth separating the earth and heaven.

Firmament created; also perceived as a rigid dome.

Next development

Dry land created.

Dry land created.

Next development

Sun, moon, stars created.

Sun, moon, stars created.

Next development

Creation of men and women.

Creation of men and women.

Final development

God rests and sanctify the Sabbath.

Gods rest and celebrate.

The Story of Lilith

In the original Babylonian myth, the Gods created the first people: a man and his wife Lilith. The Gods cast Lilith out of the garden because of a variety of transgressions. She retained her immortality and was believed to come awake only during the night and to feed on the blood of children and animals.  Eve was then created as the second wife. This ancient myth was adopted by the Jewish J tradition and inserted into Genesis, Chapter 1 circa 550 BCE. They stripped out the references to the first wife. Lilith is now only seen in Isaiah 34:14 where her name is variously translated "screech owl", "night monster" or "night hag".

The Alphabet of Ben Sira is the earliest form we know of the Lilith legend familiar to most people (that is, to most people who are familiar with Lilith at all). It is here that we find Lilith as Adam's first wife. Scholars tend to date the Alphabet between the 8th and 10th centuries, BCE. Whether the story itself is older, or, if so, how much older is not possible to say. Amulets like the one described in the first paragraph are, of course, much older. The author of the Zohar, R. Moses de Leon, was aware of the Alphabet's version of Lilith, at least according to Gershom Scholem (Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, p. 174), but he also knows other, probably older, Lilith traditions which do not mesh well with this one. No attempt is made, apparently, to harmonize them. For one of these other traditions, and comments on whether the author was familiar with the Alphabet, see Treatise on the Left Emanation. The idea of Eve having a predecessor is also not new to Ben Sira, and can be found in Genesis Rabbah . But those traditions make no mention of Lilith, and, in fact, do not mesh well with Ben Sira's version of the story. [AH]

"The angles who are in charge of medicine: Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof. After God created Adam, who was alone, He said, 'It is not good for man to be alone' (Gen. 2:18). He then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as He had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while am to be in the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.' (Eve was made from Adamís rib to show equality) But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air. Adam stood in prayer before his Creator: 'Sovereign of the universe!' he said, 'the woman you gave me has run away.' At once, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent these three angles to bring her back.

"Said the Holy One to Adam, 'If she agrees to come back, fine. If not she must permit one hundred of her children to die every day.' The angels left God and pursued Lilith, whom they overtook in the midst of the sea, in the mighty waters wherein the Egyptians were destined to drown. They told her God's word, but she did not wish to return. The angels said, 'We shall drown you in the sea.'

"The authors of Genesis seem have picked up part of their story from Hindu legends of the creation and early history of humanity. Stories of Hindu heroes Adimo, Heva, Sherma, Hama and Jiapheta apparently were replicated into legends about Adam, Eve, [...]"

Genesis 1:1 to 2:3: This was written by an anonymous writer or group of writers from the 6th Century BCE, generally referred to as "P."  He/they were of the priestly tradition. Most religious liberals believe that the first creation story in Genesis was based upon an earlier Babylonian Pagan myth of origins.

Genesis 2:4a: This was written by an anonymous writer, called "R," a redactor who joined the writings of "p," "J" and two other writers or groups of writers into the present Pentateuch.

Genesis 2:4b to 2:15: This was written by "J," an anonymous writer or group of writers who lived in the sourthern kingdom of Judah, and wrote parts of the Pentateuch between 848 BCE (when King Jehoram gained power in Judah) and 722 BCE when the Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, taking its people into exile. Some scholars date J to the 10th century BCE.

How did Sumerian mythology get into the Bible?  Abraham was the patriarch of the Judeo-Christian religion as well as Islam.  The Bible itself says he was born in the Sumerian city of Ur, in the southern region of Mesopotamian.  "The world in which Abraham lived. According to the Biblical chronology adopted in this dictionary Abraham was born in 1950 b.c. left Haran for Canaan after the death of his father in 1875 b.c., visited Egypt between 1875 and 1864 b.c., and died in 1775 b.c. after having lived in Canaan for 100 years. He was born in Ur in southern Mesopotamia during the Neo-Sumerian period. In about 1960 b.c."  What more does a person need to show a connection?  In addition, the entire Sumerian Empire  lasted from 3500 to 1900 BCE.  The earliest date given for the writing of Genesis is about 1450 BCE.  Since the Sumerian empire ceased to exist more than 400 years before the oldest date given for Genesis being written, there is no doubt that any Sumerian myth is at least 400 years older than the Genesis account.  Actually many of the Sumerian myths are from before 2500 BCE, over 1,000 years previous to Genesis.   Also, the date 1450 BCE for the possible oldest writing date of Genesis comes about one-third the way into the Babylonian Empire, allowing 450 of  Babylonian mythology to have influenced the Bible in addition to Sumerian myth.  The Babylonian Empire lasted from about 1900 to 500 BCE. 

One must also keep in mind that the date of around 1450 BCE is given to the writing of Genesis because this would have been the time of Moses.  However, there is speculation if Moses was even a real person and it is clear that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two separate accounts, quite dissimilar and written by two different people.  That being the case, it would have been impossible for Moses to have written both accounts, or unlikely he wrote Genesis at all.  When Genesis in analyzed on its own, without having to attach it to Moses, the date of its writing is often placed many centuries later.

Some Christians argue that the accounts in Genesis were handed down through the generations finding their way from Adam to Noah and eventually to Moses who just transcribed them around 1450 BCE.  Thus, the true historicity of Genesis predates any other civilization's myths and served as their basis.  Furthermore, that ancient societies tend to elaborate myth rather than simplify as time goes by, and that older myth is in fact simpler than later versions of the same stories.  For an interesting discussion along these lines, please see  http://www.british-israel.ca/Genesis.htm

This is an interesting concept, and if one were to believe the Bible accounts to be true, it would be reasonable.  However, Adam and Eve could not have known anything about the details of the creation that preceded them, so they could not have passed those details along.  We would have to believe that Moses had both: accounts handed down to him about the lives of Adam and Eve, and divine inspiration to fill-in the details of creation.  We would also have to assume that the account of the Garden of Eden somehow got to Moses without all the elaboration that one finds in the ancient mythologies.

The principle of parsimony requires that one accept the simplest explanation, eliminating needless assumptions.  If we assume Adam and Eve actually existed, we still cannot ignore that Abraham was a Sumerian from the city of Ur, making a solid bridge between the mythology of of Sumerians and the Bible.   Nor, can we ignore that the Sumerian word "ti" clearly established a relationship between "rib" and "life," which could have easily provided the bases for Eve being created from Adam's rib.  However, if we believe that Sumerian mythology influenced the creation account in Genesis, we can ignore the existence of Adam and Eve and the assumption that they handed the accounts down through the ages, since those things are less certain to be true and add needless assumptions.  Occam's razor cuts Adam and Eve out along with the handed-down theory. 

 

Clear reasons why a fundamentalists view of the Bible cannot be correct

by ~ Brother Mark

Creation ~ There can be no doubt that there is something to evolution, even if certain aspects are difficult to envision.  If evolution has not occurred there would be no evidence at all.  Even fundamentalists accept that micro-evolution occurs.  One must wonder then if there can be small changes, why not large?  And, if micro-evolution occurs why doesnít the Bible make mention of it? 

Original sin ~ Couldnít have actually happened because everything that Adam and Eve had to base their decision on came directly from God.  God not having any responsibility is not logically possible.  This is self-contradictory.  It constitutes an impossible paradox where somehow the designer is not responsible for the design, or that the design can behave outside of its design characteristics.  Furthermore, punishment is about behavior change, not about what is just somehow deserved, and there was no intent to change Adam and Eveís behavior in the story. 

Noahís Ark ~ Not a logical self-contradiction, but simply absurd.  Imagining representatives of all the animals where somehow gathered to go on the Ark is just clearly fable.  And, how would they all have gotten off the mountain to travel to all the various places in the world?  Itís just not possible.  Absurd things donít happen.

The Tower of Babel ~ We know that humans invent languages.  No linguist in the world would support the notion that the various languages came from Babel.

Christís redemptive crucifixion ~ Nerves are to protect us from harm, not to serve as a source of punishment.  No God would abuse his own creation in such a way.  Also, no one can suffer for someone else.  Punishment is about behavior change and punishing the wrong person does not bring about behavior change.

Revelation and the Apocalypse ~ This is dooms-day thinking.  Itís not going to happen and is destructive to human thought in that it teaches us that things will never get better, but only worse.  Itís a ridiculous story that undermines motivation for future human achievement.

Itís a sin to believe in ridiculous things because it distorts logical thought.  Itís an abuse of the mind.  It is logical thought that advances us.