In Brief—The author discusses the Bible and points out the reasons that it presents a human-devised God and argues that neither Moses nor Jesus, the Christ, existed historically.
Maybe it’s the sign I wear around my neck, “Please Evangelize Me!” Some years back I was sitting quietly at the bus stop with my newly-purchased bag of groceries in my lap when a young lady joined me and immediately began sharing her devotion to Jesus with me. I listened politely until I could no longer resist temptation. I guess the Devil made me do it. “I’m an atheist and believe that Jesus did not exist as a human,” I said. Momentarily stopped, she then raised her voice a few decibels and really set in. “ But the Bible says he did.” Wow! Was that proof positive or what? To me, it’s like citing DC Comics as proof that Superman exists.
The Old Testament Mythology—
It seems a good time to take an objective look at the Bible, the holy book of Judaism and Christianity. The facts presented will necessarily be brief. There are libraries full of books dealing with the points I make, and I encourage those who are interested in the subject to read some of the books that challenge your belief system. (Good luck with that!)
And man created God in his own image—
The Old Testament is the Hebrew Bible with the first five books making up the Torah. It was written, edited and compiled by credulous men who were members of what is said to be the oldest of the monotheistic religions that emerged in the Bronze Age about 3,000 years ago. It is the initial part of the Christian Bible that is made up of the Old and New Testaments.
What shall I say of the myth of Adam And Eve? The Old Testament relates the story of the creation of humankind and how the female tempted the male to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. If we accept that interpretation, it is clear that knowledge is forbidden by God in favor of ignorance. Some modern biblical scholars tell us that those ignorant men wrote about Adam and Eve intending that they be symbols for the development of humans. They use today’s knowledge to rationalize what was in the heads of the men who wrote of the appearance of humans on Earth. Remember that these were credulous men who lived some three thousand years ago and believed that God had placed two contemporary humans (in God’s image) in the Garden of Eden. Folks, this is a myth!
According to the Old Testament, Moses is alleged to have received the Ten Commandments from God after God engraved them on stone tablets on Mt. Sinai. There is a total lack of evidence that Moses even existed or that he led the Israelites out of Egypt. In short, Moses is a myth as is the belief that the Israelites wandered for forty years in the desert.
Assuming that most readers are only vaguely familiar with the Ten Commandments and are unable to recite all of them, I invite you to read them. What you will find is a God that is insecure along with some common sense rules that have existed for millennia before Judaism came along. The Ten Commandments reveal a god that is like the men who created him.
What are the characteristics of the God described in the Old Testament? Well, let’s just say that it is not the God that fundamentalist Christians want us to believe in. This is a vindictive God who calls for the murder of enemies, that commands his followers to slay infants, that tests Abraham’s faith in him by ordering Abraham to kill his own beloved son, Isaac. Those Christians who cite the Bible as the cornerstone of their belief but are selective in what they choose to believe are often referred to as Cafeteria Christians, choosing those parts of the Bible they believe in while rejecting others.
The Mythology of Jesus, the Christ—
Now let’s turn to Jesus, the Christ (“Messiah”), to whom the young lady at the bus stop was so devoted.
Put bluntly and realistically, there is no credible evidence that the Jesus of the Judeo-Christian Bible ever existed in the flesh. Rather, the evidence points to Paul (Saul of Tarsus), a Jew and Roman citizen, as borrowing from the earlier pagan belief systems to create a son of God who lives in heaven with God, not on Earth as a human. It was later converts to the monotheistic Christianity who transformed Paul’s heavenly son of God into a flesh-and-blood human giving other credulous converts a Jesus to whom they could relate. I suggest you read The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty for greater detail. He points out that, among many other facts presented, the Judeo-Christian Bible did not just spring into being whole, but was based on the myths of pre-existing “pagan” religions.
The Jesus of the Bible as well as his mother, Mary, reflect the myths of those earlier pagan religions: God’s implantation of his seed in a mortal woman, the virgin birth, the son of a God, and the dead son arising from the grave, for example.
Josephus, a Roman Jew, is often referred to as confirming that Jesus actually lived and preached in the Middle East. Aside from the fact that Josephus is alleged to have written about as many as twenty men named Jesus and that his accounts are at a minimum hearsay and rumor, he never met the Jesus of whom he has allegedly written, and the authenticity of those writings attributed to Josephus has been questioned by a number of biblical scholars. Put clearly, it is wise to disregard the writings of Josephus as proof that Jesus, the Christ, ever existed.
The Gospels of the New Testament are believed to confirm the historical Jesus, but the Gospels were written by biased believers at least half a century or more after the presumed death of Jesus. More importantly, the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John totally omit important details of the life of Jesus while reputedly using Mark’s account as the pattern and differing significantly from that account. Scholarly study reveals that the Gospels may even have been written and edited by a number of men other than the reputed authors.
A recent discovery of a scrap of papyrus suggesting that Jesus was married has already been challenged on the basis of tests showing that the writing probably took place about nine hundred to a thousand years after Jesus was said to have lived. Indeed, the evidence indicates that it is a forgery.
Finally, for those whose faith says Jesus was a historical personage despite the evidence that he was a product of Paul’s imagination, I have some bad news for you.
The Bethlehem manger story is a myth that doesn’t stand up to history. The star that purportedly guided the magi to the manger has been variously described as 1) a fable; 2) a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn; 3) the planet Venus; 4) a comet; 5) a supernova. The birth of Jesus is said by biblical scholars to have taken place somewhere between April and September. Jesus was NOT born in December, but that date was picked by the early church fathers because they wanted to piggy-back on the well-established pagan celebration of the winter solstice. And these findings are from those researchers who accept the historicity of Jesus.
If you think that my recital of the facts is too abbreviated and biased, I will tell you that whole books have been written on the subjects mentioned and, besides, I have been told that my blog pieces are too long as it is.
I suggest that doubters read the books available on the subject…and I don’t mean the books that confirm their belief. Suffice it to say that while parts of the Bible are considered to be lyrical literature, most of it is beyond mind-numbing and all of it is propaganda and mythology.