The Bible Is Not Always Right

Do you truly follow everything the bible says, or ignore the contradictions?

the BibleI’d like to pose a question to the many people who take the bible literally; would you follow the laws and enforce them as they stand? You might want to think twice before you say sure. The bible is not always right.

When you say “The Bible is the true word of God” you are not making a factual claim. The Bible is an amalgamation of Bronze and Iron Age mythologies from both Hebrew and later Christian sources. The stories in themselves do not contain a unitary ideal or direction, and were not written to be included in a collection. Each tale told was meant to stand on its own, in terms of the lessons and laws concocted from each verse.

Understand that while the bible does give some uplifting stories and ideals from which to draw a central morality from, it also contains many tales that contradict the central “moral” ideals. There are just as many central ideals that are archaic and specific only to a certain period of time, as there are ideals of what is good.

The bible contradicts itself many times, sometimes in the same books. For example, take the 10 Commandments. Here we have ten laws enshrined by the creator of the universe himself, one of them being (the most prolific) Thou Shalt Not Kill (or Murder depending on interpretation). Keep in mind this is the one Christians trot out the most as a signifier that God himself created the 10 Commandments and hence created morality itself.

For starters, Thou Shalt Not Kill is not even the first (or considered most important) of the commandments. Thou Shalt Not Kill is number six on the list of ten. The first five commandments have almost nothing to do with morality. The most important commandment (and listed first) is to not worship any other gods except Yahweh. The second commands not to make any graven images. The third states not to take the lord’s name in vain. The fourth commands to worship on the Sabbath Day (Sunday). Number five states to honor thy father and thy mother.

It isn’t until the sixth commandment that we finally start addressing what we would know as moral issues. The first four commandments are specifically about human conduct towards Yahweh, not about human behavior towards other humans. Number six duly states Thou Shalt Not Kill. Number Seven states Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. Number Eight says Thou Shalt Not Steal. Number Nine says Though Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor. Number Ten is Thou Shalt Not Covet.

I’m going to focus on Number Six. Thou Shalt Not Kill. Keep in mind, this was a law enshrined in stone by God himself. The Bedrock of religious monotheistic morality. However, as God enshrined the Commandments, some of the Hebrews were supposedly worshiping the Golden Calf (probably a metaphor for the Canaanite God Ba’al, whose avatar was a bull).

All those worshiping the calf were ordered to be put to death, and were. Those who did not keep to the Sabbath were also ordered to die. A couple generations after the supposed death of Moses, the Israelites went into the lands of Canaan and the Amalekites. They were commanded by God to slaughter them all, destroy their cities, and even to kill their livestock. We all have to be afraid of livestock coming back to take revenge.

Pay attention here. On the one hand, you say you follow The Bible as the literal word of God. But I have just demonstrated a major hole in your book, and this example persists throughout the texts. God on the one hand says killing is a sin, yet on the other hand says killing can be okay as long as God himself says so. We are given a complicated moral picture with the bible. It only goes to show that the bible books were not written to complete agreement with each other. If the Bible is contradictory, how can it be the true word of God? God is either fallible, or the bible is not a holy word of the creator of the universe and is no more true than the Iliad or the Odyssey.

I could go on all day about it, but the question is plain and simple. If you say you subscribe to the idea that every word of the biblethe bible is true and just because “it’s the word of God”, then you have to accept responsibility for the idea that if you willingly choose to embrace the entire bible, you need to read what it says very carefully.

The bible states that touching pig is a sin, eating shellfish is a sin, cheating on your wife is a sin, wearing clothes woven of different fabrics is a sin, planting different crops in the same field is a sin. How many self-proclaimed Christians follow those tracts in the bible and support what I listed. Football, seafood, current clothing lines, politicians? The NFL wouldn’t exist, my hometown of New Orleans couldn’t eat Crawdads, all of our current clothes would have to be destroyed, and most elected officials would be out due to a scandal.

Most importantly, would you be willing to enforce the penalties of those laws which are clearly defined. Take homosexuality for example. Bible says that homosexuals should be stoned to death. If the day came where they could be stoned again by law, would you pick up the first stone and use it? Would you really be willing to go through with it?

Could you look someone in their eyes and smash them to death with rocks? Bible says that’s what must be done, yet how many of you would be that heartless as to believe that being gay means you need to die? Perhaps more of you than I want to believe. Man always sees his ideal as the Resurrection of Christ, yet the reality seems to lead more towards Auschwitz.

Many of you Christians claim that you worship the bible as a whole, rather than say just the Old or New Testaments. I say this because every time I point out the contradictory laws and edicts the bible holds, the standard response is, “well, that’s the Old Testament. That doesn’t count anymore because of Jesus.” However, homosexuality still matters to you even though the statute against it is in Leviticus which is located in the Old Testament.

The central point I am making is that the Bible is Not Always Right. It is a loose collection of stories, parables, and psalm verses which were heavily edited by Constantine and the Council of Nicea. The stories had various authors, who often held countering views. Jesus says this, but Leviticus and Deuteronomy say something completely different. If the bible is indeed the complete word of God, how can you pick and choose which is more important and which is not? How could you even decide the importance of a book? Its all God’s word right?

http://americanhumanist.org/humanism/Some_Reasons_Why_Humanists_Reject_the_Bible

http://www.alternet.org/progressive-wire/transgender-woman-right-wing-councilman-your-bible-talk-smoke-screen-personal

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Julian Drury

Column Writer
Student, Writer, resident of New Orleans, and Staunch Progressive. Helping to advance progressive causes, one post at a time.

5 Comments on “The Bible Is Not Always Right

  1. Pingback: The Conservative Platform : Quiet Mike

  2. Exodus Chapter 20 verses 1 to 17 maybe the traditional Ten Commandments, however, in Exodus chapter 34 verse 28 in many versions of the Bible, clearly states the verses 12 through 28 compose the “Ten Commandments”.

  3. As a Bible believer and follower, it is not easy to justify or understand the OT laws, stories, and so forth. I generally rationalize that it was a different time, thus a different type of law was required. And when the NT time rolled around, Jesus declared that there were two laws, Love God, Love your neighbor. If we prosecuted adulterers, and other sinners as was done in OT time, there would be few of us left. And as you asked, who would pick up the first stone? Certainly not myself.

    With all that said, I believe that my life is better for knowing and trying to follow Bible instruction. I know many people who live “better” than I, without the Bible. But it works for me. Many scoff at the health laws of the OT, but if the world followed them a majority of disease and illness would be eradicated (laws of cleanliness, separating the diseased from the population, sewage handling, not eating pork, eating only fish with scales, eating a grain/fruit/vegetable based diet, moderation in all things, and so forth). Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of accurate and helpful science in the Bible. All said in my humble opinion!

  4. Excellent article. Fundamentalists who cherry-pick give me a headache. There is just no way to argue with them.

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