The bible is called the Good book by many Christians. Many Christians say that we should take its words literally. Although there are many good things written there, there are far more bad things and also many contradictions. Parts of the bible say things that flatly contradict what is said elsewhere. So many modern Christians say we should take the bible as an indication or guide of god's teachings. That's a convenient cop-out - how do we know which things to ignore or "interpret"? Catholics would say that the Pope knows and picks out the correct bits. Others have only their pastor to look to.
To see how big a problem this is, it's useful to have a look at just how many things the bible got wrong. So below is an extract from a Humanist pamphlet written by Jason Curry which lists a few.
So what does the Bible tell us?
Who should we kill? ?
- Homosexuals (Lev.20:13, Rom.1:26-32)
- Adulterers (Lev.20:10, Deut.22:22)
- Disobedient children (Deut.21:20-21, Lev.20:9, Exod.21:15)
- Women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deut.22:13-21)
- All non-Christians (parable told by Christ - Luke.19:27)
- Those accused of wickedness by at least two people (Deut.17:2-7)
- Anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exod.35:2-3, Num.15:32-6) (not even to kindle a fire, and no exclusion for ambulance drivers)
- It is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1Cor.14:34-5)
- A man must OK his wife´s words if they are to have force (Num.30:8)
- A woman must not teach or hold authority over a man (1Tim.2:12)
- Lot saves the messengers from the men of Sodom by offering up his virgin daughters to ´do to them as you please´ (Gen.19:8) Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself every girl who has never slept with a man (Moses - Num.31:17-8)
- God supports slavery (Lev.25:44-6, Exod.21:2-8, Eph.6:5, Col.3:22)
- Instructions on how to sell your daughter as a slave (Exod.21:7-8)
- When to give your slaves severe or light beatings (Luke.12:42-8)
- OK to beat slaves only if they don´t die within 2 days (Exod.21:20-1)
- How to mark your slave: drive an awl through its ear (Deut.15:17)
- It´s best if all people remain unmarried. Marriage is a lesser-of-two-evils compromise for Christians too weak to resist their sexual urges, for it is better to marry than to burn. (Paul - 1Cor.7:1-2, 8-9, 25-6, 38)
- The rapist of an unwed woman must buy her and make her his wife (apparently a far more 'holy' union than a genuine, loving same-sex relationship) - Deut.22:28-9
- If a man suspects his wife of cheating he can serve her a cursed drink; if she becomes deformed, then that proves her guilt (Num.5:12-31)
- 42 children killed by bears for calling a prophet baldy (2King.2:23-4)
- OK to beat your children with a rod - it won't kill them (Prov.23:13-4)
- God commits, orders, or endorses every form of atrocity known to man (pretty much pick a page of the Old Testament at random)
Do the Old Testament laws still apply?
- Every jot and tittle (Christ Matt.5:17-9)
Christ, what a role model!
- Christ tells us we must hate our entire family, and even our own life, if we want to be one of His disciples (Luke.14:26)
- Those who abandon their families will be rewarded (Matt.19:29)
- ´For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother... And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.´ (Christ - Matt.10:35-6)
- I came not to send peace, but a sword (Christ - Matt.10:34)
- If you don´t have a sword, sell your clothes to buy one (Luke.22:36)
- Curses fig tree for not bearing fruit in off-season (Mark.11:12-4, 20-1)
- Didn´t want to help girl because she was a ´dog´ gentile (Matt.15:22-8)
Of course there are several good passages in the Bible, the ones that are carefully selected by your minister for Sunday readings. But (and pardon the analogy) if you find some chocolate in a pile of dung you don´t eat it, right? No. The good is tainted by the bad that surrounds it.
And even the "good" is not so good on a second look. Have a look at this (funny) video showing that the story of the Good Samaritan is racist.
And for a list of contradictions in the bible, click here.