Christians are taught that their Bible is the revealed word of God. As such, Christians also believe that the Bible is absolute and infallible. But the Bible is chocked full of gross inaccuracies and contradictions. If God were real (and omniscient / omnipotent) then why would He have told His authors all these wildly inaccurate stories? Why would He lie to the people He depended upon to tell His story? The obvious explanation is: God didn’t do it. Sorry Christians, but the Bible is a collection of fables written by primitive men trying explain events they did not understand. Many parts of the Bible are plagiarized from earlier legends. And many of those legends in fact have Pagan roots.
The story of Christ’s death and resurrection for example is most likely based upon the legend of Ishtar. This story predates the Crucifixion by roughly two thousand years. But whether biblical tales are original works or plagiarized from earlier myths, many of them are unsupportable by modern science or plain old common sense. Let’s look at a few of these tales from a fresh perspective and see how they hold up…
God Invents Daylight Savings Time
Joshua and his army were busy raiding and killing (apparently he was really good at this) but they were running out of daylight. So, he asked God to keep the sun from setting until he had time to kill all those pesky women and children. And of course, his prayers were answered.
JOSHUA 10: 12-13
12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
In the time Joshua supposedly existed, Man had no knowledge of astronomy. Primitive men looked at the sky and saw the sun’s “movement” and assumed that’s exactly what was happening. At the time it was a reasonable assumption, given that they had no clue about the Earth’s rotation.
Nowadays, thanks to science and in spite of the Catholic Church’s attempts to “protect” us from heresy, we know that the sun’s “movement” across the sky is due to Earth’s rotation. Therefore, we also know that the only way to stop the sun in the sky would be to stop that rotation. Friends, we wouldn’t want that to happen.
At the Equator, Earth’s rotational speed is 1,037 miles per hour. We don’t feel it because we’re moving with it. But what if that rotation suddenly stopped? Imagine placing a cup of coffee on your dashboard while traveling 70 mph. What happens if you hit the brakes? The coffee cup goes flying. The car stopped moving, but the coffee did not.
Now imagine a sudden stop of Earth’s rotation of over a thousand miles per hour. Oceans would be hurled from their depths. Entire mountain ranges would topple. Cities would be flattened. People and animals would be flung hundreds of miles to their deaths. The atmosphere would keep moving, too. Imagine 1000+ mph winds. That’s more than 10 times hurricane strength.
The tectonic plates beneath us would twist and literally rip continents apart. The North American Continent would split right down the middle. A huge rift would open along the border of India and Pakistan. Our world would rip itself apart and nothing, not even bacteria, would survive.
Now, if God was who the Bible says He is, He’d have known all that and told Joshua to just wait for a day. The fact that this is not the case makes it plainly evident that the Bible was not Divinely inspired. Instead, it indicates the ignorance of the primitive people who wrote these fables for who knows what reasons. And I don’t use “ignorance” in a derogatory manner here (I’ll do that later). As I said above, they simply did not have the knowledge to understand the workings of the universe in those times.
Jonah and the Giant Fish (or Whale if You Prefer)
OK first let’s clear up the whale / fish issue.
Although the word “whale” is often used in English versions of the Jonah story, the Hebrew text actually uses the phrase dag gadol, which means “giant fish”.
–From Wikipedia article on the subject
In the scriptures, “whale” and “fish” are both used to describe Jonah’s plight. The words are interchangeable in ancient Hebrew since they didn’t know whales were mammals.
Jonah, so the story goes, disobeyed a command from God to preach to the people of Nineveh. Jonah was fearful of visiting the city as these were vile enemies of Israel. Instead he booked passage on a ship directly away from Nineveh. God was sufficiently angry that He sent a storm to engulf the ship, and the crew cast Jonah overboard.
Jonah was swallowed by a monstrous fish and remained in its belly for three days. The fish then vomited him up on a beach and a thoroughly chastened Jonah proceeded post-haste to Nineveh to follow God’s instructions.
So can this happen? It’s barely possible that a smallish human might be swallowed by a fish. Even the largest fish have a tiny esophagus (a couple of inches wide) that only accommodates their natural diets. Some toothed whales can swallow a human, but then we get to the question of survival.
Assuming that Jonah survived the horrific (to him) muscular contractions of being swallowed, he then found himself in the creature’s stomach. Lots of nasty digestive enzymes in there. Jonah would have been dead in seconds. So no, he would not have traveled three days inside a fish.
But there are other theories regarding Jonah. One is that the ship was sailing under the constellation Cetus (“Great Fish”). Ancient mariners referred to this as “sailing into the belly of the fish.” Perhaps either the ship sank in a storm or perhaps the crew did in fact toss him overboard for some reason. And then he floated for three days before being washed ashore. Hence, one could say he spent three days trapped in the belly of a great fish. Unlikely, but no more so than the ridiculous story in the Bible.
Another theory is that the whole book of Jonah is satire and was not intended to be taken seriously. If true, that would make it a good fit for inclusion in the Bible. Either way, it becomes obvious that the biblical story of Jonah is a fable. It did not happen because it could not happen. Knowledge of how nature works proves the story false.
We all know the story. God instructed Noah to build this monstrous (for the time) boat and load two of all the world’s animals inside along with sufficient food, water and kitty litter to sustain them all for over a year. And according to some Creationists there were also dinosaurs on the ark. You know, because dinosaurs haven’t been extinct for 65 million years because the universe is less than 10,000 years old. So take THAT you silly scientists!
Let’s list some of the reasons why this is all quite impossible…
- There is physically not enough water on the planet to put the mountains underwater. Yes, the Bible says a lot of the water came from underground. But that begs the question of how it suddenly came spewing forth to cover the world. Maybe it was oilfield salt water? But no. Given the amount of toxins in oilfield salt water (like hydrogen sulfide gas), even after it’s diluted by fresh water, the soil would have remained contaminated for decades or more. And let’s not forget that such an event would have sent seawater flowing over the planet as well. No hydrogen sulfide but the salt content would have ruined the soil. Most Creationists have at least dismissed the possibility of a watery canopy above the atmosphere (one explanation of “the firmament”). Progress at last!
- Noah and company were on the ark for about a year. Does anyone think there would not have been disease? All that filth from all those animals and unwashed humans? They’d have been dead in a few months at most.
- How did the animals get to Noah? You know, like kangaroos from Australia and penguins from Antarctica? Some creationists dreamed up this idea of a land bridge, while others say the continents were “different” before the flood.
- The Biblical Flood myth is rooted in and predated by the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” which is itself rooted is an earlier Sumerian flood myth. It’s just one story among many. And a number of cultures have historical records predating the Biblical flood by centuries. And there is no mention of them being wiped out by a global flood. There is a record of a catastrophic flood in ancient China within a few centuries of Noah’s story. But they survived it. Instead of being wiped out they built levees, dredged rivers and streams and moved to higher ground.
- After the flood, there were six humans left alive in the world. That was what, like 4000 years ago? And now there are over 7 billion people scattered all over the world. The sheer number of people, plus the racial diversity means that no, it didn’t happen.
This is a prime example of how a story “grows in the telling.” Evidence suggests that a catastrophic local flood did indeed take place. And for the people of that time, it was doubtful they knew of anything outside of their immediate area. So from their perspective this very well could have been the whole world being flooded. And yes, maybe some guy named Noah loaded his livestock on a barge to save them from drowning. Like I said, stories grow in the telling.
In my opinion, this is the grandest of all the biblical fables. It represents so many good things – the resilience of the human spirit, our natural desire for freedom, etc. But it also is a violent tale, especially once the Israelites reach their Promised Land. But we covered Joshua’s savagery above.
“…I’m not trying to say that: now, I have proven that the Bible is authoritative, is historically accurate — of course not. You still have to have faith.” – Dr. Paul L. Maier
“The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction – made in the seventh century [BCE] – of a history that never happened.” – Archaeologist William Dever
“Despite attempts by a number of biblical archaeologists – and an even larger number of amateur enthusiasts – over the years, credible direct archaeological evidence for the Exodus has yet to be found.” – Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology Eric H. Cline
According to answersingenesis.org the Biblical Flood began somewhere around 2348 BC. According to biblearchaeology.org the Exodus began around 1446 BC. At the time of the Exodus, Egypt’s population is estimated to be around 3.5 million. The Bible states that the escaping slaves numbered about 600,000 men plus women and children. In total, that would be somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people. While we’re at it, let’s toss in the populations of the Canaanite cities as well. In total, we can safely estimate about 5 million people altogether. The sudden loss of 1-2 million people would have been devastating to ancient Egypt. It’s likely the nation would have simply collapsed. But there is no written record of such an occurrence in Egypt’s historical records.
And yet with the shorter lifespans of that era, plus disease, hunger and internal strife just this little part of the world had repopulated to this degree in less than a millennium? The math doesn’t add up. Egypt’s written history by the way continues uninterrupted by any kind of global flood. So does China’s. And in spite of nearly 200 years of digging by Jewish and Christian archaeologists, no evidence of the Exodus has ever been found.
While it can be argued that such evidence would be difficult to find, since nomads generally do not leave behind permanent installations, archaeologists have discovered and excavated nomadic emplacements from other periods in the Sinai desert. So if there were archaeological remains to be found from the Exodus, one would have expected them to be found by now. And yet, thus far there is no trace of the biblical “600,000 men on foot, besides children” plus “a mixed crowd…and live stock in great numbers” (Exodus. 12:37-38) who wandered for forty years in the desert.”
– Eric H. Cline, Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology
While the evidence supporting the biblical Exodus is scant at best, there is in fact some reason to believe a small group of slaves escaped Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and traveled to Canaan. What isn’t supported by historical record is the sheer number of escapees in the Biblical story. And most scholars agree that Moses was not a real person. At least, not the heroic figure portrayed in the Bible. He was perhaps a regular guy whose story has grown over the centuries as it was passed down through time, if he existed at all.
The Red Sea crossing is plausible if one trims away the sensationalism and looks at the facts. At low tide, the Red Sea in this region recedes for several hours, creating an opportunity for Moses and his band to escape across the sea floor. Moses would only have had to wait for low tide (it is suggested that they waited at the shore for a few hours) before making the crossing. Did a bunch of Egyptian soldiers try to pursue them and drown? It’s possible, though no evidence has been found to date. And don’t start about the “chariot wheels” supposedly found by amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt. These have been proved multiple times to be nothing more than coral formations. The late Mr. Wyatt was a known charlatan and has zero credibility in the archaeological community.
The more likely origin for the part of story involving the Egyptian pursuit is that it was added later to spice up the story. It happens. Most Biblical “miracles” have logical and natural explanations. If the Egyptians did in fact pursue the fleeing slaves onto the sea floor, they entered far behind them (following tracks perhaps?) and exercised poor judgment. But as mentioned, there is no evidence at this point to suggest Egyptian pursuit.
As to the number of escapees, most scholars who accept the possibility of the Exodus agree that the original number was much smaller and that various bands of former slaves (mostly from Canaan) came together at a later date, united in their quest for a home and freedom. The dramatic tale of Joshua attacking Canaanite cities has no basis in fact. It is more likely that the fall of the Canaanite cites was also due to slave revolt, and that these slaves, possibly along with slaves from Egypt, became the “Israelites.”
Now let’s briefly address the Burning Bush. You know, the one where God spoke from a flaming plant to tell Moses he was going to be the liberator of the slaves. Many people agree that the bush in the story was likely Dictamnus, a flowering plant that in summer secretes a gooey oil that is highly flammable. This oil can ignite spontaneously and burn energetically for a brief time without injury to the plant itself. If Moses was unfamiliar with this, he might have seen it as a sign of some sort. Or, maybe the whole tale of the Burning Bush is just bullshit. Either way, it’s a reasonable explanation for yet another Biblical miracle. If you hear voices coming from a plant, burning or otherwise, please do seek professional help.
The Exodus is a great and inspiring story. It’s absolutely epic. But historically accurate? There is no reason to think so. The facts make it plain that the story is yet another ancient legend, no more true than the tales of Hercules or Perseus. Given that, if the story was divinely inspired then God was lying through His pearly whites.
Jesus Feeds the Masses
In this tale, Jesus finds a way to feed somewhere around 10,000 people with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
Matthew 14:14-22 English Standard Version (ESV)
14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”
18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
OK y’all, let’s figure this thing out. The Bible says there were “about five thousand men, besides women and children.” That’s a lot of people. Just for a round number let’s say there were 10,000 people altogether. And for the sake of argument let’s say that we’ll make a four-inch fish sandwich with 4 ounces of fish for each person. A very modest meal by any standard. With five loaves of bread and two fish, that means that after the fish are gutted and cleaned, they’d still have to weigh 1,250 lbs each. And for each person to get four inches of bread, that means each loaf would have to be …wait for it… 666 feet long. That’s a devilishly large loaf of bread.
Now most Christians will say that Jesus “replicated” the food to make more. Or they’ll just say it was a “miracle” and leave it at that. But the Bible doesn’t say that. It just says that Jesus blessed the food, broke it up, and had the disciples distribute it among the faithful. But ask yourself – were the disciples walking around with a couple of Blue Marlin or perhaps a pair of Great White sharks? And just how did they manage those five 666-ft loaves, which weighed nearly ten thousand pounds each?
Some theologians say that the whole story is a parable representing Jesus satisfying the spiritual hunger of the people, or something similar. Or, maybe it’s just another bullshit story like most everything else in the Bible. Either way, it again becomes obvious that the story is false.
There are some beautiful stories in the Bible. And if you’re able to take the Bible for what it is, you can enjoy those stories in the same manner you might enjoy Greek or Norse mythology. But never lose sight of the fact that it is mythology. People once believed that Zeus and Perseus were real. People once prayed to Odin and Thor. When you consider the primitive beliefs of the Bible’s authors (like with “stopping the sun”) it becomes obvious that a supreme intelligence was not inspiring what they wrote. These are primitive stories written by primitive people. Most of the old religions have been dismissed for what they are. But somehow many people continue to believe the Abrahamic faiths, Hinduism and a few more in spite of humanity’s advances. Their end will come someday (not soon enough for me), but in the meantime their excesses will continue to be felt in an otherwise (mostly) civilized world.
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