What if the Bible was not “God’s word” after all? That would mean the entire basis of the Watchtower religion [along with other Christian religions] would be, well: baseless!
But, can we prove that the god Jehovah didn’t inspire the writing of the Bible? Well, yes and no. As always, we must first determine what we mean by “inspire.” I may be inspired by the television show Monk to write a fan-fiction piece featuring Adrian Monk and his cast of regulars. Did Monk “inspire my writing”? Yes: the premise of the show was my inspiration: the idea inspired me to write more about it. But that’s not to say that my fan-fiction will be “the word of Monk” or that the fictional character Monk somehow supernaturally guided my typing fingers.
So too, the idea of El, Adonai, and Yahweh may have inspired the writers of what we now call the Bible. But I think we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these non-existent gods actually guided the writers or supernaturally influenced or oversaw their writing.
First, let’s put the Bible in context, shall we? None of the people mentioned in the Bible had a Bible. If you mentioned the Bible to them they wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.
Sure, there were Jewish scrolls. But in biblical times these were not collected together even to form what we today call the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures. Even the “Torah” — the first five books of our Bible, traditionally but erroneously attributed to Moses — were unknown to all of the biblical characters at least until the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah (c. 622 BCE) when they were supposedly found by priest Hilkiah and presented to Josiah. After reading the scroll, Josiah made drastic reforms to start putting “the Law of Moses” into effect.
In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphanson… to the temple of the Lord. He said: “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord…
Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “…Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest… “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” (2 Kings 22)
To put this in context: this was about 350 years after the death of King David.
But scholars say that this is not when such all-important books were suddenly “found” but rather when they began to be written (probably by Hilkiah et al. in an early example of deceptive priestcraft.) If a god had really issued the six-hundred plus laws we find in these works, and thousands of people had witnessed the miracles that preceded and attended the giving of the law, they surely wouldn’t have just tossed these scrolls behind the altar of the temple and forgotten all about them for centuries!
This also explains why the Israelites up until Josiah’s time were constantly breaking the “covenant” they’d made with their god: they’d never heard of it because it hadn’t been written yet!
The rest of the “Old Testament” was written by anonymous authors using the pseudonyms of legendary figures such as Isaiah and Solomon. The “prophetic” books were written long after the events they purported to prophesy.
In the course of time there came to be dozens (if not hundreds) of such writings. By the time Saul/Paul started writing his epistles a collection had been made in Greek called the Septuagint (which Paul quotes from.) In addition to the Old Testament works, the Septuagint contained the following works not found in present-day Protestant Bibles:
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach
- Letter of Jeremiah
- Additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon)
- Additions to Esther
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
- 3 Maccabees
- 4 Maccabees
- 1 Esdras
- Prayer of Manasseh
- Psalms of Solomon
- Psalm 151
These were the “Scriptures” Paul would have been referring to in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 when he wrote:
All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.
He would have, at least, had Paul actually written 2 Timothy:
Most modern critical scholars argue that 2 Timothy was not written by Paul but by an anonymous follower, after Paul’s death in the First Century. (Wikipedia article on 2 Timothy)
In any case, when Paul was writing his letters no one thought his letters were “Scripture.” Nor were the Gospels written yet. So, if we were to accept the statement in 2 Timothy at face-value as true, then it would mean that to be “fully equiped” the “man of God” needs the books of Macabees, Tobit, Barcuch, et al., but not any of the “New Testament!”
At the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, they were still disputing about which books were and which books were not inspired. Who were these people, and how did they know? Well, they were Catholic bishops, and they couldn’t have known, and if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness (or any other flavor of Protestant) you’ll agree that they did not know; they got it wrong by including the “Apocryphal” books. These books were later thrown out by the Protestants.
Now, here’s the thing: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Catholic Church and all Protestant religions (other than their own religion) are part of “Babylon the great empire of false religion” and are in league with the Devil:
…religion is a snare of the Devil and the Devil’s associates and is operated as a racket against the people.
Again let the people be reminded that religion is a snare and a racket, originating with the Devil, the leader of the demons, and forced upon the people by the demons: the snare of the Devil, in which to catch the people, and the racket of the religious leaders to rob the people. All the practitioners of religion, and the adherents thereto, will find no place of safety or escape at Armageddon.
…religion is wholly an invention of the Devil.”
Religion (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1940) pp. 88,104-105, 125
Yet somehow, these religions of Satan: the opposer of God, were the ones deciding which works were “inspired by God” and gave their blessing on the works that constitute the basis of the “one true religion”: Jehovah’s Witnesses! How can that be? Why would Satan go through all the trouble of sifting through this mass of religious writings and come up with just the right mix of works that were inspired by his arch-nemesis, and make that available to the Witnesses?
It makes as much sense as Satan’s organization naming Jehovah himself!
By combining the vowel signs of ‘Adho.nay and ‘Elo.him’ with the four consonants of the Tetragrammaton the pronunciations Yeho.wah’ and Yehowih’ were formed. The first of these provided the basis for the Latinized form “Jehova(h).” The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei of the year 1270. Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation.
–Aid to Bible Understanding (WBTS, 1971), pp. 884, 885 (emphasis added)
The “false-religionists” would have to have been inspired too — just like the Bible writers — in order to make the correct choice of works. Yet we’re told they work for Satan! Go figure.
Here’s what it comes down to: ancient anonymous men (mostly barbaric, to judge from their writings) wrote fabulous tales of what they thought their god did and was like. Mostly they did this to assuage their consciences over their own war crimes and/or for self gain (such as the priests writing about how their god wanted them to have the best cuts of meat, leaving the smoke of the sacrificial cooking to satisfy their god.) These writings were later judged by “Babylon the Great empire of false religion” to be truly “God’s word” — though they got it wrong, and were re-judged by the “snare and racket” of Protestant religious folk, to be eventually accepted by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the basis for their “truth.”
Someone then told you that the Bible was “God’s word.” Why did you believe them? Did they really prove it to you? Or did you just accept what they were saying because you thought they knew what they were talking about? Trust me; they didn’t know what they were talking about.
So we now have this eclectic collection of writings called the Bible with:
- bats that are birds (Lev. 11:13-19)
- whales that are fish and who swallow humans, swim around for three days with them in their tummies, and then vomit them out safe and sound (Jonah 1:17; MT 12:40)
- rabbits that chew their cud (Deut. 14:7)
- four-legged birds and insects (Lev 11:20,23)
- dragons (Malachi 1:3)
- satyrs (Isaiah 13:21)
- unicorns (Isaiah 34:7)
- purple robes that are scarlet (MT 27:28; John 19:2)
- plants that thrive for 7,000+ years without sunlight (Genesis 1:11-19 [According to the Watchtower, each creative “day” lasted at least 7,000 years.])
- men who fly, unaided, up into the sky (2 kings 2:11; Acts 1:9)
- asses that talk (Numbers 22:28)
- serpents that talk (Gen. 3:1)
- men who walk on unfrozen water without sinking (Matthew 14:25-31)
- the Sun standing still in the sky (i.e. the Earth ceasing to rotate, and even rotating in reverse) — with no one else on Earth noticing (Joshua 10:13; 2 Kings 20:11)
- 3 (even) as the value of Pi (1 Kings 7:23)
- 3 days and nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning (MT 12:40; MK 15:42-43; MK 16:1-6)
- all species of animals, along with a year’s supply of their food, gathered onto an egregiously over-crowded boat by a 600 year-old man and his small family (Genesis 6-7)
- nations who suffer genocide coming back in full force (Num. 31:7-18; Judges 6:1-5)
- a “god of love and mercy” who can’t forgive a naive couple or their descendants for having eaten a piece of fruit — until he sacrifices his own son (Rom. 5:18-19)
- stars stuck in a “firmament” a little ways above our heads so that they can “stand over” a particular house on Earth (MT 2:9)
- a god who “cannot repent”: repenting (Num. 23:19; Gen. 6:6)
- a god who “cannot change”: changing (1 Sam. 15:29; Exod. 32:14; Amos 7:4-6)
- a “god of love” who orders genocide, approves slavery, demands the subjection of women and the stoning of sassy children, leaves us with Satan as ruler of the Earth, and plans the bloodiest war in history: once again exterminating the vast majority of humankind
(The list of absurdities and impossibilities goes on and on.)
But once the books making up the Bible were finally decided upon, most people still didn’t have access to it. There were a few hand-written copies, housed in cloistered monasteries, and written in Latin. It was not until 1455 that Gutenberg printed the first Bible — again in Latin. The first English translation wasn’t printed for another 80 years.
If people need the Bible to guide their lives and find the means of salvation, what are we to say of all the people prior to the year 1535 who couldn’t access “God’s word”? What do we say of those after that date who still didn’t have access, or were illiterate? Even today it is estimated that 3.9 billion people have never heard the “gospel message”! If God had something so important to say to us, don’t you think he’d have chosen a better way of reaching all humankind — right away — with his message? And if he decided on this odd collection of books, poems, songs, and letters, don’t you think he’d make sure that they didn’t get filled with absurd legends, impossibilities, factual errors, and — wait for it — contradictions?
Yes, it’s high time we mentioned the contradictions. The Bible, being a collection of writings spanning many centuries and opinions, abounds in contradictions. There are too many to do them justice here. I wrote an entire book on the subject which you can read for free online right now: The Cure for Fundamentalism: Why the Bible Cannot be the Word of God.
I will just share one contradiction here. The contradiction is pervasive: it does not rely on just comparing a couple of verses. It’s not just a contradiction of words, but of ideas. You will recognize it immediately, without having to look up any Scriptures, if you have any familiarity with the Bible, but I’ll give you some verses just in case you aren’t.
We are told that the god of the Bible ordered, demanded, and desired animal sacrifice. Chapter after agonizing chapter details the precise rules of which animals are to be used and how they are to be ritually slaughtered. We are told these sacrifices were a “sin offering” to be made “for all generations” and that this was part of this god’s law which was to be followed “forever.” In the gospels, even Jesus — who supposedly “did away with the Law” — tells us that we must follow every jot and letter of the Law (which would include animal sacrifice.) Failure to do so would result in dire consequences.
And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. — Ex. 29:18
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. — Ex. 29:42
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering. — Lev. 4:24
The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven. — Lev. 5:10
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. — Lev. 17:11
And you must love Jehovah your God and keep your obligation to him and his statutes and his judicial decisions and his commandments always. — Deut. 11:1
Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations … an everlasting covenant. — 1 Chron. 16:15-17
Think not that I [Jesus] am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. — Mt. 5:17-19
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, …if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. –- Mt. 19:16-17
But we are also told in the Bible that its god never desired, demanded, or ordered animal sacrifice! He did not find them to be “sweet” or pleasing. We are told that animal sacrifice cannot possibly forgive sin, and that we no longer have to offer such sacrifices!
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. — Ps. 40:6
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. — Ps. 51:16
To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. — Isa. 1:11-13
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. — Jer. 6:20
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.– Jer. 7:21-22
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. — Hosea 6:6
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. — Hebrews 10:4
First he [Jesus] said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” — Hebrews 10:8
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. — Hebrews 10:11
Christians are under a new law, “the law of the Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) The former Law covenant given through Moses to Israel came to an end when Jesus’ death fulfilled it. (Romans 10:4; Ephesians 2:15)
— Watchtower Feb 1, 2010 pp. 11-15.
I cannot believe that this god ordered, demanded, and desired animal sacrifices for eternity as a sin offering if I am asked to also believe that this god never ordered, demanded, or desired animal sacrifice; that the sacrifices ended; and that they couldn’t forgive sin. It’s not possible for me, and it’s not possible for you or anyone else. No matter how much we may want to believe, we simply cannot believe contradictory statements once we understand them. This is why, once you know what the Bible actually says — and can look at it objectively for a moment — you have to conclude that the bible cannot possibly be the “word of God.”
Believers commonly hold that there are no real contradictions in the Bible, and that non-believers (and/or Satan) are just trying to trick them into thinking that there are. But if that is so: if the Bible really isn’t a hodgepodge of various contradictory opinions, ask yourself the following: Why are there so damn many sects of Christianity composed of people sincerely doing their best to understand and follow the Bible? If the Bible gave a clear, unambiguous message, we wouldn’t have all these divisions. The fact that we do have these divisions, and that Bible believers can’t even agree as to how many persons make up God, or whether sinners/unbelievers will be roasted in hell-fire for eternity, or whether “true Christians” will live forever in heaven or on Earth (or both) — is very revealing as to just how contradictory the Bible really is. A smart god would’ve inspired a work that everyone could recognize as clear and truthful.
But, it turns out we’ve just been being nice in providing all of the above information. This is because it’s not up to us to prove that the Bible is not the word of a god any more than it’s up to us to prove that the Koran is bull, the Book of Mormon is bogus, or L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics is baloney. When someone comes to us with a book for which they make extraordinary claims, it is up to them to prove to us that what they say is true. When it comes to supplying this proof, Bible believers have done nothing but fail.
Finally, here’s something from the Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner I just had to share (caption mine):