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Contradictions in the bible

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If he truly is a just god (which he isn't I.M.O.) then he would have to treat everyone fairly.

God has absolutely nothing to do with the way we are treated. We treat ourselves good or bad according with the law of cause and effect. Whatever we sow that's what we will harvest.

Ben

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Bad written history is a common trait everywhere and an all-time fact, including in the Bible. If we take that angle, we might as well quit all books on earth. The point is to know how to read in terms of just not to take everything literally.

Ben

But the bible is God's ultimate and powerful word...and he let it be tarnished in such a way?

Also people interpret different verses of the Bible as literal or metaphorical, there is no agreed consensus of which story is liter and which is not.

Edited by Sean93

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But the bible is God's ultimate and powerful word...and he let it be tarnished in such a way?

Also people interpret different verses of the Bible as literal or metaphorical, there is no agreed consensus of which story is liter and which is not.

That consensus is according to preconceived notions.

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That consensus is according to preconceived notions.

I'll not even go into that one.

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God has absolutely nothing to do with the way we are treated. We treat ourselves good or bad according with the law of cause and effect. Whatever we sow that's what we will harvest.

The Bible is full of stories of God exterminating people He didn't like as well as innocent people who happened to be in the way of those people. Plagues, droughts, earthquakes, and a large flood was God choosing to murder people who did not do what He wanted in many cases without warning.

The Bible is also full of stories of God protecting and supporting people who have acted in deceitful ways, at least by our moral standards (Cain, Jacob, Samson, and others).

Oddly we mere humans now have higher moral standards than God did.

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Oddly we mere humans now have higher moral standards than God did.

By far, very very far.

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I love the way the bible contradicts itself as it adds to the argument I have that it was not inspired by God but written by storytellers.

The Bible is indeed full of contradictions. The example you give being a classic. But further study will indicate that some of those are more apparent than real. The Bible is not history, but it is a reflection of history.

Example: Did "Moses" really cross the Red Sea? The crossing point (Pihahiroth, meaning "mouth of the channel") was a real place: El Kubrit Channel. Stand at El Kubrit Station on the Suez Canal and face west. Six miles away is a cylindrical mountain (Gebel Geneifa) that looks like an ancient watch tower - "Migdol." Face southeast - four and a half miles away is a low hill with the ruin of an ancient temple to Baal. The hill's name? Gebel Seipha. Sounds a lot like Baal Zephon, the Baalist god of winds and weather. That hill was the direction from which the "east" wind came that blew the water away. The "God" that Exodus is referring to was Baal. Today, the "Israelite" campsite is an airport - check GoogleEarth; you can see the runways. So the campsite was literally "at Pihahiroth between Migdol and the Sea."

But there's more: Before the Suez Canal was built, flooding the Bitter Lakes with sea water, the surface was about six feet lower than today. The shoal water now shown on navigation charts of the canal as "The Bollards" was then a small island. In the desert climate it was dusty dry. Anyone crossing the ford would have been literally walking "on dry land in the midst of the sea."

The channel between the Bitter Lakes has a unique situation: it is oriented southeast to northwest. The Channel is about four miles long. At the north end it opens into the 20-mile expanse of Great Bitter Lake; at the south end it opens into the seven-mile stretch of Lesser Bitter Lake. In ancient times there was a channel - Tiah beni-Israel - extending from the south end of Lesser Bitter Lake to the Gulf of Suez. That channel was mostly obliterated by construction of the Suez Canal, but one small loop of it still exists south of Shallufa.

There are cyclonic storms (hurricanes) over the Indian Ocean. When one of these makes landfall on the Arabian Peninsula, it crosses over to the Red Sea. Winds blow out of the south, southeast and east and create a storm surge in the Red Sea. In 1910, a 10.7-foot storm surge was recorded at Suez. Tides at Suez are nothing to brag about - 2.3 feet at neap tide; 3.2 feet at spring tide. According to Exodus, the Red Sea Crossing occurred about a week after the New Moon; tides would have been about 3.0 feet. Together, a storm surge and a high tide could raise the water level at Suez about fourteen feet. A storm surge would have hit the mouth of Tiah beni-Isreal doing about 30 miles per hour being pushed by a southeast wind. Tiah beni-Israel is about 12 miles long and gets narrower as it goes inland. That would compress the wave, making it higher.

The Shallufa Ridge was a low sandstone outcrop in the bottom of Tiah beni-Israel. In building the Suez Canal, De Lesseps bought up all the black powder in Egypt at the time to blast it out of the way. In ancient times it stood about four feet above sea level and would have absorbed some of the wave's energy, leaving a wave about ten feet high when it entered Lesser Bitter Lake, still travelling at about 25 miles per hour. The wave would spread out and slow down in crossing Lesser Bitter Lake. At the point where it entered El Kubrit Channel, it would still be at least four feet high. Four miles up the channel was the crossing site - now emptied of the eighteen inches of water it normally held. That was "the wall of water on the right."

Southeast winds push water from the south end of Great Bitter Lake against the northwest shore. Heights of three feet have been recorded by the Suez Canal Authority. When those winds suddenly die, a seiche wave is released, travelling southeastward across Great Bitter Lake at about 20 mph. If the wind suddenly died as the approaching storm surge passed Suez, two walls of water would converge at El Kubrit about an hour later - "a wall of water on the right and a wall of water on the left."

A three-foot high wave and a six-foot high wave meeting in El Kubrit Channel is not near as dramatic as the movies make it, but if you're wearing armor, the result is no different. Chariots bogged in the mud in mid-channel look to watchers on shore, about 2000 feet away, like they have "lost their wheels." From a hill, now King's Island, "Israelites" could easily have reigned arrows on pursuers.

The Exodus had the same structure as an Egyptian work gang. There was a professional class of "sementyou" - stone carvers, miners and other skilled workers, called "Kenites" in the Bible. These were professionals, not slaves, and took great pride in their work, often autographing the stone blocks. There was a laboring class that did the scut work of collecting firewood, dragging stones, and other menial tasks. And there was a military wing that both protected the expedition from hostiles raiders and enforced discipline. One can imagine that there was no love lost between the various wings.

The Exodus was led by "a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night." The Egyptian army used a torch on a pole at night and a smoke-box on a pole by day as signalling devices. These traveled at the head of the column where they were visible to everybody. No magic god here - just a practical approach to a problem. The Exodus had soldiers among its members!

Thutmose I reopened the Sinai mines about 1500 BC. For the next 400+ years annual expeditions departed for "Atika" to work the copper mines (On the shore on the west side of Suez Bay, about 10 miles south of Port Ibrahim, stands Gebel Ataqa, where Josephus thought the crossing took place.). But these expeditions departed in the fall, October, so as to avoid Sinai's furnace-like summer heat. "The Exodus" departed in April. Why? Perhaps a military emergency? In 1187 BC there was an imminent threat to the Sinai mines by the invading Pelest. Thutmose III sent troops to the Sinai. The hieroglyphs don't say what time of year, but....

It was Thutmose III who built a fort at Suez. To get past that fort to reach "Marah" - which was the fort's water supply - "Moses" would have had to walk in and shake hands with the commander. Not only that, but there were also Egyptian garrisons at three other stations visited by the Exodus, including its final destination at the "Red Sea." Far from being enemies, the expedition was on friendly terms with the Egyptians.

I could go on and on, but the point is that the Old Testament presents a view of history from the Israelite viewpoint. It does not always square with history, but it is accurate in many of the essentials. The same applies to the New Testament. There is nothing magical about the text and there are many errors and contradictions, but it is a very interesting and fascinating account.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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I could go on and on, but the point is that the Old Testament presents a view of history from the Israelite viewpoint. It does not always square with history, but it is accurate in many of the essentials.

I haven't found anything in the Old Testament that is accurate from a historical viewpoint. No one has found any archaeological evidence to support any of the tales in it. There was no nation of Israel as described in the Bible. There were no conquests in Canaan by Joshua (we know Jericho had long been abandoned). At best, Israel was just a pair of city/states.

No references to Egypt are supported by any Egyptian historical records. There is no record of Hebrew enslavement much less ten plagues and a daring slave escape. No one has found any evidence of hundreds of thousands of Israelites living in the Sinai for forty years. There was certainly no Egypt/Israel alliance through marriage creating a Middle East superpower which would have had dramatic effects on the entire area.

There are several hints in the Bible that the great nation of Israel was a fabrication. Israelites travelling through their land often come across cities full of "foreigners". Hmmm, that doesn't sound like a nation with solid borders. Also one strange verse claimed that the Israelites couldn't forge iron weapons because the Philistines wouldn't allow them to build kilns. It sounds like Israel couldn't even control what happened within its own theoretical nation.

All evidence we have now suggests that Canaan at the time of the Old Testament was an area full of various ethnic groups mixed together and living in somewhat protected cities but mostly on small farms. There were small conflicts between these cities but not enough to create organized wars. Jewish cities have been located (their garbage never contains pig bones). There were predominately Jewish cities like Jerusalem and Samara and through the years the history of these cities were embellished into a powerful nation fielding huge armies. What were small conflicts and raids between Jewish cities and others were turned into glorious wars of conquest.

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I haven't found anything in the Old Testament that is accurate from a historical viewpoint.

Historical accuracy is not the Bible's strong suit and most of its stories are composites of historical events. The individual details are accurate, but they are arranged to create stories that aren't.

My example of the Exodus: the Ten Plagues of Egypt are probably a composite of at least two (and probably more) disasters. One being the eruption of Thera in 1629/1628 BC (Hail falling from a cloudless sky and burning as fire upon the ground sounds like nothing so much as ignimbrite; Theran ignimbrite has been found in the Black Sea, 350 miles from Thera; Egypt is only 90 miles farther.). Three days of darkness sounds like a volcanic ash cloud. These ash clouds produce a Stygian blackness unequaled by dust storms or conventional thunderstorms. There's an inch-thick deposit of Theran ash on the bottom of the Mediterranean right up to the shores of Egypt, so we know there was such an event. The Bible and the Admonitons of Ipuwer are likely its memory. It was probably this eruption that brought down the Thirteenth Dynasty.

The second disaster was an extreme drought in Ethiopia during the 1340s and 1330s BC. The Nile didn't quite go dry, but it did stagnate, becoming choked with algae. Dead algae is reddish, but there may also have been a red-colored fresh-water algae involved (Not Pfisteria.). By day, algae produce more oxygen than they use, but at night oxygen production stops. The result is anaerobic conditions and massive fish dieoffs - we've seen that in our own rivers - with diseases resulting from the use of contaminated water, flies, frogs, etc. in the falling dominoes effect.

No one has found any archaeological evidence to support any of the tales in it.

The name of Baalam, the priest of Balpeor in the Bible, has turned up on a wall at Hisban in Jordan. The name "Phineas" is carved on living rock at Serabit al Khaddim in Sinai. The name "Israel" occurs on the Merneptah stele, but also at a rock shelter in Wadi Hammamat dating from the reign of Seti I. On the north wall of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnack is a reference to Seti's difficulties with the troublesome "Shosu", the justification for his invasion of Caanan.

Read Josephus' Against Apion. In it he goes into great detail to refute Apion's claim that he has identified Moses. Unfortunately for Josephus, he left us enough clues to identify the "ficticious" Pharoah as Seti I. You can read the Egyptian view of the Exodus there, filtered through Josephus.

Could there really have been a person on whom Moses is based? Yes. There were four. Moses, himself, is a composite of historical people. They are: Ahmos I, first Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty ("Moses" means "Child" in Egyptian; "Ahmos" means "child of the moon in the same language.). Moses' father was Amran (meaning "father" in Hebrew); Ahmos' 16th-dynasty predecessor was Amu (meaning "father" in Amoritic). There are two intermediate people in both lines, then Jacob-Israel in Moses' ancestry ("God's Warrior" in the Bible; "Follower of God" in other translations) and Jacob-Baal ("Follower of God") in Ahmos'. The biblical Moses' genealogy is a Hyksos king list!

The second Moses prototype was Djehuti, a supervisory priest of On during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. He was a friend of Hatshepsut's lover and architect Senemet. There is a limestone draftsman's flake depicting the two of them, so we actually have a picture of "Moses" drawn by a person who saw him. When Hatshepsut died, he got the job of burying her. Apparently, there was an attempt by supporters of Thutmose III to assasinate Djehuti. According to the stories, Djehuti killed the would-be assasin and buried the body in the desert. He didn't get away with it. The American Museum has a letter written on a piece of wood ordering Djehuti to report to the court of Thutmose III to give an account of his actions. Djehuti fled to Joppa, spent several years in exile and eventually was able to return to Egypt.

Osar-Seph ("Joseph"; "Great Seth") was a priest caught up in Seti I's roundup of "lepers and other impure people." This happened during Horemheb's reign when Seti was detailed to build a new capital at "Piramesse", adjacent to the old Hysos capital of Avaris. Seti wanted to be privy to the counsels of the gods and was told by his soothsayer that he could do this if he purified Egypt. The soothsayer then began to worry about the consequences if any priests were harmed during the roundup - there would be a thirteen-year curse during which time Egypt would be ruled by a foreign invader. Seti needed laborers for his building project and he had all these people he had just collected, so he did the logical thing and put them to work. Those were the biblical slaves - Seti's unwilling conscripts. Osar-Seph was selected leader of the slaves and was the go-between between the work force and Seti. With the help of soldiers from the Hyksos rulers of Jerusalem, Osar-Seph launched a slave revolt and for several years "despoiled the Egyptians." Apparently, Horemheb, Piramesse and Seti were cowed by fear of heavenly reprisals if they attempted to intercede. Seti is said to have taken his son, the future Ramses II, to "Ethiopia" to hide out. Eventually the curse expired (Horemheb died.) and Piramesse took the throne as Ramses I. Ramses and his son Seti took the army to Piramesse to settle things with "the rebelious Shosu." It is my belief that a small band of these escaped to carry the story back to Jerusalem. At any rate, Ramses I held the throne fourteen months before dying of an ear infection. I can only speculate about where he got it.

Amenmesses was the son of Merneptah and grandson of Ramses the Great. Josephus remembers him as "Messui". He was second in line for the throne behind his older half-brother Seti II. He was sent with the army to Thebes to repel an invasion from Nubia. This he did, apparently demanding a hostage ("wife") from the conquored Nubian king. You can read about this war in the writings of Josephus and in bits and pieces in quotes of Artapanus by Eusebius, but if you think the Bible is confused and contradictory, you probably ought to avoid Artapanus. At any rate, when Merneptah died, Seti was out of town (diplomatic mission?). Amenmesses took advantage of the situation to declare himself Pharaoh. There followed a period of warfare during which Amensesses was defeated. He just disappears from history, BUT:

This would have been about 1200 BC. There is an easy escape route from Thebes through the Wadi Hammamat to the Red Sea and directly across the sea to the copper workings at Serabit al Khaddim. At most, a few days' journey. And sixteen years later, the Pelest invade northern Sinai, blocking Horus Ways (the coast road - "the way to the land of the Philistines") to Caanan and threatening the copper mines. Ramses III needs to send an army to Sinai and for it he needs a leader, perhaps one with military experience and knowledge of the copper mines. IF Amenmesses escaped and was still alive, he would be eminently qualified. And: his name was "Moses" - "Child of Amun"). Admittedly, this last bit is pure speculation, but if one reads the various accounts of the Exodus, there is a noticeable disconnect in it at the Wilderness of Sin. And that fits with one historical account getting grafted onto another one to make a great story - whether it's true or not is another question.

The bottom line here is that the Exodus story fits, even if it has to be broken into several pieces to make the fit. While the overall story is fictional, it is derived from pieces that aren't.

I need to get some other stuff done, so I'm going to sign off. We can talk about the rest later.

Doug

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The bottom line here is that the Exodus story fits, even if it has to be broken into several pieces to make the fit. While the overall story is fictional, it is derived from pieces that aren't.

The amount of speculation and juggling necessary to make tenuous connections between known history and Biblical stories just shows just how inaccurate the Bible is. If a square peg needs to be sanded down to fit in a round hole, that doesn't mean it's a round peg.

If the stories in the Bible are inspired by unrelated events, that does not in any way make the stories an accurate account of history. That makes them fiction which is almost always inspired by real events.

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The amount of speculation and juggling necessary to make tenuous connections between known history and Biblical stories just shows just how inaccurate the Bible is. If a square peg needs to be sanded down to fit in a round hole, that doesn't mean it's a round peg.

If the stories in the Bible are inspired by unrelated events, that does not in any way make the stories an accurate account of history. That makes them fiction which is almost always inspired by real events.

Accurate? Who said anything about accurate?

The Bible is a reflection of history - not history, itself. A bungled and perhaps conflated account, but still an account. The sources of the stories can be identified in historical events (usually).

And much of what we call "history" is subject to considerable "interpretation."

I think we're saying much the same thing, but I think if you will make a serious study of any given Bible story, you'll be amazed at how much derives from actual events. I certainly was.

Doug

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Accurate? Who said anything about accurate?

You think made up history is the same as history? History is list of actual events that happened to people to the best of our knowledge.

The Bible is a reflection of history - not history, itself.

You're confusing "history" with "legend". These are two very different things. If you confuse them, you'll have trouble understanding the history of mankind, especially the early parts.

A bungled and perhaps conflated account, but still an account. The sources of the stories can be identified in historical events (usually).

But it's an untrue account. It lists things that did not happen. It makes no difference if they were inspired by other unrelated events. That doesn't make them true.

And much of what we call "history" is subject to considerable "interpretation."

Not the parts that actually happened.

I think we're saying much the same thing, but I think if you will make a serious study of any given Bible story, you'll be amazed at how much derives from actual events. I certainly was.

I'm very aware of how the Bible plagiarized other legends which were based on vague oral interpretations of possible actual events. However I realize that they do not fall into the category of "history" any more than the stories of Greek gods.

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You think made up history is the same as history? History is list of actual events that happened to people to the best of our knowledge.

As I have been saying all through this discussion: the Bible is not history. But it's stories mostly derive from historical events (Plus a few made up ones.).

You're confusing "history" with "legend". These are two very different things. If you confuse them, you'll have trouble understanding the history of mankind, especially the early parts.

History actually happened (we think). Myth didn't. Legend is the gray area in between myth and history. Legends may actually have existed (At least, their historical contexts did.), but the people involved may or may not have existed or done the things they're creditted with and there's really no way to tell (Ex: George Washington probably didn't cut down that cherry tree.). Once we acquire solid information about a legend, it becomes history (or myth if it turns out to be false).

But it's an untrue account. It lists things that did not happen. It makes no difference if they were inspired by other unrelated events. That doesn't make them true.

Parts are true; parts aren't.

We have no real way to check the religious aspects of what the Bible says - that part is 100% speculation and interpretation. Most of the who-did-what parts can't really be checked, either, except in the few cases where events are referenced in other writings.

But there is still geography and physics. The facts of time and tide are that seiche and surge waves still converge on El Kubrit Channel today. The Heroopolitic Red Sea was a fact: it's abandoned shore lines are still there, southwest of Ismailia. Gebel Geneifa is still shaped like a watch tower and Gebel Seipha still bears the name of Baal Zephon. Coturnism is a real disease and still occurs at El Arish. The place names along the route of the Exodus were real places, many still bearing the same names they held in antiquity (Elom of the Bible is the ruin Aeolim in Wadi Gharandel; Hazeroth is still there bearing the same name it held in the sixth century BC; Elot of King Solomon's Day appeared as Elat on 18th century navigation charts.).

SO: do I really believe that a bunch of leperous ex-slaves really escaped Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea? No. The "Red Sea" was a ford that may have been all of six feet deep before the wind blew it clear. It was located on the caravan trail that connected Bastet to Elat and then continued down the coast to Serabit al Khaddim (Rephidim of the Bible.). The most-likely explanation is that an Egyptian work gang got caught by the waves. Most-likely, the military wing was the last to cross and didn't make it. And the rest just grew with the telling.

At the time of "the Exodus" there were Egyptain mining operations and/or garrisons at Suez, Serabit al Khaddim, Tell Masos, Punon, Elat and Har Timna. There was also an Egyptian shipping facility at Pharaoh's Island (Ezion-geber (sp?)). They weren't really "wandering in the desert." The legend of the Exodus grew out of historical Egyptian mines that were worked by seasonal laborers, mostly from Caanan. Each year they traveled to Sinai to work for the Egyptians and returned home to Caanan in the spring to farm and avoid the heat. When Ramses VI withdrew support for the mines, the workers had no choice but to go home - that's the story of the "wandering."

I'm very aware of how the Bible plagiarized other legends which were based on vague oral interpretations of possible actual events. However I realize that they do not fall into the category of "history" any more than the stories of Greek gods.

The OT was written in the sixth century BC. The latest part of the Exodus story would have occurred about 1200 to 1140 BC. The "oral interpretation" had to survive at least five hundred years - something that probably wouldn't happen unless it was written down somewhere. Written Hebrew dates from about 900 BC. That means the Bible is borrowing Egyptian stories.

Do you remember Beowulf? King Hrothgar actually led a raid on the Rhine in 517 AD. The Battle of Lake Vanern was a real battle, fought about 530 AD. A lot of ancient legends, Greek, Hebrew, Norse and others are based on historical events. Though not history themselves, they are nevertheless, a reflection of that history.

Doug

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Parts are true; parts aren't.

Which parts are true?

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I thought of them both as narcissistic madmen. The god of the NT sanctions the end of the world. That right their tells you something is wrong with him. The god of the OT seems like he is pure hate and the most sadistic person to have ever existed.

Not so - God does not "end" the world. The book of Revelation doesn't say so or even imply it. The revelation of Jesus Christ as the son of God and the ruler of this world is going to be the greatest event in the history of mankind. It will be a time when the sick, crazy hatred and evil of our species is finally subdued and we are left with no other option except to live together in harmony respecting each other. Because of our entrenched nature of self and pride it is going to take the near annihilation of our species to accomplish, but the remnant will finally be able to live in peace. No disrespect intended to you HW but I've never seen anyone as virulently anti Creator as you seem to be. You mention that humans are now more moral than God, yet without knowledge of the law we wouldn't even have a concept of morality. He gave us the law. Anyone who sets themselves up as greater than their teacher is apt to fail the course.
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Not so - God does not "end" the world. The book of Revelation doesn't say so or even imply it. The revelation of Jesus Christ as the son of God and the ruler of this world is going to be the greatest event in the history of mankind. It will be a time when the sick, crazy hatred and evil of our species is finally subdued and we are left with no other option except to live together in harmony respecting each other. Because of our entrenched nature of self and pride it is going to take the near annihilation of our species to accomplish, but the remnant will finally be able to live in peace.

Oddly enough, the story of the tower of babel shows humans united without the need of God, infact God even sought the opposite.
You mention that humans are now more moral than God, yet without knowledge of the law we wouldn't even have a concept of morality. He gave us the law. Anyone who sets themselves up as greater than their teacher is apt to fail the course.

A teacher that can't follow their own teachings is already a failure.
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Which parts are true?

Figuring that out could be a lifetime's work and then some. Have fun.

Doug

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Figuring that out could be a lifetime's work and then some. Have fun.

There's nothing wrong with saying you don't know.

You haven't read about any of the research in recent decades that strongly indicates that none of it is true and it's nothing more than legend? Everything suggests that Jews were nothing more than one of many cultures living in Canaan and they never conquered the area to create a mighty nation of Israel with God's assistance.

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Not so - God does not "end" the world. The book of Revelation doesn't say so or even imply it. The revelation of Jesus Christ as the son of God and the ruler of this world is going to be the greatest event in the history of mankind. It will be a time when the sick, crazy hatred and evil of our species is finally subdued and we are left with no other option except to live together in harmony respecting each other. Because of our entrenched nature of self and pride it is going to take the near annihilation of our species to accomplish, but the remnant will finally be able to live in peace. No disrespect intended to you HW but I've never seen anyone as virulently anti Creator as you seem to be. You mention that humans are now more moral than God, yet without knowledge of the law we wouldn't even have a concept of morality. He gave us the law. Anyone who sets themselves up as greater than their teacher is apt to fail the course.

Supposedly only 144,000 "will be left", so you are okay with close to 7 billion people dying? You find that to be good morally?

He gave us his laws, what he wanted and desired. The concept of morality was around way before Jesus and the bible. He just claimed to have the monopoly on it which is false.

I've never seen or read about anyone being more psychopathic than "god", Revelation 6:8 shows how he sanctions death.

Edited by HavocWing

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Oddly enough, the story of the tower of babel shows humans united without the need of God, infact God even sought the opposite.

A teacher that can't follow their own teachings is already a failure.

Like thou shall not kill, "god" is arguably the greatest mass murderer to have ever existed.

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I've never seen or read about anyone being more psychopathic than "god", Revelation 6:8 shows how he sanctions death.

And on the other end of the Bible, I don't see how anyone could get behind the God as depicted in the Torah. He has the characteristics of our worst human leaders through history (extreme anger, extreme vanity, obsession with glory, indifference to life, ruthless behavior) but since He's "God" we forgiving humans are obliged to cut the guy some slack. Or He'll destroy us.

How much slack? Some people have told me that the golden calf incident showed how merciful God is by not wiping the Israelites out like He wanted. People, read the story! God was persuaded by Moses (who showed tremendous mercy) to spare their lives by saying how much the Egyptians would rejoice at the news that stupid God massacred the people he rescued from Egypt. Yes, God was more concerned about how He would look to the foreign Egyptians than sparing the lives of His own people. Doesn't this sound like certain maniac leaders who have driven their empires into destruction and their people into death and poverty because defeat would make them look bad?

God demonstrated absolutely no mercy in this story. In fact after God sends the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land, He told them He wouldn't follow them. He was still steaming mad at His "stiff-necked people" and said "I might destroy you on the way.” I guess God apologists would say this was another demonstration of God's mercy.

This cannot be the feel-good fatherly god that Christians praise and worship.

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There's nothing wrong with saying you don't know.

You haven't read about any of the research in recent decades that strongly indicates that none of it is true and it's nothing more than legend? Everything suggests that Jews were nothing more than one of many cultures living in Canaan and they never conquered the area to create a mighty nation of Israel with God's assistance.

Figuring out the legends' historical prototypes is a hobby of mine - entertainment. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with saying I don't know and much of what's in there, no one will ever know. As far as the Bible being ENTIRELY false; I don't think so.

There obviously wasn't a Jewish super-state in Caanan; never was. But the stories still originated somewhere. My grandmother used to say "You start with a feather in the morning and by night it's a feather bed." That's about what happened to the Bible: historical incidents got improved with the telling. Some of those incidents were borrowed from other cultures and vice versa. Djehuti was a Moses prototype, but his adventures in Joppa are the source of one of the Tales of the Arabian Nights, so he was also Alababa, at least, one incarnation of him.

All I'm saying is that nearly every legend starts with a historical incident or person and just grows as story tellers change it to fit their purposes. That's what happened here.

Doug

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I'll not even go into that one.

I mean to how you were trained to believe or educated upon.

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The Bible is full of stories of God exterminating people He didn't like as well as innocent people who happened to be in the way of those people. Plagues, droughts, earthquakes, and a large flood was God choosing to murder people who did not do what He wanted in many cases without warning.

The Bible is also full of stories of God protecting and supporting people who have acted in deceitful ways, at least by our moral standards (Cain, Jacob, Samson, and others).

Oddly we mere humans now have higher moral standards than God did.

God has nothing to with what happens to people. Those who see in the Bible a god exterminating people it is because they do not understand metaphorical language. They are the members of the literal interpretation club. I bet you believe in talking serpents don't you? See what I mean?

Ben

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Figuring out the legends' historical prototypes is a hobby of mine - entertainment. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with saying I don't know and much of what's in there, no one will ever know. As far as the Bible being ENTIRELY false; I don't think so.

I haven't read of any research that supports any story in the Bible being literally true. Even if a story is based on a real story and reworked to fit in the Bible, that doesn't make it true. That makes it a fictional adaptation, like a movie that claims to be "based on real events".

There obviously wasn't a Jewish super-state in Caanan; never was. But the stories still originated somewhere.

Research has shown is that the Jews in Canaan were living among several other cultures who they were competing with economically. The Torah seemed to be a way for Jews to define their own culture and to retain their identity by not intermixing with these "foreign" cultures. They must have felt pride knowing that not long ago they had come out of enslavement in Egypt and conquered all of Canaan before things went to hell. The Torah clearly says that these foreigners are "defiling" God's land by not following the practices that God demands of the Jews. That's a strong "Us vs. Them" policy.

I'm sure the Amorites and Moabites had their own legends. The Jews were able to keep their legends straight (except for the hundreds of contradictions) and eventually write them down so they're still known two thousand years later.

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