The reliability of the Gospels (The Bible for Atheists #4)

We’ve been getting a variety of comments about the Bible from people responding to our posts – all interesting and valid questions, with interesting and valid answers (at least, we think so).

What do you think about the Bible? Is there anything you think is strange, contradictory, wrong? Why not share it with us, and we’ll endeavour to answer it.

This week, “The issues I have with the Bible are thus. Firstly, is was written many years after the demise of the man Jesus. And it was written by multiple, mostly unknown authors who, with the possible exception of Matthew who may have made a collection of the sayings of Jesus. But, the authors were not eye witnesses to the events and were not even alive during the time of Jesus. Now with the unearthing of the Red Sea Scrolls and other early Christian religious scriptures and doctrine, it has become evident the Bible was written and edited selectively. That is to say the bits that got into the Bible were favourable to promote the ideology of the emerging religion. And what was deemed not to be favourable, was deliberately omitted and discarded. And the Bible was first written in Hebrew, Ancient Greek and only translated many centuries later. So, unless you can read Hebrew of Ancient Greek what you read now is not the ‘Word of God’, but the words of some ‘Translator’. Any sensible person knows that meanings can be ‘lost’ or altered in translation or perhaps influenced by any cultural of personal biases in the Translator. So, the current Bible is not an original source document, but a composite source which had been edited, translated, compromised and otherwise interfered with by those with a self interest to portray the religion in the most favourable light possible. I believe the Bible is a collection of ancient parables and often silly stories many of which make no sense and do not stand up to historical or scientific analysis and is probably the first great work of fiction.” (Garry)

Emanuel Swedenborg, in his work, Heavenly Secrets (formerly known by it’s Latin title, Arcana Caelestia), writes:

“… although people have said that every jot is divinely inspired they have not meant by that anything more than this, that those narratives serve to disclose certain historical facts from which some specific point may be deduced that can be included in the doctrine of faith – of use to those who instruct and to those who learn – and that because they are divinely inspired they have a Divine impact on human minds and do more good than any other kind of historical narration. But regarded in themselves historical narrations can do little to lead to a person’s change for the better and nothing whatever to bring him to eternal life; for in the next life the things that belong to history cease to be remembered. … To enter heaven and experience its joy, that is eternal life, souls have no need of anything except that which is the Lord’s and which derives from Him.  It is for the sake of these things that the Word exists, and those are the things which it contains interiorly.” (Heavenly Secrets, paragraph 1886)

“Thus, being the exploits of men, the historical descriptions are not Divine, except by virtue of the things which are contained deeply concealed within those descriptions, every single one of which has regard to the Lord and His kingdom.” (Heavenly Secrets, paragraph 3228.e)

“The relationship of these two senses of the Word is like that of the body and the soul … Just as the body lives by means of the soul so does the literal sense by means of the internal sense. By way of the internal sense the Lord’s life flows into the letter according to the affection of the person reading it. This shows how holy the Word is, though it does not seem so to worldly minds.” (Heavenly Secrets, paragraph 2311)


4 thoughts on “The reliability of the Gospels (The Bible for Atheists #4)

    1. I’m quite happy to engage in some useful discussion if you have some specific criticisms, but you can’t really expect any kind of response to what can only be described as inane name-calling.


    1. Thanks Peter. One of the enduring problems with the whole debate over Christianity is the insistence (from both sides) that the Bible should contain scientific fact. It doesn’t. That misses the point entirely. But there you have it. While we have fundamentalist Christians insisting that it does, they will continue to have opponents willing to lock horns over it. Quite frankly, it’s complete nonsense. Have a great day.


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