Although the key to the Christian religion, the Bible should only be used for the morals it teaches, and not as a religious document. In an effort to collapse a building, removing or damaging the foundation successfully renders the rest of the structure useless. Each story of the building relies on the stability of each story below it, until at last the building relies entirely upon its foundation. In arguing the validity of the Christian bible, much of the same logic may be presumed to be true.
The noted problem, however lies in the fact that some Christians do not or will not accept logic, science, nor empirical evidence which contradicts the word of the bible and their beliefs. Somehow, they feel there must be continuity between Christian ideas and the notions being presented in order for them to make sense logically and have a basis in reality. Such intellectually dishonest tactics such as doublethink, feigned ignorance, or even outright deception, render some logical arguments ineffective to firm believers.
Some Christians, it seems, are capable of believing in a hovering building with no foundation and still be taken seriously in equal intellectual situations with modern thinkers. From a humanist point of view, any belief system which cannot stand up to a series of basic logical standards, such as self-contradiction, and which attempts to determine the value on a human life, undermines that value. Since people choose belief systems and not vice-versa, any belief system failing to pass simple tests of logic and reason needs rejecting.
Any other course of action devaluates human life and dignity. Christianity demonstrates flaws in its validity when compared to any belief system which values human life or the advancement of science. Christianity also suffers from the widespread affliction of stemming from sources of emotion and/or ignorance rather than sources of scientific proof and/or empirical evidence. Included in this category lies the tribal myths upon which Christianity is based.
There are certain elements of Christianity which must be recognized as valid throughout the entire story of the bible and throughout Christian methodology and teachings today in order to maintain its status as a belief system which benefits the person believing, and thus to a society as a whole. These points should be non-negotiable; if they are proven false, can be logically ruled out, or if there is no evidence to support the points, but there if evidence to the contrary, then a critical hinge upon which Christianity rests is removed, and the entire dogmatic system logically collapses.
Archon) Although technically hundreds of these elements exist, the main focus lies on four main elements. Listing these elements is simple, as is viewing them with skepticism, yet getting people to actually examine their validity given modern science and modern methods is virtually an exercise in futility. (Archon) A simple examination of the biblical story of Adam and Eve effectively renders Christianity hopelessly grasping for a reason to exist. Several paradoxical inferences can be drawn from this story, which just happen to be central supporting pillars in the Christianity Building.
Certainly, some Christians view this story as a parable, which is understandable. If the story is indeed a parable however, then creation is as yet an untouched area insofar as Christianity is concerned. It is also extremely difficult to justify the existence of Jesus Christ later on and still remain within any form of mainstream Christian boundaries if you remove the story of Adam and Eve from literal interpretation. First, let’s take a very simplified look at what the Garden of Eden gives Christianity.
Firstly, we have Adam and Eve in paradise, having been created by God, Adam first, out of dust, and then Eve from one of Adams rib bones. They are happy, and completely oblivious to the mere fact that 1+1=2. Ignorance, in other words, is bliss. They are so ignorant, in fact, that neither of them are capable of realizing that they are naked. The obvious pitfalls of being so ignorant are compensated for by God Himself, in that they do not need to shelter themselves, via clothing nor housing, from the elements, nor concern themselves with harmful animals, insects or parasites.
Eden was necessarily apart from any location we know of on the planet today. They do not suffer from bodily dysfunction. They do not need to gather or cook their food. They do not need to work, for how can they be productive with no knowledge, or toil, or want for anything. Everything they need is provided by God directly or indirectly via the environment of Eden, and they don’t know anything they could want for. There are also no dangers in Eden, such as a cold virus, a sharp stick to impale ones self upon, nor tall cliffs to wander over. There are no earthquakes or mud slides; there is no bad weather.
There is, however, a tree. God placed the tree of knowledge in Eden, and told Adam and Eve specifically not to eat the fruit from that tree. We find that the fruit bestows knowledge upon its eater, and such knowledge, warns God, is not for human kind. Adam and Eve nod their heads ignorantly and run off. An unknown amount of time passes before a serpent somehow enters Eden. This serpent is really Satan in disguise. At this point, it is logical to assume that the Garden of Eden is no longer a safe place for two sub-intellectual children to be frolicking.
Satan approaches Eve, and communicates to her that it might be a good idea to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Eve, just as ignorant as she was ten minutes ago, nods her head again and proceeds to partake of the forbidden fruit. Instantly Eve is filled with knowledge, and decides that Adam might want a bite also. Adam nods his head ignorantly and takes a bite. As Bryan Prim once said, Whammo, ladies and gentlemen we have original sin, for which the curse of God plagues every descendant from that point onwards including the mentally feeble, heroes of human decency, peasants and leaders, and unborn children. ) At this point, God decides to cast Adam and Eve out of Eden for sinning. Human kind as a whole is effectively unclean, a disaster of unequaled proportions. As Adam and Eve begin to populate the planet with the astounding gene pool of exactly two people, each person born is effectively consigned to hell immediately upon their birth, no matter how they live their lives, for this is what Christians are told babies are baptized for. Such is the burden of original sin that God later sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death at the hands of the Romans in order to cleanse humanity of its taint.
Jesus, naturally, is the central figure of Christianity. Obviously, there are problems with the story of Adam and Eve. First, the story is utterly fantastic. It strains both intellect and reason, and cannot be verified. There is no evidence to support it. There is evidence against it. Evidence suggests that mankind has been present on this planet for far longer than a few thousand years. The biblical story of God kneading Adam into existence from dust is laughable, and anything but verifiable.
Eve being created from one of Adams rib bones is equally fantastic mythology. These elements smack of ancient tribal creation myths carried over into Christianity. God created Adam and Eve imperfectly; without knowledge. This alone disqualifies God as a perfect being. God not only created a potential danger in paradise (the tree), but also allowed Satan to infiltrate and subvert His children into disobedience. He also knew beforehand that this would happen. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that God is not omnipotent and also not omniscient.
God knew that Satan would be the catalyst. Without this catalyst, the original sin would not have occurred. Mankind, however, bears the curse of God for original sin. This would imply that Satan has power apart from, and in direct conflict with God. If God cannot control His own created Satan, then this necessarily makes God imperfect and elevates Satan to deity status. If this is the case, then we truly have no comparison by which to measure goodness on the part of God or Satan; if God is evil, then the bible lies about Satan being the evil one.
Also, Adam and Eve, having no knowledge as yet of who or what Satan is, are only aware of one authority. When Satan approaches, he is an entirely new authority figure. Being ignorant of good and evil, and completely innocent, Eve had absolutely no choice but to follow the advice of Satan. These were new rules being issued into a flat table, there was no experience with which to judge Satan’s intentions. As far as Eve was concerned, these new instructions were from an authority figure equal to, if not higher than, God, and she had no experiences by which to judge the suggested actions.
She might have known that God commanded her not to eat the fruit, but she did not know how to compare that commandment to this new input because God had not given her the ability to do so. God was also nowhere to be found at the time of the tempting, evidently. Keep in mind that these two people did not yet have the ability to make choices between good or evil yet only after the fruit was eaten did they possess this knowledge. Also, God is portrayed as being somehow absent during these events, which necessarily makes Him not omnipresent and not omniscient.
If you argue otherwise, then you argue that God is necessarily not omnibenevolent. In either case, perfection is not represented. If the plan was for Adam and Eve to end up with knowledge, then why curse them for obtaining it themselves and fulfilling that plan? Why keep it from them in the first place? But, if the plan was not for Adam and Eve to end up with knowledge, then who exactly thwarted the plans of a perfect, all-powerful being: Adam, Eve, or Satan? Who changes the rules on God? Then again, If the plan was not for Adam and Eve to end up with knowledge, then why create this tree of knowledge in the first place?
Why install it? If there must be some type of identifying symbol of knowledge, why not make it a boulder of knowledge and keep things simple on everyone? Finally, If the plan was for mankind to end up with knowledge, then why engineer events which would necessitate mankind being cursed and condemned to hell before Jesus saved us, and which would necessitate the sending of Jesus in the first place, in order to correct an error of biblical proportions? Why not simply create us with knowledge in the first place and avoid bloodshed?
God must have been able to do this, or else God is a slave to external rules. The fact that the biblical account reads the way it does can only lead to the conclusion that either God is indescribably cruel, or that the people who wrote this part of the bible were relying on older mythology at the time in order to explain creation. The story is constructed such that it forms a linear path directly from human suffering, due to original sin, to Jesus sacrifice in order to relieve us of that burden. In the telling, however, it becomes clear that many more complications arise than perhaps were expected.
According to Sunday-school Christianity, Jesus was necessary; he was a gift from God despite our mistakes in Eden, and as such we are portrayed as the guilty party as if the actions of Eve should have an impact on humanity as a whole, if they did, then we are not free people, but rather the slaves to the deeds of all of our ancestors. Having disobeyed God, we cursed ourselves, thereby needing a savior. This is not what is portrayed in the bible as we read the story, however. Noting the above problems, we find that Satan is the ultimate troublemaker, even if we forego the logical contradictions in Gods reported actions.
Taken as a whole, the entire story is revealed as a meager attempt on the part of biblical authors to quickly explain an event which, evidently, they never imagined would be questioned via modern scientific method. Jesus gift of redemption is based entirely upon the lie of human guilt for an act represented as shabbily as what we’ve seen here: daring to be human in the face of a mythical, wrathful, cosmic superior who made us human in the first place. Christian defenders of Eden often use a coined refutation: God didn’t want robots.
The expanded meaning being that God really did want mankind to have knowledge, and that placing the tree in Eden served as His divine indicator that we should have the ability to make choices. God wanted us to have free will. This argument often fails to mention the fact that God specifically commanded Adam and Eve not to make that choice, and that He punished them for doing so after the fact. We also know that Eve could not have made such a choice before she ate the fruit, yet the choice to disobey and eat the fruit at all still condemns us.
There are, in fact, several biblical indications that directly contradict this refutation. First, if the tree of knowledge was the pathway to the ability to make choices (free will), then Adam and Eve were incapable of making choices prior to eating the fruit. Thus, they were created as robots. Also, God specifically commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit. Thus, he wanted them to remain ignorant and robotic. In addition, God expected Adam and Eve to comply with a command ONLY because of the fact that a command was given.
They had absolutely no way of knowing right from wrong, since they hadn’t eaten the fruit of knowledge yet, and no personal experience. The command issued was that of a creator to His unthinking robot. Plus, Any truly sentient creature with the ability to make choices and in direct daily contact with God should have no problems at all obeying Him. After all, if God were readily apparent to everyone as He was to Adam and Eve, then only the severely mentally handicapped or the morally handicapped, without knowledge, could even conceive of disobeying Him.
Knowing this, it isn’t difficult to imagine Adam and Eve as ignorant, somewhat stupid, robotic puppetsmindeed, the bible tells us so. If God were really omnipotent, He could have given us free will without suffering attached. Feeling guilty for an ancestor rebuking God at the beginning of time is often enough to send believers to church in haste, ready to wail and bemoan the terrible and sinful people we truly are, and shed tears of absolute joy reading onwards as Jesus pays the ultimate price for our evident hatred towards God in Eden. If this isn’t enough, then we later have divine guidelines to break and need repentance for.
Such terrible acts against ones God include homosexuality, mixing fabrics in ones clothing, and eating certain types of food. Christians will often defend some of these while at the same time ignoring or rationalizing away the others, depending on the particular frame of mind of the Christian in question. Why don’t people burn bulls nowadays, since the bible tells us that the smell is pleasing to God? The scriptures are truly malleable in this respect they can be made to reflect nearly anyone’s agenda. This agenda always roots itself in trying to convince people that they are basically bad people in dire need of redemption.
Guilt must be a factor, otherwise Christianity fails as a religion. People argue that sin is just another name for immorality, but this isn’t true. Immorality can exist apart from any religion, but sin specifically offends a deity. After all, not all sins are actually immoral, and not all things classified as immoral (i. e. crimes against humanity) are considered sins. original sin is nothing more than an invented story intended to instill a feeling of guilt or unworthiness in potential recruits, and in the already converted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being human!
The biblical flood is a primary example of how Christian Science works, and also a very good example of just how flexible reality needs to be in order to maintain belief in the Christian bible. Like the story of Eden, let’s again take a simplified look at what the bible tells us and what mainstream Christianity teaches. This one is very straightforward, which is good because it leaves little room to wiggle. Notable is the fact that nearly every early religion has a global flood story, all the way back to tribal legends. Telling the story is simple, which is as follows.
After a while of Adam and Eve populating the planet all by themselves, God grew displeased with humanity as it was turning out after the whole Eden incident. The only people on the planet that He liked were Noah and his family. So, God came to Noah and told him to build an ark capable of holding two, or seven, depending on the version of the story, of every animal on the planet. Then Noah was to gather these animals, store them on the ark, and wait while God proceeded to flood the entire planet with rainfall for 40 days and 40 nights.
Noah proceeded to build the ark, using wood, petroleum pitch, and rudimentary tools and employing only himself and his family. Then Noah does indeed gather two, or seven, of every single type of animal that existed, and place them somehow in the ark. Just as Noah was finishing up this task, God began His global cleansing process with rainfall. After 40 days and 40 nights, the world was properly wet and its inhabitants properly drowned, and Noah came to rest on Mt. Ararat, presumably in modern Turkey. The floodwaters receded to somewhere, and Noah was so happy that he began sacrificing at least one pair of each clean animal.
Beginning with the list of impossibilities is the notion of the ark. This boat would have had to have been bigger than a super-tanker. There are MILLIONS of species on the land. There are over three hundred and fifty thousand species of beetle alone. The sheer number of insects would fill several arks, before you even consider the larger creatures. The ark would have to be the single largest ship ever in the history of the world. Modern technology could not possibly create a ship large and stable enough to act as Noah’s Ark. Many species of land animal require highly specialized habitat and food to survive.
Koala bears, for instance, eat one kilogram of fresh Eucalyptus- tree leaves per day, which provide all their water and nutrition, some people have suggested Noah had a year’s supply of dried Eucalyptus leaves, but Koalas need the leaves for their water. What did Noah do? Rehydrate them with a desalination plant? Hold them out in the rain every morning? Also, no matter what time of year it was, many creatures would be hibernating since it’s always winter somewhere on the globe. Many creatures are only found on one continent, indeed some are limited to a small island, forest or mountain.
It’s a neat trick to be able to walk thousands of miles to the Middle East if you’re hibernating on a remote island near Alaska. How could the ark cope with all the specialized requirements of food/environment for millions of creatures? The 320 different species of humming-bird, for example, have very high metabolic rates and have to consume large amounts of nectar throughout the day. The Ark would have had to cater for 640 humming-birds, requiring an almost constant supply of fresh nectar from flowers, which wouldn’t grow in great abundance in a dark, damp boat. How could the ark cope with disposing of the waste products of those creatures?
It must have had an incredibly advanced plumbing and ventilation system, superior to anything to be found on modern ocean liners or large military vessels. One problem that dairy farmers have is that vast quantities of fresh dung produce highly toxic gases, and it would have been many times worse on an Ark. Where did Noah find the pitch to waterproof the Ark with? Flood theorists say that all the world’s petroleum deposits were formed during the Flood. How could Noah find and use pitch to waterproof the Ark before the Flood, when the pitch was formed during the Flood?
Pitch is a petroleum deposit, which takes more than a couple of thousand years to form. Using modern equipment, it can take a good shipyard years to build a large ship, using hundreds of men. Noah, five hundred years old at the time, apparently had himself, a few helpers and a lot of trees. We are expected to believe that he built the Ark, using crude hand-tools, over a period of many years in a world filled with evil, scheming criminals. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. ” (? ) There are a few of the things he would have had to deal with.