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THE BIBLE'S UNHOLY ORIGINS
by Robert L. Johnson
Many rank and file Christians sincerely believe the Bible is a
direct communication from God to man. I know I used to believe it was when I was
a Christian. And from recent conversations with many sincere Christians I know
this is currently true for many believers. Once it is proven to our God-given
reason that the Bible is strictly a man-made collection of mythology the mind
loses yet another shackle of "revelation" and is soon on its way to full freedom
The Bible was not handed to mankind by God, nor was it dictated to human
stenographers by God. It has nothing to do with God. In actuality, the Bible was
VOTED to be the word of God by a group of men during
the 4th century.
According to Professor John Crossan of Biblical Studies at DePaul University
the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (274-337 CE), (a bust of Constantine is
pictured below) who was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity,
needed a single canon to be agreed upon by the Christian leaders to help him
unify the remains of the Roman Empire. Until this time the various Christian
leaders could not decide which books would be considered "holy" and thus "the
word of God" and which ones would be excluded and not considered the word of
Constantine, who was Roman Emperor from 306 CE until his death in
337 CE, used what motivates many to action - MONEY! He
offered the various Church leaders money to agree upon a single canon that would
be used by all Christians as the word of God. The Church leaders gathered
together at the Council of Nicaea and voted the "word of God" into existence.
In the landmark work by H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, we read,
"It (the Council of Nicaea) marks the definite entry upon the stage of human
affairs of the Christian Church and of Christianity as it is generally
understood in the world to-day. It marks the exact definition of Christian
teaching by the Nicene Creed."
Constantine ordered and financed 50 parchment copies of the new "holy
scriptures." It seems with the financial element added to the picture, the
Church fathers were able to overcome their differences and finally agree which
"holy" books would stay and which would go.
Compare the man-made origins of Christianity and its various dogmas to the
simplicity of Deism. Deism is belief in God based only on reason and the
creation itself. It makes no claim to false "revelations" as all of the
"revealed" religions do. To Deists, proof of the Designer is in the design.
To quote Thomas Paine, "Were man impressed as fully and as strongly as he
ought to be with the belief of a God, his moral life would be regulated by the
force of that belief; he would stand in awe of God and of himself, and would not
do the thing that could not be concealed from either. To give this belief the
full opportunity of force, it is necessary that it acts alone. This is Deism.
But when, according to the Christian Trinitarian scheme, one part of God is
represented by a dying man, and another part, called the Holy Ghost, by a flying
pigeon, it is impossible that belief can attach itself to such wild conceits. .
"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study
of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by
no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no
conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in
possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is not the
case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.
"Instead then of studying theology, as is now done out of the Bible and
Testament, the meanings of which books are always controverted and the
authenticity of which is disproved, it is necessary that we refer to the Bible
of the Creation. The principles we discover there are eternal and of divine
origin; they are the foundation of all the science that exists in the world, and
must be the foundation of theology.
"We can know God only through His works. We cannot have a conception of any
one attribute but by following some principle that leads to it. We have only a
confused idea of His power, if we have not the means of comprehending something
of its immensity. We can have no idea of His wisdom, but by knowing the order
and manner in which it acts. The principles of science lead to this knowledge;
for the Creator of man is the Creator of science, and it is through that medium
that man can see God, as it were, face to face."
On May 12, 1797 while living in Paris, France Tom Paine wrote the
following letter to a Christian friend who was trying to convert Paine to
Christianity. Paine's response fits perfectly with this page regarding the
origins of the Bible.
"In your letter of the twentieth of March,
you give me several quotations from the Bible, which you call the Word of God,
to show me that my opinions on religion are wrong, and I could give you as many,
from the same book to show that yours are not right; consequently, then, the
Bible decides nothing, because it decides any way, and every way, one chooses to
"But by what authority do you call the Bible the Word
of God? for this is the first point to be settled. It is not your calling it so
that makes it so, any more than the Mahometans calling the Koran the Word of God
makes the Koran to be so. The Popish Councils of Nice and Laodicea, about 350
years after the time the person called Jesus Christ is said to have lived, voted
the books that now compose what is called the New Testament to be the Word of
God. This was done by yeas and nays, as we now vote a law.
"The Pharisees of the second temple, after the Jews returned
from captivity in Babylon, did the same by the books that now compose the Old
Testament, and this is all the authority there is, which to me is no authority
at all. I am as capable of judging for myself as they were, and I think more so,
because, as they made a living by their religion, they had a self-interest in
the vote they gave.
"You may have an opinion that a man is
inspired, but you cannot prove it, nor can you have any proof of it yourself,
because you cannot see into his mind in order to know how he comes by his
thoughts; and the same is the case with the word revelation. There can
be no evidence of such a thing, for you can no more prove revelation than you
can prove what another man dreams of, neither can he prove it himself.
"It is often said in the Bible that God spake unto Moses, but how do
you know that God spake unto Moses? Because, you will say, the Bible says so.
The Koran says, that God spake unto Mahomet, do you believe that too? No.
"Why not? Because, you will say, you do not believe it; and so
because you do, and because you don't is all the reason you
can give for believing or disbelieving except that you will say that Mahomet was
an impostor. And how do you know Moses was not an impostor?
"For my own part, I believe that all are impostors who pretend to hold
verbal communication with the Deity. It is the way by which the world has been
imposed upon; but if you think otherwise you have the same right to your opinion
that I have to mine, and must answer for it in the same manner. But all this
does not settle the point, whether the Bible be the Word of God, or not. It is
therefore necessary to go a step further. The case then is: -
"You form your opinion of God from the account given of Him in the
Bible; and I form my opinion of the Bible from the wisdom and goodness of God
manifested in the structure of the universe, and in all works of creation. The
result in these two cases will be, that you, by taking the Bible for your
standard, will have a bad opinion of God; and I, by taking God for my standard,
shall have a bad opinion of the Bible.
"The Bible represents
God to be a changeable, passionate, vindictive being; making a world and then
drowning it, afterwards repenting of what he had done, and promising not to do
so again. Setting one nation to cut the throats of another, and stopping the
course of the sun till the butchery should be done. But the works of God in the
creation preach to us another doctrine. In that vast volume we see nothing to
give us the idea of a changeable, passionate, vindictive God; everything we
there behold impresses us with a contrary idea - that of unchangeableness and of
eternal order, harmony, and goodness.
"The sun and the seasons
return at their appointed time, and everything in the creation claims that God
is unchangeable. Now, which am I to believe, a book that any impostor might make
and call the Word of God, or the creation itself which none but an Almighty
Power could make? For the Bible says one thing, and the creation says the
contrary. The Bible represents God with all the passions of a mortal, and the
creation proclaims him with all the attributes of a God.
from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief
of a cruel God makes a cruel man. That bloodthirsty man, called the prophet
Samuel, makes God to say, (I Sam. xv. 3) `Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman,
infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'
Samuel or some other impostor might say this, is what, at this distance of time,
can neither be proved nor disproved, but in my opinion it is blasphemy to say,
or to believe, that God said it. All our ideas of the justice and goodness of
God revolt at the impious cruelty of the Bible. It is not a God, just and good,
but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.
"What makes this pretended order to destroy the Amalekites appear the
worse, is the reason given for it. The Amalekites, four hundred years before,
according to the account in Exodus xvii. (but which has the appearance of fable
from the magical account it gives of Moses holding up his hands), had opposed
the Israelites coming into their country, and this the Amalekites had a right to
do, because the Israelites were the invaders, as the Spaniards were the invaders
of Mexico. This opposition by the Amalekites, at that time, is given as
a reason, that the men, women, infants and sucklings, sheep and oxen, camels and
asses, that were born four hundred years afterward, should be put to death; and
to complete the horror, Samuel hewed Agag, the chief of the Amalekites, in
pieces, as you would hew a stick of wood. I will bestow a few observations on
"In the first place, nobody knows who the author, or writer,
of the book of Samuel was, and, therefore, the fact itself has no other proof
than anonymous or hearsay evidence, which is no evidence at all. In the second
place, this anonymous book says, that this slaughter was done by the express
command of God: but all our ideas of the justice and goodness of God give
the lie to the book, and as I never will believe any book that ascribes cruelty
and injustice to God, I therefore reject the Bible as unworthy of credit.
"As I have now given you my reasons for believing that the
Bible is not the Word of God, that it is a falsehood, I have a right to ask you
your reasons for believing the contrary; but I know you can give me none, except
that you were educated to believe the Bible; and as the Turks give the
same reason for believing the Koran, it is evident that education makes all the
difference, and that reason and truth have nothing to do in the case.
"You believe in the Bible from the accident of birth, and the Turks
believe in the Koran from the same accident, and each calls the other
infidel. But leaving the prejudice of education out of the case, the
unprejudiced truth is, that all are infidels who believe falsely of God, whether
they draw their creed from the Bible, or from the Koran, from the Old Testament,
or from the New.
"When you have examined the Bible with the
attention that I have done (for I do not think you know much about it), and
permit yourself to have just ideas of God, you will most probably believe as I
do. But I wish you to know that this answer to your letter is not written for
the purpose of changing your opinion. It is written to satisfy you, and some
other friends whom I esteem, that my disbelief of the Bible is founded on a pure
and religious belief in God; for in my opinion the Bible is a gross libel
against the justice and goodness of God, in almost every part of it."