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Ten Things You THOUGHT You Knew About The Bible
It's often said that the best way to make more atheists is to get more people to read the Bible, as there is such a stark difference between what people commonly THINK it says and what it ACTUALLY says. For example:
ONE: Eve Was Made From One Of Adam's Ribs. As with so many of the Bible's other inconsistent and repetitive narratives, it depends upon which version you read. In Genesis chapter 1, Yahweh (the god of the Bible) creates all the animals (verses 21-25), THEN creates man and woman SIMULTANEOUSLY (26-27). However, in chapter 2, he first creates Adam (verse 7), THEN all the animals (18-20), THEN creates Eve from one of Adam's ribs (21-22).
TWO: Satan Led Eve Astray In The Garden Of Eden. It's commonly believed that Satan was the "serpent" who convinced Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis (bolstered by a reference in Revelation 12 to Satan as "that old serpent"). Yet Satan is NEVER identified in the Eden story, and when Yahweh hands out punishment, he condemns the ANIMAL ("...upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat..."). If Satan were responsible for Adam and Eve's fall, why punish snakes?
THREE: Noah's Flood Lasted Forty Days. Only the rain lasted forty days (Genesis 7). After ten months (Genesis 8:5), the mountain tops reappeared. Forty days later, Noah sent the dove on its first trip. Two weeks later, on its third trip, the dove failed to reappear, and land was finally deemed dry enough to disenbark. All total, the flood waters (and everyone's incarceration in the ark) lasted for approximately 354 days -- nearly a year!
FOUR: God Wrote The Ten Commandments On Stone Tablets. NOT those from Exodus 20, which are commonly enshrined on plaques, posters and monuments everywhere. There's no mention of those commandments being written on stone (or broken) ANYWHERE in the Bible!
According to Exodus, the ONLY commandments written by Yahweh on stone tablets (and broken by Moses) -- and the ONLY group referred to specifically in the Old testament as "THE Ten Commandments" -- are from chapter 34, and are completely different from the more commonly known ten. They deal exclusively with methods of worship and devotions to Yahweh. (I've addressed this more completely in my hub "Which Ten Commandments?)"
FIVE: No Human Has Seen God (And Lived). In Genesis, Yahweh was "walking in the garden" (of Eden) when he confronted Adam and Eve about eating from the forbidden tree. In Exodus 24, Moses, Aaron and his sons and seventy of the Israelite elders went up Mount Sinai and "...saw the God of Israel...And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God..." The 'prophet' Isaiah also sees Yahweh in a vision (Isaiah 6), as does the 'prophet' Ezekiel (Ezekiel 8).
SIX: God Is Against Abortion. The Bible NEVER mentions voluntary abortion, but on at least one occasion, Yahweh COMMANDS involuntary abortion. In Hosea 13, Yahweh promises that Samaria will "fall by the sword," and that their "women with child shall be ripped up." (More can be found on Yahweh's zeal for exterminating youngsters in my hub, "Suffer The Children"). Then there's accidental abortion, which is treated as a mere triviality, and Yahweh's ONLY concern is for the father's financial loss (Exodus 21).
SEVEN: God Never Accepts Human Sacrifice. We all know the story of how Yahweh stopped Abraham before he killed his son Isaac. But in Judges 11, the Israelite general Jephthah vowed to Yahweh that, if granted a victory he would make a burnt offering of the first thing greeting him when he returned home. Unfortunately, it was his daughter, and this time Yahweh DIDN'T intervene! Yahweh also accepts the sacrifice of human slaves (Leviticus 27), and foretells the sacrifice of pagan priests by Josiah (1 Kings 13).
EIGHT: God Never Commits Evil. Apologists routinely insist that ANYTHING Yahweh does is, by definition, good. Yet the Old Testament contradicts this premise at least two dozen times, where Yahweh either personally admits to evil or is referred to as commmitting evil in a second person narrative.
In the first sense, the most notorious example is Isaiah 45:7 - "...I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil..." An example of the second is from Micah 1:12 - "For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem."
NINE: The Antichrist Is Coming. This is one almost EVERYONE gets wrong, including preachers, priests and theologians who should know better. The ONLY mentions of "antichrist" in the entire Bible are in 1 John and 2 John. The examples below (both from 1 John 2) make clear there is NOT only one "antichrist":
"...even now are there many antichrists..." "...He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son..."
What people who mistakenly use this term are ACTUALLY referring to is "The Beast" from the book of Revelation!
TEN: The End Times Are Near. Jesus is quoted directly (nearly 2,000 years ago!) in three of the gospels as declaring unequivocally that the end will come WITHIN THE LIFETIMES of those to whom he is directly speaking. For example, from Matthew 16:
"...Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom..."
From 1 John 2 (again, two millennia ago): "...Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time..."
In the final analysis, a few notable misconceptions with biblical knowledge aren't going to turn a believer into a skeptic overnight. That requires a much deeper and more comprehensive examination of what it is one believes, and an honest and objective confrontation with the Bible's more sinister, barbaric and morally incomprehensible aspects. Still, my hope is that the examples offered above will at least encourage believers to take that first step...
Other related hubs by Paladin: