10 Facts You Should Know About The Bible
1. It is an ANTHOLOGY of writings by SCORES of authors spanning nearly a THOUSAND YEARS from the 8th or 9th century BC to the mid-second century AD.
2. There were HUNDREDS of texts regarded from time to time as holy Jewish or Christian writings, but the Bible as we know it was chosen by St Jerome about 400 AD. It contains 71 books and is still the basis of the Catholic Bible. The Protestant Bible has 5 fewer books because the reformers regarded these as unworthy of being called scripture.
3 As it stands, the Bible is a mishmash of poetry, history, legend, myth, philosophy, ethics, prophecy, parable and superstition. Good and bad, beautiful and ugly, savagery and tenderness, are inextricably bound up in its pages.
4. Many of the people and events it relates are unsupported by external evidence. There is no outside corroboration for Adam, Eve, Noah and the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, the Exodus. Saul, David, Solomon and even Jesus Christ himself. They are all unsupported legends.
5. Its Song of Songs is a collection of erotic poetry; its book of Jonah questions the very practice of prophecy which is so central to much of the Old testament; its set of laws in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy contradict one another; its book of Ecclesiastes seems to have slipped in by mistake since it rejects life after death and man's special place in creation (3. 18-21; 9. 5-6) and its book of Joshua is nothing less than a warrant for genocide.
6. A basic CONTRADICTION exists between its two volumes. The Old Testament reports the successful military campaigns of a warlike tribe in the service of a WARLIKE GOD; whereas the New Testament seems to preach, at least in places, a message of peace. In the one, the message is clearly an eye for an eye, in the other it is the turned cheek.
7. It offers two contradictory stories of creation in Genesis. The first story in Genesis 1. 2,4 and the second story in 2. 5 - 3 .24 tell of two different creations, both of which cannot be true because their details contradict one another. Man, beasts and plants are created in two different sequences, and man and woman are made in two different ways. In the first, it is plants (third day), then beasts (fifth day), then man (sixth day). In the second account, man is created before vegetation. We now know that these accounts were written by two different people, and that the first was written about 200 years AFTER the second.
8. The Gospels offer CONTRADICTORY accounts of the birth of Jesus (see Who was Jesus?).
9. The Gospels offer CONTRADICTORY accounts of the ancestry of Jesus (see Who was Jesus?).
10. The New Testament also presents differing resurrection stories (see Who was Jesus?).
So this is the book which many Christians believe is the unerring word of God. This is the book which is stamped as God's word by act of the British Parliament. This is the book which is forced into the hands of children in our schools. This is the book which is used as a kind of fetish for swearing upon in our Courts Of Law. And this is the book for which we are still liable to imprisonment for bringing into 'disbelief and contempt'.