articles appear below:
Why The Bible Is Not Accurate
Testing The Bible
Testing The Bible, Answer to Anonymous
Testing The Bible, Part 2
WHY THE BIBLE
NOT ACCURATE HISTORY
102, 2005 May)
There is a
'school' of thought in Christian circles, mainly from the
fundamentalist side of religion, pushing the line that the recording of
natural history and culturally selected supernatural history should be
viewed in the same light. By sticking to a narrow set of
criteria, with the discounting of relevant opposition to their
hypothesis, they hope to persuade all and sundry of its correctness.
made is denial of strong human bias regarding religious affairs.
following on from that, is fudging the fact that the bulk of New
Testament knowledge is obtained through biased religious writers well
after the events. Ex biblical reference, again, well after the events,
is fragmentary and has nothing convincing to say about the main
is the insinuation that the study of written history, as a science, can
be as trustworthy as hard science.
is not following two accepted rules of historical study. They are: To
treat reports of supernormal happenings with the greatest of scepticism
and to be wary of written history that appears to be, or could have
been 'contrived' or the result of legend etc.
above 'errors', a circular argument is set up 'proving' the
orientated scriptures are accurate, therefore the events depicted in
them are accurate and if the events are accurate then the supernatural
parts of the scripture are true. This is rubbish of course.
But, we must
revisit that which is in dispute. Anonymous states that transmission of
the New Testament has accuracy beyond that of other historical
works. The simple answer to this is: So what? It is a compilation
of words concerning alleged supernormal events.
The date the
Testament, as it exists today, was compiled, is in dispute depending on
which historian is telling the story. The Encyclopaedia Britannica
has it that Irenaeus, just prior to 200CE, used the four canonical
gospels, 13 letters of Paul and various other NT writings. There is
dispute about whether or not an original source 'Q' existed (And if so,
when it was written?) or that Mark's version was copied by the other
later writers because of identical phrases. The final verses of Mark's
gospel are regarded as not original but a later addition. This
certainly supports the idea that there is no exactness fitting the
principles of conclusion through proper scientific investigation enough
to be relied upon.
to the missing originals, if they existed at all, could change the
whole story. Oral recounting is notorious for the 'Chinese whispers'
effect. It also allows plenty of scope for fraud, mistake or
delusion. Excluded Gospels confuse the issue even greater.
So, what do
have? Most probably we have copies of copies, of oral reflection,
telling a tale of the alleged supernormal with the original idea more
than capable of being a myth made grandiose by legend as a result of
hearsay and folk lore. We do not know if they are telling the
alleged story as it was (A highly unlikely event), or it is laced with
the addition of supportive embellishment, subtraction of contradictory
notions or even if the alleged story is not the product of lunacy
somewhere down the line. The delusion responsible for the 10,000 other
religions makes this to be a very feasible assumption.
historians after the time would have had access to hearsay accounts. To
them, the events reported surrounding the Biblical times in question
were but ancillary to natural historical recording. None
give glowing accounts of the alleged supernormal occurrences and that
is very telling. Acknowledgment of the alleged events of NT
writers, by non-aligned historians of and after the time, are only
brief references, derived from hearsay, copied from other writers,
unclear in content, agreed upon interpolations and are no where near
conclusive. As an example we must discount Josephus's 'Antiquity of the
Jews' references of the 'Messiah' for two good reasons. It did not
appear in the accounts of Josephus until the time of Eusebius in
Constantine's reign, nor did Origen make mention of it, and Josephus
remained in the Jewish 'faith' despite acknowledging the 'Messiah'. Was
he insane? Anonymous makes a point that people can change. I ask then,
why didn't Josephus? And, why didn't the Jewish nation?
historian of the time or after mentions the alleged darkness for three
hours around the alleged Jesus' death, (Something that would be
difficult to miss) nor did they mention Saints coming out of their
graves and going into town. (A remarkable omission again) None
mentioned that a star hovered over the house of a particular
establishment and that three wise men from the East had followed it.
Stars do not hover over houses. If a star was that close to the Earth,
it would evaporate in a fiery explosion. Those and other allegedly
divine interventions were only reported by Biblical writers.
natural history, apart from being ultra suspicious of supernormal
allegations, historians, having no evidence other than that of
supernaturally predisposed biblical writers, have no option than to
disregard as fabrication that which is otherwise credibly unsupported.
This is especially true if supernatural claims permeate the documents
which are only contrived for that purpose.
Here is the
as to where Anonymous blunders. The study of textual/literary history
is a science, but more accurately it is only an attempt at gaining a
practical understanding of the past. In fact, there is no obligation or
compunction whatsoever on the part of anyone to accept such historical
studies at face value. This is particularly true concerning ex NT
ancillary accounts. The proof is that there is no consensus by
non-partisan historians that the alleged supernormal events actually
happened and indeed, there is contention as to whether the NT depicts
accurately actual natural history.
this leave us? With an ex-Biblical unsupported, well after the alleged
events, alleged supernatural story that has been passed down through
the ages as though it is the truthful chronicle of a god visit.
a book about alien abduction, is historically correct, is from the time
of the alleged occurrences and was not written many decades after them.
It was written in an age of instant information, thus excluding oral
exaggeration in the continual retelling. It was written in a time where
illiteracy is the rarity instead of the norm. It was written in a time
when scientific understanding in the Western World is beyond anything
even dreamed about in the superstitious and scientifically ignorant New
Testament days. It was written, not whilst the peoples allegedly
involved were suppressed by the harsh rule of the Romans and clutching
at straws for deliverance from them. It was written at a time and place
where democracy and not poverty stricken tyranny shaped the opinions of
the wretched. 'Communion' copies are near to being 100%
I do not
that people have been abducted by aliens and experimented on; I would
therefore be a fool to accept that the less historically worthy extant
New Testament documents depict accurately the alleged supernatural
actions of an alleged god. Both these instances, and their ardent
supporters, fit well within the known about psychological profile for
the capacity of humans to surrender to wishful-thinking.
concerning the statement, 'The transmission of the scriptures is
reliable'; only one conclusion can be reached. The transmission may be
reliable from date X but there is no credible reason to accept they
correctly represent alleged events in toto before date X.
reliable", is a meaningless phrase, one not worthy of the fanatically
serious and contorted investigation afforded to it by those not
convinced by 'faith' alone.
TESTING THE BIBLE
103, 2005 July)
listed five errors which, he says, Fundamentalist religion uses to set
up a circular argument. (Investigator 102, p. 47)
circularity too: Fundamentalists often support their disputed beliefs,
such as Noah's Flood, with "We have the testimony of Jesus" or "God
was there and gave us a true written record." The "testimony" or
"written record" is itself in The Bible and therefore assumes The Bible
true prior to any proof.
five errors do not apply to, or describe, what I do.
What I do
investigate The Bible is look for statements that are testable. I go to
the scientific literature to test them. I try to find out whether
they're correct or wrong as judged by current science.
the Bible writers of "strong human bias". "Bias" can mean that a writer
presented points of interest to himself to the exclusion of other
points. A writer can be "biased" in this sense and still be accurate.
Alternatively, "Bias" can denote "distortion" and "presenting a
whether the Bible writers distorted or falsified we need to investigate
how accurate The Bible is.
I investigate The Bible by seeking out whatever in it is testable, and
find out what science says about it.
proved hundreds of Bible statements correct including many previously
considered false. That is, the science that seemed to disprove The
Bible was itself often wrong and subsequent science confirmed the
disputed statement. Much of this has appeared in Investigator
Magazine and is on the website.
If The Bible
have hundreds of scientifically accurate statements and its critics
regularly turn out wrong what do we make of it?
inductively, could we generalize our findings, and predict the process
continue until The Bible is proved 100% correct and all its opponents
alleged activity of God i.e. alleged miracles reported in The Bible? If
there is no God then obviously there were no miracles. If there is a
God, miracles are possible.
What I do,
examine alleged miracles and see how much can be scientifically
miracles have been examined in Investigator by me, and a few
more by Allan Brunt in the "Red Sea Crossing". Most "miracles" so far
examined were rare natural events spectacularly timed so as to produce
desired or predicted outcomes.
there was "darkness for three hours" when Jesus died and says no
historian confirms it. (p. 49) This one I haven't discussed before. But
I see no problem in regarding it as a heavy cloud formation that took
three hours to pass. Ancient historians did not record daily weather in
Israel and so the non-confirmation of this point is not significant.
queries the "Saints coming out of their graves". This was explained in
"Archaeology Supports The New Testament" (Investigator 25). And the
"Star of Bethlehem" was considered in No. 81 and No. 88 where I used
computer software named "Skymap".
tells us why he expects The Bible to be wrong:
decades after events occurred;
- Written in
age of oral exaggeration in the continual retelling;
- Written in
superstitious, scientifically ignorant, age;
- It was a
of harsh rule with people "clutching at straws";
shaped by "poverty stricken tyranny".
If, despite all
these obstacles, we find The Bible has hundreds of correct points with
more proved correct every year, and sometimes science is revised to
agree with The Bible -- what does it imply?
say it implies:
Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16) and,
As for me, I dig
for the facts to find out whether statements in The Bible are true or
lies". (Titus 1:2)
TESTING THE BIBLE: Answer to Anonymous
104, 2005 September)
(Investigator No. 103) to argue coincidence of natural occurrence as a
way of revelation has no basis in science whatsoever. How does one
determine whether a coincidence is at play or was so ordained by an
alleged supernatural power. The 'believer' will 'believe' supernatural
control but a non-believing scientist will not make the same
As for the
containing scientifically unknown information for the time, again,
coincidence is the highest probability of the cause. The term, highest
probability, in this case, is being kind to the utmost.
hypotheses, The Arabian Nights would be prophetic in
demonstrating the voice-activated door only now a reality. (Open Sesame)
Da Vinci's helicopter drawing explaining vertical lift well before its
time. Unfortunately, the large crossbow was a failure.
is H G
Wells landing on the moon well before NASA. The War of the Worlds,
intelligent creatures attacking Earth from Mars, did not eventuate.
cannot leave out Jules Verne. 'A trip to the moon' showed things to
come well before their time. 'Journey to the Centre of the
Earth', is now known to be impossible or very difficult.
always had imagination and with enough written down, it is sure to
strike a semblance of future reality sometimes. Reasonable thinkers
call this coincidence.
testable science depends on facts and not coincidence. The Bible states
that there was light and then the creation of the Sun. It states the
Earth went back 10 degrees in Kings and was stationary in Joshua.
It states the Saints walked and it is only the likes of Anonymous who
would suggest the inerrant book really meant an Earthquake threw bodies
out of the ground. To argue a star apparently 'stood still' over a
particular house because of cloud formation is unscientific to the
examples, biblical and otherwise, are the result of humans entering
fantasyland. I have nothing against a sojourn in fantasyland now and
then, but permanent residency is not good for a healthy psychological
disposition. I therefore now leave it, as a lifestyle choice.
TESTING THE BIBLE: PART
105, 2005 November)
Anonymous (Investigator No. 103) to argue coincidence of natural
occurrence as a way of revelation has no basis in science whatsoever.
How does one determine whether a coincidence is at play or was so
ordained by an alleged supernatural power."
not put it like that.
observe that many Bible "miracles" can be explained as natural events
occurring at the right time to impact history and politics. Whether the
"miracle" was coincidence or an activity of God is then a separate
question, one that we can't settle by experiment or observation. What
I usually do is test testable statements in the Bible by reference to
the scientific literature.
the Bible has proved correct in hundreds of disputes, and sometimes
modern science was revised rather than the Bible. We could therefore
reason inductively, that is generalize the observed trend and predict
that more of the Bible will be proved.
believe each other on flimsy grounds compared to evidence for the
Bible. No human has turned out correct, as has the Bible, in hundreds
of disagreements in science, ethics, history and theology across
thousands of years. Whether H G Wells, Jules Verne, Leonardo Da Vinci
or The Arabian Nights fit such a description I'll leave to Nicholls to
Star of Bethlehem. The Bible and history agree with planet positions
given by the computer program "Skymap", which I showed in #81 and #88.
A star can point to a "place", even to a house if it's a solitary house
and cloud formations channel the starlight toward it.
sees may also be psychologically predisposed. We need to remember that
Bible statements on astronomy refer to what people at ground level see,
or would see, if they looked. And what they see can sometimes be quite
the "saints" who left their tombs when Jesus died:
And behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to
the bottom. And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
with an earthquake that occurred when Jesus died.
graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city and
appeared unto many.
(King James Bible, Matthew 27)
arose is egiro which occurs about 140 times in the New
Testament. In most instances egiro refers to rising from the
dead. In some instances, however, it refers to rising up after
sleeping, or standing after lying down, or lifting a sheep out of a pit
(Matthew 12:11), or even to becoming prominent like in "false prophets
shall arise and mislead many."
conclude the earthquake lifted or raised some dead "bodies" from their
graves. Such an event also happened a few times in the 20th century.
Floods can do this too. The 19th century saw occasions when heavy rain
raised bodies out of shallow graves at the West Terrace Cemetery in
Verse 53 has
several interpretations. Firstly, the phrase "came out of [or "from
among"] the graves" may refer to people who saw the bodies and it's
these observers who "appeared to many". Verse 53 therefore tells how
it's known that the bodies "arose"; it's known because
"appeared" (and by implication reported it).
interpretation rearrange the phrases as follows:
And came out of the graves and, after His resurrection, appeared unto
many [who] went into the holy city.
In this variation
it's the bodies that came out of the graves and then appeared "unto
many" that is by "many" people seeing them. The word "who" is then
implied so that again it's the "many" observers who went into Jerusalem
and reported what they saw.
The point to
remember is that we're dealing with the effects of an earthquake and
one effect was that it raised or lifted some "bodies".