Why is the Bible Written so Badly.

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  1. hrmwrm

    hrmwrm Dedicated LVC Member

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    Why is the Bible Written so Badly.


    Millions of Evangelicals and other Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible was dictated by God to men who acted essentially as human channelers. Each phrase is considered so perfect that it merits careful linguistic analysis to determine His precise meaning.

    If that were the case, one would have to conclude that God is a terrible writer. Although some passages in the Bible are lyrical and gripping, many would get kicked back by any competent editor or writing professor— kicked back with a lot of red ink.

    Mixed messages, repetition, bad fact checking, awkward constructions, inconsistent voice, weak character development, boring tangents, contradictions, passages where nobody can tell what the heck the writer meant to convey. . . . This doesn’t sound like a book that was dictated by a deity.

    A well-written book should be clear and concise, with all factual statements accurate and characters neither two-dimensional nor plagued with multiple personality disorder—unless they actually are. A book written by a god should be some of the best writing ever produced. It should beat Shakespeare on character development, Stephen Hawking on scientific accuracy, Pablo Neruda on poetry, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on ethical coherence, and Maya Angelou on sheer lucid beauty—just to name a few.

    No question, the Bible contains beautiful and timeless bits. But why, overall, does it so fail to meet this mark? One obvious answer, of course, is that neither the Bible—nor any derivative work like the Quran or Book of Mormon—was actually dictated by the Christian god or other celestial messengers. We humans may yearn for advice that is “god-breathed” but in reality, our sacred texts were written by fallible human beings who, try as they might, fell short of perfection in the ways that we all do.

    But why is the Bible such a mixed bag? Falling short of perfection is one thing, but the Bible has been the subject of literally thousands of follow-on books by people who were genuinely trying to figure out what it means. Despite best efforts, their conclusions don’t converge, which is one reason Christianity has fragmented into over 40,000 denominations and non-denominations.

    Here are just a few of the reasons for this tangled web of disagreements and the terrible quality of some biblical writing (with notable exceptions) by modern literary standards.

    Too Many Cooks

    Far from being a single unified whole, the Bible is actually a collection of texts or text fragments from many authors. We don’t know the number of writers precisely, and—despite the ancient traditions that assigned authorship to famous people such as Moses, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—we don’t know who most of them were. We do know that the men who inscribed the biblical texts had widely different language skills, cultural and technological surroundings, worldviews and supernatural beliefs—along with varying objectives.

    Scholars estimate that the earliest of the Bible’s writers lived and wrote about 800 years before the Christian era, and the most recent lived and wrote almost a century after any historical Jesus would have lived. They ranged from tribal nomads to subjects of the Roman Empire. To make matters more complicated, some of them borrowed fragments of even earlier stories and songs that had been handed down via oral tradition from Sumerian cultures and religions. For example, flood myths that predate the Noah story can be found across Mesopotamia, with a boat-building hero named Utnapishtim or Ziusudra or Atrahasis.

    Bible writers adapted earlier stories and laws to their own cultural and religious context, but they couldn’t always reconcile differences among handed-down texts, and often may not have known that alternative versions existed. Later, variants got bundled together. This is why the Bible contains two different creation myths, three sets of Ten Commandments, and four contradictory versions of the Easter story.

    Forgery and Counter-forgery

    Best-selling Bible scholar Bart Ehrman has written two books about forgery in the New Testament, texts written under the names of famous men to make the writings more credible. This includes the book of 2 Timothy, the one which claims that “all scripture is God-breathed.” Pseudonymous writing was so common among early Christians that nearly half of the books of the New Testament make false authorship claims or were assigned famous names after the fact. When texts claiming to be written by one person were actually written by several, each seeking to elevate his own point of view, we shouldn’t be surprised if the writing styles clash or they espouse contradictory attitudes.

    Histories, Poetries, None-of-These

    Christians may treat the Bible as a unified book of divine guidance, but in reality it is a mix of different genres: ancient myths, songs of worship, rule books, poetry, propaganda, gospels (yes, this was a common literary genre), coded political commentary, and mysticism, to name just a few. Translators and church leaders down through the centuries haven’t always known which of these they were reading. Modern comedians sometimes make a living by deliberately garbling genres—for example, by taking statements literally when they are meant figuratively—or distorting things someone else has written or said. Whether they realize it or not, biblical literalists in the pulpit sometimes make a living doing the same thing.

    Lost in Translation

    The books of the Bible were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, though not in the modern versions of these languages. (Think of trying to read Chaucer’s Middle English.) When Roman Catholic Christianity ascended, church leaders embraced the Hebrew Bible and translated it into then-modern Latin, calling it the Old Testament. They also translated texts from early Jesus-worshipers and voted on which to include in their canon of scripture. These became the New Testament. Ironically, some New Testament writers themselves had already quoted bad translations of Old Testament scriptures. These multi-layered imperfect translations inspired key doctrines of the Christian faith, the most famous being the Virgin Birth.

    Most English versions of the Bible have been translated directly from the earliest available manuscripts, but translators have their own biases, some of which were shaped by those early Latin translations and some of which are shaped by more recent theological considerations or cultural trends. After American Protestants pivoted away from supporting abortion in the 1980s, some publishers actually re-translated a troublesome Bible verse that treated the death of a fetus differently from the death of a person. The meaning of the Bible passage changed.

    But even when scholars scrupulously try to avoid biases, an enormous amount of information is simply lost in translation. One challenge is that the meanings of a story, or even a single word, depend on what preceded it in the culture at large or a specific conversation, or both.

    Imagine that a teenage boy has asked his mom for a specific amount of money for a special night out, and Mom says, “You can have $50.” She is communicating something very different if the kid asked for $20 (Mom is saying splurge a bit) versus if the kid had asked for $100 (Mom is saying rein yourself in).

    As the mom opens her wallet, the son scrolls through restaurant options on Yelp and exclaims, “Sick!” Mom blinks, then mentally translates into the slang of her own generation which, her son’s perceptions aside, doesn’t come close to translating across 2000 years of history.

    Inside baseball

    A lot changes in 2000 years. As we read the Bible through modern eyes, it helps to remember that we’re getting a glimpse, however imperfectly translated, of the urgent concerns of our Iron Age ancestors. Back then, writing anything was tremendously labor intensive, so we know that information that may seem irrelevant now (because it is) was of acute importance to the men who first carved those words into clay, or inked them on animal skins or papyrus.

    Long lists of begats in the Gospels; greetings to this person and that in the Pauline epistles; instructions on how to sacrifice a dove in Leviticus or purify a virgin war captive in Numbers; ‘chosen people’ genealogies; prohibitions against eating creatures that don’t exist; pages of threats against enemies of Israel; coded rants against the Roman Empire. . .

    As a modern person reading the Bible, one can’t help but think about how the pages might have been better filled. Could none of this have been pared away? Couldn’t the writers have made room instead for a few short sentences that might have changed history Wash your hands after you poop. Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to. Witchcraft isn’t real. Slavery is forbidden. We are all God’s chosen people.

    Answer: No, they couldn’t have fit these in, even without the begats. Of course there was physical space on papyrus and parchment. But the minds of the writers were fully occupied with other concerns. In their world, who begat who mattered(!) while challenging prevailing Iron Age views of illness or women and children or slaves was simply inconceivable.

    It’s Not About You

    The Gospel According to Matthew (not actually authored by Matthew) was written for an audience of Jews. The author was a recruiter for the ancient equivalent of Jews for Jesus. That is why, in the Matthew account, the Last Supper is timed as a Passover meal. By contrast, the Gospel According to John was written to persuade pagan Roman prospects, so the author timed the events differently. This is just one of many explicit contradictions between the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

    The contradictions in the Gospel stories—and many other parts of the Bible, are not there because the writers were confused. Quite the opposite. Each writer knew his own goals and audience, and adapted hand-me-down stories or texts to fit, sometimes changing the meaning in the process. The folks who are confused are those who treat the book as if theywere the audience, as if each verse was a timeless and perfect message sent to them by God. Their yearning for a set of clean answers to life’s messy questions has created a mess.

    The Pig Collection

    My friend Sandra had a collection of decorative pigs that started out small. As family and friends learned about it, though, the collection grew to the point that it began taking over the house. Birthdays, Christmas, vacations, thrift stores . . . when people saw a pig, they thought of Sandra. Some of the pigs were delightful—lovely and well crafted—some, not so much. Finally, the move to a new house opened an opportunity to do some culling.

    The texts of the Bible are a bit of a pig collection. Like Sandra’s pigs, they reflect a wide variety of styles, quality, raw material, and artistic vision. From creation stories to Easter stories to the book of Revelation, old collectibles got handed down and inspired new, and folks who gathered this type of material bundled them together into a single collection.

    A good culling might do a lot to improve things. Imagine a version of the Bible containing only that which has enduring beauty or usefulness. Unfortunately, the collection in the Bible has been bound together for so long that Christian authorities (with a few exceptions) don’t trust themselves to unbind it. Maybe the thought of deciding what goes and stays feels overwhelming or even dangerous. Or maybe, deep down, Bible-believing Evangelicals and other fundamentalists suspect that if they started culling, there wouldn’t be a whole lot left. So, they keep it all, in the process binding themselves and our society to the worldview and very human imperfections of our Iron Age ancestors.

    And that’s what makes the Good Book so very bad.



    Why is the Bible So Badly Written?

    unaltered original version.
    Why Is the Bible So Badly Written?
    The obvious answer is that the Bible was not actually dictated by a deity.

    Millions of evangelicals and other Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible was dictated by God to men who acted essentially as human transcriptionists. If that were the case, one would have to conclude that God is a terrible writer. Many passages in the Bible would get kicked back by any competent editor or writing professor, kicked back with a lot of red ink—often more red than black.........
     
  2. cammerfe

    cammerfe Dedicated LVC Member

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    Where did you cut-'n'-paste that from?

    KS
     
  3. hrmwrm

    hrmwrm Dedicated LVC Member

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    links are there to 2 different versions.
     
  4. cammerfe

    cammerfe Dedicated LVC Member

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    More drivel

    KS
     
  5. 04_Sport_LS

    04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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    More lies, mis-truths, misunderstandings, misconceptions, misinformation, and intentional misleadings... from a person intent on spreading discord, dissent, and divisiveness. Sure you aren't Russian Wrm?

    No... it wasn't dicated by a deity. It was physically recorded as stated in the book of Exodus.

    ANYONE with ACCURATE knowledge about the Bible KNOWS that it wasn't dicated by God... but as I just said,,,, recorded... as history.

    And of course there were different authors. It was written as a continuing HISTORY over a few thousand years. No way one person could write it!!! Nobody lives THAT long.

    Your ignorance and/or attempt at deception is truely amazing.

    Interesting that you use Bart Ehrman as a reference to support your viewpoint. A Christian that went agnostic for a while. Now that he has come back to Chritianity... I think his thoughts are a bit different now.

    It's painfully obvious, that when you read the Bible... you have no clue what you are reading,,, or how to properly read/interpret it.

    BYE!
     
  6. 04_Sport_LS

    04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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    And to build on one point in the post above:

    The HISTORY of the United States wasn't written by one person. It was a compilation of many authors... recorded over centuries. Same with the history of the world.... and same with the Bible.

    You really need to stop your HATE SPEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. hrmwrm

    hrmwrm Dedicated LVC Member

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    you do know i didn't write it and just quoted it here, right?:) it's not hate speech. it's an observation. and more to do with the new testament. all 4 never met jesus, and all 4 have different stories because of that. it's made up. if it was INSPIRED, they'd all have the SAME story.


    if it's how history happened, why are there so many DIFFERENT histories? :rolleyes: many in cultures way before the bible.
    and why doesn't it fit the history recorded in nature on earth? 99% of animals didn't make the ark. because it never existed. :D
    if it's truth, you should have no problem proving it. yet it's evidence only comes from itself. and intense need by people like you to pretend it's real.

    i can take anything in history that is real, and cross it to real events that show it in it's time, or where it was corroborated in other stories.
    only some parts corroborate with other histories. some might back up wars and known peoples, but none back up cultural deities in history.
    although the bible does mention egyptian gods. :eek:
    guess theirs would be the real ones then. :D
     
  8. hrmwrm

    hrmwrm Dedicated LVC Member

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    didn't even think of it yesterday. it's not even a WRITTEN history. writing it down didn't happen til just before the christian emergence.
    so, where's the written history as it happened? nowhere. it's all made up.
    else you'll have to show who the multi century scribe was and where the stone tablet library is starting with adam and eves diaries. :)
     
  9. 04_Sport_LS

    04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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    No... I didn't,,, because you never stated any references or sources. So it seems plagiarism is another one of your "high moral standards" you suggest you have :rolleyes:.

    I guess Cam was right about another "copy and paste". Perrrrfect... someone just citing someone elses work... without any original thought.;)



    Numbers 33
    New Living Translation
    Remembering Israel’s Journey

    1This is the route the Israelites followed as they marched out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2At the Lord’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way.

    3They set out from the city of Rameses in early spring—on the fifteenth day of the first montha—on the morning after the first Passover celebration. The people of Israel left defiantly, in full view of all the Egyptians. 4Meanwhile, the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn sons, whom the Lord had killed the night before. The Lord had defeated the gods of Egypt that night with great acts of judgment!

    5After leaving Rameses, the Israelites set up camp at Succoth.

    6Then they left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness.

    7They left Etham and turned back toward Pi-hahiroth, opposite Baal-zephon, and camped near Migdol.

    8They left Pi-hahiroth and crossed the Red Seab into the wilderness beyond. Then they traveled for three days into the Etham wilderness and camped at Marah.

    9They left Marah and camped at Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees.

    10They left Elim and camped beside the Red Sea.c

    11They left the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin.d

    12They left the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah.

    13They left Dophkah and camped at Alush.

    14They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

    15They left Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai.

    16They left the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.

    17They left Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.

    18They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.

    19They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez.

    20They left Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah.

    21They left Libnah and camped at Rissah.

    22They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.

    23They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.

    24They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.

    25They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth.

    26They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath.

    27They left Tahath and camped at Terah.

    28They left Terah and camped at Mithcah.

    29They left Mithcah and camped at Hashmonah.

    30They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.

    31They left Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan.

    32They left Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad.

    33They left Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.

    34They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.

    35They left Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber.

    36They left Ezion-geber and camped at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.

    37They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the border of Edom. 38While they were at the foot of Mount Hor, Aaron the priest was directed by the Lord to go up the mountain, and there he died. This happened in midsummer, on the first day of the fifth monthe of the fortieth year after Israel’s departure from Egypt. 39Aaron was 123 years old when he died there on Mount Hor.

    40At that time the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard that the people of Israel were approaching his land.

    41Meanwhile, the Israelites left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.

    42Then they left Zalmonah and camped at Punon.

    43They left Punon and camped at Oboth.

    44They left Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim on the border of Moab.

    45They left Iye-abarimf and camped at Dibon-gad.

    46They left Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim.

    47They left Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains east of the river,g near Mount Nebo.

    48They left the mountains east of the river and camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. 49Along the Jordan River they camped from Beth-jeshimoth as far as the meadows of Acaciah on the plains of Moab.

    50While they were camped near the Jordan River on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, 51“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, 52you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. 53Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. 54You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. 55But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. 56And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”


    The Exodus of the Isrealites from Egypt was roughly 1500 B.C. Wrm... so your ignorance and/or intentional lies are very evident.

    From the Exodus onward... a written record was kept. That is where the majority of the Old Testament comes from. Before that, (as already mentioned in your other thread), the Oral Traditions of the Jewish TALMUD were where the first parts of the Old Testament come from

    Remember yourself mentioning the Book of Enoch in the other thread??? That was originally part of the Talmud.

    Not exactly sure what you are talking about here. Time to get off "the sauce" again... and start speaking coherently
     
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    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      Wrm,

      I am gay. How do you feel about that? Especially as also a supposed Christian?
       
    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      I think I disproved that by showing what is in the book of Exodus.


      Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~
       
    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      And to repeat:

      Wrm,

      I am gay. How do you feel about that? Especially as also a supposed Christian?

       
    • cammerfe

      cammerfe Dedicated LVC Member

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      Actually, the entire thread is based on a false premise---It assumes facts not in evidence, to quote our legal brethren.

      KS
       
    • 04_Sport_LS

      04_Sport_LS Dedicated LVC Member

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      Yeah... and sometimes there's no good way of answering a question without contradicting yourself. ;)
       

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