Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If the Words of the Divine Fall to Erroneous Interpretations of Men Who do not Wish to Hear of Their Mistake, Do those Words Still Sound Like Truth?


Sometimes I cannot help but to question the religious acumen of people who very sincerely think and believe that the Holy Bible is total, utter, complete, and final truth. In other books I have written I approach this particular issue from the standpoint of in order for something to be considered truth there must exist within that thing fact. Here, I will be approaching this subject differently.

In general, scholars agree that Jesus was probably born around 6 or 4 BC, and probably died around 30-36 AD. While there were some issues as to the dates various books of the Bible had been written previous to Jesus’ life (Old Testament Books) it was not really until Jesus came into and then out of the picture that the proverbial poop hit the fan big time. It is true that there are some scholars who hotly contest the very existence of Jesus in the first place, but we will not concern ourselves with that. What we will look at are the dates that various books of the Bible were written, when they were discovered, who discovered them, and when were the various books compiled into the Bible as people know it today.

The first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) are supposed to have been written by Moses. There are, however, great differences of opinion as to whether or not this is in fact the case. Some scholars say that Moses penned all five, some say he penned all except the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, and some even assert that these books of the Old Testament, as well as the others in the Old Testament, evolved with time (LOTS of time; I’m talking hundreds of years) as various individuals compiled fragments of writings. The range of dates of which scholars think these works to have been written is huge, 900 BC to as recent as 2 BC.

The information on who wrote other books in the Old Testament and when they were written is not any easier to figure out. The organization of the Old Testament will sometimes vary from denomination to denomination, but not always. It is also debated whether or not each of the Old Testament books had a different author, or even if one author penned several of the books. Some of the prophets that are said to have contributed to the Old Testament compilation are Samuel, Joshua, Nathan, and Jeremiah. Ezekiel and Isaiah are also said to have contributed, however, differences in the styles of writing utilized indicate to many scholars that more individuals than those mentioned contributed, or even that they edited and added material as they deemed necessary. In the final analysis of the Old Testament a majority of scholars will agree that its creation went through many edits and revisions over hundreds of years before it came to be in its present form.

The evolution of the New Testament is even more interesting. The four gospels are considered by many to have been anonymously written and not, as many would believe, by the hands of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. In the course of their biblical studies and research some scholars came to the conclusion, based on writing style and information contained therein, that whomever wrote Luke also very likely wrote Acts. The book of Matthew, supposedly written by Matthew the tax-collector, is now widely considered to have been written by an individual who was NOT an eye-witness to Jesus, and not only that, but that Matthew was written around 70-100 CE. Notice the date and do the math. You will find that there is a nearly forty year gap between the death of Jesus and when scholars theorize Matthew to have been written. The gospel of John is thought to have been written between 80-95 CE. There are even suggestions that many of the names of the books of the New Testament are NOT the names of the authors, but rather are pseudonyms.

We move on to discuss the various versions of the Bible, books that were left out of the Old Testament and the New Testament, and why.

There are no less than ten, yes, I said TEN, versions of the Holy Bible. The Jewish version of the Bible, the Tanach, has pretty much remained the same over time. The Christian version of the Tanach, the Old Testament, contains serious alterations (additive and deductive) in an effort to further the dogma and ideologies and anything of the like in respect to Christian teachings. The Septuagint is a Greek version of the Bible from around 250 A.D. The Council of Carthage approved the first canonized version of the Bible called the Vulgate in about 400 A.D. Don’t forget Luther’s German version of the Bible in 1534 A.D. King James took a stab at producing yet another version and ended up birthing the error riddled King James Version in 1611 A.D.

Another version was cranked out in 1952 A.D., the Revised Standard version, and utilized the oldest text available to interpret into American English. Not long after that version came the New International version. The New King James version does its best to utilize contemporary English while many consider the Young’s Literal Translation to be the best. Oh, and don’t leave out the New American Standard Version, the New World Translation, and the Christian Bible that was confirmed by the Council of Laodicea in 363 A.D., which did not include the book of Revelation; but no worries about that since a version WITH Revelation added was approved in 367 A.D. It does not stop there, and neither does it get any easier to discern whose version of the Bible is the right one.

In the year 1199 A.D., Pope Innocent III banned what he deemed were unauthorized versions of the Bible. In 1408 A.D., the Wycliff Bible was outlawed by the Oxford Synod. Tyndale’s versions of the Bible were not really received that well being as though there were many people who believed that in the process of translating the text Tyndale changed a good amount of it. In the Synod Of Hippo in 393 A.D., attendees decided what they did and did not want to include in the Bible. The Council of Trent in 1545-1563 A.D., approved a Catholic version. The Eastern Orthodox version not only has a few MORE books, but they are also in a different order. Many Protestants consider the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation devised in the Councils of Nicaea (in 325 A.D.) and Chalcedon to be the correct doctrine to adhere to. Such is not accepted by the Oriental Orthodox who instead prefer to teach that Christ had one nature that was comprised of both the Godhead and manhood.

By the way, it was at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. that it was first decided that Jesus Christ was indeed God. As if all the bickering from that was not enough, ecumenical tiffs persisted in ideas of Christ’s two natures BEFORE the incarnation, when the two natures merged into one nature, and when the Word was made flesh. There is so much more to this mess, but it would really take an entire volume in itself (a very large volume) and that is not a task I personally wish to tackle. All that I am giving to you is some very, very light information. I hope you will be moved to further investigate these things on your own. In this day and age of computers this is a very easy thing to do inasmuch as having a load of information at your fingertips is concerned.

Ahh, the Roman Catholic Apocrypha. Protestants and many denominations of Christianity absolutely refuse to recognize any of the books of the Apocrypha as the Word of God. Of course, there are those Catholics who will not be shy in pointing out that many denominations simply do not have the full extent of the true scriptures inspired by God. Books included in the Roman Catholic Apocrypha are (not necessarily in this order, mind you) Wisdom, Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, First and Second Maccabees, as well as additions made to the books of Ester and Daniel. There are even more Apocryphal books that the Catholics refuse to include in their version of the Bible.

Many of those who would rather that the books of the Apocrypha burn in hell right beside all of those who choose to believe or think differently assert that the Apocrypha speaks of money making atonement for sins, the Mother Mary being born sinless, magical spells and incantations, and that it encourages or teaches practices contrary to the purpose of believing in God in the first place.

Interesting. Sounds very similar to a lot of the crap that modern-day preachers love to cram down the throats of the present-day Children of God. Turn on your television any given Sunday and you will find a trove of shows where supposed men of God dressed in silk suits pounce about a stage asking people to send in money. And while there really are not many preachers who will say they are sinless, they sure do love to point out the sin of all those who choose to believe and think differently than they do; that all who do not believe in God and who are not ‘saved’ by Christ are going to hell.

What about magical spells and incantations? This one always get me, right? See, perhaps you are ‘calling corners’ or requesting the help of the Guardian of the North of the Element of Earth. Maybe you will say something along the lines of, “Hail, to the Guardian of the North of the Element of the Earth! Peace to you and thank you for this day! May you enter this circle and bless me and protect me and grant that which I ask of you!” How is that any different, if only in the names of those of whom you are requesting help from, than saying a prayer such as, “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for today! Help me to be strong for this day and may you keep me and protect me! Keep your protective hands about me, Lord! Lord, hear this prayer I ask of you, in Jesus’ name, amen!”

Perhaps some of the biggest questions should be saved for some of the things people are either told to do in the name of the Christian God, or that they take upon themselves to do in the name of the Christian God, or in all reality any God for that matter. Thievery, trickery, murder, mayhem. Not very nice things at all, are they? In reality ANY religion and EVERY GOD is subject to someone, somewhere taking something out of proportion and mistreating people in a pathetic bid to wrest power from those who are either too ignorant or too stupid to recognize they have any power to begin with.

So, getting back to the title of this chapter in this book, how do you know what is the right thing to believe in? How do you know what is truth? There have been so many versions of what people hold to be scripture inspired by God, so many versions of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Who is right? Who is mostly right? Who is mostly wrong? Who has the purest version of the Bible? Who has the correct instructions of how people should live and treat each other? Who has the instructions for the proper way to pray (provided that there is actually a proper way to pray)?

Who is or has written scripture that really is inspired by God? How does anyone anywhere know if something purported to be scripture really is inspired by God? Who are these people and these councils and gatherings over the many centuries who have squabbled and fought over the interpretation of God and everything related to such? Worse yet, why do people continue to fight over a subject where no one can even agree for half a second on what qualifies as truth, and how to correct errors supposed to be in that version of truth? Besides, if something contains error, well, then it cannot be truth, correct? And while denomination after denomination bickers over whose version of God and God’s Word is correct the truth of the matter is that the love that is supposed to be God, the love that God supposedly wants all of his children to show others is COMPLETELY LOST in a sickening twirl of finger-pointing and hell-condemning.

None of those who assert that they have the one and only truth of God, the one and only inspiration of God want to hear that what they have is not truth. They don’t even want to catch wind of the possibility that what they cling to is not truth, or that it has been corrupted either by the very authors claiming divine inspiration or those interpreting such hotly-contested ‘holy words’ and stories.

So, if the words of the divine fall to the erroneous interpretations of men who do not wish to hear of their mistake, do those words still sound like truth?

Apparently so, for some people. Apparently so.

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