-is written by many different people over a period of at least 1200 yrs (OT and NT). The oral tradition predates the written tradition by a number of years.
-this results in as many contradictions as there are hands in the pie. Inevitably. The writers probably never spoke to one another or collaborated. Each writer wrote according to their own agenda.
-the existence of substantive contradictions, such as tenets of Faith, should be incontrovertible proof of either:
- the Bible is not the perfect record of the Word of God, or,
- God is not perfect, in either act or word. God may not be ‘perfect’ in the way we humans define perfection, but I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the entity which was able to create the Universe over the folks who wrote books and whose works ended up in the biblical canon.
-this, on top of copying errors, mistranslations, and deliberate insertions and ‘corrections’ to reconcile the immutable word of God with the fashions of the times in which it was being read and interpreted, renders the Bible as something other than scriptural in its authority.
-multiplex this on top of the fact that the Christian faith is an offshoot of Judaism. These are two different traditions arising from (in the case of the Jews) or grafted onto (in the case of Christianity, which was conscripted by the Romans) two very different cultures. The Messiah of Judaism is not the Christ of the Christian tradition. The former is warlike and judgmental; the latter is all about love and forgiveness.
-since the outset, apologists have struggled to reconcile the bible’s obvious contradictions. The rationale to support the identification of passages in the Old Testament as being references to the coming ‘messiah’ is grasping at straws; requiring the reader to defy their own good sense in order to see any connection at all to the coming ministry of Jesus.
-it all comes down to how people, including the writers whose works were included by a subsequent group of ‘editors’ under the authority of the Emperor Constantine, chose to interpret the words of the Bible, in accordance with their particular agendas. Because of this, the per se universality of the Bible can never be achieved on its own merits; IT CAN ONLY BE SUPERIMPOSED.
-imposition requires authority and authorities change over time, if even a few years. Over the two millennia intervening between our day and the days described in the Bible, many changes in authority have transpired. The Roman Empire is gone. The Holy Roman Empire is gone. So too the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
– despite the passage of time, wars are still being fought over the Christian scripture, the Jewish scripture, and the Moslem scripture. It makes no sense that anyone would perceive value in killing what god has made in order to defend god’s name. It is beyond the capacity of sentient beings to want their offspring to be murdered.
The Bible is what it is. Its writers are no longer among us and so we can argue and discuss until we are blue in the face and get no closer to the truth of the matter with respect to a particular point of contention. The Bible, any scripture for that matter, if it is to be used correctly, is to be used as a supporting document; a reference to both prime and support discussions in matters of faith and historical tradition, within and among religious traditions and cultures. In this approach there are only winners.
It cannot be used in the way a society’s legal canon is used in order to determine innocence or guilt with respect to a certain point on a case by case basis. In fact, the creators of Canada’s legal canon deemed it necessary to provide some degree of latitude in its interpretation to future generations of Canadians. That is the canon judges use to determine innocence or guilt. How can anyone think to use documents which were created two to three thousand years ago to determine innocence or guilt; compliance or noncompliance? Thankfully, our judges do not. The Bible has been wrongly and inappropriately used for two millennia and more.
The height of irony/the falseness of humanity’s ego is that any sentient human being could think to use a ‘book’ dedicated to a god that is dedicated to love and happiness (no one willfully creates and loves anything which will cause them misery, hello?), to incite or support violence and the politicization of its contents to promote coercive social and geopolitical agendas and the misery and violence which inevitably results.
Jesus was about love. Jesus was about accountability. Jesus never chose to operate behind the scenes. It is hard for me to believe Jesus ever wanted folks to bow to him, or that he is somehow the doorway to Heaven and eternal life.
He had found the door. He only wanted to show us the way to it and through it.