The whole Bible is a lie. Jesus is a lie. God is a lie. Religion is a lie. The biggest lie ever perpetrated on mankind.
The whole thing? Maybe not.
Is a fairy tale a lie if the author never intended it to be read as anything other than a fable?
To me, it is obvious that Jonah
were expected to be read as fairy tales. More controversially, a case can be made that Mark
(up until 16:8 anyway) and Matthew
were expected to be read as fiction, and only later did people come to believe that they were historical biographies. To compare a modern example, The Da Vinci Code
is fiction; it is not a lie. However, a lot of Catholics who cannot distinguish fiction from non-fiction call it a lie. (But Mark
16:9-20 is unquestionably a lie, as anyone can find out simply by reading the footnote.)
It is harder for me to see Luke, Acts,
in that light, though. "Luke" claims to be writing a history, but there is obvious harmonization going on within Luke
and especially Acts
, when you compare Acts
with the letters of Paul. Harmonization is seen as intellectually dishonest by modern historians, but can we judge "Luke" by modern intellectual standards? Luke
begins with a blatant historical contradiction, but is that a lie or an error? John,
on the other hand, passes itself off as an eyewitness account, although every non-fundamentalist Buybull scholar knows
that it is not. Of course, all of John
21 is a lie, as anyone can find out simply by reading the footnote.
The names Luke and John were deduced by picking apart Acts
respectively, under the mistaken assumption that these works were eyewitness accounts. I do not know how the names Matthew and Mark were deduced. Any preacher who says that the gospels and Acts
were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is lying. (I specify "preacher" because they should know better.) Any Buybull that fails to point out that nobody knows who wrote those books is lying by omission.
Paul was blinded by his own zealotry. I am not ready to call him a liar. Certainly most of what he wrote is nonsense, though.
However, 6 letters attributed to Paul are pseudepigraphs. In contexts other than religion, pseudepigraphs are called "forgeries."
Any preacher who says that Paul wrote Letter to the Hebrews
is lying. I leave it up to you whether or not to call the sheeple liars when they don't bother to pick up their own Buybulls to check up on the preacher.
Nobody knows which James wrote James
or which Jude/Judas wrote Jude.
Anyone who claims to know is either lying or reckless (and thus, lying).1 Peter
is an honest pseudepigraph, signed by Silvanus.2 Peter
is a lie. The day it surfaced, Christian leaders knew that Peter did not write it, yet they canonized it anyway.
The priest who wrote 1 John, 2 John,
and 3 John
does not state his name. It is a lie to state that John the apostle or any other John wrote them.
As for the Old Testament, according to the documentary hypothesis, the Tanakh is a mass of massive harmonizations, although researching these harmonizations sheds fascinating light on the origins of Judaism that you can't possibly get by reading the Tanakh at face value.
Apart from whether or not the original books are lies, most or all of them are full of interpolations. In contexts other than religion, interpolations are called "forgeries."
I do not see gods in general as lies; I see them as mistaken assumptions. A god or a Jesus becomes a lie when it is defended with intellectual dishonesty, which does seem to have been the general rule in Christianity since its 2nd century. A few modern Christians, such as Bishop John Shelby Spong, seem to have escaped the intellectual dishonesty, if not the fantasy world.
Some religions, like Scientology and Mormonism, are obvious lies. Others, like Rastafarianism and the cargo cults
, developed organically, and seem more like honest interpretations gone terribly wrong. Whether Christianity began as a deliberate lie or as an organic attempt to make sense of Judaism under Roman occupation we shall probably never know. And the origins of Judaism is a whole other can of worms.
Edited by Cousin Ricky, 14 July 2012 - 03:42 PM.