Class One: Why the 2,000+ year-old Bible Continues to Influence the World
The Holy Bible is filled with contradiction, ill logic, bias history, and facts not in evidence. To begin with, there is an evolutionary process. Our planet is but one tiny speck in an endless cosmos and the probability of other living creatures is high. We accept certain laws of nature; i.e., men do not float up into heaven in burning chariots, serpents do not talk, axe-heads do not float, nor do men compose psalms in the belly of a whale or sing in red-hot furnaces. Within the pages of the Holy Bible, the history of man is sometimes flawed. Man’s story is incomplete. The book cannot be used to guide the knowledge of humankind in the areas of biology, geography, geology, or astronomy.
It is a known fact that the Old Testament came together through the centuries-old tradition of storytelling. Realistically, we must accept the fact that tales and legends became mixed up, confused, exaggerated, lost—leaving our history with holes and misplaced threads. The Bible has been used to blame and to glorify the actions of average men and has been used to substantiate the claims of the prophets. Take, for instance, the books of Joshua and Judges did not derive from the idealized picture of the whirlwind conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. Take, for instance, how the historical books of Samuel and Kings are used to illustrate the correctness of the ‘Latter Prophets’ Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and others.
The New Testament came to us through the copying efforts of countless scroll writers, most schooled, intelligent, and dedicated. Others were unschooled, but great scribes. Late discoveries show how scribes strictly copied the original transcript word for word, but times occurred when their own words, ideas appeared in the margins. Over time, many of their terms found their way into the actual manuscript. Also, it was too easy to make translation errors and copying mistakes, especially when it took only a short line over a letter or a missing dot under a word to change the meaning of the word, the sentence, the story in its entirety. I have written nothing in this paragraph that is not known to the world, discussed countless times in all kinds of places, from beer joints to university classrooms. Tell me, then in the world can the Holy Bible continue to influence?
And influenced it has. This work of humanity's history and growth of Faith has influenced the Jewish religion, the Christian church, and the Muslim believers who worship our biblical Supreme Being and venerate Abraham, Moses and Jesus as the greatest prophets who ever lived. The Holy Bible has caused wars. The Holy Bible has stopped wars. The Holy Bible has both inspired and enthralled, and horrified and disgusted. The Holy Bible has helped free people from slavery and has been responsible for keeping people enslaved. The Holy Bible has been used to justify behavior, to lay blame, and to change the course of action. Again, the question: How can the Holy Bible continue to influence?