I started on this theme a few weeks ago:
When you have a business, when you have a product, you want a public face, a brand. Brand identification gives your product, your service, your business an association in the public mind. You want customers and potential customers to think of a need and to associate your brand with it. Well established, your brand becomes a valuable piece of property.
Chick-fil-A was the featured enterprise then. Now it’s Hobby Lobby. Full disclosure: The person who runs things in this house is sometimes a customer of Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby, Inc. was founded by David Green in 1972. The current president is Steve Green, an evangelical Christian. Green’s other activities include promoting Bible study courses for public schools. Here’s what it’s all about:
The Green curriculum “is like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and editor of a booklet sent out to all schools by the U.S. Department of Education in 2000 on teaching religion in public schools. “It’s unique in its ambition and its scope and its use of the latest technologies. I think school districts far from Oklahoma will take note.” So will civil libertarians. In an award acceptance speech last April before the National Bible Association, Green explained that his goals for a high school curriculum were to show that the Bible is true, that it’s good and that its impact, “whether (upon) our government, education, science, art, literature, family … when we apply it to our lives in all aspects of our life, that it has been good.”
That the Bible is good and that its impact is good—those might be negotiable. That it’s true—you have got to be kidding, Mr. Green. Where do I start? How about if I start in the beginning?
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dryland appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
There is so much that’s wrong with the opening lines of the Bible. A casual reader will get the idea the entire book is a work of fiction. And that much is true. Some examination is in order. Let’s start with the first line: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Really? By all accounts this was about 6000 years ago. However, the Earth has been around for about 4.5 billion years. The “heaven,” the Universe, has been around maybe 13 billion years. And “God” created it all 6000 years ago? Is this a new definition for “true?”
“God divided the light from the darkness?” Really? (again) The division between light and darkness as understood here is another name for night and day. Night and day should be a natural consequence of a round ball (the Earth) illuminated by a bright object (the Sun). No divine intervention would be required. And somebody is giving “God” credit for this. Really?
I don’t think readers really want me to get involved in the separation of dry land and the seas plus a lot of other foolishness laid out in Genesis. Let’s move on to some more interesting stuff.
Does the Bible even make sense? Hardly ever:
1. God is satisfied with his works
God is dissatisfied with his works.
2. God dwells in chosen temples
2 Chron 7:12,16
God dwells not in temples
3. God dwells in light
God dwells in darkness
1 Kings 8:12/ Ps 18:11/ Ps 97:2
4. God is seen and heard
Ex 33:23/ Ex 33:11/ Gen 3:9,10/ Gen 32:30/ Is 6:1/
God is invisible and cannot be heard
John 1:18/ John 5:37/ Ex 33:20/ 1 Tim 6:16
5. God is tired and rests
God is never tired and never rests
Here is more from the King James Version:
And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
Really? “The Lord” (God) “could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Please don’t laugh at me folks. I didn’t make this stuff up. Somebody else did. Somebody else who obviously was not thinking it through. Earlier in the Bible “The Lord” created Heaven and Earth and everything in it in only six days. But when it comes to chariots of iron, man that’s just too much. You know what, dear reader. If you can get hold of one of those chariots of iron then don’t let any grass grow under your feet. You’re going to be able to rule the world.
Should I mention the Book of Exodus? May as well.
The story in the Bible is that the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt and escaped Egypt and fled to the Promised land, spending 40 years in the wilderness. 30,000 of them. Then “The Lord” delivered them to the Promised Land, and thus began the rest of the story of the Hebrew people.
The problem with is all evidence indicates the Hebrews were never in Egypt en masse. They occupied those two hilltop regions in the Eastern Mediterranean continuously for more than a thousand years prior to the time the Bible has them migrating in. The fact is there was no scourge of newborns in Egypt, so there was no real “Passover,” and the entire meaning of the holiday is based on myth.
Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments. These are the Ten Commandments inscribed on stone tablets as dictated by God. And God plagiarized previous authors, because many of the rules spelled out echo existing tradition and law:
Julius Morgenstern argued that Exodus 34 is distinct from the Jahwist document, identifying it with king Asa’s reforms in 899 BCE. Bright, however, believes that like the Decalogue this text has its origins in the time of the tribal alliance. The book of the covenant, he notes, bears a greater similarity to Mesopotamian law codes (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi which was inscribed on a stone stele). He argues that the function of this “book” is to move from the realm of treaty to the realm of law: “The Book of the Covenant (Ex., chs. 21 to 23; cf. ch. 34), which is no official state law, but a description of normative Israelite judicial procedure in the days of the Judges, is the best example of this process.” According to Bright, then, this body of law too predates the monarchy.
Hilton J. Blik writes that the phrasing in the Decalogue`s instructions suggests that it was conceived in a mainly polytheistic milieu, evident especially in the formulation of “no-other-gods-before-me” commandment.
[Some links removed]
There’s a lot more stuff, and I feel safe to conclude the Bible is mainly myth and hardly ever true. If the Bible is not true, then is it in any way “good?” Depends on how you define “good.” If you want to know what Eastern Mediterranean tribes were thinking two to three thousand years ago, then the Bible will give you some clues. Remember, these are only clues. A lot of the Bible has suffered more recent editing.
If you want to argue the Bible is a reliable source of wisdom for formulating modern law and social mores, then you’re going to have an uphill battle. Some examples:
Judges 21:10-24 NLT So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.
That was about rape, and it was not the entire story. How about the love of God?
The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies! The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet. At his command the oceans and rivers dry up, the lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade, and the green forests of Lebanon wilt. In his presence the mountains quake, and the hills melt away; the earth trembles, and its people are destroyed. Who can stand before his fierce anger? Who can survive his burning fury? His rage blazes forth like fire, and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence. The LORD is good. When trouble comes, he is a strong refuge. And he knows everyone who trusts in him. But he sweeps away his enemies in an overwhelming flood. He pursues his foes into the darkness of night. (Nahum 1:2-8 NLT)
Sweet. You won’t find many, if any, sanctions against slavery in the Bible:
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)
We want to base civil law on these teachings? Really? Civil law based on the Bible would be harsh, indeed:
Note also that any one of his possessions which a man vows as doomed to the Lord, whether it is a human being or an animal, or a hereditary field, shall be neither sold nor ransomed; everything that is thus doomed becomes most sacred to the Lord. All human beings that are doomed lose the right to be redeemed; they must be put to death.
This is the kind of stuff Steven Green wants our children to learn in school? Probably not. Let me tell you what is really going to happen.
There is going to be a Bible course for the public schools, but they are not going to teach the real Bible. There is going to be a lesson plan with the name of the Bible pasted on, but the lesson plan is going to outline social concepts and philosophies conjured up in the mind of Steven Green, and it’s going to be a plan to get people to thinking what he wants them to think, and spirituality is going to make way for political indoctrination whenever convenient. Such is the power of money.