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Click to expand (The Skeptic's Annotated Bible sample)

Click to expand (The Skeptic's Annotated Bible sample)

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Published by Philip Wells

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Published by: Philip Wells on Oct 16, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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For nearly two billion people, the Bible is a holy book containing therevealed word of God. It is the source of their religious beliefs. Yet few of those who believe in the Bible have actually read it (all of it, that is, not just carefully selected bits and pieces).This must seem strange to those who have never read the Bible. Butanyone who has struggled through its repetitious and tiresome trivia,seemingly endless genealogies, and pointless stories and laws, knows thatthe Bible is not an easy book to read. So it is not surprising that thosewho begin reading at Genesis seldom make it through Leviticus. Believersthat try to do so continually face a disturbing dilemma: their faith tellsthem they should read the Bible, but by reading the Bible they endangertheir faith.When I was a Christian, I never read the Bible. Not all the way through,anyway. The problem was that I believed the Bible to be the inspired andinerrant word of God, yet the more I read it, the less credible that belief became. I nally decided that to protect my faith in the Bible, I’d betterquit trying to read it.I think most Bible-believers nd themselves in that position—althoughfew will admit it. Not even to themselves.The most popular solution to this problem is to leave the Bible readingto the clergy. The clergy then quote from the Bible in their writings andsermons, and explain its meaning to the others. Extreme care is taken, of course, to quote from the parts of the Bible that display the best side of God and to ignore those that don’t. That this approach means that onlya fraction of the Bible is ever referenced is not a great problem; becausealthough the Bible is not a very good book, it is a very long one.But if so little of the Bible is actually used, why isn’t the rest deleted?Why aren’t the repetitious passages—which are often contradictory aswell—combined into single, consistent ones? Why aren’t the hundredsof cruelties and absurdities eliminated? Why aren’t the bad parts of the“Good Book” removed?Such an approach would result in a much better, but much smallerbook. To make it a truly good book, though, would require massive
surgery, and little would remain. For nearly all passages in the Bible areobjectionable in one way or another. But with a little luck and muchcareful editing, perhaps a small pamphlet could be produced from theBible—one that could honestly be called good.Perhaps. But to the Bible-believer the entire Bible is inspired and hasGod as its author. Each passage contains a message from God that mustnot be altered or deleted. So the believer is simply stuck with the Bible,with no choice but to call it good, true, beautiful, and perfect. When theBible seems otherwise, as it nearly always does, the problem lies with thebeliever’s interpretation of the Bible—not with the Bible itself.The believer’s defense of the Bible is assisted by those who publish it.They are invariably believers as well, and are interested in promoting anddefending the Bible. Millions of such Bibles are published and distributedeach year by believers in their tireless and tiresome effort to propagatetheir beliefs. Consequently, nearly everyone, believer or skeptic, has atleast one copy. Among these Bibles will be found many different versions,but all have one thing in common: all are believer-friendly editions thatsupport, promote, and defend the Bible.
The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible
(SAB) attempts to remedy this imbal-ance. It includes the entire text of the King James Version, but withoutthe pro-Bible propaganda. Instead, passages are highlighted that are anembarrassment to the Bible-believer, and the parts of the Bible that areseldom read in any church, Bible study group, or Sunday School class areemphasized. For these are the passages that test the claims of the Bible-believer. The contradictions and false prophecies show that the Bibleis not inerrant; the cruelties, injustices, and insults to women, that it isneither good nor just.The SAB will help those who believe in the Bible to honestly reconsiderthat belief. It will help those who are unfamiliar with the Bible to resist thetemptation to believe. And it will help those who have already rejectedthe Bible defend their position.It is time for us all to stop believing in, or pretending to believe in, abook that is so unworthy of belief.
 About the cAtegorIes
There are fourteen categories in the SAB, with the corresponding iconsand number of marked passage shown below. No attempt has been madeto rate the occurrences, since what seems trivial to one person may seemimportant to another.Still there are some things we can all agree on. No one doubts, forexample, that 1 Samuel 15.3, Ezekiel 23.20, and Leviticus 19.18 are cruel,lthy, and good, respectively.But many other passages are not nearly so clear. Some will think a verseis important and should be included; others that it is trivial and shouldbe left out.Although I would like make the SAB as comprehensive as possible,I can’t include everything. So I apply this test when deciding what toinclude or leave out: How would an objective reader view the passage?Would she view it as cruel, absurd, intolerant, etc.—or good? If so, I markit accordingly. If not, I leave it out. (And when in doubt, I leave it out.)There is a lot of overlap between the categories, so often a passagethat is marked cruel will be marked unjust and intolerant as well. Take1 Samuel 18:25-27, for example, where David buys his rst wife with 200Philistine foreskins. That passage is marked with absurdity, cruelty, sex,misogyny, family values, injustice, and contradiction icons. And I probablycould have thrown in language and science and history, as well.I’ve marked passages as I see them. On some you may agree, on othersyou may disagree. This is as it should be. Read each passage and decidewhat you think about it. That is the whole point of the SAB.
 Absurdity (2178)
I’ve labeled things absurd either because they seem absurd (ridiculous orunreasonable) or because they are just plain funny.For example, the story about Samson and the 300 foxes in Judges15.4 is absurd (and funny), while the whole town asking Jesus to leave inMatthew 8.34 after he killed 2000 pigs is just plain funny.Sometimes, I admit, I get a bit carried away with this. When Paul, for

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Jack Mandeberg-Litten added this note
Man not words how to thank you you've really open my eyes to the horrible world of Christianity Even tho i do not have a regilion I myself respect other people's right to choose to beleave in there own thing's even if a lot of them don't make scene but your work is just mind boogieing and i just wanted to take the time to thank you
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