Doubt. That is all that can be concluded on a complete review of the Bible. That’s the bottom line. If the Bible were put to the test of the law of evidence in American or British Jurisprudence, it would fail for no foundation and lack of veracity. Interesting isn’t it? We live our daily lives by one standard of proof, but we seek a much lower standard when we go to religion. Of course, we know why, if we will admit it. We are afraid of dying. Many of us are afraid of living. Most don’t even want to think that the book we have been taught has mostly been fabricated. We just want to accept it and hope.
Long before the modern inquiry and painstaking translation and excavation had helped enlighten us, it was clear to a person of critical thinking that the “revelation” at Sinai and the rest of the Pentateuch was an ill-carpentered fiction, bolted into place well after the nonevents that failed to describe convincingly or even plausibly. The self-taught Thomas Paine has never been refuted since he wrote at the founding of this nation to show
“that these books are spurious, and that Moses is not the author of them; and still further, that they are not written in the time of Moses, nor till several hundred years afterwards, that they are an attempted history of the life of Moses, and in the times in which he is said to have lived; and also the time prior to thereto, written by some very ignorant and stupid pretenders several hundred years after the death of Moses; as men now write histories of things that happened, or are supposed to have happened, several hundred or several thousand years ago.”
In Deuteronomy Moses gives orders for parents to have their children stoned to death for indiscipline (which seems to violate at least one of the commandments he picked up along the way) and continually makes demented pronouncements (“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord”). In Numbers, he addresses his generals after a battle and rages at them for sparing so many civilians:
“Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him. But all the women-children that hath not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”
One could go through the Old Testament book by book, always encountering the same difficulties. People attain impossible ages and yet conceive children. Mediocre individuals engage in single combat or one-on-one argument with God or his emissaries, raising afreash the whole question of divine omnipotence or even divine common sense, and the ground is forever soaked with the blood of the innocent. One has to also note that none of these provincials, or their deity, seems to have any idea of a world beyond the desert, the flocks and herds, the stress of their local, and the imperatives of nomadic subsistence. Their supreme guide through Moses and others always presents himself as a wrathful tyrant.
Just like the Old Testament, the “New” one is also a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to come outright. H.L. Mencken irrefutably says in his Treatise on the Gods:
“The simple fact is that the New Testament, as we know it, is a helter-skelter accumulation of more or less discordant documents, some of them probably of respectful origin but others palpably apocryphal, and that most of them, the good along with the bad, show unmistakable signs of having been tampered with.