“The Bible Says” is a Trojan Horse

Not HomogenizedWhat Christians call “The Bible” is not one homogenous book but instead an anthology of books and letters.  To top that off, the various sects of Christianity often have different anthologies. Most importantly, those anthologies have no internal consistency – no homogeneity to allow the use of the phrase “The Bible says” in any meaningful way.  Heck, even using the phrase “The Bible” can contain the same hidden, wrong assumptions.

If someone says “The Bible Says…”, be they Atheist, Christian or anyone else, any of following questions may be helpful in revealing the trojan assumptions within that expression:

  • TrojanWhich Bible?Which translation from which tradition?
  • Whose Bible?
    • Whose anthology: Catholic, Protestants, Jews, Ethiopians, Eastern Orthodox?  Or perhaps former Bibles which we forbidden and destroyed.
  • Which author in the anthology?
    • Bible has lots of authors and the authors had different theologies.  There is no spirit writing all those books using men as puppets.
  • Which type of book in the Bible?
    • Poetry, letters, apocalyptic stuff, myths, fake history …
      You can’t generalize about the Bible — tell us what you are talking about.
  • Which redaction do you prefer?
    • The books collected by the believers have been changed over time.
  • Which hermeneutic do you embrace?
    • There are lots of ways to interpret and understand the books in the Christian Anthology — what is your favorite theological spin?

You see, there too many questions to allow someone to comfortably us “The Bible says” — because “The Bible says” is a trojan horse sneaking in all sorts of misunderstandings of the politics, the history and the nature of the many collection of books that Christians called sacred.

Below are two of my charts linked to posts showing why “The Bible” is a problematic phrase.  And below them are links to other posts I have written emphasizing the same trojan nature of the expression “The Bible Says”.


Translation Pathways

Bible Texts_2

Related Posts of Mine:

CreditHT for the trojan horse pic




Filed under Philosophy & Religion

9 responses to ““The Bible Says” is a Trojan Horse

  1. Wow, the “Translation Pathways” diagram and post are great!

    Exactly the same processes, as far as I can tell, produced the Buddhist scriptures. It constantly annoys me that intelligent Western Buddhists can’t see this.

    (Which proves that I’m a bad Buddhist. But you knew that!)

  2. Thanx David. That was a fun diagram to make. I’m not surprised that it is similar to Buddhist canonization, redacting, translating and interpreting.
    Yes, you are a very bad Buddhist — my favorite sort ! 😉
    I imagine that a similar expression “In the Sutras it says….” is used as a similar Trojan Horse in Western Buddhism — consciously or otherwise. In the East, they don’t care as much about Chapter and Verse — that is a Protestantization of Buddhism — if I understand you critical Buddhist scholars correctly.

  3. When I first started reading the Bible, I used it as a magic book. You know, find whatever verse I liked and applied/interpreted it however I liked. Later I discovered hermeneutics, but didn’t know that there are several hermeneutic systems. What a mess.

  4. @Alice,
    Indeed — but this is true for all sorts of religious texts, so please don’t feel that Christianity is the only faith that dupes people! 😉
    The more I watch believers, Conservative and “Progressive” alike, the more I see the Magic-Book meme persisting.

  5. Reblogged this on hitchens67 Atheism WOW!! Campaign and commented:
    They always will clash because none of them can agree that it’s all myth!!

  6. You can use the same argument when people say “God says…’ Which God? Whose God? You already know ‘which Bible’ the people are basing their comments upon–God’s word. This post is just another excuse to avoid listening to and obeying God.

    If you still have a problem, start with the NASB, NIV 1984 and the KJV and let the Holy Spirit guide you to the truth.

  7. Theologyarchaeology: try this experiment.

    In your first paragraph, replace “God” with “Allah” and “Bible” with “Qur’an”.

    Does it still sound reasonable? Are you inclined to let the Qur’an guide you to the truth?

  8. @theo…,
    To tell you the truth, my experience shows that when people say “God says”, they actually have very little idea about which “God” they are talking about. I have written on that extensively and think it is a very important point. If you are following this thread and at all interested, I can point you to further readings of a few of my relevant posts. Let me know.

    In a similar way, I think Atheists occasionally made the same mistake you make here: they think Christians really understand what their God is and what they are doing with it. Those Atheists feel that the Christian “God” is one of beliefs only — stupid beliefs. I think that the “God” of most Christians is much more complex than just beliefs and that beliefs can actually be a smoke screen.

    My guess, though, reading your last sentence, is that we won’t get far in the conversation. Just a guess.

    @ David Evans,
    Good corrective suggestion!

  9. Marc

    Thanks for this very thoughtful post. Your analysis seems spot on to me. It also explains why the beliefs in Sola Scriptura and Scriptural inerrancy will continue to feed the growth of Christian sectarianism.

    For many years, in many places, the Gospel was conveyed by an oral tradition passed on by the Apostles. This ApostolicTradition was supported by prayers, worship practices, and art forms in the community of the Church. This is why we Orthodox Christians believe that it is the Church, not the Scriptures alone, that remains the pillar and ground of the truth (see 1 Timothy 3:15).

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