¶. An atheist is not necessary an idiot. The statistics may prove the contrary. On the other hand, any intelligent person uses intelligent arguments. As priests do not like intelligent reasoning, they prefer to consider any intelligent person to be atheist.
Much part of the Old Testament is history: the history of Jewish people. The modern historians and archaeological diggings have come to light that many facts reported in the book were true. As a matter of fact, the most part of the Old Testament, particularly its beginning, was written during the exile of Jewish in Babylon, when - feeling that they are lost - thought that it would be a pity if nobody learn about their history and life. Many times, the authors exaggerated some facts, flourished or described them in the form of fiction, as they, the authors, were writers and mostly priests. The Bible is a book of wisdom as well. Wisdom, what a great word! The all of us wants to be wise persons, but nobody knows whether he really is. Whatever their opinion about themselves would have been, the authors of the Bible were some scholars of those times, and involved themselves as spiritual leaders. Some paragraphs were entirely written in a metaphoric style, just for sending a message. These ones made possible the freest interpretations.
In Genesis 27, it is said that "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground...". Not from mud, clay, or simple earth? It is not mentioned that he would use water. I think it had to be difficult to mould in dust. Is this a mistake, or an accidental expression? Not at all! From the next paragraph we learn that "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed." So Eden has points of the compass. Interesting. From the paragraphs 10 to 14 we learn that "a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads". Their names are Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel (Tigris) and Euphrates. We can't help thinking that Eden is the old Sumer and what the Sumerian civilisation means for old times. Yes, Eden used to be a pleasing and charming place in comparison with the surrounding areas, namely exact what this word means in their language. God probably was a Sumerian king, who accepted a Jewish tribe on his territory for different works. This one seems to have been the best period from the Jews history. That king was God for them, because made them men. They were like dust and became like the Summerians. This is the correct meaning when one says that God made man like him, and not that a divinity could look like us. As the Jews did not keep the arrangement and aimed upper than it had been allowed to them (tested from the tree of knowledge), the king expulsed them. More than it, God observing the sin committed by Adam and Eve, declared "… the man is become as one of us . . ." (Genesis 322). Consequently, God was not alone. He did not speak that man would be “like me”, but “like us”. He spoke in the name of the leadership of Sumer and accuses the Jews that exceeded their rights as employees, infiltrating themselves among the employers. We see now why in the whole history recorded in Bible, with all its details, Sumer does not appear at all. That's so because it was the beginning. It was the heaven. In the whole their history, the Jews do anything else but beg God's pardon, hopping to be accepted again in Eden's garden.
Also, archaeological proves shown Sumer to be the place where biblical deluge occurred. Sam, hence the adjective Semite, was the elder son of Noah. It is clear that old history of Jewish people crossed through Sumer.
Consequently, the Bible has not a cosmogony, and this is commendable for their authors. Priest’s stupidity has done one from this passage of history. Do you need a cosmogony? I can imagine a pseudo-cosmogony, but it will not be religious at all. Still it is not without morale. I shall write it later, and so you will find it later.
The Bible itself is not homogenous. Some ideas are in contradiction with other ideas, if you read different chapters. We may have understanding for its authors. They had to change some old ideas with other new ones. As it usually happens, they could not do it suddenly and with accuracy. Not even us can do it. Some reminiscences from older mentality remain. Besides, the Bible was written by more than one authors, in different periods of time. We can remark the way in which some ideas progressed in the authors' conception.
This remark is true as well in case you want to believe that Bible was written under the divine inspiration. You may accept then, either that God changed his ideas, or he has a plan and, from time to time, gives us lessons, accordingly with our evolution, or better both of them.
Also, you must remark that people from throughout the world are God's children, and - if they are of different religions - this is so because God wants so. Consequently, there are not bad or right religions, but some different God's projects.
If we are as we are, there are two variants:
Anyway, if God has put a curtain between he and us, we should keep respectful his will, and not try to imagine all kind of things occurring beyond the curtain. God shows himself to every of us accordingly with our imagination and understanding.
Coming back to the Bible, for me, it is an important book, maybe the most important, but I read it permanently wondering myself what was the genuine message of the authors, either under the divine inspiration or not.
But, what the Christianity is? For understanding it, we have to look around and especially in the past. Thinking to the past, we must begin with the Old Testament, whence we learn about God in opposition with idols. It was a good step, but it was not the first at all. Before it, Jewish people conceived a God only for their nation, and made from Judaism a national religion. This was good for them, but not for the others. Why they did this way it is accountable, we can infer it, but this is their problem, and maybe their mistake. Christianity extended the concept of a God for all the nations and turned the attitude face to divinity from fear to love. The idols used to be pitiless and pretending immolation in order to gain their goodwill, while God is benevolent, benefactor and does not want immolation. He wants for us only to have a decent behaviour, because we are his children, and he is the Father.
Changing the God of Israel people into a universal divinity, the Christians turned the God into a new idol. The only difference is that God is not materialised into an object or a being. As for God's kindliness, even if it is frequently asserted, the Bible contains much more paragraphs destined to terrify the man, to implant in his soul the fear of a merciless final judgement of God. Guilty for all these are the priests. It is understandable too, as they preferred the old and verified method of fear in order to keep the people under their control. That's why we must discern between the genuine good intentions and the result, marked by some people's subsequent interest.
But the priests are not guilty only for these, and their mistakes provoked all kind of schisms, ending with all the sects that appeared in our time like the mushrooms after the rain. Almost the people I talked with - belonging to no matter which sect - used to be almost ignorant not only concerning the religion, but also in history and all-round education, generally.
¶. As the Bible is unique, there is the impression that it is for all the people. Today, every book has an address: books of chemistry, books of geography, books for children, for grownups, etc. Nobody read a book that is supposed to not be addressed exactly to him. No one write a book without address. Just during an author is writing a book, he has in mind someone who will read his book.
Was God wrong thinking that Bible could be for all the people? No, God was not wrong, but when the Bible was written the number of those who were able to read was very small. They used to be the scholars of that time. Consequently, Bible had an exact address, just a very narrow one. They, those wise people, who were scholars, scientists and priests as well, should to read the Bible and convey its philosophy to common people, according with their understanding, using some reasons and parables for children, other ones for adults, some for ignorance and other ones for those with some knowledge. Even Jesus chose ordinary men as disciples, as he wanted to convey his teaching toward even more simple people. (The reciprocal statement is not true at all. Stupid people will never convey something to the others, not even religious ideas, despite of some neo-protestant missionaries' pretensions.)
Unfortunately, in the meantime, the wise priests disappeared and only simple ones have remained. This happened particularly during the Middle Age, when the clergy join with the political power and caught the test of power and richness. What happened afterwards has nothing in common with the genuine wisdom of Bible.
What is the situation today?
The priests do not keep any longer the power, but they are not capable to improve their message, and use the same reasons from the Middle Age.
The wise people, namely the most intelligent ones, early from their childhood direct themselves to more pragmatic fields and become mathematicians.
Nowadays, almost all people are able to read and write. But are they all prepared to understand the wisdom of the Bible? Is it enough to read the Bible? Surely, not! A tutor is necessary. Bible will always be the tutor's "manual of reference". The tutors first have to understand its spirit, because Bible must be understand in his spirit, not in its letter.
Yes, it is true that the apostles were illiterate. Just from this reason, they were the best for conveying Jesus' message inside the society where they came from. Literacy would of no use. On the contrary! Nobody would listen to them. But nowadays most people are able to read. Someone similar of an apostle would need to have some master degrees in several fields, probably.
Bible appeared in a certain historical period, when people used to have a certain mentality, some conceptions specific for that time, and were educated according with the doctrines of older religions. In order to make the new ideas understandable, the Bible had to use the language of that time, and needed to combat the bad customs of those times. Today, mankind is different. Not better, but different. The church ought to refer to our customs - good or bad - and to select from the Bible those parables that are still of nowadays interest, or match with our life's questions.
There are many reasons to read the Bible now. Here is one of them. The great masters painted mainly biblical scenes. As the most numerous old paintings feature biblical subjects, it is almost impossible to understand the history of the art, without knowing something about the Bible. But there are many deeper reasons. It is true, the Bible seems to be obsolete now, but this is not true. The priest did it putting the science against the faith. Science and faith may stay together, if we wisely interpret the Bible according with our real life.
Some things are easy understandable. For example, the Bible said that Jesus would come to the Earth and rule as a king. Why "as a king"? Because kings used to be the maximum that a man could be at that time, the maximum that men could imagine. How would it sound if it had been sad "as a president"? Ridiculous, of course! We say king, but understand the maximum of power and - maybe - wise. And so it happens with almost everything from the Bible. Consequently, let's speak about the signification and not about the story!