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This article is marked (in my head) for MAJOR improvement. It will (hopefully) include origins of religious texts, etc. If I'm not too stoned on Vicodin after my operation, I'll try to finish it then.--PalMD-yada yada 17:43, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

They gonna do a vasectomy while you're out? --Kels 18:28, 2 June 2007 (CDT)
I told them not to listen to anything my wife says until im awake.--PalMD-yada yada 22:45, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

Bible as an idol[edit]

I've added this section, which I invite other's to expand (or delete if you so desire); even within modern evangelical circles there is a growing awareness that the Bible, (while still being the focus within Christendom), needs to be reined in a bit. In the gospels it mentions how the orthodox Jews of Jesus' day scorned Him and his followers for "doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath"; Jesus replied that the "sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath". This same logic can be applied to the Bible. ~~ CЯacke® 11:22, 6 July 2007 (CDT)

Christian thought or Protestant thought[edit]

Should the "The Bible in Christian Thought" section be retitled? My understanding (and I'm a heathen, remember, but have had my share of religious schooling) is that Catholics, the Orthodox and to some extent Anglicans/Episcopalians believe in in the supremacy of the teachings of the apostolic succession (ie, whatever bishops they recognize) over any individual interpretation of the Bible. And most of the maybe-Christian new religious movements (Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists) accept some recent prophet or prophecy as superseding, or at least adding to, the truth in the Bible. --jtltalk 21:52, 7 July 2007 (CDT)

Yup, that section could simply be better. I wrote the whole books crap part, cause I "know" it. But I don't give a shit what various sects actually say. They're all equally loony, to me, although some of them are nice folks. humanbe in 22:54, 7 July 2007 (CDT)


Damn, I do sometimes write well, if I do say so myself! Nice work on that OT/NT/Canon section, punk! humanbe in 23:05, 7 July 2007 (CDT)

Um, thank you? Are you drunk? humanbe in 23:05, 7 July 2007 (CDT)
Not drunk enough to care what you think, beotch! humanbe in 23:05, 7 July 2007 (CDT)
Im fedexing you some haldol--PalMD-Goatspeed! 23:37, 7 July 2007 (CDT)
My drugs never frikkin' arrived, my neighbors are gittin' pissed... humanbe in 00:50, 2 September 2007 (CDT)

Bible texts[edit]

This article needs three things: a Hebrew Tanakh that is both accurate and hosted by someone who is theologically neutral, a Greek New Testament that meets the same requirements, and an English translation that is both highly accurate and readily requotable. (Hey, anyone want to create a New Atheist and Humanist Translation, both mercilessly accurate and more-or-less public domain?) EVDebs 22:58, 1 September 2007 (CDT)

I can't read Greek or Hebrew. Or "English", whatever the hell that is. humanbe in 23:02, 1 September 2007 (CDT)
I can't either, but it seems a very wise idea for those who do. EVDebs 00:42, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
Um. You're not seriously suggesting that we start re-translating the Bible, are you?
As for the originals in Hebrew and Greek, they can be found here. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 04:57, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
Could we have a quick show of hands for those who feel comfortable working in these languages? I certainly claim no expertise and I rather think that this suggestion is presently a little beyond our scope and not really within our objectives. But hey! if you get the volunteers!--Bob_M (talk) 05:06, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
Well, I don't mind coordinating the effort if I get the resources. I estimate I'll need about 2.5 million dollars and maybe four years for the initial work. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 05:12, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
That's it then. We only need to get lots of people clicking the "Make a Donation" box and we're on our way.--Bob_M (talk) 05:22, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
Alternatively, this might help, but it's up in 2009, . Also, I've found that when translating, the 'be as literal as possible' style is quite hard - you either end up breaking the prose into a syntax-less string of words, or have to add approximately 10x that which you translated in annotations. It's actually easier to learn Greek. кαι απολαυστιστος εςτι. To Bob M - it would broaden our remit, but it could help. I'm busy with something similar here. -- מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!
I've had a look at it but I'm a bit confused. What exactly are you doing there?--Bob_M (talk) 09:00, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
Creating a useful bank of Bible quotes from various sources to ward off fundamentalists. Check out the wp:King-James-Only Movement. -- מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!
No, I'm not seriously suggesting it -- it was really just a joke. I do think such a thing (i.e. a translation that is beholden only to the text and not any dogma) is needed, but I think the important thing right now with RationalWiki is to make it just that -- a Wiki for rationalists. If I understand correctly the Fox Torah and the Lattimore NT are actually good starts on that sort of thing, even if they're more copyrighted than I'd like. EVDebs 16:50, 2 September 2007 (CDT)
A "translation beholden only to the text" sounds like a good idea in practice, but is usually not possible, especially when dealing with such a complex material as the Bible. The problem is that a translation is always also an interpretation. Sure, you could do a Bible translation from a rationalist viewpoint, or an atheist one, or feminist or whatever, and that has probably been done a few times - there are a lot of versions out there. However, one shouldn't believe that they are any more objective or anything than the 'classic' versions, they're just interpreted differently. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:40, 2 September 2007 (CDT)


I have always had an interest in the Bible and the study of it, especially from a non-fundie pov. There are a gazillion sites on this sort of thing, but why not do some here? There is no reason we can't take a "rational" look at the bible and various related issues. So far, we only have 2 or 3 people who have a decent grounding in the subject. Also, I do get concerned that this whole thing might upset my fellow atheists, but we'll deal with it.--PalMD-Ars longa, vita brevis 09:03, 2 September 2007 (CDT)

Absolutely. We do have some good stuff already, but obviously there's so much more to do. Any suggestions on which subjects that should receive particular attention? I for one can sometimes get too mired down in details to see the big picture. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:44, 2 September 2007 (CDT)

edit conflict & idea[edit]

Hey Eugene (VDebs), sorry if my minor proofreading edit clashed with you building actual text, I hope it wasn't too hard to save your work.

Idea: the third chunk of this edit looks like a pretty strong refutation of any biblical literacy foolishness - basically if experts who study and translate from the original have to make a zillion notes as how they made decisions (and of course, don;t agree with each other), how is a relatively lay person supposed to somehow adhere to inerrrancy and a literal interpretation. Just thought it was good food for the worms here. humanbe in 02:31, 5 September 2007 (CDT)


Some are looking a bit obscure... and there's no need to link to WP, esp. in a header. People know it's there. humanbe in 21:07, 12 September 2007 (MDT)

I very much disagree on the Wikipedia links -- ultimately it's a usability issue. Quite simply, Wikipedia usually has much more information and many more references on a given subject than we can provide, so it makes more sense to me to provide one-click access to Wikipedia for anything that either a) we haven't covered yet or b) is relevant but outside the scope of RationalWiki. There are certain things we try to do well (analysis and snark, mostly) and certain things Wikipedia definitely does well (like providing firehoses of information on a subject). Taking advantage of the wp: tags to provide a more-or-less seamless interface to that information seems a nobrainer. EVDebs 21:21, 12 September 2007 (MDT)
I still disagree. We want people to stay here, not run off to WP. And as I said, everyone knows WP exists. What we wind up with is files full of "links" that leave the site. We are not a linkfarm to WP. They should be one for us! I have no problem, however, with WP links in an "external links" section, that are identified as such. Oh, and how about the red links? As I said, some are unlikely to ever be articles here. humanbe in 23:26, 12 September 2007 (MDT)

A snarky observation[edit]

I've read an awful lot of religious literature, from Snorri's Eddas through to the Ramayana, and the one thing that strikes me is that most of them have at least some sense of decent narrative, some sense that boring the reader to death isn't the done thing. The Old Testament on the other hand, is a tedious tract mostly consisting of irrelevant bollocks. Quite why we need to know that foo begat bar, or that jibble were the years of baz is a mystery to me. This leads me to the conclusion that if I had to make a bet, I reckon I'd put my money on Judaism as The One True ReligionTM, because either the Torah was written by a right bunch of boring wankers, or it was inspired by a god who wasn't really interested in entertaining us. --JeɚvsYour signature gave me epilepsy... 15:27, 21 November 2007 (EST)

Awesome thing![edit]

Dis is teh awsum. Kitteh say so. -Master Bra'tacKree! 00:50, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Of coars. Iz it in our blogroll paig alreddy?? humanUser talk:Human 01:43, 6 January 2008 (EST)


This is blatant censorship of Dan. he deserves credit for his thoughtful analysis. Perhaps its not censorship at all, but I still think the ACLU should get involved. DoggedamesP 00:34, 12 February 2008 (EST)

Hey, I didn't censor it. But our sorta general protocol says we should link first-person edits in articles (ie, "one RW luser says..." Since "Dan" is an unidentified editor (so far, please, Dan, if you're here, you can fix this), he is for now just "some IP". That's not censorship, it's attribution. We let him have his say, didn;t we? humanUser talk:Human 00:39, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Oh, and I tried to dig through the diffs to see if it was a "signed in" editor so I could attribute it, but, well, that got old real fast. You are more than welcome to find the originator, if you can. humanUser talk:Human 00:40, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Why do you have a section of the article that is the opinion of a random IP editor? Not that you shouldn't, its just a little odd. DoggedamesP 00:44, 12 February 2008 (EST)
We do odd things like that sometimes. You will often see relatively first-person interjections in article, linked to the opionate's user page. Even if "Dan" was just an IP (and of course, we all are, behind our user names), what was added was interesting, so it got left in. If Dan does happen to be an editor here and we can figure it out, I'd love to see it corrected back and linked. I can only find a "DanH", who never edited this article as far as I can tell. I suppose one of us could dig through the diffs and find the author if we were motivated enough... humanUser talk:Human 14:49, 12 February 2008 (EST)
I take issue at that: you may be an IP number, but I, behind my username, am a fully formed albeit a bit short, quite rational, human being. I even have a real life somewhere, I just forgot where I put it. Editor at CPBring TK back 14:56, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Huh I was sure there was a Real life article somewhere. Editor at CPBring TK back 14:57, 12 February 2008 (EST)
It's in Fun:Real life. Go figure. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 14:58, 12 February 2008 (EST)

I found the diff, it was added by user:Neocon Wandal. I will change it back to "dan" and link to user talk:Neocon Wandal. humanUser talk:Human 15:16, 12 February 2008 (EST)

I support adding a link to his analysis on the main page. DoggedamesP 15:19, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Why? (and how?) humanUser talk:Human 15:38, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Because its Dan's interpretation. DoggedamesP 15:46, 12 February 2008 (EST)
That doesn't really answer either of my questions. humanUser talk:Human 15:56, 12 February 2008 (EST)
Yes. DoggedamesP 15:59, 12 February 2008 (EST)

Jason BeDuhn reference[edit]

One striking case of an unpopular but accurate translation is the Jehovah's Witnesses 'New World Translation', translating John 1:1 "was a god" where more popular versions use "was God" according to "Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament" by Jason David BeDuhn.

After further research, I'm not too convinced of this -- it's hard to tell, but BeDuhn's position on the NWT is evidently a minority position, and I suspect some further commentary on this matter may be required before putting it back in the article. (Or, more likely, moving it to Guide to Bible translations, as it may not really belong here.) EVDebs 01:48, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

Looking at bible translations by languages, I was particularly surprised at this one from En Levende Bok (Norwegian): "Før noe var skapt, var Kristus hos Gud. Han har alltid vært levende og er selv Gud." (Before anything was created, Christ was with God. He has always been alive and is himself God.) Way to jump out of the literal translation and go straight for the jugular... "Oh, everyone knows that 'word' was code for Jesus Christ in this" uh... maybe so, but it's a bit outrageous to go and make this change... it's like translating the second amendment as: "A state needs a militia to be safe. The right of the militia to bear arms shall not be infringed." It's like, wait what? You just made a critical jump in reasoning there... even if a bunch of precedence says that's what it should be... you can't just throw it in there. As well, the Vulgata (Latin) says: "in principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum" (In the beginning there was the word, and the word was with God, and God was the Word). Of course, Latin lacks articles, so they would be confused as to if it were "was a god" or "was God", right? Not the case, Latin didn't make such fine distinctions between the definitiveness of a noun. This "Deus" was the "Deum" referred to earlier, just like "Verbum" is the same as the other two "Verbum" that were before it. In particular, the expression is in the form "God was the word", which syncs with the Luther translation revised in 1984: "Im Anfang war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott, und Gott war das Wort." (In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was the word.) In both situations the subject of the copula is "Deus/Gott/God" and the predicate is "Verbum/Wort/Word". If the noun "God" was taken to be indefinite that would yield: "a god was the Word", which doesn't quite make sense does it? Especially since this form reads like a generalization statement, like "a man is mortal", which Latin has a different form for (I'm pretty sure). So, yeah, I don't find any support in the authenticity of this being an "accurate" translation in the NWT. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 04:56, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
Any translation is also an interpretation, whether the translators admit it or not. As such, it can always be debated whether a literal translation is more "accurate" than a dynamic, or even ideomatic one which tries to convey the meaning of the text. In the case of John 1:1, there can't really be any doubt that λόγος refers to Christ, so translating it as such is not necessarily inaccurate. It simply reflects an editorial decision on the part of the translators to translate it dynamically rather than formally.
As for the "God/a god" question, the original of course has καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. In a purely grammatical view, as Koine Greek doesn't have an indefinite article, either of those possible translations would be 'accurate.' Of course, once you look at the context as well, it becomes apparent that "God" is most likely the translation that best reflects what the author meant, but then it becomes a question of interpretation rather than grammatic accuracy. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 06:57, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
Inasmuch as we can never hope to know what was in the mind of the (pre?) Iron Age guy who originally composed the words, isn't this all rather silly? SusanG  ContribsTalk 07:23, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
They did have iron in 100 AD. ;-) Of course you're right that we can't know with absolute certainty what the author actually had in mind, especially in the case of sources such as the Gospel of John where we don't even know who the author was. However, there are certain techniques, such as textual criticism and historic analysis, that allow us to at least make a well-founded educated guess as to his intentions. For instance, when he writes of "the word", "logos", we know that this term carries a whole range of different meanings and connotations in Hellenic philosophy and that he, being literate and educated in Koine Greek, would be familiar with those.
Speaking more generally, it should come as no surprise that I believe thinking about historical issues is never silly, since doing exactly that is what puts food on my table. ;-) However, while the purely practical applications of history may be limited - I don't really subscribe to the old saying about learning from history or being doomed to repeat it - I still think that it's important to study it, not only because it tells the whole tale of who we are and how we came to be what we are today, the different ways we interpret history are also a great reflection of our societies and cultures. They way history is generally studied and understood today is vastly different from e.g. the late 19th century, and that change reflects a broader change in society. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 08:31, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
It's interesting to note here that it continues to be "καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος" (And God was the Word) Especially since I know that Greek has a tense called the Aorist... I'm a little confused as to how it fits in with things (mostly because of influence of the Quenya Aorist). Does Greek use the Aorist tense for generalized statements? Like "a sheep eats plants."? If this is the case, then by not being in the Aorist tense, it would certainly rule out a reading of "and a god is the word". In either case, I have to agree... no matter how you look at it, you almost have to construct a meaning in order to make "a god" fit (and when I'm a believing Christian I don't believe in the Trinity... I do believe in reading texts accurately though.) The likelihood of the author switching from proper+definite into indefinite+definite just seems really really unlikely... regardless of the language used. The most common and likely interpretation of the phrase is "was God", and like you said... everything is replete of construing meaning in order to fit a particular ideological point (see: "almah" = "virgin" vs "young girl") --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 10:11, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
That sounds reasonable, although I'm afraid the Aorist tense is a bit too advanced for my limited Greek skills. Interpreted could probably enlighten on the subject. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 12:22, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

A snarky summary of the Bible[edit]

Maybe we should start a "snarky summary of the Bible" mainspace article or something... or simply "A summary of the Bible", and then we can link to it from here, then we can track changes and tweaks more accurately for that summary. What are your thoughts on either the content of the section, or my idea presented here? --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 06:47, 27 May 2008 (EDT)

This is exactly what we have the funspace for. I even put the template up just for you. Have at it, fair knight! Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:12, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
I undid the massive change to "Dan's" section - can we copy the diff over to a "fun" article, perhaps? I also whapped the fun template in the process, again, a diff can be used to get the red link and start the page... ħumanUser talk:Human 15:36, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
If I might ask, who is Dan, and why is he exempt from the "prepare to have your writing edited mercilessly" clause? --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 16:00, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
I think there is a link to his user name. And it just seems a shame to mercilessly edit his bon mots since they are so amusing. Which is not to say that someone else can't do a bang-up job along a similar vein. Of course, if the consensus is to fold, spindle, and mutilate this lovely piece of early site SPOV, who am I to argue wit de mob? ħumanUser talk:Human 19:02, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
[Aschlafly]I have reviewed the edits[/Aschlafly] and must say I prefer Eira's version. Or rather, that is not entirely precise - actually I dislike both versions immensely for their ruthless assault on an innocent and defenceless historical source, but at least I dislike Eira's version considerably less (this may optionally be considered a compliment). Also, Dan or Neocon Wandal or whoever he was seems to have visited us only for the briefest of moments, while Eira is still around so I can shout at her. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 19:14, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
I was hoping Eira's version would end up being the fun: article. I suppose I should have copied it there... as far as the "innocent and defenceless" thing, das Bibel has many "divisions", I think. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:32, 27 May 2008 (EDT)
<pedantic>Actually, it's "Die Bibel"</pedantic> My intentions with most of the summary was to keep the snarkiness there while making the summary much more accurate and biblically based. Moses was a murderer (that's why he fled into the desert), the prevailing beliefs are that Moses gave the people the Pentateuch, and thus is responsible for most of the material in Genesis... it may be from oral traditions handed down, however he is the one to have codified it. So, essentially, the Bible kind of works like a typical Western documentary/novel in that it starts from the very beginning even if the main character doesn't come in until mid-way through. If the Bible were done in the way common in Anime, it would start with Moses and then reveal the pre-Moses time through flashback, or story. Essentially, the idea of starting in the middle of the story, because it introduces the most important characters. It also does a good job of splitting up the Bible into three-ish sections (that don't entirely superscribe all of the bible) the part revealed and codified by Moses, the Gospels, and the post-Jesus works. Of course, I'm prepared to entertain ideas of people on how to further make the summary more biblically accurate, or such. Kind of the idea is "This is a snark, but entirely honest summary of the bible, if you want to read the version where we've not excluded lying, see here: Fun:Summary of the Bible" --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 02:06, 31 May 2008 (EDT)
Wow, you mean I spelled "Bibel" correctly?! Amazing. Mebbe we just move whatsisface's "original" snark bit somewhere else? ħumanUser talk:Human 14:00, 2 June 2008 (EDT)


Hi, now that we have a Fun:Bible article, is this Fun Bible 2: The Revenge, or what? Should some funniness be taken away from this article and maybe inserted into the Fun one? (Editor at) CP:no intelligence allowed 05:39, 31 May 2008 (EDT)

No, I see no reason to move the funny stuff here into the Fun: article. I think more so the idea is, that everything here, even if funny, is at least justifiable. In the Fun: namespace, it's all fair game. I mean, if this article is going to start off with the standard RW premise of "this is a book of superstitions" then we're already going to be pissing off the Christians a ton, so who cares if we have a laugh while doing so... The fun article though? We can mention "Jesus 2: The Return", where Zombie Jesus comes back to infect the world and bring about a new undead Christian army to throw down the secular athiests of the world... just as an example. I basically started the Fun: article from the summary of the Bible, but we are under no means to keep honest, truthful, or even sane while editing the Fun: article. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 20:48, 1 June 2008 (EDT)
Again, our mission is not to piss off Christians. Some among us are Christians. This is not Atheistwiki. And to start saying that "The Bible is a book of fairy tales" is either "fun" or plainly stupid. (Editor at) CP:no intelligence allowed 14:09, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
Funny, see, here I thought our purpose were laid out here: RationalWiki
Our purpose includes the following:
  1. Refuting and analyzing the anti-science movement, ideas and people
  2. Refuting and analyzing the full range of crank ideas, why do people believe stupid things?
  3. Essays and works on right wing authoritarianism, religious fundamentalism, and other social and political constructs
Who are the largest opponents to anti-science except literalist christians. You cannot say that the Bible is literal truth, without also saying that science has found a number of things that entirely disagree with the bible. Refuting and analyzing the full range of crank ideas (biblical literalism) and "why do people believe stupid things" like, that the Bible is possible even accurate. As well, our essays and works are all centered either on disestablishing authoritarianism (libertarian-ist goal) religious fundamentalism (anyone who thinks the bible is actual history and truth) and other social and political constructs (like, talking about libertarianism, it's downfalls, critically analyzing not only our opponents of debate, but ourselves.) This is not AtheistWiki, but the first and very foremost position of this wiki is that Christianity cannot be demonstrated rationally to be any more truthful than any other religion. Including the flying spaghetti monster, or the invisible pink unicorn. If you don't like that rational thought construes the bible as an anthology of allegorical and metaphorical ideas that are designed to guide a christian loosely towards a better life. Then, tough beans, that's mob rule. Just because a book is full of fairy tales doesn't mean it doesn't have applicability to real life. Aesop's Fables, and the Grimm Fairy Tales (not the disneyified versions) contain fundamental information that is true even to this day, and in some ways, help give a more open and understanding view of the world than the Bible does.
So, no this site isn't intended to piss of Christians, but it's sure designed to slap them across the face anytime they try and claim that the Bible is Truth. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 22:22, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
And no, this article is not "honest, truthful, or even sane", atheist or not. (Editor at) CP:no intelligence allowed 14:09, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
But you must admit there are a number of fairy tales in the Bible. To the point where it becomes very difficult to wheedle out historically accurate passages. There is also beautiful poetry, sage aphorisms, psychedelic visions, and some horrific glimpses into a violent, racist and misogynistic past. Rational Edthink! 15:30, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
As for this point, my summary of the Bible is honest, truthful, and sane. And biblically and historically based as well. Please, I invite you to challenge anything I wrote in it. --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 22:23, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
Well, I didn't have to challenge it, but I do recall it being rather in need of copyediting. So I might dispute the "sane" part. Anyway, I moved that whole chunk (yours and the earlier version) to the "fun" article after said copyeditz. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:21, 3 June 2008 (EDT)
I don't disagree with anything you said up there, but would like to point out that biblical literalism and crank are not mutually exclusive. Lyra § talk 22:39, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
One thing: The theory for the lineage thing is that all Jews are descendants of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Lyra § talk 23:06, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
And Hebrews by contrast are descendants of whom? --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 23:09, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. While you don't have to be a crank to believe in biblical literalism, biblical literalism is not a rational belief. *shrug* I mean, if it makes you feel better saying "hey, actually an idiot is someone under 70 IQ points, not a republican", well, go ahead, because you're correct. :) --Eira omtg! The Goat be praised. 23:08, 2 June 2008 (EDT)
Oh, I just mean that there are some crank ideas that have nothing to do with the Bible, and some items in the Bible that are not crank ideas. Setting rationality aside. Lyra § talk 23:14, 2 June 2008 (EDT)

One of those "problems with using the Bible as literal truth" isn't really one[edit]

The bullet that says "taken literally, no one is to have sex with a man" happens to completely ignore the clause "as with womankind." Applying this clause, the commandment would only forbid female bisexuality. Either that, or it would forbid women from not having sex with men they are sleeping next to. I doubt that strawmen like that bullet, however, are permissible on RW, but I'm just a newbie so what do I know? Pear 11:33, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

HUH? The statement is not geared for women, literally or otherwise. It says simply "Do not lie in the bed with a man, as you would with a woman". Now, perhaps that means other men's beds have cooties, but it has nothing to do with woman on woman sex. It is a fairly straight forward statment that sex with other men is not acceptable. When you look at the Leviticus passage in context, of course, you will note that it is for the followers of Levi, that is, it's for the Priests. It's likely the prohibition was purely for the stricter standards of the priesthood. Also, if you put it into context with the culture at large, you'll note that having sex between men was --though not common-- accepted in the so-called "pagan" religions.--WaitingforGodot 11:34, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Actually I rather agree with our unsigned editor - it's a bit of a long shot. There is plenty more unreality in the bible without grasping at this straw. Waiting - I don't know if you've read the part he's complaining about in the article. --Bobbing up 11:36, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Right. I just removed the bullet in question. Pear 11:52, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, i have, and in hebrew. ;-) The passage (Levi 18:22, of course) says in hebrew:"V’et zachar lo tishkav mishk’vey eeshah toeyvah hee." Which is literally translated as "And with a man you shall not lay lyings of a woman." (note, there is no prepositional "in", in the lyings. So you go figure what it actually meants. but the "as with a woman" is an english (KJV) translations that brings up Pear's problems with the "as with womankind". (the whole "kind" thing gets on my nerves, as well. damn did King James like flowery translations).--WaitingforGodot 11:43, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
What I mean is - Have you read what we say in the article?--Bobbing up 11:44, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
OHHHHHHHH, my bad. I'm Sorry Pear! I'd read it when i first came here, and didn't realize Pear was talking about the line in the article. *thwaps myself on the head*. --WaitingforGodot 11:50, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Welcome to my life. :) Pear 11:57, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Oops, sorry, I put it back in before reading this... although I can't tell from this if a consensus has been reached yet... ħumanUser talk:Human 16:00, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
that's cause one of us (me) was off on planet Pluto or something (oh, wait, it's not a planet... no wonder i'm so lost) and was arguing a totally different point. Pear is correct. You should use her(?) text, i think, as it is humerus!--WaitingforGodot 16:07, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
I think that as it was (is) written it was a bit weak.--Bobbing up 16:10, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

Leviticus 18:22[edit]

Taken literally, anyone who has sex with a man is a sinner. Leviticus 18:22 says "thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination." Since it says "thou" and not "men", read literally, this prohibition applies to everybody. That means that all women would have to be chaste or lesbians, and all men would be out of luck.

Considering that women were almost universally illiterate during the time the bible was written, it can be safely assumed that the bible was directly aimed at men. Therefore, this seems like an inaccurate statement. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I think the statement is pretty stupid & problematic (although for slightly different reasons) & I've taken it out. It's really scraping the barrel when we make those kind of weird pedantic interpretations. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:28, 20 March 2009 (EDT)

Logical book[edit]

Andy keeps saying the Bible is the most logical book, reading and translating the Bible are the most logical things you can do, logical logical Bible logical. Since Andy's not going to, can someone explain what that means? --Syndrome (talk) 03:08, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

If it is so logical, why does it need retranslated? Shouldn't it already be the epitome of logic? Aboriginal Noise Theist, barely hanging by a nail 03:11, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
No one really knows, Andy is insane. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:14, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually it's not that hard to figure out. He means that the true Bible stories are the most logical ever written. However, they have been corrupted by liberal translators. Fortunately, conservative insight can determine the true meaning of the Bible without consulting the original text. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Tetronian you're clueless 04:43, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
I've never understood the whole "logical" or "scientific" thing either. For the record, it's not just Schlafly that says it a lot, it happens a lot. I once had to deal with someone who tried to claim that, even if they grew up in a Muslim country with strict laws and strict religious upbringing and censorship of the Christian faith, they'd still convert to Christianity because "it's the most consistent and logical religion". Even if they'd never read the Bible ever. Scarlet A.pngtheist 16:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
If anything, I'd say Confucianism (to the extent it's a religion at all) would be way more logical. After all, being logical and orderly was the point. --Kels (talk) 16:48, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Is there, in fact, any requirement for religions to be logical? While there may be a requirement for their believers to believe they are logical there would seem to be no real reason for them to actually be logical. In fact, given that every religion relies, at some level, on supernatural or miraculous beliefs the requirement would seem to be for all religions to be non-logical.--BobNot Jim 17:01, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
Are you guys fuckin' kidding me? I thought this was a wiki for rationalists. There's only one reason Andy Schlafly misuses the word "logical" in this context - it lends credence to something that is by its nature inherently illogical: believing in an undetectable but omnipotent and omniscient being. I am a Catholic because I believe as a simple matter of faith in the Holy Trinity and the divinity of the person of Christ, not because I've seen empirical evidence that these things are true. Conservapederast (talk) 17:07, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
So it not a question of logic. I don't see any contradiction with the posts above.--BobNot Jim 17:14, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Andy is a Vulcan! PubliusTalk 17:44, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

The Bible isn't all logical.[edit]

The Kosher section lists bats under birds. Everyone knows bats are mammals. -- (talk) 01:46, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

(Sorry, that was me.) --Crazyswordsman (talk) 01:48, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Conservapedia:The Conservative Bible Project[edit]

I didn't write the reference to the Conservapedia:The Conservative Bible Project, it's been there since at least 2008 and those who follow Conservapedia know Schlafly is rewriting the Bible. Tyrannis took it out though RatWikians thought it worth keeping for 3 to 4 years. That put me into a difficult position, if I let Ty do that it would harm the wiki, if I restored it that would provide Trollfood. Perhaps WaitingforGodot, may feel like investigating the Conservative Bible Project as a case study in how supposed sacred texts get rewritten to suit some agenda or other. That is one way new heresies, new denominations and new religions start. Proxima Centauri (talk) 08:30, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

No one gives a fuck, and no CP in mainspace. Тyrant 15:02, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure that we give CP enough publicity as it is. Let's keep it out of mainspace.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 15:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It's probably pretty well known that I am not a fan of CP on our mainspace. They are small time idiots. Wanna talk about conservatives, let's focus on AIG, or Ken Ham, or Pat Robertson - if they want to rewrite the bible, it's very much main space news. As a "process", they didn't even have a process other than looking at the King James and saying "oh, i don't like that word. let's change it". That's so out of the range of how ANYONE works with ancient texts. every word out of Andy's mouth about it "i have a good dictionary" is just sillyness. And really such sillyness it's not worthy of main space. Now, discussions of why KJV is so bloody favored might be really nice.--Pink mowse.pngGodot What do cats dream about? 15:40, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to take a position I normally don't re: CP in the mainspace. Because the CBP got CP a fair amount of mainstream cred--including a spot on Jon Stewart--it really should be here. P-Foster Talk ""Santorum is the cream rising to the top."" 15:45, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

it was that noticed? --Pink mowse.pngGodot What do cats dream about? 15:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Jon Stewart = pretty well what all of my friends watch, and their first encounter w/ CP. P-Foster Talk ""Santorum is the cream rising to the top."" 15:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It was the Colbert Report, but yeah. -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:51, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
True. Hadn't thought of that. Ok, I'm neutral on it.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 15:55, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I stand by my position that nothing cp related should be in mainspace.ТyAhoy! 15:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough - I would be in favor of linking to our article on it, if we have on, but not really *addressing* it here, as this is already pretty long and dense. Maybe a mention in the "translation" sections. "Translating the bible is a tricky matter for experts, who require years of studies in the language, though there have been exceptions like the attempts of Conservatpida to make a "conservative" bible". or some such. But nothing in depth. my opinion, anyhow.Pink mowse.pngGodot What do cats dream about? 15:57, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Translation is what Biblical scholars (e.g., experts in ancient fiction written in old languages/dialects) do. CBP is agenda-driven semantic revision. The parallels to Newspeak or loaded language are certainly on-mission, but NONE of the articles on CP deserve as much attention they are being/have been given. -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:03, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not one to usually post stuff from r/atheism, but...[edit]

Anyone feel they can explain the mindset behind this? All I can come up with is an argument similar to what creationists use to argue the "gaps in the fossil record" PRATT except reversed. -- Seth Peck (talk) 22:24, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

There may not be a lot of years between when the New Testament was written and the supposed oldest copy... but is that oldest itself unaltered, does the modern copy look like it, and has it been interpreted consistantly for its entire run? Or is the oldest known copy peppered with corrections, is the modern copy in a totally different order, and have people interpreted the text to mean just about anything they want to? This chart omits a staggering amount of information. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 22:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
It's really quite incredible, and completely ignores that the other books have copies that didn't survive, so why does that have anything to do with reliability? And if you think about it, what does that say about, for example, Harry Potter novels or the phonebook? -- Seth Peck (talk) 22:46, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, so uh the oldest known copy of the Bible that contains the Old and New Testamate. . And this doesn't even get into the number of times that people haven't needed to cut it up to change its meaning. Or the times it's just been ignored entirely, rendering its meaning for those in seats of power practically null. Oh, those wacky renaissance popes. And their incest and their orgies. And pretty much everything else they ever did. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRsufficiently advanced argument still distinguishable from magic 22:55, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Counter Conservapedia Bible Project[edit]

Daniel Dennet has suggested that religions be reformed so that their toxic elements are not so harmful. I know that many of you, like me, are atheists and couldn't care less about what the Bible says, but we have to recognize that the memes contained within its covers or on the pages of its PDFs. Think of it as a literary exercise. We could potentially create an even bigger schism between religious apologists and fundamentalists by rewriting their holy book so that it doesn't contain so many errors. I know that in principle, this is flawed. What I am proposing is of the same nature of the Conservapedia project: propaganda. They want to propagandize the Bible by deleting or editing text so that it galvanizes their ideological base and convinces them that 'Gott mit uns' and to support their political agenda in the 21st century. We all know that the Bible itself is a propagandist work of fiction. It's connections to God are a demagogue's wet dream and will continue to trouble us. The Dalai Llamma recently tweeted, "I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether." I say we help Christians along with this and water down their Holy book. We can continue to promote Atheism to try to prevent the world from ending in holy war, but if politicians can continue use the KJV to promote violence and homophobia I think it will prevent us from achieving our final objective. Imagine no religion. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

"Imagine no religion". I spent the day reading vicious attacks from an "in group" of male gamers to an "out group" of female gamers who wanted changes. It was vile. It was tribal. It was "us v. them". It was dehumanizing. It was very HUMAN. nothing changes if you get ride of religion. Something else takes it over.
Besides, the single best way to get a Christian to think about their religion, is to have them actually READ the bible, as is. That sounds like a platitude, but there are a few studies that suggest it really is the best way to get people thinking. "why would god want you to stone a raped woman?" "why would god say to go and not only kill the men who you are at war with, but RAPE the women and slaughter the innocent children." actually reading it, especially with someone who knows how to disect it, is a very useful propaganda. :-) --Green mowse.pngGodotWhy is being ignorant something to be proud of? 04:57, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
-imagines a world with no religion- well, some great music, art pieces and other things would be gone... you'll find this amazing BON, but not everybody wants to crush religion. --il'Dictator Mikal 05:01, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Hello BON, your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I would be happy to join your project. I've been rewriting the Book of Psalms in accordance with my own religious views. I've done about 50 odd so far, which sounds like I'm a third of the way through, but probably less, because I started with the shorter ones. See here. (((Zack Martin))) 05:37, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

The God of the Bible[edit]

Made humans in (complex/multiple genders) image.

Until Adam and Eve ate the apple they went around naked (or possibly occasionally wore protective clothing - against brambles etc). So God goes around naked but in 'Religious Art with a Capital A' when in his masculine aspect wears clothes - why (and who makes them).

Also, God in his masculine aspect must be uncircumcised. He also has 'hinder parts' which (forget whom in the Bible) saw.

What else can be deduced about his appearance? (talk) 15:51, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

You do realize that any pictures of the Christian/Jewish god are artist renditions, yes? As such, complaining about why he's wearing clothes in certain pictures is as worthless as asking why Jesus appears to be white/black/Asian/Korean/Arabic in XYZ painting.
You state that the Christian/Jewish god must be uncircumcised, but this position is unsupported by any evidence even Biblical. In fact, were such a god omnipotent, then he could be uncircumcised one second, circumcised the next, and uncircumcised again the next. Without a specific source for the Christian/Jewish god having "hinder parts" the claim is fruitless. ... After all, there a hojillion copies of the Bible online, go to one, search for "hinder parts" and back up your claim.
TL;DR: depictions of gods vary as more often than the artists themselves. Nothing significant can be derived from them. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 03:19, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Syllogism - Man is made in God's image; the Abrahamic covenant, therefore God is uncircumcised.

'Given the number of deities shown at least partially clothed' the idea is worth considering (even if merely as a way of passing the time).

The biblical quotation is Exodus 33:18-34:9)

Any further discussion can probably decamp to [1]. (talk) 18:23, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

New Wikipedia page Failed Bible prophecies needs your brilliant minds[edit]

If you participate, please try to follow the current format and try to avoid the kinds of edits that happen here at RationalWiki. Y'all know what I'm talking about. However, it's people like you that, when serious, come up with the best stuff. (under the Polyglot Bible) is a good way to check the translation of the Bible, word for word. I've got the failed destruction of Tyre and Jesus being Emmanuel there. RationalWiki has a good list on the page Biblical prophecies, that I'd like to see copied over to Wikipedia. I think more people would see them, that way. Knowledgebattle (talk) 09:18, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Good idea! Wikipedia needs more guerilla scepticism. Though, I've gathered that it's always a really bad idea to openly state that you're "originating" from another wiki. And - obviously - on Wikipedia, wikipedia's rules apply, not ours. So, e.g., don't go in and earn their wrath by trying to inject snark into Wikipedia. You're doing Dog's work, son. Dog speed! Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:10, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Yea, the snark and sarcasm is what I was referring to, for things to avoid. The page has already had a few Christians up in arms, calling it an "attack page", and it's up for deletion. The speedy deletion was denied, because it doesn't actually mean the qualifications for an attack page. On the Talk page, I mentioned how Wikipedia also has other failed prophecies/predictions made throughout history (and therefore, this is no different). Talk page: Knowledgebattle (talk) 02:42, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

My two cents[edit]

One of the reasons why I became skeptic is the Bible (and something similar could be said of the Qur'an). Is very shallow to be "a history of the world":

1) Genesis. The Heavens and Earth simply pop in. No mentions at all of all those things that science has revealed us (the Big Bang and everything that followed up to formation and evolution of the Solar System, the cosmic web of galaxies, subatomic particles, bacteria and virus...). Everything is just what people of millennia ago knew and for the case the ending would have incorporated some of those ideas we know about the future of the Universe, not looking like... well.

2) An alternative name could be "Adventures of the Jews". No mentions of people outside Israel and surrounding territories (no Chinese, Native Americans, etc. that if it was gonna be a book for all the mankind should have been mentioned at least.)

3) Inconsistencies and big gaps in the life of Jesus. Someone so important should have been far more fleshed out.

I could go on (mistakes on translation, edits on the original texts, etc) but it's hard to take seriously that book. It could be forgiveable if so many people had not died because it and Fundies wanted it passed down the throats of everyone. --Panzerfaust (talk) 12:37, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Good post! I think you'll find the Qur'an is different though. There's a cryptic reference that possibly says water is necessary for life. <sarcasm>I wonder how Mohamed knew that living in what was practically a desert?</sarcasm> Christopher (talk) 12:55, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
As an aside, I can recognize the artistic value of the Bible plus all the art that has come from the scenes depicted there. But it's too little to redeem it compared to what has been caused not by the Bible itself -it's just a book after all- but by the men who forced and force everyone to accept what's written on it without questions. --Panzerfaust (talk) 14:30, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Another point to be considered by the fundies[edit]

Who kept the records?

Adam and Eve #may# have used Enochian, but what records are there of 'them and their descendants' knowing how to write and that what was written was what actually happened.

Ditto Noah - as well as taking on 'large numbers of animals and plants' he also had the foresight to take the existing histories of his people with him and keep them updated (while not mentioning the support teams that helped him on his epic journey).

And so on. Anna Livia (talk) 19:37, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

Everything can be explained away by God ex machina. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 19:55, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
Or one assumes that the Bible is a composite construct from various sources, including folk tales, and the Flood was 'widespread and relatively local' with a wandering bard or two (who belonged to tribes in the dry areas beyond) being hired to write the story (and making use of existing narratives based on other floods 'as the locals don't know any better'). Anna Livia (talk) 15:04, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Thoughts of a BoN[edit]

Write this to be more neutral please — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

the whole point of RationalWiki is that it is not neutral, the goals of the site are to analyze and refute pseudoscience and the anti-science movement, to document the full range of crank ideas, to explore authoritarianism and fundamentalism and to analyze and criticize how these subjects are handled in the media. Fowler (talk) 13:23, 5 August 2020 (UTC)


Pretty good book. The protagonist is a jerk though.Doublethink (talk) 00:02, 4 December 2018 (UTC)


Proposing a redirect to Bullshit Commie Lib (talk) 23:52, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

  • Cruelly rejected. — Dysk (contribs) 00:21, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
Aww Commie Lib (talk) 00:59, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

History (and science) section[edit]

I seem to recall some speculation that the Bible was wrong when it mentioned the "Hittites" as a nation/state since secular history and science were mute on there being such a people...for a long time. But evidence for there being a "Hittite" people emerged from secular history and archeology. Alas I do not recall where or when such evidence came to light. CЯacke®

Don't forget[edit]

… God was sometimes acting after a visit from the in-laws (who normally made it quite clear they did not think him good enough for their darling offspring... and he only had one offspring with a human and did not actually bother to sleep with her). Anna Livia (talk) 10:21, 10 June 2019 (UTC)