Social Question

antimatter's avatar

Do you think the Bible is a fake?

Asked by antimatter (4234 points ) April 22nd, 2014

It’s a straight forward question. It will be nice if you can give a reason supporting your answer.

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67 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not a straight forward question. It is loaded with subtext and what you want people to react to.

A fake what? A fake story? A fake history?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

No, the Bible is a very real book. I have one sitting on my bookshelf.

hominid's avatar

@antimatter: “It’s a straight forward question.”

This is going to end up being one comment after another describing why this is one of the least “straightforward” questions to appear on fluther. And they will be correct.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

The bible is a very real collection of books and scriptures. What was not asked is whether or not the bible is literal truth.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The Bible is a combination mythology/history of Western Civilization. If people could stop reading the Bible literally and appreciate its symbolic meanings, it tells much about what’s happened since Mesopotamia.

thorninmud's avatar

Well, no one actually sat down with the intention to write “The Bible”. The Bible was an editing project, a scrapbook of miscellaneous old writings that the editors considered to pass ideological muster. They left out a whole lot of texts that in some way didn’t fit with their ideas of what they wanted their Bible to say. I do think that it’s rather disingenuous to present something as being an internally consistent “Word of God” when all the awkward bits were just left out.

zenvelo's avatar

And on top pf everything else, which version of the Bible?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

It is a collection of ancient writings (stories, myths) and some history (real, idealized), edited through the years to support political/religious views. It has been around too long to be “fake”, in the way that the writings are definitely ancient and not written in the last couple of hundred years. Much of it is quite insightful, especially the parables, supposedly told by Jesus. It is a very interesting book if you don’t take it literally.

JHUstudent's avatar

I mean, it’s a real book. It has a start and finish, words in the middle, tells a story, etc. What type of book? Mostly fiction sprinkled with hearsay non-fiction.

AshLeigh's avatar

I’m with @Hawaii_Jake on this one.

cazzie's avatar

I think Mark Twain had the best insight into The Bible:
It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.
– Letters from the Earth

The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes…The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession- and take the credit of the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. the Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumb-screws, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.
Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry…..There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.
– “Bible Teaching and Religious Practice,” Europe and Elsewhere

Cruiser's avatar

The Hebrew Bible know as the Old Testament is an collection of religious writings of ancient Israelites compiled over centuries. Half of the Bible is historical in nature chronicling the historical events of the ancient Israelites and the rest is written by the prophets of the times. I would not call it fake by any means though the modern day version of the Bible is for most intent and purpose a shadow of the original texts handed down in the original Torah by having been rewritten to better reflect the life and times they were living.

ragingloli's avatar

Depends on what you mean by “fake”.
If by “fake” you mean “full of things that are demonstrably false”, then yes, no question.
If you mean “deliberately designed to deceive, by authors who knew that what they put in the book is false”, then that is debatable.

Symbeline's avatar

It’s real, as is its history. Do I believe the stories in it though, or that the verses and such were passed on by an immortal deity, I sure don’t.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s equivalent to your high school history book. It’s full of historical context, historical fiction, speculation, propaganda, real history and lots of bullshit neatly bound and indexed for your reading pleasure.

pleiades's avatar

Straight forward answer coming wait for it… No.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

So many of you have said that it is a historical record. Where? Like when god created the world in 7 days? The creation of Adam and Eve? The great flood, the story of Noah? How Jonah got swallowed by a whale? I don’t see any history in it, just a lot of stories, most of which are teaching a concept or a moral.

Symbeline's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt In my case, I mean, someone obviously wrote it. There have been different versions, the book spread throughout the years and all. It obviously has a history. I’m not talking about what is IN The Bible whatsoever.

Response moderated (Obscene)
Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Oh, thanks, @Symbeline , that makes sense. I don’t think there is any factual history in the book at all, but yes, the book itself is an ancient collection of writings.

talljasperman's avatar

Yes I believe it is a fake… Too much has been edited over the century’s for it to make sense. It asks too much from the reader. But it is the best that we have for now… Maybe someone can write an updated version for today’s child.

Cruiser's avatar

As examples @Skaggfacemutt The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the Conquest of Canaan to the Siege of Jerusalem c. 587 BC. There is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called “Deuteronomistic history”) during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC. The two Books of Chronicles cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC. That is a pretty big historical time stamp of the early days of Israel.

jerv's avatar

I think many of the people who believe in it are. As for the Bible itself… I haven’t read the original Greek texts, but I know for a fact that the translations are false. It’s difficult to keep text true even when translating between languages in the same family, and the Bible has been translated across families too many times to be even close to it’s original text.

Coloma's avatar

Uh…the greatest “story” ever told. Yes, it is.

downtide's avatar

There is history in it, but it’s the same sort of history there would be in your average school textbook, if it was re-translated in and out of a few dozen languages, once a generation over the next two thousand years, by people with a political agenda to promote. Your “Complete 20th Century History of America”, in China, year 4014, will not in any way resemble real events of 20th Century USA.

Its interesting to note that some of the Biblical Laws, particularly around what was “clean” and “unclean”, were actually basic health and safety regulations for a society without refrigeration, disinfectant and antibiotics. Take pork and shellfish for example; we can eat them safely but these foods are prone to bacteria and in a hot climate it just isn’t possible to prepare it safely without proper refrigeration and kitchen hygiene. The ancient Hebrews knew only that eating pork made them sick, they didn’t know why. So they made a law – don’t eat pork, it’s unclean.

And circumcision – an ancient way of trying to avoid STDs for a society that had no clue how they were spread or how they could be treated.

The Bible was not fake for the ancient Hebrews; it was probably extremely valuable to their survival and prosperity. The mistake is in believing that such laws and teachings are still relevant to us in the West today.

dappled_leaves's avatar

This would certainly not make it to @HC’s master list of Fluther-approved questions. And not because it’s about a religious text. There must be a dozen ways to interpret it, as it’s written.

hominid's avatar

OK. This is the most ridiculous question I have seen on fluther. The fact that @antimatter dropped it here, included the “straight forward” part, and then just left leads me to believe s/he knew what s/he was doing, but felt a bit troll-y.

flip86's avatar

No. It’s a real book of fiction.

Symbeline's avatar

@jerv I wonder what the original texts were like. Like I mean the very first versions of them.

ucme's avatar

It’s fake in the same way as Mary’s orgasm when the baby Jesus was “conceived”
“Yo Joseph, i’m pregnant darling, but i’m afraid you’re not the father sweetie…Joseph…Josep…Joe…”

ibstubro's avatar

Do you think this is a real question?

syz's avatar

Are Aesop’s fables fake?

stanleybmanly's avatar

No the Bible isn’t “fake”. “Fake” implies counterfeit. The Bible is one of the basic books of Western civilization. It is a genuine classic. Now if the question were “Is the Bible an accurate reflection of reality?” the answer is “absolutely not.”

ucme's avatar

I have to admit, there are some cracking stories in there, I had a childrens bible when I was, err…a child & I loved reading the violent stories, Goliath, Samson, pretty pictures helped a lot.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Kee-reist, I’m late. Oh well, here goes…

PEE-nuts! POP-cone! Own-lay a DOLLAH! GIT ‘EM WALL THEY’S HOT! Thass’ right fokes, OWN-LAY A DOLLAH!!!

Dan_Lyons's avatar

The one I had said it was a version. The king James version. I wonder why his version should be any more real than whatever came before he re-wrote it into his version.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I am curious as to how you can be so certain to say the translations of the Bible are false?

mazingerz88's avatar

If the Bible is opaque-? : )

kritiper's avatar

It is based on lore handed down over the many years before the Dead Sea scrolls were written. Then it was compiled and translated by people chosen for the job from many books, all of which were not used. So it’s not exactly fake, just not exactly accurate or true.

LostInParadise's avatar

Since the various holy books contradict one another in one point or another, we can say with certainty that at most one of them is true in its entirety. We can also say with certainty that the majority of people are incorrect in their religious beliefs or disbelief, since there is no belief held by the majority.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser The fun surrounding translating verbs in the aorist tense (often into a simple past tense) illustrates the mechanical difficulties. And does Exodus 22:18 mention witches or sorceresses? Get a few things like that, and it’s questionable. Get a few hundred, and it would be charitable to call it outright sketchy.

cheebdragon's avatar

The bible is very much real, but only in the sense that you can touch it. The content is about as real as Leprechauns and Freddy Krueger.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv The Bible was actually written in three different ancient languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. While (a modern version of) each of these languages is spoken today, most modern readers of those languages would have some difficulty with the ancient versions used in the Biblical texts. So of course it had to be translated into the languages people spoke and at different times throughout history. And here is a great example of how the differing dialects of the transcriber can re-write your example of Exodus 22:18.

And if someone was to write Exodus 22:18 today it would read “kill the witch bitch dead!” but that does not then make todays version questionable or sketchy…it is simply written in words that kids today would relate to it’s meaning.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Any ‘interpretation’ made by humans could be considered fake. You take it in, ponder it & form your own conclusions.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

To expand upon what @Cruiser posted above, I have cut and pasted the first few lines of The Miller’s Tale, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. If 500 years’ evolution of a language can produce this much difference, how difficult must it be to translate a language up to 5000 years old!

First is the original Middle English (written circa 1478)

Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford
A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,
And of his craft he was a carpenter.
With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,
Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye

Here is the Modern English translation.

There was once dwelling at Oxford
A rich churl, who took in boarders,
And of his craft he was a carpenter.
With him there was dwelling a poor scholar,
Who had learned the arts curriculum, but all his desire
Was turned to learning astrology,

zenvelo's avatar

Much of the Old Testament can be verified as surviving since around 400 B.C.E. because of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are in multiple languages from the same era – Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean, Yet there is debate over the version because it seems to be the Essene version of the biblical texts.

And what is interesting, to me, in light of this discussion is there were many books, texts, manuscripts, that were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls that are not considered “biblical”, just contemporaneous.

Christians did the same editing when putting the New testament together, eliminating the Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel of Mary.

Cruiser's avatar

One thing that has not been discussed is how political and religious events influenced many of the revisions and different versions of the Bible that resulted. This article gives a brief rundown on the many events in history that forced many of these revisions of the Bible.

cheebdragon's avatar

I can summarize the bible in just 2 words : Mental Illness.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Not, “woman who practices evil magic”? Another translation I’ve heard. Maybe my mind just demands too much precision to trust anything that ambiguous, especially considering how many people got killed as a result of those words alone. I can be quite fussy when lives hang in the balance… and if you ever fly on a 737 that makes it to your destination without the wings cracking and falling off mid-flight, you’ll appreciate my nitpicky ways ;)

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv We then share a similar distrust of flying as the day I was trapped in a plane on 9/11 while crazies were flying them into buildings forever changed my trust of planes to land safely with me in them.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser I don’t follow. If you’re getting near my point, then you would distrust flying because there are multiple styles of airplane, only one can actually fly, and you don’t know which.

Or is that merely a reference to my pointing out that being nitpicky is actually a good thing when the stakes are high?

BiZhen's avatar

It is quite obviously merely crude primitive fiction that has many bad contradictions and is ignorant of science. I think Roman bishops assembled it from many ancient Jewish religious writings, and they knew it was full of contradictions. They wanted priests to excuse that. There is much savagery in it. its deity is more demon than god. Believers conveniently ignore such things that prove the book is merely absurd “gou pi”.

Symbeline's avatar

@BiZhen If the Spaniards in the 1500’s were any indication of what the original texts from The Bible were all about, then yeah, demon rightly fits the bill.

cazzie's avatar

@BiZhen I agree. 废话 (fèihuà).

Paradox25's avatar

This a vague question, so it would be nice if you could come back to to thread and explain what you really are asking. The only thing I feel I can add here is that many Authorized King James Version Bible users consider other Bibles to be ‘phony’, or at least not reliable because some of the translations in these other Bibles are somewhat different.

jerv's avatar

@Paradox25 I feel that the KJV is among the least reliable of any of the versions of the Bible. Now, if 7 sources say one thing, and 1 says another, who is more likely to be wrong; the 1 or the 7?

dappled_leaves's avatar

I can’t help but think that a lot of the confidence that is placed in the KJV is due to the Shakespearean language.

jerv's avatar

@dappled_leaves I thought it was because the King forced the issue, and future generations just kept on doing it the way their parents did.

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv There are different versions of the KJV Bible. There’s the older AKJV Bible and the newer KJV Bibles. Most biblical scholars, at least the ones I’d read from, have stated that the older AKJV Bible is the most accurate in translating ancient texts.

cheebdragon's avatar

Does it really matter how accurate the translation is when it’s all crazy gibberish anyway?

jerv's avatar

@Paradox25 Admittedly, I’m more familiar with the newer ones. I’ll take your word for it.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Fake compared to…I don’t know, the Urantia Book?

antimatter's avatar

The reason why I asked this question was a part of a conversation I had with someone and this person pointed out a lot of contradictions in the Bible and he pointed out that some events in the Bible may have been rewritten in an earlier time like about a 1500 years ago. He used the Great Flood as an example that there were other cultures that spoke about the great flood.

jerv's avatar

@antimatter Astara is a pagan festival of rebirth that just happens to fall around Easter. Yule is a gift-giving holiday that falls around late December. Oddly, both were holidays loooong before Jesus was around. And don’t get me started on Samhain… So I wouldn’t say “rewritten” so much as “plagiarized”.

cazzie's avatar

The Romans used Christianity to co-opt pagan cultures. When their empire fell, they still found a way to control and rule. Jule (turned into Christmas even though they are pretty sure the made-up story of the Christ shows that the birth wasn’t in December at all), Eøstre, turned into Easter and the death and resurrection of the Christ. There are many many stories told of floods in ancient cultures and the Noah story is just one of them, but there was never a Noah or a god that spoke to him or a boat built of gofer wood that saved all the animals.

Paradox25's avatar

@antimatter You probably should had worded the question differently, maybe along the lines of “Do you think there are contradictions in the Bible”, or “Do you think the stories in the Bible were based off of earlier events”, etc. Nobody knew what you were really asking, and then you avoided responding here, forcing others to assume what you really meant.

@jerv The differences are stupid in my opinion, such as replacing the word God with Lord for example. Personally I think the same criticism could be stated about the Authorized King James Version Bible too, since some of the Old English translations did not match the earliest known translations word for word either. There’s a New King James Version Bible (NKJVB) and New International Version Bible (NIV) that’s much more used today, and they’re more popular today than the AKJVB, because many Christians have difficulty understanding the Old English.

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