Many religions have holy books that form the basis of belief. The holy books are often claimed to have miraculous origin or magical powers. The Bible is supposed to be inspired by God and therefore accurate.
There are a few parts of the Bible that are historically accurate, but overall, it's not. There was no mass exodus from Egypt. There was no great flood. There was no Adam and Eve. Nazareth wasn't in existence when Jesus lived. These are just a few of the problems.
There is no reason to think the Bible is anything more than a collection of human writings, including wild stories, made-up laws, and a little tiny bit of history.
Ben said, "why is it that christians base a lot of their faith on the bible?"
Christian's faith in the Bible is based on the teaching of the church that the Bible is the inspired word of God. They claim clearly that the authors were given the "word" through revelations that came straight from God's mouth to their ears. Unfortunately (they may have been hard of hearing) because most Christians know that God's word is a little obsolete in some areas like science, and it is contradictory, so it's not perfect. Those that admit the Bible is not perfect blame the imperfections on the fact that the authors combined a human slant with the perfect "Word" and that's why it's all screwed up. Beliefs are very adaptable you can always trump up excuses or apply the supernatural to any controversy.
Ben said, "and, is the bible a reliable source of information that is historically accurate?"
There are many legends that may be loosely based on some actual event or fact but it includes fantastic claims that are inserted into the tale and it becomes more inaccurate every time it's told. One that springs to mind is Paul Bunyan, a tale that some people claim started with French Canadians and migrated to America. Like all of the mythical heroes Bunyan had a miraculous birth. It took three storks to deliver him. Paul Bunyan was a giant lumberjack that dug the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe behind him, and created Mount Hood by piling rocks on his campfire. He wrote a letter to Theodore Roosevelt. This legend is woven around real people and places, but the stories are exaggerations that are not based on any true facts.
There were never any original documents of the New Testament; the New Testament was written in Hellenistic Greek, which was understood throughout the Roman Empire. People who were not his contemporaries wrote all the claims about Jesus. There are no eyewitness accounts, no writings of Jesus, and all documents about Jesus came well after his death from unknown authors (Mathew, Mark, Luke, John) are titles that were given to these writings they are not the names of the original authors. Nobody knows who wrote the gospels.
The scholars who translated the Dead Sea Scrolls found that nowhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls was the name of Jesus mentioned, and Christianity had no support in the translations. The scrolls indicate that there was no Jesus and the original message didn't originate with a Jesus. Apologists do try to fix all this, and it is more difficult to get the correct information from scholars.
The Dead Sea Scrolls only mentions "teachers of righteousness" that were part of an ultra conservative messianic Jewish movement based in Qumran going back at least 100 years BCE. The Dead Scrolls also show that many of the practices that people now regard as Christian innovations are not. The Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper can be traced to the Qumrans, also going back at least one century before Jesus' virgin birth. The scrolls indicate that the Jews of Qumran were waiting on a (human) King to deliver them not a messiah God.
Paul invented a messiah that had come and died for people's sins, but at the time they didn't know he was god, three-fourths of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves. Paul was giving the slaves a sense of freedom when they were still slaves, and access to the Kingdom of God in Heaven. Paul took his message to illiterate peasants and other unfortunate people. The Dead Sea Scrolls are not being read in the churches because they are mostly forgotten. Few people, who are not scholars, have read The Dead Sea Scrolls. Preachers are not encouraging their sheep-dipped flock to read scholarly works on this topic. The greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century is only mentioned, but is not explained. I have heard people making statements that are not true about The Dead Sea Scrolls, and I don't know where they got the information, but it surely wasn't from any scholar who could read Hebrew and Aramaic. The fact that people don't read scholarly work makes it very easy to exploit them. It also makes it easy to enslave people with religious superstitions. If the clergy has a special gift of understanding, which was bestowed upon them by god, then why don't they give these facts to their parishioners?
The Archaic Mark a possession of the University of Chicago Library's was examined and found to be a forgery. Comprehensive analysis shows that it is not a genuine Byzantine manuscript, but a counterfeit, that was made between 1874 and the first decades of the 20th century.
All documents about the life of Jesus were written well after the death of Jesus by unknown authors, people who had never met Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings. There is no evidence to support the existence of a historical Jesus. There are no artifacts or any writings of Jesus. There are no Roman records that exist of Jesus (there are records of that time period) but none of Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus.
The Old Testament obviously came from the mythology of Ugarit. Yahweh is the God worshiped in the Old Testament but there were many Gods worshiped by the tribes of Hebrew in Ugarit, and the Old Testament supports this fact. The chief ancient Gods worshiped by the Jews were El, Baal, and Yahweh. The Old Testament and archaeological records from Ras Shamra verify this in the religious text of cuneiform tablets. Yahweh was one of the sons of El that the Hebrews took with them when they left, and then Yahweh became their one true God. There are hundreds of parallels between the Ugaritic literature and the Old Testament.
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, February 4th, 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadaupe. Chase Hunter will speak on "Inside Scientology 2: the Sea Org". The lecture is free and open to the public. The building opens at noon.