Episode 002

It’s episode two of The Human Bible! In this episode, we answer listener questions about unicorns and dragons, learn about the Old Testament’s sources, premiere a new segment called “Apologetics Is Never Having to Say You’re Sorry,” and ask whether or not the Bible thinks human sacrifice is A-ok!

Special thanks to Travis from Virginia, Buck, and Iron Jack for the questions featured in today’s episode.

The Bible, love it or hate it, is a book filled with puzzles and mysteries. It will be a hard task to one Ravell as many of them as possible. We want to understand the Bible is a human book, not a book inspired by a God. I’m Robert M. Price, and this is the very human. 

This is Robert M. Price, and I’d like to welcome you to the second episode of the Human Bible. The Human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing science reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values in public affairs and at the grass roots. 

And there’s been interesting developments in the biblical world. And by that I don’t mean the biblical scholarship, though. Of course, there are always things happening there, too. But I’m thinking of people sort of reliving the Bible in its worst moments. I’m sure no one’s forgotten. 

Harold Camping, the founder of Family Radio, a man who was so tedious, shall we say, to put it mildly, that you could turn on family radio with his show and if you were having insomnia and you wouldn’t for much longer. But he somehow made waves of excitement in recent months by predicting the end of the world for the second time back in the mid 90s. She’ll probably remember he did this. And though it had to do with a weird alec arising interpretation of scripture. It didn’t pan out, in case you hadn’t noticed. 

So then he got emboldened again and came up with a date and it was plastered all over billboards all over the country. 

And people sold everything they had to promote this. And guess what? Look at the calendar. It’s still go and it didn’t happen. But he then deferred to the bid and it still didn’t happen. And now, at last, the 90 plus year old camping has admitted that he really didn’t know what he was talking about and has learned his lesson and will not be charting the end of the world anymore. 

Now, I don’t say this to ridicule the poor guy. It’s he’s just in a particular mind set that we know very well from Bible history. And that’s the reason I point this out here is a living example of what scholars show was happening within the New Testament period with with predictions that Christ would return within the generation of his contemporaries. 

And then several times, even within a single gospel, there are tree rings of deferral and delay and putting it off yet again. And then the further you read in the New Testament there, they never cease to be statements. Behold, I am coming soon. Little children, this is the last hour, etc.. And it never turns out to be so. 

I guess that dreaded. Tell us a couple of things that even if we believe in a second coming, it might as well just forget about dating it. But I would have second thoughts about the whole idea. Presumably there’s a statute of limitations on this thing. If even if there weren’t repeated deferrals, the fact that it says clearly many times in the New Testament that the end is at hand and it wasn’t. Well, you know, how. How far can you stretch that? Two thousand years. I doubt it. But anyway, there’s always something to be learned, even from the weirdest fanaticism. 

I’d like to get into the segment we call up to speed up to Speed, where we try to fill in some of the basics of biblical criticism for the simple reason that these things are presupposed not only in my answers to listener questions, but in a number of the questions themselves. I’m always very impressed with the knowledge base of many of the people that send in questions, but I don’t want to just make it an in group and forget that there are people who are just getting interested in biblical criticism that church backgrounds never hinted at such things. And so I want to every show build in a little more that foundation. Last time we talked about the synoptic gospels. What does that mean? Well, I’d like to do the same sort of thing for the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy. You remember you had to memorize them for some sort of Sunday school merit badge. These books seem not to be a single continuous narrative written by a single author. And you know who’s supposed to have written it? Moses or as George H.W. Bush once called him, the big mo. Or maybe he was talking about something else. He is never said to be the author. It was just a late scribal guess. They just tried to attribute. The authorship of virtually every Old Testament book to one of the major figures in it is just totally gratuitous. Now, why would Christians and fundamentalists be bound to an ancient rabbinic speculation? They shouldn’t care much about anything else, the rabbis said. Well, they feel like they’re stuck because in the gospel of Mark, where Jesus quotes Exodus, the burning Bush scene, he says. Haven’t you read in the Book of Moses? And so they say a high Jesus is saying. 

Moses wrote this, saying, you know, I don’t feel like I got to defend Jesus being right. But it’s it’s just reading too much into that. It’s if everybody knows it is the Book of Moses. And we still have that printed in the Bibles. Right. The genesis being the first book of Moses, etc.. Well, that’s how you refer to it. I mean, is there a chance. Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet or King Lear? I guess some people think so. I don’t know. They may be right, but I’m not going to start referring to Hamlet by Francis Bacon or something. Everybody knows that Shakespeare. So I think it’s a lot of worry about nothing. So if Moses didn’t write it and he couldn’t have it reversed after all and Deuteronomy two is death, and when he finish it up by way of science, they get Shirley MacLaine in there to channel them or something. It prefers to eat a might kings long after Moses is gone. There are statements that say, you know, this happened way back when the kanon knights lived in the land. 

Well, at the time are writing. 

They’re long gone. But this can not be in the time of Moses and so on and so on. It’s just totally arbitrary to say Moses wrote it if there was a Moses, and that’s asking a lot. 

So do we know who did write it? Well, we don’t have any names, but that’s almost beside the point. 

We can divide it up into four basic sources and and we can distinguish them by style and vocabulary, by historical assumptions and so on. And though it is difficult to date them, it’s not that difficult to divide up the text this way. Several books have been done that that restore the continuity of each of the narrative sources. By itself, it works very well, even if you don’t know Hebrew. Once you get the knack of this, you can read a passage from any of the five books that Pentateuch the Torah proper and and tell which source it comes from. So what I’d like to do is to just outline what we surmise about the four sources, because it will come in handy several times. The oldest apparent source of the Pentateuch is what’s called the J source. Again, no actual name. Why do we call it that? Well, for two reasons. This works out so, so handy. The writer referred to God as Jehovah or actually a better transliteration would be Yifei, beginning with a Y in English transliteration. But the German scholars who came up with this spelled with a J because they pronounce it like a Y, right. Yovel I spoke with the J. So Jehova or Yahav A is the name of God. So there’s a good J. And other sources don’t necessarily do that. Then secondly, the stories in the J source primarily take place in the south of the Holy Land, namely Judea or Judah. And that implies that whoever Jay was, he was a kind of collector of materials, much in the spirit of the Brothers Grimm. You know, they they were afraid that in the modern era, with it encroaching, that the old wives tales and fairy tales would disappear. So before that happened, they went round and interviewed loads of people who knew these old stories and wrote them down in more than one version and they preserved them. And we’ve got this great monument of German popular culture, Grimm’s fairy tales. Right. Well, Jay, whoever he was, must have done this, too. He went to Sacred Grove. He went to local altars. He went to all sorts of holy places and asked the attendant priests, Father, why is this holy? And he’d say, well, don’t you know, this is where Father Abraham had a vision of Yahav. And he told a miss on that. OK. OK. And he wrote it down. Or he would just. Here at stories around campfires, whatever any, would write them down and then eventually put them into as best a continuous narrative as he could. You can tell it’s a patchwork because not all of it fits together. For instance, there’s the great story of the flood of Noah. But there are other stories that presuppose no flood, but just an ongoing history from the creation. And, well, what will what was he going to do if he wanted to save at all? He was just going to cut out what didn’t fit. Good luck reading it. His is the most poetic of the sources. In fact, some think that his original material was all in verse and the flattened it out somewhat to create a kind of prose epic. But at any rate, it comes off as very poetic and gives that distinctive Bible style. When people say that that the Bible has a particular style, usually they’re thinking of Genesis and usually Jay’s part of it. There are other factors that tell you you’re reading Jay’s work. One of them is that he doesn’t mind showing his characters in compromising positions. He shows a warts and all. Sometimes you get the impression that that these stories were told us much for entertainment, as for edification. And so he doesn’t mind show. And Abraham is a henpecked husband. Jacob is a shifty trickster, so and so. It doesn’t matter that the stories are entertaining. And that’s that’s just as good. 

He shows God as a character on stage. This is what I would call raw mythology. God simply walks up to Abraham’s campfire. Abraham doesn’t even know who it is at first. He doesn’t happen to catch the halo or God tells Noah to build the ark. And when he’s got it all stocked up on provisions and animals, God shuts the door. God walks in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and he waits until the sun’s going down because he doesn’t like the heat either. So God is very human, like in J. One of the big reasons it’s thought to be the earlier material. Now the second now, by the way, the extent of it. He begins with a creation, which is the Garden of Eden story chapters two through three. And he goes all the way through the time of Moses and Aaron. And so forth, the exodus and all of that. Some people think it goes even further, but who knows? The second big source is called the E source. Again, this works out so well. The the compiler here refers to God as L.O. Heem or L.. 

Which two versions of another name for God. Also a generic word for God. All gods, true or false, could be called Elohim. But Elohim heem is used even though it’s a plural. It’s used as a name for for God. 

This one starts out not with the creation, but with the patriarchs, with Father Abraham. And then it goes on through again, Moses and Aaron in the exodus and so on and the giving of the Torah wilderness wanderings, the old Moses thing. 

This one seems to be later. It seems to be subsequent to J. Oh yeah. The other E I’m sorry. It’s it. The stories take place usually upstairs in the northern part of the country, Israel proper and all so-called Efram for one of the tribes. 

I don’t know how that happened, but but nonetheless, they often spoke of the northern area of Israel is Ephraim. 

And so l’eau Heem and Ephraim, the E source, when it comes to depicting the characters, E is a little bit anxious about showing them in a bad light. So you can see in his versions of some of the same stories J heard E has claimed the map a bit. If, if, if Abraham was lying. And a particular story is we read it in J. He’s not anymore. When we read it in E and there’s like a contrived attempt to clean him up a bit. Same with other characters. There is also a difference in the way God is depicted. He doesn’t just show up. God speaks obliquely only in dreams or. 

Oh, at the most. From off stage through a heavenly voice. And that’s another mark of it being a more recent source of material, because people had a bit more of a sophisticated view. 

It was clear to them that that God didn’t speak in any other way to them. And so they figured it must have been that way. Less and less mythical. And the. The style is a bit less poetic, though. Course it ain’t bad. Now, eventually, E switches over to calling God Yahav. In the early chapters of Exodus. And he. So from there on in. He says, OK. This is what you should call me from now on, ya or Jehovah. But then you can have both names used. And so if that becomes a little less reliable as a criterion for which source you’re dealing with, the third source is Deuteronomy, the Greek term, meaning the second law. This was essentially an elaborate law code to which somebody prefixed a historical preface which they cobbled together from summaries of a combined J and E. Someone had already combine those two into a long epic. And whoever put whoever added the historical prolog to the law code of Deuteronomy summarized J. And the J.E. combination J. 

And he already had their own law codes. But this is an updated later one. 

This one doesn’t have a creation either. It just concerns itself with Moses wilderness wanderings and so on. But it’s just summary. The fourth and apparently latest of the four sources is P or the priestly code. This was written by priests who were the great keepers of statistics and records, the ones who were codifying the laws of sacrifice and dietary laws and holidays and so forth, apparently because there was danger of of Jews in exile away from their homeland forgetting these things. And so they decided to memorialize them in this code. 

This, too, is mainly a long and pretty boring code. 

If you’re not a Levitical priest, if you are, you enjoy it. 

But it, too, has a narrative running start which goes way back to the creation and it has the six day plus the Sabbath creation of Genesis Chapter one. And it has a flood story and it’s got some more detailed Moses stories. But on the whole, it’s the narrative is very sketchy. It’s just trying to get to the code. And so you’ll know who gave it and why. And so when were these written? Well, Julius Ovalle House and one of the great to probably be greatest Old Testament scholar has ever been. He thought that J was probably written in the time of Solomon or Reia Boehme Kings of Judah and that they were written around a thousand to 950 BCE. He thought that E was from about eight fifty or eight hundred, not a whole long time later, but a bit that Deuteronomy was the work of priests and the time of King Josiah in the seventh century, and that the priestly code was written during the Babylonian exile in the sixth century, and that the whole thing was put together by or at the direction of Ezra, the scribe, in the 5th century. But recently, scholars have reevaluated this with very good arguments that indicate even the earliest parts of it may have been compiled very late during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. That is more or less around the time of Alexander the Great. So there’s a lot of ferment in Old Testament scholarship. But if you can try to remember basically the different string J. E, D and P. That will help explaining an awful lot of things in the Old Testament and they sure will come up. 

Let’s see. We’ve got some good questions here. 

C one is from Travis in Virginia. It says, I know there are several passages in the Bible that mention unicorns, mostly as a metaphor, but there is also a lot of talk of giants and leviathans. How much of this is seepage from the Greek and Mesopotamian myths and how much is injection from. Later, European folklore, for example, have the monsters and mythical beasts like unicorns. Could they have been mistranslated from the Greek text, from something like Horned Goat to spice it up in later translations? And of course, Traviss saying that parts of the Bible were written after folklore was was available. 

Yes. He’s suggesting that, you know, maybe the King James translators were Luhansk by the mythology of their day. Well, yeah, you’re right about that unicorn’s in particular. That’s a guess work translation a really a mistranslation of references to the outer rocks. A you r o c h s a kind of old archaic ox that was still around in the 17th century, but didn’t survive much longer than that. It was a horned beast where they got the idea and had one horn they got me. But yeah, that’s a translation error. The same sort of thing occurs when today peoples will tell you in Bible footnotes that Leviathan is a crocodile and behemoth is a hippopotamus. No. There you really do have monsters. Just take a look at Jobe chapters 40 and 41 where where, for instance, Leviathan is clearly described as an armored fire breathing dragon. You’d think you were reading some movie notes from Toho Studios there. 

And the the Dragons are mentioned several times in the Solms. And I say. And other places. 

And this is part of a wide spread royal myth in the ancient world and extending, oh, one version of it. You can find among the Norsemen another and the rig veda and certainly in the Middle Eastern monarchies. And the idea was that every year the vitality of nature had to be renewed along with the authority of the king, who is the earthly regent, the representative of the king of the gods. And to renew his power, there would be a ritual play reenacting the myth of how the present king of the gods became king. The elder gods were shaking in their boots at the threat of ancient chaos, dragons in the sea and the they weren’t up to the challenge, but the young ward or storm God would come up and say, I will defeat the dragons. You so fear if you will give me the throne. And they say, All right, go ahead, you’re on. And Ma Duke or a Yoffie or Indra or or et cetera will have a terrible battle and perhaps even be killed, but then rise and fight his way out of a guts of the dragon and be proclaimed king as Mardu was king of the gods. So this would have been done every new year. And all these societies, the royal ideology and the in the Bible, they call the Dragon Leviathan, the seven headed dragon who appears again in the Book of Revelation and where they get the idea of this, well, Leviathan say personification of the river Litani in Syria. And it had many tributaries. 

And so they symbolized it as a great sea serpent with many necks and heads. So, yeah, they did believe in dragons, the Giants thing that’s a little queasy or that is a possible translation of the Nephilim back in Genesis six. They did believe that these guys who were demigods. A story we’ll get into at that time were giants, but only relatively speaking, Goliath, who was one of them, and they describe him as the equivalent of six and a half feet tall. We got basketball players that are taller than that. But in the ancient world, people didn’t get so tall. So if you were actually that tall, holy mackerel, you know, you could start advertize and creamed corn as the jolly green Goliath. 

I guess so, yeah. Yeah. 

There there actually were bits of mythical law that were from the Bible writers culture, though the unicorns reflect a mistranslation in light of European law. So it’s pretty funny. 

Well, we’ve got a Hason on here to get all this stuff in to a little. S. I like to call apologetics is never having to say you’re sorry. 

Some of you might be old enough to get the pun. I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. Much matter. 

I hear I’d like to actually read another question that came in. That’s a real good example of what I want to do here. This is from Iron Jack. Long time listener heard my podcasts. He said I had noticed this, but it was actually relayed to me by a friend who, while a true believer in Christ, is sane enough to know that the Bible is not inerrant. He pointed out the following to me. To show his faith. Abraham offered his only begotten son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. 

And he gives Hebrews 11 17. But of course, you can find the same thing in Genesis refers to him. Take your son, your only son, Isaac, and sacrifice him. Then Abraham had a first born son named Ishmael in Genesis. Sixteen fifteen. 

When I asked for an explanation of this, he gave me an answer which I respected. You said, Well, you know, the Bible moves in mysterious ways too. 

Do you know how a critical scholar would account for this? 

And also how an apologist might provide an explanation for the same issue? Well, in fact, Jack, I do. 

There might be other explanations that either would offer, but a critic would say, you know, by that I mean, not somebody trying to badmouth the Bible, but someone who does critical analysis would say, yeah, the yes, the story of these near sacrifice of Isaac is from a cycle of stories about Abraham that did not include Abraham’s liaison with Hagar, which produced an earlier son, Ishmael, or in Arabic, Ismail. He just didn’t know about that. And for him, this was the only son of Abraham. So you just have the difference between sources from different stories. 

And well, we can go into more detail, but I think we need to to make the point. 

So that would be the critical answer. Yeah. The fact that one story says Isaac is these son of Abraham implies that the storyteller just didn’t know about and the other stories of sons. Now, what would an apologist, a defender of biblical inerrancy say? Well, he’d say not implausibly. Now, off of these arguments are real stretches. This one isn’t. They would say that, look, there’s no reason to doubt that the writer knew all about Ishmail. But remember how Ishmail comes into the picture. God has made a promise to Abraham and Sarah that they’re going to have a son to inherit what they own and all of that. But years go by and they don’t. And Sarah’s getting on in years, real on in years. And she says, well, how about Plan B.. 

You know, I’m no good deal. Why don’t you go in to my my maid, Hagar, the Egyptian, and she can probably get pregnant. That’ll be your air. And Abes as well. 

Don’t mind if I do. And he impregnates her in Ishmail is the result. But then God says, hey, look, I told you to wait. Now he’s your son. So he’s gonna be special, too. I will make sure he is the father of twelve Ishmail tribes. But hold on. The one I was talking about. Sarah will have you just wait. And of course, that’s Isaac. And Isaac is really the hero of the story. And and so an apologist would say the writer probably knew the whole story. But the idea is that Isaac is the child of promise and that he is the only son of Abraham and Sarah. And that’s why he can be referred to in a kind of shorthand as your only son. That’s not unreasonable. It seems to me it’s a little bit of a stretch. I prefer the critical argument, but this is not an absurd one and certainly worth considering. So, you know, I guess if he used this apologetic device, you don’t have to say you’re sorry. 

We have yet another question, of course, and we can never have too many around here from Buck Malone. 

He says with exuberance, a friend told me that a nearby megachurch is just wonderful with great music and a very inspiring message. And it’s like this every week, referring to what is not happening in the evangelical or mainline churches, I guess. I checked their Web page and with the 20 or so staff members, none of whom were titled Reverend Pastor or Elder, but some inane business titles like worship manager or executive officer. Oh, and had a bachelors degree in Bible, much less a masters of divinity and even much even more, much less a doctorate. Are there sections of the Bible that chronicle a similar fear of education? This seems to be a very disturbing trend if people are placing personal and familial in just such a system. 

Well, modern people like anonymity and they don’t want to be jumped on by a welcoming committee. They live a plus. 

A lot of people had bad experiences with churches in their youth. And that is explicitly the reason why megachurches try to be a secular as they can. Even though they’re fundamentalist in their theology. It’s funny, they used to excoriate liberal modernists for being secular, but these people are trying to hide their religiosity, in a sense under a bushel. Often these megachurches are set up like meeting halls, stadiums, instead of a Nare thinks there’s a huge lobby with potted trees and the like that reminiscent of a bank or a hotel lobby. 

They they won’t even be called churches sometimes, but worship center and so on. There is no ecclesiastical decor. And just think of Joel Osteen, the most mega of megachurches. That’s a basketball stadium. And the even what is preached tends to be practical wisdom. And I’m not saying it’s it’s not wise. Right. 

Things marital advice, financial advice, parenting advice and so on. Stuff that’s practical now. I’m sure they have classes throughout the week where they do want you to learn conservative theology. But I would think you might even be surprised to hear that once you’ve heard the sermons. So there’s this this attempt to repackage the thing that does to win over people who had been sick of church and to avoid their the bad associations they have. I yeah. To me, they’re they’re really stripping the church experience of the last vestige of what makes it attractive to some of us, namely the the esthetic element, the symbolism of the tradition, the logical, dramatic aspect of it, all of which really are quite independent of having any beliefs here, in my personal opinion. You’ve got the worst of both worlds. It’s just secular in the sense of like go into a lecture somewhere, you know, which is fine if you go into a lecture. Right. But is this really what you want out of a church? And it’s got the simple minded ideology. Now, does the Bible ever defend lack of education? It sort of does. I think, Father, I pray should that you’ve hidden these things from the wise and the intellectual, but have revealed them under babes for such. Was your Dwil Matthew 11 or first Corinthians, one or two somewhere in there. God is chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. Not many of you, my brethren, were wise in the worldly sense, but God has chosen the foolish in the eyes of the world, et cetera, et cetera. 

That’s that’s a little disturbing to me. 

It kind of is saying you’re simple minded, be like a child. That’s good. You’re God’s favorite. Because if you approach it intellectually, you’re just not going to be willing to believe whatever you’re told. And if that’s a virtue, you’re not virtuous. It’s. And then the. These churches are, I think, an instance of that kind of kind of thing. 

I hope I’m not caricaturing them, but I don’t think I am. I welcome. Correction, though, in any event. 

You know what comes next? Yes, it could be a few things, but you probably have prophetic powers. Is that in the Bible? Is that in the Bible? I just love pointing out these weird little passages that you will never hear preached on. And it’s just fun to speculate about what they mean. And so on. 

Well, here this is chancy stuff, but it has to do with how, boy, the notion of human sacrifice in the Bible. Is there such a thing? 

Well, there are plenty of people who will swear up and down. No, no, no, of course not. But I beg to differ. In Exodus, we have what is sometimes called the Book of the Covenant, the earliest of the various so-called mosaic law codes placed cheek by jowl in the Pentateuch. And this one is in Exodus 22. Twenty nine. Yeah. Advents 29 and 30. A ritual concerns here. Sacrifices. So on. You shall not delay to offer. Well, you know how I like to read these. 

Since its exodus about Charlton Heston, you shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your pressies, the first born of your sons. You shall give to me. You shall do likewise with your oxen and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its mother. On the eighth day you shall give it to me. 

What’s that again? What do you mean? Give it to him. It’s just like an infant. Dedication in church. And we commit him. Do you and your will? Oh Lord, no. 

This certainly because of the parallel with the animals, means to sacrifice and to kill them as an offering to God. The idea was it’s the first born of any female. 

And since you are thanking God for the issue of the womb, God will reward you by making sure there’s plenty more where that came from. If you were stingy and held back the calf for the lamb or the baby. 

Well, you know, you’re on your own. You might not have any more luck. 

This is sort of blood chilling. And eventually the the folks in ancient Israel thought so, too, because in a later law code that we find actually earlier in the text. 

But that’s just an accident of the editing in Exodus 13. There’s a great significant difference. Start in verse eleven. And when the Lord brings you into the land of the kingdom, Knight Cissie swore to you in your father’s and she’ll give it to you. You shall set apart to the Lord. All that first opens the womb of the first links of your cattle that are males shall be the Lords every first Linga. And as you shall redeem with the lamb, or if you will not redeem it, you shall break its neck. Every first born of man among your sentence you shall redeem. 

In other words, substitute an animal. You owe them to God. But he’s willing to take an animal substitute. Now, that is a bit of a difference, right? If if that little stipulation were intended in the other one, the other passage. Surely it would say so. This represents a change saying. Am I right? It’s you owe it to God. But he understands you’re not exactly inclined to do that. I want to just offer an animal and we’ll just say you fulfilled your obligation. That’ll be good enough. Redeem. Of course, this means to buy back. Well, things have become civilized. And probably the famous story of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac and being told at the last moment that now on second thought, why don’t you sacrifice that ram instead? That story probably was circulated to get people to change over something I would imagine didn’t require too much persuasion. Now this crazy thing comes up again in a Zinchenko who seems to be a bit upset about it. 

He says that he’s talking about how the people of Israel were not faithful to God. 

Oh, starting in Ziegel 2021. But the children of Israel rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes. And we’re not careful to observe my ordinances by whose observance man shall live. They profaned my Sabbaths. Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend. My anger against them in the wilderness, but I withheld my hand, then acted for the sake of my name. That it should not be profaned on this side of the nations in whose side I had brought them out. Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries because they had not executed my ordinances. But it rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbath’s and their eyes were set on their father’s idols. Moreover, and here we go. I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life. And I defiled them through their very gifts, sacrifices in making them offer by fire all their first born that I might horrify them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord. 

What is sad is that in the Bible you see what he’s doing here. He is thinking, oh, knows that there was a time when people were offering infant sacrifices, fry in roasting the kids like some did for the God bail in honor of ya vai. And he even he doesn’t even say they were wrong to do it right. He says no, that this was a commandment of Yoffie. He was sort of of the Lord. He was sort of punishing them by not pushing him into even worse behavior. And I don’t think it’s funny. It’s just so outrageous. It’s hard to imagine. And yet it is there in the Bible, you’ve at least gotta give him credit for trying to explain it away or to get it away one way or another. 

Well, there’s plenty more odd material, this kind in the Bible. 

And I guess I feel like people do have to be confronted with this stuff because of the tall claims they make for the Bible, that it’s a paragon of virtue. Everything in it is infallible, in fact, and even more importantly, in ethics. What do you do with this? And just one more thing. If if you can say if a Bible writer can say that God has issued evil commands, you know, what does that say to you about revelation in general? I mean, though people piously say God cannot lie and so scripture cannot air well. Was he wrong on this little utterance? 

Boy, what a headache. And of course, the only way to get rid of that headache is to take a couple of tablets of biblical criticism and call me in the morning. 

That ought to do it for this installment of the Human Bible. I’ll see you soon on the next episode of the Human Bible. Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Human Bible to send us questions or comments on the show, which we really hope you do. You can e-mail questions at the human Bible, dot net or feed back at the human bible dot net. We’re also on Twitter at Human Bible, on Facebook at slash the Human Bible. And you can even leave a voicemail on our human bible hotline by calling seven one six seven one. B, I. B, Ellie. You can get all that information and more on our Web site. The human bible dot net views expressed on the human Bible aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. The Human Bible is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York, and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m here host Robert M. Price.