The Bible is a special book with lessons that still stand today, and it is the base for the law system in the modern world. The Bible split the wrong from good and gives hope and guidance for many people around the world… but it is not the word of God.
First, there is no proof (except the book itself) that God talked to the prophets when He walked the world in the Biblical times.
There are many sites that outline the many contradictions in the scriptures, anyone can use these days a Web search engine, Google for example, and search for “Bible inconsistencies” or “Bible contradictions”. If the Bible is inspired by God, Who is perfect and always right, those contradictions could not exist, the truth is only one.
So, who inspired the Bible?
I start with the beginning, the act of creation, how everything started. The one I like the most and is the most famous narrative, is in the Bible by John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
(Note: In my first sci-fi/fantasy book, The Rise of Esperanto, I try to explain what my understanding for this exceptional statement is.)
Well, centuries before John, in Hindu Vedas scripts we find: “In the beginning was Brahman with whom was the Word, and the Word is Brahman”. Hindu Vedas is a polytheistic religion and Brahman is the supreme spirit.
The two statements are very similar, so, I conclude that some of John’s inspiration came from Hinduism, at least for Creation story.
My next example is the Ten Commandments Moses received from God, around 1300 BCE. There is a striking resemblance with the commandments in the Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian funerary text, written on papyrus, and inserted in the sarcophagus of the important Egyptians personalities. And this tradition started 200-300 years before Moses and lasted more then 1000 years; and Moses might have known those traditions since he lived in the Pharos’s house. So, did Moses receive the Ten Commandments from God? (and by the way nobody witnessed the event), or he knew them from Egyptian tradition? Moses added two commandments not in the Book of the Dead… the one I enjoy the most is the day of rest (Sabbath), the precursor of our week-ends.
One last observation… The best-known texts validating the Bible and Torah claims are Dead Sea Scrolls written between 150 BCE and 70 AD. They are the work of a Jewish population that inhabited Qumran until Roman troops destroyed the settlement around 70 A.D. The interesting thing is that the texts have Biblical verses, but some traditions of the Qumran population not in any Holy Scripts.
My conclusion is that the Old Holy scripts in all monotheistic religions are actually rules that governed different communities those Biblical times, mixed with good stories and wisdom borrowed from other traditions (I mentioned Hinduism and Egyptian beliefs). The geniality of the concept is the God enhancement to the whole theory; to add weight and means of enforcement, the writers of the texts implied that all happenings are the result of a supreme being with unlimited powers who supervised and when necessary intervened directly to correct the society He created.
In the end I will mention that I am not a religious scholar, nor a scientist investigating history, religion or society, but someone that read as much as I can whenever I have time and I try to answer incommode questions.
All religions are wrong when they claim all others are wrong. And if you want my opinion, all are partially right, they see whatever could be out there differently.
I said whatever could be out there because I do not know if there is something or not, neither science nor religion convinced me of their truth. Where my inclination goes? I think there is something, but it is different from everything I read or heard. This will make me an agnostic or confused; I do not mind the etiquette; the reader may choose one of the two.
And now I will explain myself. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered monotheistic religions because they believe in one God. That is right, but that does not mean there are no other gods. In the Old Testament (which is common to the three flavors of monotheistic religions) there are places referencing many gods. When God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses He told him not to mention to his people about the existence of other gods; when Solomon built the temple, he asked the architects to build the biggest temple ever because “our Lord is the biggest among gods”, and so on. On the other hand, the Bible explicitly claims that there is only one god. But I will not start an endless debate about all the many contradictions of the Bible; by the way, those contradictions only prove that the Bible is not inspired by God (that is perfect by definition) so, contradictions should not exist if it is inspired by a perfect entity.
So, where is this concept about only one god coming from? All started with Abraham, who had a covenant with God; Abraham and his people will worship ONLY that God, and in return God will protect Abraham’s people. All other gods became irrelevant in Abrahamic concept about God… but the concept does not deny the existence of other gods.
Some hard-line Christians argue about those teachings and contradictions in the Old Testament (above) claiming that only New Testament should be allowed for considerations for Christians, the life of Jesus Christ. But this does not hold water… Christ declared Himself as the son of God, Abraham’s God as emerged from the Old Testament; New Testament cannot exist without Old Testament.
Do I think polytheistic faiths are better? Not really, from my readings they look like fairy tales, but they have interesting teachings. Take this from Hindu Vedas scripts … ‘In the beginning was Brahman with whom was the Word, and the Word is Brahman’
Looks strangely like the act of Creation in John’s scriptures; I began to wonder where some inspirations come from in the Bible… Hindu Vedas scripts are older than the Bible. Did John just copy from Vedas scriptures changing names?
And there are some old Indian writings (thousand years old) describing the Earth from above… I am wondering what inspiration was it?
History and religion are good lessons and a base for predicting the future. You may read my sci-fi / fantasy books,
The Rise of Esperanto, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1525508768/
The World Ends Tomorrow, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BXK259K
Comments are welcomed.