Over the centuries, Biblical scientists have gone to great lengths to prove the validity of the Bible. To me, that means proving I have a genuine copy of the original. Ever since the discovery of the Qumran scrolls, researchers using the latest scientific techniques have pored over these documents in an attempt to date them, then meticulously align their findings with earlier writings of both the Old and the New Testament. Today, I would think there is more proof for the validity of the Bible than for any other ancient writing including that of Chaucer and Shakespeare, Aristotle and Cicero.
But another word comes to mind when I think of the Bible: veracity. To me this means proving that the Bible is truthful. Depending on your religious belief, I would assume that most believers feel the Bible is truthful. Many believe it is God-inspired and therefore contains no untruths.
I can only agree with that idea to a point. If by veracity one means the Bible reveals the true beliefs of the Israeli people existing when it was written, I would have to confess that, yes, the Bible scrupulously states the belief system of those who wrote it — those who believed it. In retrospect, those who penned the Bible methodically wrote down what people of that time already accepted as truth.
But now, an unyielding wall appears in front of me. If I believe the Bible is truthful, this implies that I accept its words because I believe them to be true; they are holy, sacred words. But I must keep in mind the words are truthful only in so far as they expose genuine truths of the early Israelites.
When priests, ministers, and religious gurus preach to their flocks about living a holy, God-inspired life, they pull out from the Bible, those chapters and verses that typically relate to living a good, loving, decent life. There are probably few people on planet earth who have not heard about the Beatitudes or the Ten Commandments.
But what about the other parts of the Bible? Yes, what about those parts that tell of the unreasonable, despicable elements in the Bible that should make it a book to be scorned, not honored. The validity and veracity of the work has been proven.
Yet I, for one, cannot accept only the good mentioned in the Bible while leaving out its abject horrors! To me, the countless immoral acts suggest three concerns: 1) What the Israelites perceived as truth in those days was incredibly wrong. 2) Maintaining that same belief system today is, at the very least, ongoing foolishness. 3) The condoning of immoral acts by the Bible is responsible for much of the world’s problems today.
Let’s look at just one example of heinous evil found in the Great Book which condones rape, kidnapping, and murder. It explains how King David collected one of his wives. Chapter 11, verse 3 of the second book of Samuel reads: “…that she was Bathsheba … the wife of Uriah ….” In verse 4: “And David sent messengers, and took her (pregnant Bathsheba); and she came in unto him and he lay with her …”
Verses later, King David has Bathesheba’s husband, Uriah, placed in the most dangerous battleline position — front and center — to have him killed. Verse 15 says: “Set ye Uriah in the front of the battle, where the fight is the strongest; and leave ye him, that he may be wounded and die.”
Later in verse 26 the Good Book says, “And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for him.” In 27: “And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
Did the God of the chosen Israelites punish David who had displeased him? Guess again! Chapter 12, verse 15 is horrifying: “And the Lord struck the child, that Uriah's wife bore unto David, and his life was despaired of.” In verse 18: "And it came to pass on the seventh day that the child died.” As incredible as it may seem, the Israelites believed that God Himself murders Bathsheba’s innocent baby because King David snatched her, raped her, and killed her husband.
No, as far as I can see, there is no other interpretation for this story. It is what it is in a true literal sense. It shows that, although the Israelites thought the words of the Old Testament were the inspired words of their deity, they had gotten it wrong. Looking at this situation directly as stated, would any civilized or divinized God kill a small child because its father had kidnapped, raped, and murdered?
As a result, my conclusion is simple. The Bible as it is written truly represents what the Israelites believed about their God, Yahweh, or what the Levite priests told them to believe about their God. The Bible should not be used for inspiration ever, unless its gross evils are included. People need to have a sense of morality and justice, but as shown above, it does not come from the Bible, the Israelites, or the Levite priests.
It comes directly from the natural law of a Wholly Other being who built into our brain’s cortical wiring a sense of love and decency as mankind evolved.