The Bible plays an important role in supporting the faithful. And it has some tricks up its sleeve which explain how it wields its power.
The Bible works like a parlor trick. You don’t play it.
It plays you.
The Bible very sneakily shifts its authority onto the reader. It can’t be avoided.
The contradictions and puzzles of the Bible demand the reader make choices between opposing positions while giving the illusion the decisions were made by God.
“Love enemies” – Jesus (Matthew 5:44)
“Kill my enemies in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
After making your decision ‘to love’ or ‘kill’ an enemy, God takes credit for your decision and it becomes The Word of God. Any choices you make about the Biblical verses are claimed as God’s command – though it is actually only the reader’s decision.
Consider a less obvious example:
“We are all made in His Image and God made us the same!” (James 3:9)
“But there are no roots in him…and when there is distress or persecution because of the word, immediately he falls apart.” (Matthew 13:21)
The above verses contain a stunning contradiction.
How can everyone be made the same, yet some of us have ‘no roots’? These claims conflict and a decision must be made.
You begin to work it out….Has God made some people without roots? Why would he? So the seed of truth cannot take root? Now think of other reasons why God would do this. Anyone can guess, it isn’t difficult.
But notice how God vanishes as you consider the options!
God is not guiding this part of the process, you are.
Ponder which verse is more true. It won’t matter what you finally decide, God returns and blesses your decision – This is the Word of God.
Now you can tell others exactly what God means regarding ‘roots’.
The trick also works whenever there is a question about what is literal vs. metaphorical. Again – the reader is the decider but it is hidden so the credit goes to God.
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is Not valid.” – JESUS (John 5:31)
“Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony IS valid.” – JESUS (John 8:14)
Well, is the testimony of Jesus valid or not? It is another contradiction.
It doesn’t matter – decide however you want to and it will be God’s Word when you are done.
The reader then becomes the Moral Arbiter of the very book
which claims to be the Moral Arbiter!
This is an amazing trick.
YOU ARE GOD AND GOD IS YOU!
The faithful reader comes away from interacting with the Bible with a deep feeling God understands her very well.
Yet she is only looking in a mirror, sees what she agrees with, nods knowingly and then mistakes it for the Authority of God.
No wonder the Bible makes it so easy to believe in God and to feel that one has a ‘personal relationship.”
God is You. And you are God.
Creepy, isn’t it?
“For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever.” (Jeremiah 3:12)
“Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever.” (Jeremiah 17:4)
So. Is God merciful or not?
Will his anger ever fade? Or burn forever?
It waits for your decision.
Go ahead and decide between the options. It doesn’t matter. No wonder there are thousands of versions of Christianity.
And by the way, after your decision is made the contradiction disappears too – very convenient.
The Bible does not present itself as a book of moral options (which it is) but as moral absolutes, a compendium of absolute claims and pronouncements. That is what keeps the illusion of God’s infinite versatility and mysterious power going strong. Once the multiple options are cherry picked by the reader they become absolutely validated.
Furthermore, the Bible offers no method or system of how to determine what is moral. The assertions about what is moral vary dramatically within its pages. So the job falls on the reader – entirely.
To increase the variety of possible options, the literal and metaphorical are brilliantly and seamlessly intertwined. So the reader is forced to apply some personal method to determine which biblical claims ‘ring truest’ to a given dilemma.
“Love thy Neighbor” – JESUS (Mark 12:31)
“[they] are Dogs!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)
So is Jesus saying all our neighbors must be loved? Are some literally ‘dogs’?
Or is he saying some neighbors should not be loved? Should some be disparaged?
It is okay whatever you decide – Jesus is on your side.
Without any guidance from a real God to intervene and tell us how to determine what is moral we are forced to apply our innate intuition.
This example is from the Sermon on the Mount:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 5:16)
“Take heed that ye do not put your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 6:1)
Should we show our generosity and charity in public? Or hide it so only God can see?
Your decision does NOT matter. The Bible is brilliant at this sort of thing. God will agree with you – With God all things are indeed possible!
As the reader proceeds he must gently omit or rationalize those parts which do not harmonize with the reader’s morality. The faithful reader will not even be aware of a problem as he skips over all disgusting options such as rape, genocide or slavery.
This is why God is always on your side and why Jesus always thinks like you, no matter how you ultimately behave.
Would Jesus approve of slavery? No. Why not? Because you don’t believe in slavery!
Or, Yes! He would happily approve of slavery if you are that sort of person, God is ready to agree with you – “do buy slaves” (Lev 25:44).
It doesn’t matter. That isn’t the God you have chosen to follow. The Christian creates a perfect God for herself from her accumulated decisions.
This trick explains why all holy books lead to faith in various gods. The Q’uran works for Muslims in the same way.
YOU NEVER NEEDED THE BIBLE
Contradictions are not flaws in the Bible – they are a vital part of why the Bible works so effectively at tricking the reader into the illusion that God is speaking to them personally.
The sinister part of this process is that your decision is sanctioned by God Himself – no matter how moral or immoral your decision. There are no checks and balances.
Meanwhile, your own judgement is demeaned at every step,
as if you are deemed unworthy of making the very decisions you are being forced to make and then blessed for making!
These are astonishing tricks.
Religionists like to complain that Atheists don’t have a moral code – but of course we do. It is the same secular, innate moral code the religious use – but they are tricked into thinking it was God.
A final example:
We should fear God (Matthew 10:28)
We should love God (Matthew 22:37)
There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)
Do you see it now?
These claims cannot all be true. You are forced to decide. God leaves the room as you choose – and he returns once you are done to claim it “The Word of God.”
The Bible can’t wait to reward you for consulting it and taking full responsibility for YOUR decisions.
The whole thing is in your hands. However you decide to resolve these conflicts, you are ‘blessed’ with the correct answer. And this is why the Bible should be treated with caution.
Once you understand how the trick works, The Bible is nothing but a big Tarot Card.
Again, the sinister bit is that your decision emerges as something sanctioned by God Himself – no matter how moral or immoral it may be.
YET it was a trick. Because it was YOU ALL ALONG!
If one’s own intuition is going to be the moral arbiter anyway, consulting the Bible is worse than unnecessary.
It is dangerous.