A letter to my boss
Updated: Feb 17
I was spoken to about a bumper sticker that I have on my truck and it's appropriateness for the workplace. The conversation went swimmingly and the boss even listened to my side of the ideological position.
He said he would be interested in hearing more from me, so I drafted him a letter. Here it is
Introduction to the bible: an interpretation of both the Christian understanding and my researched understanding.
A.k.a. the manifesto of an outsider.
The Bible is compiled of two main parts. The Old testament and the new testament.
The old testament, which is also known as the Hebrew Bible, consist of the bulk of the Jewish teachings. The Torah and the tanakh makeup the old testament. The torah, or the books of moses, or the first five books in the bible. These are also known as the pentateuch. Early symbols of this pentateuch included the pentagram where the five points of the pentagram represented the five books of moses. The pentagram was also used later by some early Christians to represent the five wounds of Jesus.
The five books of Moses are attributed to the life of moses. They were not written by Moses as those books also include Moses's death.
The books of Moses include many stories that were included to teach a valuable lesson, but not to be taken literally. This would be something akin to a parable.
There are multiple authors and editors of the old testament. Some of these editors are more recent such as King James who was terrified of witches and is attributed to adding a verse to Exodus about not letting witches live.
The first two chapters of the Bible have conflicting creation stories. If you compare the order of events in each book, you come to irreconcilable differences. This shows from the beginning that the Bible has multiple authors. There are many theories surrounding the different creation stories, such as each of the creation stories was talking about a different creation. A creation of Adam and Lilith and then Adam was reborn into the second creation story with the woman, known as Eve.
Adam, or Adom, simply means, "of the Earth" in hebrew.
The story of the garden of Eden was initially put in the Bible to teach the Jewish people that they have the ability to make good or bad decisions. To the Jewish people, the garden of Eden was not literal. They believed the serpent was just a serpent. There was no concept of "Satan" in the Jewish understanding. The elements of their story are borrowed greatly from previous religious stories from other civilizations. The tree of Life is widespread in many cultures including ancient Sumerian and Egyptian religions. In the Sumerian / Babylonian culture, they had a story of a man finding a plant of life and later a serpent took that from him. A depiction of a woman and a tree is also symbolic in many religions. These stories from outside the Jewish religion were preceding in parallel to the era of the jews. The Sumerian story is approximately a thousand years earlier.
The story of Noah's ark and the flood is also another story that the Jews take as a metaphorical story. This story is also taken for many other religious cultures, including the Sumerian culture. Each of the flood stories had a main character, or hero, battling some sort of adversity who ended up having that help of a god to survive the flood. The flood also has conflicting accounts. Knowing that there were multiple authors help the understanding of what is being said. The Bible says both that the flood lasted 40 days and 150 days. The Bible will use the term "40" to represent a long time but not specifically referring to 40 as the actual amount. Another usage of this concept is found when the Jews were wandering the desert for 40 years. The Bible was written to be somewhat poetic and sometimes poetic references were used such as the use of 40.
the flood was said to have happened because God saw the hearts of the people and they were evil. The Bible does not specify anything different about the children and babies. Based on what the Bible says, everyone was killed and would be going to hell.
The jews, or Israelites, come from the land of Canaan along with a lot of their religious understandings. The Canaanites had many gods and each city or state had their own set of gods. The Jews are a people who are well known for their resilience and ability to survive. They would adapt to any of the neighbors around them. When they were in the Egyptian community, they adopted the concepts of circumcision and staying away from pork. The Egyptians believed at one time that pigs were demonic so while the Jews were cohabitating with the egyptians, they adopted the Egyptian customs.
The plagues of Egypt were specifically designed to falsify the other gods that the Egyptians worshiped. The Nile Waters turning into blood was to show dominance over the Egyptian god Hapi, who was credited with providing fresh water to the crops and being in charge of the marshes and fish in the waters.
The plague of the frogs was to falsify the goddess Heqet, who was depicted as having a frog head. Having frogs everywhere meant the Egyptians would end up stepping on the frogs which would offend the goddess Heqet and sentence them to death.
The plague of darkness was to attack the Egyptian's greatest god, Ra the sun god.
The list goes on, one by one, dispelling the efficacy of the Egyptian gods.
There are a lot of purposeful and poetic things to be found in the bible. The words themselves hide such an in-depth history and understanding of the events.
The Bible doesn't give a number for the amount of Jewish slaves freed from egypt. Take a moment and think about the answer to this question. When you conceptualize the Jews escaping egypt, how many do you picture? Do you see a group of 100 people? 1,000 people? 10,000 people?
According to historical investigations of the population size of the different cities mentioned, the number of Jews believed to have been there and likely escaped would have been closer to 2 million people including women and children.
2 million people fleeing would have left other historical and archaeological evidence. There is no such evidence of nearly 2 million people relocating. There is no mention of a large number of Jews entering any different cities who kept historical records themselves.
The Old testament is filled with stories that encompass such a wide history that the stories themselves don't do it justice.
Many of the Jewish stories were re-understood with the addition of the new testament.
Adam and Eve became a literal story. The flood was a literal story.
Imagine this scenario, person one writes in their diary that they saw a cute boy at the store. Person two takes the diary and says that person one wants to marry that boy and have 100 kids. Who would you think has a better understanding of what the diary says and means?
With the same intellectual examination, we would have to go to the Jewish understanding of the Jewish writings to understand the truth.
The new testament, which was the addition added in 400 CE, consists of many books whose authors are mostly unknown. Paul is credited with writing 13 of the books while scholars only believe that Paul wrote seven of them and the rest were written to be attributed to Paul or to be written as if they were paul.
The four gospels we have were the four that were decided upon out of the dozens of gospels that were at hand including the gospel of thomas, judas, mary, and jesus.
The gospels that we have today were written between 40 to 80 years after the time of jesus. We know that the gospel writers were not the actual disciples because the lifespan of the people in that day was so short.
How were the gospels decided upon? How did we decide which gospels to use?
The council of nicea came together to decide upon a unified belief in the story of jesus. There were many different thoughts about who Jesus was as a person and as a representative of yahweh. Seeing as how Yahweh has identified himself as the one true God and many people believe that Jesus was god, the doctrine of the Trinity was invented to merge all these beliefs together in unison.
Now that we have the one belief, we have to look at the books or gospels that show this philosophy, or ideology. The Gospel of Thomas presented too many novel ideas. The Gospel of Mary was instantly discredited because the Jews didn't respect the voice of women. Books such as the apocrapha of Adam were excluded because of their tumultuous interpretation of the god of the old testament.
What is a gospel? A gospel is a story that someone told to share the story of jesus. The first of these stories came from the gospel of mark. Mark must be read as it was written. The story of Mark was written to be a single story not to reference other New testament writings. The gospel of Mark is telling the story of Jesus using the story of Jesus as his only reference. We have to understand which each of the gospels is trying to say as an individual story and not what it means in combination with other accounts.
When Mark says something, it's not dependent on the other Gospels because they had not been written at that time. The other Gospels were written after having knowledge of earlier gospels. Older stories can elaborate earlier stories but the earlier stories cannot elaborate upon that which is not yet created.
So the most appropriate way to read the gospels is to read them individually and learn what that gospel is trying to say. Who is that gospel's Target audience? Is the audience the people who believe Jesus is God the son or do they believe that Jesus is God's son?
When reading the bible, there are four main ways that the Bible is read. The first two are intellectually dishonest. The first method is the Ouija board method. You open the Bible to a random page and try to make that verse speak to you. The second method is the puzzle method where in you take pieces of different books and fit them together to say something that the individual books did not say themselves.
Then you've got the vertical reading where you read from top to bottom and see what the Bible says book by book.
The last method is the horizontal reading where you read each story in the different Gospels and compare them to each other.
When you do a horizontal reading, or a side-by-side comparison of the stories, you start to come up with conflicts.
Mark 5 and Matthew 12 both tell the same story of a man who comes up to Jesus to heal his sick daughter. And Mark 5, she dies before Jesus can get to her but Jesus raises her from the dead anyway. In Matthew 12, she is dead when the man first approaches jesus. There are many little discrepancies when comparing the stories horizontally. If there are little discrepancies, could there be large discrepancies?
The account of jesus's crucifixion has a lot of conflicts going from gospel to gospel. Was Barabbas the criminal that the Romans let go or was he the one on the cross next to jesus? The story of his resurrection as conflicts from gospel to gospel.
Did Judas die by hanging himself or did he die by tripping and having his insides fall out?
There were a couple dozen notable historians in the time of Jesus and none of them wrote about jesus. It wasn't until the next century when any historian wrote about Jesus. The two historians that are the most notable are Josephus and Pliny the younger. These historians don't mention jesus, but rather his followers.
Even the writings of these historians have been edited. There are somewhat identical writings from Josephus talking about the Christians who follow a man named Jesus and that same writing has also been found calling Jesus "the Christ". Josephus was not a Christian so why would he call Jesus the Christ or Messiah or savior?
Historians also record other people who claim to be the Messiah throughout time. There were a small handful of these other Messiahs whose name was also jesus.
While the Bible says that the Jews would deny the messiah, the Jews had their prophecies that they were given to identify who the Messiah was going to be. God gave his people the requirements to identify the messiah. Whenever somebody claimed to be the messiah, the Jews would apply these prophecies to determine whether or not the person fit the bill.
One prophecy was that the Messiah would bring peace to israel. Israel has never been at peace.
Another prophecy was that the Messiah would be a great king and leader. He would rule the nation. Jesus was a traveling prophet.
The next prophecy was that the Messiah would come from the bloodline of david. Kingship lineage was always a paternal lineage. While there have been some Kings who were appointed without the bloodline being present, this prophecy was specifically referring to the bloodline. Since Jesus had no father to insert davinic dna, there could be no paternal lineage to fulfill this prophecy.
To the Jews at the time, Jesus was just another guy claiming to be the Messiah who did not fulfill the prophecies.
Along with the notion that Jesus is the Messiah, the new testament also brought along with it a few other concepts that were not made him to the Jews. The New testament also brought the concept of heaven and hell to the religion as well as an actual demonic being named satan.
Jesus is quoted as having said, "if you've seen me, you've seen the father." "Love others as I have loved you." But he is also quoted as saying, "worship the father" "there is none good except God the Father".
People speak of God's love because of jesus. But Jesus pointed to the father. God the father is known in the old testament. Jesus references the Old testament numerous times. The god of the Old testament is jealous, vengeful, merciful and forgiving.
In Jewish times, gods were worshiped for their help in the present time. Help me win this war. Help my sick child get better. Rescue us from slavery.
The gods of the Jewish time were powerful, vindictive, and helpful.
The story of Jesus showed God's power and compassion but to understand who God is, you have to look to the old testament.
To use an overused example, there were a lot of people who said Hitler was a great guy. But you have to look at Hitler as a whole to make you determination if the character of Hitler was a good guy or a bad guy.
If God is a jealous god, wouldn't he get jealous that you're not recognizing him as a whole? Isaiah 45:7. I the Lord do all these things. Why would you trivialize all the other aspects of God and only focus on one? What is important to god? Obedience. Worship. These aspects are governed with vengeance. If the people of the land didn't follow God or stopped following god, God would wipe out the entire village including innocent children and babies. God gave many bits of insight regarding slavery but he never wants said to not own slaves. More than just indentured servitude or bondsman, the slaves that you can buy from the heathens around you were treated horribly. You can beat them as long as they survive by the end of the second day. You can buy female slaves for yourself or for your son. God had stricter rules for Israelite slaves but didn't regard anyone else's life as worthy of respect. With regards to the tokens of her virginity, God showed that his ego was more important than human life. If a woman didn't bleed from her first sexual encounter being proven by her family holding up the bed sheets to show off the blood from the broken hymen, she was to be stoned to death because she was promiscuous or a prostitute and the city must Purge that evil from them. If God is the Creator and he knows everything, he knows that not all women bleed from their first sexual encounter. He would also know that not all guys can reach the hymen. With no regard for the human anatomy that God created, he ordered a barbaric ritual that's ignorant of his own design and would leave an innocent woman wrongfully killed. Her last moments being yelled at and belittled for a crime that she didn't commit followed by a barbaric death sentence. Ordering his people to destroy villages and save the Virgin daughters for themselves is completely disgusting. Unless the Christian community is trying to push a law lowering the age of consent to 11 years old, then they also know how disgusting this is.
Having an immortal soul was not a concept that the Jews were familiar with. The Greeks believed in the immortal soul coming most notably from a couple poets including Homer. When the Greeks wrote the Bible, they included concepts that were familiar to them.
Heaven is talked about very little in the bible. If heaven is the goal of your service and life, wouldn't there be more descriptions of heaven?
Hell, as it's commonly understood in today's Christian narrative, comes from four different places in the bible. In the old testament, there are two words that are now translated into hell. Sheol and gehanna. The New testament adds two hellish references being Hades and Tartarus. These have all been combined to give one depiction of a place that was never meant to exist.
The church has come up with many concepts that the Bible does not teach. The council of nicea formed the doctrine of the trinity. Before that, there were a lot of different understandings of what the gospels were teaching.
Original sin was another concept added later by the church which made the story of the garden of Eden a literal story and added a curse to humanity.
The Bible speaks many times about not following the customs and traditions of men. One of these examples would be an exodus where the Jews errected a golden calf to use as a placeholder to worship god. Reading this story, there was no mention of worshiping other gods. The people wanted to worship Yahweh and give thanks for all that Yahweh has given them. But they used a tradition of man when worshiping god. They use the tradition of having idols and graven images to worship god. This would be similar to cooking your wife dinner and telling her how much your ex-girlfriend really loved it. Guess who's going to be sleeping on the couch tonight?
God said as a response to this that those actions are an abomination and he hates that. God hates when you use other people's worship tactics for him. Imagine going to your birthday party and on the wall it says happy birthday Bill, but Bill is crossed out and then your name is written underneath. How special do you feel? Now imagine you are God and you sent your son to die For humanity and people celebrate that by using traditions of other gods at a time meant to worship another God to celebrate his son? When using the sun God's birthday as the day to celebrate jesus's birthday and decorating your environment with pagan symbols such as the saturnalia tree and the yuletides and mistletoes which are from pagan gods, how would a jealous God feel about that?
When Jesus says to worship the father, and people ignored Jesus and worship jesus, how do you think God the father and God the son feel about that?
How do you worship the father without knowing who he truly is? Jesus talks about the father. Do you?
Jesus says to be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect. Hebrews 10:26 shows us that Jesus only hits the reset button on your sins one time.
Jesus said he comes not to abolish the law, so is the law abolished? If there is a new covenant, then the Old law is abolished.
The full verse is "I come not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law." When you look up the Greek word for fulfill, you see that it means to embody the law. Jesus was meant to be an example of the law. And matthew, Jesus tells us that we are to follow the law even more strictly. If you commit adultery with your eye, cut out your eye. Jesus put a higher requirement upon obedience to the law.
Jesus's mission on Earth was to be the final lamb. The final sacrifice needed for the atonement of your sins. Again, this is a one-time deal. Prior to jesus, you had to sacrifice animals and make a burnt offering for your sins to be forgiven.
In Galatians 5, it says that if you want to be a jew, be a jew. If you want to be a christian, be a christian. But you must pick one and stick to it.
Circumcision was a symbol of the old covenant. If you are circumcised, you are a member of the old covenant.
To be saved, do you just have to be a believer as it says in Romans chapter 10? Or do you also have to do good works as it says in james? Or must you be baptized? These requirements contradict each other. If it's Faith alone, then you don't need works. If it's Faith alone, you don't need to be baptized. If it's not faith alone then Romans 10 was wrong.
Jesus said he would be back before this generation was over. Many people understand that as the reason why they were no historical writings of Jesus in that time. Also, Paul was under the impression that Jesus was coming back in a very timely manner. Paul encouraged people not to get married unless they could not control themselves. Paul got his message in a vision directly from god. If Paul had a misunderstanding of God's message, does that mean God is an ineffective messenger? If it's the fault of man, why would God design man so faulty?
Numbers 5, God commands an abortion. The wife is to drink a magic potion that's magic activates if she has been unfaithful. If she has been unfaithful, she becomes barren and any baby inside would be immediately extinguished. If the lady was pregnant, she won't be pregnant anymore. That is the moral of that section.
(This section will start to get a little spicy)
What is the message of jesus? To love others and to repent of your sins to be saved. Saved from what? Let's parallel this event to the mafia. If the mafia ask that you pay protection money but the protection is from the mafia, we call that extortion. If God created hell and tells you you're going to hell unless you accept his offering, isn't that also extortion?
If God is all knowing then it's impossible for him to also want us to be a believer. He knows who will and won't be a believer. To have a temporary State of mind like want or hope while being all-knowing is impossible. If God knows alwho will be saved and who is going to hell, then he made people knowing they would go to hell. Isn't that sadistic? Like a magnifying glass on an ant.
If God made us just to glorify him, isn't that narcissistic?
Why would a loving God create evil? (Isaiah 45 7)
Do you create evil for your children? Why would a loving God create you being made for hell?
Someone who lived a good life and was a good human being towards others would not make it into heaven by most Christian theologies if he didn't accept God. The worst person would make it into heaven as long as he confessed on his deathbed. If that person assaulted people his whole life and then repented on his deathbed, he would make it into heaven. If his victims did not forgive him, they would go to hell. That is not a system of justice or Mercy that I want any part of. I don't want to spend eternity in heaven with those people. The Jews ask Jesus about the situation of a man being married to multiple wives and who would he be married to in heaven and Jesus replied that there would be no marriage in heaven and you would only do as the angels do. The angels in heaven, as far as scripture tells us, stand around glorifying God all day. There is no regard for earthly relationships in heaven according to jesus. Being reunited with your loved ones is not a biblical understanding of heaven. The Christian narrative on free will is to say that without free will we would be a mindless robot and that is not a life that anyone wants. And heaven, you would be a mindless robot worshiping God all day, according to the limited scripture we have on life in heaven. We would spend eternity in heaven worshiping a God who would kill innocent people for the sake of his own ego. Who are we to judge god? Well Christians judge God as worthy of worship. We all judge god. To say that we can't judge God completely absolves each person of intellectual accountability. I believe everyone out there would say that the actions that the god did would not be permitted by our understanding. We are supposed to get along with each other but we are also supposed to be perfect as God is perfect. So are we to imitate God and Carry out massacres in his name?
What evidential substantiation do Christians have for their belief? There's the bible, and faith. Just like the muslims, there's a book and faith. "I know God is real because he ........" What does actually means is that a thing happened and you attributed that thing to god. "God healed my cancer." God also lets babies die from cancer every day. People celebrate God when they get a new job while ignoring the 25,000 people who die every day of starvation. For people to believe that God has an active role in this world but only does such mindless and trivial feats of power while ignoring thousands upon thousands of suffering people who die every day makes me just like that God even more. "God works in mysterious ways." Or, things just happen and when something good happens you attribute it to god. Just like a psychic reading, people only count the hits and never count the misses. You can get the same results from praying to a milk jug that you can with god. The answer can be yes or no or maybe later. The difference in this scenario is that the milk jug hasn't killed any babies.
Christians redefine words and try to sneak them into normal conversations. Good and evil have drastically different meanings to a Christian than to a non-christian. Someone who kills babies is not a good person to anyone who is not a christian. Speaking against that person would be evil to christians. If you heard about someone today killing babies, you would apply the label of evil to that person. Why do we change the definition of Good and evil when it comes to characters in the bible. Christians try to redefine the word relationship. They say they're not in a religion, they have a relationship with god. If you have a relationship with god, what is his favorite movie? Who's his favorite superhero? What's his favorite dessert? When is the last time he's made you laugh? What did he get you for your last birthday? Has he ever farted in front of you? If you don't have answers to these questions, then you don't have a relationship with god. Christians say they talk to God but they can never get an answer to my question. Unless when they say they talk to god, they don't mean the words that they just said.
So I refuse to cater any of my education or intellectual honesty to a dishonest conversation.
(Spiciness is over)
Fun fact: we'll end this on a happier note.
It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven. This verse is commonly believed to mean that it would be a very challenging feat for a rich man to get into heaven. People have theorized over the years that this verse was talking about a camel trying to get through the gateway of a city. It would have to be unpacked, dismounted and crawl on its knees to get through the doorway. Archaeological history shows us that there are no cities out there with such a gateway that would require a camel to have a tough time. So what does this mean? The easiest and simplest answer would be that this was a translation error.
The word for Camel in Greek is κάμηλον
The word for rope in Greek is κάμιλον
Notice the striking similarities between the words. And now go through the verse again with the new word. The meaning of the verse changes completely as now it's an impossible feat for a rich man to get into heaven. Jesus is quoted as having said many times that the rich have their reward.
If absolute certainty that rope was the intended word, it would be a very feasible guess.
How could these errors happen? An ancient times, times of antiquity, they didn't have a copying machine or printing press. The original manuscript would be in City 1. If City 2 wanted a copy, they would have to go to the first city with a scribe. Sometimes there would be multiple scribes in one orator who would be dictating the words and describe would write down what they heard. Other times, the scribes would just copy the symbols of each letter without knowing what it says. You don't need to know that d o g spells dog to write down the symbols. Few people were classically educated back in the day. Few people could fluently read and write. If the scribes for City 2 came back with a mistranslation, and then City 3 wanted a copy, they would copy the transcripts from City 2. Now City 3 has the manuscripts with the mistakes from City 2 plus their own mistakes. Studies have been done where people were handed scrambled versions of a text and they were able to mostly put back together the original message, so this would show that we have the bulk of the original message. However, Little changes such as the camel being next to impossible and the rope being impossible would make drastic differences in many portions of the theology.
I haven't released this letter to him yet. I'm having another buddy give it a once-over to make sure it's purposeful and palatable to keep this as open of a communication as possible.