Primitive Values, Mature Ethics, and the Failure of Religious Texts

A point that bears repeating: there is nothing in the Bible that couldn’t have been written by ordinary people

On the point of the previous post: it has been frequently observed that the Bible contains nothing that could not have been written by the people who lived at the time of its writing.

The values of those “Ten Commandments” reflect a primitive tribe’s values for surviving and cohesiveness. It is hardly a mature ethic for maximal human happiness. (At the same time, their values can be seen as an evolutionary-validated strategy for success. Their values *have* succeeded into becoming one of the largest set of values in the world. Though not the only one. Another topic for another time.)

Atheists are sometimes asked, is there any evidence that would convince you of the reality of God? A few say nothing can. But in this context, it’s easy to speculate that, if the Bible, or any other holy book, contained passages which, though perhaps inexplicable at the time of its writing, later became apparent messages about the reality of the universe that those living at the time could not have perceived. Trivial examples: the actual value of pi (there is some passage in the Bible, I gather, that defines it as 3, exactly), the fact that the Earth orbits the sun, and not vice versa — and that it’s not *flat*; the idea that basic hygiene, like washing hands following certain activities, would reduce disease. But the fact of the matter is, there is nothing like this in the Bible. (The New Testament gospels are preoccupied with validating earlier prophecies, and advising people on how to live given the assumption the world would end within their lifetimes.) Which is why there’s no reason to think the Bible is divinely inspired, rather than, as should be obvious, a hobble gobble of myths and histories from oral traditions selected to validate the tellers, and so on and on.

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