Reading the Bible Made Me Leave "The Truth" – & Christianity

by Seeker4 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • Seeker4

    I was looking up a couple of verses the other day in my NWT Reference Bible – the one with larger print, footnotes, cross references, etc. In my day I was quite a diligent student - the Bible is filled with my notes and comments, and I'd already worn out another one earlier.
    One of the things that I found surprising as I was reading my notes, was how often they were pointing out inconsistencies, contradictions and obvious lies in the biblical text. Now I was using this Bible while I was still an elder, so this was long before I'd left the Witnesses. Yet it's obvious that for years I was struggling with problems I was finding in the Bible.
    On a blank page at the front of the Bible I'd started a list referencing all the verses where it says that the "Day of Jehovah is near," or "the end is near." Next to each of the verses I've got the date that the verse was supposedly written. Well, it's a rather damning bunch of evidence from the Bible itself that the end being near is pretty much a meaningless statement in the Bible - one made over and over again for centuries.
    For me it was a startling realization to see how the Bible itself played such a major role in destroying my religious faith. I knew it had been a factor, especially later on after I'd stepped down. I just didn't realize until I took that look back how all that bible study had been chipping away at my belief in an infallible Word of god, inspired Bible.
    Have any of you realized the same things?
    Maybe later I'll share some of the things that bothered me over the years. They're pretty interesting.
    /br> S4

  • james_woods

    When I was at the "overseer's school" in Pittsburgh in 1970, old Al Schroeder gave us a whole afternoon on the subject of "independent research" and how bad it was for your spiritual health.

    He kept saying how "some of these brothers just studied themselves right out of the truth".

    I had no idea what he was even talking about (and most of the others who were there with me did not either).

    Now I think I understand - and it may very well have been one of the few things he was ever right about in his entire life.


  • Terry

    To maintain control of a group of people you have to offer something they cannot live without and continue to be the only source.

    This is why the Bible was invented in the first place.

    From the 1st Century until now people argued over who Jesus was and what God's will for mankind is. To settle these arguments (or attempt to assert just ONE way of thinking) some official document was necessary.

    The canon was instituted under the authority of the Emperor and enforced harshly. (New Testament times were surly!)

    Scholars can clearly demonstrate thousands of text tamperings even with the accepted canon of scripture.

    There are no "original" manuscripts as sources of absolute certainty.

    The earliest Jesus stories were word of mouth.

    As time passed by Jesus became more miraculous and his deeds became superhuman until he was the equal of any pagan demigod.

    Jesus status and story were solidified into the written word and then constantly tweeked to shore up doctrinal issues.

    What we hold in our hand today with a bible is centuries of constant sifting and redaction and revision stemming from arguments and assertions which reflect opinion and power-mongering.

    It is really an amazing thing to consider that anybody can hope to establish some TRUTH with all the cut and paste fraud to the text which has transpired.

    Many simply assert that "god could preserve the truth of the bible if he wanted to". Well, since it is so easy to demonstrate the additions, deletions and mismatching of texts over time----this is a backfire! God clearly DID NOT seek to preserve any of it. The only reasonable conclusion is that the bible is really unimportant to pure worship!!

    This leaves those who wish to control people out of the loop!!

    A person is free to deal with god directly for the first time!

    When you eliminate the middle man in a transaction you don't have to pay their fee!

    The fee mankind has paid to religious institutions and authorities is a bondage to orthodoxy and a submission to human opinion.

    I personally don't think anything written in the bible can be taken confidently at face value.

    It is untrustworthy.

  • the dreamer dreaming
    the dreamer dreaming

    not until after I had been long gone did I realize that Jesus could never, in the mind of any christian be seen to ever have said a single thing wrong.

    Matt 24, specifically tells those then alive that THEIR GENERATION would not pass away until they saw ALL THE THINGS he had mentioned, which included the fall of Jerusalem and the return of Jesus as king to judge the world....

    the term THIS GENERATION is used by Jesus in about Nine different places in the 4 gospels and always has the same basic meaning... those alive at the time who were distinguished from previous generations who were not alive to see him in person.

    its easy to forget by just reading matthew 24, that jesus was speaking aloud to these people and telling THEM, that THIS GENERATION will not pass... and it seems that many historians believe that early christians were literally waiting for it to happen in THEIR DAY.

    seems that Paul was telling people, if they did not BURN they should be as he was, Celibate, as the end was so near and John telling people we KNOW this is the last hour because Anti-christ is among us...etc.

    but since all that would make Jesus a FALSE prophet, no christian can ever be permitted to even think along those lines....can they :))

    I also re-examined Numbers 31, where after a battle was won, and the men had saved out the women and children, Moses, in a RAGE told them that they had learned nothing from their previous encounters [regarding their own weaknesses] and order the murder of defenseless women and male children... they could rape the little girls though....

    how sick is that? and yet this WAR criminal is the foundation of the entire bible story.

  • justsomedude

    One of the real downfalls of my faith was actually reading the bible. I eventually had to stop and throw out the bible that I was using, because of all of the notes that I had made in it.

  • Gregor

    That's a great observation, Seeker. It shows that this method of keeping your audience/followers engaged was employed by the ancients long before the WTS got in the 'biz'.

    Reminds me of when our kids were small and would get restless on a long auto trip. "We're nearly there, just a few more minutes" I'd say, (even though we still had a hundred miles to go) and they would be satisfied and settle down for awhile until it was time for me to say it again. Of course, if they had been able to read road signs and maps they could have called my bluff, but I was taking advantage of my position of authority so I could manipulate their behavior.

  • under_believer

    Gregor, when my kids ask that, I'm always like "Oh man, we have HOURS left." Sometimes my wife will ask "Do I look good in this dress?" And while the answer is usually yes (she's pretty fab) every once in a while I'm obliged to say "honey, that dress is hideous."
    Guess it's a byproduct of being lied to for years--I can't bear to lie to anyone. It'll get me in trouble someday.
    In any case, Seeker's basic point is profound for me--the more I learned about the Bible in independent study, the more source material I had for my eventual fall. Nothing that I studied specifically threw me out of "the truth", but I'd read one thing, and it wouldn't make sense, and I'd push it away because that was "independent thinking". And then this would happen the next week. And the next week. And I was always successful, pushing it away, because the alternative was unthinkable... until it wasn't unthinkable anymore.

  • Seeker4

    U_B wrote: "Nothing that I studied specifically threw me out of "the truth", but I'd read one thing, and it wouldn't make sense, and I'd push it away because that was "independent thinking". And then this would happen the next week. And the next week. And I was always successful, pushing it away, because the alternative was unthinkable... until it wasn't unthinkable anymore."
    Exactly. Very much the same for me. I reached a tipping point, eventually.

    Dreamer dreaming:
    That whole line of thinking became obvious to me as well. But to get there, you have to shake the WTS training that the Greek Scriptures were written with our day in mind. It is the most incredible eye-opener to force yourself to read the Bible with the context of the people for whom it was actually happening in your mind. The Witnesses so pull the Bible out of its historical context, that it takes on a completely new meaning - one that fits JW doctrine and ideas.

    Another factor for me was when we were studying The Greatest Man book, and I started reading the various accounts of Jesus life in the different gospels. It became pretty obvious, despite how the WTS tried to put its twist on things, that the accounts really differed from one another.

  • jambon1

    When I read the sentances you refer to, I too was disillusioned by the amount of times this statement was made.

    For me though, the terrible attrocities mentioned in the bible just saddened me and made me question everything. As someone else stated earlier on this thread, the law mentioened in the OT was just perverted.

    I saw no evidence at all of a loving god in the OT - she bears/stoning/killing/Job/King Davids murder etc, etc.

    Religion sucks. It produces evil people.


  • kwr

    I look at the Bible as mankinds struggle to relate to and understand YHWH. While the bible is inspired by God it is not the Word of God that is infalliable as many claim.

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