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inspired. Christians accept the one, and reject the other. Why?
In order to emphasize the folly and credulity of the theory of inspiration as applied to either writers or contents of the Bible, we reproduce below some specimens of divine inspiriting, of the existence of which in the Bible the majority of Christians are ignorant, for they are carefully excluded from Christian teaching; but they nevertheless form part of that which they consider to be inspired, and upon which they stake their faith. And if by chance any of these undesirable passages should be noticed and questioned, they are carefully and skilfully explained away. To attribute divine origin to the following would be not only to deify the supreme power of the universe, but to place this power before mankind as a monster of iniquity; and it must be obvious to any person of ordinary intelligence that such unnecessarily obscene details of human life as are to be found in the Pentateuch could only be conceived by an ignorant, superstitious, coarse, and obscene people such as the Hebrews of that day were.
We commence with acts of INJUSTICE either committed or authorized by Jehovah (Yahuh). The burning of witches (Ex. xxii. 18; Lev. xx. 27)—the word witch is changed to sorceress in the R. V. Thousands of innocent women have been put to death through the teaching concerning this purely imaginary crime. The custom of burning witches was not abolished till 1736 in England, and as late as 1895 a Catholic in Ireland burned his wife as a witch, as we have previously noticed, calling on the evil spirits to “come out of her.” The sale of Sarah by her husband Abram-called “God's friend ”—through a gross piece of deception, to the king of Egypt ; her adultery with the latter, and the subsequent injustice by Yahuh in punishing the innocent king and rewarding the guilty Abram (Gen. xii. 10). The injustice of Yahuh towards Miriam, and the escape of Aaron, who was equally guilty (Num. xii. 10). Moses ordered to take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before him against the sun, because the Israelites of Shittin had committed whoredom with the Moabite women. The treacherous arrangement made by “the Lord” to murder Eglon, king of Moab, and the disgusting description of his death (Judges iii. 15-22); and the treachery and assassination in Judges iv. 9, 17-23 ; v. 24–31. The murder of 24,000 Israelites by a plague because one of their number had married a Midianite woman—"and Aaron's grandson took a javelin and thrust them both through, the man of Moab and the woman, through her belly.” Yet Moses had married a Midianite woman (Ex. ii. 16--20).
CRUELTY. Human sacrifice (Ex. xiii. 15; Lev. xxvii. 28 ; Num. xxv. 4). Slavery (Ex. xxi. 2, 20; Lev. xxv. 44). The sale of daughters for slave concubines (wrongly rendered “maid servants,” Ex. xxi. 7). The permission to thrash a slave just short of death, so that he or she “may linger a day or two” (Ex. xxi. 21). Slave-capturing expeditions (Deut. xx. 10). Wholesale violation of virgins, the Lord taking a considerable share of these for his priests (Num. xxi. 17–35); and of beautiful women, after capture in war, with permission to cruelly forsake them afterwards (Deut. xxi. 10-14). The murder of wife, children, and friends for differing in religion (Deut. xiii. 6). This was also the teaching of Jesus in the N. T. (Matt. X. 34), which has only too well been acted up to, for Christianism has been remarkable for the dissension it has produced in families, in accordance with the above teaching, which is so wicked in conception that it condemns the whole system of both Hebrew and Christian religion, as the invention of man. The stabbing of an innocent woman to stop a plague (Num. xxv. 8). The smiting by the Lord of all the firstborn of the Egyptians, and of animals, in Ex. xii. 29 (the firstborn of about 24,000 families), though the whole of the animals had already been twice destroyed (for all the cattle of Egypt died in Ex. ix. 6, and those that were within the field were killed by hail in 19-21), is rather amusing.
Here we have noticed woman treated by the “man after God's own heart” (Moses), and by the chosen men under his charge, as little better than cattle—always presented in an unfavourable aspect as the cause of all misfortunes, and as a passive being, born to bring forth children as sheep bring forth lambs, for the purpose of increasing their master's stockin-trade. The iniquities committed towards woman which we have just enumerated—and they are by no means all that are to be found in the books of the O. T.-form part of the “ scriptures ” which Jesus exhorted his disciples to “search,"
for they would make them wise unto salvation.” Yet, strange to say, the very same system of priestcraft which kept her in the thraldom of slavery and degradation in ancient Hebrew days is now, in its modern representation, almost entirely supported by her. Where would modern ecclesiasticism be were it not for the love and devotion of woman, and the influence exercised by her over the opposite sex-husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons? It is another view of the same picture that in these days presents to us a wife, beaten by her brutal husband, and refusing to give evidence against him, frequently loving him the more.
DEATH FOR TRIVIAL BREACHES OF THE JEWISH CEREMONIAL LAW, such as-consulting wizards (Lev. xx. 6); worshipping another god than Yahuh, or for a matter of belief (Ex. xxii. 20; Deut. xiii. 1-14 ; xvii. 2 ; xviii. 20); presumption (Num. XV. 30; Deut. xvii. 12); Sabbathbreaking (Ex. xxxii. 14; “cut off” and “put to death” are here synonymous); kindling a fire or picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Ex. xxxv. 2 ; Num. xv. 32); not keeping the Passover Feast (Num. ix. 13); eating unleavened bread at the Passover (Ex. xii. 15, 19); eating fat or blood (Lev. iii. 16; vii, 22, 26); 12 child not circumcised (Gen. xvii. 14)—no fault of its own, but that of its parents, if any; imitating holy oil and scent, or using the latter for strangers (Ex. xxx. 22–33 ; eating a day too late (Lev. xix. 5, 8); sacrificing without the priests' aid (Lev. xvii. 8); killing cattle without first bringing an offering to the priests (Lev. xvii. 2); touching a holy thing (Num. iv. 15); approaching the holy candlestick (xviii. 3); entering the holy place (iv. 20) without giving notice to Yahuh by tinkling bells hung on the hem of the robe (xxviii. 34), or without wearing linen breeches (42)—the priestly hand in the above is very distinct, priestcraft must be carefully hedged round, discovery would have been fatal ; not being purified (Lev. v. 2 ; xxii. 3; Num. xix. 13); eating animals that have died, or been killed by other animals (Lev. xiii. 13 ; Num. xix. 8); working on the Day of Atonement, or for not afflicting one's soul (xxiii. 29); for straying near the Tabernacle (Num. i. 51; xvii. 13 ; xviii. 22), or too near the clergy (iii. 10), or priests' houses (38); for blasphemy (Lev. xxiv. 10, 16); unchastity, or natural or accidental bodily imperfections (the fault, if any, would be really the Creator's, not the individual's, Deut. xxii. 20 ; xxiii. 1) —under this law many perfectly innocent girls would be disgraced, and judicially murdered ; sexual intercourse during menstruation (Lev. xx. 18); etc.
OBSCENITY. The grossness of the conduct of the BARREN WIFE, Rachel, towards her slave Bilhah (Gen. xxx. 3); and the following, to which references only need be given, for they are too gross for reproduction :-Gen. xxxviii. 7; xix. 1-8; 30–38; Ex.iv. 25; xxxiii. 23 ; xxii. 19; Lev. xviii. 23; XX. 15-18; xv. 24 ; xix. 20 ; xxi. 9; Deut. xxii. 22–29; xxiii. 1; XXV. II-12 ; Judges iii. 15–22, etc. If such obscenities were found in any other book than the Bible, the author would be speedily condemned to severe punishment. Yet we are told in that book that such Hebrew grossness is able to make us “wise unto salvation," and is given by “inspiration of God......profitable for doctrine......and instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. iii. 16).
The writings contained in the N. T., we are told, testify to the divine origin and truth of those of the O. T., and relate what are represented as the fulfilment of certain so-called "prophecies” in the O.T.; but when these are referred to, and read carefully, we find they are no prophecies at all, but portions of the narrative of current events among the Jews ; and, in order to strengthen their case, the fabricators of these N. T. Gospels have deliberately misquoted the original texts. And, as regards moral teaching, these writings add worse terrors and atrocities of their own, and introduce to us a theory of eternal torments in Hell (Matt. v. 28 ; xviii. 8; xxiii. 32 ; xxv. 41; Mark ix. 43). A minute description of this Hell is given by Jesus to the multitude in “Luke” (xvi. 23), and by John “the Divine,” together with the rejoicing of the saints in Heaven over the sufferings and agonies of the tormented ones in the Apocalypse, or Revelation (xiv. 9, 11 ; xix. 1-4, 20; XX. 1-3, 10; xxi. 8; xxii. 15), and in the Epistle to the Corinthians (vi. 9, 15). How can we reconcile this fiendish delight of the “saints," as dreamed by John, with some of the teachings of Jesus concerning love, pity, sympathy, and the meekness of offering the other cheek to the smiter, etc., etc.? This Christian place of torments is prepared by a beneficent Creator for those of his creatures "who know not God” (2 Thess. i. 7); for those who describe a fool correctly (Matt. v. 22); for unbelievers (as if anyone can help his belief !), and for the rich. Any rational mind would be unable to comprehend the justice of consigning to the eternal torments of Hell those whom the accidents of birth or circumstances have prevented from “knowing” God, or who do not happen to be among the number of the “few” chosen to pass the “narrow” way (Matt. vii. 14; xxii. 13; Luke xiii. 23), or “drawn” by "the Father,” and whose “ eyes” he has not “blinded, so that they cannot believe” (John vi. 44 ; xii 39). .
Can we, as rational beings, conceive such contradictory, unjust, and fiendish teaching to be of divine origin, and the result of real supernatural inspiration ? To believe that a god represented as beneficent would predestine the majority of his own creations, whom he had already pronounced to be “very good," to such an eternity of torture would be to believe what is contrary to our reason and to common sense. No real god could plan such a wicked scheme for man's destruction. We are asked to believe that all innocent babes are born “in sin.” “Let those who can,” says Spencer, “ believe that there is eternal war set between our intellectual faculties and our moral obligations. I, for one, admit no such radical vice in the constitution of things." We are asked to believe that all women conceive “in sin,” because of a trivial fault said to have been committed by two people many centuries before---“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity,” the Psalmist is made to say, “and in sin did my mother conceive me" (li. 5); and that ten generations of human beings are to be condemned to bastardy and disgrace because the original parents were not legally united (Deut. xxiii. 2). The bare idea of an innocent child being born“ in sin ” is an insult to humanity. The only person who could be said to really conceive “in sin” would be the adultress ; but the fault there would not be in the act of conception, which is a natural process, but in the defilement of the marriage bed.
Can we, then, accept a book as a divine “revelation” that teaches such a barbarous doctrine as the redemption of the human race from a sin which they did not commit by the blood of a man represented as innocent ? And can we accept as the representative of the supreme power of the universe a deity whose wrath and vindictiveness can be appeased by the smell of a “sweet savour”? There is a