Monthly Archives: September 2023

Does God need anything?


One time when God was telling his people why he wasn’t happy with them, he assured them that it had nothing to do with them not sacrificing enough animals to him. He explained that he didn’t need anyone to give him animals for food, because he doesn’t eat the flesh of bulls. And anyway, all the wild animals in the world belong to him already. So even if he did get hungry, he wouldn’t have to demand food from someone else.

So God doesn’t need to be fed. God doesn’t need anyone to make him a house, either. In fact, God doesn’t need anything from anyone. Why would he? He’s the all-powerful creator who provides everything humans need, not the other way around.


God needs food. He demanded, many times, that his people regularly give him food offerings, which are the food of God. (And don’t forget the salt!) When his people don’t do what he wants, he just devours their fields. God also needs water. He needs to drink from a brook, so he’ll be refreshed enough to continue heaping up the dead.

Jesus, who the Bible says is God, ate food during his days on earth. And he got hungry when he went without food. Even now, Jesus expects people to let him into their homes so he can eat them eat with them. But does he actually need food? Yes, he said he plans to send people to hell for failing to give him free food, drink, shelter, clothes, and healthcare when he needs it.

God also needs money. He once cursed his chosen nation for “robbing” him because they weren’t giving him as much of their wealth as he wanted. I’ve never heard of God actually buying anything with money, but he must need money for something. Why else would people be telling people to give their money to God? I mean, unless “giving money to God” was some kind of scam, or something…

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The Story of the House of Saul
The Children's Teeth Are Set on Edge

During David’s reign, there was a famine in Israel. After it had gone on for three years, David asked God why there was a famine. God explained that he was punishing dead king Saul for trying to kill all the Gibeonites after Joshua had promised they wouldn’t be killed.

King David asked the remaining Gibeonites how he could make amends. They said they would like it if he helped them kill seven descendants of Saul. (Whose whole family had already been killed off.)

Continue reading The Story of the House of Saul
The Children's Teeth Are Set on Edge
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Do people need to worry about not having the resources they will need?


Jesus advised people not to worry about what they would eat or drink or wear. Why worry about those things? There’s more to life than having the things you need to live! He says you should follow the example of the birds and the flowers. Birds don’t bother with farming or storing up food, and they’re doing fine, aren’t they? Flowers don’t bother making clothes, and they still look great, don’t they?

Jesus said the reason the birds and flowers don’t have to worry about agriculture and tailoring is that God cares about them. And God cares about us a lot more, so he’ll definitely provide us with everything we need without us having to work for it. So just don’t worry about it. Never plan ahead. Worrying is for pagans. And being worried wouldn’t actually change anything anyway.

Paul agreed that you shouldn’t worry about anything. You should just let God take care of everything.


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The real origins of the Bible

Who wrote it?

Christians say the Bible was written by people who were there to witness the events it describes. But it’s unrealistic to think that, for instance, there were four people who were all perpetually present to personally witness all the important events throughout the entire life of Jesus. (Including the things that happened before they met him!) And some stories in the Bible couldn’t have had any witnesses, because they’re about people staying out in the wilderness alone, or about private meetings the author wasn’t invited to, or about what God was up to in heaven, etc.

Anyway, we know that hardly any of the Bible was actually written by the people it’s traditionally attributed to:

Who wrote the Old Testament?

For some reason, a lot of people apparently think Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. I don’t know why anyone would think that. The Bible doesn’t say Moses wrote all that. It does say (always in the third person!) that he wrote down the law, but that’s no reason to think he wrote down all the stories in those books. (And even if he had, Moses wouldn’t have been an eyewitness to any of the events of Genesis anyway.)

If you look at what’s in those books, you’ll see they clearly can’t have been written by Moses. The book of Numbers declares that Moses was “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth“. That is not something the most humble person on earth would say about himself. Neither is what Deuteronomy says about him, that there has never been another prophet as great as God’s personal friend Moses was.

It doesn’t even make sense for that book to be talking about whether there has been a prophet so great since Moses, unless it was written a long time after Moses died.1 And it was written after Moses died. It says so right there in that same chapter. The last chapter of Deuteronomy says Moses died, and was buried, and was mourned, and was succeeded by Joshua, and the people listened to Joshua… Did Moses write all that before or after he died?

People also say (or used to say) that Joshua wrote the book of Joshua, even though just like with Moses, the book of Joshua tells about Joshua’s death, and things that happened after Joshua was dead.

Even more absurdly, people apparently think the books of Samuel were written by Samuel. I’ll just point out that Samuel dies well before even the first of those books is over, let alone the second. Do people think those books were written by ghost-Samuel or something?

The so-called books of Moses, Joshua, and Samuel often use the words “to this day“, even when comparing “this day” to when those people died. That only makes sense if those books were written long after the death of Moses, Joshua, and Samuel.

Joshua and the preceding books mention a lot of places that didn’t all exist as inhabited towns at the same time until the 7th century BC. Joshua’s list of towns perfectly matches the geography of Judah during the reign of Josiah, but it’s unrealistic as a description of the land several centuries earlier, when Joshua is supposed to have lived. Even Genesis makes geographical assumptions that wouldn’t be true until at least the 7th century BC.

Judges is written from the perspective of someone who is used to Israel having a king. But a lot of the stories in that book are set long before Israel became a monarchy, so the author can’t be someone who was there to witness those events.

A lot of people think of the Psalms as having been written by David, even though the majority of the psalms aren’t actually labeled that way in the Bible. And the Bible says a lot of them are by other people. And some of them were clearly written after the exile.

Jews traditionally attribute the Psalms to a certain nine individuals plus the sons of Korah. The book of Psalms itself attributes psalms to only some of those people, and does not say any of them were written by Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, or Jeduthun. It says a few were written for Jeduthun, but not by Jeduthun.

The book of Proverbs actually claims to have been written partially by Solomon, unlike all those other books that people just assume were written by biblical characters for no biblical reason. Parts of Proverbs claim to have other authors, though. Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs pretty strongly imply that Solomon wrote them. But that doesn’t mean he actually did write them. There are words and phrases in these three books that the Hebrews didn’t start using until after the exile of Judah, hundreds of years after Solomon.

The book of Isaiah sure doesn’t seem like the whole thing was written by Isaiah. Starting with chapter 40, the writing style and theological ideas suddenly change, and it stops mentioning anything about Isaiah, and now it’s suddenly set during the exile, and predicting that the exile is going to end soon. And then the setting for the last 11 chapters is when people have already started returning from exile. The exile didn’t even happen until a hundred years after when Isaiah is traditionally said to have finished writing this book.

The book of Lamentations is traditionally attributed to Jeremiah, even though the book itself doesn’t say anything about Jeremiah, and it often seems to disagree with the book of Jeremiah.

Why does the book of Daniel make some “predictions” that are more or less accurate for a while, but then suddenly stop getting anything right about the future? Probably because that turning point is when the book was actually written. That’s four centuries after when its supposed author Daniel supposedly lived.

And if this is the Daniel that Ezekiel mentions, that would mean Ezekiel too must have been written hundreds of years later than it’s supposed to have been written.

The book of Jonah is apparently said to be written by Jonah, though I certainly never got that impression from reading the actual book. It was actually written by someone who lived so long after the alleged events of the story, he didn’t realize that “the great city of Ninevah” barely even existed anymore by the time he was writing about.

Who wrote the New Testament?

Christians tend to think the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. They were actually written anonymously. No one ever referred to their authors by name until more than a century after the death of Jesus, and over 50 years after the gospels were written. By the time people decided to name them, they had no reliable way to know who actually wrote them, so they had to guess. And they guessed wrong. People decided the gospels were written by the apostle Matthew, Peter’s follower Mark, Paul’s friend Luke, and the apostle John.

The author of Mark was too ignorant of the local geography and Jewish culture to have actually been a Jew who lived where Jesus lived. Most of the book of Matthew is just copied nearly verbatim from Mark,2 which an actual disciple of Jesus would not have had to do. “Luke” is also the author of Acts, whose identity was guessed based on letters allegedly written by Paul that turned out to be fake. The author of Acts got an awful lot of things wrong about Paul’s story3 for someone who was supposedly a close companion of Paul. (And Luke wouldn’t have been an eyewitness to Jesus’s life anyway.)

Five books of the Bible (one of the gospels, three epistles, and Revelation) are traditionally attributed to Jesus’s disciple John. But none of the books themselves actually claim to be written by him. The apostle John was uneducated and probably couldn’t even write. The person who first attributed the fourth gospel to John seems to have confused him with a different John from a later time. Whoever actually wrote the gospel of John didn’t realize that the Jews didn’t start excluding Christians from their place of worship till over 50 years after Jesus died.

A lot of the books of the Bible were not written all by one person at one time, but had parts added to them hundreds of years after they were initially written. For instance, the story where Jesus convinces people not to enforce God’s law can’t be found in any of the earliest manuscripts, nor are there any records of anyone in the first few centuries of Christianity mentioning that story, because somebody made that part up later. Same with the part where people see Jesus alive again after he died, which was retroactively tacked onto the end of the earliest gospel.

The first 13 epistles in the New Testament claim to be written by Paul, but for several of them, that seems unlikely. As the letters themselves acknowledge, there were fake letters “from Paul” going around. Some of the epistles attributed to Paul make it seem like he was on better terms with the original apostles than the genuine epistles show he really was. And some of the letters have Paul suspiciously insisting that he’s a real apostle, when he’s supposed to be writing to close friends who wouldn’t need to be convinced of that.

The letters to Timothy and Titus sound in many ways like they were written when Christianity was more developed than it was during Paul’s life. 1 Timothy has Paul quote “scripture” saying the worker deserves his wages, even though that’s not in the Old Testament. It’s from the gospel of Luke, which wasn’t even written till after Paul died. Clearly Paul didn’t actually write that. That letter must have been written by someone who lived in a time when the gospel of Luke existed, and was considered scripture. 2 Timothy and Titus have similar anachronisms.

The book of Hebrews is traditionally labeled as another letter from Paul for some reason, but that one doesn’t even claim to be from Paul. It’s anonymous, and there’s very little in the letter that even suggests that Paul might have written it.

One book in the New Testament is a letter claiming to be from James (Jesus’s brother). But considering his background, it’s unlikely that James would have been capable of writing so well in Greek. Same with the apostles John and Peter, who the Bible specifically says were uneducated.

There are two epistles that claim to be from Peter. The first one mentions widespread serious persecution of Christians as something that was already happening, even though during Peter’s life, it wasn’t. Persecution of Christians for being Christians didn’t begin until around when Peter died, and it didn’t start happening “throughout the world” till decades later.

The second of those letters very unrealistically refers to Paul’s letters as scriptures. The real Peter considered Paul a heretic, died long before any of the epistles were considered scriptures, and probably would never have even seen Paul’s letters.

The book of Revelation gives its author’s name as John, unlike the other books of the Bible that are attributed to John. But it doesn’t seem like it was written by whoever wrote those other books, since it’s written so differently. Revelation is not as well written in Greek, it uses different spellings and word choices, it doesn’t use the same rhetorical devices and themes, etc.

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