This comes to us from Jim Wilson:
If you were God and you wanted to reveal yourself to humanity through your written word, what would you say?
That question was asked to me by a Christian evangelist a little over a year ago. My recollection of this question prompted a great discussion on a soon to be released episode of Desert Air Podcast ( http://desertairpodcast.com/), which provides me with many ideas discussed here.
It seemed to me that the purpose of the question was to use what ever answers I’d give to him and argue that all the things I would put in my book, God has already put in the bible, just waiting for my discovery. This, I would presume would include such things as fulfilled predictions of future events, solid moral teachings and important information about the world we live in.
For better or worse, the conversation did not end up going this way, possibly because I did not have time to visit for too long and possibly because I was familiar enough with such forms of apologetics to find problems with them. Anyway, my first objection was that if I was all-knowing, all-powerful and all-benevolent, I doubt I would use revealed word in a written format as my form of communication, especially if we are to assume that I am revealing to technologically unsophisticated people like the Judeo-Christian god supposedly did. That would mean the material it was written on would deteriorate and continuously have to be rewritten; as such my word would always be left in someone else’s handwriting. The rewriting would be subject to human error and vulnerable to people changing it for their own malevolent purposes. As such it would seem highly short-sighted of a God to leave his message in a written form among a population of largely illiterate and technologically lacking people.
Also, keep in mind this God is supposedly all-powerful so he could make an information vector far more impressive than anything his bronze-age subjects could imagine. He could have given them permanently charged iPads with the needed information on them, or something even more impressive. I would see this as a far more plausible way for an all-knowing being to communicate - that is, in a way that no other extant being could. A God that would uses a written word, passed down for centuries among a priestly class in an otherwise illiterate population would strike me as highly suspect… either a highly incompetent being or more probably a fraud perpetuated by the previously mentioned priestly class.
Anyway, after stating that objection, I figured why not assume for the sake of argument that as a God, I’d have to use a book to reveal my word to the world’s people. Given that assumption what would I put in my bible? Well, first to demonstrate my boundless level of knowledge I would fill it with things that no one at the time could have known, like pi, the germ theory of disease, evolutionary biology, genetics, the heliocentric solar system, calculus, the atomic theory of matter, Einsteinian relativity, quantum physics, cures for all diseases humans could ever face, instructions on how to make electricity and computers and a great deal of information that has yet to be known to humans. I would provide a template for producing a technologically advanced, peaceful, environmentally sound society free of oppression and all forms of authority. I figure an all-powerful all-knowing being would be able to clearly communicate all this.
I also would include many important ethical instructions the bible clearly neglects, such as opposition to slavery, opposition to mass murder, opposition to sexual oppression, opposition to prejudice based on sexual orientation, opposition to monarchy and other forms of authoritarianism, opposition to scapegoating or punishing one individual for the actions of others. These are all things opposed by civilized society today, but are either condoned or commanded by the bible.
Furthermore, any predictions in my revelation would be independently verifiable and written clearly. The bible clearly fails in this regard, since most of its alleged prophecies are anything but clearly written and all of them force you to take the bible’s word about their fulfilment. If I was forced to limit my revelation to bronze age mid-easterners the way the biblical god supposedly did, I would be sure to include descriptions of walruses, kangaroos, platypuses, penguins and seals, sea otters, orangutans, ostriches, emus and all the many fantastic animals around from around the world, as well as places they could be found. How strange it is that the bible discusses all the world’s animals entering a boat, but neglects to mention any species anywhere that would be unfamiliar to residents of the middle east.
Ideally, I would not want to reveal it to a chosen people like the biblical god is believed to have. To me this type of favoritism reflects the ethnocentric tribal attitudes of the bible’s thuggish creators, rather than proof of it’s divinity. Perhaps I could give parts of it to people all over the world and they would have to come together in unity to decipher it (strangely, the biblical God opposed this type of unity in the story of the tower of Babble).
I of course am not a God trying to communicate by book, but those are the type of things I would expect from a book written by someone all-benevolent and all-knowing. The bible, God’s supposed word, falls way short of this. This much touted international best seller fails to live up to its own hype. It has no insights that bronze-age Mideasterners could not have been expected to produce, its miraculous claims are completely unverifiable and it’s morality is atrocious even by the most primitive standards. It looks very much like a work of primitive people, coping with a rough cruel world and nothing like a work of a well-informed intelligence. That, and there is also the complete lack of kangaroos.