Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible

Joseph Francis Alward

"Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps."  (Proverbs 14:15)

"Everything in the Old Testament is perverted and distorted into meanings never intended by the writers. The practice which the writers of the books employ is not more false than it is absurd. They state some trifling case of the person they call Jesus Christ, and then cut out a sentence from some passage of the OT and call it a prophecy of that case. But when the words thus cut out are restored to the places they are taken from, and read with the words before and after them, they give the lie to the New Testament."

Thomas Paine 

Moses Meets God on Mt. Sinai

Author's note: T.W. Doane, the author of "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions," and Robert Green Ingersoll, are the two authors who did the most to convince me early in my studies that much of the Old Testament, and almost all of the New Testament gospel stories were fictions. Later, extremely influential books for me were "Gospel Fictions," by Randall Helms, "Atheism: The Case Against God," by George H. Smith, "The Atheist Universe," by David Mills, "The Jesus Puzzle," by Earl Doherty, "Godless," by former evangelical fundamentalist, Dan Barker, and the best book of all, "The Bible Delusion," by Will Foote.

How Was Jesus' Death a Sacrifice?
Click here to read a skeptic's argument that Jesus' "sacrifice" was no big deal.

Kissing Hank's Ass
Click here to read, "Kissing Hank's Ass," a hilarious, must-read parody of Christianity.

The Bible Claims God Ordered the Slaughter of Infants and Suckling Babes

Thomas Paine, 1737-1809, British-born American writer and Revolutionary leader wrote the pamphlet Common Sense (1776) arguing for American independence from Britain. In England he published The Rights of Man (1791-1792), a defense of the French Revolution.  On May 12, 1797 while living in Paris, Paine wrote the following letter to a Christian friend:

It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man. That bloodthirsty man, called the prophet Samuel, makes God to say,
(I Samuel 15:3) `Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'

"That Samuel or some other impostor might say this, is what, at this distance of time, can neither be proved nor disproved, but in my opinion it is blasphemy to say, or to believe, that God said it. All our ideas of the justice and goodness of God revolt at the impious cruelty of the Bible. It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.

"What makes this pretended order to destroy the Amalekites appear the worse, is the reason given for it. The Amalekites, four hundred years before, according to the account in Exodus 18 (but which has the appearance of fable from the magical account it gives of Moses holding up his hands), had opposed the Israelites coming into their country, and this the Amalekites had a right to do, because the Israelites were the invaders, as the Spaniards were the invaders of Mexico. This opposition by the Amalekites, at that time, is given as a reason, that the men, women, infants and sucklings, sheep and oxen, camels and asses, that were born four hundred years afterward, should be put to death; and to complete the horror, Samuel hewed Agag, the chief of the Amalekites, in pieces, as you would hew a stick of wood. I will bestow a few observations on this case.

"In the first place, nobody knows who the author, or writer, of the book of Samuel was, and, therefore, the fact itself has no other proof than anonymous or hearsay evidence, which is no evidence at all. In the second place, this anonymous book says, that this slaughter was done by the express command of God: but all our ideas of the justice and goodness of God give the lie to the book, and as I never will believe any book that ascribes cruelty and injustice to God, I therefore reject the Bible as unworthy of credit.

"As I have now given you my reasons for believing that the Bible is not the Word of God, that it is a falsehood, I have a right to ask you your reasons for believing the contrary; but I know you can give me none, except that you were educated to believe the Bible; and as the Turks give the same reason for believing the Koran, it is evident that education makes all the difference, and that reason and truth have nothing to do in the case.

"You believe in the Bible from the accident of birth, and the Turks believe in the Koran from the same accident, and each calls the other infidel. But leaving the prejudice of education out of the case, the unprejudiced truth is, that all are infidels who believe falsely of God, whether they draw their creed from the Bible, or from the Koran, from the Old Testament, or from the New.

"When you have examined the Bible with the attention that I have done (for I do not think you know much about it), and permit yourself to have just ideas of God, you will most probably believe as I do. But I wish you to know that this answer to your letter is not written for the purpose of changing your opinion. It is written to satisfy you, and some other friends whom I esteem, that my disbelief of the Bible is founded on a pure and religious belief in God; for in my opinion the Bible is a gross libel against the justice and goodness of God, in almost every part of it."

(Click here to access Paine's writings.)


Letter from Thomas Paine to a Dean:

" The Christian religion is derogatory to the Creator in all its articles. It puts the Creator in an inferior point of view, and places the Christian Devil above him. It is he, according to the absurd story in Genesis, that outwits the Creator in the garden of Eden, and steals from him his favorite creature, Man, and at last obliges him to beget a son, and put that son to death, to get Man back again; and this the priests of the Christian religion call redemption."

Robert Green Ingersoll

Chicago Times, 1879, Letter to the Editor:

Nothing is more gratifying than to see ideas that were received with scorn, flourishing in the sunshine of approval. Only a few weeks ago, I stated that the Bible was not inspired; that Moses was mistaken; that the "flood" was a foolish myth; that the Tower of Babel existed only in credulity; that God did not create the universe from nothing, that he did not start the first woman with a rib; that he never upheld slavery; that he was not a polygamist; that he did not kill people for making hair-oil; that he did not order his generals to kill the dimpled babes (I Samuel 15:3); that he did not allow the roses of love and the violets of modesty to be trodden under the brutal feet of lust; that the Hebrew language was written without vowels; that the Bible was composed of many books, written by unknown men; that all translations differed from each other; and that this book had filled the world with agony and crime.


Calling Things by Their Right Name 

"As long as people believed in the miraculous inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, of course they accepted every page as literally true, and thought that there could not be any contradiction between the different accounts or representations of Scripture.  The worst of all such pre-conceived ideas is, that they compel those who hold them to do violence to their own sense of truth.  When so-called religious prejudices come into play, people are afraid to call things by their right names, and without knowing it themselves, become guilty of all kinds of evasive and arbitrary practices; for what would be thought quite unjustifiable in any other case is here considered a duty, inasmuch as it is supposed to tend toward the maintenance of faith and the glory of God!" --T.W. Doane, "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions."

Did God Really Inspire the Prophets to Include This in His Bible?

Deuteronomy 25:11-12

 11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

If the unchangeable God approved of this practice then, wouldn't He approve of it now?



The table below contains links to commentaries by the creator of this website.


False Prophecy
Triumphal Entry   
Virgin Birth
Bethlehem Birth
Herod Prophecy
Potter's Field
The Nazarene
Jesus' Sword

Jacob's Branches
Stilled Sun
Risen Saints
Tax Census
Herod Murders
Walk on Water
Yahweh's Quail

Number Errors
Crucifixion Hour
Forty Days
Babylon Census
David's Census
Solomon's Stalls
Value of Pi

Jesus Said
Peter's Denials
I'll Be Back
Three Days/Nights
Honor Thy Parents
Jesus' Parables
Jesus Curses Fig Tree

Not Glory of God
May Not Teach

Bad Science
Flat Earth
Three Hours of Darkness
Visiting the Tomb
Mary and Jesus
Judas' Death
Seeing God
Disciples Staves
Moral Guide
Mark's Error
Feedings Parallels
Wicked Tenant Parable
Lucifer and Satan
Apostle Martyrs
Dying for a Lie?
What Did Paul Know?


Strobel's Case for Christ 
Who Wrote Luke? 
Legend Development
Sleeping Disciples 
Was Jesus a Carpenter?
Crucifixion Hour  
Jesus Stills Storm  
David and Jesus  
Jesus Walks on Water
Loaves and Fishes

Mark's Wicked Tenants 
Matthew Eyewitness?  
Fatigue in Synoptics?
Did the Serpent Have Legs?
Man or Beast First?
Two Flood Stories
Noah Nonsense
Light Before Sun
First Rainbow

Love Thy Enemy?
Trinity Forgery
Jesus Names Simon
Man's Fate

Exclude Gentiles
Is Jesus God?
Is Jesus Jehovah?
God Tests Man
A Forgiving Jesus?

Prophetic Pattern
Two Weeks
Mary Davidic?

Ten Plagues

The table below is a directory of miscellaneous resources.

Bible Keeper
Compare Translations
Gateway Bible
Greek Bible
Bible in Greek/Hebrew
New English Translation
New Amer. Bible
Unbound Bible
Virtual Bibles List
Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Atheist Papers

Theology Web

Skeptics Dictionary
Jehovahs Witness Forum
Errancy II
Ontario Skeptics
Canadian Skeptics

Eugenie Scott: Debates
Logical Fallacies
Illogical Questions
Pascal's Wager
Markan Discussion
Academic EList
XTalk Archives
Synoptic Archives
Greek NT
Learning NT Greek
NT Greek Lexicon
Greek Lessons
Bible History
Secular Web Library
Skeptics Dictionary
Bible History
The World Religions

Jour. Bib. Studies
Till's Skeptical Review

Existence of God

Debating Religion


Kissing Hank's Ass

Bible Pictures  
Illustrated Story of Jesus
Bible Pictures

Art Concordance
Artist Index

Jesus Puzzle
Jesus Myth Discussion
Jesus Birth Date
Ancient Jesus Accounts
Christ Fiction (Price)
Fact and Fiction
Gospel Dates (Kirby)
Resurrection (Singer)
Resurrection Debate
Josephus (Scott Oser)
Josephus (Excellent)
Jesus Character
Roman Emperors

Beyond Born Again.
List of Saviors
Archeology and the Bible
List of Deities
Kiss Hank's Ass
Bible Codes 1
Bible Codes 2
Slavery and the Bible
Christian Answers
The Chicago Statement

Scientology Cult
Bible/Koran and Science
Perseus Project


Cliff Pickover

The Mind Virus

Pylos Evidence?
Greek Myth Encycloped
Myth, Folklore, Legend
Classic Literature
Babylonian Glossary

Speckled Bands
Has Ark Been Found?
Ark Find Debunked
Flood Story (Mark Isaak)
McDowell's (Lowder)
Contradictions (Drange)
A List (Merritt)
Problems (Morgan)
Hoax or Hope
Resurrection (Lowder)

Scientology Cult

The Skeptical Inquirer
God's Word (Wheless)
Forgery (Wheless)
Robert Green Ingersoll
Secular Web
Ontario Skeptics
Canadian Skeptics



Abortion in the Bible
Why Abortion is Moral

Vietnam Stories
Prayer and

Efficacy of Prayer
Religion and Health

Bible Origin
Who Wrote the Bible?
Gospel Parallels 
Synoptic Problem
Homer or Not Homer?
Bible Origins
Homer-Mark (Carrier)

Church Documents
Catholic Encyclopedia
Former Believers
I Quit (Runyon)
Robert Price
Mormon Stories
Religion and Violence
Rise from Christianity  
Escaping Mormonism

Was He a Christian?

The Apostles
Apostles Martyrs? 



The Uncreated Creator

"If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause." --Bertrand Russell



The Origin of the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy 

Augustine (354-430) was one of the founders of the Roman Catholic Church.  He well understood that Christianity was like a house of cards; if the church dared to admit to even a single error in the Bible, who could say there wasn't an error on every page? The resurrection story might then be false and everyone's hopes are in vain.  This is what he said:

"The most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books....If you [even] once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement, there will not be left a single sentence of those books, which, if appearing to anyone difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away as a statement, in which intentionally, the author declared what was not true."
--St. Augustine in Epistula, p. 28.


"There is no prophecy in the OT foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ. There is not one word in the OT referring to him in any way--not one word. The only way to prove this is to take your Bible, and wherever you find these words; "That it might be fulfilled" and "which was spoken" turn to the OT and find what was written, and you will see that it had not the slightest possible reference to the thing recounted in the NT--not the slightest."
 -- Robert Green Ingersoll

"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." -- Isaac Asimov 

"Whoever will take the trouble to read attentively, will find in all those passages where the OT is cited, only an obvious abuse of words, and the seal of falsehood on almost every page." -- Voltaire


"Reasons to Doubt the Divinity of the Bible" (Robert Green Ingersoll)

If a revelation from God was actually necessary to the happiness of man here and to his salvation hereafter, it is not easy to see why such revelation was not given to all the nations of the earth. Why were the millions of Asia, Egypt, and America left to the insufficient light of nature. Why was not a written, or what is still better, printed revelation given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? And why were the Jews themselves without a Bible until the days of Ezra the scribe? Why was nature not so made that it would give light enough? Why did God make men and leave them in darkness -- a darkness that he knew would fill the world with want and crime, and crowd with damned souls the dungeons of hell? Were the Jews the only people who needed a revelation? It may be said that God had no time to waste with other nations, and gave the Bible to the Jews that other nations through them might learn of his existence and his will. If he wished other nations to be informed, and revealed himself to but one, why did he not choose a people that mingled with others? Why did he give the message to those who had no commerce, who were obscure and unknown, and who regarded other nations with the hatred born of bigotry and weakness? What would we now think of a God who made his will known to the South Sea Islanders for the benefit of the civilized world? If it was of such vast importance for man to know that there is a God, why did not God make himself known? This fact could have been revealed by an infinite being instantly to all, and there certainly was no necessity of telling it alone to the Jews, and allowing millions for thousands of years to die in utter ignorance.

Twenty-first The Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, Tartars, Africans, Eskimo, Persians, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Polynesians, and many other peoples, are substantially ignorant of the Bible. All the Bible societies of the world have produced only about one hundred and twenty millions of Bibles, and there are about fourteen hundred million people. There are hundreds of languages and tongues in which no Bible has yet been printed. Why did God allow, and why does he still allow, a vast majority of his children to remain in ignorance of his will?

If the Bible is the foundation of all civilization, of all just ideas of right and wrong, of our duties to God and each other, why did God not give to each nation at least one copy to start with? He must have known that no nation could get along successfully without a Bible, and he also knew that man could not make one for himself. Why, then, were not the books furnished? He must have known that the light of nature was not sufficient to reveal the scheme of the atonement, the necessity of baptism, the immaculate conception, transubstantiation, the arithmetic of the Trinity, or the resurrection of the dead.

It is probably safe to say that not one-third of the inhabitants of this world ever heard of the Bible, and not one- tenth ever read it. It is also safe to say that no two persons who ever read it agreed as to its meaning, and it is not likely that even one person has ever understood it. Nothing is more needed at the present time than an inspired translator. Then we shall need an inspired commentator, and the translation and the commentary should be written in an inspired universal language, incapable of change, and then the whole world should be inspired to understand this language precisely the same. Until these things are accomplished, all written revelations from God will fill the world with contending sects, contradictory creeds and opinions.

Why should a man, because he has done a bad action, go and kill a sheep? How can man make friends with God by cutting the throats of bullocks and goats? Why should God delight in the shedding of blood? Why should he want his altar sprinkled with blood, and the horns of his altar tipped with blood, and his priests covered with blood? Why should burning flesh be a sweet savor in the nostrils of God? Why did he compel his priests to be butchers, cutters and stabbers? Why should the same God kill a man for eating the fat of an ox, a sheep, or a goat?

Is it not wonderful that the creator of all worlds, infinite in power and wisdom, could not hold his own against the gods of wood and stone? Is it not strange that after he had appeared to his chosen people, delivered them from slavery, fed them by miracles, opened the sea for a path, led them by cloud and fire, and overthrown their pursuers, they still preferred a calf of their own making? Is it not beyond belief that this God, by statutes and commandments, by punishments and penalties, by rewards and promises, by wonders and plagues, by earthquakes and pestilence, could not in the least civilize the Jews -- could not get them beyond a point where they deserved killing? What shall we think of a God who gave his entire time for forty years to the work of converting three millions of people, and succeeded in getting only two men, and not a single woman, decent enough to enter the promised land? Was there ever in the history of man so detestable an administration of public affairs?


Shattering the Sacred Myths
Click this link to read book.

This is an online book that examines the conflict between science and religion and dispels the myths and superstitions that have long been used as an excuse for political and religious extremism.

Features: An easy-to-read explanation of natural evolution. Unravels the true stories behind the formation of the traditional religions. Explores how democracy rose out of the violent struggle for wealth and power. Explains why modern democratic values must continue to replace traditional religious moral values. Contemplates the existence of the universe and questions whether consciousness has any kind of cosmic purpose.


Proofs of God's Existence

Click this link to see hundreds of "proofs" of God's existence.

The links below are to various topics on the website,  Religious Tolerance:

Beliefs About the Resurrection
The Hebrew Scriptures  
Stories in the Hebrew Scriptures 
The Christian Scriptures  
How Christians interpret the Bible
Is the Bible inerrant?
Were the Bible's authors inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Bible versions
Tools for searching the Bible
Downloadable copies of the Bible and other Christian material  

Referring to Copernicus's theory that the sun was the center of the solar system, Martin Luther exclaimed, "This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth. ”  (Tischreden, 1743, Vol. 22, page 2260.)

Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit attrocities -- Voltaire

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that
asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
(1 Peter 3:15)

Justification offered by Jehovah's Witnesses for persecuting those who've been baptized and then abandoned their faith:  

"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6)

"I contend that we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why
you dismiss all other possible gods, then you will know why I dismiss yours."  (Stephen F. Roberts)

"The Allwise Creator hath been dishonored by being made the author of fable and the human mind degraded
by believing it."--Thomas Paine

"You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say we are the ones that need help?"--Mark Twain

"Test everything. Hold on to the good." 
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)

"[M]ost of what we currently hold sacred is not sacred for any reason other than that it was thought sacred yesterday."
--Sam Harris, "The End of Faith."


Josephus wrote of challenges to Roman authority, but not about the one led by Jesus and his followers:

Prophetic movements:  Theudas (Acts 5:36; Josephus's,.Antiquities of the Jews, 2.259).
Movements of resistance against the Roman occupiers: Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37; Josephus: 17.271-2)
Simon (Ant. 17:273-6)
Athronges (Jos., Ant. 17.278-84)

Check authenticity of the "Letter" to Roman Senate from Herod Antipas:
 It's bogus.  See Archko Volume fakery articles.

Α, α: alpha
a, father, bat

Η, η: eta
long e, hey

Ν, ν: nu
n, noo

Τ, τ: tau

Β, β: beta,
b, vino or bino

Θ, θ: theta
th, thin

Ξ, ξ: xi
ks, kuh-see

Υ, υ: upsilon
u, ü, ooh

Γ, γ: gamma
g, google    

Ι, ι: iota
i, machine, bit

Ο, ο: omicron
short o, rot

Φ, φ: phi

Δ, δ: delta
d, thus

Κ, κ: kappa

Π, π: pi

Χ, χ: chi
ch, loch, say key

Ε, ε: epsilon
short e, echo

Λ, λ: lambda

Ρ, ρ: rho

Ψ, ψ: psi

Ζ, ζ: zeta
z, zulu

Μ, μ: mu
m, mew

Σ, σ, s: sigma

Ω, ω: omega
long o, rote

               Joseph Francis Alward