Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


THE APOCRYPHA SHOULD NOT BE IN BIBLE

A religion that is not man-made needs clear scriptures that were written by God in some real way.

When the Catholic Church found that many of her most important doctrines were not in the Bible instead of rejecting them she decided to resort to fraud to force the Bible to teach them. She put books in the Bible that did not belong in it and claimed her famous infallibility backed her up! The books in question comprise what Protestants call the Apocrypha.

The Protestant Bible is shorter than the Roman Catholic one.  Following the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church elevated the dubious books of the Apocrypha to being part of the Bible.  They became known as the deuterocanonical books meaning that their divine inspiration just took longer to recognise than the the books that comprise the Protestant Bible.  Protestantism still argues that the Bible is in fact only 66 books. 

So should the Apocrypha be in the Bible?  Well the Bible should not be in the Bible but anyway let us proceed.

Tobit says that God sent an angel, Raphael, to tell lies. Elsewhere in the Old Testament it is said that God always tells the truth (Numbers 23:19). Rome might say that when the Bible forbids all deception it only means all deception that is immoral. But when God’s motives and schemes are mysteries to us how can we be sure when he is telling the truth? God has to condemn all lies to be believable. God through Paul his prophet forbade all lies in order that Christianity would be credible (Romans 3:7,8).

Tobit says that Tobit was around in 931 BC, the year of the revolt of Jeroboam. Though it says that he lived to be 158 it forgets this and has him still alive during the Assyrian Captivity (722 BC) though there were 209 years between the events!

Tobit contains a recipe for getting rid of a demon by raising a bad stench.  This reeks of magic.  The absurdity of the story and its occultism are both scandalous.

Some Catholic scholars say that Tobit is just a novel written by God. It is not history. But the book nowhere supports this notion. If it is a novel the gospels could be novels too. The fact that two gospels, Luke and John, say they were written so that we may believe would mean nothing for many fiction and semi-fiction works use this device too. To accept Tobit as an inspired fairy-tale is to leave the Christian faith for Christian faith depends on trust in the gospels. The Catholics argue that the books must be infallible for the Church says so and that if it is infallible the absurdities in it were never meant to be taken as true. But then God wrote a book that is not much use. Now could it have a message for anyone when nobody can tell where it is tongue-in-cheek or not? God is not the author of Tobit.

Tobit has different versions - it cannot be the word of God when we don't know which version God wrote!  The book only fuels those who think the Bible has been bastardised.

The Book of Wisdom claims that God did not make death and does not rejoice in the destruction of the living (1:13). His making all things is alleged to prove this. If God makes all things then he made death. But maybe the verse means that death is our fault and not God’s. This is still ridiculous for God does not have to punish that way. Lots of so-called sinners live on. God must like killing when he does it without need.

The Book of Wisdom is believed to suggest that it is not Adam's sin that causes the mess in the world but Cain's.  It is clear that Adam really was the first-formed man according to this book so any suggestion that the Catholic Bible fits science is just a lie.  The Churches used to say that Genesis spoke of Adam's creation as being from the dust and deny it necessarily means dust was turned into Adam there and then.  They argue that Adam could have been made indirectly from dust in the sense that life evolved from the dirt.  They argue that evolution is not definitely contradicted.  But it is obvious that Genesis is full of magic or miracles if you like so when it says Adam was made from dust it means direct making. There is no reason to think the idea of man evolving from animals would even have occurred to its author.

Here is the relevant text from Wisdom “Wisdom protected the first-formed father [Adam] of the world, when he alone had been created; she delivered him from his transgression and gave him strength to rule all things. But when an unrighteous man [Cain] departed from her [Wisdom] in his anger, he perished because in rage he killed his brother [Abel]. When the earth was flooded because of him, Wisdom again saved it, steering the righteous man [Noah] by a paltry piece of wood” (10:1–4). 

It says that Adam's sin was forgiven and fixed and Adam thus was a saint.  This is a denial of the Catholic doctrine that Adam's sin destroyed us and called for a saviour Jesus to redeem us from it.  It is even a denial of the Genesis assertion that far from ruling Adam was thrown out of Paradise.  The text links global evil and suffering to Cain's sin not Adam's.

The Wisdom text might or might not be saying that Adam sinned when there was no Eve around.  It can be read as saying he sinned when he was literally alone or it may mean that Eve was there but he was still the only man.

Trent Horn feels that Matthew 27:43 has the Jewish priests mocking Jesus with a verse that fits Wisdom 2:18 more than Psalm 22:8 which is similar.  The priests use a version mocking Jesus as son of God.  The Wisdom verse mentions Son of God but this is absent from Psalm 22:8.  

HISTORY MAKES APOCRYPHA UNCANONICAL

History says that the Jewish Bible books which the Catholic Church has but which the Protestants and Jews have rejected and which the Eastern Orthodox Church regards just as good reading but not fully scripture should not be in the Bible. A good refutation of the claims the Catholic Church makes for the Apocrypha exists in chapter 3, The Canon, in the book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1.

Catholics have forty-six Old Testament books and Protestants have thirty-nine.

Rome calls the extra books the deuterocanonical books. Deutero comes from the word for second. The Church means that these books were the second or the last to be accepted as from God.

The fact that they bear this name proves that they are not divine. God’s word is supposed to direct what we do and think and how is it supposed to do that if we have problems in finding out what God’s word is? And especially when the Church took longer with them than the rest of the Bible! It is like men deciding what God has said instead of allowing God to speak for himself.

Protestants call the books the pseudographa, meaning false writings. That is exactly what they are.

Some parts of the New Testament were plagiarised from the Apocrypha but the important thing is that none of the Apocryphal books were quoted as having any authority and were never used to establish any doctrine.

Rome added books which the Jews did not recognise as scripture to the Old Testament - books which seem to advocate praying to saints, salvation by works and praying for the dead in the fourth century. The books are, Tobit, Judith, the Additions to Esther, One and Two Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and the Additions to Daniel. These books were not included into the canon of scripture in the strongest way until the Council of Trent got round to it in 1546, on April 8th, to be exact. Then it finally, and supposedly infallibly, declared what books were in the Bible. It is not a good sign when a cult takes over several centuries to properly and finally decide which books are to be assigned a scriptural status. You can’t have a legitimate authority without fully authorised scriptures. Jesus declared that he was to be our teacher and the Church was, strictly speaking, not, being merely his instrument (Matthew 23). This is impossible unless you are made as sure as possible just what is Jesus’ word from the start.
Even if something is the message of Jesus and you depend on human authority to recognise it as such you are following human authority and not Jesus for the basis is not Jesus. Another bad sign is that though the Catholic Church was massive, only five cardinals and about forty bishops made the decision though it was one of such importance they should have waited until they could have got a bigger number together (page 20, But the Bible Does Not Say So). If that could be acceptable, then what is to stop some future pope convening ecumenical councils with just two carefully selected bishops or cardinals in them so that he can get them to make whatever dogmas he wants? It is the word of man not God that the Catholic list of Bible books is indeed the list of books that God wrote.

The Church accepted all the disputed books of the Apocrypha as the word of God except three which were arbitrarily excluded. The omitted works were the Prayer of Manasseh and the First and Second Esdras. But these books had just as much right to be in. The Prayer was a particularly strange omission and and omission that smacks of arbitrariness.

Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and Augustine were some early Christians who considered the books to be infallible scripture. But many others opposed this stance, notably St Jerome (347-419 AD), Cyril of Jerusalem, Melito, Bishop of Sardis and Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria. The Jews held the council of Jamnia about 90 CE and it rejected the books as scripture. Nobody can claim that they were regarded by the whole Church as infallible from the beginning. Though some of the books seem to have influenced the New Testament in its teachings and wording that does not mean that the earliest Church regarded them as inspired or that Jesus did.

St Jerome, the Church Father who was famous for producing the Vulgate translation of the Bible and his pretensions to Bible scholarship, did not believe in the inspiration of the Apocrypha. Jerome said the Maccabee books were full of fables for they said that Antiochus Epiphanes died of a broken heart and then it forgets this and says the priests stoned him to death and then it forgets both these and has him dying of a disease that rotted his insides (page 21, But the Bible Does Not Say So). He said that the Church of his day used the books of the Apocrypha as spiritual reading but that they were definitely not scripture (page 21, ibid).

The Jews of Palestine had their Hebrew Old Testament which did not have the books. The Egyptian Jews had the books in their Bible and disagreed with the former that they were uninspired. One would expect the former to be the ones to follow when they lived in God’s holy land which had been given to them and was meant to be a theocracy and resisted the liberalism of their Egyptian brothers.

The Jews of Palestine did not like the books for they were late in composition and all of them were forgeries. They knew and should know better when they lived where the books allegedly came from.

Josephus said the Jewish scriptures were no more than 22 books which left the Apocrypha out in the cold. Philo of Alexandria never quoted the Apocrypha’s books as scripture (page 35, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1).

Jesus said in Matthew 23 that he sent prophets to Israel from Abel, son of Adam in Genesis, to Zechariah, who is supposed to be the one who wrote the Bible book. Many take this as a hint that only the books which are the Jewish Bible from Genesis to Zechariah which rules out the Apocrypha are prophetic or scripture. Others disagree. They say in one arrangement of the list of books in the Jewish Bible or the Old Testament Abel was the first martyr mentioned and Zechariah was the last having being spoken of 2 Chronicles 24:21 which was at the end. They say the reference to Zechariah, the last martyr, means the last martyr in the way the Jewish Bible listed the books with at the end so he was the last mentioned in that order of books (page 31, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1). If so, then Jesus cannot be taken as excluding the Apocrypha. But it is not so. Jesus hated Jewish tradition intensely because it was made the word of God and it wasn’t and it complicated things and served only as a distraction from the word of God. He wouldn’t have treated the list with any sacredness. It was only a human arrangement. If the Jews had a shorter Bible than they should have had, he would have insisted that they include the missing books, perhaps the Apocrypha ones. But he never criticised their list so he wanted the Apocrypha kept out of the canon.

The oldest Christian list of Old Testament books was that made up after Melito, Bishop of Sardis, did his research and interviewed many Churches in 170 AD. Curiously, he left out some of the books included by the Jews but the Apocrypha was definitely excluded from the canon (page 32, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1).

William Webster has an excellent response to Roman Catholic lies and errors about the canon of the Bible called, Why the Roman Catholic Arguments for the Canon are Spurious?, on the Internet.

He rejects the Catholic claim that the Councils of Carthage and Hippo which made the canon made it for the whole Church. This point refutes the Catholic boast that the “Catholic Church made the Bible and if the Bible is infallible so is the Church”. Another reason, not touched on by Webster, is that neither of these Councils were reliable as we will see later and so had no supernatural power to divine the canon. And yet another reason is, that neither council was an infallible or ecumenical council of which there have been twenty-one in the Roman Church so even the Roman Catholic Church holds that Carthage and Hippo could change their decision or a later council could for there was nothing irrevocable about its decrees. Several important Fathers of the Church to name a few, Origen, Melito of Sardis, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great and Jerome, all believed that Carthage and Hippo were wrong and that these councils had no authority over them or their ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

The New Catholic Encyclopaedia confesses that the canon of scripture was not finally and infallibly and irrevocably set for the whole Church until the Council of Trent and that was April, 1546! It even confesses that Pope Gregory the Great rejected the Apocrypha which Trent added to the Bible.

The Roman claim that the Jews of Alexandria accepted the Apocrypha when they had them in the Septuagint is untrue for that only proves the writings were respected but not necessarily equal to scripture. Manuscripts contain the Third Book of Maccabees which nobody ever considered to be scripture. Trent contradicted Hippo and Carthage as well. It rejected what was called 1 Esdras and accepted as scripture by Hippo and Carthage. Hippo and Carthage were careless too. They declared that Solomon wrote five of the Old Testament books but in fact tradition says he wrote only three. Webster believes that the early Church used the word canonical in two senses, one was in the sense of fully inerrant and infallible scripture and the other was in important writings that are close to scripture and to be read and studied but which are not scripture. This view to me would open up the possibility of perhaps doing what I once thought could be done, regarding only a few books of the Bible as inspired. I once chose Mark and 1 Peter as the only scriptures on the basis that Mark was Peter’s disciple and Peter was the rock of the doctrine of the Church.

Webster tells us the very interesting fact that only a few made the canon, the rule listing what books God wrote and which belong in the Bible, at Trent and not one of them had sufficient training in the tradition and logic of theology and in the history of the canon to have any ability to decide what should be in the canon. If God cared about the Bible he would have sent a scholar to them to make them think twice. They didn’t have the insights of modern archaeology, historical criticism, textual criticism and so on. All they had was the superstitious and fundamentalist pseudo-scholarship of their times. The farce is evidence as well that Trent had no concern or respect for infallibility and faked it for the Church says that infallibility works only after research of the utmost care. This automatically proves that the Roman Catholic Church has fallen into apostasy. 80% of Catholicism got its infallible sanction at this Council but it only takes one dogmatic error to prove that a council is heretical and has no authority. That puts the Church back where it was before Trent. Its rejection of Protestant heresy, the main reason for convening Trent, be it right or wrong has no infallible backing. When the Bible is so important it is pure blasphemy to say that a small group of men should decide what God has written. Thousands of bishops from all over the world should have been deciding it. And it is even more blasphemous when the men did not research the subject right. Even if tradition and scripture are equal in value scripture has to come first for it is written and is the inspired word of God so tradition though inspired too depends on it to be identified as being from God. The fact that the Church took so long with the scripture canon proves that the Church is a hoax and a shambles.

The Protestant Churches always said Roman Catholicism was not truly a Bible-Believing Church.  This is actually true.  It has added books to the Bible and infallibly declared them to be God's Word.  Then it ignores the teachings of those books!  It lies about them and takes their statements out of context.