God and the Holy Books
If we are certain that the universe was created by an
intelligence (or intelligences), then it is reasonable to ask, "Has that
intelligence communicated with mankind?". The majority in the world believing in
a supreme intelligence do not admit to hearing a voice from such a being and so
verbal communication seems to be ruled out. It seems clear that a written
communication from such a being (or beings) would be the most efficient mode of
communicating since it could be translated into all the languages of mankind and
be consulted at any time. A number of books claim to be the written
communication of God to mankind. What are the possibilities with these books?
Either all of them are from God(s), or none of them, or some of them or one of
them. How do we evaluate them in order to find out? Many of the holy books claim
to be from God but at this point, that is just begging the question. We need
more objective criteria to answer the question.
We have selected the following criteria:
(A) Whoever designed and constructed the universe is certainly aware of its form and operation. Such a being would know that the earth is spherical and that it circles the sun. Whatever chemical, physical and biological facts related to the universe would be known by its Creator. For that reason, we would expect to find scientifically accurate information in any volume coming from the Creator of the universe.
(B) The level of intelligence expressed in the construction of a human body or in the greater universe could certainly author a book that is reasonably consistent. That would be a less demanding task. To that end, we would expect to find that a book from God (Gods) would be consistent with itself and would be logical.
(C) It would be helpful if such a volume contained information that humans living at the time of composition could not have known. Such information would exclude humans as the source and suggest a transcendent mind. Now that we have some tools, let us go to work.
SCIENCE AND HEALTH (Christian Scientist)
The volume entitled Science and Health claims to be inspired by God. It acknowledges that the Bible is inspired by God and suggests that it is in harmony with the Bible. On Page 110, lines 13-24 of Science and Health, we read the following: "In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook. The scriptures were illumed; reason and revelation were reconciled, and afterwards the truth of Christian Science was demonstrated. No human pen nor tongue taught me the science contained in this book, Science and Health; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it. This book may be distorted by shallow criticism or by careless or malicious students, and its ideas may be temporarily abused and misrepresented; but the science and truth therein will forever remain to be discerned and demonstrated." We will employ our tools to evaluate the claim just quoted.
In Chapter Fourteen of Science and Health, Page 475, lines 6-10 and lines 21-31, we find the following statements: "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones and other material elements. The scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness... Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death. The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin." On Page 476, lines 7-11, declare, "Error will cease to claim that soul is in body, that life and intelligence are in matter, and that this matter is man... Hence man is not mortal nor material." The sciences of biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, medicine and anthropology would all disagree that "man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones and other material elements". They would argue that the empirical evidence proves otherwise. Would the Creator of the universe convey in writing that "man is not mortal nor material"?
Science and Health* claims to be in harmony with the Bible. What does the Bible say about the nature of man? At Genesis 2:7, we find this statement regarding the creation of the first man, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the Ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul". (King James Version) Consider Psalm 103:10,13,14 which says, "He (God) does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities... As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust". (New International Version) And, at Romans 5:12, we find, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned...". (New International Version) What does the Bible say about sickness? The book of Isaiah Chapter 38, verse 1, relates, "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death...". (King James Version). Later at Matthew 4: 23,24, we read, "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him .spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, the epileptics and the paralytics, and he healed them". Clearly, the Bible's position is that man is made of matter, that he sins, that he gets sick and that he dies. Both proven science and the Bible disagree with Science and Health and thus cripple the credibility of Science and Health.
* See Science and Health, Page 110, lines 13-20 and Page 126, lines 29-31.
** See 1 Timothy 5:23; Colossians 4:14; Luke 10:29-34.
BOOK OF MORMON (Mormon)
The first edition of the Book of Mormon was Published in 1830. It claims to be the word of God to man and thus comes under our examination. A companion volume of the Book of Mormon called Doctrine and Covenants, which also purports to be from God makes this claim about the Book of Mormon in Section 19: 24-26, "I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; nor seek thy neighbor's life. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God...". We will reach for our tools in order to evaluate the claim that it is from God.
The Book of Mormon while arguing that the Bible does not contain all of God's written word to mankind acknowledges that the Bible is from God and hence that it is in harmony with it. Consulting 2 Nephi 29:10, we read, "Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words: neither need ye suppose that I (God) have not caused more to be written. Let us see if the Book of Mormon and the Bible are in harmony. It will be a tool in determining the trustworthiness of the Book of Mormon.
Reading 2 Nephi 2:22,23,25, we see, "And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever and had no end, and they would have had no children; wherefore, they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery, doing no good, for they knew no sin... Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." Does the Bible agree with this? In the Bible at Genesis 1:28, we read these words about the creation of the first man and woman, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it...". (King James Version). The Bible shows that God expected and commanded that the first couple have children. Also, since doing God's will is the ulti2ate definition of what is "good", then if Adam and Eve had remained in a state of obedience to God, they would have been "doing... good", even if they had never sinned. This is in conflict with what we read in the Book of Mormon.
On the location of Jesus' birth, we observe this at Alma 7:10, "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, *at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God."
Disagreeing with this, the Bible asserts this at Matthew 2:1, ".. .Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king...". (King James Version) See also Luke 2: 1-7.
* "At" a city means "in" it. See 1 Nephi 1:4,7. Compare Alma 6:1,4 with Alma 7:3,5.
The resurrection sequence is clearly different when comparing the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Note Alma 40: 18, 19 which says, "Behold, I say unto you, nay; but it meaneth the reuniting of the soul with the body, of those from the days of Adam down to the resurrection of Christ. Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; Let it suffice, that I say that all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ." Nov the Bible shows that those who died before Christ came to the earth were still dead in the grave. Speaking of one such individual, David, Acts 3:29 declares, "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day." (King James Version) The book of Acts was written after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While a man on the earth, Jesus said, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man (Christ)." (John 3:13 King James Version)
At Hebrews 11, the Bible lists some of the faithful who died before Christ and states, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises." (verse 13). Then the Christian writer of Hebrews adds, "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (verses 39, 40). During the resurrection Christians, not pre-Christians, are resurrected first, says the Bible at Revelation 20:4-6, which, in part, says, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years... This is the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (See also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.)
In the companion to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 42:18, we find, "And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come." In the Bible, the basis for forgiveness is true repentance, so that if a person did kill, another and truly repented of that action, he would be forgiven. King David of Israel had the Hittite Uriah killed, yet because he later sincerely regretted his action, he was forgiven. (2 Samuel 11:14-17; 2 Samuel 12:12-13) (See also 2 Chronicles 33:1-13. Note Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132:27.)
In Doctrine and Covenants, Section 130:22 are found these words, "The Father (God) has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s...". The Bible disagrees and tells us, "God is a spirit...". (John 4:24) And at Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie...". Furthermore, in referring to God's residence, the Bible declares, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (I Corinthians 15:50 King James Version).
Can the soul die? Note Alma 42:9, which says, "Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord...". The Bible disagrees with this description of the soul. It shows that the soul can die. Consider Revelation 16:3, "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man and every living soul died in the sea." (King James Version) At Ezekiel 18:4, ". . .The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (King James Version) Also Joshua 11:11, "And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Razor with fire." (King James Version)
The Mormon literature fails the test as the foregoing demonstrates. We move forward to the next candidate.
THE KORAN (Muslim)
The Koran, sometimes called the Quran, is the holy book of millions belonging to the religion of Islam. Like the previous two books, the Koran claims that not only is it God's word but that the Bible is also God's word.
Referring to the Hebrew portion of the Bible as the Torah and the Christian Greek portion of the Bible as the Gospel, the Koran relates this at Surah 3:3 (Pickthall version), "He (God) hath revealed unto thee (Mohammad) the scripture with truth (the Koran), confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He (God) revealed the Torah and the Gospel". We will pick up our tools and begin our analysis.
Books from God would be internally consistent reflecting God's high degree of intelligence and self-consistency.
At Surah 3:38-41 (Pickthall translation), we read the following regarding the Biblical priest called Zechariah, "Then Zechariah prayed unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Bestow upon me of thy bounty goodly offspring. Lo! Thou art the hearer of prayer. And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary Allah giveth thee glad tiding of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah, lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous. He said: My Lord! How can I have a son when age hath overtaken me already and my wife is barren? (The angel) answered: So (it will be). Allah doeth what he will. He said: My Lord! Appoint a token for me. (The angel) said: The token unto thee (shall be) that thou shalt not speak unto mankind three days except by signs. Remember thy Lord much, and praise (him) in the early hours of night and morning." (See also Surah 19: 6-10. Pickthall. Translation). The Bible's account differs from the Koran's account. Consider the following passages from the Bible. In the Bible book of Luke, we read, "In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there happened to be a certain priest named Zechariah of the Division of Abijah, and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth... According to the solemn practice of the priestly office, it became his turn to offer incense when he entered into the sanctuary of Jehovah... to him Jehovah's angel appeared, standing at the right side of the incense altar... However, the angel said to him: ‘Have no fear, Zechariah, because your supplication has been favorably heard, and your wife Elizabeth will become mother to a son to you, and you are to call his name John... And Zechariah said to the angel: ‘How am I to be sure of this? For I am aged and my wife is well along in years.' In reply the angel said to him: ‘I am Gabriel, who stands near before God... But, look! You will be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their appointed time... But after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself secluded for five months... The time now became due for Elizabeth to give birth, and she became mother to a son... Then they went asking its father by signs what he wanted it to be called... Instantly his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he began to speak, blessing God". (Luke 1:5,9,11,13,18-20,24,57,62,64 New World Translation) Two differences emerge: The Bible shows that Zechariah was not able to speak for nine months, while the Koran says that Zechariah was not able to speak for three days. Secondly, the Bible shows that Zechariah was made speechless for lack of faith, while the Koran relates that Zechariah was made speechless as a "token" that he would in fact have a son by Elizabeth.
Commenting on the worldwide flood of Noah's day, the Koran says this, "And (the "ship") sailed with them amid waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son - and he was standing aloof - O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers. He said: I shall betake me to some mountain that will save me from the water... And the wave came in between them, so he was among the drowned... And Noah cried unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Lo! My son is of my household!..." (Surah 11:42-45 Pickthall Translation). The Bible disagrees with that account. First, the Bible records that Noah had three sons. At Genesis 6:9, 10, we read, "This is the history of Noah. Noah was a righteous man... In time Noah became father to three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth." Before the massive deluge began we read that "...Noah went in (to the ark), and Shem and Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons, and the wife of Noah and the three wives of his sans with him, into the ark." (Genesis 7:13) After the waters subsided and land appeared, the Bible relates, "And Noah's sons who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth..." (Genesis 9:18) The three sons that Noah sired survived the flood; none of his sons drowned. This contradicts the record found in the Koran.
Speaking of the time when Joseph, son of Jacob, was a slave in the house of an Egyptian named Potiphar, the Koran relates, "And he of Egypt who purchased him said unto his wife: receive (Joseph) honourably. Perchance he may prove useful to us or we may adopt him as a son... And when (Joseph) reached his prime we gave him wisdom and knowledge... And she, in whose house he was, asked of him an evil act. She bolted the doors and said: Comet He said: I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! He is my Lord, who hath treated me honourably. Wrong-doers never prosper. She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord... And they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from behind, and they met her Lord and Master at the door. She said: what shall be his reward, who wisheth evil to thy folk, save prison or a painful doom? (Joseph) said: she it was who asked of me an evil act, and a witness of her own folk testified: if his shirt is torn from before, then she speaketh truth and he is of the liars. And if his shirt is torn from behind, then she hath lied and he is of the truthful. So when he saw his shirt torn from behind, he said: Lo! This is of the guile of you women. Lo! The guile of you is very great. O Joseph! Turn away from this, and thou (O woman), ask forgiveness for thy sin. Lo! Thou art the sinful, and women in the city said: the ruler's wife is asking of her slave-boy an ill deed. Indeed he has smitten her to the heart with love... And when she heard of their sly talk, she sent to them and prepared for them a cushioned couch (to lie on at the feast) and gave to every one of them a knife and said (to Joseph): Come out unto them! And when they saw him, they exalted him and cut their hands, exclaiming: Allah blameless! This is not a human being. This is no other than some gracious angel. She said: this is he on whose account ye blamed me. I asked of him an evil act, but he proved continent, but if he do not my behest he verily shall be imprisoned, and verily shall be of those brought low. He said: O my Lord! Prison is more dear than that unto which they urge me... And it seemed good to them (the men-folk) after they had seen the signs (of his innocence) to imprison him for a time. (Surah 12;2l-35 Pickthall Translation). The Bible disagrees with this account. At Genesis 39, we find, "As for Joseph, he was brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, a court official of Pharoah, the chief of the bodyguard, an Egyptian, got to buy him... Now after these things it came about that the wife of his master began to raise her eyes toward Joseph and say: ‘Lie down with me.' But he would refuse and would say to his master's wife; ‘Here my master does not know what is with me in the house... How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?' ...But it happened that on this day as other days he went into the house to do his business, and there was none of the men of the house there in the house. Then she grabbed hold or him by his garment, saying: ‘Lie down with me!' But he left his garment in her hand and took to flight and went on outside. So it occurred that as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand that he might flee outside, she began to cry out to the men of her house and to say to them: ‘Look! He brought to us a man, a Hebrew, to make us a laughingstock. He came to me to lie down with me, but I began to cry out at the top of my voice. And it followed that as soon as he heard that I raised my voice and began crying out, he then left his garment beside me and took to flight and went outside After that she kept his garment laid up beside her until his master came to his house. Then she spoke to him according to these words, saying: ‘The Hebrew servant whom you have brought to us came to me to make me a laughingstock'... The result was that as soon as his master heard the words of his wife which she spoke to him, saying: ‘Like this and this your servant did to me', his anger blazed. So Joseph's master took him and gave him over to the prison house..." (Genesis 39:1-20 New World Translation) The accounts in the Koran and the Bible are clearly contradictory. Potiphar's reaction, the reason for Joseph's imprisonment and the timing of when Potiphar was given the false report are different. The Koran doesn’t "confirm" the Bible, as it claims. (See Surah 5:44-48 Pickthall Translation).
Reflecting the ancient notion that the sky was literally over the earth and thus could potentially fall upon the earth, notice the words of the Koran at Surah 22:65 (Pickthall Translation), "Hast thou not seen how Allah hath made all that is in the earth subservient unto you? And the ship runneth upon the sea by his command, and he holdeth back the heaven from falling on the earth unless by his leave. Lo! Allah is, for mankind, full of pity, merciful." This view is scientifically in error.
The following raises questions about the claim that the Koran is from God. We move on to the next holy book.
THE UPANISHADS (Hindu)
The *Upanishads constitute the most respected and impressive part of the Hindu sacred literature called The Vedas. The Upanishads purport to be divine revelations to man and hence come under our scrutiny.
Several striking claims are made in "Svetasvatara". Referring to Brahman, the ultimate reality and source of the universe we read, "Changeless thou art, supreme, pure! In thee dwell the Gods. The source of all scriptures thou art... The source of all scriptures thou art, and the source of all creeds." Several paragraphs later, we read, "Of all religions thou art the source. The light of thy knowledge shining, there is nor day or night, nor being nor non-being - thou along art." If Brahman is the single source of "all scripture", "all creeds" and "all religions", then many will instantly see a credibility problem.** The scriptures of the world's great religions present hard, conflicting statements on universal themes. If Brahman is behind all of this, it would mean that Brahman is not certain of what Brahman "speaks". Let's consider one example of conflicting statements in the holy books. Will all created things eventually perish? In the Buddhist Sutta Pitaka, Chapter 10, "The Way", Buddha reportedly said; "All created things perish - he who knows and see this is at peace though in a world of pain; this is the way of purity." Nearly all of the great religions teach in their holy books that humans' souls created by God(s) cannot perish. This contradicts the view stated in the Sutta Pitaka. The section on the Koran cited contradictions between the Bible and the Koran. Before this work is completed we will, see many more.
* Quotations from The Upanishads translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester.
** The view that God or some divine principle is behind all of the world's great religions is taught in the Bahai faith. Baha'ullah wrote: "There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed." (Gleanings From The Writings of Baha'ullah, Page 217.)
Stating what has to be a logical contradiction is this found in "Taitiriya", "Before creation came into existence, Brahman existed as the unmanifest. From the unmanifest he created the manifest. From himself he brought forth himself. Hence he is known as the self-existent." If "from himself he brought forth himself", that means that he was already present as himself to bring forth himself. But if that was true - that he was already present, already "himself" - the act of bringing forth himself means nothing, if it means anything. This is not the kind of logic that one would expect from the God(s).
Another scientific error is reported in Prasna that has to do with the sun. We are told, "Prana, the primal energy is the sun; and Rayi, the form-giving substance, is the moon... The rising sun pervades the east, and fills with energy all beings that here inhabit... Prana is the soul of the universe, assuming all forms; he is the light that animates and illumines all: even as it is written - ‘The wise know him who assumes all forms, who is radiant, who is all-knowing, who is the one that gives light to all.' He rises as the sun of a thousand rays, and abides in infinite places... The sun, the light, is indeed the source of all energy... Prana...thou movest in the sky as the sun, and lord of lights art thou... whatsoever exists in the universe is dependent on thee, O Prana... The sun is the Prana of the universe..." It is certainly not the case that our sun has this exalted relationship to the rest of the material universe. The universe does not depend upon our sun, consequently, our sun is not the soul of the universe. What is reported in The Upanishads is contradicted by the evidences in astronomy and astrophysics. The Creator of the universe would know better than to misstate the relationship of the sun to the rest of the universe.
These are errors that we have identified that are significant enough to move on to our next candidate.
TAO TE CHING (Taoist)
Consisting of eighty-one short poems, the Tao Te Ching* is the sacred literature to Taoists. Reportedly, the Tao Te Ching has been translated more frequently than any other religious book, except the Bible. Like many of the 'holy books', the Tao Te Ching contains useful rules of conduct**; we would expect that from insightful humans. But the question is: Is the Tao Te Ching's ultimate source the being we call God?
Whether living under ideal conditions or nat, when is it ever practical or progressive for the governed masses to be ignorant and to have their ambitions stifled? Would the Creator of the universe ever encourage thinking, reflective humans to whom he communicates to be concerned only with their bellies, their basic needs and little else? Notice this directive to governors of the political state in Tao Te Ching, 3, "The wise man's policy, accordingly, will be to empty people's hearts and minds, to fill their bellies, weaken their ambition, give them sturdy frames and always so, to keep them uninformed, without desire and knowing ones not venturing to act."*** The foregoing does not harmonize with the following, "On hearing of the Way, (the ultimate reality), the best of men will, earnestly explore its length." (Tao Te Ching, 41). Or, "Indeed the wise man's office is to work by being still; he teaches not by speech but by accomplishment; he does for everything, neglecting none...". (Tao Te Ching, 2)
* All quotations are from the translation by Raymond Blakney called "The Way of Life".
** See Tao Te Ching, 27; 63; and 64 for examples.
*** See also Tao Te Ching, 65.
According to the Tao Te Ching, man has thirteen "members" through which death may come. We read, "On leaving life, to enter death: thirteen members form a living body; a corpse has thirteen, too: thirteen spots by which a man may pass from life to death." (Tao Te Ching, 50). Is this scientifically accurate? Consider the following list of body "members" or "spots" and the ways that death can come:
(1) Liver - Cirrhosis
(2) Heart - Acute Coronary Occlusion
(3) Kidney - Kidney Failure
(4) Lungs - Tuberculosis, Drowning
(5) Adrenal Glands - Addison's Disease
(6) Islands of Langerhans - Diabetes Mellitus
(7) Brain - Cancer
(8) Pituitary Gland - Hypophysectomy leads to death
(9) Leg - Moist Gangrene
(10) Nervous System - Tetanus, Psittacosis
(11) Arteries - Aortic Aneurysm
(12) Large Intestine - Chronic Obstruction
(13) Arm - Bite or Laceration introducing agents like Staphylococci
(14) Cellular Level - Dehydration, Freezing
(15) Exocrine Glands - Cystic Fibrosis
More examples could be presented to demonstrate that there are more than
"thirteen spots by which a man may pass from life to death". The Creator of man
would presumably know that and thus not make the mistake of having the error
It may be time to move on to the next candidate.
SACRED WRITINGS OF BUDDHISM (Buddhist)
Buddhist scripture incorporates a variety of written material, not all of which is accepted by the worldwide community of Buddhists. We shall focus on some "core" material and conduct our analysis.
Sutta* 63 of the Majjhima-Nikaya contains a conversation between one, Malunkyaputta, and Buddha. In that conversation, Malunkyaputta raised questions about the world, the soul and what happens after death. These are subjects, it seems, God would not hesitate to address to intelligent beings.
* Quotations from "The Teachings of The Compassionate Buddha", edited by Edwin A. Burtt
Note Buddha's response to these questions, "...And what, Malunkyaputta, have I not explained? I have not explained, Malunkyaputta, that the world is eternal; I have not explained that the world is not eternal; I have not explained that the world is finite; I have not explained that the world is infinite; I have not explained that the soul and body are identical; I have not explained that the soul is one thing and the body another; I have not explained that the saint exists after death; I have not explained that the saint does not exist after death; I have not explained that the saint both exists and does not exist after death; I have not explained that the saint neither exists nor does not exist after death. And why, Malunkyaputta, have I not explained this? Because, Malunkyaputta, this profits not, nor has to do with the fundamentals of religion, nor tends to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, quiescence, the supernatural faculties, supreme wisdom, and nirvana; therefore, have I not explained it." It would seem that God certainly knows whether the world is finite or infinite, and whether or not we mortals will encounter a life after death. Probably most people would agree that the question of whether there is life after death is indeed one of the ‘fundamentals of religion'. Why then were these matters not addressed? Was it Buddha’s ignorance or God's reserve? In the Sutta Pitaka in the section called "Punishment", it is of interest to note these statements attributed to Buddha, "He who, seeking his own happiness, punishes beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death. He who, seeking his own happiness, does not punish beings who also long for happiness, will find happiness after death." In the section called "The Twin Verses", reportedly Buddha declared, "The virtuous man delights in this world, and he delights in the next; he delights in both... The virtuous man is happy in this world, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both...". It appears that these two quotations of Buddha which express an interest in the "next world", "after death", are not in harmony with his conversation with Malunkyaputta which asserts that interest in the next world "profits not, nor has to do with the fundamentals of religion".
Again, in the Sutta Pitaka, in the section called "The Way", we find this interesting comment, "So long as the desire of man toward women, even the smallest, is not destroyed, so long is his mind in bondage, as the calf that drinks milk is to its mother." It would appear based on the anatomical design of men and women that the Creator indeed wanted them to desire each ‘other and come together to form families. Biology indeed demands that man should desire a woman. This directive in the Buddhist sacred literature is at odds with the design pressed into the physiology and anatomy of all normal humans and thus does not seem to be a message from the Creator.
If the writings of the Mahayana Buddhist named Nagarjuna are construed to be Buddhist sacred scripture, new problems present themselves. In the Madhyamika Karikas where Nagarjuna critiques causality, we find the following, "There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none that arise; neither out to themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random... No energies in causes, nor energies outside them. No causes without energies, nor causes that possess them..." The sciences of physics and chemistry are certainly at odds with these views and can provide the hard data to disprove them.
One more very relevant point must be made: If the Creator was the spirit behind the Buddhist sacred writings, he does not say much, if anything, about himself and he did not construct the material in a manner that says ‘Here is a communication from your Creator'. It reads more like ‘Here is a communication from a fellow human, from the man Buddha'. Maybe that is how we should regard it.
Let us move on.
Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was an ancient Persian priest that founded the Zorastrian faith. That faith subscribes to the Avesta as divine literature. The Avesta is our next candidate.
In Yasna 44, Stanza 4, Zoroaster queries, "This I. ask thee, 0 Lord, answer me truly: who set the earth in its place below, and the sky of the clouds, that it shall not fall?...". We encounter again a false view of the universe reflective of the times. Although one can possibly justify the relative view that the earth is "below", there is no justification for the suggestion that the sky with its clouds could "fall". The Creator of the universe would be aware of that fact and consequently would not be inclined to mistake himself on this.
The Avesta reveals a God who encourages the worship and deification of the sun, moon and stars - in short, the worship of nature. The question can be legitimately raised: Would the Creator of the cosmos be inclined to have his intelligent creation worshiping non-intelligent masses orbiting in space? Does that seem like a rational activity? Mah Yast*, Stanza IX, relates, "I shall sacrifice unto the moon... the water giving.., the warmth-giving... the Healing One - The Moon!" The foregoing not only makes the point about veneration of the moon but also raises a question of scientific accuracy: Does the moon give water, warmth and provide healing? A similar scientific error is found at Mah Yast, Stanza VII, which declares, "When the light of the moon waxeth warmer golden hued plants grow up from the earth during spring."
* The Zend Avesta of Zarathustra by Edmond S. Bordeaux.
To ancient man, the stars over the ocean seemed to gradually disappear into the ocean. To say that they appeared to go into the ocean is one thing but to say that they actually went into the ocean is another. The former is scientifically permissible to say but the latter is not. Note the following:
"Then do, the bright and glorious stars go back down to the sea. He (Ahura Mazda, God) maketh the sea to boil up and down; he maketh the sea to stream this way and that. And the bright and glorious stars rise up from the sea. Tir Yast, Stanza XI. Adding to this we read, "We invoke the bright and glorious stars, that from the shining East move along their winding course, along the path made by the gods, along the way appointed for them the watering way, at the will of Ahura Mazda...". (Tir Yast, Stanza XIV)
Ahura Mazda (Ormazd) is the benevolent God of Zoroastranism. He is represented by the sun. At Khorshed Yast, Stanza VII, we find, "He rejoiceth all the heavenly and the earthly forces who offereth up a sacrifice unto the immortal, shining swiftsteeded Sun." And at Visparad XIX, Stanza III, "And we do sacrifice to the shining Sun, which is the highest of the high; yea, we worship the Sun...". The worship of the creation, the sun, is reminiscent of primitive man looking for the Creator and worshiping him through the objects he made rather than turning to Him, an actual if not a seeming distortion of the fact. It is appropriate now to consider our next candidate.
SACRED WRITINGS OF THE BAHAI (Bahai's)
In the late 1800's in Iran, a man appeared on the scene named Baha-ullah. The religious movement he founded became known as the Bahai. Baha-ullah thought that all of the founders of the world's great religions, and thus their holy books, were from the one God. Re argued that he was a special messenger of God. Consequently, all the holy books of these religions and the sayings of Baha-ullah are considered from God. In Gleanings From the Writings of Baha-ullah*, Page 9, Baha-ullah said, "Behold how the divers peoples and kindreds of the earth have been waiting for the coming of the Promised One (Baha-ullah). No sooner had Re who is the Son of Truth, been made manifest than lo, all turned away from Him except whom God was pleased to guide...". With respect to the founders of the other great religions called "Manifestations of God", Baha-ullah cautioned, "Beware, O believers, in the unity of Gad, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of this Cause... Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His will and purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed disbelieved in God, hath repudiated his signs, and betrayed the Cause of His Messengers.". (Pages 59 and 60, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha-ullah).
* Translated by Shoghi Effendi
The discouragement against any analysis of the "holy books" may be well intended, an appeal to unity and peace. But the reality, as we have already seen in the previous sections, is that there are differences in the holy books - differences that made a difference. It is not reasonable to assume that those significant differences came from the same Being, the same God and Creator.
THE KOJIKI AND THE NIHONGI (Shintoist)
We have moved on to consider the Kojiki and the Nihongi, the sacred scripture of Shintoism.
According to the Kojiki, two ancient deities produced a pantheon of deities in the heavens. The description of that product is somewhat incredible, even vulgar. So much so that it casts a cloud of credibility over the Kojiki. Give some thought to these words from Kojiki, Sections VI-X, "When they had finished giving birth to countries, they began afresh giving birth to Deities... Next (after many deities have been born), they gave birth to the Fire-Burning-Swift-Male-Deity... Through giving birth to this child her august private parts were burnt, and she sickened and lay down. The names of the Deities born from her vomit were the Deity Metal-Mountain-Prince and Metal-Mountain-Princess. The names of the Deities that were born from her feces were Clay-Viscid-Prince and Clay-Viscid-Princess. The Deities that were born from her urine were Mitsuhanome and the Young-Wondrous-Producing-Deity...". The very nature of things would identify creative beings or forces with matters of dignity and cleanness, certainly not with urine, feces and vomit.
In discussing the origin of food and silkworms, a similar description of events unfolds in Kojiki, Section XVII, "...Then the Princess-of-Great-Food took out all sorts of dainty things from her nose, her mouth and her fundament and made them up into all sorts of dishes which he offered him. But Susa no Wa watched her proceedings, considered that she was offering him filth, and at once killed her. So the things that were born in the body of the Deity who had been killed were: in her head were born silkworms, in her two eyes were born rice seeds, in her two ears was born millet, in her nose were born small beans, in her private parts was born barley, in her fundament were born large beans. So His Augustness the Deity-Producing-Wondrous-Ancestor caused them to be taken and used as seeds."
Once more we are introduced to the view that the earth somehow upholds or supports the heavens, the sky. In Nihongi, Book XXII, we are told, "When you receive the Imperial commands, fail not scrupulously to obey them. The lord is Heaven, the vassal is Earth. Heaven overspreads and Earth upbears. When this is so, the four seasons follow their due course, and the powers of Nature obtain their efficacy. If the Earth attempted to overspread, Heaven would simply fall in ruin. Therefore, is it that when the lord speaks, the vassal listens, when the superior acts, the inferior yields compliance. Consequently when you receive the Imperial commands, fail not to carry them out scrupulously. Let there be a want of care in this matter, and ruin is the natural consequence." The message is clear: just as a subordinate public supports an authority so the earth supports heaven; if the public compliance is not forthcoming, "ruin is the natural consequence", and if the earth does not support heaven "ruin is the natural consequence" and it "would simply fall in ruin". The former may be a political verity but the latter is a scientific error, a reflection of human ignorance. God would know better.
We now will look at another contender.
SACRED WRITINGS OF JAINISM (Jain)
For centuries the Jainist community has been located primarily in India. It still is but more and more Jams are filtering out to other areas of the world. A number of books make up the sacred literature of the Jams and they are the 12 Angas, the 12 Upangas, the 10 Painnas, the 6 Cheya-Suttas and the 4 Mula-Suttas. Here we are introduced to a religion that maintains that the universe has always existed and hence has no creator. Yes, there are gods but salvation does not come so much from their assistance as from the individual's own efforts and good works. The needed instructions for the best life are reportedly found in the Jainist sacred literature. We need to apply our testing instruments to the sacred writings of the Jains*.
Because of a high regard for life, Jainist monks are instructed, "Suffering from insects, a great sage remains undisturbed... He should not scare away (insects), nor keep them off, nor be in the least provoked to passion by them. Tolerate living beings, do not kill them, though they eat your flesh and blood." (Uttaradhyayana, Lecture II) Now from a medical point of view, it seems clear that this could be considered dangerous counsel. Some insects transmit microbes that can be lethal. What about "living beings" like dogs and sharks that may wish to eat our flesh and blood? Also, do we not have here a moral contradiction: if it is wrong for humans to kill animals under any circumstances, why is it wrong to try to prevent such creatures from killing humans? Killing life, after all, is killing life, whether animal or human.
* Quotes from The Sacred Books of the East, Volume XLV, 1895, Clarendon Press.
An uncomplimentary view of women is found in Jainist literature. In Uttaradhyayana, Lecture II, "A wise man who knows that women are a slough, as it were will get no harm from them, but will wander about searching for the Self." Again, at Uttaradhyayana, Lecture XIII, "Do not desire (women) those female demons, on whose breasts grow two bumps of flesh, who continually change their minds, who entice men, and then make a sport of them as slaves." Does not the very nature of things dictate that man and woman are biologically designed to complement each other? If that is, "the very nature of things", then it would obviously be appropriate for them to be together as partners. There are no grounds in biology for looking at women as "sloughs" or "female demons".
Speaking of biology, let's examine this message in Uttaradhyayana, Lecture XXXVI, "The animals which possess five organs of sense are of two kinds these which originate by generation aequivoca (those that grow by assimilating the material in their surroundings) and those which are born from the womb." Later, in the same Lecture, "Men are of two kinds.., men originating by generation aequivoca and men born from the womb." Science does not admit to knowing two kinds of men, one of which originates from what amounts to spontaneous generation "by assimilating material in their surroundings". And, where are the animals having five sense organs that originate by "generation aequivoca"?
In Sutra Kritanga, Book One, Lecture VII, we find these instructions, "He who lights a fire kills living beings; he who extinguishes it kills the fire, therefore a wise man should light no fire." Now, if we assume that "killing" fire is equivalent to killing living beings, then our knowledge of fire science tells us that fire is not alive to be killed.
Jainist sacred scripture has credibility problems. We move on to our next candidate.
THE HOLY BIBLE
The Bible claims to be the Word of God. In fact, in it we find the following statement about its contents, "All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness that the man of Gad may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Judaism accepts the first 39 books of the Bible as of divine origin while Christianity accepts a larger canon which includes an additional 27 books. On that basis, we will consider both sections separately.
First, we will look at the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, the so-called "Old Testament". Unlike the other holy books that we have considered, we find scientific statements in this portion of the Bible that do not reflect the views of the time of writing. They are, in fact, what might be called "scientific anticipations". Two categories of such "scientific anticipations" can be identified: direct and indirect.
The direct statements include the following: In the eighth century B.C.E., when the world essentially felt that the earth was flat, the Hebrew Bible reported this at Isaiah 40:22, "There is one (God) who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers... Continuing, the Hebrew Bible advises us that the earth is a free body in space, not connected to or supporting the heavens, "He (God) is stretching out the north over the empty place, hanging the earth upon nothing." (Job 26:7) This book of the Bible was written in the 16th Century B.C.E., preceding by aver 2,000 years science's discovery of this truth. The Bible reported it first. Unlike the Jain sacred literature, the Hebrew Bible informs us that the material universe has not always existed but had a beginning, "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." (Genesis 1:1) The evaporation-condensation-precipitation cycle in the science of meteorology is anticipated in the Hebrew Bible at Ecclesiastes 1:7,8 and Amos 5:8, "All the winter torrents are forging forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth." (Ecclesiastes 1:7,8) And, "...The One (God) calling far the waters of the sea, that he may pour them out upon the surface of the earth - Jehovah is his name." (Amos 5:8) Evaporation of water from off the surface of the seas leads to condensation which in turn leads to precipitation in the form of rain, snow, sleet and hail over land which creates streams and torrents which return to the seas to repeat the cycle. Ecclesiastes was written in the eleventh century B.C.E. and Hosea in the eighth century B.C.E. Although some of the other holy hooks also relate that all mankind came from one original couple, a view strongly suggested by the sciences of genetics, physiology and anatomy, the Hebrew Bible provides us this truth at Genesis 1:28, "Further Gad blessed them (Adam and Eve, the first human couple) and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it...'." Modern science tells us that the early earth was covered entirely by liquid and that later land emerged followed by the appearance of plant life, animal life in the seas, animal life on land and finally man. That very same sequence was recorded in the Bible over 3,000 years ago in the book of Genesis, "Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God's active farce was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters... Let dry land appear... Let the earth cause grass to shoot forth, vegetation bearing seed, fruit trees... Let the waters swarm forth and swarm of living souls... And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters warmed forth.., and God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth... and every moving animal of the ground.., and God went on to say: ‘Let us make man in our image...'." (Genesis 1:1-26) Science took thousands of years to determine this sequence.
The medical science of the Hebrew Bible is particularly interesting. The ingestion or transmission of human and/or animal blood to humans can be risky. A number of sicknesses can result, among them: AIDS, Infectious Hepatitis, Malaria, Syphilis Cytomegalovirus Infection, Chagas' Disease and Filariasis. The Bible at Leviticus 7:26,27 advises, "And you must not eat any blood in any places where you dwell, whether that of fowl or that of beast. Any soul who eats any blood, that soul must be cut off from his people." And Leviticus 17:14: "...You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh...". Continuing, medical research has established that emotions can affect one physically. The Hebrew Bible anticipated science on this score when it advised, "A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism, but jealousy is rotteness to the bones." (Proverbs 14:30) When an ancient Israelite came upon a dead animal in the field or elsewhere, the Bible warned him against contamination and this at a time when the ancient world knew nothing of germs, "...And everything upon which any of their dead bodies may fall will be unclean... Anyone touching their dead bodies will be unclean...". (Leviticus 11:25,36) Moreover, contrary to the view of feces described in our discussion on Shintoist sacred literature, the Hebrew Bible properly identifies it as something unclean and something that should be buried. (Deuteronomy 23: 9-14)
* "The radiant energy of stars, the mechanical energy of planetary motions, the chemical energy of food, all are being steadily changed into the energy of disordered molecular motion". (Introduction to Physics and Chemistry, Second Edition, By Beiser and Krauskopf; McGraw-Hill, Publisher, Page 162.
The indirect science of the Hebrew Bible now demands our attention. In the ancient world the heavens against which the sun, moon and stars were cast was two dimensional - lacking depth. The stars were truly small crystals of light moving slowly and noiselessly across the face of the heavens. They lacked the power, presence and pomp of the sun; they were relatively insignificant. But the Hebrew Bible does not agree with that view; it indirectly acknowledged the magnificence of those massive stellar bodies called "stars". Early man did not see this; the Bible did "see" this, "When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you "take care of him?" (Psalm 8:3-4) The implication is there: in view of the true significance of stars out there in endless space, why would God even notice puny man here on the earth? This is not a comparison that you would expect from the ancient world; the Bible did make that comparison. Furthermore, the ancient world had no concept of a universe running down, an action following the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Even so, the Bible stated a truth science has discovered only in our modern era, that the universe is wearing down. Note Psalm 102: 25-26, "Long ago you (God) laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are the work of your hands., They themselves will perish, but you yourself will keep standing; and just like a garment they will all of them wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will finish their turn." According to this scriptural cite, unless God ‘replaced' or re-energized the Universe, in time, it would die a cold, still death. This is, apparently, a scientific verity.
The Christian Greek Scriptures, the so-called "New Testament," contain only a few scientific anticipations. But they are all accurate.
Wine has medicinal qualities. Not everyone knew this in the past but the Christian Greek portion of the Bible declares, "Do not drink water any longer (Timothy) but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness." (1 Timothy 5:23) Also, the Greek scriptures acknowledge the differences in stars, a discovery made by modern astronomy. Analyze 1 Corinthians 15:41, "The glory of the sun is one sort, and the glory of the moon is another, and the glory of the stars is another, in fact, star differs from star in glory." Astronomers classify some stars as "red giants", others as "white dwarfs" and so on.
Bible science is, to say the least, incredibly accurate. How is it possible that these ancient writings could be so accurate, especially when the contemporary prevailing views were so different and inaccurate? Is it not reasonable to conclude that if, in fact, the Bible is a production of God that it would have this kind of accuracy?*
* Many dispute Bible science on the method of creation in earth, arguing that evolution and not God is responsible for the existence of all life forms. They may accept the sequence of Genesis 1 but certainly not the method. For an excellent consideration of this dispute, see Life - How Did It Get Here? By Evolution Or By Creation?; 1985; Publishers: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York.
Perhaps one of the most startling characteristics of the Bible - in both the Hebrew and Greek sections - is prophecy. It satisfies one of the criteria we established when we set out on this odyssey: "It would be helpful if such a volume (from Gad) contained information that humans living at the time of composition could not have known. Such information would exclude humans as the source and suggest a transcendent mind." We will examine some Biblical predictions.
In the seventh century B.C.E., while Babylonia flourished in the Middle East, the Bible writer Daniel wrote in the book bearing his name that the Babylonian empire would fall to the Medes and Persians who would, in turn, establish a larger empire which would, in turn, be vanquished by the Greeks under the very first King of Greece. The prophecy continues that after the death of the first king, the Grecian empire would subdivide into four political empires. The prophecy used symbols to make its points: A two horned ram and a one horned he-goat being the principal symbols. Not leaving the symbols to a variety of interpretations after symbolizing the prediction in Daniel 8:1-8, we are informed thusly at Daniel 8:20-22: "The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the King of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes. it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power." The sequence is historically correct; the names of the nations are correct and the results are correct. Specificity is there and generality is not.
Archeology provides physical evidence of many past cultures. Among them are the Moabites. Unlike the Jews or the Egyptians or others, the Bible foretold years in advance that the Moabite people would be extinguished. That is precisely what happened and it remains true right up to this day. At Zephaniah 2:9, the Bible predicted, "Therefore, as I am alive, is the utterance of Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel, Moab herself will become just like Sodom, and the sons of Amman like Gomorrah, a place possessed by nettles, and a salt pit, and a desolate waste, even to time indefinite."
In the Christian Greek Scriptures are found a number of predictions that show that the early Christian church would undergo radical changes following the death of the apostles of Jesus Christ. An example is found at 1 Timothy 4:1-5 where the writer, the Apostle Paul, wrote, "However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, marked in their conscience as with a branding iron; forbidding* to marry, commanding to abstain from foods which Gad created to be partaken of with thanksgiving by those who have faith and accurately know the truth. The reason for this is that every creation of God is fine and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified through God's word and prayer over it." Note that two specific changes were predicted: imposed celibacy and imposed dietary restrictions. The prediction came true about 200 years after it was made.
* See "Celibacy", Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature by McLintock and Strong, 1894, pages 174-177.
The Jewish prophet Jesus Christ anticipated the Roman invasions against Jerusalem in 66 C.E. and 70 C.E. The Bible writer Luke recorded Jesus' prediction at Luke 21: 20-24 in these words, "Furthermore, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains and let those in the midst of her withdraw, and let those in the country places not enter into her... And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations...". In 66 C.E. a Jewish revolt precipitated a Roman response that brought Cestius Gallus and a host of Roman soldiers against Jerusalem. Cestius had Jerusalem "surrounded by encamped armies". Later, for no apparent reason, Cestius had the armies withdraw and retire.* Christians remembered the prophecy of Jesus and hastily moved out of the area. Some years later, in 70 C.E., Roman General Titus resumed the Roman response by encircling Jerusalem during the Jewish passover holiday and setting siege - a siege lasting approximately 5 months. The Jews that did not lose their lives during that terrible ordeal were "led captive into all the nations..", just as it was foretold.
The foregoing are but a sampling of predictions found in both the Hebrew-Aramaic and Christian Greek Scriptures. They are undoubtedly impressive and provide a solid basis for arguing that both volumes of literature are from God.
Another observation should be made about a book coming from God. It would appear that if God cares for humans, he would have included in his communication some rules and guidelines for life that cover a wide range of areas; marital relations, raising children, employer-employee relations, business practices, real and personal property, individual conduct, etc. A number of the holy books say very little about these vital matters. The Bible has much to say on all of these.
The Bible meets the criteria that we set up before we began the analyses of the holy books.
* See Josephus, The Jewish War, Penguin Classics, 1967, page 163.
* ADDENDUM TO SECTION ON BUDDHIST SACRED LITERATURE
- The Buddha explains the cause of earthquakes. His natural explanation is scientifically incorrect. (The other explanations involved the supernatural.)
Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta, Chapter 3:
"Then the venerable Ananda went up to the place where the blessed one was, and did obeisance to the blessed one, and seated himself respectfully at one side, and said: ‘Wonderful indeed and marvelous it is that this mighty earthquake should arise, awful and terrible, and that the thunders of heaven should burst forth! What may be the proximate, what the remote cause of the appearance of this earthquake? ‘Eight are the proximate, eight the remote causes, Ananda, for the appearance of a mighty earthquake. What are the eight? This great earth, Ananda, is established on water, the water on wind, and the wind rests upon space. And at such a time, Ananda, as the mighty winds blow, the waters are shaken by the mighty winds as they blow, and by the moving water the earth is shaken. These are the first causes, proximate and remote, of the appearance of a mighty earthquake."
* All quotations from Buddhist Suttas, translated from Pali by T. W. Rhys Davids; Dover Publications, Inc., 1969