Christopher Hitchens is my new hero. I don't prescribe to all his conclusions, but his arguments against the brutal hypocrisy of all religions and the many adherents are right on the money. Personally, I believe in God. I do confess that there is no tangible proof of God's existence, however. I will say this emphatically; I denounce the alleged divinity of any terrestrial being, Christ and Mohammed included. Please let me know when you can prove any of the fairy tales put forth by the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah. I would love to see evidence of a virgin birth. I would love to see the original zombies Lazarus and Christ on display. There is no evidence and we will never see proof of God. They call it faith because it is not the truth. You are not allowed to question faith. You must be respectful (translated as “just shut up”) and believe no matter how incredulous the claim.
Truth can always be questioned. In fact, our minds are designed for such considerations. “Designed?” you ask? Am I implying creationist principles? Maybe I am, if creationist believe that we are created and not evolved then they must be ready to accept the ancient alien theories, which are more plausible than an unknowable entity creating us from dirt (or a rib from a dirt being), placing us in a garden and setting in motion the situation that leads to our fall from grace.
Think about it, if you believe in the Garden of Eden, then you must realize that God set us up…or is God imperfect? Creationists go on and on about how magnificent all of God's creation is and that natural selection does not explain the intricacies of human beings, the universe, and everything else. Yet, the Bible clearly shows God fucking up, especially throughout the Old Testament. Thus, he apparently had to kill everyone with a flood (except Noah and his family), destroy whole cities, and eventually send his son in to fix things. And the only way to do that was through his violent crucifixion? I call bullshit on that one friend. Either God is unknowable and infallible, or God is a dopey, moody, son of a bitch.
The Bible is not the word of God. Men wrote the Bible: lots of them over a very long period. In fact, Christianity is very much like high school. There are several cliques and most of these groups hate the other groups and talk about them behind their backs. They use words like Heretic, False Prophet, True Believer, and Saved, etc. to either elevate or destroy the reputations of the other sects. Each group wants adherents to believe that they have the true word of God, or that the other cliques are simply wrong. This was more ferocious before Cesar Constantine claimed conversion in AD 312. There were several sects of Christians that included Gnostics who all fought over the many volumes of books and letters that existed about Christ's ministry. Rome was in a terrible state at that time. It was being ripped apart by the violence between these groups. The two extremes were the Gnostics who believed that true salvation must come from within and that one must live a life of piousness, and the Paulians (they became the Catholics) who preached not only the misinterpretations of Christ's teachings but the need for a structured hierarchical church with political aspirations.
Personally, I don't believe Constantine had a vision of the cross. I don't think he believed in Christianity at all. But like any modern politician will tell you, saying that you are saved buys you the votes (confidences) of the people. Therefore, it would be no big stretch for him to claim conversion and attempt to bring Rome's volatile groups together to restore order.
The first Council of Nicaea was established by Constantine to determine what dogmas the new church would follow. History shows what side of the Christian extremes had a bigger representation for that meeting…the Paulians of course. These men determined what books would be part of the Bible and set forth to destroy everything else that contradicted what the Bible (the new message as directed by these men) puts forth.
Historically, not everyone could read and write as well as we can. In fact, many of those who could–would have had the equivalent of a 6th-grade education or less. There is evidence that some professional scribes could barely copy their own name, let alone write anything of merit. There was also had no printing press for centuries to come. Consequently, copies of the Bible were handwritten. This took many hands to do. If a mistake existed or an editor added an inaccuracy, those errors were copied over by the following editors. There were many translation errors already (or did you not read the Book of Genesis?). Further, there were men throughout history who added or removed portions according to their own interpretations.
If you perform a critical reading of the Bible, it has many differing voices (writers all have specific voices) within each book. This is because men chose to add, remove, or rewrite their beliefs and ideas into it. These changes, in turn, were copied over ad nauseam, along with mistakes and poor translations. What you have in the Bible is a book engineered by Romans for domination and modified over hundreds of years by countless writers. Christianity historically was fascist in nature and the same brutal streak exists today. Know the history of the Bible before assuming it is the divine word of God. The historical record differs greatly from the claims of the adherents.
Knowing that until the Industrial Revolution, the general population could barely read or write is a huge part of the Christian story. Congregations gathered to listen to men interpret the Bible for them, a practice continued to this day. What we have is a book modified by countless people over several centuries (and even to this day), which was distributed and then further interpreted by individuals to less educated people. To further this tradition in modern times is a disservice to the faith. Should charismatic people (usually with equally large egos and lusts) be allowed to alter the original intent of the scriptures? What exactly is the original intent of the scriptures for that matter? The true meaning is lost with time. The ministry of Jesus, the message of Mohammed, the laws of Moses are all nothing more than myth disguised as scripture and passing for history. What we are left with is a very large portion of the world is shrouded in ignorance, directed towards hatred in a mask of faith.