Some Mistakes of Moses by Robert G. Ingersoll is one of my favorite books. It's a very interesting read given that it smacks of “New Atheism” but was first published in 1879 (it just goes to show you that there is nothing new and different about the New Atheism). I mention this because the logic behind this argument is from the book, although I've reworked it a little and put it into a more formal arrangement. It's an argument that attempts to demonstrate the extreme improbability, if not impossibility, of the Bible being divinely inspired. What’s especially great about this argument is that it should address both Biblical literalists and non-literalists alike.
- God is (a) omniscient, (b) omnipotent, (c) purposeful, and (d) honest.
- If God inspired a book, (a) He would know how his words would be interpreted [1a], (b) He would be able to convey His will clearly [1b], and (c) His book would be interpreted in the exact manner he intended [1c].
- The Bible is far from clear as to how it should be interpreted or even whether it is true, evidenced in the fact that throughout the history of Judaism and Christianity it has been interpreted by countless different sects in countless different ways, viewed by members of other religions to be void of inspiration, been met with skepticism by countless skeptics (and increasingly so since the rise of modern civilization and rational thought), and been used to both support and condemn slavery, polygamy, individual liberties, etc.
- If God inspired the Bible, he meant for it to convey His Will in such an ambiguous manner. [2, 3]
- Therefore, God would have intended to mislead countless people into believing falsehoods and disbelieving truths. [3, 4]
- Therefore, God did not inspire the Bible. [1d, 5]
The Bible is obviously an imperfect means of conveying the will of a divine being, considering that in the centuries that it’s been around, you can barely find two people that agree completely on their interpretation of it. Most philosophers, who are mere mortals mind you, write in a manner that is far less open to personal interpretation than the Bible. They say what they mean, and the readers can understand what they say without much, if any, confusion or disagreement. If men and women can do this, why shouldn’t we expect the same from God? Why shouldn’t we just conclude that such a pitifully vague book is the work of primitive men as opposed to a perfect being?