A lot of Christians claim that the Bible is what they base all of their beliefs on, because it is the perfect manual for behaviour given to us directly by God. Let’s ignore the fact that most Christians have never actually read anything more than select passages, usually without any useful context, and the fact that the Bible contains all sorts of things that aren’t particularly manual-like. Let’s assume that the Bible is the basis for your philosophical and moral beliefs.
Here, then, is a very simple thought experiment: how do you know that the Devil did not write or influence the Bible? Yes, the Bible is supposedly perfect – but you only know this because the Bible told you so. But doesn’t the very fact of our fallen nature mean that we would be incapable of producing a perfect work? Sure, it would be different if God intervened, as he supposedly did to produce the Bible. But what if that very notion is nothing but the Devil’s way of trapping humans using their arrogance? According to most Christian theology, that’s precisely the kind of trick the Devil is known for pulling.
Then again, the Devil isn’t really much of a figure in the Bible, and the Devil most Christians believe in is mostly a medieval invention. But what if God made the Bible flawed on purpose? Some might say that parts of the Bible are rather contradictory; even the story of Jesus is told four times, none of which are identical. So how do you know God isn’t testing you by including elements that require a moral decision on your part?
Arrogance is the keyword here. If you blindly accept the Bible – written and translated by humans – are you showing your faith, or simply falling into pride and intellectual sloth? If God truly placed this massive, complex work before you, will you so easily reject the possibility that it contains more than one type of test? You’ve been warned against thinking too highly of yourself. What if you’re buying into a long tradition of people doing just that?
You can’t get out of this without thinking for yourself.