Would you say it [the bible] is a book of human wisdom? Well, so far my answer is "No, not really." Sure the bible contains some wisdom, I'll give it that. It says we should not kill one another. Then again, we've known that we shouldn't kill each other for thousands and thousands of years before the bible was even a thought. On the other hand, the bible also has some monumentally unwise stuff such as a quote attributed to Jesus, "But I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you, for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." (Matt 5:27-28) It can be argued that the second part of that quote is metaphor, but that raises the question of who decides what is metaphorical and what is literal, doesn't it? On the other hand, that first part troubles me, because it is not wise at all. I put it to anyone reading this that almost no one outside arranged marriage ever got married or fell in love without looking at someone with lust. It does not make sense to try and control a person's thoughts, which is what that verse is essentially doing. Now, let's not forget all the other unwise things the bible says. Bats aren't birds and insects don't have four legs, just to name two examples. By the way, each of the claims I make here can be clicked on to see the relevant passage of the bible to show you I'm not making this up. So, the bible is a fallible book written by humans that does contain some wisdom and some fantastically stupid stuff that is most unwise. The work of humans we can expect to contain errors, but so far, it does not look like the infallible work of an all-knowing, all-powerful being.
Would you say it is a book of myths and legends? Let's define what a myth is, first. A myth is a traditional story, especially concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events. A second definition is a widely held but false belief. Both of these definitions apply to the bible. I'm not going to do the work for people this time. If you don't know the creation myth of Genesis, then that is a good place to start. It's also reasonable to read the creation myths of other faiths, if you consider yourself open-minded.
Would you say it is the Word of God? Presumably, they mean the work of the Christian god, Jehovah, Yahweh, etc., so I'm going to roll with it. Anyone who has taken the time to honestly read the bible can see that it is a book written by humans who make mistakes. See above for evidence of that.
On the inside of the pamphlet, it asks, "Can we really believe what the bible says? Yes, for at least three reasons:
"Amazing harmony: The Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by some 40 different people. Most of them never met one another. Yet, the entire book is harmonious, with one central theme!" I wonder if the author of this pamphlet ever heard of the Council of Nicaea, where the books of the bible were hand picked in order to form a semi continuous story. If I had a bunch of scrolls, I bet I could make a harmonious book out of them by piecing them together by theme! Now, I do have issue with the fact that the pamphlet says there is one central theme. I wonder what theme they mean. Is it the theme of an angry, vengeful, racist, homophobic, tribalistic, xenophobic, misogynistic, cruel god character of the Old Testament or the one who is all kittens and rainbows in the New Testament? It is worth noting that no matter how cruel the Old Testament themed god is, it is not until gentle Jesus meek and mild arrives in the story that the idea of eternal torture comes into play. Is the theme "love thy neighbor" or is it eternal damnation for finite sins?
"Honest history: Secular historians seem quick to cover the defeats of their people. In contrast, Bible writers candidly recorded both of their personal failings and those of their nation." These people want to talk about honest history? I don't even know where to begin! Noah's flood never happened, no one spent 40 years wandering the desert, the Garden of Eden obviously isn't honestly historic, and the exodus from Egypt did not happen. If they did, no reliable historian has ever found any evidence for any of these historical claims. It seems that the Jehovah's witnesses need to consider that whole, "Thou shalt not lie," bit of the bible or educate themselves.
|As likely as the Exodus from Egypt|
"Reliable prophecy: The Bible foretold the destruction of the ancient city of Babylon some 200 y ears in advance. It revealed not only the manner in which Babylon would fall but even the name of its conqueror!" Again, it is really easy to piece these things together at a council where hundreds upon hundreds of copies of scrolls and books are conveniently together and cherry picked to form a semi coherent story. I could very easily write about how in the 1940s, a man named Adolf Hitler will rise to power after writing a book called Mein Kampf and in 200 years, a scholar might find it and say, "Look! This guy got the Nazi leader's name down to a tee!" What I'm really trying to get at is that if you throw enough mud at a wall, some of it will stick. The bible gets a few things correct here and there, but the overall message of hate and violence and inaccuracies kind of overwhelms the whole "Word of a Loving God" business.
In short, the Jehovah's Witness' pamphlet did not hold up to scrutiny. This is no surprise to anyone who has honestly read any of the bible that was not spoon fed and carefully interpreted by someone who arbitrarily decided what is metaphor in the book. The burden of proof remains on the Witnesses.