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ELISHA AND THE BEARS
 
God supposedly wrote and inspired the Bible. If so then at times he didn't give a very edifying picture of himself!
 
The Elisha and the bears story appears in 2 Kings 2. There the prophet Elisha is going up to Bethel and on the way small boys call him baldhead. He curses them in the name of the Lord and then two she-bears appear and tear forty-two of the children to pieces.
 
The New American Bible translation says it was small boys.

 

John Wenham in his book, The Enigma of Evil (page 143) is an example of a top fundamentalist Christian scholar who uses deceit and craftiness to cover up the evil of the story and who is obviously respected just for that reason by his fundamentalist fellows.

 

First of all, he does not tell us where in the Bible the story is to keep us from looking it up.

 

Second, he says the Revised Version of the Bible is right to translate as young lads rather than small boys for it fits the context of the story better but most Bibles still translate it as young children. The truth is if you read the story you see no indication that it is bigger children. Wenham’s game is to make us think that it was louts who deserved to be attacked by bears rather than naughty children who didn’t.

 

He then argues that the reason Elisha seems to be harsh is because the children were insulting his prophetic tonsure which means they were insulting God. There is no evidence that Elisha had the tonsure. And the children would not be able to be sure Elisha was a true prophet so their mocking would not necessarily imply mockery of God. Others say the nickname baldhead was elevated to a particularly big insult in those days. There is no evidence for that either and in fairness it is the spirit an insult is made in that counts not the actual words. Elisha was just an evil vindictive man.

 

Next Wenham states that there were too many children for it not to have been organised just to insult him. It was organised for something else because the parents would have known what their children were up to and joined in themselves. But it was all children. The fact that two she-bears are said to have attacked them and ripped forty-two of them up indicates that God miraculously prevented the children from getting away. It indicates that they were very small children when the bears could get through so many of them without them escaping. Wenham says that most of the children must have gotten away so more could have been unharmed than were hurt. But why not hold that forty-two were ripped up alive and died and the rest got away with bites and limbs ripped off? Remember, the curse was invoked on all the children. Astoundingly, Wenham says that it is not said that any of the children were killed. Now when the Bible says that the children were torn to pieces what else are we supposed to make of that? If it could mean they were killed then it means that. Scripture would not say anything that might make people think God killed if he didn’t.

 

Wenham tells absurd lie after absurd lie.  What he says is speculation and no good. The story is clear enough and his distortion should fool no one.  The writer wrote a very strange way if Wenham is right!
 
The Bible plainly allows child-abuse. Wenham would respond that cries for God to hurt enemies in the Bible was about stopping their evil and not for the pleasure of seeing them hurt (see chapter 10 of his book). Wenham is trying to delude us into thinking that it wasn’t personal - it was just pleading with God for God to stop people who were opposed to God. So wanting people hurt is better than wanting them to be converted? It will be answered that God has a right to stop evil people even if it means harming them. But to ask an all-powerful God to hurt your enemies could never be right. What you would do is ask for them to be stopped by conversion or by some way that does not hurt them and leave it up to God to decide if hurting them is the only way to stop them. But understandably we feel that an all-powerful God can never have the right or need to hurt anybody. It is vindictive. Period.
 
And if the Elisha story was in the Book of Mormon Wenham would be saying it proved that the Book was not the word of God. He would not be bringing out his rationalisations then. Christianity has always depended on sectarianism and lies to get its message accepted.

 

The interpretation of some that the lads were going to kill Elisha or something is pure fantasy. The text does not even hint at that. Christians would not twist a secular text or account like that. Is one reason they feel compelled to lie down to a fear that many people would just obey scripture without question and copy the example? If so then lying does not help. If you can speculate that Elisha was in danger you can speculate that he was not and wanted the kids murdered because they insulted him. God supposedly controls nature so why couldn’t he get the bears to scare them off instead of killing them?

All attempts to prove that the Bible is the word of God fail because the Bible contradicts itself and advocates evil even child abuse of a Jack the Ripper scale.  Lies are told by believers to cover it all up which makes them as bad as or worse than the perpetrators.  Jesus praised Elisha and would  have accepted that evil miracle as holy and praiseworthy.

 
FURTHER READING

 
A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Test of Time, David Rohl, Century, London, 1995
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, Undated
An Act of God, Graham Philips, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1998
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press Bucks, 1988
Attack on the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1965
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
But the Bible Does Not Say So, Rev Roberto Nisbet, Church Book Room Press, London, 1966
Catholicism and Christianity, Cecil John Cadoux, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1928
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Creation and Evolution, Dr Alan Hayward, Triangle, London, 1994
Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Free Inquiry, Fall 1998, Vol 18, No 4, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
God and the Human Condition, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1967
God Cannot Lie, David Alsobrook, Diasozo Trust, Kent, 1989
God, Science and Evolution, Prof E H Andrews, Evangelical Press, Herts, 1985
God’s Word, Final Infallible and Forever, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
Hard Sayings, Derek Kidner, InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
How and Why Catholic and Protestant Bibles Differ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ and Donald Senior, CP, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1983
How to Interpret the Bible, Fergus Cleary SJ, Ligouri Publications, Missouri, 1981
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
Inspiration in the Bible, Fr Karl Rahner, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966
It Ain’t Necessarily So, Investigating the Truth of the Biblical Past, Matthew Sturgis, Headline Books, London, 2001
Jehovah of the Watch-tower, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Which Bible is the Real Word of God? Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, California, 1983
Know What You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Know Why You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1971
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
New Evangelicalism An Enemy of Fundamentalism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1984
None of These Diseases, SI McMillen MD, Lakeland, London 1966
Our Perfect Book the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1958
Proof the Bible is True, Rev JMA Willans BD, Dip.Theol. Vermont Press, Larne, 1982
Radio Replies Vol 3, Radio Replies Press, Minnesota, 1942
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Remarks on the New King James Version and Revised Authorised Version, DK Madden, 35 Regent Street, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005, 1991
Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Charles Pellegrino, The Softback Preview, New York, 1995
Science and the Bible, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
Science Held Hostage What’s Wrong With Creation Science and Evolutionism, Howard J Van Till/Davis A.Young/Clarence Menninga, IVP, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, 1988
Science Speaks, Peter W Stoner and Robert C Newman, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Testament, The Bible and History, John Romer, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1988
The Authority of the Bible, Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, 1980
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible is the Word of God, Jimmy Thomas, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
The Bible or Evolution? William Jennings Bryan, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bible, The Biography, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
The Bible, Questions People Ask, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1980
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Church of Rome and the Word of God, Rev Eric C Last, Protestant Truth Society, London, Undated
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The Enigma of Evil, John Wenham, Eagle, Guilford, Surrey, 1994
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1982
The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills, The Christian Research Press, Iowa, 1973
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E Brown, Joseph A Fitzmyer, Roland E Murphy, Geoffrey Chapman, New York 1990
The Theology of Inspiration, John Scullion SJ, Mercier, Cork, 1970
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
What is the Bible? Henri Daniel-Rops, Angelus Books, Guild Press, New York, 1958
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Illinois ,1992
Which Version Now? Bob Sheehan, Carey Publications, 5 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3EF
Who is a Fundamentalist? Dr Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1982
Why Does God..? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls , Bucks, 1970
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
 
BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible

WEB

Final Response by Steven Carr to Dr Wilkinson
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/wilkin6.htm

Science in the Bible? Dr M Magee
www.askwhy.co.uk/truth/440BibleScience.html

Why It’s a Load of Old Cobblers, Adrian Barnett
www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/noahs_ark.html
Exposes the utter absurdity of the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible

Steven Carr, Critique of Josh McDowells Non_Messianic Prophecies This Site cannot be overly recommended. It is superb.
www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_carr/non-messianic.html

New Testament Contradictions, Paul Carlson
www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

Rabbits do not chew their cud, Alleged Bible Contradictions
http://unhindered.com/apolo/contradictions/index.html

The Bible as History Flunks New Archaeological Tests
www.10.nytimes.com/library/arts/072900david-bible.html

Biblical Errancy by Dennis McKinsey
http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart31.html
This is one of McKinsey’s online magazines. The magazine is excellent for it gives the fundies the chance to respond and carefully exposes their twisted reasoning.

This particular issue says that Herod was not a king though the New Testament says he was for the Roman tetrarchs were the rulers. It says Matthew’s story that Herod massacred the boys of Bethlehem to get rid of the baby Jesus is false for Josephus liked to bring up the terrible things that Herod did and never mentioned this one. It also says that the story of Jesus being nailed between two thieves is fiction because theft was not a capital crime. It argues that when Luke said about Augustus decreeing that the whole world must engage in a census it was a lie for Augustus never had the results which he would have done. Genesis 11:26 says that when Teran was 70 he sired Abram and Nahor and Haran. The trouble is it says Abram was 75 when his father died and yet his father died at 205. The Christians argue that Genesis 11:26 does not say Abram’s dad was 70 when he was born though the passage cannot mean anything else. They fudge the problem by saying that just because Abram was mentioned first that does not mean he was born first. It does in the way the verse is written for why say Terah became a father at 70 and list the sons if you don’t mean one of them was born that year and it would naturally have to be the first one mentioned Abram. Pity he didn’t point out that when the fundies cannot agree among themselves how to reconcile Bible contradictions that it shows that their solutions are just contrived and fraudulent.