Literal Texts

The scriptures of most of the world’s major religions are very old and most originated as oral traditions. That is, they were passed down for centuries by word of mouth, from one illiterate generation to the next. Oral traditions by their nature are incapable of unaltered transmission. Any theist who believes his/her sacred text is the pure and unaltered word of his or her deity is ignoring the nature of an oral tradition. The great prophets of the world’s major religions were themselves illiterate and hence their messages were necessarily subject to the alterations consequent upon passing through the memories of many generations. The compilers of the first written versions of many religious texts often simply recorded multiple different versions of the same story, as can be seen by the creations stories in Genesis. In one, Adam is created before Eve, and in the other they are created simultaneously.

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