Which is convincing that the writers of the bible knew they were putting together their own customized religion to suit their self and may well have not even believed in a god but were promoting myths to reinforce their own sick agendas as narrow minded mixed up individuals knowing they could play on the emotions of the ignorant and get away with it.
Was it really a conspiracy of old con artists taking control of people’s minds or was it a hoax or perhaps as I have stated many times; drug and wine induced individuals believing “God” or some or the other talked to them into writing the books they did which became the theist’s bible?
Who knows? Who will ever know for sure what the motive was?
All these suggestions are possible, indeed likely. However, I do not believe that’s the whole story. In my view, the ease with which human beings create mystical and theological explanations for natural phenomena explains much of the sincerity among true believers. We will not understand these people until we accept that they are not deluded fools. Humanists are supposed to be both rational and compassionate. Should not our compassion begin with understanding that many religious people are entirely sincere when they claim to have had transcendent experiences?
As for the biblical authors, whoever they were, I am prepared to accept that some of them were motivated by genuine religious feeling. Perhaps they did indeed believe they were inspired, though I have vague recollection from Ingersoll that they didn’t claim divine inspiration themselves. (I’m not a biblical scholar, so perhaps someone else on this forum can enlighten us on that point.)
That leaves some biblical authors who may have been acting to further a political agenda. Well, people have been abusing religion to control the population since the first shaman picked up a flaming branch and shouted out a revelation about the Great Lightning God. The best book I’ve read on this subject is by H. L. Mencken. It’s called Treatise on the Gods. I recommend it to anyone who wants a clear view of the social and political purposes of religion.