the Questions of Zapata


I know most of you are familiar with the work of Voltaire: Toleration and other essays in which is found the questions of Zapata. Zapata presented his questions to a committee of doctors in 1629 which did not answer him but suppressed them.

The questions are not new, but they are quite refreshing

  • Is Genesis literal or allegorical? How did God create light before there was a sun? How could there be a day before the sun was made? How was the firmament created when there is no such thing. Was not the firmament an illusion of the ancient Greeks, who came later than the Jews?
  • Since God allowed the construction of the pyramids, how high was the tower of Babel? Did it reach the moon?
  • Exodus says the Jews remained in Egypt for 400 years. Counting carefully, only 205 years can be accounted for; why the disparity?
  • Moses took an idolater to wife. Why did God not reproach him? How could Pharaoh’s magicians change into blood all the waters since they had already been changed into blood by Moses? Led by God, why did not Moses simply take Egypt, in which God had already slain the first born? Why did they take the long and difficult way home instead of going straight to Canaan?

There are many more questions in that link that I don’t think our pious friends have answered. Maybe Ark’s friends James and Willy have answers.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

33 thoughts on “the Questions of Zapata

  1. The answers are there if you read the bible CORRECTLY. Oh, never mind. Nice to see the lunacy of the bible was evident to folks for centuries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arkenaten says:

    With a made-up god, all things are possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. john zande says:

    Why did Yhwh warn Moses not to travel up the coast road for fear of warring with the Philistines, when the Philistines wouldn’t even land on the Levant for another 300 years? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barry says:

    Well, according to the Christians I know (apart from my son and an aunt who are somewhat bible literalists), Genesis is completely allegorical as is most of the bible, so questions of historical accuracy are irrelevant. To them it makes no sense at all to pose such questions, and they can’t understand why an atheist such as Mak would even consider asking.

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    • makagutu says:

      Hello good friend.
      I am willing to accept that Genesis is allegory and withdraw any questions on Genesis for that matter.
      How, my friend, do I treat Saul requiring as tribute for the marriage of his daughter to David 100 foreskins?
      Or Judah making his daughter in law pregnant, threatening to have her burned to death and then withdrawing the punishment?

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      • Barry says:

        They are stories written by men that may or may not be loosely based on actual events. They have significance today only in that they have been around for so long. If they serve any purpose now it’s to illustrate human nature at it’s best and worst. I believe most Christians here (but by no means all) recognise that the bible is the work of mankind. Personally, I only bother to open a bible when someone mentions a passage while attempting to justify an argument.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          I wish most if not all Christians saw the bible in a similar way. Unfortunately those I know and who live around me think of it as a divine book.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Barry says:

            Why should it be more divine than the holy books of other religions? Christianity is the faith most religious people hold here in NZ simply because that’s what they were born into. Most acknowledge that fact. Other faiths are generally recognised as being as valid as Christianity. It would be rather difficult to accept other religions as being as valid as one’s own if one believed the holy texts of one’s religion were the actual works of one’s deity.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Nan says:

          I loved your first two sentences! They have so much TRUTH in them. But of course, to most believers, as Mak says, it is a “divine” book, written personally by “God” — and to claim otherwise is next to blasphemy! Oh what a tangled web we weave …

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          • makagutu says:

            He should interact with Bruce on Ark’s blog or James or Wally among others. He will be shocked that in this day and age some people still believe snakes walked and fishes were transporters

            Liked by 1 person

          • Barry says:

            Mak, I come across Wally and his ilk on a number of blogs I follow. It takes a lot more than believers of talking snakes to shock me. Don’t forget that I have been violently assaulted by those who mistakenly thought I was gay and therefore worthy of punishment. I’m sure most of those perpetrators believed God approved of their actions. Fortunately such beliefs are rare in this country in the twenty first century, although Bible literalist still exist. I am only too well aware of that fact as my son became one of them a few years ago. As you can imagine there’s a lot we disagree on and we tend to not include him in activities were we know he wouldn’t approve of the lifestyle of some of our friends. Fortunately people with beliefs like his make up a very small minority of Christians around here.

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          • makagutu says:

            I remember your narration of some of the experiences you have gone through.
            I think it is fortunate that such people are few

            Liked by 1 person

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