Sometimes I like to think that I could give up writing about, or talking about, atheism. But that would mean ignoring a bunch of interesting things on the Internet.
I’m drawn to some posts like a moth to a flame. Perhaps it’s because I like argument. Perhaps it’s because I like truth. Each of these points below is probably worthy of several individual posts. But I’m going to condense them for the sake of not boring people who are here for other reasons.
Every time I read an atheist blog I leave feeling frustrated. Mostly because they make the same spurious and generally misinformed claims they accuse Christians (and other theists) of making against them.
While I’m sure many of these claims are true in the experience of the people making them – that doesn’t mean they’re inherently true.
- Reading the whole Bible will not necessitate the rejection of God
I read this one all the time. The latest instance was on this post Contrary to the popular belief held by atheists my life would be a lot easier if I wasn’t convinced God existed. It is in fact possible to read the Bible and gain a deeper appreciation of God. That’s why people go to Bible College and end up in Christian ministry.If an atheist wants to critique the Bible there’s plenty of more rational things they might say. It is possible that the God pictured in the Bible might look like a God you don’t want to worship – assuming you get stuck on the things that happen in the Old Testament. But the Bible does not contain contradictions that make “reasonable” people reject it.I suspect we all approach the Bible with a particular philosophical bias and this is likely to be confirmed.
- The Bible was not put together by a bunch of power hungry men seeking to serve their own interests…
Nor was it consistently reinterpreted and retranslated over time in order to suit agendas. Any such translations have been weeded out and current translations used by major denominations are based on the interpretations of panels of experts in the original languages.If an atheist wants to realistically critique the men who framed the core doctrines of Christianity or picked the books in the Canon the worst that can be said about them was that they were deeply deluded and sort to present a consistent case for their beliefs. To suggest ulterior motives is a gross misrepresentation of any historical facts based entirely on prejudice.If, on the other hand, an atheist wants to make smug dismissals of the text based on their own assumptions that’s fine. But don’t expect your assertion to be accepted as convincing evidence by those of us who have read the Bible…
I agree that you don’t need to read the entire Bible to know that it is a cobbled together mishmash of myths, biased history, and poetry from an ancient nomadic people that didn’t know much about the universe.
- Suggesting that the Bible should be understood in context is not “wiggling” on the Christian’s behalf.
Nor is it dishonest. It’s the way Christians, orthodox, Bible believing Christians, have been doing things since the early days. Believing that the Bible should be understood in its context is not a new idea. Nor is it “liberal”. In fact, it’s the way Jesus approached the Bible (when quoting the Old Testament).Disagreement over interpretation does not contradict anything the Bible says (in fact the Bible predicts it). Questions of textual interpretation are not simple and it’s likely that there will be some disagreement. If you pull random verses out of their context and present them (or a series of similarly plucked verses) as your proof text it is analogous to a Christian suggesting that Hitler’s eugenics program is the natural outworking of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
Christians will continue to claim that I’m taking it out of context, misinterpreting it, or just outright lying. I have seen this happen over and over again with Bible-savvy atheists who were in debates. These people are so made up in their mind that no amount of reason will work.
- Christians shouldn’t keep pushing the Bible as though it’s evidence for God
Why not? If God exists (which Christians believe) then the Bible seems like a natural way for evidence to be provided across multiple generations. This sort of thinking misses the point of Christianity completely.
- Every position atheists take on the Bible is a result of faith, bias and what they’ve been taught
This by itself does not invalidate their beliefs. That’s how we all come to conclusions and decisions. But to dismiss Christian interpretations of bits of the Bible on the basis of indoctrination while blithely dismissing the whole thing as a fairytale is to create false dichotomy. Just because someone has been “brainwashed” it doesn’t mean what they believe is wrong. And just because someone claims to come at something in an open minded fashion using their own rules of engagement doesn’t make their conclusions correct.