Even as an atheist, I can't deny that the Bible is the most translated, read and sold book of all time.
Why is that? I mean I've personally never read the book...not interested. For the most part, I'm just like the next guy: I think the Bible is filled difficult, repellent, confusing and boring passages.
But so many people read it! And MANY people read those passages and actually repeat them, memorize them, share them with others. They often become a subject of discussion and debate.
The Bible is the reason so many people gather on Sunday, so that someone else reads the content of the Bible to them (maybe it sounds better coming from someone else).
So I guess my question is: Am I missing something?
Is it because I haven't read the book from cover to back that I'm an atheist? I like to think not...
Should we read the whole Bible, just to have a better idea, of what we're rejecting?
No I have never read the bible but have heard enough of what it contains to last a lifetime so I do not need to read it. I am told that it is the 'gospel truth' but who was alive at the time still here to confirm any of it.
I was born in to a jewish household but could not tell you any of the jewish holidays my friend would say to me will you be celebrating so or so holiday. 'Oh I did not know that' was my reply.
The only christain I wanted to be like was the nun at the convent I went to when I was about eight She told us wonderful stories of the time when she would go to Africa to teach the little children. There I learnt what goodness was, not seen much of it since.,
From what I've seen, most people who claim to follow the Bible haven't read it. They get spoon fed the nice parts at church. It's been mentioned before, but reading the Bible is one of the best ways to see how silly it all is. An Irish atheist group is encouraging people to do that, which I think is a great idea.
I haven't sat down and read it cover to cover, but I studied big chunks of it growing up so I probably read a majority of it in that time.
One of the important points on my journey away from being a Christian was due to my reading the bible from front to back, at the urging of my pastor. (I somehow doubt he expected the result)
Someone once said that God is a very erratic writer. When he's on, he's brilliant, but he also produces a lot of crap.
Some sections of the Bible are truly lovely poetry, others are dry as dust and twice as dull. I'd recommend reading it for a few reasons.
One, it's always amusing when you've read more of the bible than the people preaching at you.
Two, it has been said, and truthfully, that you cannot truly appreciate and comprehend western culture and literature without a knowledge of the bible. The phrases, references and influence of the bible on our culture is incalculable. From obvious things such as the ten commandments and religious phrasing to more subtle things such as common phrases like 'I wash my hands of you' or 'prodigal son', or references in great literature such as Shakespeare.
And finally, it's good to know the enemy, and reading the bible gives some good insight into that.
Being a former Catholic, I've read it. However the church only focused on certain passages and left the majority overlooked. When I was having doubts, I looks further. Maybe it was answers I was looking for, but what I found raised more doubts and was simply repellent. I just finished a book recently that I enjoyed, "Good Book". It follows a Jewish man through his reading of the Bible. He happened to read a horrendous passage one day and decided to see what else he was missing. Sadly, this book only covers the Jewish Bible, so I would look for the Christian equivalent. As a person who's read most of it i can tell you this...
If you're a staunch believer: The Bible will reinforce your belief, as you will twist and turn it all to mean what you 'know' it was meant to mean.
Casual believer: Will simply ignore what they don't like.
Having doubts: You will likely be left with even more questions than answers.
Atheist: You will be disgusted, dumbfounded, and wonder how anyone could seriously think it was divinely inspired. Simply put, God comes off really bad, the stories are absurd, repetitive, contradictory and above else it feels like a bit of a mish-mash. Action, war, magic, sex, death, etc. As a whole, it reads like a collection of fables (some related, some not) and nothing more. Will it make you believe if you are already a doubter or Atheist? Likely not. But if you are of weak faith, it could actually drive one from belief.
Personally- I don't have to read a book on stamps to know I don't want to be a stamp collector. The same goes for religion. Anything that embraces discrimination, sexism, racism and homophobia is instantly off my list unless their deity comes down in person and makes a damn good argument.
Educationally- It's always good to have an arsenal of weapons to throw back at the fundies, but you do already have an important one: Those of us that come from religious homes are committing the biggest blasphemy. We've heard the 'gospel' and rejected it. Apparently god doesn't damn someone that's never heard the 'word', so the folks that are urging you to read the Bible are actually putting your soul at risk on the off chance you DO and remain atheist. This ought to shut them up if you're sick of debating, anyway.
Progressively- Activism sometimes require a background education in religion when you're trying to fend off the loonies. Pointing out that there is NOTHING against abortion in the Bible( and in fact it had been going on for ages and wasn't even considered a sin until about 500 years ago when some Pope decided it was) takes knowledge of the Bible to make that claim. So if you want to 'beat them at their own game' then you need it. If you just want to call their claims ridiculous, no matter where they spring from, that's fine, too.
I'm sure that is true, but I bet the number is FAR lower than the number of bibles sold and FAR lower than the number of people who act like they've read it or claim to have read it and live their lives by it!
I don't think I know anyone in my personal life who actually has read all or most of it (and they're mostly Xtians). Then again, I never read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, and I was a big D&D nerd.
I think it would be a good idea to actually read the bible, but I'm with you that too much of it is boring and pointless, so I never have.
...well, what you lack seems to be a fear of eternal damnation. Obviously, this isn't the ONLY reason people don't adopt Christianity, but fear is really the driving force of the Bible. Even my mother, who REALLY believes, admits her biggest worry for me (as a non believer) is the fact that I'll be going to Hell if it turns out there is a god.
Fear God! Fear Hell! Fear Satan! Fear your own mind! Fear outside influence! Fear "wolves in sheep's clothing"! FEEEEAR!!!