That's not what the Bible Says

A preacher friend of mine posted the above link on facebook along with a short rant about what he didn't like about it. Of course, several Christian friends of his chimed in about how bad the article was, how inaccurate it was, how stupid the author was, etc.

I read the full article and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it matches much of what I have read in studying the origins of the Bible and its contradictions.

So here's my question: I believe that the Christians who hated the article simply do not see it the same way that I do. We may read the same sentence and what I see is completely different than what they see. So I need to question myself to see if I am doing the same thing, by looking at it from the atheist perspective and seeing where I agree with the statements.

Am I not reading it impartially? Am I reading too many books about the history of the Bible that only support my own inclinations? Are the Christians simply closing their minds to anything that threatens their beliefs?

Read the article and respond with your thoughts.

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Your comment that the Bible is a human work of literature, @Bob, reminds me of an idea I keep coming back to. Would there be any merit in revising the Bible for the modern age? How I would see this working is the Pope and other Catholic bigwigs could get together a council where they work on a revised "New Catholic" version of the Bible. Then all the tiresome stuff (Earth is 6000 years old, kill the gays, don't eat shellfish) could be dropped and the good stuff (Love thy neighbour, Do as you would be done by) can be kept. 

This new Bible could then potentially actually be a good source of wisdom and morals.

Any thoughts?

No amount of revising could salvage the bible.  The very notion of a racist god who will forgive anything as long as you are on his side is immoral.  The very notion that someone else can take your punishment for you and thereby relieve you of culpability is immoral.

Follow the golden rule (which most certainly did NOT come from the bible) and be honest.  The rest is commentary meant to obfuscate the moral realities.

Why do that when you can just write a new textbook any time you want?  It's not like we religious folks have stopped writing or anything.   My church and co-religionists publish a huge number of books, articles, commentaries, encyclicals, etc. every year, as well as reprinting lots of other classics.

It's only the sola scriptura fundamentalists that I think you're speaking to with the notion of rewriting the Bible.  I wish we could, but they'd never buy it.  Especially from my church, since in their eyes we're the AntiChrist.

"I wish we could, but they'd never buy it."

Shame.

The Newsweek article's bias was too strong and its scholarship too shallow, wrote our very own Pope Bob.

Bob, I won't hold my breath until I see more bias and shallower scholarship than I've seen in your posts.

The article told me why the Catholicism I learned during 12 years in its schools didn't encourage bible reading; the Church wants its sheep to be certain. It wants none of the Heisenberg heresy's uncertainty.

Thanks, Ike, for linking to the article.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words.

When the second paragraph of an article reads like this, any intelligent reader should be able to recognize that they're reading an advocacy piece, not a balanced analysis, news report, or work of scholarship.   The same literary techniques as used throughout this article are used for fringe advocacy pieces to whip up the base for everything from petrochemical production to the "dangers" of voter fraud that require onerous voter ID laws.

You're part of the "base" that this piece is targeted toward.  Apparently it was successful in appealing to your emotional biases, which was its intent.  That's fine; we all enjoy putting on school/tribe colors and cheering "Hell yeah!" for our team, whether our team is this Newsweek writer or Fox News' rabid commentators. 

Let's just not pretend it's journalism or scholarship.

Most of what is written in this article I am already aware of because of my time in seminary school. Erhman was a part of the academic literature I read, and we were told from the outset that he had an ax to grind with Christianity, though nonetheless the professor found what Erhman had to say was valuable. As a matter of personal experience, one area that Christians often like to point to as evidence that Jesus declares himself to be God is the use of the personal pronoun "I" modified by the verb "am." Christians like to say Jesus' use of these words is a declaration that he is God, and they reference the OT Scripture where God said to Moses "I am that I am" when Moses asks God in the form of a burning bush who is it that Moses speaks to. I have always taken issue with this. Anyone who has an minute understanding of the English grammar should no better than to make such an argument, but there are seminaries that teach this to be true. It is a fallacy (if I am using this word correctly) of the worst kind. Jesus never declares himself to be God. He does reference himself as the Son of Man if my memory serves correct, and he does declare himself to be the way the truth and the light, according to what is written in the Bible. However, the use of the "I am" argument perpetuated by many evangelicals is preposterous. It's like saying that because I say "I am" I am declaring myself to be God - after all, God used "I am" as his name, and therefore, I must be God since I also use this term to describe myself. It is absurd.

As for the Trinity, as it stands, most often times the theological argument is: we are not meant to necessarily understand it, just accept it.

The Trinity functions as an aptitude test; people who accept it will accept everything else.

Catholicism's rules on sex function similarly: people who obey those rules will obey every rule.

The Trinity functions as an aptitude test; people who accept it will accept everything else.

Because one invisible thing that is manifest in many forms is clearly nonsensical.  Who in their right mind could ever believe that, especially when the character of those forms is so completely different?

Bob, children believe that crap, especially those children who hear it often.

Are you able to recognize that children's minds don't function like yours?

Like energy.

One invisible thing that is manifest in many forms (kinetic, potential, thermal, electrical, radiative, etc.) and magically explains a bunch of stuff by moving around even though we can't see, detect, or measure it in any way.

Who in their right mind would ever believe that, especially when the character of those forms is so completely different?

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