I am a recently "outed" atheist.  Whenever I discuss atheism with a believer, I find myself using other people's arguments.  They are perfectly valid and reasonable arguments, however I would like to be able to quote the Bible as readily as any believer (or any informed atheist (I seem to find that atheists have read the Bible more than most believers)).  With that in mind, how should I go about studying the Good Book?  I think it has been the antiquated language that has kept me from reading it, even when I was a Catholic.

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I would rather read a pamphlet on abortion!

It IS a pamphlet on abortion, lol

Yeah but there's not many pictures in said historical good book. I like to see pictures. Pamphlets usually contain a few.

One thing you should keep in mind, as others have mentioned, is the many translations. Atheists have a tendency to take things out of context and cherry pick as well. Make sure you stay away from just repeating a quote. Rather look it up, look at different translations and go from there. The best place to do this is the Online Parallel Bible. You put in a chapter and verse and it will give you 15 different bible translations so you can compare. This way you are ready for the argument that you are misquoting or not reading "their" version. Here's an example from a commonly quoted verse about homosexuality Leviticus 18:22.

New International Version (©1984)
"'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

New Living Translation (©2007)
"Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

English Standard Version (©2001)
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Never have sexual intercourse with a man as with a woman. It is disgusting.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman: it is abomination.

American King James Version
You shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

American Standard Version
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.

Darby Bible Translation
And thou shalt not lie with mankind as one lieth with a woman: it is an abomination.

English Revised Version
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Webster's Bible Translation
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

World English Bible
"'You shall not lie with a man, as with a woman. That is detestable.

Young's Literal Translation
And with a male thou dost not lie as one lieth with a woman; abomination it is.

Am I the only one who read that last line in Yoda's voice?

Didn't know Yoda was a xian!

Yes, you are correct, most atheist do have a greater knowledge of the Bible than those who like to show off their clothes on Sundays. Try reading the New International Version of the Bible, the bullshit is the same, it's just easier to read. I disagree with some of the other answers here; I think it is important to have a thorough knowledge of both sides of any argument before an informed decision is made.

Good luck!

I disagree with some of the other answers here; I think it is important to have a thorough knowledge of both sides of any argument before an informed decision is made.

Ideally, that is the case.  But that doesn't mean it is always the best method.  It isn't often practical or necessary to gain deep knowledge of bullshit in order to call it bullshit.  Luckily, burden of proof spares us from having to study every piece of nonsense that the mind can conjure in order to find it unacceptable.

Sarah:  my first suggestion is to realize that the Bible is not one book, but many.  With that in mind, I suggest you CAREFULLY read "The Book of Genesis."  The language in this introductory book is not so "antiquated" that it is inaccessible.  I promise you, Genesis is very entertaining reading; in fact, it is a scream.  This book alone is so cram-packed with nonsensical, illogical non-sequiturs and contradictions that I'm sure you will find many great, ready-made arguments to bolster your new found atheism (Congratulations, by the way!).  It begins with talking about the first three "days" of Creation being "void" - without the Sun, Moon, and stars.  Ask any Christian to explain what is meant by "days" if there was no Sun to define them, and you will get a lot of pitifully weak attempts at explanation.  Most Christians dismiss this inconsistency as trivial and meaningless, but that is not so.  The correct explanation, of course, is that the concept of "days" during the bronze age was a separate one from the astronomical connection.  To shepherds living in that time, "days" were an immutable idea, and the movement of objects in the sky were incidental to it. It never occurred to these primitive people that, without the Sun, there would be no "day."  There would simply be "days" without any "lights" in the sky. The reason this is important is that this opening set of verses, prelude to the many similar ones that follow, make it crystal clear that the writers of the books that made it into what we collectively call "The Bible" were ignorant, superstitious, and therefore, hardly credible.

     My favorite part of "Genesis" is the story of Noah and his impossibly immense ark.   It, of course, had to be orders of magnitude larger than the Queen Mary, in order to transport two of every one of the species on Earth, including ants, cockroaches, duck-billed platypuses (platypi?), rattlesnakes, bacteria, iguanas, dinosaurs, and 30 million or so other species (It says nothing about plants, which also would have perished in the long flood.).  And it was built by an old man and his sons in a few days out of "gopher wood," without the aid of any Craftsman tools  The ark had only one small window, which conjures up some pretty foul images of what it must have been like to be cooped up with millions of noisy animals, all pooping, farting, peeing, and fornicating for several months.  I could go on about how utterly preposterous this fable is; but the salient concept here is that there are many people who actually believe it and all the other ridiculous stories.  As for those who dismiss the Genesis stories as allegorical representations of truth,  your question should be: WHOSE truth?  If they say "God's truth," they are making what, in logic, is called a circular argument- unacceptable! If you read nothing else in the Bible, read "Genesis" and you will be armed with an encyclopedia of arguments against Christian lunacy.  One more thing:  ask a Christian to explain the "morality" of Abraham, the father of the three great monotheistic religions, being unhesitatingly willing to kill and immolate his son, Isaac (just wait till you read THAT!), to please God.  The convoluted answers will amaze you.           

   Once you have digested the idiocy of "Genesis," you will be fortified to read the next four books: "Exodus," "Leviticus," "Numbers," and "Deuteronomy."  These first five books are known, collectively, as "The Pentateuch."  They are not so entertaining or amusing.  In fact, they are horrendous accounts of murder, vengeance, rape, and pillage - all sanctioned (and in some cases perpetrated) by God.  You will find that the "Pentaeuch" is loaded with self-evident arguments for the ethical conundrum that infuses the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

   The remainder of the Bible is indeed archaic and dense with ancient nomenclature.  Compared to the Pentateuch, it is also deadly boring.  So, even if you read no further than the first five books, I'm sure the arguments against the validity, efficacy, and morality of religion will come pouring out of you.


The Bible? I'm a Christian and even I know that the Bible has been altered for years upon years. Studying the Bible won't get you much farther than studying a history book in high school. After all, history is written by the victors. Take what you read with a grain of salt. I question everything about my own religion, especially what I read from the Bible. Prayer, meditation, and sacrifice is where I find answers.

Nelson, you impress me, sir.

I erased them so that my wife would never stumble upon what a real man looked like while nude, drenched in baby oil, and reenacting Marilyn Monroe poses.  I can't compete with that.


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