I know every denomination of Christianly interprets the bible differently and pastors/ministers often have their own take as well. Are churches like Westboro Baptist what people that actually follow the bible look like? What I mean by “actually follow the bible” is that often people will say something was not literal or they take it out of context to make it fit their beliefs. Are groups like Westboro following more of the literal meaning in the bible or are they making it fit what they believe? I know they seem like a bunch of malevolent hate mongers, but if they were made in the image of god…
As an atheist, anytime I read any religious writings I take it for what it says. I don’t look for hidden meanings or analogies to fit a belief system. I know what something says but then I hear a lot of "what this means is" and often what it "means" isn't what it says. Is Westboro what Christianity should look like to an atheist or what should it look like?
I am genuinely attempting to understand this. A lot of you are much more familiar with the bible than I am, which is why I am asking. This could very well be the dumbest question EVER for all I know :)
I'm not disagreeing with you. I just wanted to know if there is an example, maybe in the public eye, of people that follow the bible literally. As close as possible maybe? Without taking it into a diferent context.
Possibly Seventh Day Adventists. Its one of their cores of belief is the absolute infallibility of the Bible.
But like any prose or prophecy its still open to the interpretation of man.
And my response was to sassan direct claim that christians just dont follow the old testatment.
It's because Christians know that if they were half as faithful to the literal word of their bible as Muslims are to that of the Qur'an, they'd be ostracized. Christianity is a tradition in America, but America is inherently one of the most progressive cultures on the planet. This poses a problem for Christianity, because it's forced to compromise its values to survive in that culture; kind of like how Catholicism basically turned into Protestantism in the 60's. Of the Abrahamic belief systems, Muslims have "adapted" (sold out) the least because they've more closely followed the old teachings in their original context (even if that entails bombing people in God's name). People like Fred Phelps (or Osama bin Laden, or Anders Behring Breivik) rely to an extent on interpretation, but to a much lesser extent than these apologists you see everywhere today.
Fundamentalist tradition has a tendency to die out in the presence of overwhelming progressive trend (look at the native Americans-- isolated, struggling, and endangered where they haven't sold out and built a casino). These people can swim against the current as long as they want, but they can't change the flow of the tide. Think about any Christian you know. How Christian are they? Do they care enough to indoctrinate their child? If so, what's the probability of that child retaining those beliefs throughout adolescence? What about throughout their adulthood? Now think about the majority of Christians in America-- people that wear it as a brand, who saw a crucifix between some girl's cleavage in the Fast and the Furious and thought it was cool. Think about their children. At this rate of dilution, how many more generations do you think Christianity can legitimately claim the top spot?
We should be happy that Christians became hypocrites. If they hadn't, they might still be ruling the planet. Reason and free thought are a hazard to religion, you know that. But when, in all of history, have we had more reason and free thought than now? In that sense, spreading atheism (testing religion's integrity) is like being the cancer of a man who's body is already falling apart-- either way he's headed for his deathbed. It would almost be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.
The Bible, along with any other religious tome, is more than just a book with silly stories; the believers turn it into a weapon. Because the ideas in these books are so nebulous, so open for interpretation and misuse, it allows the adherents to justify their actions, no matter how extreme and hurtful. This weapon is very powerful, as it is used not only as justification for horrible acts, but also as fuel to the fire for lunatic, malevolent minds.
“[W]hat makes patriotic and religious fanatics such dangerous opponents is not the deaths of the fanatics themselves, but their willingness to accept the deaths of a fraction of their number in order to annihilate or crush their infidel enemy.”
― Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel