To those who've deconverted from Christianity: when I'm riding to work on the subway, I invariably will see 2-3 people reading what is clearly a long-owned, dog-eared copyof the Bible and/or a weekly devotional guide of some sort.  As someone who's never made it through the book (I've tried, but getting through even Genesis is a really hard slog) I've always wondered what they're doing and why.  Are they looking for passages that will address a specific concern they have at that point?  Or continually re-reading the same sections to reinforce some broad set of guidelines (the Bibles I see frequently are highlighted or have notes in the margins).  From what I've read so far, the "rules for living" seem really obtuse, so it's not clear why I'd be reviewing the material at a time I could be reading the newspaper.  Any insight?

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Josh, excuse me but you are really being silly now. You and I are two very different type of atheists. I do not respect religion I only tolerate it.

Saying that I have never nor will I ever read scripture is not the same as saying that I don't know scripture by description. I have general knowledge about various religions enough to know that their basic premise is the existence of one or more supernatural beings. This is in direct conflict with what science has ever taught me to be true about the natural world. So by my judgement it is a waste of time and effort to read religious scripture unless you read them for their historical value.

I'm not the type of atheist that looks at scripture and thinks that I better go read it so I can refute my enemies on their own terms. I would much rather go read literature of science to strengthen my weapons. Then when the enemy comes around stating his or her supernatural claims I will be ready to counter with my answers supported by the best science available that I know of.

To me religious books are just romantic and sentimental literature with historic value. I don't believe that puts me in the same category as book burners at all.

Sorry, to me this is just as bad as people who reject evolution without ever having read one research paper. In your post, if I replaced "scripture" with "The Origin of Species..." and "science" with "the Bible" and/or "my religion", this would be the exact same argument Theists use. THE SAME. The "I have glancing knowledge of this particular philosophy, and can discount it" argument is dangerous, man! If some Christian waltzed in here saying this garbage, you would cut him to shreds:

 

Saying that I have never nor will I ever read On the Origin of Species is not the same as saying that I don't know evolution theory by description. I have general knowledge about various scientific theories enough to know that their basic premise is the non-existence of a supreme being. This is in direct conflict with what Christianity has ever taught me to be true about the natural world. So by my judgement it is a waste of time and effort to read science texts unless you read them for their entertainment value.

I'm not the type of theist that looks at a science textbook and thinks that I better go read it so I can refute my enemies on their own terms. I would much rather go read the Bible to strengthen my weapons. Then when the enemy comes around stating his or her false, ungodly claims I will be ready to counter with my answers supported by the best authority on the subject that I know of.

To me science books are just conjecture and sentimental literature with entertainment value. I don't believe that puts me in the same category as book burners at all.

 

I changed nouns and adjectives. The rest of the words are your own.

 

 

It's simply not the same thing. Few people have actually read "On the Origin of Species". But you can read books and articles written about it and about the works based on it. Same with scripture and religions. You can easily learn about them without reading the texts they are based on.

"Glancing knowledge", yes. But it's possible to have more than glancing knowledge about Christianity without ever really reading the Bible.

I fully agree.

As a professional civil engineer educated by science, I've learned and understood a lot of various sciences by various textbooks without ever having to read the original research papers leading to the material found in the textbooks. One might think that is glancing knowledge but it is much more. This is how science works - we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors knowledge and we do not need to go back and read the original works in order to understand and create new science.

Sorry, but it's not the same because the Bible and scientific literature are not even close to being equivalent.  Disregarding one is not strongly analogous to disregarding the other.  The Bible is unchanging and it is in obvious contradiction of reality while scientific knowledge is constantly changing so as to be more in accordance with reality.  One can safely ignore the Bible, unless one needs to know something about it in order to better understand those people who believe in it.

Personally, like many other atheists, I know the Bible better than do most believers and I think that's a good thing.  However, Great Dane's position is a valid one.  Because they quite clearly contradict reality, one doesn't need deep knowledge of religions or its "holy" texts in order to reject them.

I fully agree.

It is very important to understand that science is ultimately in direct conflict or contradiction with the claims of the unchangeable religious scripture.

That being said I do appreciate that many atheists spend time reading scripture to engage the religious people effectively on their own turf. I'm simply not that type of atheist :)

Ha ha - you really are being more silly now. You can turn my argumentation around if you like but it does not really help prove your point.

The crucial difference between scripture and science literature is that the first is supposedly the words of one or more super naturals while the latter is written by (natural) man containing no supernatural claims. Knowing this basic fact I consider myself wise to choose the latter because I care about the truth. The truth that we know by experience is best resolved by science.

All I needed to know was there were some scriptures in the Bible that teach God created us and loves us and a good dose of my seeing a lot of suffering up close and personal in order to put 2 and 2 together and see that it did not equal 5, like many religious people claim it does.

 

Ramen. 

If people want to read that stuff, fine. But there are many, many better books with better characters and stories

I'm surprised at the number of Christians that say that some of those are not in the bible. Any that are there, are there to teach! Ewww, is there necrophilia in the bible? Oh yuck, Where? Yeah I want to show THAT to my kids...

Parts of it actually aren't a bad read. I've never been able to make it the whole way through, but I keep trying. It's like a Christian friend of mine from years ago, who couldn't understand why I told him to read other religious texts and/or satanic verses. At the very least, you get a clearer understanding of where your opponent/friend/acquaintance is basing their argument from. Fostering understanding is never a bad thing. Even if you don't agree with the Bible's philosophy, there are merits to reading it.

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