Reading the bible... for our benefit

Okay, so we all know that the bible can be pretty hard to read. Not just because the bible is poorly written, but also because it makes no sense and propagates many upon many questions through our heads.

I must admit here that I haven't read the whole bible and fell victim to its horrendous format and disparity from logic.

On the other hand, I think it can be a useful tool. I'm sure that many of you have found reasons for being Atheist from reading the bible, as have I, but I think the bible can do more than just that. Throughout my college life, I have come across many academic issues. Upon contemplation, it all really came down to whether or not I asked enough questions. I don't know if it's pride or anxiety or any other reason but I've found it hard to set up my school work in order to find the questions I need and then actually go up to someone and ask them. This is my fault and it has lead me down many horrible paths. We NEED to ask questions. Asking questions is pretty much the foundation of science and engineering, and is most likely how they started. Why is the sky blue? Why do volcanoes erupt? What causes tornadoes? Simply saying "god" is highly ineffective and insufficient, and thus the scientific method was born. 

How does this relate to the bible?

From my experience of reading an extremely small portion of the bible (lol), it has brought up a multitude of questions and concerns for me. Why does this need to happen? How is god testing us here? What parts do people even consider to be true/false and how do they determine the difference between the two? I would assume this trend of ongoing questions would carry on throughout the whole text, which brings me to my point. The bible seems to be a great medium for interpreting and bringing forth questions. Reading the bible makes you think and ask why this and that. I believe that if I read the bible at an early age, I would have developed much better questioning methods and would probably be more inclined to actually ask them.
So why not use the bible as a tool to develop and promote our questioning methods, to help mold it into a system where we can see what needs to be asked in order to understand the foundations of the concepts we are learning?

One might bring up the use of textbooks though. Why not use those? Why not read something consisting of verifiable material and can be proven true? This would not work because they give the answers. They tell you the reasons why this and that, they explain to you how things work, they answer your questions. If all our questions are answered before they are even asked, how will we even know we had those questions in the first place? How would we even realize certain questions HAD to be asked in order to figure out details, processes, configurations and requirements for events and methods in real life?  

The key part of the bible is the lack of information and answers. Without these, we are then cued into questioning. We immediately, out of natural curiosity if not doubt, question the material given. I think this in itself can be useful to us, especially as a eye opening and thought process developing experience during our earlier stages of life.

Should I become a father in the future, I think I might consider using the bible as a tool to boost my child's (children's) learning experience (skipping the whole indoctrination part of course).

... Am I worried about them turning into christians? no. As long as they are happy with their lives, don't infringe on others, and ask the right questions, I am fine (Because if they ask the right questions, they will most likely avoid religion...).  

Views: 128

Comment by Bill Williams on January 19, 2012 at 10:40am

As an atheist, I read the entire bible cover to cover and highly recommend it. Rather than getting discouraged by the format, logic, etc., I marveled at how this "good book" is nothing like what I was indoctrinated to believe. Almost every single page is littered with violence, intolerance, absurdities and contradictions, which thoroughly fascinated me and held my interest.

I agree with your thoughts about studying the bible with your children. Do it in the context of comparative religion so your kids can put the bible in context, and they'll be empowered to think for themselves later in life.

Having read the entire bible is advantageous when talking to xtians. Very few xtians read it  because it generates too much cognitive dissonance, i.e., they can't. That can lead to interesting discussions about why as devout believers, they haven't read what they believe to be the instruction manual from their god.

Comment by Doug Reardon on January 19, 2012 at 12:19pm

'Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.'  Isaac Asimov

Comment by Eoganacht on January 20, 2012 at 2:46am

I can only get through part of it before I feel the desire to exercise my mind or do something useful. Parts of it are disgusting.

Comment by Jared on January 20, 2012 at 11:05am

Yeah I can never get over how all we hear about is how God or Jesus loves us and God is peace blah blah and the bible teaches us how to live moral lives..... and then you read it for yourself and say .... woah... that's the exact opposite of what I've heard my entire life. You look around and say hey I can't be the only one here thinking this is fishy... I mean other people have to read the same thing I just read right? Then come to find out... reading the bible and trying to understand it yourself isn't a requirement for being Christian


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