Thursday, June 14, 2007

. . . For Next Trick, I Offend You On Purpose

Baptists see atheist books as sign of panic

I really don't intend to insult anyone, but I know at least some of the good folks who read these words are going to be devout Christians. Unfortunately, the article linked above is too ridiculous not to be ridiculed, so I'm going to have to step up.

I'll let you read it for yourself . . . . but I just have to quote this one little tidbit:

A survey last year by the Pew Research Center found that 78 percent of Americans view the Bible as the word of God, though only 35 percent believe the Bible is literally true.

If I'm reading that right, then a little over half the people who said that the Bible is "the word of God" also said that it's not true. Now, it's possible that those are mostly people who rationalize their choice in some way, such as saying that God spoke to us through allegory, so that while the Bible reveals God's word, it is not "literally" true. But I can't shake the mental picture of some guy in his La-Z-Boy telling a pollster, "See, the thing about that is, this is the thing about that: the Bible is the revealed word of Yahweh, the omniscient and omnipotent Father and Creator of the universe. But, see, that guy lies like a cheap rug. He still owes me $5 I ain't never gonna see!"

Before anyone asks, most Christians would probably consider me an atheist. I call myself agnostic only because I don't actually deny that God exists; I simply don't believe in Him without evidence. I have friends who are Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews, and that's fine for them. I don't agree with them. I'm not looking to convert you to agnostic thought and I don't mind if you want to discuss--politely--your faith. Just don't be surprised that I don't share it. After all, if you're a Christian, for example, you probably aren't shocked that I don't have a prayer rug or a Koran. If you're a Jew, you probably don't think it's weird that I don't light incense to my ancestors or spin prayer wheels or sit in zazen meditation for hours and hours on end.

Even if you're the most devout believer in the world, you disbelieve in a lot more religions than you believe in. I just discount one more than a believer does.


Tam said...

You need to get John to tell you about his conversation with the Jehovah's Witnesses who showed up at Oleg's bright 'n' early Tuesday morning. It was friggin' priceless.

Tam said...

...and brief.

BobG said...

As my dad told me when I was a kid:

"The Bible was written by sheepherders and fishermen, and everybody knows how they stretch the truth."

Pokerwolf said...

The whole "Bible is true" thing, for me, usually means that a person who believes that what is written in the Bible is "true" does not believe in Evolution and thinks that the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old.

So, if a Christian doesn't believe that, then the Bible isn't "literally true".

Markman said...

Here's the deal: if you believe the bible is literally true, you believe pi=3, the Earth is a couple thousand years old, radiocarbon dating is the work of the devil, Darwin is definitely burning in hell for even daring to suggest evolution and you are a Baptist or worse. There are many such folks where I live (the Buckle of the Bible Belt). Ask these folks about the apocrypha, the fact that the bible was passed on by a bunch of Catholics or the mistakes in the King James translation and watch their heads spin.

If you believe the Bible is the word of God, but not literally true, you see it in the context of the time it was written in, and thus take it with a grain of salt. You may even have been taught that God used evolution for his creation in Sunday school. The most extreme version of this kind of belief is Episcopalian, where pretty much everything goes no matter what the bible says. Typically, these liberal Christians will look down upon their more fundamentalist brothers, seeing them as gullible and unsophisticated.

Hope this helps...

Less said...

I find the entire definition of
atheism to be, well, hokey...

Basically, if you don't believe or
just don't believe because it
hasn't been proven then you are
still allowing an institutionalized
anachronism define some aspect of
your thoughts.

I think I'll go back to drinking