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Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in Atheism, Femnism, God, Progressive Christians | 16 comments

God Didn’t Foresee Fundamentalists

crystal-ballI often criticize and argue against religious fundamentalists because I think there are more of them than people realize and that they wield a great deal of political power in this country. However, many religious criticize me and other atheists for “picking low hanging fruit.” They claim that we aren’t arguing against “real” Christians and that fundamentalists have religion all wrong. That’s interesting, because it seems that God in his all-knowingness couldn’t foresee that fundamentalists would or could “twist” his message so easily.

When I read the Bible, I view it in many different ways. The first is pretty straightforward. I can read the Bible and take it at face value. For the record, I actually think most of the Bible was intended to be pretty straightforward. When the book of Numbers talks about rape and genocide, I think the author(s) actually meant that those things were okay in the context of war. When the book of Deuteronomy talks about… well anything… I think the author(s) meant those horrible things. When Jesus talks about it being better to pluck out eyes and chop off hands in order to avoid sin, I think the Gospel author(s) meant that literally too. Okay, maybe the zombie might have been poetic license, but most of the Bible I think is pretty straightforward and I’ll get back to that.

Still, it is easy to see that much of the Bible probably wasn’t intended to be read in such a literal manner. I don’t think the Creation story was intended to be believed nor do I think the Tower of Babel story or Noah’s Ark were intended to be taken as anything more than fictional myths. The book of Revelation was certainly intended as metaphor and there are probably many other obvious examples of this. So I can understand how many Christians, in light of our current scientific and historical understanding of reality, could claim that other parts of the Bible that seem pretty far out there are metaphorical. Maybe when the Bible talks about women being the property of their father and then husband, the writers were just joking or it was just a metaphor for… I don’t really think it is a good metaphor for anything actually, but okay let’s just pretend that it was. I get it. I can read the Bible that way too. There are a few okay messages in the Bible – I guess.

God? Not a metaphor!!!! While these believers are fine with claiming that all or most of the Bible is metaphorical, the principle character, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit (one character, definitely not three different characters), is not a metaphor. That would be crossing the line. You would be hard pressed to find (although I have found a handful) Christians who would claim that God or Jesus were just metaphors.

So here’s the deal. God definitely real to these non-fundamentalist Christians and he definitely guided the writing of the Bible. Yet for some reason, any idiot can pick up the Bible and get a pretty straightforward message that is morally abhorrent. You can’t blame the fundamentalists for reading the Bible and getting the obvious messages out of it. That’s not to say that other Christians are necessarily wrong to find the few nuggets of actual moral wisdom from the Bible, but if God had any kind of guiding influence over the writing of the Bible, then he clearly didn’t think it through very well.

In short, it doesn’t take a genius to see that if you are writing a holy book there will be people who will read it in a pretty straightforward and literal manner. If you were the all-knowing creator of the universe, maybe you would be a little less cryptic, a little less metaphorical, and include a lot less obviously immoral crap.

For an all-knowing deity, God sure didn’t take into account that the average hillbilly in Kansas would read his book and live it at face value. That was kind of shortsighted for an all-knowing deity, don’t you think?

The problem isn’t with the average hillbilly in Kansas or any other fundamentalist religious believer. The problem is with the Holy Book (and that goes for the Koran as well). For example, no one would read “The Lorax” and believe that Dr. Seuss was advocating strip-mining the land for profit. Clearly “The Lorax” was not divinely inspired and yet one would be hard pressed to find even a hillbilly in Kansas who would get the wrong message from this book.

My point here is that the fault for fundamentalists ridiculous beliefs does not lie with fundamentalists, but rather with their holy books. This is the case even if you believe in the ridiculous imaginary character of God. In fact, if you do believe God had any kind of guiding influence in the writing of your holy book of choice, then you have to put the blame of fundamentalism on him. There are three options here:

1.    He fundamentalists are correct and God expect people to understand much of the Bible literally.
2.     God is not so all-knowing and he could actually foresee that many people would take his inspired words literally.
or
3.    God just doesn’t fucking exist and the Bible is just a bunch of fiction written by bronze-aged, sheep herding nomads.

  • Martin Mayberry

    I’m a fundamentalist a do take the Bible very seriously,when Jesus spoke of Hell it was serious and people will go there.I hope you change before you do!

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      That’s a pretty empty threat, but a threat none the less.

      • Logan

        Have you ever seen the planet venus? That place once was earth-like…

    • Phasespace

      If you really cared about our souls, you would take the questions raised in this post seriously and attempt to address them rather than post an empty drive-by threat.

      • Logan

        2 Corinthians 4:4
        “They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          Or, here is an alternative explanation. Maybe we don’t believe because it is absolutely ridiculous and you have no evidence to support any of these ridiculous claims. Just a thought.

          But it is written that many will believe ridiculous falsehoods on insufficient evidence because they are blinded by Dark Side of the Force. Only when one is calm and at peace, using the tools of the scientific method, logic and reason, can one understand the truth. ;-)

          • Logan

            I’ve already commented this once but it got censored so I will try to say it again…. What if I could prove that the solar system is specifically created to host many earth-like planets? That’s not exactly what I had commented before but that should be close enough.

          • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

            First of all I want to set the record straight. I did not censor your comment. I do have a comment policy (top bar), but I rarely censor comments. However, the comment program on this blog does have an algorithm it uses to detect spam. Your comment might have been cut up there. Usually programs like this one filter out comments with two or more links.

            Second, what if the solar system had many earth-like planets? I’m not sure what you are getting out there. It would be cool, but I don’t see how it relates in any way to the discussion at hand. Venus might have once been earth-like. Mars might have been too. Some of Jupiter’s moons could easily be earth-like at some point in the future. So what?

          • Logan

            Don’t worry, I wasn’t accusing you of anything. My comments get tend to get widely censored no matter the website probably about half the time even though links aren’t usually included.

            I’ve been studying the solar system for many years as an independent scientist. How it relates to this subject is this, what if I could prove the solar system was apparently designed for the very purpose of life? You’re correct in your assumption that Venus might have once been earth-like and actually the same goes for Mercury. I’m quite surprised that you are able to grasp that “some of Jupiter’s moons could easily be earth-like at some point in the future”. Really I’m very impressed you were able to figure that out on your own. Each of the Galilean satellites will periodically become earth-like in their own time. Same goes for Titan, Triton and Mars. You seem to be an intelligent person in your own right. Do you see the big picture of what I’m getting at here?

          • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

            Not really, no.

  • Logan

    I see holes all throughout your sense logic…. So you claim ‘to have read the Bible in various ways’ but not one of them was correct or else you would have witnessed the truth. For instance you said that “God, Jesus, Holy Spirit (one character, definitely not three different characters)”. First of all they are not characters in a story but I understand you have an extreme bias. Now let me prove you wrong with the very words you have supposedly read yourself so carefully. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit share the exact same likeness yet certainly are three different (for lack of better terms) entities. This discussion can get to be very complex and since you guys aren’t on an advanced level yet I will keep it short… Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came here in the flesh and preached great wisdom. Here’s one scripture among many that proves your beliefs are wrong…

    1 Timothy 6:15-16
    15 His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 16 He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      “but not one of them was correct or else you would have witnessed the truth.” LMAO!!!! So if I don’t agree with you, then I must have read it wrong. Hysterical.

      Actually, the Bible makes zero mention of the “trinity.” This was a hotly debated concept in roughly the year 350 CE. But it is not something that is explicitly mentioned in the Bible.

      BTW, You clearly missed the point of the entire article. I know this because if you understood it, you would have agreed with me. ;-)

      • Logan

        Not even so, just pointing out that I have a better grasp on the reality of it than you do. There is absolute truth and I’m not claiming to derive it… I’m just trying to sincerely find it.

  • Guest

    2 Corinthians 4:4

    They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Or, here is an alternative explanation. Maybe we don’t believe because it is absolutely ridiculous and you have no evidence to support any of these ridiculous claims. Just a thought.

      But it is written that many will believe ridiculous falsehoods on insufficient evidence because they are blinded by Dark Side of the Force. Only when one is calm and at peace, using the tools of logic and reason, can one understand the truth. ;-)

      • Logan

        What if I could show you that many earths have and will exist within this solar system?