• ‘Atheists Take The Bible Too Literally’

    Yes, A Christian actually told me that atheists take the Bible too literally. I burst out laughing because as an atheist, I don’t take the Bible literally at all; I take the Bible factitious!

    With that being said, I do think that when a book purports to be the inspired word of the Creator of the Universe, one should expect the words on the page to mean what they appear to mean except when it is obvious that it is meant to be taken metaphorically. But then again, maybe the claim of holiness is itself a metaphor. In which case, the Bible would be no different than other fictional books.

    My point here is that any person with at least average intelligence should be able to understand the meaning plainly. For example, one would be hard pressed to find someone of reasonable intelligence who upon reading Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” concluded that the book supports libertarian style mass industrialization. Sure the Once-Ler is seen in much of the book as someone who supports this political ideology, but it is also clear from the context of the book that he changed his position and that the book actually supports environmental conservation or at the very least sensible industrialization in which we replant and replenish tree as we cut down older trees.

    The point of the book is that the Once-Ler was wrong. However, in the Bible, God and Jesus are supposed to be the good guys. So when God commands the rape of women and children, it isn’t supposed to be a lesson in what not to do. It also doesn’t appear to be a metaphor for something else. It actually seems pretty straight forward. God is instructing people in how to deal with their property and the violation of their property. In this case the property is women.

    Here, some Christians might argue that the Bible was written by people and so we have to take the time period into account. Clearly back then raping women and children was common place, so the fact that God commands it and provides rules for dealing with it in this ancient book is merely a reflection on the time and not on God. Except that God is supposed to be outside of time and that the Bible is supposed to be a moral guide book for humanity not just for the ancient world, but for today also. Can’t someone come along and simply claim that anything in the Bible is merely a reflection on the time? What’s to stop someone from claiming that one of the few good rules like “turn the other cheek,” was merely a metaphor? Besides, if times have changed, why hasn’t God written an updated edition?

    I hate to break it to the liberal Christians, but no amount of metaphors will make the Bible anything less than horrific. It really is just an excuse to move the goal post. Any time modernity and secularism show that something in the Bible is immoral or grossly immoral the liberal Christian quickly claims that that particular verse in the Bible was merely a metaphor. As humans learn more and more about how best to treat each other, the Bible becomes more and more metaphoric. It’s a miracle!

    The facts are clear. The Bible is fictional. Sure there are some metaphorical stories in the Bible which modern readers can still find meaning in, but let’s not pretend that the Bible is any different than any other book of antiquity. Let’s not pretend that the character of God is real either because as our understanding of the universe grows, the gaps for God are closing. In 50 years, Christians will no doubt be claiming that God himself is a metaphor.

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    Category: BibleProgressive Christians

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    25 comments

    1. There are already Christians claiming that, It’s pretty much what Opera said on her show when she was talking to Diana Nyad and telling her she must believe in God because she feels Awe and Wonder and that’s what God is. It sounds to me like she has it backwards and Opera is actually an Atheist in everything but name.

      1. Thanks for this steaming pile of regurgitated pseudo-intellectual neck bearded blather you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting basement dwelling megadouche.

          1. “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving toward depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.”
            Blaise Pascal, quoted in The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage (Page 170)

            1. Ever been on the water? The seasick will be the first to tell you that you can indeed tell that everything is most definitely moving. Furthermore, so what? What the fornicating demon feces does that have to do with the way “Guest” up there just copy-pasted a stream of puerile and incorrect insults in lieu of making a counterpoint? Where I come from, a non sequitur is consiered comic relief, not an argument.

            2. Wow it sounds like you’re pretty smart, AND an atheist too? You must have read a lot of books. I guess God is imaginary then. Check mate, monothesim! Religion flies people into the moon! The Jesus story was stolen from Thor! If only believers just understood evolutionary cosmology better! Aquinas’ Five Ways were disproved by cosmic background radition. Oh, you don’t know about cosmic background radiation, you poor ignorant theist. Something about Zeus, Baal, Apollo… One step further! Dogs and bees can smell fear…. Baah! Allah also died and resurrected. Oh, you say he didn’t, well why should I have to know theology if God is imaginary. Baaah, the emperor has no clothes. Existence is not an attribute. We know now from quantum mechanics that nothing has a cause. The human head weights 8 pounds. Yada yada.
              Did I just pretty much sum up your entire view of reality?

            3. You think my worldview is summed up by a collection of ridiculous, inaccurate non-sequiturs? Do you have an idea that you wish to discuss, or are you just here to be a particularly inept troll? Let me guess, you’re also Mr. Guest up there. If so, congratulations on ditching the old copy-paste for a slightly more entertaining, if still irrelevant and disjointed, one. As I said to Guest(you?) earlier, if you ever have a hankering for a real discussion of actual ideas–not just flinging handfuls of straw back and forth–you know where to find me.

    2. 6 Wow, your comments have really opened my eyes. I mean, this is mind blowing stuff! You make some powerful points, except … let’s put the Hitchens-Dawkins Kool-Aid down for a while and look at reality: Kalaam Cosmological Argument, the Argument from Reason, Fine Tuning of Universal Constants, irreducible biological complexity, the argument from morality…. Your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. Indeed, why are you even bothering to comment at all? No atheistic position can be taken seriously until two threshold questions can coherently be answered. 1. Why is the atheist even engaging in the debate. On atheism, there is no objective basis for even ascertaining truth; there is no immaterial aspect to consciousness and all mental states are material. Therefore, everyone who ever lived and ever will live could be wrong about a thing. By what standard would that ever be ascertained on atheism? Also if atheism is true, there is no objective meaning to existence and no objective standard by which the ‘rational’ world view of atheism is more desirable, morally or otherwise, to the ‘irrational’ beliefs of religion. Ridding the world of the scourge of religion, so that humanity can ‘progress’ or outgrow it, is not a legitimate response to this because on atheism, there is no reason to expect humanity to progress or grow. We are a historical accident that should fully expect to be destroyed by the next asteriod, pandemic, or fascist atheist with a nuke. In short, if atheism is correct, there is no benefit, either on an individual or societal level, to knowing this or to spreading such ‘knowledge.’ 2. Related to this, why is the atheist debater even alive to participate. If there is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife at all, only an incredibly window of blind pitiless indifference, then the agony of struggling to exist, seeing loved ones die, and then dying yourself can never be outweighed by any benefit to existing. As rude as it way sound (and I AM NOT advocating suicide) the atheist should have a coherent explanation for why they chose to continue existing. Failure to adequately address these threshold questions should result in summary rejection of the neckbeard’s position. In the end, we all know you can’t answer these questions because yours is a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound philosophy, unworthy of the universe. Finally, is there a basement dwelling troll left in the multiverse who doesn’t drag themselves out of the primordial ooze and logged onto this site in order to announce our collective atheism towards Thor, that gardens can be beautiful without fairies (a powerful rebuttal to fairy apologetics, by the way, but it leaves a lot unanswered about the Gardener), and that we cling to Bronze Age skymen due to our fear of the dark? Let me translate that to neckbeard: you are unoriginal, you are wrong, and you are a clown. Also, Snow White, FTW atheism is incoherent: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/higher-things/2011/nov/19/atheism-why-it-logically-incoherent http://www.catholicthinker.net/the-incoherence-of-atheism/http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/4-arguments-transcendence.htm http://www.reasonsforgod.org/the-best-reasons/the-argument-from-reason/

      I recently heard lecture from Fr. Robert Spitzer SJ who founded th

    3. It is so sad that you think there is a point to this sophomoric, faux-analytical, pseudo-intellectual blather. This ‘article’ commits so many Fallacies of the Neck Bearded Douche that it is not worth recounting. For any thinking man, the only appropriate response would be to kick the author in the balls. Stfu you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting basement dwelling faux-philosophical megadouche
      rYours is a petty trivial localized earth bound philosophy unworthy of the universe .

        1. Wow, this is powerful stuff. I mean, these ideas really blew my mind! I’m going to have to re-evaluate a lot of things. Except, well…. Let’s put the faux-analytical hyperbole away for a while and look at reality: Kalaam Cosmological Argument, teleological argument, First Cause/Unmoved Mover, the impossibility of infinite causal regress, the necessity of at least one unconditioned reality, the Argument from Reason, Fine Tuning of Universal Constants, irreducible biological complexity, the argument from morality… While you sit there in your Hitchens-Dawkins parroting bubble and regurgitate pseudo-intellectual douchisms, your entire world view lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and critical thinking half as much as you claim, you would plant your face firmly into your hand, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life. Indeed, why are you even bothering to comment at all? No atheistic position can be taken seriously until two threshold questions can coherently be answered. 1. Why is the atheist even engaging in the debate. On atheism, there is no objective basis for even ascertaining truth; there is no immaterial aspect to consciousness and all mental states are material. Therefore, everyone who ever lived and ever will live could be wrong about a thing. By what standard would that ever be ascertained on atheism? Also if atheism is true, there is no objective meaning to existence and no objective standard by which the ‘rational’ world view of atheism is more desirable, morally or otherwise, to the ‘irrational’ beliefs of religion. Ridding the world of the scourge of religion, so that humanity can ‘progress’ or outgrow it, is not a legitimate response to this because on atheism, there is no reason to expect humanity to progress or grow. We are a historical accident that should fully expect to be destroyed by the next asteriod, pandemic, or fascist atheist with a nuke. In short, if atheism is correct, there is no benefit, either on an individual or societal level, to knowing this or to spreading such ‘knowledge.’ 2. Related to this, why is the atheist debater even alive to participate. If there is no heaven, no hell, no afterlife at all, only an incredibly window of blind pitiless indifference, then the agony of struggling to exist, seeing loved ones die, and then dying yourself can never be outweighed by any benefit to existing. As rude as it way sound (and I AM NOT advocating suicide) the atheist should have a coherent explanation for why they chose to continue existing. Failure to adequately address these threshold questions should result in summary rejection of the neckbeard’s position.
          In the end, we all know you can’t answer these questions because yours is a petty, trivial, localized, earth bound philosophy, unworthy of the universe.
          Finally, is there a basement dwelling troll left in the multiverse who doesn’t drag themselves out of the primordial ooze and logged onto this site in order to announce our collective atheism towards Thor, that gardens can be beautiful without fairies (a powerful rebuttal to fairy apologetics, by the way, but it leaves a lot unanswered about the Gardener), and that we cling to Bronze Age skymen due to our fear of the dark? Let me translate that to neckbeard: you are unoriginal, you are wrong, and you are an ass.
          Also, FTW atheism is incoherent:
          http://communities.washingtont
          http://www.catholicthinker.net
          http://www.peterkreeft.com/top
          http://www.reasonsforgod.org/t

          1. As to unoriginality, I thought that was the theme. I was merely
            answering your comment in kind. However, I did not quote either Dawkins or Hitchens, but rather paraphrased Carl Sagan. All of the “arguments” you named after your first bout of unnecessary name-calling are, frankly, bullshit. They are refuted so easily and often that there are standard refutations easily found in a couple of minutes on Google. Maybe people would stop quoting Hitchens and Dawkins around you if you’d stop using arguments they effortlessly refute on a daily basis. Familiarize yourself, sheep. Gee, name-calling IS fun! Let’s see, now to your questions, assuming I don’t miss one in the veritable stew of bile. You’ve never met me, dude, why the fuck do you presume to judge my life? I’m bothering to comment because I like to argue. I like a civil argument better, but if you want to be a dick, that works too. 1) Why does there need to be an objective basis for all the stuff you claim I have no objective basis for? I know what I prefer, and can observe other humans to find out what they prefer, and then work to make all our lives subjectively better. True, I don’t get to trample self-righteously on the rights of minorities, but I do get to actually BE morally superior, instead of just feeling that way. For non-human things, I can take measurements and check them with measurements taken by others to ensure that they’re correct. Wow, you cover a whole lot of questions with just two little bullet points. Can’t you count any higher? Speaking of which, 2) I remain alive because I love it. I enjoy the company of family and friends, I have a beautiful daughter to cherish and watch grow, I relish the challenge that each new day brings, I eagerly await the news that more awesome mysteries of existence have been solved, and I’m just not ready to move on to whatever comes next. I like it here. Why do you keep living? With all your descriptions of earthly woes, and heaven waiting just around the corner, what on earth keeps you going? Is it just because your church tells you that offing yourself is a sin? That’s an awfully sad life, man. At this point, I have to interject, why the assumption about the state of my facial hair? My beard is full and flowing, a bastion of Norse glory. Finally, I’m hopeful/agnostic towards Thor, and your Gardener is probably nonexistent. If he does exist, he’s a bigger asshole than you. Let me translate that into sheepfucker: your regurgitated arguments are stale, tired, and weak, your religion is backward, and you are a self-important, bullying douche.

            PS: Only one of your links works, and it links to the teleological argument. If that’s your idea of an atheism-buster, damn. You have succeeded in the impressive task of being even dumber than I thought. Seriously, that is the most ridiculous, ass-backwards bullshit imaginable, aside from any of Craig’s other arguments. The conditions of the universe aren’t fine-tuned for life, you cretin; life, by means of evolution, is fine-tuned for the universe. You know what IS logically incoherent? Omnipotence and omniscience existing in the same universe, let alone the same being. Bitch.

            1. Despite your steaming pile of faux-analytical neck bearded blather, I think you tacitly know that my comment kicks atheism in the balls and leaves it curled up on the ground in a fetal position gasping for the air that it knows it doesn’t deserve but that it selfishly sucks down anyway to satisfy its solipsistic hedonism.

            2. See, now you’re just a sad and obvious troll. I tried to have a real discussion with you, but it seems you’re just too far up your own ass. I can tell you didn’t even bother to read my response, since I took the time to correct your unfortunate misconceptions about my facial hair. If you want to actually have an exchange of ideas next time you come up for air from gargling all that priest-cock, you know how to find me.

    4. A bit off topic, but how long does a comment usually “await moderation” on this site? I’m trying to reply to a comment that’s over three hours old, and it won’t let me because the post isn’t active yet. Kinda bumming me out.

      1. Generally speaking, there is no moderation. ALL comments are posted except when the program thinks they are spam. This guy spammed multiple posts with the same comment so it was seen as spam by the program. I have allowed the comment to go through on this post only so you can respond. Assuming this is the correct comment. Otherwise, I have no idea what comment you are talking about.

        My comment policy is pretty generous. It is very rare that I delete a comment or prevent a comment for being posted.

      2. The site knows you are a Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling, faux-intellectual assclown, spouting pseudo-philosophies that are so petty, so trivial, so earth bound, so unworthy of the universe that its trying not to publish them.

        1. Dude, I don’t know who your spy is, but you should fire his ass. My house doesn’t even have a basement. Here’s a challenge for you: give me one quote from my earlier comment that quotes anyone other than Carl Sagan. My one mention of either Dawkins or Hitchens was that maybe you should familiarize yourself with the arguments they routinely refute, so you don’t have to hear them quoted so often. It so happens that my biggest influence in escaping the clutches of the church was Robert Ingersoll. Come back when you have something to say, rather than another short paragraph of stale, inaccurate insults.
          TL/DR: Get some new material, you dogfucking yeasty codpiece.

          1. You don’t understand; this guy tells every atheist to stop parroting Hitchens and Dawkins. He’s crazy and spams various atheist blogs. That’s why his comments went to moderation. My blog program considered him a spammer.

            1. Despite your steaming pile of faux-analytical, pseudo-intellectual neck bearded blather, I think you tacitly know that my comment kicks atheism in the balls and leaves it curled up on the ground in a fetal position gasping for the air that it knows it doesn’t deserve but that it selfishly sucks down anyway to satisfy its solipsistic hedonism.

    5. You have, inadvertently, given me the empirical evidence I have been looking for to support my new proof for the existence of God: the argument from douche.
      P1: if a maximally douchy entity exists, there must some transendant, countervailing entity which embodies all that which in not douchy. Otherwise, douchiness would have overwhelmed the universe.
      P2: non-douchy things exist, such as Jesus, America, freedom, baseball, Ronald Reagan, etc.
      P3: a maximally douchy entity exists (proven by your last comment ).
      P4: maximal douchiness does not dominate the universe based on the existence of P2 + sunsets, babies, Chuck Norris, etc.
      P5: the transendant embodiment of maximal non-douchiness, which allows for existence of P2, must be spacess, timeless, immaterial, omnipotent, in order to overcome the maximal douchiness of P3.
      That entity is what classical theists call God.
      Thanks again neck beard boy. In all your pseudo-intellectual, teenage angst ridden butthurt fury, you have proven the existence of God!

    6. Actually, the Hebrew scriptures and the canonical gospels were never meant to be taken literally. That is a Gentile heresy dating back to the last couple of decades of the 1st century A.D. As the original Jewish leaders and congregations died off or were killed, there was no one remaining to tell Gentile converts that the scriptures were allegorical in most instances and metaphorical in the rest. No Jewish follower of Christ in the first half of the 1st century would have taken the gospels literally, since Jesus himself apparently never bothered to write down his teachings and those were passed along orally in the synagogues and house churches that followed.

      I recommend you read the works of John Shelby Spong, especially his books on the canonical gospels. His most recent published tome focused on the Book of Matthew, which was written some ten or so years after the disappearance of the apostle Paul from history (his death?). As well, Origen’s ‘On First Principles’ urges readers not to take everything in the bible literally, as to do so would create in the mind all manner of contradictions and absurdities. That should clear up a lot of questions regarding the false interpretation of the bible as a literal history of the world that has been taken for the past nineteen centuries.

      Here’s a highly interesting article you might like:

      http://www.deism.com/jesusexist.htm

      1. Michael, did you even read the article? Like I said before, the Bible is fictional! When God commands the rape and murder of women, what is that a metaphor for, exactly? I’m so glad you don’t want to take it literally that God thought gays should be put to death, but what is that a metaphor for? How about when Jesus says you should hate your family? What is that a metaphor for? Maybe Jesus himself is a metaphor? How about God? Should we take him literally? I don’t think we should.

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