As an atheist have you ever read the bible?
Some would suggest that as a non believer who has read the Bible, I lack understanding. I don’t think so. I think the overall concept is genius because of its social intent to bring humanity together under an umbrella of “goodwill”. On the other hand it is flawed because it cannot contain the egos of the individual. If you have read the bible then why are you still a non believer?
As an alumni of a prestigious Christian college, former missionary and now atheist, I have read the Bible more times cover to cover than I can count. I can read it in Greek, Latin and Hebrew. Why ask I now a non believer? Because I HAVE read it.
I think the most disappointing part of religion is that the idealism found in the Bible is no longer evident in reality. I hope you are at peace within. It’s not easy to shed the illusion of a god without losing some faith in humanity in general.
My "faith" in humanity has actually grown since becoming an atheist, and I"m more filled with a sense of wonder of the world around me since freeing myself of the shackles of religious dogma than ever before.
JMcFarland, couldn't agree with you more about your "faith" (let's call it "hope") in humanity having grown and your sense of wonder. I am totally awed at the universe and find that too wide for religion.
I love the Beatitudes, the 23rd Psalm, other parts of the Bible for their lyrical and literary beauty and wisdom and instruction of living in a peaceful society to be very meaningful. As a former interpreter of the deaf, however, being aware of the nuances of translation of words, phrases, idioms, from one language to another, I find studying words that have been translated over and over through centuries and from language to language, and then saying you know exactly what those words mean is ludicrous. I always use my struggle to translate the phrase "take something for granted" into American Sign Language, as an example for the ambiguity of translation. There are words and phrases from a language that simply don't translate. I think most Americans who have known only English have a difficult time wrapping their heads around the concept of the difficulty of translation. So calling something THE written word of God makes no sense to me. I also believe that the human intellect is meant to progress as new information is gleaned. To not adapt religious beliefs to new information is simply ignoring the magnificence of creation. It seems to me as if those who would keep their minds stuck on studying the Bible are actually somewhat spitting in the face of their own God-given intellect. I've had many years of religious training and it has allowed me to have a frim enough foundation and lack of fear from which to spring off to exploration into ALL possibilities.
When I listened to men tell me about the Bible it was about a relationship of master and servant, it was about humans being fallen sinful creatures whose only hope in life was redemption via a supreme being.
When I read it on my own, I found a story about love, about a divine being giving the incredibly wonderful gift of freewill, of giving humans the ability to fail, but also the ability to succeed in marvelous ways.
I never had a problem with the Bible. I had a problem with what men told me it meant. And when I realized how wrong they were and how their interpretations were tied to personal agendas (that are often un-Christian) I ran fast and far away from them.
Almost everyone is born into a religion, reading a holy book does not always make sense without faith.
Becoming an atheist is a choice. How that choice is formed and made depends on the type of person you are and the type of religious background you were born into.
The bible itself is a book of many stories that has been translated many times. It has also been re-written to suit different alternative or spin-off religions, each time losing some of its meaning. The original scriptures probably were very appropriate, but the manipulation of the meanings creates doubt.
For example, there are many theories and concepts about the simple passage that states ‘the meek shall inherit the Earth’. Surely the meek do, every generation, every new born.
Not that many years ago atheists were looked on in a very different way; devil worshipers and heathens. Today it is more accepted.
Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, there is no true book on atheism. Therefore, because there are no hard and fast rules on atheism, one has to educate one’s self about all the religions this world has to offer, at least the basics.
Choosing to be an atheist and remove one’s self from a religious body is personal and stopping going to church is not such a big deal.
Choosing a different religion from the one you have been born into can often become very difficult for an individual.
I have not read the bible, but I would very much like to. As a writer, I can appreciate the mythology of the story in the same way that I can appreciate the Odyssey. Also, considering it is the central talking point of arguments for my damnation, I feel a certain need to be informed about it. The only reason I haven't read it is because of how long it is. It's very much like reading Shakespeare; you acknowledge it's influence, but it isn't exactly an afternoon read. It takes time and consideration to get through and come away with any sort of understanding. Having said that, I do find that my passive knowledge of the bible is sometimes more extensive than a number of theists I meet. Part of that is because not all theists are supporters of the bible, and part of it is the nature of being raised in a religion, rather than choosing one.
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