A reader named John recently left this comment on the post, “Curses or Consequences: Did God Really Curse Adam and Eve?“
I think it’s the same as 99.85% of the worlds Scientists .. That man evolved and the bible is a book of absolute nonsense, written by anonymous bronze age Nomads, who thought the Earth was a ” circle ” at the centre of the Universe and the Moon was a ” Lamp ” ..
Christians are delusional and deceive themselves into believing things that simply cannot be true ..
Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. You may be surprised to hear that I agree with most of what you are saying—except your statement that “the Bible is a book of absolute nonsense.”
I’m a theist myself. Yet I enjoy conversations with thoughtful atheists. I often come away with new ideas and perspectives that add to my understanding of the universe we live in.
It is quite surprising to me, however, that many atheists take the same approach to the Bible as fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. They read it as if it were meant to be a literal, inerrant text. The only real difference is that the fundamentalists and evangelicals believe in that interpretation, whereas the atheists reject it—and the Bible along with it.
And yet . . . that literal view of the Bible is an anomaly in the history of Bible-based beliefs. In fact, it is a very recent development in Bible interpretation.
What sort of book is the Bible?
The idea that the Bible is meant to be read in a literal and scientific manner never showed up in Christianity until the early to mid 1800s. It was a response to the scientific revolution by a group of Christians whose rather black-and-white beliefs were threatened by the discoveries of science.
The Bible itself never claims to be literally true and inerrant. (See the article, “‘Christian Beliefs’ that the Bible Doesn’t Teach.”) That idea would never have occurred to its authors. The Bible was written in the “mythic” phase of humanity, before science as we know it today existed. People in those days simply didn’t think in terms of physics and biology. Instead, the cultures of that time thought in terms of metaphors and symbols of greater human and divine realities. Their storytelling reflects this way of thinking.
The error made by fundamentalists and by many atheists is to think that the Bible is a textbook of science and history. The Bible is not a book about science and history. It’s a book about the human condition, the development of culture and ethics, and the relationship of various human cultures to their God or gods. Even from a purely secular perspective, the Bible is a treasure trove of human literature and cultural history. It’s just not a book about science.
I realize that many people think there is a conflict between science and the Bible. But that is an artificial conflict generated by people who are reading modern, scientific meanings into the Bible that never even crossed the minds of its original authors. For a different view of the Bible from a spiritual perspective, see the article, “Can We Really Believe the Bible?” From a non-spiritual perspective, there is a lot of very good material out there written by secular scholars who study the Bible as literature and as cultural history.
My suggestion for you is not to get stuck on the low-level literal and quasi-scientific view of the Bible promulgated by Christian fundamentalists. It’s not an intelligent way of reading the Bible. And it has only been around for a couple hundred years—a mere 5% of the 4,000 year sweep of Judeo-Christian history. There are much more enlightened ways of reading the Bible, both from a secular perspective and from a spiritual perspective.
I’m not saying you have to believe in God. That’s your choice. I only hope you will reconsider your opinion of the Bible. Don’t swallow the fundamentalist view of it, as so many atheists do.
Thanks again for stopping by. Your thoughtful comments and questions are always welcome here.
For further reading: