Christians: Read Your Bible Again… For The First Time

I find that most Christians get so wrapped up in their bronze aged mythology that they seem to have a really hard time taking an objective look from a non-Christian perspective. There is an old saying about walking a mile (or some such distance) in someone else’s shoes or something. The fact is that the Abrahamic religions have so much influence in the world today that most atheists were at one point or another in their lives a believer in some type of deity. Many atheists were even hardcore believers who studied to be in the profession of religion. So we know what it is like to walk in the shoes of belief.

Some Christians will claim that there was a time when they didn’t believe in the Bible and Jesus and I don’t want to take away from their claims of atheism. But at the same time, those Christians also live in a society in which the Bible is taken somewhat seriously. There was never a time in which we came upon the Bible without knowledge of the vast numbers of people who believe in it. Billions of people can’t be wrong right? If over a billion people believe in something, we tend to think that maybe there is something to it. In other words, most Christians have never really stepped back from the Bible and viewed it as alien.

I think it might be helpful for a Christian to take off their Christian hat for a little while and pretend that they are reading some other religion’s holy book. Maybe they should pretend that it is an alien being’s holy book or a tribe from an obscure African country’s holy book. Perhaps we can even forget that it is a holy book at all. Imagine if you will, that you found this book in the fiction section of your local Boarders Bookstore and you never heard of it before.

I want Christians to read their Bible again… for the first time. Does it sound like a plausible story? Is it entertaining? Would you pick it up off the bookshelf and after reading it think that perhaps it doesn’t belong in the fiction section, but seems to instead fit in with non-fictions books? Christians should remember to keep their Christian caps off. From an objective standpoint doesn’t the Bible really seem pretty silly? Be honest.

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4 responses to “Christians: Read Your Bible Again… For The First Time

  1. Silly is not a strong enough word. How about foolish? I hate to steel your thunder, but your accusation here is not very original, especially when the Bible calls itself foolish!

    – 1 Cor. 1:18 – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    – 1 Cor. 1:21 – “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”

    – 1 Cor. 2:14 – “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    These passages are not alone, there are dozens like them conveying the same message.

    I assuming that you’re equating silliness and foolishness with truthfulness. Any elementary logician can see the fallacy in this. Unless you happen to be the universe’s objective source of truth, your opinion on a premise has no bearing upon its truthfulness.

    So go ahead and form your opinions about the Bible as being silly, unfair, misogynistic, mythological or any other put down you’d like to insert, I don’t care. But please, Mr. Freethinker, autonomous center of veritas that you claim to be, tell me on what objective basis can you claim scripture to be either true or false?

    I’ll admit that I’m unable to separate myself from my Christian monotheistic presuppositions when reading scripture, or anything else for that matter, if you admit you’re unable to separate your self from your presuppositions.

  2. Thanks for your comment Chad. First, I never claimed originality here. I am sure many people throughout history have made these very same observations and arguments. I am simply making them again for a different audience at a different time.

    Second, I never claimed to have “Objective Truth.” That seems to be your claim. My claim is that we have reasonable certainty about certain things. To claim that something is either Universally True or Universally False on an objective level is simply a claim not no one could make about anything. We know that certain things are probable or improbably. We know things with varying degrees of probability. I don’t “Know” that the sun will rise above the horizon tomorrow with absolute certainty, but I am reasonably certain that it will. We can look at the evidence for and against certain claims and see how well they match up. If the evidence leads up against a particular claim, than we change the claim.

    Third, my point with this particular blog is to ask Christians to suspend their belief and read the Bible from a different perspective. For example, I am not a Christian, but I could read Christian fiction (like the Left Behind Series) and put myself in the shoes of a Christian. What I am asking Christians to do is to pretend just for a short period of time that they have never heard of Jesus and to read the Bible again… as if for the first time.

    Forth, I think if you are able to read the Bible in such an objective fashion, you too will find the claims silly and ridiculous. If it helps you, change some of the names around. Maybe instead of Jesus, pretend that it said Mohammad. Instead of God, pretend it said Allah. If you really wanted to get a different perspective on things, pick up the Iliad and change Zeus to God and see if you think it might me less fictional that way or still pretty darn ridiculous.

  3. Thanks for the dialogue. I’ll admit there are times where I fashion myself as the only objective source of truth (ask my wife…), but ultimately I know such a claim would be irrational. For I, like you and everyone else can only know truth subjectively. So in this respect, I think we agree that all of our knowledge is, as you say, justified by degrees of probability.

    Yet to conclude that since our knowledge is subjective that truth must also be subjective (or non-universal) is absurd. If this were the case, your claim that “[All] we have reasonable certainty about certain things” could not be true, it would only be a probability. We could argue ad infinitum about who’s calculus to use to evaluate this probability, and never arrive at a firm conclusion. Ultimately, the acceptance of your premise requires faith (“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I read that in a silly book somewhere).

    So it’s reasonable to insist upon universal (absolute, objective) truth, in fact reason itself depends upon it! Since we seem to agree that we are limited to subjective knowledge it follows that this truth must be external to our intellect – it must be independent and absolute. Now I don’t want to clog your blog by giving all of the logical steps that lead me to conclude that the Bible is the most probable revelation of this absolute truth, but I’m happy to do so upon request.

    As to your assertion that I’d conclude differently about scripture if I changed the names to Allah or Zues… Talk about silly! Remember, I’m already agreeing with you that Scripture does seem silly to our polished intellects! Besides, Allah and Zues et al don’t make the exclusive claims that the God of the Bible makes: that the creator of the universe sacrificed himself for the sake of his fallen creation who don’t need to do anything to earn this salvation except to believe. Silly? YES. Ridiculous? YES. PREPOSTEROUS! Yet even the harshest skeptic can’t write it off as totally improbable. As I mentioned earlier, you already have faith. I’m just suggesting you put your faith in something a little more concrete.

  4. CW, you are very ignorant. I find it funny that you have to taking Bible verses out of context to make them seem like they call themselves foolish. Paul is saying that the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men. If you don’t understand that, you are just a moron.

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