Atheists know more about religion than the religious

Why is anyone surprised at the findings of a new survey of American religious knowledge, released last week by the … Continued

Why is anyone surprised at the findings of a new survey of American religious knowledge, released last week by the Pew Forum, which demonstrate that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than the religious do? The only religious groups comparable to atheists in general religious knowledge are Jews and Mormons. Atheists even know more about Christianity than American Christians.

I find this totally predictable, because most atheists today (this may not be true a generation from now) were raised in some religious tradition and found it wanting. What do you do when you are unsatisfied with the religious answers you are getting? You start reading about religion. You start investigating other religions. And eventually, if you read enough, you may find yourself agreeing with Thomas Paine, who declared in The Age of Reason (1793), “My own mind is my own church.” But, by the time you are through reading a lot of those supposedly sacred books that contradict one another while proclaiming that they possess absolute truth, you tend to have learned a lot about various religious beliefs.

Atheists and agnostics, like Jews, are much more highly educated than the general American public, and the survey found a strong correlation between level of education and religious knowledge (among the religious as well as the nonreligious).

To answer the questions asked by the Pew Forum does not, shall we say, require a knowledge of rocket science. Fewer than half of Americans, for example, know that Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Reformation. (Only 47 percent of Protestants could come up with the correct answer.) Just as stunning, only 45 percent of Americans can name the four Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. About half of Americans don’t know that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist, that the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday, or that the Golden Rule is not one of the Ten Commandments. Is the Pope Catholic? That’s one question the Pew forum apparently didn’t ask. Catholics, by the way, know less about Christianity than practically everyone. My two favorite factoids about religious ignorance among the religious are (a) 43 percent of Jews do not know that Maimonides, one of the most respected rabbis and philosophers in history, was Jewish and (b) 45 per cent of Catholics do not know their church teaches that the Communion bread and wine become the actual, not the symbolic, body and blood of Jesus.

There is nothing new about these findings. All public opinion polls take during the past 20 years show that American religious literacy, like general cultural literacy, has declined. The Pew researchers included nine general knowledge questions in the 41-question survey, and those who did best on the general queries also did best on the religious questions. People with a college education did better than those with only a high school education. Overall, atheists and agnostics led the field (correctly answering an average of 20.9 questions out of 41), followed closely by Jews and Mormons. White evangelical Protestants were fourth, at 17.6, followed by white Catholics with 16 right answers, white mainline Protestants, “nothing in particulars,” black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics.

Among Christians, only evangelicals and Mormons (both of whom provide much more intensive Bible education than Catholics or most Protestant denominations) knew more about the Bible and Christianity than atheists did.

One of the survey’s most interesting findings is that most Americans have an exaggerated view of constitutional restrictions on teaching about religion in public schools. Nine out of ten correctly answered that the Supreme Court has forbidden teachers to lead public school classes in prayer. But fully two-thirds also thought that public schools are forbidden to teach about the Bible as literature and to discuss its historic role in various countries. About the same proportion believes, incorrectly, that comparative religion may not be discussed in public schools. What this tells me is that the religious right has done an excellent job, from its own standpoint, in blurring the distinction between advocating for a particular religion and discussing religion as a historical force.

I should say that I do not think the proper remedy for this religious ignorance is teaching about religion in public schools. Stephen Prothero, in his book Religious Literacy (2007) argues on behalf of a public school curriculum designed to acquaint children with the basic teachings and historical role of a wide variety of the world’s religions. I consider it naive, in a society in which religion is such a culturally divisive force, to think that ordinary public school teachers could discuss religion in a manner that would not lead to fistfights at school board meetings. If I’m a Jew, do I want an ordinary Christian schoolteacher explaining the religious roots of anti-Semitism to my child? Can most American teachers give an “objective” account of Islam’s role in history? How many of those people who don’t know that Martin Luther was a key figure in the Reformation are teachers, anyway? Quite apart from the question of religious divisiveness, it is hard to see how public schools that are having such trouble imparting the basics of reading, science and mathematics to American children can be expected to take on yet another subject–about which educators, like the public, know even less.

It’s not that I don’t mourn the loss of religious literacy, as I mourn the loss of every form of cultural literacy. As full of abominable absurdities as it is of soaring verse and nonreligious emotional truth, the Bible is as much a part of the furniture of my mind as Shakespeare and much of the greatest Western literature. My reading in and knowledge of Eastern religions came much later, but I feel that they too have added greatly to my general cultural knowledge, in that they are every bit as irrational as the sacred texts of western monotheistic religions.

The loss of religious literacy is really just one part of the decline of what used to be a common core of knowledge–involving both past and present. Is it any more or less of a tragedy that Americans are as ignorant about Shakespeare as they are about the Bible? Is it any more or less of a tragedy that we know as little about the Noble Truths of Buddhism as we do about the general history of Asia?

Two-thirds of Americans, according to studies conducted over the past 20 years by the National Science Foundation, cannot identify DNA as the genetic foundation of life, the key to what makes each of us a unique human being. Let the schools succeed in inculcating that undisputed fact before they start delving into the myths that comprise every one of the world’s religions. It is perfectly clear, however, that both parents and religious institutions are doing a terrible job of educating their young in the truths they hold dear. I regret this dumbing-down of religion profoundly, because religious education is one of the most effective tools ever devised for creating religious skeptics.

About

Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • walter-in-fallschurch

    susan, you said,funny…and true.i was talking to a christian the other day who didn’t know that adam and noah et. al. supposedly lived many hundreds of years. i mean that info is only a few pages into the bible…

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    pardon the interruption.peter, rco, tw,carry on.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Then, of course, the designers of the survey posted an incorrect answer to one of the thirty-two questions, thereby invalidating the findings.The foregoing was noticed by OnFaith bloggers of both the believing and atheistic variety.All this suggests that certain Pew survey designers are less knowledgeable about the Constitution than some Non-Pew survey designers, assuming the cognoscenti are not Pew survey designers, that is, regardless of whether or not the Pew SD’s believe in a deity or deities.

  • WmarkW

    I don’t really have much to say about this. You ever heard of a “Google-nope”? It’s a phrase for which Google registers zero hits, like “professors who love NASCAR.”Well, I got a Google-single, just one hit, on “Jesus in a Christian bookstore.” I thought there might be a lot of phrases like “I found a terrific book about…” but the only hit was about someone planning a prank.(If you do it now, the first hit is me reporting this result to an earlier On Faith board.)

  • JPDG

    Yeah, funny what happens when you take religious education out of schools.

  • twmatthews

    RCO, Walter and Peter. I was posting an apology for not posting over the last two days. I’ve been busy but hope to do so tomorrow.RC, the ball’s in my court. I know.T

  • WmarkW

    I wish I could find a link for what I’m about to write but it’s kind of hard to search for. If someone else is more familiar, maybe they can find a good article…About 3-5 years ago, there was a major push in parts of Virginia (not the immediate DC suburbs) to get approval for a Bible as Literature class. The quotes from supporters in the Post didn’t say anything like “Students need to learn about the composition of literature in ancient times to compare and contrast to other national epics” it was more like “The Bible is source of our culture, ethical and legal systems, so our children need to see their original source.”Shortly thereafter, a religion professor at a major Southern university with a respected religion school (Duke or similar) wrote a critique blasting the course materials for not meeting the criteria of a literature course at all, but resembling more a Vacation Bible School with the blatant indoctrination removed.If anyone can help provide some info, it would be appreciated.

  • bpai_99

    It’s pretty simple why atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than believers. Skeptics usually arrive at their positions by questioning and analyzing the merits of an argument. Believers typically obtain their faith through accident of birth (unless you think it’s coincidence that most believers adopt the faith of their parents).

  • andrew23boyle

    I am an atheist myself but I don’t think this has anything at all to do with the relative intelligence of theists and atheists. (I think theism is usually an emotional and not an intellectual error.) Rather, I think it lay in the fact that atheism is not a “default” position in our society. Almost EVERY atheist became an atheist ONLY after long nights of reading, pondering and self-criticism. Obviously, many theists also spend a great deal of time researching and contemplating their beliefs.The difference is that MANY people who self-identify as “religious” are only religious by “default”; that is to say that they call themselves, say, “Catholic” because their parents are Catholic and it says “Roman Catholic” on their dog-tags, but they don’t follow the church, go to church or know anything about Christian theology in general or Catholic dogma in particular. If you poll these people, they will say that they are “religious” but if you ask them questions about religion, they won’t answer them correctly and THIS brings the average of the “theists” way down.I think it would be more useful and interesting to compare the religious literacy of atheists to that of theists who actually practice their faith, say those who go to church (or temple or juma’a or what-have-you) at least once a week.Just don’t spend any public money on it, please: it’s interesting but not really useful for anything.

  • rjpal

    There was a recent article about Sufis in Pakistan. Sufis pray, they dance, and they experience ecstacy as they are doing so. For them, religion is not a window to open but also to shut. Religion is a house to be lived in, 24/7 as we like to say.Very possibly most Sufis do not know that Maimonides was Jewish or that the sacrament bread actually becomes the body of Christ (have they done DNA testing?)Does that mean that Sufis do not know about religion? Or is it the case that people who made up the questions do not understand religion?Does Ravi Shankar know the extent to which Bach was influenced by Vivaldi? And if he does not, shall we conclude that Ravi Shankar does not know about music?What the survey is doing is the equivalent of taking religion away from Jesus and giving it back to the “learned” who had him killed. Incidentally, I myself took the survey twice. The first time I only got five out of six right because I did not know about a particular Supreme Court decision. The second time I scored 100%. But I do not claim acquaintance with religion on that basis. I claim it on the basis of reading the actual words of Jesus, Krishna, the Dalai Lama and Martin Buber.Because THAT is where religion lives.

  • WmarkW

    I think it would be more useful and interesting to compare the religious literacy of atheists to that of theists who actually practice their faith, say those who go to church (or temple or juma’a or what-have-you) at least once a week.Yeah, it would be interesting to know if the Catholics who got the transubstantiation question right scored better or worse on the rest of the test than the ones who got it wrong.

  • rjpal

    If someone says “I am moral every Sunday morning from 10 AM till noon” we will tell that person that he is not moral. Being moral means being moral all the time.But if a person says that he is religious only on Sundays from 10 AM till noon, we will say, “It is good that you are keeping religion in its place and not making it a fetish.”In fact, as actually religious people know, being religious means being religious all the time. Even Zen meditators who are generally atheist, say, “Meditate as if your head is on fire.”There is an urgency and a passion in religion (which is quite different from intolerance) which is missed by treating religion as a “trivia game”.No wonder atheists are doing well at this foolish survey.

  • amurphey

    Please note that the survey of religion conducted by Pew was MULTIPLE CHOICE. Probably a trained chimpanzee could have scored at least a 50% on it.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The questions on the survey were not hard. If people do not know even the most superfical and common things about the prevailing religion, then they are lacking in basic education. I do not think there is any excuse for religious people being so ignorant; it is just laziness and hypocrisy.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Most common conservative Christian Bible quote:”God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”Motto of conservative Christians and Muslims:”Ignorant and Proud of It”

  • WmarkW

    Most common conservative Christian Bible quote:The incorrect use of male parts is associated with the introduction of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B into the bloodstream at rates enormously higher than among strict heterosexuals.

  • limpscomb

    I have no idea what “makes” an atheist. Perhaps some writers are correct in saying that atheists are people who have been raised in a religious environment and eventually see the flaws etc.,.I learned much of what I know about other religions by reading both literature and articles written by more learned people. I also learned much from Western Civ courses in college.But I became an atheist because, in the long run, all the things I had been taught as a child simply didn’t seem reasonable, possible, or believable. I found what I read and learned interesting, but I can honestly say I don’t think any of it swayed my thinking that much. When I was a very young child I asked my very religious grandmother this question. If Cain killed Able and then went into the land of Nod where he married and had a family, and Adam, Eve and their children were all the people on earth, where did Cain find the woman? Grandma told me that I could ask God when I got to heaven. I think that was the first seed planted for my future disbelief.

  • twmatthews

    andrew23boyle: I think it would be more useful and interesting to compare the religious literacy of atheists to that of theists who actually practice their faith, say those who go to church (or temple or juma’a or what-have-you) at least once a week.This raises the question of what it means to practice faith. I’m an atheist who goes to church every Sunday, playing the guitar for the contemporary choir. When I have discussions with other choir members I find a surprisingly lack of knowledge regarding all religions, including their own. I’m not sure that going to church has anything to do with it, if that’s what you mean by practicing faith.It seems to me that people brought up and never having accepted on face value, the teachings from their religion and who undertake that knowledge on their own, are more likely to be knowledgeable in many things, religion included.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    WmarkWIgnorant and proud of it.

  • WmarkW

    WmarkW”Ignorant”? I’m certainly ignorant of many, many things, but I infer you’re implying that I’m ignorant about something many people on this forum are not?That the human body is better designed for heterosexual than homosexual sex? Explain what’s “ignorant” about holding that opinion.

  • thatcatdavid

    Dear Catholics Solution to Catholic ignorance?EWTN.COM

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    WmarkWThe topic is religious literacy. Obviously, you have given the male sex organ a lot of thought, and perhaps you are an expert on it.But such knowledge is not of a relgious nature, and does not contribute to religious literacy.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Thatcatdavid Ignorance is ignornace, and in a world so full of opportunity to know, yours is just plain laziness.

  • Secular

    I am really very ambivalent about the results of the survey. On one hand, as an engineer, I feel that more a person knows about superstitious beliefs more likely she is going to reject the superstition. This is what we can correlate based on the results. But as always jumping from correlation to causality is fraught with many dangers. On the other hand ignorance in this case may indeed be a blessing. This might mean that less and less people know about their religion then they would be following the dumb stuff less and less to a point that it will whither away. Cas in point Alchemistry was the science de jure way back whenever. I bet 90% of the population hasn’t even heard that (may be much much more). Even those who heard may not even know what the exercise was all about. All I even know about is that they were trying to convert lead into gold or vice-versa. That is all even I know about. The world has been making progress without an inkling of it. Likewise what about all the religions of the past, Isis, Thor, Zeus, etc, etc the knowledge of those scripture is lost for good. Is human kind really the worse for it?Now coming to Bible as literature. I am sure there will be a barrage of posts that will follow,n vilifying me as an ignorant barbarian. Nonetheless, I find all the books of bible & Koran are very boring to tears. I could not have read them if I was not motivated to read and glean its contents, not for any great wisdom, ethics, or useful knowledge. These books are an almost unending series of admonishments in bullet forms. The stories in them are terse very much to the point. I personally do not decipher much of the beauty of literature, that you would find in even John Grisham’s novel or Dawkins’s Screeds. Here I go, in contrast the stories old Greek mythology, Buddhist, and Hindu Mythology are far more interesting. Nonetheless, devoid of any value except the beauty of the literature. As a child I used to listen to my Grand Mother reading these books and I used to look forward to hearing them next day. As I grew up I re-read them. So in the US of A, or in the west, using Bible as some kind of course in literature, seems to me is a bone secularists are throwing a bone to the theists.In conclusion if the knowledge of scripture were to be lost for ever, the human kind would not be the poorer for it any more than we are poorer for the complete absence of knowledge of the Sumerian scripture, Incan scripture, etc etc

  • spidermean2

    Atheists are idiots. Upto now they still don’t know that only a God can create life. The idiotic scientist Venter tried to recreate life from chemicals but ended up making a fool of himself twisting lots of information to hide his stupidity.Knowing 1+1 = 2 is nothing unless you know how to apply it in the real world. What’s the use of atheists knowing about religious facts when they are too stupid to see the reality of God?I actually find the monkeys more intelligent than these idiots.

  • spidermean2

    The idiots should know that with the spread of the Bible came also the spread of knowledge and the Industrial Revolution.Catholicism banned the Bible for hundreds of years.You atheist idiots think you know everything when you actually know nothing.

  • usapdx

    It is time that one learns the history of their religion as well as other religions. Did PEW get any feed back from the non practicing atheist?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Edbyronadams “Isn’t having any axiomatic belief a faith statement. For instance, a scientist’s axiomatic belief is that all questions about nature will yield to systematic investigation. At base isn’t that just as “irrational”, Ms. Jacoby’s favorite slur, as claiming “God did it.”We have experienced the validity of this kind of thinking; though it may be a kind of faith, in a technical, semantic, hair-splitting sense of the word, it is a faith that is not comparable to relgious faith, and, NO, it is not irrational.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SecularI think this is all about pretentious hypocrisy. So many people in the United States claim to be Born Again Christians. Yet so many people could not name the 4 Gospesl, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, that the numbers just do not add up. Clearly, millions of people claim to be Born Again Christians simply because they think that it is a good thing to claim to be, but otherwise, are totally and completely BLANK on any aspect of Christianity, and even more, subscribe to non-Christian beliefs, regarding gay people, for example.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    obviously the bible is not really all that well-written and so forth. agreed. and, of course if it weren’t so many peoples’ “special magic book” no one would consider it great literature. it’s an insult to shakespeare and mark twain to call the bible great literature.but…one cannot really study real (western, anyway) literature or art w/o knowing about the bible. i mean just about every western painter up until the impressionists painted biblical scenes.to understand western literature and art one needs to know some bible basics. there are so many allusions to biblical events, characters and themes in western culture. when we say “…shouldn’t throw stones” or “reap what you sow” we reference the bible. it should be taught like we teach greek mythology.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    DanielintheLionsDen, you said,i think the big thing most people are after is salvation, i.e., eternal life (in heaven, that is…as opposed to hell). they’re not really concerned about all the details. it’s “if i believe, then i go to heaven”.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    First, the Survey demonstrates NOTHING since its findings are invalid. The answer to one question on the separation of church and state is attributed to the Constitution, which says nothing on the matter. I answered the question correctly as did other bloggers and was scored as incorrect.Even with one out of thirty-two questions incorrect, the survey is INVALID. If the findings were reanalyzed, it would still be INVALID.If it “proves” anything, it proves that the Pew folks don’t know much about the Constitution.All these essays, should have taken note of the foregoing, needless to say, but then we do not live anymore in an inquiring, thinking, literate world.More’s the pity. The Protestant Reformation, as Spidey, notes below, along with material changes in the West, did pave the way for greater rational thought, for the employment of reason, if for nothing else, and we used it for awhile.Later it became instrumentalized and we had bombs and holocausts, and such. More’s the great, great pity.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    FARNAZ: The whole idea of a “personal” God, a “personal” salvation is a sort of self-deification that stems from the notion of a man God. The Greeks from whom the Jesus myth derives were in some ways above this. True, their gods had human characteristics, but they were at least Other.FARNAZ2: Actually, I don’t know. The Greeks certainly had gods “planning” for human, messing with human’s affairs. Endlessly.The best I can say for the Greeks in this regard is that they did see their gods as Other.The Greeks were ahead in some ways, traceable elsewhere. They would not have tolerated a Hitler. Would have had real serious problems with a Christine O’Donnell down to a single citizen.

  • CHAOTICIAN101

    It seems pretty obvious that ones religion is almost completely a circumstance of birth and location of ones birth! Most of those who find their religion of birth not satisfying end up as agnostics or atheists, I suspect. Any serious study of religions, especially the Abrahamic cults, cannot lead to any satisfactory path to God or even a spiritual life of personal growth and service to oneself and humanity! Therefore, those students of the various religious and spiritual paths rarely find useful spiritual practices, teachers, or communities. In the end, us seekers generally end up depending on our personal strengths and weaknesses, incorporating the spiritual teachers and practices that seem to offer the greatest opportunity for fulfillment, vicariously getting comfort from teachers, scriptures, and communities that have compatible teachings; while hoping for some grace to descent from somewhere to provide the experience to move along the path of enlightenment and acceptance! Shanti! Shalom! OM! Peace!

  • ZZim

    Susan: “Why is anyone surprised at the findings of a new survey ….demonstrate that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than the religious do?”I’m not. I’m kind of surprised that anyone thinks it should have any deep meaning, though.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    DITLD:Re: Christians (incl. Catholics) and Biblical knowledgeThe majority of students I teach are Lutheran and Catholic. They generally don’t know much about the Bible, but they may know something about the religious practices of their differing faiths.This semester, as always, I’ve taught Flannery O’Connor. This is the first time that no one had a clue as to where this line, heavily alluded to in an O’Connor short story, first found its way into Western Civilization.”For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mat: 6:25When there are non-Christians in a class, I usually ask the Christians to clarify. This is the first term I was unable to do so.And so what, one may ask. Well, so what if they don’t identify as Christians, explicitly say they don’t care, don’t go to Church, etc.The only problem derives from the meaning of the art to which they will be exposed. For this reason, we need some understanding of Judaism (Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, et al), of Islam (Salmon Rushdie, et al), Hindu artists, et al.Dennett makes this point eloquently. Religion serves art and for this reason religious literacy is importance.As Dennett and Persiflage suggest religious studies or comparative religion should be taught in the schools.I can attest from seeing such a department implemented at a Jesuit university that it works well as a weapon against bigotry.

  • gladerunner

    spidermean2:Well, they are our ancestors after all..

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    walter-in-fallschurch Yes, I call that “folk-religion,” meaning, what people have heard about.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”Worshiping a man god leads to all sorts of idolatry, including your basic political saviors, be they a Hitler or an O’Donnell, miles apart though they may be.”How is worship of anything good? How is worship of a man any more destructive than the worship of a set myth written in an unscientific past.Nice try. You are trying to do the same thing that worship of the state tries to create. A utopia that does not exist.The ability to question both the state and a god is what keeps us civil, not blindly cheer leading for either or.I am an atheist, not a fascist. I find the tyranny of Iran which is a religious state as oppressive as the worship of the state Kim Jong Ill demands.The ability to question is what an open market is based on. It is how we prevent monopolies of power, be they by a political party or a religion.

  • gladerunner

    Spiderman2Scientists are fallable. Scientists require the cross-checking of other scientists to confirm the work. Scientists fail, quite often, like Thomas Edison did (Aren’t you glad he didn’t quit and just say: “Apparently only a god can create light!”)

  • FarnazMansouri2

    QUOTE: How is worship of anything good? How is worship of a man any more destructive than the worship of a set myth written in an unscientific past.FARNAZ: Worship of anything is, in MY VIEW, unacceptable.Recognition of human limits, the limits of the human mind, etc., is sanity.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    FARNAZ: “Worship,” by definition, is idolatry.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”Scientists are fallable. “Thanks for the update. Would you like me to call that into CNN?What you don’t realize or don’t want to say, is that SCIENTIFIC METHOD, is not a person or a field of science. IT IS A PROCESS.What you are trying to do is blame the hammer when the person using it builds a crappy house.Any credible scientist goes where the evidence leads, even when it doesn’t go where they expect. Belief however, isn’t based on giving up bad data. Belief is based on using modern data to prop up old myth.Newton got some stuff right which modern science has built upon. But he also thought Alchemy was credible.Now that science has proven that it takes TWO sets of DNA to manifest into a zygote, why any sane person still believes in virgin births is absurd.The world once held the popular belief that the earth was flat and that the sun rotated around the earth.If we always accepted social norms, our species never would have left the caves.For the same reason you reject claims of Thor making lighting, I reject your pet god claim as well. When you understand why you reject all other god claims besides yours, you will understand why I reject yours as well.The only difference between the atheist and the believer, is that the atheist rejects one more god than the believer does.

  • globalone

    Daniel,People don’t freely give their lives to Christ because they’ve memorized the Bible or have studied enough to pass some random test on Christianity. If you had been a witness to just one person’s testimony, you would already know this.Being able to recite the books of the Bible or regurgitate some specific number of verses makes you no less a Christian. However, I would agree that too many Christians miss out on the abundant knowledge and wisdom of the Bible because they don’t take the time or the opportunity to study it closely, either alone or in a group setting.

  • globalone

    “obviously the bible is not really all that well-written”Obviously, you have never read the book.

  • Secular

    obviously the bible is not really all that well-written and so forth. agreed. and, of course if it weren’t so many peoples’ “special magic book” no one would consider it great literature. it’s an insult to shakespeare and mark twain to call the bible great literature.but…one cannot really study real (western, anyway) literature or art w/o knowing about the bible. i mean just about every western painter up until the impressionists painted biblical scenes.to understand western literature and art one needs to know some bible basics.there are so many allusions to biblical events, characters and themes in western culture. when we say “…shouldn’t throw stones” or “reap what you sow” we reference the bible. it should be taught like we teach greek mythology.Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch Agreed to understand and appreciate western literature, especially the older stuff, not so much of 20th & 21st century stuff though knowledge of bible is helpful. But that’s is not to say that there is any intrinsic value in that tome in of itself, even as a piece of inspired literature. Either because the original language was deficient or the people who composed originally weren’t mush given to literary flair. This again in comparison to oriental scripture, although just as devoid of any value from science and ethical guidance as purported. The oriental scripture is more impressive in terms of the narrative style, much like Greek mythology, you hard put to put it down and are eagerly waiting for the next reading. When I first read about HTML, what came to my mind as possibly the first candidate for the application of the this technology was “Mahabharata”. That is one story which is was composed over 3000 years ahead of the technology. No wonder it took over 100,000 stanzas.Posted by: DanielintheLionsDen

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”The loss of religious literacy is really just one part of the decline of what used to be a common core of knowledge”Stop it. What you really want to say is that when people read the bible you want them to accept that a god exists, particularly your god.People SHOULD read the bible. Then they would know that it treats the sun and moon as separate sources of light. They would know that it allows child rape to protect angels. Would you offer up your own child to rape just to save your dwelling? God had no problem allowing his fan Lot doing such.I agree, people SHOULD read the bible. They need to see that it is no different than reading Harry Potter or viewing Star Wars.What is most insidious about that book is that it’s fans pretend that it is about altruism, but it’s main character’s goal is to gain fans for himself.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    QUOTE: People SHOULD read the bible.Then they would learn of the pre-eminent child murderer, the God of the NT, the locus classicus for child torture, “HE” who sent to earth his son to be tortured to death.Yea, and I say unto you s/he who does not read the NT knows nothing of the inaugural racism of the West. Yea, and DITTO, the NT was a fav source of quotables by Adolf and Die Sturmer, jes’ to know a couple.These thinks I say unto you.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”Being able to recite the books of the Bible or regurgitate some specific number of verses makes you no less a Christian.”RIGHT, the theologian has the same thing in common with the weekend worshiper. They both believe that their super hero is the one super hero every one should follow.Just like there are fans of Star Trek who only watch the show, and others who go to conventions and study the Klingon language.I am a Redskin fan, but couldn’t tell you every player’s name. But that doesn’t make my affinity to my arbitrary liking of the Redskins the truth of the NFL.

  • Brianrrs37

    Not that there is this alleged being. But if one were to accept this model for argument’s sake, WHY ALL THE DRAMA?If he is selfless then he should not care if we end up not following him. He shouldn’t care if we remember his name or repeat it.What should matter, which we don’t see in reality, is all the suffering that happens in reality.The reality is that both good and bad happen because it happens and humans observe it. No human wants bad to happen to them. The mistake religion makes is that there is some magical answer to our problems and we invent super heros to placate our emotions when reality doesn’t match the script sold to us.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    QUOTE: People SHOULD read the bible.Then they would learn of the pre-eminent child murderer, the God of the NT, the locus classicus for child torture, “HE” who sent to earth his son to be tortured to death.Yea, and I say unto you s/he who does not read the NT knows nothing of the inaugural racism of the West.Yea, and DITTO, the NT was a fav source of quotables by Adolf and Die Sturmer, jes’ to know a couple.These things I say unto you.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE;”Recognition of human limits, the limits of the human mind, etc., is sanity.”I find myself having the same problem with your well intended woo as I do any liberal Christian or liberal atheist.What you want to say is “I don’t know” WHICH IS FINE.But that acceptance should not amount to dwelling in superstitious pasts based on gods humans invent to placate their emotions.I don’t know what happened before the big bang, certainly. But if one can accept that a tornado is not a thinking being, or that cancer or even an atom are not thinking beings, why would what we don’t now now have to be the result of thought?I think the much more rational explanation to what we don’t know is that it is just as natural and un cognitive as what we do know.Belief is nothing more than the same anthropomorphism that caused pre-written religious people to believe that volcanos were gods.I forgot who said this, “If horses had gods they would look like horses”

  • gladerunner

    “I forgot who said this, “If horses had gods they would look like horses”

  • FarnazMansouri2

    QUOTE;”Recognition of human limits, the limits of the human mind, etc., is sanity.”I find myself having the same problem with your well intended woo as I do any liberal Christian or liberal atheist.What you want to say is “I don’t know” WHICH IS FINE.If, however, you have a questions about my meaning, that WOULD BE FINE.

  • Secular

    Quote “Then they would learn of the pre-eminent child murderer, the God of the NT, the locus classicus for child torture, “HE” who sent to earth his son to be tortured to death”.Isn’t the god of NT same as that of OT and Koran. I thought the character of Jesus was born to to two Jews. Oh any way the OT god and a Jewess. Unless of course I missed a chapter or two, I don’t recall Jesus claiming some other god, like Avaram departed from the Chaldean gods. Did I? Of course unless I read the bedouin’s hallucinations incorrectly, (quite possible) didn’t he claim his god is the same as that of Avram. Please, Please someone explain to me where I am going wrong here, and finding myself wet behind the ears.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    OUOTE:Quote “Then they would learn of the pre-eminent child murderer, the God of the NT, the locus classicus for child torture, “HE” who sent to earth his son to be tortured to death”.Isn’t the god of NT same as that of OT and Koran. I thought the character of Jesus was born to to two Jews. Oh any way the OT god and a Jewess. Unless of course I missed a chapter or two, I don’t recall Jesus claiming some other god, like Avaram departed from the Chaldean gods. Did I? Of course unless I read the bedouin’s hallucinations incorrectly, (quite possible) didn’t he claim his god is the same as that of Avram. Please, Please someone explain to me where I am going wrong here, and finding myself wet behind the ears.

  • andrew23boyle

    twmatthews: You bring up a lot of good points. I think your personal experience as an atheist choir member is both unusual and puts you in a unique position to observe this sort of thing.You’re also spot on about the difficulty in determining what, exactly, makes someone “religious” in other than simply name. Nor can I disagree with you that those who never question themselves or their beliefs are more likely to be ignorant of the nature of both.It was very nice speaking with you and I appreciate your interesting perspective! Have a great day and please take care of yourself!

  • globalone

    “The mistake religion makes is that there is some magical answer to our problems and we invent super heros to placate our emotions when reality doesn’t match the script sold to us”In regards to Chrisitanity, what is the “magical” answer to our problems? Furthermore, what is the “script” that was sold to us?Please elaborate. Thank you.

  • Brianrrs37

    Quote:”I find myself uninterested in your advice on how I ought to phrase my thoughts.”Of course. Because pretending all claims are equal is much easier than testing them. Why would humanity want any sort of quality control?Think about that when you drive your combustion engine car and type your response to this post on your computer.

  • Brianrrs37

    Quote”Quote:”I find myself uninterested in your advice on how I ought to phrase my thoughts.”Which is why Windows Vista was such a success.

  • globalone

    Daniel,Not sure I understand what a “Non Christian” belief is in regards to homosexuality when one believes in the teachings of the Bible. Could you explain?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    QUOTE (yet again):Quote:”I find myself uninterested in your advice on how I ought to phrase my thoughts.”Of course. Because pretending all claims are equal is much easier than testing them. Why would humanity want any sort of quality control?Think about that when you drive your combustion engine car and type your response to this post on your computer.Otherwise, why not simply post to yourself on Word and congratulate yourself on your erudition?Do you have a question?

  • globalone

    Farnaz,Do you really want to support an argument/belief with the fact that Hitler often quoted from the Bible? Really?Don’t move until you see it.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi Globalone,What follows is from the main page. I think it addresses your question to me.FarnazMansouri2:frtrue Author Profile Page :I am half way through Ian Kershaw’s biography of Hitler. I am struck at how many times Hitler says he is called by God in his mission in restoring Germany to world domination and ‘ridding the world of the Jews.’ I don’t think O’Donnell is a nazi, but her thinking is certainly in line with the hypocritical Republican party in trying to claim moral superiority.They go beneath the surface texts of the two belief systems. Interesting and scary stuff.Once you get into the game of God planning for you, a big time claim of the Christians, you set the stage for murderous “sacrificing” dictators–unsurprising though this should be, it is. The pre-eminent child murderer is, of course, the NT “God” who sent us his “son” to torture to death.The whole idea of a “personal” God, a “personal” salvation is also a sort of self-deification that stems from the notion of a man God. The Greeks from whom the Jesus myth derives were in some ways above this. True, their gods had human characteristics, made plans for human, but they were at least Other.Note the prevalence of the word “sacrifice” in nazi literature, the many instances in which the nazis’ (apostles’) sacrifices are praised.A murderous deity, “sacrifice,” a man god, plans for human, unwavering essentialism, racism, this is what the Christian nazis took from the NT. It was, as the overwhelming number of Holocast scholars have said, necessary but not sufficient for the genocide.October 8, 2010 6:15 PM | Report Offensive Comment

  • spidermean2

    Catholicism is not Christianity. Catholicsim believes in evolution and banned the Bible for centuries.Hitler was a Catholic and believes in evolution thinking he belongs to a superior race.Now where in the world can you call that kind of person godly?You people are twisting the facts.Hitler is the exact opposite of O’Donnel.O’Donnel is much more intelligent than the idiots here because she believes that evolution is a myth but the idiots seem to have missed the memo.

  • spidermean2

    Knowing religion is not the same as knowing God. There’s a big difference.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi Spidermean,I didn’t say Hitler was godly, and I don’t see a resemblance between Christine and Adolf.Missed you, and glad you are back!Farnaz

  • spidermean2

    thanks :)

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    globalone I just don’t see how an obsession with an erect penis has anything to do with the teachings of Christ.

  • spidermean2

    An obsession for one when you have it yourself is a kind of sickness. The Bible also declare it as sickness.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”Knowing religion is not the same as knowing God. There’s a big difference.”I agree.Knowing religion makes you an atheist. The other is just holding onto a feeling because one likes the feeling of having a super hero.I know Thor doesn’t make lighting so therefor I see no need to feel Thor in my heart.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    some say,hahaha…. whew… [wipes tears of laughter from eyes] hahaha…good one…. always cracks me up when people of one christian sect say people of some other christian sect “aren’t christians”. (the same way it cracks me up when people with one set of crazy irrational superstitions laugh at the crazy irrational superstitions of some other sect/religion. like when regular christians laugh at mormons for their crazy beliefs…)given that there are hundreds (thousands?) of different little christian sects – each w/this or that nuance of scripture, doctrine, and practice, one can only say the christian god(s) is(are) a horrible communicator. why are we all so confused about this? a perfect god should be able to do a much better job letting us know about him, dontcha think?

  • globalone

    Walter,”I don’t have a thing to wear”Would the meaning change at all if this were spoken by a man versus a woman? Same exacts words. Yet, oddly, two separate and entirely different meanings. Strange.

  • globalone

    Daniel,I didn’t realize that the homosexuality discussion was based simply on an erect penis.Probably because it isn’t.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    Walter,”I don’t have a thing to wear”Would the meaning change at all if this were spoken by a man versus a woman? Same exacts words. Yet, oddly, two separate and entirely different meanings. Strange.Posted by: globalonewell, sure, different people see different things. but god’s supposed to be perfect. plus he had (has) more than one sentence to explain himself. plus, according to some sources, he’s in the business of “hardening” (and “softening”) hearts – i.e., hindering or helping us “get it”.on the other hand, maybe he’s just not paying attention anymore, because if he were, he would see how confused we all are – and that we’re KILLING EACH OTHER over it.whichever version of whichever religion is the right one (if anyone is still practicing it – i mean, what if the ancient egyptians got it right?!), a perfect god would see that most people in the world are earnestly, devoutly following the wrong religion. and he just lets that keep happening?i mean, i understand the cover-story/rationalization christians use is that the devil has mislead all these christianity-rejectors. given that most people in the world are not and have never been christian, one is left thinking the devil must be more powerful than god. weird.btw, did you find your compass?

  • nicolinesmits1

    It really shouldn’t be a surprise that many catholics don’t know that they’re supposed to believe that the wine & the wafer actually turn into the blod & the body at the moment of consecration. The catholic church probably doesn’t want to emphasize this, because how can you expect grown men and women to believe something that is patently *not* happening?

  • globalone

    Walter,Free will. It’s not God’s job or His plan to make your world a utopia.

  • PSolus

    globalone,”Free will.”Does your god punish people who use the gift of free will that he has given them in a way that he does not want them to use said free will?”It’s not God’s job or His plan to make your world a utopia.”What is his job?What is his plan?BTW, how are you getting by without your “moral compass”?Are you accidentally doing a lot of “immoral” stuff?

  • onofrio_

    Know-alls, all-fours, one-for-alls, all-for-awfuls, once-mores, one-all-draws, all-overs, wall-flowers, floor-fallers, four-wallers, cool-woefuls, fool-maulers, war-callers, walk-the-talkers, tick-tockers, flock-ins, faux-kingpins, pro-sin-kings….there’s nothing new under the sun.

  • onofrio_

    Who cares if Martin Looter nailed up his faeces and went on a diet of worms?

  • asokdas1943

    No religious people with good or average intellegence should read the boring and uninteresting holy books fancied by imaginative minds.The more they read ( and read to understand) the more atheist they would be.The religious business survives because the religious people has little knowledge about what the scriptures say. The greedy and cowardish people only worship the holy books and memorise those with a view to have a place in heaven and to avoid the hell but do not read to understand and to acquire knowledge. That is the secret of religious mortality.The Atheist on the other hand with the desire of search of knowledge have to read the religious books to understand those. Hence the atheists have better knowlege on religions than religious people. Ashok the Godless,Kolkata, India

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi Onofrio,Long time! Missed you and glad you’re back.Farnaz

  • spidermean2

    The Bible can be likened into a very sharp double edged knife. It will hurt the idiots more than it can help them. This is the main reason why idiotic societies today ban it. In places today where there are no Bibles, your freedom are restricted. It’s been this way for many centuries. Even the Catholic church which is not Christianity banned the Bible for centuries.Is NOrth Korea, Afghanistan dangerous places? Sure and there’s no Bible in those places.If there is a bomb detector, there is also a stupidity detector. The stupid ALWAYS repel the Bible.Look what happpened to the most powerful military in the world in Afghanistan. THey repelled the Bible by burning it. Their performance in that war is bordering on STUPIDITY despite the arm superiority they have.Atheists, the bible stated that you are idiots. Believe it. It may cure you if you do.

  • spidermean2

    Jacoby wrote “Two-thirds of Americans, according to studies conducted over the past 20 years by the National Science Foundation, cannot identify DNA as the genetic foundation of life” 100 percent of Darwinian evolutionists are still ignorant of the fact that DNAs do not evolve to become another species.

  • onofrio

    Hi Farnaz,Penserosa, glad to gladden. That I am ranked with such august revenants as the spider and the puffer almost makes me cry. Quel cauchemar!As you suggest, the quiz was kinda frigged from the outset. The ignorama-panorama it proffers is off. I suspect that 47% recognition of Luther among Protties, and 55% recognition of the goddy bread and bloody cup among Popesters are sterling results, given the raw material. And among *atheists*, a 50% average on THIS test is nothing to crow about. It’s Cool 2 Know Nothin…

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Thee:Spider, “power makes stupid”.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,”Is NOrth Korea, Afghanistan dangerous places? Sure and there’s no Bible in those places.”Ah, but there are no marsupial macropods either. If you would disdanger the rogue zones, deploy kangaroos I say!(I think you may have a few loose in your top paddock, so if you catch them you can make your own contribution to the unwar effort. Every little bit helps…)

  • onofrio

    Walter in Falls Church,Thee:The irrepressible upstart will ever outpower the top-down despot. Not weird, but wyrd.Thee:Regarding theoi, they got at least some of it right, eg. that we the people were wept by the sun, and that the transcendent is anchored in flesh.The fragments of the broken eye can be retrieved.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,”The Bible can be likened into a very sharp double edged knife.” How irresponsible of Daddy to give it to the kids! They could pluck out their eyes, or cut holes in their hands! I’m telling Aunt Sophie…

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Mighty Wordsmith,”Regarding theoi, they got at least some of it right, eg. that we the people were wept by the sun, and that the transcendent is anchored in flesh.”Aye, and the sun weepeth still, and the earth abideth awhile.

  • onofrio

    Um, methinks Mighty Wordsmith might be a words-myth, Your Grace. …myth of the sort that’s busted, that is. Of t’other unbustable ones, I say, as always:Myths (n)ever happen(ed)

  • onofrio

    a perse rose

  • FarnazMansouri2

    “Myths (n)ever happen(ed)”To which, one might add (why not), smiths happen(ed).

  • spidermean2

    Knives are very useful for cooks, surgeons, hunters, etc. Just don’t give it to the idiots.The same is the Bible. Very useful to the sane but harmful to the insane.

  • spidermean2

    If you want peace in the Middle East, spread the Bible. It’s either that or they will remain a troubled place.

  • spidermean2

    2 thousand years ago, the prophecy that cities turning into dust in 1 hour remained a myth for a very long time.The “myth” has become a reality when it pulverized Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The “myth” will continue to prove itself a reality until all the unbelievrs turn into dust.Expect more cities turning into dust.

  • spidermean2

    The myth of the “common ancestor”.The idiots never realized that the “common ancestor” also needs an ancestor. The Bible is never wrong. These atheist idiots have no brains.

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”The Bible is never wrong. These atheist idiots have no brains.”Yea, the same book that treats the sun and moon as separate sources of light? The same book that magically pops out plants without the aid of photosynthesis? The same book that magically pops out an adult woman from a man’s rib?We are the idiots?It takes two sets of DNA to manifest into a zygote, thus making claims of virgin birth’s absurd.Human flesh does not survive rigor mortis, which makes claims of zombie gods absurd.

  • spidermean2

    Brianrrs37 wrote “The same book that magically pops out an adult woman from a man’s rib?”I told you the Bible is not for idiots. Eve never came out from Adam’s rib. It’s an allegory of how a man is connected with the woman. I was walking by the sidewalk one afternoon when I was a young teenage boy. Out of nowhere, my high school crush suddenly appeared. Something inside my RIBCAGE jumped when I saw her. Now you know why the rib is mentioned in that story.That rib signifies love, idiot.

  • spidermean2

    Brianrrs37 wrote ” The same book that magically pops out plants without the aid of photosynthesis?” Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light:” Those where the first words of God so what absence of photosynthesis are you talking about?The rest of your points are also bordering on stupidity so there’s no need to answer them.Atheists are idiots. I told you, the Bible is never wrong.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    hi there onofrio and farnaz.good to “see” you “guys” again. i see spidermean still lives in that netherworld of talking snakes, vengeant god(s) and resurrected superheros.i waiver between thinking “how nice for him” and “poor guy”.

  • edbyronadams

    “Two-thirds of Americans, according to studies conducted over the past 20 years by the National Science Foundation, cannot identify DNA as the genetic foundation of life, the key to what makes each of us a unique human being. Let the schools succeed in inculcating that undisputed fact before…”Science does not establish undisputed facts, merely best approximations. A hot topic in developmental biology now is the extragenetic factors that play a role in genetic expression.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    nice post, as usual, persiflage.spidermean, you said,well, now wait a minute…. if you’re going to be perfectly reasonable and call the eve-created-from-adam’s rib thing “an allegory”, then why can the “days of creation” be allegory? why can’t “the flood” be allegory? why can’t “exodus” be allegory?i suppose what i mean here, is how do you pick and choose what’s allegory and what’s to be taken literally. as far as i can see, there’s no textual indication that creating eve from adam’s rib is not literal. the only reason not to take it literally is…well…its preposterousness factor.

  • eezmamata

    Keep in mind that the backwards-thinking Spidermean and others like him who believe in bible prophecies find that the bible did fulfill some prophecies — in their fevered minds that is.Somewhere in the bible it says the eagle has landed .. or so sayeth spidermean. This predicts Armstrong saying it when they landed on the moon.Of course, that Armstrong might have been quoting from or paraphrasing the bible backwards rather than the bible prophesizing it forwards escapes spidey completely.You can just feel the heat of the religious fever in this spidermean (I didn’t say fervor), the mania, the insanity.Fortunately for the human species freaks like him attract only other freaks – of the same sex, so we don’t have to worry about his genes polluting the pool.

  • yank6

    I know a Christian who thinks Noah’s wife was named Joan!!

  • globalone

    Walter,FYI: Eve was not created from Adam’s “rib”. The translation of the Hebrew word “sidon” to the English word “rib” is an incorrect one. The word Sidon means exactly what it sounds like. Eve was created from half of Adam. Makes complete sense when you think about humans, right? Men and women are completely different, endowed by the Creator with separate and distinct traits and qualities, all of which ulimately complement one another.

  • PSolus

    globalone,”Eve was created from half of Adam.”So, did Adam have 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 heads, a female reproductive system as well as a male reproductive system, etc.?”Makes complete sense when you think about humans, right?”Wrong, it makes no sense whatsoever.”Men and women are completely different,…”Do you understand the meaning of the words “completely” and “different”?”…endowed by the Creator with separate and distinct traits and qualities, all of which ulimately complement one another.”You, obviously, never met my first wife; or, my second wife; or…BTW, do you want to borrow my “ethical compass” until you finally locate your “moral compass”?

  • globalone

    Psolus,Anyone who has read or studied the Bible would be able to explain God’s job and/or His plan. And since most atheists are genuinely brilliant and learned with regard to all things Biblical, according to Susan and others posting on this thread, I’ll leave that question for them.And yes, I am a sinner.

  • globalone

    Psolus,You’re right. My use of the word “completely” was inaccurate. Men and women both share similar physical characteristics. (Hmm, that seems logical given where Eve came from.)Anyway, I should have been more specific in my response by highlighting the non-physical differences and how they join together “to become one flesh.”Sorry about your marriage(s). Mine probably wouldn’t have survived two years if it hadn’t been for God and including the words “divorce is not an option” in our wedding vows.

  • globalone

    Walter,In the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal. Although I would argue that the creation story itself makes more sense when using sidon instead of rib.Thanks for the story.

  • PSolus

    globalone,”Sorry about your marriage(s). Mine probably wouldn’t have survived two years if it hadn’t been for God…”Your god must have been too busy saving your marriage and helping NFL players make touchdowns to save my marriages; to which I can only say a heartfelt “thank you” to you and your god.Is your god also helping you to avoid doing “immoral” things now that you have lost your “moral compass”?Perhaps you should ask him to help you find it; or are still in arrears for his help in saving your marriage?From what I’ve read about him, I really would not want to be in debt to him.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    yank6, you said,that’s pretty funny – given that they never tell us her name or the names of any of the other women on the ark. that person probably saw it in some cartoon or some “biblical reenactment”. according to the bible everyone on earth is descended from noah and “wives”….

  • PSolus

    globalone,”And yes, I am a sinner.”Is that because you lost your “moral compass”, or were you a sinner before you lost your “moral compass”?Perhaps it was just defective; or, maybe you didn’t know how to use it properly.BTW, I have never had a “moral compass”, and yet, I am not a sinner.What a world we live in, huh?

  • globalone

    Psolus,God didn’t save my marriage through a lightning bolt or endless counseling sessions. The answers were already in the manual He provided to us. We simply needed His grace, love, and guidance.Thankfully, we have a covenant with God and not a contract. If not, perhaps your thought on arrears might be more applicable!Been a sinner since birth I’m afraid. Fortunately, He already knew that.

  • spidermean2

    walter-in-fallschurch wrote “how do you pick and choose what’s allegory and what’s to be taken literally?”It’s not easy. You have to balance it with the other scriptures. If it contradicts with another verse, there is a possibility that it’s not literal or vice versa.If it’s impossible in the real sense,there is a possibility that it’s an allegory.There are many factors to consider that is why reading the Bible is not for idiots.Lastly, it helps that one is adept with science. Im an engineer and that background also helped.Prayer too, which is the most important.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean2 Thee to BRIANRRS37 at October 11, 2010 9:47 AM:”That rib signifies love, idiot.”Thus you show that you know nothing of the love which you assert the “rib” represents.Every time you deride someone as an “idiot” (and, let’s face it, you are scarcely able to post without doing so), remember what your Lord said (Matthew 5:22b):ὃς δ’ ἂν εἶπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ῥακά, ἕνοχος ἐσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ ὃς δ’ ἂν εἶπῃ μωρέ, ἕνοχος ἐσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός. “whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (KJV)By continuing to ignore the clear warning of your Lord, you disqualify yourself from witnessing to his Word. Yours in Chirst

  • onofrio

    Hi Walter, Fallschurchian.Nice to e-meet you again.Thee:With respect, good sir, so do I. Some of the snakes can be quite helpful; a couple are indispensible to one’s progress through that topsy-turvy realm. As for the inimical ones; they are no trouble if you deploy the right spells. The challenge is to hold your nerve in the face of their terrors. If you let them intimidate you, you might garble the spell and then, well, you can guess what follows…Let’s face it, the vengeful gods will find the damnable flaw even in saints, and devour the entrails thereof with indecent, entirely authorised haste. But if you don the guise of the resurrected superhero, you can trick this exacting tribunal out of its feast. They will slaver in vain as you raise your arms in vindication and take your place among the radiant powers. These will lift their canine jaws from lapping the sun’s decay and say: “We have caught thy scent; thou art one of us!” Of course, if you prefer, you can be a beetle, bird, lion, snake, ram, randy dwarf, or any combination of same, with or without extra horns, wings, and heads…

  • Brianrrs37

    QUOTE:”By continuing to ignore the clear warning of your Lord, you disqualify yourself from witnessing to his Word. “I’m not “ignoring” anything. I am an atheist because there is no such thing as a brain with no brain with magical super powers, yours or any other claimed in human history.I am no more afraid of your hollow threats than you would be threatened by Lex Luthor or Superman.Your Superman vs Kriptonite woo is no more impressive to me than anyone else of any other religion when they make their threats.If you expect me to be scared of the non-existent, sorry, I am not.

  • onofrio

    Globalone,Thee”…echoes of the alchemical androgyne.Newton knew.

  • spidermean2

    “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matt 5:22)This is actually one verse that I’ve been pondering about for a very long time. I call atheists as fools because that is how God describes them in the Bible.”The fool has said in his heart that there is no God.” I’m not calling them fools because I hate them. I just want to call them fools because that is how God calls them. To make them realize that they are fools.Stupidity is real. How can you teach people to think straight if you don’t let them realize that they are stupid.It’s nothing personal. Im just letting them know the stupidity of their thoughts. There is no hate in those words when I say them.When a person sees a traffic sign which say “Stop” and the man keeps on driving it’s better to put another sign which says “STOP, YOU FOOL” before he falls to the ditch.Nothing personal. It’s just there to draw more attention. Peace :)

  • onofrio

    Brianrrs37,Take a deep breath, Brian, count to 10, and read the post again.You will note that it is addressed to SPIDERMEAN.

  • spidermean2

    ” Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. ” (Genesis 1:11)Before this, there was light, water, soil and air which God created first. I don’t understand why you idiots have been complaining about the Creation story. From this very short story, I’ve learned more from it than what the idiotic scientists have been writing about how the world began.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Thee:You’re not succeeding in realising these aims. You may not “hate them”, but hateful is exactly how you come across.God calls them “fools”, but Jesus tells YOU not to, unless of course you want to risk Gehenna (His words, not mine).Continually reviling people with the terms “idiot”, “fool”, and “stupid” will not make them realise anything about themselves; it will make them switch off to any point you have to make. Luke 7:35

  • spidermean2

    Onofrio,You can’t blame Brianrrs37. He actually thought you are “Right Rev’d Dr Ofriono”.Both of you should take a deep breath, relax and think harder.

  • spidermean2

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll think about it more.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Quote quote:”Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light:”You’re joking right? That first line on top of being a naked assertion, does not give context of time in that photosynthesis IS NOT instantaneous. Plants, like humans, do not “POOF” into existence fully grown.Nature MiraclesGeneral Healings

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Snakes in the hands of smart Christians:Zora Neal Hurston, “Sweat”Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

  • PSolus

    globalone,”Been a sinner since birth I’m afraid.”What, were you worshipping false gods as you were squirted out of the birth canal?”Fortunately, He already knew that.”Did he tell you that?Have you tried searching for “moral compass” on craigslist’s lost+found?

  • spidermean2

    “Let the land produce vegetation:”It does not say fully grown. Miracles are another thing. Only a God can make water into wine. It proves that Jesus is God.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Thee:”It proves that Jesus is God.”Or that the author of the Fourth Gospel spun a tale… The spinning of tales is, strange to say, not unheard of. Can’t rule it out…

  • spidermean2

    There is only one account in history turning water into wine. So that deletes the possibility that the devil can duplicate it.Peter once mentioned that these miracles were witnessed by many people so it’s hard to imagine that they were merely tales. If it were tales, the Parisees would not take Him seriously.If one understands the Bible, he can see that the prophecies written are very accurate. I know who are the big players that will make Doomsday a reality.It is there in the Bible.

  • PSolus

    spidermean2,”There is only one account in history turning water into wine. So that deletes the possibility that the devil can duplicate it.”I’m in the process of turning wine into “water”; does that make me god, jebus, or the devil?

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Thee:Who says he duplicated it? ;^)”If it were tales, the Parisees would not take Him seriously.”History shows (yes, Jewish writings qualify as source material too, believe it or not) that he barely registered with any “Pharisees” at all. They had other, more pressing issues to contend with – you know, stuff to do, lives to live…

  • onofrio

    Spidermean.Thee:If one understands [Nostradamus' quatrains, Mayan glyphs, the Sibylline Books, the Potter's Oracle,...] he can see that the prophecies written are very accurate.You just gotta DIG it, see…Thee:So do I. They’re called “us mob”.

  • spidermean2

    “I’m in the process of turning wine into “water”Wine has water,I can do it myself. I have a Nostradamus book. Im not impressed. Nostradamus is boyscout while the Bible is Mike Tyson. Incomparable.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    spidermean, you said,that’s not true. my cousin knows a guy who did it once. he told me all about it and i wrote it down.

  • spidermean2

    WW3 is a two-stage event. !st round, America will lose. 2nd round, America will emerge victorious and will rule the world for more than a thousand years.Doomsday will preceed 1 thousand years of peace. No more wars for a thousand years.

  • spidermean2

    “my cousin knows a guy who did it once.”Im an engineer. You can’t fool me. It’s not possible.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,Thee:So you admire the Bible because to you it’s like a violent hulk that terrorises women and “can’t help” abusing them, the antithesis of, say, a vulnerable, callow lad in a leaking tent.No, of course not, I’m reading too much into your metaphor…

  • spidermean2

    Boyscout is less than featherweight and Mike Tyson is heavyweight. That’s all.Featherweight vs. Heavyweight. Incomparable.

  • spidermean2

    Iran vs. the U.S.? Knowing the Bible, the probability is very high. In fact I believe it will happen.North Korea vs the U.S. The probability is also very high. In fact I also believe it will happen.China vs. the U.S? It will happen.I can list the series of events until it culminates to a Doomsday scenario.It’s all in the Bible.

  • onofrio

    Spidermean,”Boyscout is less than featherweight and Mike Tyson is heavyweight. That’s all.Oh, right. But heavyweights and flyweights don’t contend anyway, nor are boyscouts characteristically associated with pugilistic weight grades. Bad analogy. My point is that the way you write about “the Bible” makes it seem as flaky, dubitable, and creepy as the most flagrant hocus-pocus around. In short, your witness to it does your cause no good. Believe it or not, I am familiar with “the Bible”, and nowhere does it make the claims (figuratively or otherwise) that you do, i.e. – that engineers are exceptionally resistant to folly, and exceptionally in touch with what’s true;- that America will rule the world for a millennium.- that there will be any specific conflict between America and any other specific nation state.Nor does “the Bible” establish that hurling the epithet “idiot” at everyone you disagree is sufficient to prove them wrong.You routinely boast of your professional status as an “engineer”, assume a position of superiority based on it, yet the Apostle Paul wrote:and”on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 12:5)Yet again you are found wanting, and by the very measure you uphold. So, be warned:”For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)See also Daniel 5:25

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SpidermeanDoes the Bible really say the United States will get into a war with North Korea?Aside from the fact that since it has already happened, and is sort of easy to predict in retrospect, which verse do you cite that predicts this event?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Spidermean, you live in the Phillipines, don’t you? You know how I know?I decoded a Bible verse and it said so.

  • spidermean2

    I always say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.Just remember the prophecies I mentioned and you’d be surprised how it will turn out to be exactly right.America is described in the Bible in many different ways. You’ve got to be very sensitive to detect it.

  • spidermean2

    Part of America is self-destructing. Many, especially the liberal evolutionists do not know who are its real allies and who will stab them at the back.This is the main reason why it will be defeated in the 1st stage of WW3.

  • spidermean2

    “that engineers are exceptionally resistant to folly”Not necessarily engineers but if you know your science well, it gives you a clearer picture what is possible and impossible.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi Spidermean,Have you read much of Flannery O’Connor, a southern, albeit Catholic, writer?Or Zora Neale Hurston, a southern Protestant writer?It’s okay to say that you have, in fact, read them, if you have. Your rep. won’t suffer, I promise.Farnaz :)

  • Brianrrs37

    Sorry if I confused some people with others.The bottom line for ANY DEITY claim, of any label, is that it starts with an assumption, not a fact.It presumes, without evidence, that a thinking entity, without a physical brain, or neurons or even a location, that resides everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and has magical super powers exists.Call this claimed being Allah or Jesus or whatever, call it FSM for all I care, there is no such thing as invisible friends.All one has to do to understand this is to think about all the god claims they reject besides the one they don’t. Focusing on a label doesn’t change the MOTIF of super hero worship that god belief is.It is merely Santa for adults. It was when the Egyptians thought the sun was their super hero friend in the sky, and it is the same for all deity believers today.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    spidermean,

  • spidermean2

    Hi Farnaz,Sorry,I never heard of them and I don’t intend to read their work :)Im not fond of religious books. Im more interested on things about new technologies.

  • spidermean2

    Everybody is interested with the future. After I read the Bible and I saw the future.The immediate future is gloomy but next to it is a thousand years of peace.

  • onofrio_

    Brianrrs37,Have you anything to offer besides shrill, fundo-atheist clichés?Does the chance to harangue enchant you?Must be hard keeping that didactic drive decently stoppered…

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Hi Spidermean,Thanks for getting back to me. The texts I mentioned are short stories. Although they are decidedly Christian, they’re not religious in any obvious way, which is why some folks don’t quite see their Christian significance. It’s also why I’d be interested in your opinion. :)Anyway, here are the links. If you decide to give them a look, please let me know what you think.Thanks!”Sweat”"A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

  • quiensabe

    See you’re over here, too, walter-in-fallschurch. Rekon I’ll just have to pray that you add wisdom to your intellect. You know, “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

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