Read a Bible, Become an Atheist (in That Order)

Atheists and Christians may not agree on everything, but one thing is certain: They want you to read the bible. When I first decided to write this article, I was planning to compare quotes about why a Christian and an atheist may want others to read the bible. But considering the fact that (as I wrote in my last article) I was threatened with a lawsuit from a Christian website, I won’t be doing that. Instead, I’ll just use my own words: Christians think that reading the bible will make you believe in God. Studies show otherwise.

In fact, when it comes right down to it, what do people know about the bible? An article from the Pocket Testament League (PTL) finds 5 reasons why the bible is “the most important book on Earth.” Reasons include how it changed the world, people are willing to die for it, and it has a message of freedom. There are others that try to explain why the bible is true, such as from the Essential Bible Blog, which mentions such gems as its global influence, acceptance by many historical leaders, and literary consistency.

It’s not hard to see flaws in lists like these, such as the fact that many other books (such as the Muslim holy book) are accepted by various leaders, and there are millions of people who would die for them. But lesser is the number of believers who acknowledge that such lists are already wrong or inherently contradictory to begin with. For example, though freedom may come in certain stories within the bible, the fact still remains that God allowed his own people to have slaves:

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Well… thank god for the mercy, right? If a slave was killed after a beating, the beater would be punished. Great. But of course, if a slave managed to live through it, then I guess it’s fair game. Or as Christians call it, morality.

Such negative aspects of the bible are rarely acknowledged (or defended) by Christians, especially those who believe in the literal word of the bible – which, by the way, is only a recent practice. Therefore, the question remains: Why don’t they?

Are believers hypocritical in their beliefs? Do they think the literal word only applies when it’s convenient? Perhaps they understand that these are just stories (not literal) and should not be taken too seriously? Then why, if that’s the case, would we take any of it so seriously…?

This article is not about specific claims in the bible or about answering specific questions about the bible’s validity. The argument I intend to make is that Christians are ignorant.

Ignorant does not mean stupid.

Christians are certainly ignorant, at least compared to their atheistic counterparts. What are they ignorant about? Well… let’s focus on one thing: The bible.

Most highly religious cultures (America, Israel, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc.) have people of faith, not because of a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Rather, they begin to believe simply because everyone else does. Their parents tell them it’s true. Their aunts and uncles also believe. And their friends, teachers, and everyone else they know do too. This is a cultural phenomenon that usually happens at an age before the child really understand what s/he is even preaching. Many documentaries I have seen included adorable young children who hold up deplorable signs of hate, because their parents are involving them in such activities.

I have less to say about the other religions, but I imagine the same phenomenon exists with non-Christian religions as well. Namely, people believe because they grew up having always believed. It is not the case that they actual know the content of the book they claim is their holy one – “the most important book in the world.”

Never mind the studies that suggest atheists are more intelligent than religious people, or that analytical thinkers (in problem solving tasks) were likely to have lost their religiosity (Shenhav, Rand, and Greene; 2011) whereas those who go more by their intuition (and therefore get the answers wrong on problem solving tasks) tend to believe in a personal god. I also want to focus less on the psychological relation between analytic thinking and a reduction in religious belief. Instead, I want to talk about the simple act of reading the bible itself.

The survey I want to cite was done in 2010, and Newsfeed introduced it like this:

Have a question about religion? You ought to ask someone who has completely rejected it.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, atheists and agnostics tend to know more about religion than members of most faiths, the Los Angeles Times reports. For example, most Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the founder of the Protestant movement. Atheists took the top spot in the survey, followed by a tie between Mormons and Jews.

Indeed, the survey found that atheists know more about religions and the bible than Christians do. NPR notes the lack of basic religious knowledge from many of the survey respondents:

More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

Technically, we don’t know why atheists do better. But the following video gives one theory.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAG46K3rnIc]

“Atheists and agnostics spend a lot of time fighting with religious people about religion, so they have a need… you know, on the basis of their argument, to learn about Christianity and about Islam, etc. But I think the other side of it is really that religious people just know very little about their own traditions or the religious of others.” -Stephen Prothero

I have to disagree with Professor Prothero on the explanation for these results. He basically posits that atheists actively seek ways in which to reaffirm their already-held convictions. Perhaps this is true (and this still says plenty about the ignorance of believers). However, I tend to agree with what Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller: Bullshit! said on their episode on the bible:

Whatever you do, don’t read the bible for a moral code. [. . .] Read it because we need more atheists. And nothing will get you there faster than reading the damn bible.

Perhaps this is why so many atheists expose their children to religion at an early age. Rice University produced a survey a few years ago which showed that many scientists bring their children to churches in order to expose them to religion. They want their children to make up their own minds. Therefore, whereas Dr. Prothero was saying that the atheism causes them to seek out information on the bible, I believe that the more information you get on the bible, the more likely you are to become an atheist.

Obviously, the consumption of information is not the only factor, but it’s certainly much easier to reject the notion of a personal god when you are not surrounded by friends, family, peers, and a community, who all believe in such a deity.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that BibleStudy.org (BS) – the site which threatened me with litigation – suggests that God can speak to you via the bible. (Sorry, friends. Since I didn’t actually quote you, so you can’t threaten me with a lawsuit again.)

Maybe that’s true, but from the studies I just mentioned above, I think I’ll get my knowledge of the bible from an atheist, thank you very much. Not from BS.

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6 Responses to Read a Bible, Become an Atheist (in That Order)

  1. NoPartOfTheWorld says:

    I disagree with the perspective that reading the bible is so that people will automatically believe. The bible itself doesn’t agree with that statement either. It actually states that most will have their eyes shut and their ears closed. Still, the reason for God to allow man to be the secretaries of his word is for the ones who are rightly disposed for what is coming in the future. Sadly, most won’t take to heart the spirit of the scriptures…so anyway, best wishes to them and hope they’re enjoying their lives now. This is THEIR world now, although at the end of it.

    Also, don’t get me wrong! I’m not defending RELIGION here, just God’s word, the bible. “Religion” is too much of a general statement. Also, the title “Read the bible, become an atheist” hasn’t worked in millions of cases at least, so is a little inaccurate in that statement. It’s a funny perspective really. I guess it depends on HOW one reads it.

    The comment “Have a question about religion? You ought to ask someone who has completely rejected it.” made me think about a similar one…which I just made up…

    “Have a question about medicine? You ought to ask an ex doctor who has completely rejected it.” It has about the same level of common sense. I can see the perspective of maybe getting a point to discuss for a debate or argument, but not on an issue that means people’s lives.

    Anyway, I still agree with one part…if you want to COMMENT on, not religion, but the Bible, it is best to know what it says first. It’s a bit like going to do a degree in science, when you believe in Dalton’s Plum Pudding model, and holding onto those beliefs. So please, go ahead and read your bibles. The reason for MY statement that it is a wise move to read your bible is that to comment on something that one knows nothing about is foolish firstly, and secondly, what about discussing what certain scriptures mean when they sound weird? That is the reason why you should read it. So you can firstly know what it says, and THEN, you can distinguish between true and false religion. Sorry, atheism is a religion, as it is a system of belief…a very simple one (not saying that everyone’s beliefs are simple, but the simple fact being that one chooses NOT to believe in God). It takes great leaps of faith to believe that there is no God.

    It is interesting to hear at times by some that the things written aren’t accurately recorded or have been changed, yet funnily enough, we have very good reason to believe that what is ABLE to be written accurately in a bible translation can be extremely close to the originals. For instance, when the Quran speaks of Jesus, it calls him the messiah, and the hardest one that gets me is when it says “If Allah had a son, we would worship him, but he doesn’t”, when all this boasting of only worshipping one God is spoken of, yet it says itself that IF there was a son, they’d worship him. The bible NEVER says we should worship his son…but anyway, I’m off on a tangent here.

    Also, don’t be scared to ask those people who represent the God of the bible who may even knock on your door some really deep questions, if need be. If you choose to be an atheist afterwards, that’s fine. It’s up to you. Religion will be destroyed off the earth, and I mean by religion, all false religions as viewed by our creator. THAT is written in the bible. To survive, we need to be acting in a way that is abiding by the laws and principles of the bible, just as any other nation asks people to do, but for now, people are making their own cases, and this system belongs to THEM. So it is a little unfair to blame God when mankind has actually by their words and actions asked God not to be involved in their decision making processes. This worlds mess is ours. Not God’s.

    Have a question about the bible? You ought to ask someone who has complete faith in it…but make sure you ask the reasons WHY they have this faith in it.

    Anyway, best wishes.

    • Ryo says:

      Hello! I hope you don’t remind me referring to you as NPOTW, for brevity’s sake. I wanted to address some of the things you mentioned:

      Also, the title “Read the bible, become an atheist” hasn’t worked in millions of cases at least, so is a little inaccurate in that statement. It’s a funny perspective really. I guess it depends on HOW one reads it.
      Of course, many people who read the bible go on to become believers; but the argument I was ultimately making was a) Christians sometimes argue that atheists should “just read the bible!” even though it’s clear (from the article above) that atheists know more about the bible more than their Christian counterparts; and b) religious people generally become believers not because of a critical viewing of their holy books but simply because of the cultures in which they were born.

      “Have a question about medicine? You ought to ask an ex doctor who has completely rejected it.” It has about the same level of common sense.
      Well here’s the problem with your argument… in order to become a doctor, you have to go through many years of rigorous schooling and learn skills and information that are regulated by scientific bodies that ensure a certain level and standardization at a top level. You can’t just fake it as a doctor; you have to pass board exams and take incredibly difficult tests, as well as do many years of clinical practica. There is of course no such system with religion because every church can have its own customs and traditions. There is also no way of measuring one’s “religious prowess” like there is for the success rates of practicing medical professionals.
      But let me address your question. I don’t think it’s absurd to ask an ex-doctor who has completely rejected medicine in favour of religion. That’s an interesting case – so rare, though, that I have never heard of it. Do you know of anyone that has decided on prayer after years of clinical experience following a medical degree? Not likely. Therefore, you cannot compare the two. Becoming a doctor is an extremely difficult thing – not everyone can do it. Becoming a Christian is the easiest thing in the world to do. All I need to do is suspend my critical faculties – like I when I watch movies where I’m supposed to believe that some actors in their late-30’s are playing high school students.

      Sorry, atheism is a religion, as it is a system of belief…a very simple one (not saying that everyone’s beliefs are simple, but the simple fact being that one chooses NOT to believe in God). It takes great leaps of faith to believe that there is no God.
      This statement is so ridiculous that I’ve decided to write a new article on it. I will post it shortly. Feel free to comment there.

      Well I can see that we agree on one important thing: People should read the bible.
      Though are reasons for this wish surely differ.

      Thanks for the comment, NPOTW!

  2. NoPartOfTheWord says:

    As a person who has been involved in the visiting of people of many religions and belief systems (including atheists and spiritualists), I’d have to disagree with the generalisation that an atheist knows more about the bible than “Christians”. This alone needs clarification…

    1) The angle I was approaching from was the bible vs atheist beliefs. This includes parts of the scriptures that others who are not “christian” accept as God’s word, such as Judaism and Islam. In essence, it isn’t regarding “christians”, but regarding the Bible.

    2) The word “Christian” has become a misnomer. Many people who call themselves “Christians” don’t live up to the teachings of the Christ, but instead follow the doctrines of the church. This itself is also the next point.

    3) For someone to become a true Christian, they’d have to know the teachings of Christ. Otherwise, they, although calling themselves Christians, wouldn’t know the actual teachings of Christ. This can only be achieved by an understanding of the Christian Greek Scriptures, and the application of it against what they may have already believed. Or according to the Quran, an understanding of the Injil. One can’t know what Christ taught without looking at his teachings.

    4) There is at LEAST one religion where everyone who becomes baptised has to have a decent understanding of basic scriptural…not church…teachings. Jesus set the lead in this, in that he was about 30 years old when he presented himself for baptism (started his work before God), although he was in the temple learning even as a child. (Luke 3:23) A person can’t get baptised by just turning up, or by expressing faith in anything, but by demonstrating an understanding firstly, and secondly a desire to do God’s will.

    These points cover the first part that was brought up. The churches have strayed away from the teachings of the Bible in favour of their own methodologies. Whatever their reason for doing this, it is beside the point of whether they call themselves Christians or not. Jesus bluntly said to those in his day that after they had stated all the great things they had done in Jesus’ name, “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!”. (Matthew 7:21-23) Therefore, just because one calls themself a Christian doesn’t mean they are one. It is the same for knowledge. Just because I make a claim to have knowledge of something doesn’t mean I truly do (although it can be tested).

    As for religious people following the family or traditional custom, this is equal to the perspective of the non-religious person. Some good examples are looking at a nation that has a claim to a religion, and a nation that claims it doesn’t. By far, the majority of people in these lands has a generalisation of clinging to their traditions. So it isn’t fair to say that the atheist is more tolerant, as this would be in opposition to certain nations that stand for non-religious perspectives (two are Russia and China, for instance). The statement that “non-religious people generally become non-believers not because of a critical viewing of their holy books but simply because of the cultures in which they were born” would apply equally based on this.

    As for the doctor…I appreciate that there is an attempt to have some form of international standard for a doctor, yet this isn’t accepted worldwide. If it was the case, then a doctor from one country could emigrate to a country with a need without having to re-educate, or to be re-tested. Therefore, to standardise a “doctor” is inaccurate, as it is the same with this standardising of “christians”, which I put in inverted commas to show that they are token, or brand-name christians. Of course it’s easy to be a token christian. It’s easy to be a token doctor too, if one is on an island with ten people. It is a non-standardised expression in a minority such as this (I also bring in the use of the term “doctor”, as this can now include “witch doctor”, which is used in all seriousness in many countries, as well as the term “doctor” for someone who has a PhD in whatever it may be). Yet, the irony is that the bible is actually a standard to test whether a person truly is a christian or not against. So there IS actually a standard for whether one is a true christian or not, although billions may at some time state they are “christian”. If tested against the bible as to whether they are true christians or not, it is another matter. For instance, whereas “christian” nations went to war, a true christian doesn’t get involved in the world’s warring. They are no part of it (John 17:14-16, Isaiah 2:2-4) These scriptures show that there is no true christian nation (inasmuch as having a physical border at least) because they firstly come from all nations, and make up for themselves a nation of people who have Christ as their king, under the throne of God. Therefore, how could they be involved in some political division based on borders? There is a lot more to being a true Christian than meets the eye. It means being at times the focal point of the world’s hatred. This is why I once again iterate, that there is a difference between a true Christian and a “christian”. The touchstone to test against is the Bible. If you would like to see some information on things that a true christian should consider, there is a website at jw.org with answers to many questions as regards scientific topics or religious ones. Also on the values in the scriptures on how it relates to our daily life, and even what the future brings.

    As for the point on atheism as a point of faith, I wish you well and hope you enjoy the feedback you get.

    • Ryo says:

      Hi NPOTW, thanks again for the comment!

      You mentioned that the word “Christian” is a misnomer. Well… not only do Christians argue that they are the “one true religion,” but they also argue that other Christians aren’t Christian enough, like you are doing (and I imagine they would disagree). There are different types of Christianity that don’t agree with one another and have different ways of doing things. The same passage in the same holy book may mean totally different things to each sect; yet each sect is confident that they themselves are the right ones.

      there is an attempt to have some form of international standard for a doctor, yet this isn’t accepted worldwide. If it was the case, then a doctor from one country could emigrate to a country with a need without having to re-educate, or to be re-tested. Therefore, to standardise a “doctor” is inaccurate, as it is the same with this standardising of “christians”, which I put in inverted commas to show that they are token, or brand-name christians. Of course it’s easy to be a token christian. It’s easy to be a token doctor too, if one is on an island with ten people. It is a non-standardised expression in a minority such as this (I also bring in the use of the term “doctor”, as this can now include “witch doctor”, which is used in all seriousness in many countries, as well as the term “doctor” for someone who has a PhD in whatever it may be).
      Okay let’s be serious. I can become a Christian in an instant. I can “accept Christ’s word” or whatever you call the transition to a conversion. But you can’t just wake up one day and become a doctor. And for that matter, what is a “token doctor??” Look, a doctor is a profession, and you can’t become one overnight. I don’t know what living on an island with ten people has to do with anything… but bringing in the word “witch doctor” to conflate someone with a regulated MD (not a PhD) to a pseudoscience practitioner is just nonsense. Please retire this “doctors are the same as Christians” argument, because it’s totally absurd, and I don’t want to have to take anymore time explaining how a witch doctor is far more similar to a priest than to a physician. Just because the word “witch doctor” has the word “doctor” in it in the English language, doesn’t mean there’s actually a connection. It’s like arguing that a goldfish is extremely expensive because it’s made of gold.

      Anyways, who’s to say that whatever you believe is true? Well, you are. And if I asked someone else, they’d say that they were right. So your idea of a “true Christian” is quite irrelevant. See, this is why I think there is no reason to believe in a deity. Every hardcore religious person (i.e., not just Christians) is so confident with their convictions, but they can’t all be right. If it’s monotheism that you believe in, then it’s also mutually exclusive. And yet, Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc. will all say that they were visited by God. So either they’re all wrong, or God’s fucking with most of them (all but one).

      In addition to my upcoming article (it will appear in a few hours I believe) I am also going to write a new article (based on new research) about religious people’s lack of ability to distinguish fact from fiction. (Don’t judge until you read it!)

      Please feel free to comment.
      Take care, NPOTW.

  3. NoPartOfTheWorld says:

    Thanks for your response Ryo. This will be my last comment on this matter as I don’t think we are progressing with any real purpose.

    The problem here is the topics have now strayed from the original theme.

    “Read a Bible, Become an Atheist”. (Notice the word “Bible”, not “Christian”)

    The good thing about the bible, and the whole point of reading it is that if one reads it, they’d be able to tell who is a “token” christian and who isn’t. As for your analogy of “token” doctor being in comparison with a goldfish, that is the absurd statement. If you really think that countries with witch doctors don’t believe they are real doctors, then maybe a course in history and anthropology would do you well. Also, you didn’t respond on the point of psychologists and other “healers” (you could go to religion here too, but at the same time, it would be straying away from the original theme, namely of what the Bible says on it, but instead we would be “listening” to some priest or other religious “leader”. Note that the apostles never stood out as above the rest, but they were always brothers, not lords over others). Of course we could argue backwards and forwards until the cows come home. I’ll tell you why I bothered responding in the first place…

    We are living in a time where according to the Bible is called “the last days”. Last days of what? Well, that is up to you to decide whether you’d be interested in looking or not. My role? Let people know, and let them do their own decision making. I do my part in letting people make a fully informed choice, so that they may have a chance in surviving the up and coming “great and fear-inspiring day”. It’s a duty, yes, but more than that, as much as I find a dislike for society in general, I individually do care for people. I’m not the best at this, but I know that if my neighbour’s house was on fire, or being broken into, I’d be involved in helping. It’s the same reason, except we can only knock on the door, not throw you out the window into a safety net or anything. lol.

    As for atheism, this is the world’s seat of knowledge, and as mentioned before, it is a faith based thing. For instance, when scientists discuss their so-called “Big Bang” theory for instance, they speak of it as though it is the ONLY theory….but it isn’t. There are others. If you want to, you can probably look at some great website and find them there to look at. After all, what scientist doesn’t want to be credited with his great thinking? (Yes, there are some as an exception to the rule, as seems a scientific principle 🙂 ). So it takes faith in SOMETHING to believe in it. But the worldly education is a bit like parliament. They like to play God and Devil games…an ancient system of having the “equalisation” of good and evil to progress. (another irony is that although the bible shows the existence of God and also the devil, there is never any equalisation between the two, yet religious and non-religious people will still cling to it). Hence why the world is so messed up, as our whole world runs on the same bickering theory. One person says “This is good for society”, and another says “No it isn’t”, so there is no progression, as in essence, society has tied it’s own shoelaces together. All they do is invest in arguing, and the arguers are the ridiculers and scoffers of society, yet the world blindly continues to invest in them, as it diverts them from the real issues (to test this theory, watch the news, and see how they cater for your thinking processes by the nice stories at the end about some team winning some game of some type in some park or arena, and all the people who invest billions in it to detract from the real news that the world is in crisis). Then you have the worldly religions, that try to squeeze into this wisdom of the world, and apply the same “expert” opinions, based on technical arguments that don’t lead forwards, but are stagnant. The irony here is they are racing each other on a treadmill…or racing each other on a rockinghorse. There is no progression, and never will be. While we’ve invented cures for illnesses, we can’t distribute them due to business, politics and religion. Then there’s this peace that people spruik that they are so clever that THEY are going to bring to all the earth. The facts are, people have deviated from what is true to what is dishonest. I don’t need to go deep here, but while the earth has motives other than genuinely loving God and neighbour, they have some other motive. Money isn’t a motive for peace. Due to greed and holding onto their own powers, nations have become bankrupt and wars are fought, let alone a multitude of other goings on.

    Also, the perspective that you can become a Christian in an instant. This is actually the point. Go back to the bible and see the bible’s perspective. In Acts, there was a Jewish proselyte who became a Christian “in an instant” as such, but as he was a Jewish proselyte, it wasn’t an instant, as he had to get his knowledge from somewhere, so all he needed was a few tweaks here and there apparently. To become a true christian involves more than putting some brand name on your hat or t-shirt, like “Reebok” or something, or choosing a football team. It’s a way of life, and is hard. Yet there ARE places where you can be a token christian in an instant, and be baptised tomorrow, and you are “saved” forever…although this is out of harmony with what the scriptures say. This is the point. “…what the scriptures say”. You stated that we can all interpret the same scripture one way or another. Well, take that back to your scientific field, and do that with all of your standards, and see how it would apply in the court of law when someone brings you before the judge. Guess what. It’s the same principle. You or I CAN interpret things any way we like for our own benefit if we so choose, but there are consequences for doing so, as the judge will more than likely point out. The point the Bible makes is that to survive this system (it was shown in the last article about Jesus rejecting even those who were doing powerful works in his name because of their being “workers of lawlessness”) we need to be doing things God’s way. This way is written in the scriptures. Yet God doesn’t force anyone, but to attest to the fact is that he has it written there for all time. We can actually go and pick up a translation and read it for ourselves, and reason/judge a whole religion as to whether they are true/false based on what the books say (the bible isn’t one book, but a collection over 1600 years of 66 books and letters). It is based on GOD’S perspective of how we are living as to whether we are being true christians or not. And how can we tell? As stated previously, there are fruitages. There are things that people practice individually and as a whole that are either in harmony or out of harmony with what the scriptures state. So it’s actually an easy thing to tell false religion from true. A false christian (as previously mentioned) is not neutral in the world’s affairs for instance, but is involved. In other words, they actually don’t acknowledge God’s kingdom that is already existing, but continue to make best of this system with what it’s got. Good for them. They can have their reward in full. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that if one wants to know the truth of the scriptures, they should read it and apply it.

    Also, it doesn’t change the fact that there are millions of people who read the bible and don’t become an atheist. Still, regardless of your reason for reading it, it is a wise thing to do. No point in arguing anything without knowing what is actually stated to discuss.

    There is no more point in discussing this from my end. I wish you the best, and I hope that you are smart enough to consider the times we are in now to see that what was written then applies to our day. And yes, this applies equally to me. I’m certainly no exception to the rule.

    Best wishes Ryo 🙂

  4. Mars says:

    Before I begin spewing my nonsensel, I’d like to give a nod to both NPOTW and Ryo for maintaining civility in this debate on such a sensitive topic. Most sites of this nature are rife with people losing their minds. Now, as promised, my nonsense…

    NPOTW, you attempt to draw connections between things that are mutually exclusive. First, your doctor-to-Christian comparison is not a viable one for reasons I will list. Also, your assertion that the Bible is still applicable today is debatable to say the least.

    I’d say that comparing a doctor to a Christian is equally as absurd as comparing a goldfish to actual gold. The word “doctor” to the majority of the modern world means a person who has went to medical school and received their MD. The word “Christian” simply means a person who believes in the teachings of Christ. No mention of necessary training to become a Christian. Only people isolated to 10-person islands and tribes would refer to an untrained, supposed “healer” as a doctor. Almost everyone in the world would still call an uneducated Christian a Christian (except maybe a small minority of the highly educated Christians).

    Additionally, to become an educated, modern-day doctor with an MD is extremely rigorous and you are tested based on science. Things that have been observed reliably by many and can be reproduced by anyone (who follows the instructions correctly) to get the same result.
    To become an educated Christian with a PhD in theology and a focus in Christianity, the courses are, as a generalization, significantly less rigorous and the classes are based entirely on the accounts of people from 2000+ years ago and based on both ancient and modern interpretations. And those people (both the ancient and the modern) come up with some pretty ludicrous interpretations that are not reproducible or backed by any science or direct observation. If only one of the two (doctor vs Christian) could be considered to know anything about the modern era with certainty, it would be the doctor (although from a philosophical standpoint, I must argue that none of us can really ever know anything with certainty).

    A doctor and a Christian should not be considered as analogous. If they are compared in any way, they should be considered antithetical to each other. You wouldn’t stand for your physician to be replaced with an uneducated witch doctor. That could result in your death. However, if someone swapped your educated priest with an uneducated one, you might be upset. You might switch churches. But largely there would be no change and you could tolerate an uneducated priest. The comparisons between a doctor and a Christian are few.
    I should know. I am in school to become an oral surgeon and have taken all the pre-medicine classes. And I agree with Ryo. I have yet to read a medical/biological/chemical book that has caused me to reject my belief in medicine. In fact, none of them has even made me question my belief in medicine in the slightest. Neither can I name even a single peer that has forsaken medicine. One does not simply reject science. Science can proven. It is indisputable. It is observable. If a scientific theory does not fit with the physical data that we have, it is discarded.
    The Bible is an entirely different story. Maybe it doesn’t drive everyone to reject Christianity, but it has certainly been a motivating factor for a great number of ex-Christians, myself included. The Bible CAN be rejected. It cannot be proven. It can be disputed. It cannot be observed (unless maybe you’re tripping on LSD). The comparison is simply not there.

    The truth is, it’s very difficult to make an analogy comparing the teachings of Christ and the Bible to modern-day life because the two have almost nothing in common. The Bible was written when humanity had next to no knowledge of biology, chemistry, or the universe. The Bible was necessary to explain things that we could not understand and that were difficult to accept, such as death, disease, or even the rising of the sun each day. People were allowed to own slaves and it was largely considered acceptable to enslave other races and discriminate against anyone who was different or believed in different things. People were unable to control their own reproduction or cure themselves of diseases. They could not explain things that seem axiomatic today, such as how birds fly or why oxygen starvation leads to death. There is almost no comparison to this today except maybe in tribes naive to Western culture which are usually regarded as brutish and backwards. Today, we have many answers, certainly not all the answers, but many of them. Enough to know that the Bible is no longer necessary to explain the majority of what we experience. Sure, some of the main messages of the Bible are applicable today, such as “love thy neighbor”. However, the vast majority of the Bible is non-factual, mythological hoo-hah and I bet that even the authors of the Bible knew that most of what they wrote was nonsense.

    Some Christians are highly educated and their beliefs are affirmed by the Bible in their mind’s eye (if they chose not to interpret the Bible literally because believing in a literal translation of the Bible would lead to an appalling set of beliefs). But a significantly large number of highly educated people have also read the Bible and have decided that it’s largely nonsense with a few good messages. If believing in Christianity and the importance of the Bible seem essential to your existence (which it appears they are) then by all means, go ahead and worship! Have faith! But please don’t act sanctimonious or make comparisons that are not applicable.

    As far as I’m concerned, the Bible is all the proof I need to say that Christianity is not the answer to the riddle that is the universe and is not practical in a modern era. However, if Christianity and the Bible are the answers to whatever version of the universe you are experiencing, I will join your rejoice in the fact that you have found YOUR answers. I hope that your God equally can afford you the ability to rejoice with me, and others like me, in the fact that I have not yet found MY answers to the universe and that I am content to continue my search.

    Live Long and Prosper.

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