Atheists Read the Bible in More Detail Than Christian

chris in Houston Says:
I find it curious that “athiests” seem to read the bible in more detail than alot of Christians. Seems like they’re still trying to convince themselves…..that’s good! Search and you will find, knock – and the door will be opened for you.

I will make it simple: Jesus rose from the dead, performed many miracles (including raising Lazurus from the dead), and preached his truth in front of thousands of witnesses. Jesus said he was God.

I believe him. You’re not sure (if you were, you wouldn’t waste your time reading the Bible or even discussing Christianity). I know it doesn’t make sense in our day and in our 3 dimensional world. But that’s just our little world…not God’s. You’ve got to put aside your paradigm of what can and can’t be, and then examine Jesus’ teachings. Then, hopefully, the truth will become apparent despite all the inconsistencies with our world.

And that is FAITH. Please, keep at it and hopefully the truth will become acceptable to you. And then, through embracing the truth, you will become acceptable to God. Make no mistake, he already loves you. But you’ve got to reciprocate!

Incidentally, it didn’t make sense to me either, even though I was raised a Christian. Too many wierd things to believe. Didn’t match up with my world view as a university trained scientist… But then I read the Bible through and voila! I believe! Does it always make total sense to me? No. Do I sometimes doubt it? Yes. That’s just our human nature. I no longer question Jesus’ truth, just my ability to accept it and live according to God’s will.

As a truth loving person, please get a copy of “A Case for a Creator” – book or DVD. You will see proofs of God’s hand in creation that no scientist or Darwinist can explain away.

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37 Responses to Atheists Read the Bible in More Detail Than Christian

  1. The Atheist says:

    Thanks for the post, Chris. I’ve been thinking about writing an article about Strobel’s “Case For…” books for some time. After giving your post some thought, I finally did! Take a look at Strobel Says that Wallace Says that Ehrman Says… and let me know what you think.

  2. Damian says:

    As an atheist who reads the Bible I’d like to point out my reasons for doing so. It’s not because I’m trying to convince myself.

    I come from a Christian upbringing and my family are still Christians. I read the Bible to exactly the same extent that an ex-drug addict or a person who’s family are drug addicts would read up on literature about drugs.

    Some people just walk away and get over it while others, like me, develop a deep fascination about why people believe the things they do. It’s a phenomenon that interests me greatly and I read the Bible with a critical eye to at least do justice to the subject.

    When I was a Christian I didn’t want to hear any counter-points to my belief and so I wouldn’t read any literature criticising Christianity. Now I feel guilty about it and before I criticise any beliefs I feel obliged to at least try to understand them first.

    Chris, the fact that you are reading the content of this website tells me that you are at least doing a better job of exposing yourself to other ideas than I did many years ago and I applaud you for that.

  3. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Damian. Glad you stopped by!

    The ex-drug addict analogy is a good one. I’ve thought about it in similar term: people who have suffered illness or have lost loved ones due to illness become interested in medicine. It is empowering and it helps overcome the feelings of being victimized by the illness.

  4. kevin bussey says:

    I like it when I get challenged. Sure there are some lazy Christians. But challenges from others strengthens my belief even more.

  5. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Kevin! Thanks for stopping by!! Your always welcome here :)

    I’m with you on that – challenges either change my beliefs or they strengthen them, but rarely leave me unchanged. So I think it’s a good thing either way.

  6. Datdamwuf says:

    I think the reason atheists in general read the bible, and in my case most religious texts, is because we are thinking, rational people who will neither accept or dismiss information unless we examine it first hand.

    I was baptized a Catholic and my family was not deeply religious, we went to church. But we didn’t read the bible. At age 14 I read it from beginning to end, then the koran, then I branched out to other religious texts. I asked to be excused from church and was allowed. I used Jesus’ own words to convince them to leave me at home “When thou prayest enter into thy closet and pray unto thy Father in secret”. At that time I was what you refer to as agnostic but studying the many religious texts I was already convinced that organized religion is a terrible thing for society as a whole and individuals. I won’t go into why in this post.

    thank you for posting here!

  7. The Atheist says:

    Datdamwuf,

    I asked to be excused from church and was allowed. I used Jesus’ own words to convince them to leave me at home “When thou prayest enter into thy closet and pray unto thy Father in secret”.

    I have to give your parents a lot of credit for allowing themselves to be persuaded by a young teenager.

  8. Courtney says:

    “You’re not sure (if you were, you wouldn’t waste your time reading the Bible or even discussing Christianity)”

    Couldn’t the same be said for a Christian who spends their time becoming more aware of atheism? :P

    It’s the same with any book, how can you claim that you don’t like a book if you haven’t read it? Or if a professor gives a lecture on said book, how can you say you don’t agree with him/her if you weren’t at the lecture? A reasonable argument against something can’t be made if the original source isn’t studied.

  9. The Atheist says:

    Courtney,

    Quite right. What about people who specialize in Greek Mythology or in Middle Earth (a la Tolkien), etc? By that logic, these people must not be sure that Greek Mythology or Middle Earth is not true or they wouldn’t read those things.

  10. Paul Aragon says:

    I read the Bible and I have never been a Christian. I read it to be armed against the fundimentalist that have taken over our country. It is in fact, my reading and research of the Bible that has caused me to become an atheist. One day I wondered about the timeframe of when each of the different books after the sapposed life of Christ were writen. It seems that a good 50 years went by before anyone tried to say he walked on this Earth like a man. Its also telling that over the next four books after Paul slowly elaborate the story more and more while contradicting one another. Paul only mentions his crucifixion and reserection but seems to suggest that this never took place on Earth…Now if anyone would of known details of Christ as a man it should be Paul, he was a contemporary. Most Christians do not even know when the books were writen. Its also hero folk lore writing at its best, far too many the christ story match far too many of the pagan god hero stories in too much detail. But mostly because the premise is flat out silly, and fundimentalist are people who give me the chills almost from the second I look at them….I am hoping that our current Anerican condition is merely a back lash that will end pretty soon, but in the mean time I need to be armed with all the logic I can to attack their arguement when I am confronted with it.

  11. The Atheist says:

    Paul,

    What were you before you read the Bible and became an atheist?

    Paul only mentions his crucifixion and reserection but seems to suggest that this never took place on Earth

    I think you are right that Paul’s concept of resurrection was spiritual and not bodily. But Paul’s concept of crucifixion seems to be earthly enough. He believed that Jesus was a man that really walked the Earth. However, he speaks of Jesus’ earthly events as if they might have happened some time in the distant past rather than in recent memory. That is, when he mentions the earthly events, he does not present them in any contemporary time frame.

    Just curious: what is your definition of “fundamentalism”?

  12. jityr says:

    There’s a lot of things that Christianity and Islam both believe. But there are some significant differences. The Muslims don’t believe Jesus died on the cross. Right?
    Both sides of the story can’t be right. One of them is right and the other one is wrong.
    Right?

  13. jityr says:

    Do any of you understand anthropology? It talks about the Neanderthal, the Cro-magnon, the Pithecanthropus, Austrailopithecus, and Homo-sapiens. When I first understood anthropology a little I assumed that Adam and Eve must of been the first Homo-sapiens. However, conservative Christians and Young Earth Creationists deny that Neanderthals, Cro-magnons, or stone age cavemen ever existed.

  14. Neil says:

    Wow, loads of ignorance here. To say that Paul didn’t believe in the physical resurrection is completely wrong:

    1 Cor. 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

    That’s just one example, but I encourage you to consider that if you have been so wildly misinformed on that bit of information that perhaps you have been deceived on others as well. I won’t bother with more because I’m not sure if anyone is following this thread.

    Reject Christ if you like, but please get some facts so you can be sure you are rejecting the right things. I’ve got lots of good links on my blogroll that might help.

    BTW, the bit on homosexuals was a shocker. For example, I can’t believe you quoted the Levay survey. That was discredited before the ink was dry! You should do more research on such easily identifiable things. Or did you know it was wrong and publish it anyway?

  15. Neil says:

    P.S. Sorry, the tone was a little harsh on the last comment.

    And to your original premise: Yes, some atheists read the Bible more than Christians. It is embarrassing how Christians don’t read the Bible more. But believe it or not, what matters most is faith in Christ. The criminal on the cross probably hadn’t read the OT much and the NT hadn’t been written. But he’s in Heaven today because He trusted in Jesus.

  16. The Atheist says:

    Hi Neil. Thanks for stopping by!

    There is no question that Paul believed that Jesus rose from the dead. The question is whether Paul believed that the resurrection was physical rather than spiritual. If you inspect closely the chapter you referenced (1Co 15), you may notice a few indicators that Paul understands the resurrection to be spiritual. Also notice that in any of his writings, Paul never mentions a resurrection which we must necessarily understand as physical.

    In 1Co 15:4-8 for example, Paul begins by recounting that Jesus was buried, and then He arose from the dead. Then he goes on to say that He was seen by the 12 disciples, and others, and finally by Paul himself. Paul equates his own experience in seeing the risen Christ with that of the 12 disciples. Yet Paul’s own description of his revelation does not indicate that he saw a physical Christ (see Gal 1:11-24). From what Paul says here, we can understand the resurrection to be either physical or spiritual. (We modern readers tend to automatically presume that Paul is writing about a physical resurrection because of our own familiarity with later writings, like the Gospels, that do not exist at the time Paul wrote. However, if we consider only the writings that were extant in Paul’s day, then it becomes more conceivable that Paul means a spiritual resurrection in 1Co 15:4-8)

    Looking now at the end of the same chapter (1Co 15:35 through the end of the chapter), Paul defends his claim that the dead will rise. Part of his defense is that what is raised is spiritual rather than physical (see especially 15:42-44, 15:49). Paul says flat out: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” He compares birth and death to the sowing and reaping of grain – where what is sown is the physical body, but what is reaped is spiritual. He also explains that those who will be raised while still living will be “changed”; that is, the body that will be raised is not the living, physical body.

  17. Neil says:

    Always fun getting Bible tips from an atheist :-).

    Just endured a few minutes of your milk jug clip. Hard to believe you posted that and harder to believe someone went to the trouble of making it, all the while thinking they were clever and witty.

    The illustration is meant to disprove God, but could just as easily be used to prove that your parents don’t exist. After all, they may respond yes, no, or maybe to your requests, just like the milk jug, and the “answered” requests could be rationalized as coincidental.

    But you have other evidence for your parents, you’ll say. And we have other evidence for God! I never use answered prayers as evidence for God. I could go on all day with arguments from logic, morality, design, fine-tuning, revelation, the resurrection, beauty, truth, etc. But your video conveniently ignores that in its straw-producing haste.

    Man, you atheists do more to bolster my faith than many sermons. It is like, that’s the best they’ve got?

    Peace!

  18. The Atheist says:

    Neil,

    The illustration is meant to disprove God,

    I don’t think it was. It was meant to expose the fallacy that, by claiming that the answer to prayer is always either “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” prayer proves the existence of God.

    I could go on all day with arguments from logic, morality, design, fine-tuning, revelation, the resurrection, beauty, truth, etc.

    Great! Which argument would you like to begin with?

    But your video conveniently ignores that in its straw-producing haste.

    How was the video arguing against a straw man?

    And why should an argument that exposes the fallacy of using the yes-no-wait answer to prayer to prove the existence of God deal with other unrelated arguments?

    Man, you atheists do more to bolster my faith than many sermons. It is like, that’s the best they’ve got?

    It may actually prove to be good enough. I hope you’ll stick around and show me were the argument is in error.

    By the way, I’m curious, how was your faith strengthened by watching the “jug” video?

  19. Neil says:

    Last comment, I promise.

    “I don’t think it was.” [mean to disprove God]

    You need to watch to watch your own videos. It is a full length ad hom designed to show that if you are smart and have common sense you’ll see that God is imaginary.

    Re. the arguments: Click the links on my site for more, or persuse my categories. Nothing personal, but I spent countless hours with over a thousand comments by “visitors” from Richard Dawkins’ blog earlier this year. I’m really not interested in a repeat. I think they’ve all all been addressed.

    They provided fodder for this post – Poor arguments to make with theists, though I should probably update it with the arguments from this this milk video, since it cleverly proves that my parents didn’t exist (Oh, and that God doesn’t exist, either).

    I pointed out how it argued against a straw man. It assumed that Christians have as much reason to believe in God as they do a gallon of milk. But you can see how transparently false and question-begging that is, right? You can see how petty and silly that was, and how easy it is to see through? I mean, did these folks really go to all the trouble to produce this slick video and didn’t realize that? Or did they realize it and make the video anyway? They could really use a good editor – someone to say, “Uh, guys, this proves nothing. Whether we agree with them or not Christians have tons of reasons for believng what they do. Even professional skeptics like Dawkins and Hitchens concede that the fine-tuning argument is a challenge for atheists. People intuitively know that something doesn’t come from nothing, doesn’t organize itself into life, etc. And even if we are right, then the evolutionary model is the “cause” for what they think, so why bother trying to correct it? It is all due to materialism, so there is no universal right or wrong.”

    And so on.

    Re. “an argument that exposes the fallacy . . .” – that’s just it: It exposed nothing. It was poorly constructed and proved too much. It could “prove” that your parents don’t exist, your boss doesn’t exist, etc., because it didn’t consider other evidence for them. It also relied on surveys that implied that God is some kind of circus animal that you can make perform tricks for you. You really, really, need to learn more about him if you think He plays that game. Go do some real research on answered prayers around the world.

    My faith-strengthening comment was just a joke, though in a way “arguments” like this from atheists do serve to remind me how weak their position is and of their deep rebellion to God. I really should pray for them more.

    Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

  20. The Atheist says:

    Neil,

    Last comment, I promise.

    I sincerely hope not. But if it turns out to be after all, please feel welcome to drop back in any time.

    It is a full length ad hom designed to show that if you are smart and have common sense you’ll see that God is imaginary.

    It actually doesn’t make that claim, nor is it an ad-homonym attack. It presumes that the listener is smart and that smart listeners will understand how the yes-no-maybe answer is an illusion that can be applied to anything; even a jug of milk.

    Click the links on my site for more, or persuse (sic) my categories.

    OK! That’s a pretty good start. Here’s the first argument you refuted on the page which you referenced above: “There are lots of denominations within Christianity and lots of religions with differing truth claims. There must be a solid majority with complete agreement for God to be real, so this is evidence that there is no God.” I agree that that’s not a very good argument – so I don’t think refuting it really accomplishes very much.

    Let’s improve the argument a little and then you can tell me how you would respond: “There are lots of denominations within Christianity and lots of religions with differing truth claims. At most one of those denominations or religions can be right and therefore all of the others must be wrong to the degree in which they differ. If one and only one can be right, which one is right and how do you know?”

    [The “jug of milk” argument] cleverly proves that my parents didn’t exist (Oh, and that God doesn’t exist, either).

    I can’t see how the argument proves that God does not exist. Can you explain?

    I pointed out how it argued against a straw man. It assumed that Christians have as much reason to believe in God as they do a gallon of milk.

    If the argument indeed assumed that Christians have as much reason to believe in God as they do a jug of milk, how would that constitute a straw-man argument? In any case, I wasn’t able find where it made that claim. Could you include the quote that you feel makes that claim so I can see what you mean?

    But you can see how transparently false and question-begging that is, right?

    I’m afraid I don’t see how it begs the question either. Could you explain?

    Christians have tons of reasons for believng (sic) what they do.

    Great! Then could you provide just a few for our discussion?

    Even professional skeptics like Dawkins and Hitchens concede that the fine-tuning argument is a challenge for atheists.

    Perfect! Maybe you would like to start with that one then. As I understand the argument, it claims that the universal constants would have to be exactly as they are for life to exist. The fact that they are what they must be, in order to support life, is evidence for God. Is that the argument as you understand it?

    People intuitively know that something doesn’t come from nothing, doesn’t organize itself into life, etc. And even if we are right, then the evolutionary model is the “cause” for what they think, so why bother trying to correct it? It is all due to materialism, so there is no universal right or wrong.”

    Most people intuitively believe that something can come from nothing, whether that something is God or whether it is the natural universe. But that aside, are you making a case that intuition is evidence?

    Why would it matter if people’s intuition was the result of evolution or another cause? Why would it be wrong to try to correct what people think in either case?

    You lost me on the materialism comment – was it intended to support a previous statement? If not, could you explain what you meant by the statement?

    You really, really, need to learn more about him if you think He plays that game.

    I’m ready and willing to learn. Would you teach me?

    Romans 1:18-20

    Nice quote. What was your point?

  21. J.D. says:

    So here are my thoughts:

    I am self educated to an extent that I consider myself much more intelligent than most other people, well above average anyway. I am EXTREMELY fascinated by the human mind and how it works, as well as all religions. I am not exaggerating, when i see a book of or about religion that I don’t have I buy or borrow it and read on.

    Does this mean I am searching for god, hope, love, ect? No. I also read a lot of sci-fi(other than religious text), does that mean I want to travel to distant planets or ride dragons? Of course not. Now I browsed through a lot of the posts to Chris’ letter, not all but most, and there are a lot of good points to be made, as well as some that don’t deserve mentioning. I know in the US. the BIBLE is the big book on campus(by campus I mean theistic warzone). In other countries this is not so, and if you are an Atheist in the US, you should really and I mean REALLY study up on the Koran.

    I don’t care what stats you have read, Islam the second most predominate religion in this country, simply because of that fact the all the different branches of Christianity(in the broadest sense) absolutely HATE Islam regardless what the piety ridden church would have you believe.

    If you believe in personal freedoms, than you should have a problem with religion in general in this country. I wont go into detail, read a newspaper.

    Just about all religious texts do contain some great teachings and rules to live by, most are great reads anyway, at least I think so. I don’t want to take that away from them, but I dare say that 100% of religious texts are self-contradictory. Do I even need to mention the fact that the numbers of different religions(including denominations and occult movements) screams the fact that they are all wrong, simply by stating “I am the right one.” This means that your chances of actually being a part of the correct religion drops to the ten thousandths of a percent or less.

    I really would wish to continue, but I have other matters that need tending at this late hour. Like sleep.

    Good Night, Live Well

    J.D.

  22. The Atheist says:

    J.D.,

    Welcome to the blog! I read and enjoyed your insights on the various threads. I have nothing to add or detract from most of the posts, so I’ll only offer additional thoughts on the posts where I have them (in other words, I’m not ignoring the others if I didn’t comment).

    You mentioned that US atheists should get better familiar with the Koran – do you mean because a growing community of US Muslims will begin to inform our politics? Or do you mean to better understand the world uprising of Islam? Or do you mean something else.

    I am just superficially acquainted with Islam (compared with my familiarity with Judaism and Christianity). I’ve read bits and pieces of the Koran, but not much other material about Islam. What would you suggest I read first?

  23. J.D. says:

    You can download a free copy of the Koran, I can remember the website but here is another link where you can order a free copy of the Koran. http://www.freekoran.com/.

    That is where I would start with Islam, I am still reading the Koran myself and will move on from there. The Koran seems to be the major pillar of Islam. But I am still studying the history of that religion.

    The reason USAtheists should read up is for both reasons. If Americans in general would pull their head out of that dark orifice in their hind parts and take a look at the world around them, they would see how violent and un-respectable Islam is. How much has Islam already affected the lives and government of non-Muslim countries, their government, and people?

    I grew up in a Christian home, a Southern Baptist Highly evangelical church, and was a very active member. I did a lot of work for the church and was passively raised to be close minded. We put on a lot of free concerts with several of the top Christian bands in the US, Third Day, DC Talk (and the individuals when they went solo) etc.

    One year, our preacher made what I would consider a career mistake is his profession. He started a Saturday night study of other religions, and how to “witness” to those people. This is where my interest in religion took root. I went out and started learning more and more about these and finally realized what a sham religion was. Years later, here I am.

    I need to become more acquainted with Judaism. My passion is the Oriental religions.

  24. J.D. says:

    The Atheist,

    I missed your back-and-forth with Neil. But I still managed to dive a little deeper into your many religions, one way comment.

    Must have been some kind of divine intervention there, huh? LOL.

  25. The Atheist says:

    Must have been! :)

  26. The Atheist says:

    Thanks for the Qura’an link.

  27. Mac Roth says:

    I am an atheist who reads the Bible, and I do so because I think it’s important for all of us to know the reasons for what we do or don’t believe. By the same token, Christians should read it, too. If they did, and paid attention to it, they would immediately see all the difficulties it contains. If they don’t want to do the research themselves, they can turn to some resources that ATHEISTS have pulled together, like The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament, by Mike Davis, or the atheist bible commentary on http://www.atheistsbiblecompanion.com. I guarantee your eyes will be opened! But mostly Christians only read the passages that their preachers assign them on Sunday morning, so no wonder they don’t know their own scriptures and have no idea how weak the case for Christianity actually is.

  28. The Atheist says:

    Mac Roth,

    Well said – and thanks for stopping by!

  29. Wendy says:

    I’ve been trying to read the bible for ages. Not because I’m a christian, in live in Belgium and I don’t see much religion here. But I’ve been curious what all the fuss is about, really. And ofcourse because if I ever want to form myself an opinion on christianity, I should at least have read the book they rely on.

    For the same purposes I have a copy of the Qur’an as well, but it too proves hard to read.
    Any tips on how to actuallty finish this? I was trying the Tolkien kind of way, but I guess it’s not quite the same thing.

  30. Neil says:

    Wendy, good for you! While it is possible to read the Bible from front to back I don’t necessarily recommend that. The first time I read it through it was a mix of New Testament (a chapter per day) in the morning and 2-3 chapters of the Old Testament at night.

    There are a lot of good study Bibles out there that will help connect the dots and answer common questions. The Quest Study Bible and any of the Life Application Bibles are good.

    I put some Bible study tips here — http://www.4simpsons.com/Bible.htm#Tips_on_How_to_Read_the_Bible . Most of them are surprisingly basic, such as just read it in context. Lots of people, Christians included, draw the wrong conclusions when reading verses in isolation. When people keep the big picture in mind it helps (i.e., God created us, we all rebel against him, He has perfect justice and love and provided a way back through Jesus, etc.)

    All the best to you!

  31. The Atheist says:

    Wendy and Neil

    Welcome to the blog!

    Wendy: I’ve had a copy of the Qur’an around for the longest time too. I’ve read bits and pieces of it, but like you, I haven’t had enough motivation to plow straight through. I have read all of the the books of the Protestant and Catholic Bible though, but not in order that they appear in the Bible. I agree with Neil that reading straight through is probably not the best approach.

    If you are completely unfamiliar with the Bible, my recommendation would be to read it in 3 passes, going in chronological order in which the books were written. First, get a copy of New Jerome Biblical Commentary. It’s not cheap, but it’s an excellent resource. For the first pass through the Bible, read the synopsis of each book from the Commentary. This first pass will go relatively quickly and will help you more familiar with the Bible as a whole before getting bogged down in the text of any particular book. Once you’ve done this, begin chronologically again but this time, read the actual text of each book in the Bible. Since this is your second pass through, you’ll already be somewhat familiar with each of the books, so it will seem much less foreign to you as you read. This second pass will take considerably longer than the first pass! Finally, if you still have the interest and the stamina, go back again through the Commentary and read about the author of each of the books, and the historical setting in which each book was written – this is a relatively quick pass like the first, and is quite interesting. Enjoy!

  32. Neil says:

    Hi The Atheist,

    Excellent tips, especially reading the synopsis for each book. It gives you a flavor of who was writing, who they were writing to, when, the key ideas, etc. The text will make a lot more sense then.

    Peace,
    Neil

  33. Mark says:

    Hi all,

    I’m only here because you turned up very high on my Google search. Sorry I can’t add much to the discourse. I skimmed the comments, and looks like I’m in the same position many of you were awhile back. Was hoping for a few extremely basic study tips:

    1) What version(s) of the Bible should I get?

    2) What about the Quran? Is one version better than the other?

    3) Thanks for the tip above on the New Jerome book. Unclear what you meant exactly for the “first pass.” Do you mean to do it Cliff’s Notes style, where I don’t read the text of the actual Bible at all?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  34. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Mark, welcome to the blog!

    1) According to Dr. Robert Price, the NIV is the best English translation in that for the most part, it derives from the Greek variants which are most likely to be nearest to the autographs.

    2) I’m not familiar enough with the Qur’an to say – please let me know what you find out!

    3) Yes, I was recommending “Cliff’s Notes” style on the first pass, then reading of the actual text on the next pass. The reason I suggested that approach to Wendy was because she wasn’t at all familiar with Judeo-Christian culture or the Judeo-Christian stories. I thought it might be a good way for her to get the “lay of the land” so that she would have some context when she began reading the text. For someone that is basically familiar with Judeo-Christian culture and stories, I’d recommend reading the Bible in the order that the books were written, and using Jerome as a reference. For a serious student of the Bible, I would still recommend reading in chronological order, but I would also add the pseudepigrapha and the apocrypha (also in order). For further studies in christianities and church history, I would suggest reading other 1st through 4th century writings, including the gnostic writings, the historians (like Pliny and Josephus), church fathers, etc – also in chronological order. The reason I stress chronological order is that 1) very often, later writings include discussions (either polemical or supportive) of earlier writings which you may not spot without having read the earlier text and 2) you can follow various myths as they develop (see my The Resurrection Story Retold for example).

  35. insomnia…

    [...]Atheists Read the Bible in More Detail Than Christian « Ask an Atheist[...]…

  36. Anonymous says:

    It’s a failed doctrine that the numerous still follow/abide. I read it like that. Many a highlighted verse marking contradictions, mistakes, and ideology that is no longer applicable. Many.

  37. Frank de Ruyter says:

    Here’s one of the problems.
    The only people who translate the Bible, or derive their theology from that translation, are people who the Church has already given the “thumbs up” for having a correct theological stance. No heretics allowed on the team. Any Bibles by heretics get burned. If you reject Original Sin,the Trinity, the literalness of the Genesis Story or Days of Creat-made, and ion account, or any number of other things, you are clearly “deceived”, and unworthy of carrying forward the testimony of the Church. Strangely, the translations all seem to lean in such a way as to support these same doctrines, round after round. Is that really God’s Providence – his control over Scripture that ensures the Truth continues to be preserved and passed down intact?
    To be impartial, it is time the Bible was translated by truly neutral agnostics, devoid even of atheistic feelings. They should translate without ever having seen a previous translation in front of them. They should translate it “cold”. What would they come up with? Would the final version still suggest a Trinity, Original Sin, etc, or will we get a surprise – a theological story that lets go of the doctrines a little and leaves enough latitude in it to adjust in every generation, and not force archaic ideas that do not fit broader knowledge.
    I’m a Christian. I have a divinity degree with distinction. I also have degrees in astrophysics and teach science. I don’t believe in the Trinity. I believe it is man-made, and should be discarded as such. But I live a life muzzled by the Church. I am not allowed to speak.
    The Church needs a third, neutral, disinterested party to sit in on its translations and theology. Does this exist in the World? Is there someone who would be willing to do it? If so, email me under the REPLY tab.

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