Thursday, May 19, 2005

My Summer Project

I'm going to do what most religious people haven't, read the Bible cover to cover. While anyone that has read this blog knows my hostility to religion and religious thought altogether, I thought I should start at the source and try to remain as objective as possible.

Now, I've read much of the Bible already, particularly the four Gospels, and found them wanting at fourteen while in the thrall of priests and nuns who failed to show any of those Christ-like characteristics they tried to pound into us little sheep, so don't expect any epiphany or Saul-like conversion. This is a project to demonstrate that between the cover of this book lies Yahweh inspired rape, murder, pillage, and genocide. Sure, there's love, but that love really only extends to Jews in the Old Testament and followers of Christ in the New Testament -- those who don't convert await eternal hellfire. And yes there's wisdom as well, but you can find much of the same in myriad other works of literature.

The point of all this is to show the fundamentalists -- who deny reason for the power of faith -- that if they truly believe in the literal truth of the Bible, then this modern world of ours that they take advantage of is a cauldron of vice: essentially know one gets out alive. The other point is to prove to religious moderates that their moderation is rather ridiculous considering they don't follow the book supposedly written by God. Better yet, that they wouldn't dare teach most of its contents to their children if they wanted them to be well-adjusted, good human beings.

Now I know the objection already, I don't have to believe in the literal truth of the Bible to be a Christian. Well, actually, you do. The only evidence for the Christian belief system is the Bible. Rationally if you can disprove or at least show the improbability of those fanciful stories, then you ultimately undermine the rest. Remember,believers claim the book was written by God. Therefore, if you don't believe this or that or follow this or that commandment, then you're betraying God. If you believe that the Bible is more allegory than the word, you can't really claim you believe that Jesus was both man and God, resurrected as proof of God's love. How can one use reason to shine skepticism on one fanciful story and then swallow the most ridiculous of them all?

I know this all sounds intolerant. But why? Christians attack Muslims for their beliefs and vice versa all the time. When you really study the Bible and the Koran, are the precepts within all that different? Switch Yahweh to Allah and Jesus to Muhammad and you have essentially the same book, calling on humans to do the most despicable of acts in one chapter while chapters later imploring them to love selflessly.

Bottomline, if you claim you live, or are cognizant of, the truth, then everyone has the right to question that truth, especially if you want to ground a secular, democratic nation's laws underneath the aegis of your private ghost in the sky.

If you can't meet the same standard of skepticism you apply to others, then your private beliefs, should stay just that, private.