(RNS) Like lots of college students, Lauren has a smartphone loaded with some of the most popular apps around — Facebook, Twitter and eBay. And like a lot of unbelievers, she asked to not use her full name because her family doesn’t know about her closet atheism.

One of the apps she uses most regularly is YouVersion, a free Bible app that puts a library’s worth of translations — more than 700 — in the palm of her hand. Close to 115 million people have downloaded YouVersion, making it among the most popular apps of all time.

But Lauren, a 22-year-old chemistry major from Colorado, is not interested in the app’s mission to deepen faith and biblical literacy. A newly minted atheist, she uses her YouVersion Bible app to try to persuade people away from the Christianity she grew up in.

“I know of a lot of atheists who have come to their nonbelief by actually reading the Bible rather than just the fluffy stories they choose to tell you about in church,” she said. “Reading the full story with all its contradictions and violence and sexism, it should make you think, ‘Is this really what I believe in?’ At least it did for me.”

Lauren is not alone. No one knows how many atheists have downloaded YouVersion and other smartphone and tablet Bible apps, but it is enough that word of the phenomenon has reached the Edmond, Okla., headquarters of LifeChurch.tv, the evangelical megachurch that created the app.

“I have heard that people use the app in that way,” said Bobby Gruenewald, the church’s “innovation pastor” and the creative force behind YouVersion. “But I view it as a win to bring the Bible into the conversation. I think it is a positive thing.”

Lauren said she uses YouVersion to debate believers about once a week, usually during a study break. Typically, she searches Twitter for someone who uses a Bible verse to support their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Marriage equality, she said, is a pet issue for her.

Tom Amon, a 37-year-old atheist, opens his YouVersion app nightly to engage believers in verse-on-verse debates via Twitter and the internet. RNS photo by Beatriz Wallace

Tom Amon, a 37-year-old atheist, opens his YouVersion app nightly to engage believers in verse-on-verse debates via Twitter and the internet. RNS photo by Beatriz Wallace


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“I usually look up one of the many passages in the Bible that refer to different kinds of marriage” — like those of men with multiple wives — “and then I’ll screen shot it and send it to them,” she said. “Most of the time people just ignore it, but I hope they took a look at it and think about it in the future.”

Across the country in Pittsburgh, Pa., Tom Amon, a 37-year-old atheist, opens his YouVersion app nightly to engage believers in verse-on-verse debates via Twitter and the Internet.

“It’s free, it has good search features so I can search for certain words like ‘unicorns,’ and there are a ridiculous number of versions,” he said of the app. “It is supposed to be the Word of God, yet when you go from one version to the other you see how much the text varies.”

Not every atheist with a Bible app uses it to battle believers. Brian Abate, also of Pittsburgh, uses YouVersion on his iPad to follow the online sermons of a local Presbyterian pastor he knows and admires — but whose church he left years ago when he fell away from faith.

“I can get the church’s opinion and then I go read it for myself and see the difference” between the translations, he said. “The biggest thing for me is seeing how much the version will change the meaning of passage. It can make a pretty big difference in how you interpret it.”

Adam Wright, a 26-year-old nursing student in southern California, downloaded YouVersion because he felt he needed to be more biblically literate. Raised a Mormon, he never read the Bible in its entirety; since becoming an atheist a year ago, he felt he should know more about it.

“It has helped educate me,” he said. “I don’t know if I am a better atheist for it, but I am definitely more informed than I would be without it.”

Once in a while, he pulls out his iPhone and the app to debate.

“There was a girl in my math class who had a tattoo about Jesus and I asked if she knew Leviticus says you shouldn’t have tattoos,” he said. “She said that wasn’t true and I opened my app and showed her the verse.”

While it’s unknown how many atheists use YouVersion or other Bible apps, polls show atheists are among the most religiously literate Americans, topping Jews, Mormons and other Christians in a 2010 Pew Research Center poll.

But with Pew reporting that only 2.4 percent of Americans identify as atheists, all of them could download YouVersion and still be a small fraction of its total users.

Still, with the proliferation of Bible and other religion apps, young people — who are the most likely to both use personal technological devices and be religiously unaffiliated — the use of Bible apps by atheists is likely to continue.

“Young nonbelievers like to have those discussions,” said Hemant Mehta, a Chicago blogger and expert on young atheists. “They love to show the Bible can say anything you want it to say.”

And Bible apps, he said, “make stronger atheists.”

“Nothing makes you an atheist faster than reading the Bible,” he said. “It’s one of those beautiful side effects of having these Bibles free and easily accessible.”

But Elizabeth Drescher, a Santa Clara University lecturer who studies the nonreligious, is not as convinced. There is nothing new, she said, about atheists and believers using the latest technology — whether it is a leather-bound Bible, an online Bible or a Bible app — to engage and debate.

“All of the kinds of things that people have always done in other ways they are now doing with digital technology to the extent that there are apps to support them,” she said. “So yes, people are using these apps in the context of those conversations, but I don’t think those conversations are any more active than they have been in the last decade.”

KRE/MG END WINSTON

245 Comments

    • More proof that the non-believers are generally more intelligent and well read than those who think the Bible was designed as a blunt instrument for beating others about the head.

        • How?

          Because I was making a snarky response to a clearly spiteful nasty comment.

          “Never trust a man who reads only ONE book.”
          -Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Purity of Blood

          • You’re right, Larry.

            And Frank, I’ve got no need to guess, I’m more well read than you.
            You should start reading those books in the bible, and don’t skip any verses you don’t like, including the OT. Because Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20 those laws still count.

          • Sam you are welcome to your delusion and your biblical ignorance. For the rest of us we will rest in the truth.

          • I don’t sense the slightest hint of love from your comments Frank. Only contempt and superiority. That does not reflect the teachings of Christ.

          • Rest in the ‘truth’ of your god who claims to have married the victim of rape to her rapist, the rapist paying her father 50 pieces of silver (well, this is a business transaction after all). Rest in the ‘truth’ of your god who claims to have slaughtered women, children, the elderly, and animals. The ‘truth’ that you rest in sounds pretty twisted. If this god is real, I take real pride in being disobedient to his commands.

          • Matt you prove that you understand nothing about God and the bible. I suggest some real study under someone. You probably should understand something before you reject it.

          • Larry,

            Seriously, you’ve shown that you have talent for quoting out of context and that you have no understanding, no idea of what it is that you attack.
            You’ve focused yourself against a thing that does not exist, mistaking it for the truth, exactly as your enemy has manipulated you to do.

          • @Watchful

            I think you have me confused with another poster.

            The only thing I have quoted in this conversation was a line from a novel depicting the Spanish Inquisition. The quote was very much in context.

            I have focused myself on people who like to pretendobnoxious behavior is automatically excused because they can quote the Bible on a given subject. Such people exist in multitudes.

        • Larry’s right on the mark. Read the Bible, and then may I suggest “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong, and maybe after that anything by Bart Ehrman? If you can recognize well-supported and well-documented fact, you’ll come out much better prepared to debate those nasty Atheists.

          Karen Armstrong is very gracious, by the way.

      • I can remember the first time I felt compelled to use this app. In my mind, I had envisioned myself being sinful and not very well acquainted with the Bible. For a while, I put off reading it using the excuse that I didn’t understand it. But, that wasn’t the reason. I felt guilty and unworthy of getting this app. I felt as though this app was supposed to be designed for those “holy” people who slept and ate God’s word, and was not meant for people like me, who didn’t necessarily see the point in reading the Bible when they had an exclusive relationship with God. But, after using this app, I came to not only realize the Bible’s amenities to offer, but the inexplicable entity that resided within it; the two working together so well to ensure that my life could be somewhat cultivated to be aligned with God and his kingdom. Ironically, this app lead me to do something I never pictured myself doing in a millions years. Sometimes, God has the aptitude to turn atheists into believers, and I pray that he does so for the people mentioned in this story.

      • Larry, you are incorrect. There are a lot of people who profess to be Christian and do not read their Bible’s and study it. But there are true Christians who study their Bible and pray daily and aim to be in constant communion with Christ. How is it fair to have the people who don’t know the Bible choosen to represent believers as a whole. I no many atheists who don’t read or understand any part of the Bible. Oh and by the way, that verse in Leviticus only applies to Moses and the Israelites. It was set up to set them apart from pagan culture. It was also a commandment for them NOT to get a haircut or shave their beard.

      • I was a Christian with strong Christian parents, 8 years ago when I was about 13 I read the bible and ACTUALLY went through the grease and sexist passages and evil terrible things, and said; is this the god I want to believe in? “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Samuel 15:3) – now I am an atheist and more literate in religion than most Christians I know.

      • Atheists seem to live in constant fear of life because they will never live long enough to achieve any purpose of their own. Very few atheist have ever produced any worth while patents or designs because they simply have no “God given” imagination. Their worst fear is their lack of foundation and they can not seem to expand their horizons because of it.

        • It seems quite clear to me that the vast majority of Christians are very nice people … until they are confronted with a bit of cognitive dissonance regarding their religious beliefs, at which point they can become quite rude and abusive … thereby cutting the legs out from under their own pretensions to “Christ-like” behavior. Oddly enough, many (most?) have never actually READ the Bible. They therefore simply have no idea that the book they believe to be the ultimate guide to morality for all humanity actually has numerous passages that literally mandate, by God’s own command, such inhumane horrors as slavery, misogyny, genocide and infanticide.

          • @512austintexas: And I have yet to see anyone here challenge your assertion with anything other than paternal condescension.

          • I agree that more Christians should read the bible. I have this one friend, fairly recent convert, who I encourage greatly to read the entirety of the bible. I told him he does not have the credibility he thinks he has until he has done so. Many Christians are uninformed because they have never read the bible in it’s entirety. I was once like this, since have read it several times, different versions as well. The difference in translations can be confusing, if you have an issue with this I strongly suggest you do research on the original Greek and Hebrew the bible was written in.

        • @observer: “Very few atheist have ever produced any worth while patents or designs because they simply have no “God given” imagination.”

          Would you care to provide sources for this assertion? Or is this a statement from faith?

        • Observer, I’m curious to know: are you familiar with the psychological concept of “projection”? Here’s the definition: “Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.” (By the way, the plural form for “atheist” is “atheistS”, with an “S” at the end of the word.) Just an observation.

        • @ Observer

          You understand that the inventor of Facebook(Mark Zuckerberg) is an Atheist, Larry Page(part creator of Google, you know…that search engine you probably used to get here) is reported not to practice any faith at all…some, if not most, of all the technological advances in human society, technology, and science were invented and discovered by Atheists. Religion likes to hinder progress by creating stupid people who only know how to follow.

          • And Alessandro Volta (a Catholic) invented the battery, which I’m sure you’ve used at some time or another.

        • constant fear of life? wtfdtem ???? any purpose of their own????? never live long enough????? wtfdtem ?????? the religious and the mentally ill are one,not to mention the ignorant and the uneducated ! lack of foundation??????? is this author human? obviously born into religious ignorance ,as are almost all religious people on this rock, where we are imprisoned, talk about holy crap……this man said a mouthful of the former. ignorance is truly bliss !!!

        • Bahahaha!

          Dude… most of the science you enjoy every day was developed or invented by atheists. The Founding Fathers (including Jefferson and Ben Franklin) were nonbelievers. Turing, inventor of the computer? Atheist. Einstein? Atheist. Outside the United States, atheists work in political leadership. Atheism is thankfully growing among those under 25 in the States as well.

          Access to information, literacy, social networking and the growing acceptability of nonbelief are all helping humanity lose its religious “security blanket” and grow up, and it can’t come too soon.

          And I as an atheist am thrilled with this life. I find joy every day, all around me, and more and more to be thrilled about. I’ll live on in my children, in the memories of those I touch may have influenced and in whatever actions persist my passing.

          Read the Bible, and critically- it’s such utter nonsense, written and modified by a bunch of people over the years, translated in the 16th century- I am very sure it bears little resemblance to whatever was written down in Jesus’ day. Bart Ehrman has written some excellent books about the origin of the Bible, if you’re really interested.

          • @Jeff
            “The Founding Fathers (including Jefferson and Ben Franklin) were nonbelievers.”
            My knowledge of American history is slim (primarily because I’m not an American but from South-East Asia) but according to this (http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html) most of the Founding Fathers belong to some Christ denomination. You’re wrong.

            “Turing, inventor of the computer? Atheist. Einstein? Atheist.”
            And Catholic Alessandro Volta invented the battery.

            “Outside the United States, atheists work in political leadership.”
            And the Communist leadership of China is doing a magnificent job of provoking tensions…

            “I’ll live on in my children, in the memories of those I touch may have influenced and in whatever actions persist my passing….”
            And if your children and friends decide to reject you…

            “Bart Ehrman has written some excellent books about the origin of the Bible, if you’re really interested.”
            And here’s my recommendation:
            http://benwitherington.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/bart-interrupted-detailed-analysis-of.html
            http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nttextcrit.html

          • Sorry bro, what I believe in is the truth of GOD’s Word. I don’t believe in religious b.s. Either. Religion is man’s attempt to reach god(it will always be unsuccessful) biblical Christianity is truth, pure and simple. Disagree with this truth all you want, I already know it to be true.

        • Mormon to athiest

          So its OK for the 200 different kinds of Christians and then the catholics and Muslims and Jews that use different translations of the old Hebrew bible in addition to books written at least 5 years after the life of Jesus by authors who contradict each other constantly. To read it and interpret it differently to. But a once believer or non religious can’t read it and show you how it can be interpreted in all different ways as well. I’m sorry you can’t look around you and marvel at science and nature. I recently heard someone talking about how their fishing boat sank and they almost drowned if it wasn’t for the life jacket they would have. And they said thank you god for sparing my life. All I could think was who’s thanked the man that invented the life jackets.who s thanked the doctors that save your life as a child by administrating vaccines that provent disease and death.but who thanks God. Its ridiculous everyone

    • Ignorance? The isnt exactly like instructions to make nuc. Can you give an example of this ignorance. Honestly it just sounds like you are mad cause your religion is so easy to make fun of.

      • look at the correlation in the south between religion and education, congress folks and senators and representatives who say ”if it was a legitimate rape”.rick santorum.cuccinelli,cruz are good examples…..televangelists,missionaries in Haiti after earth quake offering scripture and being told not to give food the the starving . praying over your kids while they die instead of giving medical ,your serious about the ignorance thing? do you read? are you educated ,and I don’t mean from a religious institution of not so higher learning ?religion must die for humans to live

    • I’m an atheist that uses the app, but this guy is actually right.

      Things like the “unicorn” verse shouldn’t be used to show that unicorns existed in the bible, it’s just not translated very well from it’s original language.

      Also, a lot of the bibles rules changed when Jesus came around… But the fact that the bible holds a lot of stupid rules in it is still a fact.

        • ‘They had great purpose’ thousands of years ago, but preachers and politicians alike love to cherry pick the ones that serve them best. Kosher foods: meh, Jesus died, we don’t need to follow that. Keeping the Sabbath: we’re under a new covenant. Homosexuality: but it’s in the BIBLE!

      • How about “dragon” or “satyr” or “cockatrice”? Are those just mistranslations too? The unicorn is hardly the only fantasy animal in the Bible. It certainly seems strange for the translators to have chosen “unicorn”, when that word already had a meaning. And if we can start blaming the translators for ONE thing….

      • The Bible says that when Jesus came he fulfilled all the laws and became the law. Old Testament was for then Jesus has the Ultimate say so. But this next comment is for the Christians: Stop debating!! You are throwing Gods word to the pigs, they don’t care about the truth they just want to be self relevant and reliant. God supports us and we have no need to get into squalling matches with folks who don’t believe and the fact is is that WE will not change their minds but GOD will change their minds.

        Please stop the vacuous war of words with folks who hold their own truths … Let us carry Gods.

        To the rest of you I pray that you find your truth and if you think you have already found it I encourage you to keep searching for more because there are always more than one way to the truth.

        • Your Faith is not a virtue. Faith is gullibility. Faith is the excuse people use for believing in something for which they have no proof. Faith is pretending to know something you do not or cannot know. Faith is not a path to Truth.
          You’ll say that I have ‘faith’ in some ways. Not so. I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have Trust that must be earned. Tell me something that I believe based on Faith, and you know what I’ll do? I’ll stop believing it.
          Faith makes you gullible and easily duped.
          I got rid of the ancient Jewish war God long ago, and I feel and function much better for it.

          • Anon. E. Mouse

            @Paul
            So your saying that your belief doesn’t have faith as well? The millions of years of “evolving” and not much proof? That doesn’t take faith? Ooops looks like you might be “gullible and easily duped”. But wait! You might say! You’re saying you don’t have faith? No, that’s not what I’m saying what I’m saying is that both are theories (because that is what it really is, there is not evidence it call it a fact) and both have there provable and un-provable points.I heard another guy that says “Science was invented by atheists.” Not so. Nobody “invented” Science. Science was in-place before atheism exsisted. What about all those false diagrams, that are still being taught today? You can teach evolution, but at least get some of the facts right. But, the final thing that comes between Athiesm and Creationism (at least to me) is that even if you believe strongly in either it really comes down, to the end of life, you see Christians have a lovely view of the end of life, you live forever! But athiests? Nothing. Thier doomed, when you die you die. Your gone. Doesn’t that make you feel sad? It makes me feel sad. So on you deathbed, think about whether you would like to live forever, or just die. It really all just comes down to that.

        • What Is the Truth?
          So let us leave the murky waters of relativism and examine briefly what the Bible describes as the pure waters of truth. (John 4:14; Revelation 22:17) In the Bible, “truth” is not at all like the abstract, intangible concept over which philosophers debate.
          When Jesus said that his whole purpose in life was to talk about the truth, he was speaking of something that faithful Jews had valued for centuries. In their sacred writings, the Jews had long read of “truth” as something concrete, not theoretical. In the Bible, “truth” translates the Hebrew word “ʼemeth′,” which signifies that which is firm, solid, and, perhaps most of all, reliable.
          The Jews had good reason for viewing truth in that way. They called their God, Jehovah, “the God of truth.” (Psalm 31:5) This was because everything Jehovah said he would do, he did. When he made promises, he kept them. When he inspired prophecies, they were fulfilled. When he uttered final judgments, they were carried out. Millions of Israelites had been eyewitnesses of these realities. The inspired penmen of the Bible recorded them as indisputable facts of history. Unlike other books viewed as sacred, the Bible is not set against a backdrop of myth or legend. It is firmly grounded in verifiable facts—historical, archaeological, scientific, and sociological realities. No wonder the psalmist says of Jehovah: “Your law is truth. . . . All your commandments are truth. . . . The substance of your word is truth”!—Psalm 119:142, 151, 160.
          Jesus Christ echoed the words of that psalm when he said in prayer to Jehovah: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Jesus knew that everything his Father spoke was absolutely firm and reliable. Likewise, Jesus was “full of . . . truth.” (John 1:14) His followers learned as eyewitnesses, and recorded for all posterity, that everything he said was rock solid, the truth.
          However, when Jesus told Pilate that he had come to earth to speak the truth, he had a specific truth in mind. Jesus made that statement in response to Pilate’s question: “Are you a king?” (John 18:37) God’s Kingdom, and Jesus’ own role as its King, were the very theme, the core, of Jesus’ teaching while he was on earth. (Luke 4:43) That this Kingdom will sanctify Jehovah’s name, vindicate his sovereignty, and restore faithful mankind to eternal and happy life is the “truth” in which all genuine Christians hope. Since Jesus’ role in the fulfillment of all of God’s promises is so pivotal, and since all of God’s prophecies become “Amen,” or true, because of him, Jesus could well say: “I am the way and the truth and the life.”—John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14.
          Recognizing this truth as completely reliable means a great deal to Christians today. It means that their faith in God and their hope in his promises are based on facts, on realities.

          • ignorance is bliss,its 2013 folks,the whole world doesent live in Alabama, we have schools in America where reality is studied

        • Daniel Hulseapple

          Finally some sense being spoken. I am a Christian, I read and believe the Bible, but I do not believe that it is a rule book; rather it is a guide for finding your way to be found by God. (You may look for, or try to hide from, God, but it is God who finds you, not the other way around.) Those who think, feel, believe, (or whatever word you want to use), that the Bible is full of false ideas and thoughts is putting too much literal interpretation into it. I often get in “trouble” with my Southern religious relatives because I continually challenge their ultraconservative idolizing of the Biblical stories (yes stories, since that was how the Hebrews originally told their history) as fact rather than as interpretation. And for those who claim to be atheists. I simply say, If I am correct, God forgives and extends his mercies to everyone who accepts; and if I am wrong, I have lost nothing. Either way I have tried (notice I said tried, because I know I have too often failed miserably) to be friend to everyone, even those who have made it difficult (extremely so at times) to show them kindness.

          • Pascal’s wager, yep… My concern is for people like your relatives, or anyone who interprets religion with ultraconservative or fundamentalist views, and in that faith causes harm. Examples of that harm are so very numerous, and affect essentially all religions. Therefore, we need to lose the religions, they’re actually hurting people. Misogyny, faith healing, and on and on….

      • Atheism
        The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits.
        Makes perfect sense.

        • Have you watched Ben Stein’s “No Intelligence Allowed”? Great documentary! You’ll enjoy it, especially the ending… A must see for Atheists and Christians alike and also those “undecided” folks…

          • @ CM Roberts, Have you watched the documentary, ” The REAL Truth of the Origin of Religion” available on YouTube? It too is very interesting and thought provoking.
            I’m sure most Christians will refuse to watch it because it may actually make sense and shed a little light on the Son (yes pun intended, for those who’ve watched it.) If it makes sense, there might be questions, when there are questions, there should be answers. I’ve been asking a lot of questions, but can never get a straight, knowledgeable answer that shows me any kind of tangible truth.
            I grew up smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt. Where you don’t question religion, because religion is the law and that’s that. I know of an incident in which a young pastor was asked to resign because he read his sermons from the New King James Bible(NIV) instead of the old version of the Bible, “because we only believe in the truth and the new one ain’t saying the same as the old one.” How ridiculous is that?
            Religion is a manmade invention to explain the unknown and keep those who are unintelligent, the way they are.

        • Theism
          The belief that a magical being whom noone can see poofed everything into existance in 7 days but for some reason only made two people to populate the world through incest and then distroyed the world only to have human do it all over again
          Makes since -_- i mean if you’re into that kind of thing

    • Debate isn’t possible with people who have sworn off reason and believe in the divine nature of a book that condones slavery, rape, incest, misogyny, and selling your own children into slavery. It’s impossible for there to be a “loving” god who is also a homicidal maniac. The only chance is to catch them young enough before cognitive dissonance has ruined any chance for a reasonable conversation. This is why there are church camps… If it were actually factually true you wouldn’t have to be indoctrinated to forcefully and god might have left a better set of clues.

    • It depends on the christian you meet. I have read the writings of you atheists and seen that you guys have nothing to offer. I have exposed distortions made by atheists on the bible,so we could discuss if you want

    • The sad part is actually people like you immediately discount them rather than listen and think “they probably have a point”.

      By looking at the parts of the Bible people like you often ignore they are revealing the opposite of ignorance. It is you who is ignorant of the Bible, they are trying to fix that by showing you the parts that they don’t show you in church.

  1. The reality is, is that many so called “christians”, dont know the bible and certainly dont understand it enough to ever teach anyone about it. Let alone themselves. So of course any atheist who reads and nit picks the scriptures will be able to make any “christian” look completely ignorant and foolish, not knowing about what the bible REALLY teaches. They cite the acts of man and the badness that they did, but fail to recognize that much of the bad things in the bible were directly AGAINST what God had instructed people to do. False “christians” also have a distorted view on hell and heaven. Principles that contradict the bibles message. Example, EVERYONE know the bible says “the meek shall inherit the earth and reside for ever upon it”. And yet they dont know what God’s kingdom is and they cant reconcile that text with the belief that they will be raptured to heaven…

    False christianity is a litany of lies that shows nominal christians to be ignorant of the bible itself. And it also brings much reproach on Gods word. That is the goal of God’s enemy the devil. And he has certainly accomplished it…

    • No true scotsman fallacy anyone?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

      So what determines who is “true Christian” and who isn’t?

      If they identify as Christian and do something stupid and embarrasing, they must be “False Christians”. If they do what you expect them to do, they are “True Christians”

      • according to the Bible there are two sets of people who call themselves “followers of Jesus” or Christians. At Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says these words: 21) “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22) Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23) And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.” Many who “identify as christian” are NOT following the Christ in deed but only “in word”… Therefore they are “false christians” as JAY stated…

        • Quoting Scriptures does not make anyone a “true” Christian. People should not judge and proclaim who is or is not a “true” Christian. That is for God to decide. The issue here is that it is sad and unfortunate that so many miss the big picture of biblical texts and the redemption through Jesus. Being snarky to each other does not help anyone reinspect Scripture with an open mind.

        • The bible is so long (even without the books that were left out-and who made THAT decision …) that you can make it say almost anything you want. Quotes from one book can easily be contradicted by another quote from another book. Essentially, the bible is a collection of stories, nothing more.

          • Colin,

            That’s a statement long proven as untrue. The Bible is a consistent, cohesive and contextual whole.

          • Christianity is also defined as specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects or the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.
            .
            Atheists don’t have set of shared beliefs? Hmmm

      • Mike de Fleuriot

        Larry, it is almost as if that list of logical fallacies was specifically designed to beat theists with. Just about every argument they put forward can be show to be ignorant and or a logical fallacy.

        • You must be thinking, “damn Aristotle and his analytic approach to rhetoric. Somehow he has managed to make people born thousands of years after him look like dishonest phonies.” =)

          I can’t help it that just about every argument put forward by theists are fallacious and ignorant. Its just the nature of the beast.

          • The late George G. Simpson of Harvard, affectionally known as “Mr. Evolution,” declared that man’s discovery [allegedly] that the universe lacks “any purpose or plan has the inevitable corollary that the workings of the universe cannot provide any automatic, universal, eternal, or absolute ethical criteria of right and wrong” Where, then, does that leave us?
            Atheist historian William Provine has declared: “Except for the laws of probability and cause and effect, there is no organizing principle in the world and no purpose. Thus, there are no moral or ethical laws that belong to the nature of things, no absolute guiding principles for human society” Add to this the fact that Provine denies that human beings even have “freewill,” and you really have a mess. No one is accountable for anything he does!

            Ahh…the tenets of atheism

    • old testament is full of “and they slaughtered all of the inhabitants, even the children and beasts, and God saw that it was good.”–and if that is no longer valid, why is it still in the Bible?

      Your argument fails.

      • Ah but Christians only pay attention to the Old Testament when they want to:
        -Sound tough in public
        -Disavow all of that “love thy neighbor” and “judge not” stuff from the New Testament.
        -Give their religion the force of law despite Jesus’s admonishment to “give unto Caesar his due”

    • False Christians? Sure, Jay. After all, your personal version of an Iron Age mythology that grudgingly reached a shaky consensus in 325A.D. must be the correct one, right? You have all kinds of elaborately absurd non-explanations, glaring irony in accusing others of cherry-picking, and ominous portents about what happens if someone doesn’t submit to your authoritarian sky wizard’s mandates.

      What you don’t have is a single shred of evidence to validate a single one of your claims.

    • However, you are the enlightened one…it makes me laugh when: righteous people as yourself know better than others; Christians dare to say that the US is built on Judeo-Christian morality…does not say much for morality and to substantiate that read the bible, besides the fact that Europe and the US were anti-Semitic until a few decades ago…lol, Christians are rather creative people, i.e. making up two more gods (trinity; the council of Nicene 325ad gave jesus his divinity status) and hell for the jews believe in neither;
      praise the lord that I have seen the light and I am a devout atheist, thank you jesus!

      • Obviously, to openly flaunt your ignorance in print by not knowing the difference between ceremonial law, laws pertaining to Israel in particular and the hard and fast laws that deal with humanity in general commanded by God would be funny if not so sad.
        Your beliefs are a round robin of disbeliefs, hatreds and confusing statements that simply reject order, logic and a peaceful or prosperous society.

    • Jay,

      I offer a small correction. Most atheists do not quote the “badness” of man in the bible as arguments why the bible is invalid. Most atheists point to the direct contradictions between the bible itself, or established history to show that the bible is flat out wrong, or we quote the verses that demonstrate why the current brand of “religious belief” is not based on real biblical scripture, or we use it to point out the awful cherry picking that Christians do. At no time to I personally ever use the actual actions of the people in the bible as argument why it is invalid, I just use the chapter and verse to support this statement:

      “I do not always base my entire existence around an ancient book with dubious historical accuracy… but when I do, I do not feel the need to read it”

    • “fail to recognize that much of the bad things in the bible were directly AGAINST what God had instructed people to do.”

      Exodus 21, Leviticus 25, and Deuteronomy 15 commanded believers to do bad stuff. So, um, yeah, How are Abrahamic religions moral?

      • Judeo/Christian morality is a funny thing. Aside from reference to minor rather universal ideas necessary for functioning societies, its arbitrary, downright capricious, easily manipulated to destructive and harmful ends.

        Plus it seems to appeal to a sociopaths notion of considering others One does not harm others out of fear of celestial punishment rather than notions of personal conscience or empathy.

      • How do you know they are bad?
        The American Civil War is America’s deadliest war so far (some 600,000 dead). Supposedly the Civil War happened to stop slavery. Does this mean stopping slavery is an evil thing since it lead to so much deaths and destruction?

    • If god Is all powerfull and knowing then he controls the devil and therefore is an accomplice to the evil you think the devil does. If he does not control the devil then he is not all powerfull.

      • The story of Job is very revealing, God tells Satan that it was Satan who “moved me” against my faithful servant Job. In other words God said “the devil made me do it”. What bothered me the most about this story is that it disregarded the lives of Job’s sons and daughters. Like they were nothing in the eyes of their lord. Did they not have any worth in the eyes of God? What did they do to deserve to be destroyed by the devil? No one seems to ask or care. They were a side note in the story, that’s it. I thought it was rather rude and underhanded of God t treat them this way or allow them to be killed just to prove his point about Job. It is a revealing fact that bothers me to this day. And it helps me to move away from religion rather than towards it. So the bible is an excellent tool for atheism.

  2. One of the perils of Bible apps is that it makes the error of proof-texting just that much more accessible abd quick. Both for Christians and non-Christians. This story illustrates the latter clearly. Those quoted as using the Bible app to help them “debate” Christians relate times they took the text out of context.

    People – both Christians and non-Christians – have been managing to do that for years…

  3. Never let someone quote you bible text out of context and give you the interpretation, Christian or None. If you are ignorant of a verse, don’t be afraid to admitt you need to to look into it. It’s naive to think any part of the bible has been overlooked in the last couple centuries, let alone the last two millennium. Resources are out there, especially books on apologetics, because many of the challenges you’ll face are actually quite old. First place to start, a study bible, with the list of foot notes on each page plus verse cross references. Anyone can quote scripture, even Satan debates Jesus in this way. A counter argument can always be found. It’s up to you to decide, once informed, whose is more compelling.

    • Why does God’s inerrant word need interpretation through millennia of apologetics? Surely an all-knowing, all-powerful being should be capable of making himself understood the first time.

      • Because we have God’s Word, not God’s words. The argument your making is based on a pretty simplistic understanding of what is considered inspired word that it is practically a staw man. For instance Mt. 1:10, the importance of this verse requires understanding at least three different kinds of context including history.

        Also, maybe giving us teachers is how God leads us to understand the word. ;)

    • Diego, Let me plant a Mustard seed in hopes it will grow into reality. Think about something. When Satan (Fallen Angle Lucifer) tempted Jesus, in Mathew 4, he took him not only into heaven to tempt him, but also onto a high mountain on earth, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and said all of this can be yours. On what mountain on earth is it possible to see around earth? The only way this works is if the writer thought the earth was flat, which was the common belief at that time.
      Please, read the book, from start to finish without the twisted blinders of interpretation from anyone, but with honest open eyes, and you may see what so many others have.
      Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
      Good day!

      • So you’re telling me a verse is to be taken literally when it is obviously a metaphor, than tell me not to twist it with interpretation?

        Your last part there is pretty hostile in a fundamentalist way. (Did good day need the ! ?) If I live life, love people, and also believe in God, why is that a problem?

        • So Diego, which parts of the Bible are “obviously a metaphor” and which parts aren’t? How are we to determine that? Doesn’t the Bible clearly state, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”? We only have the Bible to trust, not what we interpret – not what someone else tells us.

          Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
          Disrespect children are to be stoned.
          Jesus cursed a fig tree.
          Jesus was killed and resurrected.

          That’s what the Bible says.

          • Again you’re telling me not to accept what others tell me, followed by telling me what to think. I sounds like your only concern is that people think the same as you.

        • Diego, the selection of what to take literally and what to call a metaphor, along with the excuse that scripture has to be interpreted with the spirit of God are all squirms done by Christians to get around logic and reason. What you call obvious may not be to others (see below for example). The Seven-day Adventist takes resting on the seventh day to an extreme, as do the Pentecostals with the day of Pentecost, and speaking in tongues. Most Christians think you must be baptized (submerged in water) to be saved. The book is filled with inconsistencies, and untruth.
          If you can live life, and love people without believing in fantasies, why would you choose to believe? The problem with believing in something that has specific requirements, is that those who believe try to push those onto everyone else. Do you really believe anyone but the insane would have flow an airplane into the twin towers unless they believed in something as powerful as religious belief?
          By the way, the last part is how I close my comments, and has evolved as I get input on it. It was not meant to be hostile, I’m just a very happy person, and the exclamation point was meant to accentuate that happiness. Now that I see how it can be misunderstood, I’ll change that to a happy face, so it is easier to understand.
          Thank you for your critique.
          Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
          Good day (-:

          • First off, I seem to have confused another poster for you. Sorry about that. Second, on your closing, the way I read it was snippy like Willie Wonka’s Good Day Sir!, if that helps any.

            With regards to different interpretations, I never asserted who was right or wrong in my original comment. Rather I advocate educating oneself and looking at both sides of an argument. Does this not sound like a position of reason?

            It might sound like a squirm to those that expect others to be able to supply simple responses to conplex topics on the spot, equating ignorance with being wrong. And if only they could trap their opponent in it, that would mean they win the debate. It also sounds like you might just look at the bad, suicide attacks, and generalize religious belief. What about anonymous charitable giving also inspired by religious belief? Is it not just as likely that religious belief is responsible for both, or even neither? Why would one be religious belief and the other not. That’s basically confirmation bias you have going on, fueling stereotypes, and is basically the opposite of using critical thinking and logic.

      • From my vantage point in life, I have lived long enough and observed people long enough to know that I would never place my faith in humanity. I love people just as God does, but the whole species is entirely too flawed, too sinful to be an object for adoration or worship.

      • You are nothing but a devotee to the religion of scientism and government. You are proof positive of the religious nature of man and his search for purpose and meaning. Which incidentally are the natural consequences of theism. Good day

      • Earlod, let me water your seed for a second. I see you cited Mat 4, that’s good. I hope you are just kidding with the sentences that follow that. If you would, check out Isaiah 40:22, where it mentions “the circle of earth”. While in you are in the good book, go check out Job 26:7 and 10. This “should” help you understand that the bible says, the earth is round. There are some that think these versus are what actually helped, the bible believing, Christopher Columbus make his decision to sail and find what we call the western civilization.

      • @Earold,
        Nothing irrational at all. Or if you want, it is about as rational as the statement “Alexander the Great conquered the world” which I’m sure you’ve heard or some variation. Does this mean Alex single-handedly conquered the world?

    • There really is no need to quote things out of context, because the bible is so flawed in many ways. Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, they disagree on the most trivia of matters (like even where Jesus is born) how can they possibly ‘get the big picture’ right? We use the bible app so we can include chapter and verse to really rub it in – so people can look it up for themselves. And the 10 commandments do not have ‘thou shalt not kill’ or the one about adultery or stealing – that is a a common mistake ignored by all, Moses destroyed the original ‘commandments’ and then went back for what the bible would call the ‘ten commandments’ – you know, the one that has the command not to eat a baby sow if it was bathed in its mothers milk. Well, something like that. I obey it, because I avoid all animal products, but I think many christians have probably broken it.

      • Its not true that “Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, they disagree on the most trivia of matters (like even where Jesus is born) “. You need to go back reread the gospels and understand what a disagreement is.

        You come across as someone who has not studied it and so makes foolish comments about it.

        • Actually, there are serious differences between the four “gospels” of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A quick google search and a bit of “cut and paste” turned up these contradictory statements on two specific topics: First: Who is the father of Joseph?

          MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

          LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

          [Editor's note: This contradiction has to do only with the father of Joseph, not with the father of Jesus.]

          Second: Who was at the Empty Tomb?

          MAT 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

          MAR 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

          JOH 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

          • Daniel Hulseapple

            Does any of this matter in the long run? Either God exists, and those who believe are right; or God does not exist, and those who so believe are right. In the end, we all die. We all become the same, for the first time in any of our lives. I simply believe in God and and a new life beyond this human existence. You are free to believe what you so choose, and I respect that. That is all that is necessary, and all this bantering needs to end. There is ENOUGH pain and suffering, hatred and anger, without manufacturing this difference between believers in a universal deity those who believe only in nature.

          • What contradiction?
            http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/03/02/contradictions-whats-in-a-fathers-name

            As for who was at the tomb, it’s clear that a bunch of women were present, with Mary Magdalene being most prominent and mentioned by the authors and the other women being selectively mentioned. No contradiction at all.

          • You can’t stop the music
            www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB8UXJE7zps‎

            We can’t stop
            www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrUvu1mlWco

            You can’t stop rock and roll.
            www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaehBH7DtR4‎

          • I dont fight things that arent real. I merely try to reason with people who I believe are wasting their lives with religion. I can donate money to someone in need and then you can pray for them. what do you think will help that person the most. I do not feel it is a waste of time to contest the false words in the bible as I genuinely feel I am helping people.

          • Poor James,
            Christianity has been the foundation of the abolition of slavery, freeing women from oppression, caring for the poor and needy, giving to charity, building orphanage institutions, preventing infanticide, forbidding human sacrifice, equality, caring for the wounded such as the Red Cross, erection of hospitals, these my friend have their origins in Christianity. None of these are attached to deceitful atheistic schemes of man.
            Ironic, though, as an atheist you see God everywhere. LOL

          • Observer, you’re wrong on most counts. Hospitals predate Christianity, it was illegal under punishment of death to own a bible in English or to read from it until the middle of the last millennium, women and slavery have been justified by Biblical passages (read the history of slavery leading up to the American Civil War).If you mistakenly listen to clowns like Pat Robertson and the 700 Club, women remain oppressed under Christianity.

            The harm done by faith is all around us, if you open your eyes. I am doubtful that you will, however. It was Madalyn Murray O’Hare, and Atheist, who said ” An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.”

            If you revere Mother Teresa, read Christopher Hitchins’ book. If you mistakenly think the bible actually merits faith and belief as an accurate historical record, try “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong.

      • Actually, the very reading of the bible I would say; causes one to become an atheist. Especially when the book itself promotes its own religion and where there is no evidence for its claims outside of it.

      • Actually, Frank, it’t the other way around! As more and more CHRISTIANS read the bible ( most haven’t.. go figure) there will be more and more ATHEISTS.. if people are rational and reasonable, they will see how false, evil, contradictory and ludicrous it actually is. It was fine for the unquestioning ignorant primitives it was originally written for, but has no place in the 21st century of reason and science, except as a tool for evangelists and other con men to control the ignorant masses and separate them from their money. Any thinking person who actually READS it can come to no other conclusion then it is all BS… unless they are so enslaved by their childhood indoctrination, they cannot grasp reality..which I suspect is the case for you. Unless you personally have not read the bible, in which case I suggest you do. It’s bound to be a real eye opener for you!

        • Your statement “As more and more CHRISTIANS read the bible ( most haven’t.. go figure) there will be more and more ATHEISTS.” is patently false. Reading the Bible does not lead to atheism. What leads to atheism is the lack of critical thinking.

          • Bahaha… Critical thinking helps. Read the bible critically and read some other, well-researched and respected sources. We’ll welcome you, we have cookies. And believe it or not, most atheists I know are very moral, very nice people. Funny what understanding that this is our one life to enjoy (and that the same applies to everyone else) does for your outlook.

            And I’m not being sarcastic. Christians, please, educate yourselves. It helps.

          • Atheists are moral?
            Atheist philosopher Joel Marks say otherwise. He proudly declares that under atheism, there really is no basis for any morality:
            http://philosophynow.org/issues/80/An_Amoral_Manifesto_Part_I

          • RMW, how many moronic misogynistic Christians would you like me to quote? Hmm, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker?

            Quoting one atheist isn’t’gt quite the overwhelming evidence that we’re immoral that you may think it is. But Sam Harris says it better than I ever could however.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3mX0YRrjM

            And Marilyn, if by a desire to reject the commands of the Bible means I’ll refuse to sell my daughter into slavery, or stone people to death, or leave my wife and children to follow Christ, etc etc then yes, you’re correct. If anyone chooses to believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, I don’t want him or her anywhere near my family and I, nor do I want that person to hold public office. If anyone chooses to cherry pick a few select parts of the Bible as exemplars of morality or right living, what’s stopping them from doing the same with the Yoga Sutras? Or the Qu’ran? Or Harry Potter, or Paradise Lost? At least the last two had a single, known author and weren’t modified many times to suit the agendas of the misogynistic sods who sought power.

            The commands of the Bible do immeasurable harm every day, to teenagers and unwed mothers, to the LGBT community, to those of other faiths, to little children who are indoctrinated in a faith before the age of reason. Try waiting on the Bible until your kids are 12 or 15, see what reception you get.

            Yes atheists are moral. That’s why we sometimes argue against religion.

          • Mark, you are wrong. Critical thinking will inevitably lead you to the truth. The truth for you will be hard to take and twill take years for you to come to terms with it. The bible is an excellent source of reference for Atheists to protect ourselves from nutcases that insist that they are right and everyone else is wrong. I doubt therefore I am not going to hell because if God is real, I have no fear of him. I do however, have many questions for him. After all He has a lot to answer for. I hope he is real. But if I am wrong about that then no harm done.

      • I have never seen an ex-atheist. I see plenty of ex-Christians.

        Spiteful self-righteous nabobs calling themselves Christians do more to help spread atheism than all of the Bible Apps in the world.

          • Aww isn’t that cute. You are trying, “I know you are but what am I”.

            You learned that from the Pee Wee Herman School of Rhetoric

          • Marilyn, your statement that it is the desire to reject the commands of the bible that leads to Atheism is vey inaccurate. I am a very active person in my community. Our old church in the south had become ultraconservative and stopped reaching out to the poor and needy. It is my wanting to reach out and continue reaching out to community that has started me in the move outward away from religion. It is thoroughly studying the bible and its origins that have moved me away from religion. It is education that has moved me away from religion. It was intelligence that has moved me and mine away from religion. I am free indeed and the truth did set me free. Embrace the truth if nothing else. The truth is substantiated by facts. Facts are researchable and are readily at your finger tips. If you are a believer than first for your own sake find out about the bible, who wrote it and when. And then find out why. There is only one outcome for the intelligent. Freedom. Only you can break your chains.

      • Frank, Frank, Frank… you really don’t understand that actually reading the Bible is what made many of us ex-Christians become atheists. The savagery of the old testament God and the contradictions throughout the Bible made many of us question the ideas of “Christian values” and the “inerrant word of God” and that’s just a slippery slope to complete denial of a Christian God.

        Really, you have it backwards – more people actually reading the Bible as it is (without a biased apologist interpreter) will lead to more people just saying, “I can’t believe this nonsense”.

        • Reading the Bible does not make people atheist. That is nonsense. People become atheist because they stop thinking clearly and don’t understand the implications of atheism which leads to all kinds of absurdities.

          • Mark, you seem not to know any atheists personally. What do you really think atheists are like? In my experience, atheists are more caring and supportive and sensitive, don’t feel they can misbehave or beat their wife or kids and be “absolved of their sins” somehow by confessing and paying tithes… The respect and friendship I desire is that of my fellow humans. Wrong is still wrong, compassion informs our actions, and so on.

            The implications of atheism is that there is no afterlife. No God. After all, there remains no evidence for either aside from some bronze age stories, fourth century copies of first century scrolls written down 40-90 years after the events in question, cherry picked and translated over a thousand years later.

          • As far as NOT thinking clearly, Atheists are guilty of quite the opposite my friend. It is clear thinking that leads one away from religion. Muddled thinking leads to belief. Only a confused person believes in a God that he cannot understand. And if you tell me that you understand God than maybe you can explain why there is an 8 year old child in the hospital with brain cancer. And while your at it please tell me why thousands of children die of hunger every year.

      • To Frank, who said, “As more and more atheists study the bible we will start to see more and more ex-atheists.” Frank, do you really think so? I think you’re wrong, and in fact, it appears that non-believers are the fastest growing demographic these days, according to an article in the New York Times (Apr. 26, 2009), which states the following: “Polls show that the ranks of atheists are growing. The American Religious Identification Survey, a major study released last month, found that those who claimed “no religion” were the only demographic group that grew in all 50 states in the last 18 years”. Personally, I sort of think that if people who self-identify as “Christians” on the assumption that that designation is synonymous with “good person, loving, kind, generous and caring” were to actually read the Bible they would be STUNNED. I don’t think most self-identified Christians have ever taken the time to really study the “Word of God”; they just listen to the preacher on Sunday morning and figure they’ve got the basics down. But to read the Bible is hardly an exercise in loving kindness: to the contrary, as Richard Dawkins says, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” It’s all in there, and all of this unpleasantness is actually endorsed by Jesus himself in Matthew 5:16-18. Here’s what I think is more likely: that the more people know about the Bible, the more they will see it for the nonsense that it is. This is where the Internet is so useful. I think the truth is this: “The internet is where religions come to die”. Watch this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rqw4krMOug

        • Daniel Hulseapple

          The claiming of “no religion” refers to acceptance of the “established” static religious thought. Most people I know who have left the established church are still seeking to know God fully. Without giving names, it includes a grandson, with whom I have had frequent conversations, and with whom I have a wonderful relationship in spite of being on “opposite sides” of religious doctrine, faith, scripture, etc. And I have to bow to his intellectual astuteness, even though I have years more of education, both formal and “street.”

    • No, NO. We don’t want christians to actually follow the bible. The world would be even more insanely dangerous. Can you imagine them carrying out word for word what is written in the bible? It would be a nightmare for all of us.

      • Statements like ” Can you imagine them carrying out word for word what is written in the bible? It would be a nightmare for all of us.” – show you don’t understand what you are arguing against – not every book and word of the bible is a “thou shalt” instruction….sheesh, ignorance on both sides prevails.

        • To Nigel: I think Karin has an excellent point, and your response, “Statements like ” Can you imagine them carrying out word for word what is written in the bible? It would be a nightmare for all of us.” – show you don’t understand what you are arguing against – not every book and word of the bible is a “thou shalt” instruction….” seems off-point. Jesus himself endorsed the Old Testament laws (Matthew 5:16-18), and those OT laws include atrocious behavior that would, as Karin said, “be a nightmare for all of us”. Heck, all we’d have to do is apply Leviticus 20:10 (Adulterers to be put to death) and we’d have a bloodbath on our hands. It wouldn’t take the application of “every word” of the Bible to create hell on earth, just a few. The only thing that makes life in a Christian-dominated society at all tolerable is that there are many, many more “Cafeteria Christians” than zealous fundamentalists, and “thank Goodness” for that! No matter what sort of pretzel-logic Christian apologists apply to explain why they don’t stone their teenagers to death for being “stubborn and rebellious”(Deuteronomy 21:18-21), the fact is, that’s what the Bible says. There’s nothing ignorant about reading the words that are on the page, and those words contain a vision of morality that is absolutely horrific.

      • Without God, the world will get more evil as time goes on because it doesn’t matter how a person lives. When people begin to understand that their lives are meaningless then it doesn’t matter how a person lives.

        • It’s amazing to me when Christians assume that anyone who doesn’t share their particular set of beliefs must be wandering in an existential wilderness, leading “meaningless” lives. I personally think that the “God of the Bible” is, as Richard Dawkins so charmingly puts it, “One of the most unpleasant characters in all of fiction” … yet, strangely enough, I have a wonderful, happy and fulfilling life, with much love and joy. I am, in fact, “Good without God”, and happy to talk about it with anyone. It’s also positively bizarre to assert that, “without God the world will get more evil as time goes on because it doesn’t matter how a person lives” … Mark, are you saying that the only thing that keeps you from being a serial-rapist-mass-murderer-arsonist-thief-pedophile-sadistic torturer is your fear of hell?

        • Mark, we see this very thing happening before our eyes. Watch the news any night of the week and see the results of “not believing in anything” except “self” that is…. but I have to say it is the very patience of God that keeps waiting for people to “wake up” and turn to Him. Definitely ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS and expect Biblical answers. Anyone who “interprets” the scriptures for you should SHOW you the verses where they got their answers. REASON FOR YOURSELF, don’t listen to false stories of people who don’t even give a listening ear to both sides.

        • Mark, that is such nonsense. Neuroscience is really wonderful, it’s helping us understand that compassion and empathy are evolutionary adaptations that helped our survival and as such it’s easy to see why atheists remain compassionate and supportive.

          As a counterargument, look at the major mass shooters in recent US history.. Religious,

  4. This article rings true many times, like a church bell on Sunday. Religion is humanities poison, and with every generation it looses it’s potency. Unfortunately not in my lifetime, but within the next few hundred years, logic and reason will rise above all the superstition and humans will be the better for it. I always urge every Christian I talk to about religion too read their Bible thoroughly, usually with a knowing smile.

    Perhaps everyone should consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
    Good day!

    • Earold Gunter: would you be surprised if I (a Christian) believe GOD himself will destroy all forms of false religion, of which “christendom” is a LARGE PART. God will soon (hopefully in your lifetime) put the thought into the minds of governmental authorities to disband & destroy them completely… How do I know? I read my Bible… Revelation 14:8 and Rev.16:17 thru 18:10 describes the destruction of “Babylon the Great” the “great harlot” who sits on top of the other kingdoms of the world… false religion permeates politics but soon a more secular society (coming up NOW) will NOT stand for her meddling any longer…. read it, you’ll see…

        • Because unlike religious beliefs, evolution is real.

          Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
          Good day (-:

      • CM Roberts, No, I would not be surprised at all. Christians have been continually twisting the words, verses and interpretation of the Bible to make it into something other than what it is, which is compilation of books written by various men, none of which were anointed by a God, and assembled by men who sought to use those words to control people, quite successfully, for a long time. That is why so many variations of Christianity has emerged which grab a certain part, and build a sect around it. Two name just a few, the Seven-day Adventists, and Pentecostals. I’ve read the bible several times, and each time I became even more convinced it is a man made, poorly written, assembly of books, full of hate, slaughter of innocents, incest, slavery, and contradictions, but also if there really was an all powerful God, it wouldn’t be.

        Perhaps everyone should consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
        Good day!

        • How are the commandments in Leviticus other than what they say? Kill all adulterers, male and female. Kill all girls who have pre-marital sex (but not boys). Kill disobedient children. Stay away from pagan temples because the priests in those places require you, male or female, to have sex with them. These commandments are very clear. They are perfectly in tune with Sharia law. The question is: do Xians plan to take over the US government and impose these commandments on everyone? Or will they form an alliance with fundamentalist Muslims to impose these laws on everyone?

          • “The question is: do Xians plan to take over the US government and impose these commandments on everyone?”

            YES THEY DO!

          • “The question is: do Xians plan to take over the US government and impose these commandments on everyone?”

            YES THEY DO – this is why we need to fight belief in the supernatural or we will end up with a Christian president who has no problem using nuclear weapons to fulfill Biblical prophecies. Google Bush Gog Magog for a scary example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog#George_W._Bush)

  5. The author says:
    But with Pew reporting that only 2.4 percent of Americans identify as atheists, all of them could download YouVersion and still be a small fraction of its total users.
    Does the author not recall saying earlier:
    And like a lot of unbelievers, she asked to not use her full name because her family doesn’t know about her closet atheism.
    There’s your answer for why atheists only poll as being only 2.4% of the population. Once the fear factor has gone, and shame on the predominantly Christian population for creating such a fearful environment, there will, I suggest, be a large number of atheists emerging from the closet. For goodness sake Bernie Frank was comfortable with people knowing he was gay, but waited until he retired from politics before he thought it was safe enough to declare himself an atheist.

    • I think there are more Atheists, but in some countries you would be run out of town, fired, harassed, raped or beaten up if not killed. Murica included for many small towns.

    • Roxee, I agree with you, but you might want to consider what you just said in the context of posting it under a pseudonym.
      Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
      Good day (-:

    • William C.Barwell

      5 Facts About Atheism
      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/23/5-facts-about-atheists/

      “More Americans say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit (7%) than say they are atheists (2.4)”

      There is a difference between self identifying Atheists and those who do not believe in God or a Universal spirit. Please, everybody, learn the difference. If not believing in God or universal spirits is atheism, Pews polls demonstrate 7% of Americans are in fact Atheists.

      W. C. Barwell

  6. Its pretty funny the comments on here. The xtians are upset that Atheists are using the bible to encourage atheist thought. Noah’s ark, talking snakes and three headed dragons sound legit. It almost sounds like you guys are upset…

    Keep in mind there is a REASON that for most of xtian history the church preferred keeping books (including the bible) out of the hands of the masses.

    Now why would they try to do that?

    • because the common people would be able to read the Bible for themselves and SEE that the “church leaders” were telling lies and NOT living according to the Christ… The clergy would then loose their power and their cushey place to live and ALL THAT MONEY…. how would they finance their conquest of the world?

  7. What’s an atheist? Someone who considers the concept of God and decides there is no God? Certainly. But what about the many people who never think about the concept of God, for whom the word God has very little or no emotional or intellectual meaning, and who have no interest in religion other than as a strange social influence over others? Are they atheists even if they avoid the label? The latter group is growing rapidly.

    • John, you’re going to love thinking about ignosticism or igtheism. “Ignosticism is the view that a coherent definition of a given religious term or theological concept must be presented before the question of the existence or nature of said term can be meaningfully discussed.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignostic

  8. Oi vey! I thought I was well-read, understood the Bible and am 100% atheist DUE to being educated in religion and all of it’s lies but just reading these comments makes me dumber. God’s Kingdom? He and Him? Wow, the Bible was written by men to instill fear in other men to obey rules and laws in a lawless time. Civilization back then was uneducated and wildly savage and what better way for men of power to get your underlings to pay and obey you? Instill fear. Plain and simple, the Bible was written to instill fear to organize people. It was meant as a security blanket. it’s a fictional book written a dozen times by different people. To interpret a book meant for thousands of years ago to apply those ancient laws today is just insane.

    • Thought you’d like this.
      “Religion is regarded by the common people to be true, by the wise to be fasle, and by the rulers as useful” Roman philosopher Seneca The Younger

      Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
      Good day (-:

  9. I was a christian for 22+ years. I had read the bibble several times without ever wavering in my faith. For this I can thank my parents, church and upbringing. They taught me to believe everything I read in that book. If something didn’t make sense I should ask them or pray about it. I did like a good sheep does and continued reading/believing without question.

    I did one fine day end up questioning what I was reading. After that it was all downhill for my faith. More questions than answers, inconsistencies and contradictions.

    God was starting to look more and more flawed, as though he himself was a human or contrived by humans. One minute he is commanding his chosen people that killing is moral, the next moment he’s driving out other nations and killing them. Their only guilt was not being the chosen people (racism). My new impression of god was a teenager that kept forgetting to take his bipolar and schizophrenia meds.

  10. What I see when anyone argues in favor of the bible is the assumption that it is God’s word. Everything, interpretation, figurative or literal, can be reconciled because of that. It’s mind boggling to automatically believe this book is “God’s Word” because the book says it is and it’s what you’ve been told by others.
    Are you able to step back from that and really ask the question honestly and pursue an honest answer?

  11. Reading the Bible is only part of the reason I left Christianity and became agnostic\atheist. I also studied where the Bible came from, who put it all together, who decided what to include or exclude, and the politics of that whole situation. I’ve also studied the history of the early church and some of their customs at the time when many of the manuscripts that make up the Bible were believed to be written. To believe that an all-powerful deity controlled that whole process of making the current versions of the Bible seems like a fairy tale. Don’t misunderstand me, because I believe there MAY BE a “god” or deity but I’m 99.99% certain that none of our world’s religions come close to describing, addressing, or following that all-powerful deity if it does exist.

    • Do you know that the Bible itself has more manuscript evidence for it than any book in the ancient world? It is far superior in a number of ways than any other work in the ancient.

      If you are so certain that the God that is described in the Bible is incorrect then on what basis do you claim to know what the true God is like?

  12. Diego, Not a problem at all, I understand these comments can sometimes be confusing. I appreciate the civil discourse, and wish that other would realize that is really does nothing to convince anyone of anything if you are thought of as, well you know. By the way, Willie rocks.

    We have found common ground. I also am an advocate of educating oneself by reading, and most importantly listening, which we both seem to find reasonable.

    Because the vast majority of Christians, who are wholeheartedly convinced that the book they claim to be the words of a God that they believe in, but have never bothered to actually read, I usually don’t expect an immediate response.

    I do however hope that when they get to a point in our discourse where the light of realization flicks on momentarily, and they realize that this book may not be what they have been told all of their lives by leaders of their religion, that they would have not only the self-honesty, but also the integrity to stop, listen, and not just reach for the unfortunately all so common dodges I have grown accustom to hearing.

    I realize many religious organizations do good things for humanity. However none of these good things could not be done without religion, most are done only if the recipients subject themselves to reutilization, and the damage done to humanity by religion far outweighs those good deeds.

    The suicide attacks are unfortunately only just a small example of the harm religion does, and I only wish I was generalizing. Take for just a few more examples that Catholic organizations teach uneducated third world people whose countries are being ravaged by AIDS that it is better to die and go to heaven than to wear a condom. They also have harbored pedophiles within their ranks, passing them from one parish full of innocents for them to abuse to the next.

    Perhaps you too may consider living life and loving people without needing to believe in anything except humanity.
    Good day (-:

  13. Simple truth is… You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit while reading scriptures or you will not understand them, they are meant to weed out the non-believers, and it is working, the Bible is NOT just words for those not worthy to receive it’s true glory. Thank You, That is all.

  14. I just have to say as a deist. I think both Evangelicals and Atheists are very disrespectful to one another. This is a new low. Atheists have NO respect at all for any ones beliefs. They have to be right all the time. At least Deism instills respect for all, even though we might disagree in a tolerant way.

    • Well Randy, since evangelicals see me (an Agnostic Anti-theist) as more evil than murderer, a rapist, a Nazi and/or a pedophile, it is really, REALLY! difficult for me to be respectful of them.
      No spiritual philosophy instills respect; not subscribing to silly spirituality doesn’t, either.
      Their beliefs do great harm to society; they often stand in the way of science unless it leads to a new way of killing non-believers or lining their own pockets.
      They hate me, I pity them their delusions.

  15. I am an atheist, and I will explain why. I was raised southern evangelist, “holy roller”, and in the church my grandparents attended, you couldn’t question the bible. You couldn’t question the preacher. Or sermon. Real Old Testament wrath of God, bolts of lightening from a clear blue sky type of thing. For me, there’s simply too many contradictions in the bible. Too many versions, too. Shouldn’t the word of God be the original, instead of some human’s “version” of it?

  16. There are no true atheists.

    If you say there is no God…
    You yourself would have to be all-knowing in order to make such a claim.
    If you Are able to make such a claim then You might qualify to be God.
    Hence…

    • This is why we don’t let spiteful dishonest theists define atheism. They have no effing clue what it means.

      Atheism is simply saying there is no god because there is no evidence of god’s existence. In order to make such a claim, one merely has to point to what passes for proof of god’s existence among believers. A gamut of fallacies, nonsensical arguments and special pleadings.

      The burden is always on the people claiming the existence of a supernatural sky deity performing miracles which defy all notions of human experience.

  17. You can argue all you want. But the practical reality of atheism in its fulfillment has been witnessed in the 20th century. Consider the death and destruction caused by atheistic states/leaders such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pot,….etc. These atrocities make violence in the name of religion look like minor disputes.

    • It wasn’t atheists who used jumbo jets to forcibly re-district lower Manhattan 12 years ago.

      It wasn’t atheists who started the most destructive war in human history or who came up with the idea of mechanized genocide.

      It isn’t atheists who are currently threatening to attack the civil liberties of people in this country and others.

      That all falls on the shoulders of people who think that all manner of atrocious behavior is OK if you claim God wants it.

  18. I think this gem in the article sums up the problem:

    “It’s free, it has good search features so I can search for certain words like ‘unicorns,’ and there are a ridiculous number of versions,”

    In the world of Internet atheism does searching for a keywords really count as reading a text? Does opening up a book with the sole purpose of finding difficult passages count as seriously studying it?

    Imagine if Christians took that approach to atheist literature. E.g, “Whenever an atheist seems to be impressed with Richard Dawkins I get out my e-book version of The God Delusion and search for how many times the word murder appears in it. You’d be surprised! I then show them that bit where Dawkins seems to say that child abuse is o.k and conclude that reading the God Delusion is the best way to convert people away from this new atheism nonsense.” You wouldn’t be impressed if Christians didn’t read atheist literature with an open mind and take into account things such as context.

    Evangelicalism is growing on a world-wide level and declining less in countries where religion is diminishing than denominations which put less focus on the Bible and reject the doctrine of inerrancy. How come the churches that teach the Bible are having the greatest success?

    • “Evangelicalism is growing on a world-wide level and declining less in countries where religion is diminishing than denominations which put less focus on the Bible and reject the doctrine of inerrancy. How come the churches that teach the Bible are having the greatest success?”

      So you are saying Evangelicalism is appealing to people who predominately lack education, a stable economy or political situation.

      An admission that one has to be ignorant, lack critical thought and be predisposed to atrocious social conditions to give it much thought.

      • Nope, you are simply twisting my words. I think only a minority of both atheists and theists have arrived at their religious beliefs by carefully studying the evidence. The rest go with what’s fashionable or the way they were brought up. Therefore the sociological question of why religion is growing in some counties and declining in others is an interesting one but unrelated to whether or not it is true. My point is simply that statistically churches that teach the Bible are not declining faster than those that are more liberal which brings into question the sound bite that reading the Bible is the fastest way to convert people to atheism.
        To say one has to be ignorant to consider Christianity is demonstrably false as there are individual cases of intelligent and knowledgeable people who are evangelical.

  19. 2.4 % self identify as “atheist” but many atheists use different monikers. My wife is an atheist or between her and I she admits that but as to others she presents herself as a humanist and freethinker.

  20. As is typical, the comments are so much more enlightening (and interesting, sorry, no offense intended) than the article.

    I’m a devoutly religious atheist. If that’s oxymoronic to you, then you still have a long, long way to go on your learning journey : ) To the anti-religion atheists, you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Religiosity evolved with humanity; it’s adaptive, and ultimately we’re alive because of it. To the theists who ridicule atheists, you should consider that your theism is a matter of temperament — theism and supernaturalism simply don’t resonate with some people. Non-believers have similar convictions to believers, just in different directions. Both sides look silly trying to convert (or argue meaningfully with) the other. Get over it and celebrate diversity! Learn from each other! Change your “ewww…” reaction to “ah, interesting.” It’s not an either/or situation; the dualism of western philosophy and theology has made it seem so. Love each other; love thy neighbour : )

  21. Just know that OUR LORD will come like a thief in the night! Nonbelievers and believers alike will bow their knee and ALL tongues shall confess to GOD! And whoever said something about cherry picking out of the BIBLE?, there is no cherry picking. But there is a Harvest coming and you know this is true. FOR JOHN THE BAPTIST CAME NEITHER EATING BREAD NOR DRINKING WINE; AND YE SAY, HE HATH A DEVIL. THE SON OF MAN IS COME EATING AND DRINKING; AND YE SAY, BEHOLD A GLUTTONOUS MAN, AND A WINEBIBBER, A FRIEND OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS! BUT WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED OF ALL HER CHILDREN. GOD BLESS AND PEACE BE WITH YOU ALL REMEMBER TO KEEP WATCH FOR OUR FATHER COMES QUICKLY!

  22. This has been an interesting dialogue. As a believer, a few observations. First, Larry says that if you show him something he believes in, he will stop believing it. Presumably he believes in the existence of the universe. That presupposes a belief in the (now largely discredited) steady state theory of the universe, or the Big Bang theory of its origin. Yes, there is observational evidence for the Big Bang, but to accept that, you must BELIEVE that the scientific method is valid. So there goes the universe, Larry. The same is true for geometry. To use geometry, you must BELIEVE that axioms are valid, since they are (by definition) not susceptible to proof. And I find it interesting how many of the atheists in this interchange use the phrase “believe in humanity,” So obviously “belief” itself is not anathema (a Biblical concept by the way) to them, just the concept they think Christians have of God. More than one of the “self-identified” atheists in this discussion states that believers should not define atheism because they don’t understand it. The inverse is also true. There are as many “versions” of Christianity as there are Christians. And yes, I have read the Bible, all of it, several times. And I have studied it, including its contradictions and its historical context and continue to do so. And I still believe. The reasons I believe would be too lengthy for this discussion. Besides, I think one major point is being missed. Any system of thought (and religious belief is a system of thought no matter what you think of the intelligence of believers) has a meta-language underlying it which is accepted ON FAITH by those adhering to that system of thought. Besides religion, that applies to the validity of the scientific method, the axioms of geometry, the methodology of political science, and certain individual scientific disciplines such as medicine and quantum mechanics and so on. Generally, adherents of these systems of thought do not think of these meta-languages as articles of faith because they seem so self-evident to them, but that is what they are, nonetheless. The Christian denomination I belong to encourages questioning and thinking, and as we put it, “in essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, and in all things charity (love).” The essentials as we define them are few and broad. We have testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. And we do believe that there is more light that can break forth from God’s word, the Bible, as we view it from today’s perspective, especially with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (someone should tell Bob Holly that resorting to crudity rather than a reasoned statement can be a sign of a limited thought process). Our God is not some old man sitting on a throne in the sky, rather for most of us God is infinite, abstract, unknowable because of our own limitations, neither male nor female, encompassing all of reality, yet still loving us. Why God would choose to love such a small part of a huge creation is a mystery. And that love for us is grace.

    • Thank you, Gail for your articulate and thoughtful commentary. Might I ask however, how is God’s love manifest? How are you certain it’s God’s love and not a worldly set of circumstances or hard work that delivers whatever you attribute to God, and why would God turn his back on so many other worthwhile individuals? Why, also would God doom children to hell simply because He caused them to be born into and indoctrinated in a different faith, as children? By all accounts it’s not easy to shed those childhood certainties, although I didn’t have much difficulty myself.

      From my perspective the absolute lack of any verifiable evidence of God, or his actions, the lack of any supernaturally-imposed social justice, the increasing difficulty of the religious in proving beyond doubt the occurrence of miracles against increasingly powerful modern science speak volumes.

      And my belief in the scientific method is much different than religious faith. It’s based on an understanding of the principles, repeated demonstrations of their efficacy, testimony of trusted scientists who have proven by observation and measurement that the method works and used the method to achieve some of humanity’s most significant progress, on the logical underpinnings of the process of peer-review and the equally apparent motivations of those who claim truth based on faith, without evidence and without following scientific method or peer review.

      We’re all human, humanity evolved in certain specific ways and despite some individual variation our minds work in similar ways. Those ways include such things as “confirmation bias”, as pattern recognition where there are none, and so on. We can easily fool ourselves into seeing what we want to see, in the absence of objective evidence.

  23. The Jesus myth of crucifixion and resurrection has appeared literally hundreds of times with other previous “gods” among other cultures/civilizations. Check out the far more than coincidental parallels with Ra the Egyptian sun god as just one example. I would prefer to base my life on observable verifiable scientific principles rather than mythology.

    As far as ethics and morals go, the people I see behaving in the most reprehensible and unethical ways at this point in history often identify themselves as Christian i.e. “let’s cut food stamps!” Especially that crazy cult known as the prosperity gospel crowd. That is just the biggest bag of crazy to come along in a long long while.

  24. Why would an atheist need to know so much about the Bible if they do not believe in God? It almost seems counterintuitive. I for one am not obsessed with things I don’t believe in. It seemed pretty sad to me if you only know about the Bible in order to attack believers with your knowledge. C.S. Lewis once said “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important”. If atheist believe religion is false and has no importance, then why waste their time trying to change people’s views if it doesn’t matter to them in the end?

    • My reason, Emma, is all the harm done in the name of the various religions of the world. Christianity included. That’s enough of a reason for me to have become more active in an effort to support other logical/skeptical thinkers to come out, declare atheism, and subject the various faiths to the sort of challenges to which they’ve been exempt for too long. Maybe a little less harm will be done as a result.

  25. Its easy to refute any god or religion without having to read one iota of their mythologies. Just a simple probalististic consideration will do. What is more probable? Is it all made up or is one religion actually true. To be true a believer has to make many unevidenced and rediculous assumptions about the universe that frankly they have no way of knowing. To be false an atheist only has to assume that humans are prone to making things up. Especially ancient tribes of ignorant and comparatively stupid people. Occams razor easily wipes out the god hypothesis becuase it is supported by an immense framework of assumptions that only serve up more questions. The no god scenario only requires us to assume normal human cognitive errors are responsible for god belief.

  26. After reading many of these comments I have to say that I am deeply saddened. What you believe or do not believe should not cause you to start bickering at each other. As a Christian/Jew/Muslim/(any other faith you may practice) you are taught to be respectful and to all of God’s creations. As atheists you are taught by your parents or mentor. No one is going to change any minds if its a screaming match. Please be calm and respectful when talking about religion (or lack of) because it is a topic that people take very personally. If you just listen to each other you may learn something. Thanks for reading my comment and I hope you apply it to any future comment you may make! :)

  27. I know this is late in the discussion and most of the earlier posters probably won’t even see this. I grew up southern baptist, went to a church school from kindergarten to 12th grade, and started to relinquish my faith around senior year. Since then, I have proclaimed myself a sort of atheist or possible agnostic. REGARDLESS, I do not believe in the Christian God anymore.

    Anyways, one of the more humorous points which pushed my opinion of disbelief was dinosaurs. How can anyone, as an educated Christian, relinquish the existence of our planet millions of years ago? Because our Earth, according to your Bible is less than 100k years old? and God put the bones there to test our faith?? That silly statement right there has been enough to push me away. There is just no way you can logically except that.

    Also on a side note, I find it naive and selfish to also believe that we are the only ones in this massive universe that we insignificantly occupy; which Christianity and all earth-based religions subliminaly suggest. :)

    • Hey Mike I just read this as well. I personally am a Christian as well. I am sorry to hear that someone would teach you such an outdated understanding of the Bible. The Bible is not meant to be read literally in that way. You have to take each book of the Bible and understand the time period it was written in. The specific time period can tell you important information such as what the Jews were experiencing at the time and what writing styles were common at the time. For example, when the story of creation was written it was at a time where the Jews felt that God was not present with them, because it was at the time of the Babylonian Exile. So, to renew their faith, they wrote this story to renew the Jews faith to show that God was involved with them from the beginning and still was at that time. Obviously at the time, Jews would not take that to be factual truth, because it was just written at that time. They understood the message it was trying to teach them. However, some people today misinterpret these teachings, and teach others what they think is correct. These people their fore cause innocent people like you to loose their faith.

      However, I am very happy to see (from what I can tell from your comment) that you do believe in the possibility of a God. Always keep the awareness for God’s presence in your life. Maybe your past denomination was not the right fit for you, or maybe Christianity was not the right fit for you and your path lies in Judaism, Hindu, Islam, etc. I personally believe all religions are different ways of expressing your acknowledgement of a creator. Anyways good luck in life!

  28. Top ten signs you’re a fundamentalist christain
    10. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9. You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7. Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5. You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
    3. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity
    2. You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1. You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

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