Monday, October 11, 2010

Is the Bible a Tool for Atheism?

Isaac Asimov
A recent Pew research poll came to the "shocking" conclusion that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than religious people do. As you can tell from my quotes, I didn't find those results so much shocking as rather obvious. (If you want to test yourself, Pew published an unofficial Internet version of the poll questions online. When you're done, you can compare your results with the official results on a very in-depth basis.)

Given my passion for anti-theism, I may not be an accurate representation of the typical atheist, but the fact remains that I know more than a vast number of believers about their own religion. (Although I admit that I'm lacking in non-Christian religious knowledge, but I know more about other religions than most Christians do.)

But the point is not that I'm an atheist, so I know more about religion; that's the wrong cause and effect. I think the more accurate way to phrase it is that I know more about religion, so I'm an atheist.

As the late, great Isaac Asimov wrote: "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." -- Isaac Asimov

(More quotes like the above on my atheism quotes page.)

Create-An-Atheist Kit
I've always thought the same thing. If I were to have kids, I'd certainly encourage them to read the Bible (and likely all of the other creation myths of ancient civilizations). My children would be reading about Jonah and the Whale one day and Jack and the Beanstalk the next. They'd read about a talking snake in both Genesis and The Jungle Book. Then I'd ensure they read about the virgin births and resurrection stories in both the New Testament and the Egyptian mythology. When they're older, I'd challenge them to find plot holes and logical/moral inconsistencies within the Bible.

In short, reading the Bible in detail -- actually paying attention to what's written on every page, not cherry picking -- easily is the best tool out there for atheism. It's also a great tool for developing critical-thinking skills.

The more you know about religions other than your own, the more likely you are to realize how similar they all are. Native Americans believed in their creation myths just as passionately as you believe in yours now. Muslims are just as convinced that they're right as Christians are, and for the same reasons (ancient writings, personal "experiences," and community). It doesn't take much for a rational person to put two and two together to recognize that it's more likely that all current religions are false than only one is true.

A detailed knowledge of the Bible and a better understanding of the numerous world religions is key to organically creating an atheist. How ironic.

Here are some pro-atheism tools that any proactive atheist should feel fine giving any religious friends they have:

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