You should always believe in your self,…but not when you are wrong!
Every once in a while I get the chance to run into someone who thinks that they know the Bible. Atheists, Christians, Agnostics, it can be any individual from any group. And unfortunately they have read their bibles 10 times at least. I say at least because they haven’t read it in full. No, they just cherry pick stories and read it. The first three books of the Bible Genesis and Exodus and Leviticus, Joshua, Job, Kings, Chronicles, Jonah, the gospels, and revelation. Most people only read these 15 books out of the 66 which are in the standard protestant canon – and they think they understood the complicated history, the texture, the technicalities of the most widely read book in history. Atheists often do not read the Bible at all or read it selectively, they would prefer a “killer” book by some very outspoken atheist than read the Gospel.
So getting to know these 15 books out of the 66, makes an atheist comfortable, because he or she thinks they got it nailed down. I have rarely met an atheist who actually knows about Biblical scholarship without talking from both sides of his mouth. This is not a generalization, simply my experience. And not to begrudge my good atheist friends, I admit it without any hesitation that the same goes for most Christians too, they do not have any idea about the intricacy of the Bible, they just love the Sunday school stories and that’s pretty much about it.
Anyone who wants to critically look at the Bible should know three things before they even think about establishing views about the Bible.
3. Context and historical background
If you do not know these principles do not bother wasting your time. It is like digging up a dinosaur fossil with your bare hands and no knowledge of placing it right in the tree of life, you will mess up big time and people do. Most people I have seen barely know the last point. And yet people are forming opinions as if their opinions are based on some scholarship, that scholarship usually means a few pages of some website which they skimmed through.
This post is not aimed at any specific group but to everyone who like to jump up and down through the Bible. I recently read a blog by a very outspoken atheist, who made the case for atheism as the only true case there ever was, and made it a point that the extermination of all religions is a must otherwise the world might end tomorrow. Full of generalization, sweeping stereotyping, straw men arguments. The writer almost made a case which would prove that the earth has cancer and that is faith, all faiths actually. A real tear-jerker and yet, wrong. Wrong because the author did not intellectually ascertained anything, it was all based on an emotional case, something like “I was thought of as a baby producing machine so I hate God…blah blah blah”. If you went and married a man who thought of you as a Baby producing machine, that is not God’s fault, its your own blindness that led to it. If you do not know what kind of guy you are tying a knot with, then how are you suppose to make intelligent decisions?
As Einstein once said, “The universe and stupidity has no boundaries, and I am not sure about the universe.”
Why I am feeling this much disdain about someones rant? After all everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am really sad because the opinion is sorely based on all blunders one can surmise in logical inconsistencies. It is wrong not only for what it claims but what it promotes, that faith, on every level (not just legislation) is a dangerous thing, that it is oppressing and is a tumor; and that theists and non-theists are enemies, they can not be friends. They can not live together. Hell, this is no different than Medieval Christianity or Islam. It is intolerant.
Here the trump card is called in, “This is not an opinion it is a fact.”
Well let me ask you 2+2=4 is a fact, I understand that, H20 forms water, I get it. Christianity is inherently evil ? No, sorry, that is not a fact that is an opinion. Oh wait, you say just go through history, see all the wars. I will just turn it back and ask you to account for the all the good things, done on the name of faith today and also in history, I would ask you to account for millions…sorry billions of people happy in their faiths (even non-Christians). That is not an opinion, it is a fact.
My friend, a drug addict, has an opinion, he thinks that a car can kill you on the road so why not just smoke heroine and die. Now I am all for respecting everyone’s opinion but this one makes me want to shake the crap out of him until he comes to his senses. My brother has an opinion, he thinks dictatorships are cool. My neighbor has an opinion, he thinks that women should only cook. Am I supposed to respect these opinions? Yes, I can understand why, in a debate I should respect the opinions of others but is there a line?
I return to Holocaust again, is holocaust a matter of opinion? Would you not recommend someone to the doctor, someone who wants to kill millions on account of their race? But isn’t it his opinion too? It is.
The point of debating is to be professional and polite and I can understand why in a debate, one must be intellectual but what do you do when you face opinions that are wrong? How do you decide when an opinion is wrong? I have never mind atheism being outspoken or even evangelized but I cringe when I hear people saying remove faith, remove religion and I am not talking about the government and the law, I am talking about daily life. How do you deal with an opinion like this? How do you deal with someone who is bent on being your enemy when you are not?
If every opinion matters, then we are all wrong, aren’t we?