A basic part of being a Christian is believing what is in the bible. This ranges from the fundamentalist Christians who believe that the bible is literally true to the moderate Christians who believe that some is metaphor and allegory. Even though different Christian groups have different thoughts on the bible, the basic notion that their belief in god is based on what the bible says is the common thread among Christians. But how often do Christians actually read the bible for themselves?
Christians tell me and many atheists all the time to just read the bible, we’ll see the light. The assumption that atheists haven’t read the bible and that’s why they’re atheist is always hilarious to me. Most of the time atheists know the bible far better than most Christians do.
During arguments with Christians, there have been many times when they throw in a bible verse to attempt to prove their point. Sometimes they pick nice verses about how god is loving and merciful or they pick verses about how god will punish sinners and non-believers. For some reason it’s fine for them to use bible verses, but when I use a verse to point something out about their bible I’m told things like “you’re taking it out of context” or “you’re just cherry picking the bad parts”. So it’s okay for them to cherry pick the lovely verses and verses that fit their narrative, but if the atheist points out the awful or stupid things of their holy book they’re told they can’t do that. That double standard annoys me and other atheists so much.
Christians that are opposed to gay rights will often use verses like Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” I agree with them that the bible says that being gay is wrong, but how does that actually make being gay or performing homosexual acts wrong? If you go a few verses before that in Leviticus you can see that 18:19 says “Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.” This line refers to when a woman is menstruating and that she shouldn’t be looked at during that unclean time. It makes me wonder how many men there that use a verse like Leviticus 18:22 to justify not giving homosexuals rights but don’t send their wives away for their time of the month. Or how many Christian women send themselves off for a while during their time of the month because the bible says it’s what they should do.
As a woman, I’m always confused by Christian women who love the bible. Many churches have bible study that’s just for the fairer sex, the Christian book industry has many books that are directed towards women, and some sects allow for women to join the clergy. I’ve tried to point out to Christian women I’ve spoken with that their holy book is not a fan of their gender but most of the time I’m met with a “La la la! I’m not listening!” type of response or they try to justify certain things. It’s very easy to find awful things about women in the old testament, like how a rapist has to marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28), and often the “But that’s in the old testament” response comes up. I never understand the rejection of the old testament, if you reject the old testament then you reject what the new testament is based on. The new wouldn’t exist if the old didn’t, and the new has many references to the old. I’d also like to point out that it is not only the old testament that has a lot of misogyny and that the new testament has a decent amount too. A verse I usually like to point to is 1 Corinthians 11:3 ” But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”. That’s just one of the many examples in the bible of it saying that women are not equal to men. You can look at more examples of how the bible feels about women at http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/women/long.html
Besides many terrible verses you can find in the bible, you can find very ridiculous stories. Most of what we know about bible stories growing up are summed up and cleaner versions than what are actually in the bible. I would suggest reading for yourself, but I would also suggest listen to two funny guys who read the bible and also share research they have done on what they are reading. Hugo and Jake of the Bible Reloaded are very entertaining and it’s always refreshing to come across a bible study that’s not justifying and glorifying an ancient book filled with bad morals and silly fairy tales.