14 December 2009
My wife mentioned to me that one of her family members actually reads my silly blog (although they don't comment). At first I was a little embarrassed, mostly because this blog is really more about amusing myself and putting things I find on the net all in one easily accessible location. And also because I do tend to use language that is not really my normal mode of speaking (i.e. I tend to write in a much more casually dismissive style, and even somewhat insulting). Granted, I have run into a few folks that are as amused by it as I am writing it, so it's all good.
That said, today I am just going to point to the Skeptics Annotated Bible. This is a great little resource! Not only can you go to your favorite book of the bible and see where the cruelty, absurdity, injustice, contradictions, etc. are, but you can get a total overview by each of those categories. Heck, so far there are 440 contradictions alone! The list of cruelty and violence breaks 1000 easily! I am also particularly fond of the science and history section (or rather how the bible is a horrible guide to anything scientific). On the theme of errors, there is another page that is maintained by another organization (Religious Tolerance dot Org) that calls into question the problem of inerrancy.
Now all this bashing aside, something that I do like out of the Skeptics Annotated Bible is that they do actually have a whole section of what they call "Good Stuff" in the bible. Although again I am again amused that that particular list is shorter than the contradictions! I guess 277 items provides about 5.3 years worth of sermons if you tackle one a week, so once you start recycling, no one will remember or care. Also, the author of the site has a whole section dedicated to apologetics... One thing that I find amazing about apologetics (aside from the name they seem to embrace) is that there is even a NEED for apologetics... I mean, seriously, if the bible is the word of some omnipotent, omniscient being, you'd think that apologetics would not be required at all. And in relation to the "Good Stuff", keep in mind... just because you find a bar of chocolate in a pile of shit doesn't mean the chocolate is any good. If anything, as a moral guide, the bible fails miserably. Not only that, but the good stuff in the bible is nowhere near exclusive. Many philosophies and cultures had these types of thoughts well before the bible, such as the Code of Ur-Nammu or the Code of Hammurabi (both of which predate the ten commandments).
Before tackling the Skeptics Annotated Bible too far though, please make sure to read the FAQ. Although, once you have managed to wade through all the silliness that is the bible, you can also tackle the Quran and Book of Mormon. (And here I would be amused but not surprised that xtians would wholeheartedly agree with the debunking of those two books and find them totally silly, but not be able to apply that same critical eye to their own fables.)
Now, I often accuse people who cite just one particular site that sets out to reaffirm their point of view as being overly narrow (using circular reasoning even, the earth is flat because the flat earth society says so type of thing), so I will give you a few other sites to go to. I already mentioned one:
Religious Tolerance Org I guess what I like about that site is that it's not run by skeptics or atheists, but by all manner of people. What I don't like about it is that they tend to pussy foot around some of the more blatant problems. I'm sure there are many other sites like that, but I found that the most respectable one. And I also have been to many other places, and have read books like Armstrong's "case for god" or things by Lane or Craig. The reason I tend to get so dismissive of them is that they all say the same damn thing, in the same poor logic, with nothing to support their claims but feelings or the bible... One can only explain the same thing to a child so many times before you just get frustrated and hope they grow out of their "Santa Claus is real" phase.
God is imaginary and Why won't god heal amputees are a couple of sites I like as well. Now these are way in-your-face type of sites and probably not very convincing to folks who actually believe. I just like them because they take a style and tact (i.e. none) much like my patience with theism. And again, the same poor argument repeated a million times is still a poor argument. Or emotional appeal #239,481 is still just an emotional appeal with no substance or logic behind it. Many of these sites only take exactly what is said, and then see how they really work in the real world. The amazing thing is, the entire universe behaves EXACTLY as we would expect it to without any type of god creatures (no matter which god(s) one is speaking of).
Now I point out those links mostly because all too often I hear xtians proclaim that they question their faith, and read up on opposing views, only to find out that they have only read things by apologetics and the like. Sorry, that's not at all questioning faith. That's running for reaffirmation! I know that some doctrines basically say that it's forbidden to really question it (part of the trap) but I really do encourage those who are curious to read up more.
Now, I was never religious... I attempted it for a short time when I was like 15, but I just couldn't swallow the bullshit that I saw. So to those who have very strong theistic views, maybe someone like Daniel Florien, or John Loftus could be of some help? Both of them are very open individuals from a deep evangelical background, and I am sure they would very much enjoy sharing their experiences with you.
Okay, I have rambled on long enough for today. I think that this old entry also has more reasons as to why not to believe that don't even focus on the bible (which incidentally is the only source book for the xtian god when you get down to it).