Reading the Bible

This summer I thought it would be an interesting project to sit down and read the Bible cover to cover. (Perhaps later I can tackle the Qur’an.) At the time of writing I’m on Numbers 20 (page 170 out of 1217) and generally learning a lot. (The Old Testament God is scary.)

But reading the Bible probably isn’t going to help me understand Christians any more than I do already. A few days ago I posted a thread on TheologyOnline asking them which chapters of the Bible they believe would be the best for an atheist (like me) to read.

Then I get this response from “OMEGA”:

You can buy a 2 CD set in the USA for about $15.00

that will have the bible read to you so, you can Listen to it at your convenience.

and a short while later:

I hope that my suggestion helps because I am not sure that you atheists have evolved far enough to be able to READ.

Okay, so I might not have gotten into the New Testament preachings about kindness and love yet. But isn’t this hatred a little, well, un-Christian?

I mean, seriously. If you look through the rest of the thread I linked to you’ll see several posts honestly recommending chapters of the Bible. Then OMEGA pops back in:

That’s because your an Atheist and you are not permitted to understand the Glory of God’s Word.

2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

As I pointed out in the thread, that’s not helping much. (Though it is directed at someone else, it still irritates me.)

I can understand a general disdain for atheists. On SFN we have a general disdain for crackpots who don’t follow the “orthodox” ideas put forth by science. But we try to be patient with them and explain why they’re wrong — we only ban them because they refuse to listen and learn more about what they think is wrong.

Not so here. I got hate lobbed at me and I was actually expressing an interest in learning about their religion. It wasn’t “I’m an atheist. I hate you.” It was “I’m an atheist. Let me learn about your religion” — if we had crackpots on SFN saying that about special relativity, we’d love it.

What is going on inside the minds of OMEGA and others like him? To me, it runs contrary to Biblical principles (love, kindness, all that good stuff) and plain common sense: if you want to save the unbeliever, don’t treat him like scum. You won’t exactly attract him to your religion that way.

(Disclaimer: I realize that most Christians aren’t like this. But take a look around TheologyOnline and you’ll see quite a few that are.)


  1. HI:
    Im new to this site,But its nice to meet you:
    I starting going back to Church after my son was in boot camp with the Marine Corps, I went as a kid because I had too and now I go because I was Blinded and now I see:THATS realy bad that the people that call themselfs Christians are realy not when they talk like that ,What part of the Bible is it written that Jesus Christ was anything like this,ITS NOT, They do not follow Jesus at All.
    Jesus said over and over, Love your Enemy ,Forgive,Show Mercy,Learn about me so you can teach others, this is why im a member of ( The Church Of Christ)
    very important name because all others are not of Christ,I love the weekly news letters one thing will always be the same:
    Founder of the church:JESUS CHRIST Mt 16:18
    Place:Jerusalem-Isa 2:1-3 Acts2:5
    Time:A.D 33 Dan2:44 Acts 2
    Head:Christ .Eph 1.22
    Elders as oversee the local Church(This relates to the church at that address only)
    Deacons as Servants:
    Members as the Body:
    SORRY POPE Jesus is the Head: And Ya the Testament is scary at frist,because it shows you the power,And the Love he has for us for not making me into a Whole new Molecule, But watch OUT Im still in the Old Testament ,If you read it to learn ,,You will feel satan comming back for you.He wants you back BLIND:
    Please keep reading it slowly,and soon your mind and heart will seen like just Heart and Mind,The real Cool thing is when you talk with your SOUL:IM a smoker and he is helping with that,The Churchs of the DO,S AND DONT,S Do not have Jesus as the head: Keep reading like me and you thought that CHEMISTRY IS wait:

  2. Cap, as you read the OT, you’ll see that he was going easy on you. In fact, God wants him to kill you(assuming, of course, that this god exists as described in the Bible).

    One thing I love about the Bible(besides all the sex, violence, and fantasy), is how great a discrepancy there is between the properties God says he has and those he actually displays. It’s also interesting to note the difference in the behavior between the OT and the NT of the unchanging God .

  3. I admire the initiative you’ve taken to start reading through the Bible, that’s pretty cool coming from an atheist, when even many Christians have never done so (and of those that have, it seems, few have done so in depth).

    One of my goals in life is not only to read the Bible, but to memorize it completely. I’ve been working on that about a year and a half and know about 80 odd chapters (out of 1180 total…aghhh) well enough to recite them from memory. Let me see if I can pick out a couple sections that would be best for an atheist to read:

    You might like Ecclesiastes (or more than Numbers anyways). FYI, Ecc. is King Solomon’s writings about his search for purpose in life. He goes through wisdom and pleasure and the like and eventually decides that man’s all in life is to “Fear GOd and keep His commandments” A couple quotes that come to mind:

    “For the words of the wise are goads, and the words of scholars well driven nails, given by one shepherd” Ecc. 12:10 or 11 or something….

    “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases wisdom increases sorrow” Ecc. 1:18

    “There is a vanity which occurs under the sun, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the works of the wicked, and again there are wicked me to whom it happens according to the works of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.” Ecc. 8:14

    “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God, who gave it.” Ecc. 12:7

    Job is absolutely my favorite book in the Bible. Though I’ve heard its rather a tedious read from others…. I think an atheist like you might empathize with Job’s opinion throughout much of the book; every semblance is that God has deserted him and he cannot justify much of what he sees on earth with what he knows of God’s character. Again, a couple quotes:

    “Teach me and I will hold my tongue, cause me to understand wherein I have erred; how forceful are right words but what does your arguing prove? Do you intend to rebuke my words and the speeches of a desperate man which are as wind? Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless and you undermine your friend, Now therefore be pleased to look at me for I would never lie to your face, Yield now let there be injustices; yes, concede, my righteousness still stands. Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern what is unsavory?” Towards the end of Job 6

    “Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand… If it is a matter of strength, indeed he is strong, but who will appoint my day in court?” from Job 9

    “I will say to God do not condemn me, show me why you contend with me? Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should smile on the counsel of the wicked and destroy the work of Your hands?” Job 10 something

    Elihu replies to Job, “If there is a messenger for him, a mediator, one among a thousand, to show man His uprightness. Then He is gracious to hum and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit, I have found a ransom.’

    Job, complaining of the injustice on earth, “Therefore I say, ‘He destroys the blameless and the wicked.’ If the scourge slays suddenly then He laughs at the plight of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. He covers the face of its judges. If it is not He, who else could it be?” Job 9:22-24

    “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last upon the earth; After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” Job 19:25-26

    And of course, I couldn’t finish this without suggesting the gospels too. Either one will work of course, John is probably the simplest, Mark is the shortest, and Luke is decidedly the longest and most analytical. Your pick, of course. 🙂

  4. Gah, I hate the story of Job. God COMPLETELY RUINS Job’s life. Do you know why? One might think it would be permissible to do such a thing if it saved millions from a similar or worse fate. But, no, that’s not why He did it. God completely destroyed Job’s life over a BET! Why would an omnipotent god have to prove Himself to His creation? IMO, Job just shows how little God cares about His prize creation.

    Which is more important, your prize creation or the opinion of someone you banished from your house? God chose the second.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: presented with adequate evidence, I would absolutely believe in the existance of God. Having read the Bible, however, I would absolutley NOT worship said god. He doesn’t deserve it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *