Home > Uncategorized > Getting Real About the Bible

Getting Real About the Bible

One of the dirty little secrets about Christianity is that hardly anybody ever actually reads the Bible.   This observation is entirely anecdotal, based on my eighteen plus years in ministry.  But I would bet money that some well-done research would reach the same conclusion.

Over the years on numerous occasions when I would visit at the homes of church members,  I would notice a large, heirloom Bible prominently displayed on the living room coffee table.  My hunch was that the book had been dug out of a pile somewhere, dusted off and placed on the table for the pastor’s benefit.  Most of the time the book was in mint condition, apparently never opened.

Some Christians faithfully do their morning devotions, but that usually entails reading only a few “inspirational”  verses.  I have run across very few church-goers who could give you an even remotely accurate  synopsis of the overarching biblical narrative.

I’m not criticizing Christians for not knowing what’s in their holy book.  I just think the rampant biblical illiteracy among believers says something about the Bible that Christians should ponder.  If the Bible really were in some way the “word of God” which reveals deep and amazing truth, then people would never be able to put it down.  You would see people reading and discussing the Bible all over the place, all the time. They would be debating the significance of the Babylonian Exile, for instance.  But it doesn’t happen.  Why?  Frankly, it’s just not that good of a read.  Shakespeare is way better.  Heck, even Harry Potter is a better read.

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Andrew
    October 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    “If the Bible really were in some way the “word of God” which reveals deep and amazing truth, then people would never be able to put it down. You would see people reading and discussing the Bible all over the place, all the time.”

    Exactly. The New Testament, especially, is just a long list of rules that most people are only vaguely aware of, and they would live their life the same way regardless if the book existed or not. It just gives such faux-credibility to say that you’re following “God’s word” when what you’re really doing is following your own instincts.

  2. Joy
    October 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Loving your blog! As a young person, I did read the bible from beginning to end. And I noticed the inaccuracies and with each reading crept further and further from god. And now, I’m a happy freething atheist.

  3. Jessica
    October 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t think this is a dirty little secret at all. Everyone knows that the American Church has been poisoned. I am surrounded by people who claim to be Christians, but know nothing about the Bible. They can’t even answer the most simple, defining question about their faith – why did Jesus die for your sins? They can’t answer it, yet they call themselves Christians. And our churches are doing nothing to help these people understand, because they’re doing nothing but preaching carnal Christianity to keep people in the church in their sinful state without showing them the error of their ways. Authenticity is rare and Jesus warned us of this. Matthew 7:21-13

    I have the sickest feeling in the pit of my stomach reading this blog. Shame on you. Whether or not you believe in Christ, there are people in your congregation that do and are being falsely led by a man that is there for the money. I’m not naive enough to think that this is happening everywhere, but it makes my physically ill to my stomach to actually see someone admitting to it so casually.

    I pray that God will give the true believers in your congregation the wisdom to see through your masquerade before you poison the entire church. And I pray that you, who obviously never saw the deep and amazing Truth that is throughout the pages of the Bible and who consequently was never saved, will one day realize the error of your ways, repent for your many sins, and turn to Christ.

    James 3:1

    • Jessica
      October 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      I meant I’m not naive enough to think that this isn’t happening everywhere.

  4. kittybrat
    October 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    One of the main reasons I am no longer a Christian is because I have read, studied, and still read the Bible. It’s a book of horrors, intrigue, adventure, mythology, fantasy, and deceit.
    What is true is that it is a great way for men to become rich and powerful at the expense of the people.

    I have enjoyed your blog.

  5. Jessica
    October 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I love your blog! It’s nice to hear from someone who has an opposite perspective to mine. I am constantly surrounded by coworkers who are very religious and I’ll have to resist temptation to point them towards your site the next time I advise them to think about their decision and they tell me they’re going to pray about it.

    Thank you for your courage in writing this. What initially pushed me away from the Bible when I tried to read it was the treatment of women.

  6. Julia
    October 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    You are absolutely right about nobody EVER questioning the bible. A lot of it is because they are afraid to lest they be judged by the rest of the sheep and labeled the black sheep.

    I remember one time in bible study they touched on the idea of only the lost or unintelligent people believing in evolution. One guy asked the very logical question of, “If we believe that God created life on earth, why can we not believe that same God created life to evolve and change WITH the earth?” The person leading the group answered by actually, I kid you not, putting up his hand and said, “We don’t talk about the E word here.” That was his answer!

    That was honestly a life changing moment for me. I wondered how many other things Christians just avoid answering because it could lead for the basis of their faith to come crumbling. I do believe in God and I am a spiritual person. But I am not in any way,shape or form religious and I have no place in my life for the dogma and ignorance that comes with organized religion.

  7. S
    October 17, 2011 at 2:25 am

    The fastest way to become a skeptic is to really read the bible. Not rationalize every little thing- but read it as you would a manual or a good piece of literature. I was asking questions constantly as even a 6 year old and all I ever heard was, “You better believe this with all your heart or you will burn in hell!” This torture/brainwashing has made it hard for me to discern truth from fiction. It’s as if Im not allowed to think that persons in authority are lying. If you think of it as relates to trusting the government over international issues you can see how easy it would be to initiate a needless war. The faithful are going to have faith that they are being told the truth and if they are presented reasons not to believe what the ‘Preacher, President, or General” is telling them they react with panic, fear, and anger. Somewhere in there is the program. “I must believe in the big man in charge (gods representative on earth) or I wil go to hell and burn forever! I will not be a good or faithful person.”

  8. S
    October 17, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Would you explain why people don’t like or are afraid of atheist. I was offered a pamphlet about a Biblical radio station. I kindly told the man, “No, Im an atheist.” He pulled back quickly and said ‘whoa!’ Im a sweet faced outgoing middle aged lady. Why the fear? I obviously wasn’t going to hurt him. Often folks seem to expect me to be immoral and unethical. I don’t have to fear punishment to do what is right. Doing right, a golden rule thing, keeps everyone moving along with less friction and results in society and the individual doing well. Psychological theories say that children often need the possibility of punishement to prevent bad behavior. A well adjusted adult does not need a potential punishment to insure good ethical behavior.

  9. JC Denton
    October 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    My anecdotal experience has been exactly the same; I have two close friends who are devout, churchgoing Christians, and have been for the entirely of their adult lives. And every time we discuss their religion, without exception I will I bring up at least a few facts/issues about the Bible and Christianity that they have absolutely no knowledge of. And these are rather major issues that one should expect any Christian to be aware of: when the New Testament was written, which of the NT writings came first, what the Bible says about non-believers, the atrocities of the OT, etc.

    In any case, a survey conducted by the Pew Forum last year affirmed these suspicions, and provided the hard numbers to back it up:

    “Today the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released the results of a new “religious knowledge” survey that came to a discouraging — but not unexpected — result. It discovered that, on average, atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than believers.”

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/omeoflittlefaith/2010/09/atheists-know-more-about-the-bible-than-christians.html#ixzz1bAWemFlY

  10. JC Denton
    October 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    On a related note, a common joke (which isn’t really a joke) among atheists is that the quickest way to become an atheist is to actually read the Bible. And it would seem that most churches tacitly acknowledge this, judging from the way they encourage “Bible study” under controlled conditions, in groups of fellow believers, using study materials which guide the reader along in a way that discourages true scrutiny of the material. Of course, most churchgoers don’t go even that far, and simply rely on the pre-interpreted messages delivered during Sunday worship.

    Now, I did attend a church service one time where the church leadership was actively trying to get each parishioner to read the Bible, on their own, from cover-to-cover, and even went so far as to hand out free copies to everyone who did not already own one right in the middle of Sunday worship.

    I said jokingly at the time that maybe the pastor was a closeted atheist, trying to “de-convert” as much of his congregation as possible. Thinking back on it now, I’m not sure that wasn’t actually a legitimate possibility.

  11. Andrew
    October 20, 2011 at 12:33 am

    “Would you explain why people don’t like or are afraid of atheist.”

    Because they’ve been told their whole life that those who don’t believe in a Sky Daddy are scary, lost perverts who work for the Devil.

  12. Dayhanna
    December 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    This blog is amazing! please keep sharing. I hope people will open their eyes someday

    • December 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support!

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