Morality and the Bible

This was originally meant to be a brief little blurb, but then I just kept typing. Anyway, here it is. Today’s episode of Atheist Dave, titled Morality and the Bible:

Do you subscribe to the “moral code” laid forth in the Bible?

Do you acknowledge the fact that the Bible not only condones slavery in multiple passages, but even encourages it at times?

Do you acknowledge the fact that several parts of the Bible show the Judeo-Christian god committing or endorsing mass genocide?

Do you agree that slavery, murder, and especially genocide are morally wrong? Do you sometimes find yourself saying things like “Yes, but that’s not how the world is anymore. Things were different back then“? This is called grasping for straws. That’s fine, though – you’re right – the world isn’t like that anymore. Yes, there’s still genocide and slavery going on in some parts of the world, but on a much smaller scale, and we both agree that they shouldn’t be – that humanity is better than that. Right?

Okay.

What you’ve just proven is that your morality exists outside of your religious beliefs. Your morality is not dependent upon your religion, or upon a book that was written thousands of years ago. You can still say “Okay, so the Bible teaches some pretty good lessons sometimes, but these other things in it are bad.”

Your next step is to discover that if everything in the Bible really is true – if it really is the word of some sky god – then regardless of your set of moral beliefs, this god still endorses slavery and genocide and lets rapists get off easy, unless you agree that a rapist’s punishment should simply be that he marry the woman he raped. Your next step is to realize that even if the god of the Bible exists (whom we’ll give male properties to, to make it easier), then he’s not such a great guy. He flooded the world, killing countless children, infants, and animals, to punish the fact that there were a lot of bad people. Would you burn down an entire forest just to kill the murderer hiding in it?

“Oh, but he regretted it,” you might say. That raises another question: how does a so-called “perfect” god do things he’ll regret later? Anyway, it doesn’t matter. If he exists and what the Bible says is true, then he killed everything. That’s not the sort of thing you look at and say, “Well, as long as you’re sorry…”

Let’s use the story of Lot. Lot lived in Sodom and was saved because he was the only “good” person in the entire city. Apparently god still saw evil in the rest of the city (including the children) and figured they deserved to die. Not to mention, when a bunch of men were about to rape a couple angels Lot sent out his daughters for them to rape instead. And yet the entire family was saved. Except Lot’s wife – as the city was burning, she turned around to look and god killed her. Afterward, Lot’s daughters got him drunk and then essentially raped him, became impregnated by their own father, and each bore a son.

It that how god judges good character? To me, and to most rational people who look at the story of Lot without the context of it being in the Bible, the story is nothing more than obscene. Please tell me this is not where you gather your moral standards. This book has a few good messages, sure, but so do most books – Aesop’s Fables teach wonderful moral lessons but you don’t believe animals can talk like people, do you?

Oh wait, there was that snake in the garden at the beginning of the story.

Long story short, morality is just another product of evolution and even you (not you, you – over there – the religious one) didn’t get yours from a book.

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The Christ Buffer


I was recently asking my peers how to go about procuring a free copy of the Bible. While ultimately it was a Google search that answered my questions (if there is a god, its name is Google), I did receive an awful lot of advice. Unfortunately a lot of the advice had nothing to do with the question, and was more answers to questions I didn’t ask, such as “How should I go about reading the Bible?”, “What is the best way to interpret the Bible?”, or “What other holy books should I read?”

Incidentally, I had by that time already read most of the Bible. I was raised Catholic after all and if I didn’t read something directly out of the Good Book itself (the ‘G’ is capitalized because it works as a title, but hardly as an appropriate descriptor) then I probably read it out of a tract, heard it in one of my weekly youth classes or at church, or saw it in one of my illustrated, dumbed-down children’s versions of the Bible. In any case, I did not need the answers to any of those questions. In due time I will study other religious texts but for now I just needed a hard copy of the Bible for referential purposes. Something I could earmark, highlight, and write on. As I said, I eventually found a website (via Google) offering to send a free Bible to anybody.

But that’s all beside the point.

Among all the unasked-for suggestions was one that really stood out to me: “Start with the New Testament.”

Why? The Christian Bible contains two major parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Strangely enough, the Old Testament comes first. The New Testament is sort of a sequel. Why would I want to read the second book first? That’d be like watching episodes four through six of Star Wars before episodes one through three. Okay, bad example. It’d be like watching season two of Lost without having watched season one (for the record, I never got past the sixth episode). Anyway, the point is that it would just be silly to read the New Testament before reading the Old. The New Testament is based on the Old; it depends on it. Without the Old Testament, there would be no New Testament.

The Old Testament begins with the phrase “In the beginning.” The New Testament begins with a boring old genealogy. Nothing grabs my attention quite like a family tree. Oh, except maybe the creation of the freaking world, a massive flood, a dude getting eaten by a whale, and plenty of fire and brimstone. So there’s that.

But then it hit me. Seriously, why would somebody recommend the New Testament first? Brainwashing. If you want somebody to believe your god is worthy of being worshiped, you’ll want them to skip all the gruesome bits about him committing genocide, torturing animals, condoning slavery, slaughtering entire families just to test a single man’s faith, having children mauled by bears, and dashing babies against rocks and go right to the part about Jesus healing lepers and turning the other cheek. Plain and simple, it’s brainwashing. Then by the time you get around to reading about your god’s brutality, you will have already been infected by the disease called Christianity and nothing will sway you. That’s how you do it, folks. Grab somebody’s attention with the good stuff and when they hear about the bad stuff they’re more likely to shrug it off.

Brainwashing. Jesus is the buffer that makes the treachery seem less treacherous.