August 28, 2007

So Many Christians Ignorant About Their Bible

While catching up on some atheist-related reading last Sunday morning, I was struck by how ignorant many Christians are of their own "inerrant" bibles. I realize this is not a new thought, but I can't resist sharing a couple examples with you.

We can start with this great little post (update: link no longer active) by the Educated Eclectic from Pam's House Blend. It is widely known that fundamentalist Christians rely on Leviticus to justify their preexisting hatred of GLBT individuals. Their argument is simple:

  1. The bible is the inerrant word of some sort of god.
  2. The bible condemns homosexuality (in Leviticus).
  3. Therefore, homosexuality is wrong.

The first claim is accepted uncritically as a core tenet of Christian fundamentalism. That the bible condemns homosexuality is clearly evident to anyone reading Leviticus. So the conclusion is inevitable, at least to the fundamentalist Christian. As for the rest of us, we don't buy #1 and realize how quickly the argument falls apart without it.

And in case this isn't clear, the Educated Eclectic invites us to apply exactly the same argument to another part of Leviticus:

Leviticus 19:19 says: .. neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.
There is nothing in the Christian bible to suggest that this portion of Leviticus is any less serious than the part about homosexuality. And yet, the inescapable conclusion is that wearing clothing made of linen-wool blends is wrong in the same way homosexuality is wrong. I see at least two possible explanations for the fact that fundamentalist Christians ignore this passage. First, they are unaware of what the rest of Leviticus says, suggesting that they are not the "bible-believing" Christians they claim to be. Second, their objections to homosexuality have absolutely nothing to do with their bibles and are simply based in prejudice.

Now we turn to a some recent commentary by Jeff Mullin in Oklahoma's The Enid News & Eagle (update: link no longer active). What got my attention about this fairly pointless article was the following statement:

He [god] can’t be happy with the violence that is being, and has been throughout his history, perpetrated in His name, no matter what name that is.
In reading these words, one must wonder whether Mullin has ever read the Christian bible. The god depicted in this book is a jealous, vengeful, and bloodthirsty monster. Based on the deeds of this god, isn't it far more likely that it would delight in the atrocities committed by humans suffering from religious delusion?