Monday, March 2, 2015

Atheists Who Claim, Among Other Things, That They've Read The Entire Bible

You ever wonder why so many atheists who claim they've read the entire Bible only ever talk about 12 verses from Genesis and Leviticus, plus 5 snarky quotes about the Bible from famous people? If you have, I certainly hope it didn't take you too long to figure out that it's because they're actually only ever read those 12 verses and 5 quotes.

Now let me be clear -- some atheists actually have read the entire Bible.

For example, a lot of academic Biblical scholars are atheists. I wouldn't be surprised if you're surprised to hear this: those academics don't tend to announce loud and proud that they're atheists, the way that New Atheists, aka movement atheists, tend to do. In fact, they tend to suck up to the huge rich religious institutions which butter their bread much too much to suit me. (NO ONE ESCAPES MY WRATH! NOT EVEN ME!)

Back to the movement atheists: who are they kidding? Each other, that's who. The nonsense about how they've all studied the entire Bible AND the Koran AND the Epic of Gilgamesh is a familiar example to anyone who's familiar with this movement. I came across another example today, a particularly striking example of an atheist kidding him- or herself: someone asking rhetorically why religious believers are so so desperate to gain the approval of atheists. I'll tell you why, Sparky: because they're not. Because you made that up.

But how do I know that so many movement atheists/New Atheists are making up that bit about having read the entire Bible? It's not just that they only mention those 12 verses and 5 snarky quotes over and over and over and over, and never mention Moses' confrontations of Pharaoh, or Ezra, and how it seems pretty clear now that it was Ezra and not Moses who collected and edited the Pentateuch, or Saul and Jonathon and David and Goliath and Solomon and Bathsheeba, or Job, or any of the particularly dramatic aspects of Revelation, or anything. If you've read all 2000 pages you've noticed more than those 12 verses. But over and above that, if there really was a community of Bible readers here, then people like Michael Paulkovich would get laughed out of that community long before being published in its leading periodicals. I'm not saying that Paulkovich hasn't read the entire Bible, it's just possible that he has. But it seems pretty likely that he's somehow managed to avoid any knowledge of the Greek and Latin classics which were written around the same time. That sort of avoidance is possible with one individual who's already gone to the trouble of reading the entire Bible, but extremely unlikely impossible in an entire close-knit community full of people thoroughly familiar with the Bible.

On the contrary, what we have here is a bubble, people sealing themselves off from those who actually have studied these ancients texts. Sealing themselves off and creating a fictional world in which religious believers are desperate for their approval and the entire Bible is like Leviticus and ancient Judea and Galilee were swarming with historians and there were newspapers and detailed court records so that anyone remotely resembling Jesus would have been mentioned in numerous non-Biblical written sources, a fictional world in which Muslims are either terrorists or approve of terrorism, and Obama is secretly an atheist because no Christians are as progressive politically as he is, and only religious believers teach Biblical studies in universities, and so forth.

Obviously, not all movement atheists/New Atheists are that wrong about all of the above. The point is that none of the above is immediately laughed out of the room, and all of it should be. All of the above is directly at odds with common knowledge. (Again -- maybe except for the part about the religious beliefs of academic Biblical scholars. Again, that may not be common knowledge, because the scholars tend to suck up too much to the religious institutions who give them all those fat grants and fellowships, and so they don't want to rock the boat by making their lack of belief too plain. The same way that almost none of the academics dare to rock the boat by voicing less than full certainty that Jesus existed. NO ONE ESCAPES MY WRATH!)

What's the point of shaking off nonsensical religious beliefs only to turn around and either constantly spout other nonsense, or act as if that other nonsense is fine because it's atheists who are spouting it? Sorry guys, but I'm not having it. The main point here is making sense. The existence or non-existence of God is just one of very many topics upon which we can make sense or not. You don't get a free pass from me on all those other topics just because we agree on that one.

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