The old testament is riddled with death and destruction handed down from God himself at times. While talking to a believer one night, she was telling me that she believes the bible is the word of God. I asked her if she believed the whole bible was the word of God. She said yes with the utmost of conviction. So I handed her my atheist King James Version bible. What is the difference between this atheist bible and your own, you may ask? Well, you know how you thumb through your bible, find all those beautiful, supportive, poetic sounding quotes, and highlight them with a neon marker to discuss in bible study and so you can read them off of those church signs while going down the highway and feel like you know something about your religion?
I do the opposite. I read through the bible and find all the disturbing, fucked up quotes, highlight them, and tab them (you know, for easier reference later on...). My bible is the best though, want to know why? I am sentimentally attached to my bible. That's right, you heard it folks, an atheist with an emotional attachment to a bible. How is this possible? (that's good that your asking questions, that's why I'm here) I'll be glad to tell you how:
My bible has been highlighted before. All those beautiful quotes that are highlighted in your bible, someone already highlighted in mine before I ever read it.
I highlighted it.
I did this when I was a child, a believer. I was a very good reader at a very young age, and being in a religious family, I read the bible. I would come across things that didn't make sense to me, and I would think to myself: I'm not smart enough to understand, I'm not wise enough to get it....I'm not old enough. I would skim my bible looking for something that sounded nice and encouraging like: St. Luke Chp 1 verse 78.
I am old enough to understand now.
That is why I say some one else highlighted the bible before I ever read it. Because once I read the bible, just like I do any other book (which I've read thousands upon thousands of, and have fully comprehended every one) I couldn't believe that I could be so...lead astray. Led astray of what this book was actually saying.
I come across a lot of people who treat the old testament like it carries no weight with today's society. They almost act like the God of the old testament was another God all together. Did the all knowing, all powerful God change his mind from old testament to new? In my opinion, not really. In God's opinion....I can't divine that, but from what I'm told....if God is all knowing....what is he going to change his mind to? He already knows what is going to happen, what has happened, none of it should be shocking to...him..her...it, whatever.
When the person I mentioned in opening said that she believed the entire book of the bible was the word of God, I handed her my atheist bible, with all the pages of tabbed and highlighted sections of death, torment, and nonsense lit up like an "open" sign. Before I did this, I informed her that the old testament says that non-believers should DIE, in many ways, and in many versus the bible states this. I asked her if she thought that if I was born 2,000+ years ago, instead of 27 years ago, would she have agreed that I should be beaten to death with a rock, as the old testament states? She answered me that she believes the bible is the word of God. I asked her again: If I was pulled out of a vagina 2,000 years ago instead of 27, should I be beaten to death with a rock for not believing in your God? She tried to answer again by saying that she believes there are consequences, punishment, for our behaviors. I stated that punishment and discipline's purpose is to correct bad behavior....how do you correct your behavior if your dead, beaten to death via rock? Her answer then became "I don't know." After I handed her the atheist's bible, and she read it, taking notes and all, she changed her statement. She now says that she believes some of the bible is true, not all of it. I asked her: Who are you to decide what parts are true, the actual word of God, and which aren't? Is the bible a cafeteria, pick which parts suit you best, leave the rest as the work of the devil?
So I implore you, those who are highlighters of the light and fluffy part of your bible. I ask not that you mark up your precious bronze-age-hand-me-down book, but that you read it as it is, a book. Try taking notes on some of the fucked up shit you come across. Did you ever continue reading versus that are before and after the ones your pastor/priest preaches about on Sunday, or the ones you talk about in bible study? Do you ever READ the BOOK of the bible, instead of the versus contained there-in? Would you pick Harry Potter up off a shelf, read a few lines here and there, then go around telling people you've read the Harry Potter book and witchcraft is most defiantly for REAL?