Nicholas Kristof has an opinion piece in this morning's NYTimes making the point that believers in the US do not evenknow the basics of the Bible, something that has been obvious for some time.
That is true most Xtians don't know their Bible.
And if they DID know, and I mean know ALL of it, I wonder how their opinion would change?
I've said it many times: this is the product of believers' having the bible READ to them, spoon-fed and cherry-picked for only those parts that those in the positions of supposed holy knowledge and authority WANT them to know about. The following comes as close to a fact as need be, as far as I'm concerned:
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
― Isaac Asimov
The irony is that religious ignorance changes all the time in doctrine and dogma, having changed tremendously since I was a teen, and the gullible STILL believe it! Some doctrines have been turned completely upside down or negated by newer, modern christian apologetics and the believers keep on asking for more. What some believe today is not even in the scriptures.
What is strange here is that a theist might argue "isn't that what you atheists do?" It's a bad arguement that will not work. Science is ever changing and we can cling to a newer model that would seem to work better. The Buybull and scriptures are dead and static - they are never changing. You have no evidence or logic in them, therefore no "proof."
The funny part is that the christian keeps going on and on thinking he is creating some sort of "science." Sorry. Neither logic nor evidence comes from your Buybull.
I call them old and new pesterments.
The reason they discount the old testament is that they have been told that Jebus came to "fulfill" the old testament, and they claim he did so. This is strange because many of that time were wanting to be recognised as the "messiah," so they had to make it look like scriptures were talking about them specificly. The would be "messiah" would then do something that made others identfy him with that scripture of old.
Theists think they have this all worked out and their "proof" all set up. Isaiah said a virgin would concieve and they would call his name "Immanuel." Matthew backed that up saying it applied to Jesus even though he was never called "Immanuel" by anyone. Apologists say Jesus had the "nature of Immanuel" (I'm rolling on the floor with this.)
It's almost as bad as the old testament where Jacob is said to be named "Israel" and that will be his new name from then on. Strangely they continued to call him Jacob anyway.
I think a large reason for the level of ignorance Xtians tend to display is because they’ve been conditioned over the decades into accepting the Grand Narratives of their spiritual leaders. Norman Vincent Peale had a lot to do with this. He deftly managed to change popular Xtian thinking of the late 50’s into the Positivist Movement which gravitated towards some very important points of Postmodernism, a philosophy just coming into popularity with the intellectuals of the period. Intellectuals of the time saw it as their task to be ‘resistant’ and avoid the ‘consensus’ view whenever possible. Peale saw this as an opportunity to utilize this ‘resistance’ as a vehicle for promoting his views of Positivism which also took into itself the postmodernist ideals of pluralism. As a result even the arguments of scientists and historians became nothing more than quasi narratives. Mere “theory’s” as it were.
In short, books became obsolete or were felt as tools of the “intellectual”, who by the tenants of Positivism were to be called into question. I’m suddenly remembering that book by Richard Hofstadter - Anti Intellectualism in American Life. He gave a good description about some of this, he called it the Cult of Religious Practicality, in which Xtians began to move beyond their text and into living their beliefs. However when one considers that most Americans suffer from varying degrees of incomprehension with regards to reading... well, it’s no wonder they’re so mentally screwed up. It’s no wonder they leave all the hard decisions up to their Priests and Pastors or for that matter Presidents.
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.”
The author shows his own ignorance when he states:
"Secular Americans are largely ignorant about religion, but, in surveys, religious Americans turn out to be scarcely more knowledgeable."
Actually, religious Americans have been shown to be less, not more, knowledgeable about religion.
I do like his re-make of some bible stories:
Noah of Arc and his wife, Joan, build a boat to survive a great flood. Moses climbs Mount Cyanide and receives 10 enumerated commandments; for all the differences among religious denominations, the Ten Commandments are a common bedrock that Jews, Catholics and Protestants agree on.
Sodom and his wild girlfriend, Gomorrah, soon set the standard for what not to do. They are turned to pillars of salt
I'm surprised he didn't give Gomorrah as Sodom's boyfriend, but even so the religonist use of this fable to persecute LGBT people is erroneous - it was the general sinfulness of the locals, and their abuse of visiting strangers / angels, that resulted in the god's destruction of those cities. And the good guy in the story, Lot, was the one who offered up his virgin daughters to be raped by the townspeople, and later they had incest with their father.
I agree that he has no genuine basis for the contention that secular Americans are largely ignorant about religion. Many of them, I would guess, were raised in a religious family. Here is some evidence to the contrary—evidence that atheists and agnostics are generally better informed.
Which groups have the highest knowledge levels? It turns out that it’s atheists and agnostics (an average of 20.9 correct answers out of 32), though Jews (20.5) and Mormons (20.3) scored almost equally well. The differences between the three groups are statistically insigificant. Atheists, Jews, and Mormons still score higher than other groups even after controlling for education.
Interestingly, atheists and agnostics (6.7 correct answers) score significantly higher than Christians (6.0) on the 12 questions that cover knowledge of Christianity and the Bible. Mormons (7.9) and white evangelicals (7.3) are, however, clearly the high scorers in this subcategory.
I think it's more than ignorance—it's a prejudice, the notion, common to believers, that a principle reason people reject religion is that they do not know about it. The truth is often just the reverse—they know too much about it.
YES, it is god's will. It appears that it's god's will that we have famine and suffering in this world also. Let's pray for the starving and dying children. Why? It must be god's will that they are starving and dying. But god does play favorites. In that last tornado he spared my place but the tornado tore up everything that old Charlie owned. Yeah, it's god playing video games.
In the religious world we have god's will and free will. It seems that "free will" is what you have to have in order to make the right choices about god. He would do nothing to hinder ones free will. The rapist has the free will to rape you if he likes. You also have the free will to be raped.
Sorry! That's how religion goes.