T. H. White, the author of The Once and Future King, a retelling of the Arthurian legends that served as the basis for the musical Camelot, wrote in a letter to Sidney Cockerell in 1942:
"I have ceased to be a Christian of any sort, though I still go to mass every Sunday and holiday, pay my dues, and keep Fridays and Lent. This is for the sake of discipline. I carefully read the New Testament before becoming an infidel: it de-converted me. But is is always difficult for a biologist to be a Christian, and I have become quite a good biologist…"
What's interesting is his statement that scripture made him into a non-believer. I wonder if this is not the case more often than recognized.
That's a good link and does show clearly that scripture may be a strong influence in driving people away from religion.
Scripture had no part.
Not once in my 12 years in Catholic schools did a nun or priest require or even mention scripture. My older sister had quit Catholicism and was dating a Protestant, a Lutheran as I recall, before she once spoke with surprise of events mentioned in the bible that happened at the same time as the Olympics in Greece. I had quit and become an agnostic before I opened a bible.
From what people here have said, if I had read the OT I might have either vomited or developed PTSD.
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
-- Isaac Asimov
Great Quote. In 1981 Asimov published a guide to the Bible in two volumes which is useful, but limited because it is so discursive.
In my case, a combination of various influences; the Bible being one of them. Like Tom Sarbeck, I too was raised Catholic, and similar to his experience, dogma and doctrine were instilled much more than biblical stories. Around 13 years of age, I started questioning a lot of what was being instilled in me. And, that's when I started reading the Bible. Not out of a desire to reinforce my failing faith, but out of curiosity to see if it made more sense than the bullshit I was being fed. Turns out, it was even worse than the BS I was being taught. Then, I picked up a copy of the play Inherit the Wind, and read even more about the Scopes Monkey Trial. Which, in turn, got me reading more about religion, ancient history, and modern science. By then, I had crossed the Rubicon, and there was no turning back.
The Roman Catholic Church has always insisted on the primacy of the church over scripture—it was Protestants who, for obvious reasons, insisted on scripture alone as the ultimate authority in matters of doctrine.
Dr. Clark, I know RCC history better than I do non-Catholic Xianity history, and you helped me clarify what I long ago read regarding the Reformation period, that the Puritans had seen the RCC as strict in policy and lax in behavior and adopted rules to do the opposite.
Regarding behavior, the RC hierarchy had indeed become lax. In protest the Puritans became strict.
Regarding policy, the situation was more complex.
The early Xian "fathers" had seen gaps in scripture. For instance, the Persian Manes had explained a gap with his dualism (a battle between light and darkness). The Xian fathers explained the gap differently and disposed of Manichaeism by designating it a heresy.
By the time of the Reformation, the RCC had dealt with more gaps and adopted non-scriptural policies. The protesters (Luther and others) rejected the RCC policies and, as you say, insisted on scripture alone as their authority. The gaps resurfaced and Protestantism right away began splintering.
Reading scripture and Jerry DeWitt lectures on You Tube are exact reasons that I became an atheist. Scripture was contradictory and didn't make any sense to me any more, and Jerry's lectures helped me to understand things and get the Christian apologists out of the way. After that, being a non Christian is pretty simple!
The Christian world at large approaches the idea of god with a predetermined view that there is a god. Then they spend the rest of their time wondering why you don't feel the same way.
Like Sentient Biped, reading scripture was the coup de grace to my Christianity.