Atheist Bible Study – A Few Thoughts So Far

In Atheist Bible Study on November 27, 2007 at 6:22 am

First of all, thank you guys very much for all your comments. Believe it or not, I am trying my best to learn something by doing all this.

One thing I have noticed people mentioning is a reference to “the truth” or “finding the truth”. This is exactly what I’m after as well. However, when I say the word “truth”, I can’t help but thinking we are talking about something different. I can try to explain what I mean, maybe some of you can help explain what you mean.

To me, truth is what is true. What is real. For instance, I look around me at the physical world, I see rocks, trees, my computer, my hands, my house, all the real things. However, there are a ton of “unreal” things in the world, I’ll list a few I don’t believe in.

I don’t believe in fairies, vampires, ghosts, dragons, gnomes, psychics, souls, magic (the real kind not the stage kind), Vishnu, Allah, Zeus, Spiderman, The Wizard of Oz… well, I could go on and on.

To me, these things are not “real” and are therefore, not “truth”. This is the reason I cannot believe the literal stories in the Bible. However, if you are talking about something else when you say truth, if you can say something like, “In the Bible, you can find stories that teach you ‘truths’ that help you live your life”, then I can almost buy that. However, I wouldn’t use the word truth, I would most likely say “lessons”, or “wisdom”.

I am perfectly willing to concede that the Bible might have such things in it, that those things could be shown to be benefical to people, and that studying the Bible to learn these things is a worthwhile pursuit. However.. so far in my reading, I haven’t gotten much of that. I also haven’t heard any commenters bring up what the possible “lesson” to be learned from the two creation stories is.

As I move on into the stories of Cain and Able and Noah and the Ark, I have a feeling I’m going to have more questions about what “truths” these stories are supposed to be teaching. I’m hoping everyone can help me understand why people find these stories so compelling.

Again, thanks for the comments, keep the discussion going!

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  1. I’m glad you’re back putting up your Bible study posts. Good stuff here!

    As you might guess from my Blogger handle, I agree with you. 😉

    I also like to differentiate between the lower case “truth” you speak of, which are the facts we get through observation and good evidence, and the capital T, “Truth” which is the objective reality I have to believe is “out there” that my senses are partially reacting to. I don’t know much about that “Truth”, and I’m skeptical of anyone who claims they know about it.

    Although believers and non-believers often debate about the meanings of “faith” and “belief” etc. I think the core disagreement is on what is considered to be good evidence. I assume the Bible and personal experiences are “good evidence” for the Christian. So I think the main question is how do we judge what is good evidence for a particular claim?

    You make a great point on what “truths” or “lessons” we can get from the Bible, and I will be curious to hear what other people here have to say about that.

  2. “I look around me at the physical world, I see rocks, trees, my computer, my hands, my house, all the real things.”

    What is real? What is true? Even what you see and hear are not always what they seem. To demonstrate, see here.

    TAG,

    In my opinion, there is no difference between (T)ruth and (t)ruth. Everything you encounter in life is either truth or a lie. When you take away the lie, only truth remains. In the end, truth always reveals itself. No way around it.

    Now, how do we determine what is the truth and what is the lie? That is a little more tricky. We need the discerning spirit. And where do we get this? Why, from the source of the Truth, of course!

    However, I do often get confused, as there is no perfect human. But I trust in love… I believe in love… and I choose love… The rest is up to Him.

    Sorry, if that makes no sense. Maybe Hugo is right about the language thing…

    OH! and one more thing.. Every lie in this world stems from that one original lie in the garden — that we can be “like” God and know for ourselves what is good and evil.

  3. Hey, did you see Dale (author of Parenting Beyond Belief) is starting his own Bible reading blog series? Check it out:

    http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=150

    To Linda,

    I guess we would have to talk about what the source of Truth is, and how to know it!

  4. just a note, if you do read this comment. do some research on the ‘New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.’

    its the bible jehovah’s witnesses (jw’s) use (im sure youve heard something about them). i see it left out of a lot of bible accuracy comparisons. i think its because most christians dont like jw’s. but thats just me.

    i only mention this because im doing some research on the accuracy of translations, and when the NWT is included, it usually winds up as #1. but like i said, its usually not included in comparison.

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