While the story of the Israelites escape from Egypt is one of the best known stories in the Bible, what happened next is not as well known (mainly because it’s not as dramatic). But the Book of Exodus continues with the wanderings of Moses and the Jews and the first government run by God. This part is significant as it is the first time God gives rules that must be obeyed. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: A God Of Smoke And Fire”
The story of the Israelites escape from Egypt is probably the best known story in the Bible, possibly even more so than the stories from the Book of Genesis. I can still remember watching The Prince of Egypt as a child in school. However, what people don’t know is that there is no evidence that the Israelites were ever in Egypt or that the Book of Exodus is actually true. The Israelites were supposedly in Egypt for 400 years, yet archaeologists have found no traces of them nor ant Egyptian records of them. Nor is there any record of the plagues that allegedly occurred (which were so massive you could hardly ignore them) or the death of the Pharaoh (who is never named, further weakening the story) and his army (which is something which would have deserved mentioning). Nor has any evidence been found in the Sinai desert were supposedly 600,000 men (which implies about 2 million women and children) wandered for 40 years. Scholars now recognise that the Exodus simply didn’t happen (interesting most criticism comes from Jewish rather than Christian or Atheist sources). Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Is God A Freedom Fighter Or A Terrorist?”
On the 22nd of May the people of Ireland will decide whether or not we will grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. (Grá is the Irish word for love and rhymes with law, hence the slogan). It’s hard to think of a more straightforward issue than this. If two people love each other, they should be allowed to marry each other. What right does anyone else have to prevent them from expressing their love? It doesn’t do any harm or affect the rest of society in any way at all. It’s simply a matter of equality, giving gay and lesbian couples the same rights as everyone else. Continue reading “Make Grá The Law”
Next month in Ireland we will have a referendum on allowing same-sex couples the right to marry each other. As you can imagine, the main opposition to this is coming from religious groups, with the usual talk of traditional marriage as God intended. What is strange is that if you actually read the Bible, there is a striking absence of traditional marriage or family values in general. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Biblical Family Values”
One thing I have noticed while reading the Bible is how small and petty both God and his people are. This is supposed to be the story of the God who created the Universe and everything in it, but in these chapters his powers don’t extend beyond a household. There are only a handful of his followers and this number seems to only increase with reproduction, not through conversion. What was wrong with God, that he could not convince people to worship him? The God of Genesis is not an all-powerful being, but a small household God who can offer blessings, but is not responsible for the ways of the world and has little control over them. Nor is it clear why he has chosen these people who are deceitful, manipulative and dishonest. If God is limited to only one family on the face of the Earth, why is it this family? Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: A Small God For A Small People”
The one thing about reading the Bible that has really taken me by surprise is how odd it is. Growing up Catholic, I was told that the Bible (like religion generally) was a perfect example of love, mercy and justice. Even after I lost my faith, I still presumed that the Bible a collection of stories that were created to teach lessons and that there was always a moral to the story (like children’s TV). But reading the Book of Genesis, I can’t make any sense of the stories. They seem to be a random collection of murder, rape, incest and senseless cruelty. Neither God nor humans seem to act with any logic or reasoning, the most bizarre things happen without explanation. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: None Of This Makes Any Sense”
If there is a general theme of the early chapters, it is that no one’s plans work out. God’s plan for humanity (whatever it was) is foiled as are human ones. Nothing seems to work for anyone and God himself regrets the entire project of creating humans. It reminds of the quote from a Robert Burns poem that “the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry”, which is also the inspiration for one of my favourite books, Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck. But I digress.
So Genesis 2 starts with Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: The Plans Of Gods, Mice And Men”
So I think the first page of the Bible is as good as place as any to begin. Chapter 1 of Genesis is probably the best known part of the Bible and most people could tell you that it’s about how God created the world in seven days. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: In The Beginning”
The Bible is probably the most influential book on Western civilisation and is the foundation of the world’s largest and most powerful religion. It also has had a major influence on the laws, cultures and traditions of the West, even down to many names and sayings that come from the Bible. However, the Bible is one of those books that is frequently talked about but rarely read, even by religious people. This leads to a great deal of confusion about the nature of God, religion and society in general. The few who do read it are mostly Evangelical Christians and read it from a biased angle that cannot view God as anything less than perfect.
As an Atheist, I hope to offer a different and more critical view. Unlike most, I will not accept everything I read as true or justifiable, but instead examine whether or not the Bible can really be described as “The Good Book”. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible”
So I’ve been reading libertarian literature lately, which unsurprisingly glorifies the free market as the solution to all of the world’s problems. Some even take this to its extreme and argue that even police and courts should be privatised and replaced with the free market like doctors and dentists. These Libertarians/Anarcho-Capitalists (the water is a bit muddied between them) are quite vague on what would replace the state (like all utopians they spend far more time denouncing the present than describing the future). The general theme is that security would be like insurance, you pay a fee to a company in exchange for protection. This private police would patrol the streets and solve crimes committed against their clients. In order to retain your business, the company will have to provide the best possible service. Competition will keep the companies honest and prevent warlords or gangs from exploiting the opportunity.
However, there is a major problem with this theory. It has never actually happened. Continue reading “Why Anarcho-Capitalist Private Police Would Be A Disaster”