An Atheist Reads The Bible: An Accountants’ Delight

The Book of Numbers is probably the most tedious book so far in the Bible, with a large proportion consisting (as the name suggests) of recording of names and numbers. The name of every man who did anything at all is recorded along with his sons. There are various censuses and elaborate detail is given on the various festivals and sacrifices that must be done to honour God. This is an accountants delight but incredibly boring for the rest of us. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: An Accountants’ Delight”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: All Men Must Die

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones lately and I’ve been surprised at the similarities between it and the Bible. You would think that they would be complete opposites but they have more in common than your local priest would like to admit (especially with this week’s episode involving the Faith Militant). Both are filled with violence, incest, murder, sexism, war, betrayal, religious fanaticism and arbitrary rulers. Reading the Book of Leviticus, I noticed a particularly strong essence of Valar Morghulis (All men must die) both in the sense that women are ignored and in the sense that, no matter how hard you try, sooner or later you’ll end up tripping up and being killed. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: All Men Must Die”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: Unclean, Everything Is Unclean!

The story takes an interlude away from Moses and instead details the laws that God wants us to follow. The main theme of the book is a dire fear of the unclean. Honestly, Leviticus must have been written by OCD germophobe as there is an obsession with avoiding anything unclean (which turns out to be most things). God gives these rules unconditionally and demands that they must be obeyed, which Christians have interpreted to mean they can pick and choose whichever they wish to follow. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: Unclean, Everything Is Unclean!”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: People Are Following The Wrong 10 Commandments

Welcome back to another blog post where, me, an Atheist, reads the Bible and finds lots of weird and crazy things. Continuing where we left off, Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving laws from God on stone tablets. The laws are nothing special, nothing a tribal society couldn’t create by itself and not much relevance for modern day. Let’s continue the story. Continue reading “An Atheist Reads The Bible: People Are Following The Wrong 10 Commandments”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: A God Of Smoke And Fire

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”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: Is God A Freedom Fighter Or A Terrorist?

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?”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: Biblical Family Values

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”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: A Small God For A Small People

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”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: None Of This Makes Any Sense

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”

An Atheist Reads The Bible: The Plans Of Gods, Mice And Men

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”