published Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Who’s buying into Bible bashing?

On this Easter Sunday, two new reports indicate antagonism toward the Bible is growing in the United States, and that Western Europe — where ancestors of most Americans hail — is the region of the world where the fewest respondents said religion plays a positive role in their country.

While 79 percent of Americans still identify the Bible as sacred, according to the American Bible Society’s fourth annual State of the Bible survey, antagonism toward the book has grown since 2011 from 10 to 19 percent of those surveyed.

Millennials (ages 18-29), the report says, are leading that shift, with 39 percent never reading it, 35 percent believing it contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, only 30 percent stating it has too little influence in society and 19 percent concluding no literature (including the Bible) is sacred.

The 39 percent who never read it are emblematic especially of the generation but more of the larger state of the country.

After all, how do you find antagonism with the Bible if you never read it? How do you determine how to think about an issue if you don’t study it? How do you select a candidate for whom to vote without understanding what he or she stands for?

Today, you rely on what you are told by friends. You believe something because your favorite actress says she supports it. You read a headline on your smartphone. You hear a blurb on a fictional news show.

If it was on “The Colbert Report,” it must be true, right?

Sadly, fewer and fewer American think for themselves or even want to discover whether what they hear is right or wrong before acting upon it.

Indeed, wrong is a five-letter four-letter word in the United States today and one of the reasons antagonism for the Bible is growing.

Many Americans today don’t want to hear that what they do is wrong, has limits or comes with consequences.

And the Bible, of course, is not only full of love, poetry and beauty, and tells the story of the Resurrection of the savior Christians celebrate today, but also details some of the things people shouldn’t do.

Like murder, steal, commit adultery, have no other gods before the one God — that sort of thing.

But today, when a WIN/Gallup International survey shows only 4 percent of Western Europeans believe religion plays a net positive role in their lives, it’s easy to imagine Americans drawing closer and closer to that model.

Our selfie society, after all, desires to kill babies in the womb at will, treat lawbreakers better than victims, reward those who choose not to work and punish those who do.

And in the same breath ask, innocently, “What would Jesus do?”

But, thankfully, the new reports do have good news for those who revere the Bible, seek to live according to its principles and find solace in faith.

In the American Bible Society survey, 81 percent of all adults acknowledge morals are declining in America, and even 74 percent of millennials feel the same.

Fortunately, acknowledging a problem is one of the steps to fixing it.

Further, one in seven people reported buying a copy of the Bible in the last year, 28 percent read it every day or several times a week, and 42 percent felt peaceful, 33 percent felt encouraged and inspired, and 29 percent felt hopeful after reading it.

In the WIN/Gallup survey, 62 percent of respondents in the United States said religion plays a positive role in their lives, Africa was found to be the most net positive region globally (65 percent) and more than half (59 percent) of the 66,806 people polled across the world feel religion plays a positive role in their country.

So, even with all the negativity, especially on this day, Christians across the world can take solace in the words of Christ from the book of John: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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aae1049 said...

Very well written, and on target.

April 20, 2014 at 6:26 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Deciding the bible is not important is not "bible bashing". Get a grip.

April 20, 2014 at 6:57 a.m.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless you have a heavy door that won't stay open and then a creek rock with heft that's millions of years old will do a better job.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless your neighbor isn't doing what you think he should and your pretend god tells you to hit him with it.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless you're a hate-mongering and narcissistic preacher using a myth and scare tactics to get money for your cars, jets, mansions, and portfolio.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless you're a candidate for public office seeking votes from delusional minds by telling them you prayed before deciding to run for office. That's before you play backroom politics with your buddies to rape the taxpayer and steal public funds.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless you can't grasp science, myths, allegories, metaphors,and are consumed with unneeded and unnecessary guilt about the bullsh!t of original sin.

Who needs the Bible? No one, unless you need a war to slaughter infidels, heretics, and those sinful "others" not like you.

Who needs the Bible? Only the willfully blind, deaf, and afraid, unable to see there's no need of deities to see the divine around us through a cosmos greater than the smallness of gods.

There's more beauty, wonder, and joy in a blooming iris, a minnow, a goldfinch, a sunrise, a thunderstorm, and a child than all the gods ever imagined.

Who needs the Bible? I don't, neither do you.

April 20, 2014 at 7:45 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Telling the truth about the origins and unreliability of information in the Bible is not "bashing" it. It is a collection of folklore and mythology. It has some worthwhile passages (10 Commandments, Beatitudes), but those who think it's the only book worth reading are doomed to an ignorant and limited life. Teach your children well ... and that means teaching them how to lead an ethical life with a mind open to the real wonders of the world via science and nature. Don't force them to believe in fantasies; they won't thank you when they grow up and learn they've been intellectually handicapped by a literal interpretation of the Bible.

April 20, 2014 at 7:55 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

This is as much about bible bashing as the separation of church and state is about Christian persecution.

April 20, 2014 at 8:07 a.m.
librul said...

Mein gott im Himmel ... I can't understand why Clint doesn't abandon the world of secular punditry and go edit the Bob Jones University student newspaper or some other similarly lofty publication more suited to his talents.

April 20, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
LibDem said...

So the guys who turned gay bashing into an art form now want to outlaw bashing. Bullying is only fun when you're the bully.

April 20, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.
librul said...

Quite right, LibDem! In the lily white universe of hypocrisy in which they live, the Blue Man Group wouldn't stand a chance!

April 20, 2014 at 10:17 a.m.
librul said...

An article by C.J. Werleman at AlterNet.org lays down a pretty tough gauntlet for ol' Clint ..... and it's factual analysis, not "bashing".

To wit: "Of the nearly 600 irreconcilable discrepancies and contradictions found in the Bible, a majority are found in the New Testament. This is understandable given the books of the New Testament were written no less than 50-100 years after the purported death of Easter’s central character, Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul hadn't even met Jesus, and they hadn’t met the people who had allegedly met Jesus. In other words, the New Testament contains not a single eyewitness testimony, much less even a secondhand account, nor is any account corroborated outside of the Bible."

more at:

http://www.alternet.org/belief/bible-one-big-mess-contradictions-about-easter?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

April 20, 2014 at 10:43 a.m.
jjmez said...

I've never met anyone who profess to be bible minded who wasn't also intolerant or out right prejudice. The more strictly they adhere to their religion the more intolerant and prejudice they seemed. Even an ex who claimed western religion. Mean and vengeful as a rattlesnake. No offense to rattle snakes. When being charitable, theirs appeared to be self-serving and condescending rather than coming from the teachings of a Christ. To love one another as I have loved you. As you love yourselves. Maybe their actions are a form of self-hatred?

April 20, 2014 at 10:46 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Here is some serious Bible (and Christian) bashing from some well known Bible bashers this editor might have heard of:

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind. — Thomas Paine

"The Christian god is cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." — Thomas Jefferson

"What is it the Bible teaches us? — rapine, cruelty, and murder." - Thomas Paine

"It has been fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse [the book of Revelation], and then I considered it merely the ravings of a maniac." - Thomas Jefferson

"Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?" — John Adams, describing the Christian religion

"What has been Christianity's fruits? Superstition, bigotry, and persecution." — James Madison

"The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession." — Abraham Lincoln

"In no instance have churches been the guardians of the liberties of the people." - James Madison

"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin

"This could be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it." — John Adams

"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests." — Thomas Jefferson

"It is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene." — Thomas Paine

"There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." — Thomas Jefferson

"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." — Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, written during the administration of George Washington and signed into law by John Adams

So, Mr. Editor, I hope you'll forgive us Bible bashers the next time we engage in our own form of bashing. I'd say we're in some pretty good company.

April 20, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

I heart these topics. They always bring out the tolerant atheists. In droves.

April 20, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

I make no pretense about being tolerant.

I do not speak ill of those Christians who have the common sense to see that the Bible is not a literal history or inerrant word of God, who disregard the abundant savagery, obscenity, and cruelty exhibited by a sadistic, jealous, vindictive tyrant of a God in the Old Testament, and choose instead to focus only on the love and compassion spoken of in the New Testament.

But I detest and am extremely intolerant of brute and stupid minds that ought to know better, being the supposedly intelligent adults they claim to be, insisting that the Bible is the inerrant word of an invisible granddaddy in the sky and that anybody not believing exactly as they believe is doomed to an eternity of the cruelest suffering by their "loving" God. They ignore almost entirely those parts of the Bible that are truly inspirational and love-centered and instead cherry-pick those verses that justify their bigotry and hate. Hell yes, I am intolerant of those small-minded, hard-hearted, self-righteous fools.

My only peeve with the more loving and non-judgmental Christians is that they insist on calling themselves Christians. They ought to be eager to disassociate themselves entirely from the Christians who have caused and continue to cause so much hate and cruelty and violence in the world. By putting themselves under the same broad umbrella they are tacitly sanctioning the negative aspects of that religion. "Christian" is a man-made term. They could just as easily invent a new label for themselves, one with more positive connotations.

April 20, 2014 at 6:18 p.m.
librul said...

"On Saturday and Sunday, believers and non-believers will be packing tens of thousands of churches in North America and Europe, in Latin America, Africa, Oceania, and even in some parts of Asia." . . . "Those who are gathering during these days, and celebrating the resurrection of an individual they call Jesus, are clearly overlooking, and even forgetting the price, which humanity has been paying, all over the world, for millennia. For just a single crucifixion and for the short agony of one person (who perhaps never even existed), entire nations were placed on the sacrificial altar.

"How primitive and brutal, and how immoral!"

From a lengthy and sobering essay by Andre Vltchek on CounterPunch.org:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/21/christianity-guilty-as-charged/

April 21, 2014 at 7:49 a.m.
conservative said...

I admit to having not read the article yet.

He must have told the truth because I see the usual Atheists, full of hell and hate, have made comments.

I often wonder if people even read them.

April 21, 2014 at 8:05 a.m.
TirnaNOG said...

If indeed such a person as a Jesus ever existed, some of the most Christ-like or ideally Christ-like individuals I've ever met rarely to never stepped foot inside a church. On the other hand, some of the most condescending, judgmental and intolerant people I've ever encountered attended church regularly.

April 21, 2014 at 8:46 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I don't know if y'all noticed, but no comments are possible on today's editorial in the FP. I think that's telling.

April 21, 2014 at 10:37 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Excellent article by Andre Vltchek! Too bad that those who need it to read it most will no doubt dismiss it as mere vitriol from an atheist "full of hell and hate" and won't even bother to read it.

I'm wondering how many of you have seen "Twelve Years a Slave" yet? There is a powerful scene where one of the slave holders has his slaves gathered before him and he's reading from the Bible (I think it's the part that contains the very quote that Mr. Vltchek used in the intro to his article - "Slaves, obey your masters."), enforcing the notion in his slaves that they are bound by Scripture to be obedient. I have no doubt that slave holders got a lot of mileage out of those verses in those days! Hell, Christian bigots to this day refer to such preposterous and disgusting Bible verses to justify their hatred of anybody different from them. And then they will turn around and tell you that they don't hate them, rather they "hate the sin but love the sinner." Priceless.

April 21, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.
conservative said...

The TFP should set aside a page for Atheists to vent.

April 21, 2014 at 7:09 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

The TFP should set aside a page for Mindless Idiots to vent.

April 21, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.
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