Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ryan Bell has a long way to go

Though I still applaud Ryan Bell's interest in learning more about atheists, he really does have a long way to go to rid himself of a wide array of myths and stereotypes. His June 10th post, "Atheists’ favorite Bible verses", makes that pretty clear. Among others, he seems to have fallen for the straw-man criticism that all atheists insist that religion is 100% evil and that nothing positive can be found in scripture. That is completely wrong and a gross mischaracterization. I am very critical of scripture. Even casually skimming through the archive of this blog should make that clear but if you actually read and pay attention it should also be clear that I have not said it isn't possible to draw positive conclusions from a limited number of passages. I happen to think there is far more heinous crap in scripture (the Bible especially) than there is positive. That still is not the same thing. I have also written rather positive pieces about the Tao Te Ching and a few theologically inspired literary works (like The Conference of the Birds).

As a side note, I still really wish he would change the name of his blog. "Year Without God" is so blatantly false that it does diminish his credibility a little. He is not an atheist. He is not going a year without god anymore than he is going a year without oxygen. He is a believer who has decided to spend a year learning more about atheism.

And, though I do not have any "favorites" there are Biblical passages I do like. For instance one of the passages frequently used in Christian wedding ceremonies, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, is quite beautiful in its wording and meaning. I'd point out that nothing is pure anything. Scripture is not 100% evil. Perhaps 90%.

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