Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blogging the Bible Part 1

OK OK, I know this is not new territory to be covered by an atheist blog.

I know that there is already the awesome Skeptics Annotated Bible.

I know that Tom over at Dubito Ergo Sum has already talked about interpretations, and when talking about the Bible it is all about interpretation and mine might not be entirely fair to the original intent.

But I can't help myself.

I'm going to read the Bible. From cover to cover. And you're coming with me.

I've already read large tracts of the Bible before, focusing mostly on the canonical Gospels (Catholic school will do that to you), but I've never gone cover to cover. It's going to take some time. It's going to be tedious and frustrating. But boy will it help shut believers up. In response to the question "Have you ever even read the Bible?" I'll be able to say "Yes, have you?" and swagger off into the sunset knowing my foe was suitably humbled. Or something like that.

We'll be reading the New International Version, Red Letter Edition, published 1989 by Zondervan. I won't be doing a line by line critique for the most part, but I'll pick out the bits that are of interest to me - and I'll be talking about the text as if in response to a Biblical Literalist, not some wishy-washy liberal Christian who interprets the Bible how they want in order to ignore the nasty bits (and those people will be the subject of future posts I'm sure).

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Why I think I know there are no gods

Believers often like to characterise atheism as a religion, I'm sure it makes them feel comfortable to tell themselves that we atheists just simply must have a religion too. There are plenty of serious and funny rebuttals to this point ('Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby' is one of my favourites), one of the more common rebuttals is to point out that atheism isn't really a belief system but a lack of a belief - a belief in gods. At the same time that believers throw this tired argument out they will often trot out the old 'You must have faith to believe there is no God.' Or 'Well you can't say there is no God because there is no evidence there isn't.' A variation I heard myself was 'You haven't been everywhere so you can't know there is no God.' Sorry, no prizes for being able to rebut that one.

Often the differences in various types of atheism have to be explained - implicit, explicit, weak or strong. The common responses from atheists shy away from the strongest assertion of atheism though - I know gods don't exist.

Friday, May 29, 2009

These things I believe

I hope to turn this into a blogging meme that spreads throughout the skeptical blogosphere (hey, I can be ambitious if I want) but if someone else came up with this idea great, otherwise I claim full credit for it.

Skepticism, critical thinking and the promotion of science is often criticised as being negative by the horde of woos and religious believers when nothing could be further from the truth. Asking questions is empowering and science has the ability to fill us with awe and wonder if properly understood. Sometimes the accusation is levelled that skeptics or atheists don't believe in anything.

This post is my statement of belief, my affirmation of my skepticism and my declaration that science is inspiring, enlightening and fulfilling. I call upon the skeptics of the blogosphere to proudly and boldly state their beliefs.

Jimmy_Blue gets his own place

Well, this is it.

I finally got round to making my own blog.

For a few years now I've haunted the blogosphere as Jimmy_Blue complete with lengthy comments, barely contained rage, finely targetted insults, painstakingly researched citations and hopefully a little humour. But it has always been at someone else's place. I'm like the guest who makes himself at home when told to but is always worried about outstaying his welcome.

No more.

This is my place. Come on in, pull up a chair, fix yourself a drink and relax.

This might be fun.

Please excuse the decor though, I only just moved in.