The bible is a Rorschach ink blot test

You may be familiar with the Rorschach ink blot tests. Basically, it’s a psychological tool that is used to examine one’s perception. In the test, the examiner holds up a number of ink blots- literally ink dripped on a piece of paper, then folded in half and pressed to make the blot symmetrical. It is important to note that the images are not created to look like anything specific, they are just random ink blotted and mirrored. An example:


As a pattern seeking species, we’re likely to see something that we’re in to.  (Don’t try to psychoanalyze me, please, I’m randomly looking up words to “associate.”)  If I’m in to cars, maybe I see a hood ornament.  If it is or I like winter, I see a snowflake.  If I’m into earrings, I see earrings. If I’m in to string….. okay, I’ve got nothing on that one.  Stupid random word generator.  And if I’m into real psycho shit, I may see something like, bear eating children?  If you saw a bear eating children, could be some issues.  And if bears eating children is a happy thought for you, please, please notify someone immediately.

Anyway, since it is literally blots of ink in no particular pattern, we instead project ourselves into the answers.  The way we respond has nothing to do with what the image is, it has to do with us.  Our internal thoughts.  Our deep fears or beliefs.

So, let’s try another one.  What do you see in this?

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

So, there’s elements of love in this, and there’s elements of condemnation, by the same character.  So, if your internal thoughts or beliefs are “not sure about this bible thing”, then you may pick up on the condemnation bit, or even that it was odd that god had to kill his son to love us.  But if your internal thoughts or beliefs are “god loves me and is perfect”, then you have a different reaction.  Same passage, completely different reaction.  And if you somehow see “NO, GOD DIDN’T APPROVE OF SLAVERY, SEE, HE SAID HE LOVED THE WORLD!” could be you have some issues.  You’re REAAAALY projecting there.

Just like the ink blot tests, the people that read this are projecting their own thoughts on the page.  Each person that reads this carries their own baggage and predispositions.  Each individual, instead of receiving the advice from a higher power, is reflecting their own thoughts back on the words they read and lock on, without a cursory glance at the entire picture.   How do we know?

We know because there are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity.  Gay is good or bad, abortion good or bad, cracker really Jesus or symbology, handle snakes or not, speak in tongues or not, Disney is evil or not, evolution or not, women can talk or not, cut hair or not, shave or not, cars or horse buggys, pope or the other pope, self-flagellation or not, etc ad nauseum.  But every one of these groups has the exact same book.  Same book, 30,000 different answers.  This is not a clear instruction book.  This is not a clear moral book.  This is not a clear…. ANYTHING book.  It is a mess of contradictory stories, tribal wars, and ancient morality that has been sold as a divinely inspired work.

One more for fun:


Thoughts on this may range from “weird”, to “awful”, to “he didn’t give a fuck about the kids or their families and just went on his way like that shit didn’t matter to him!  What a monster!”  That indicates a normal response of empathy.  But if you’re response to this is “how wonderful!”, or “kids deserved it because that was Elisha”, could be you have some issues.

The Spartan Atheist


7 thoughts on “The bible is a Rorschach ink blot test

  1. It’s interesting how my perspective is like a 180 from four years ago. And sometimes out of the blue, someone adds more. The inkblot! I can relate to this. Nowadays I am the antithesis of religion. I am kind, I am happy, I don’t pray and take Control of my personal worth. People aren’t worthless without god unless they need to think so. I don’t see people as sinners, I love everyone I was supposed to hate. I actually have some of my own thoughts now too. That was the strange part. In an instant I was a completely different person. I’m rambling. Sorry. Great post

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Jim. That’s all I’m really trying to do in the long run, offer a different perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And ain’t it grand when you finally relax into who you are.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I get the analogy here, because the bible is open to interpretation by the followers, but I would say it’s far from a Rorschach test. A Rorschach test has no meaning in of itself, it is simply up to the viewer to tell the psychologist what they think of when seeing it. So more like abstract art or something. Whereas the bible is full of contradictions. Parts with a great deal of kindness, parts with a great deal of cruelty. Parts with wisdom (not original wisdom of course) and parts where your like “Yeah this is 2,000 years ago, they didn’t know shit”. Furthermore, even if such contradictions don’t exist, the basic tenets that people generally agree on are still disturbing. Original sin, the idea of eternal punishment or reward, losing yourself for the purpose of being saved. Creating imperfect beings and then punishing them when they behave exactly as they were made to behave. The implication of absolute free will. There is a lot wrong here. And then there is trying to understand intention. The creator of the inkblot has no intention in the creation. But what did the writers of the bible intend for us to get from them. And in this case, this inkblot is being translated out of numerous dead languages, added to and modified by scribes. It’s a nightmare in its totality.

    I would probably more say that the invention of religion is a Rorschach test. As pattern seekers, like you say, we look for explanations, and back then we didn’t really understand much about the physical laws that govern nature, we didn’t understand the most basic concepts of biology…it was perhaps natural that we’d interpret the world in a way that lent itself to powerful deities willing things to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s not a perfect analogy, and I had to re-write and cut big chunks out as I edited this. It’s part analogy and part humor. As long as the reader understands that the bible can mean whatever they think it means, I’ve conveyed the message.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Methinks Swarn is over-analyzing. 🙂

        I got the point immediately and thought it was a great post. 👍


  3. Anyway you look at it, it’s all interpretation from our early indoctrination ( or lack of) and our personal weaknesses and needs and the fact that our brains like to form patterns and see patterns where there are none. It’s some kind of atavistic need. If it wasn’t religion, it would probably be something else..some other made up fantasy.
    Religious fanaticism, political fanaticism and nationalistic fanaticism….all very dangerous and at an extreme high point right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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