I’m absolutely astounded by how many times I’ve heard a Christian use this argument. It goes like this. They say something like:
“Well, all I know is nobody else ever died for our sins.”
Me *explains that there were dozens of rising and dying gods, dozens of sacrificed gods, dozens of gods that spent 3 days in hell, dozens of sons of god himself, dozens of miracle workers, and dozens of “prophesy fulfilling” prophets and saviors, numerous deities that died to help humans, lots of gods born on Dec 25th, a bunch of gods that were called “the way, truth, and light”, practically everybody worth their salt was born of a virgin, etc.*
Them *blinking like a deer in the headlights, realizing in that instant that they were taught a lie of history and they have repeated it for years.*
Along with the “I’m right because I’m bad at history” argument is the “I’m right because I’m scientifically illiterate” argument. Then there is the “I don’t really know anything about neuroscience, therefore my magic goo stuff idea must be right.” argument. There is the “I can’t possibly conceive of anyone lying in a situation that benefits them, so it must be real” argument. I really love “I’m right because the bible says so, even though I have never read it and that actually isn’t in the bible.” Oh, and how about this one! “I’m right because stories are never told over time that morph into legend.” If these arguments were any dumber, they would be parody. No, I take that back. They ARE dumb enough to be parody, the problem is these people believe it.
Now, I’m not saying that this “proves” their god is fake. To be clear, I totally blind-sided them with a “gotcha” response that they were wholly unprepared for.
But here’s the deal. Why is my response such a “gotcha” response? Shouldn’t the religious people know the history of their religion, and the culture that bore it, better than I do? Shouldn’t they know their bible better? Shouldn’t they study the arguments that resulted in the creation of their bible? Why are atheists responsible for teaching these schmucks?
Being an atheist apparently means I have to be an expert in theology, biology, cosmology, geology, dozens of literary classics, history, psychology, and sociology. If I am unable to present a PhD level demonstration right there before their eyes, they see it as at least a 50/50 that their stupid idea might be right. There is a fucking prick on YouTube (fuck him, I’m not linking him to give him views) that challenges atheists by asking them if they are “a good atheist”, which he defines as being so well read that they know all the arguments by every mother fucking religious asshole over the course of TWO MILLENNIA, and if not, assumes the atheist doesn’t know what he is talking about.
Meanwhile, the BIBLE is the most under read book in history. The majority of Christians have never actually read it. They don’t know who Thomas Aquinas is. They don’t know about the bears killing the teenagers. They don’t understand the very basics of evolution. They have no idea why Jesus is painted as a white dude, nor have they ever even considered it. They don’t realize that December 25th is never mentioned in the bible. They don’t know what super big deal happened in Nicaea in 325. They don’t understand red-shift, and what that means for cosmological measurements. They don’t even understand the very basics of other religions in the world today, let alone the religions in history. They never even wonder why intelligent people believe in bullshit. They have never studied belief systems in populations. They don’t know anything at all about the people that assembled their bible.
Not only is there a double standard between their expectations of the faithful and atheists, failure to know history or science is actually ENCOURAGED in some denominations. Well, probably most denominations, but I’m just thinking of a few specific examples. Any denomination that declares the bible is the inerrant, perfect word of god is discouraging learning about the history of the bible. This belief absolutely can not be true, since entire books have been added or removed throughout the centuries. This means that for hundreds of years, somebody apparently had the “wrong” books that weren’t the inerrant, perfect word of god. Ooops, that’s history again!
Then there are the denominations that preach young-earth creationism, and keep their kids from going to real schools. Those denominations are scared of education, because, and they are right about this, education helps you realize the bible is bullshit. And let’s not forget “religious education” is a joke, designed for no other reason than to reinforce the mythology.
I have been to church services of numerous denominations all over the country. I did the Sunday school thing where you are taught the bible. But I have never, ever actually seen real learning going on in those environments. Actual knowledge is just…. nonexistent. Biblical scholars know all this stuff, but that never gets passed down to the churches. In the churches, they think the bible was written in English, for fuck sake.
Nobody challenges the pew-filler to know extensive facts and information about dozens of scientific fields. Nobody challenges the offering-plate fillers to dig into the history of the founding of their religion. And do you know what? I think I just explained the problem. As long as you pay, nobody cares how much you know.
You can be stupid and be religious. Nobody cares. Certainly, your preacher doesn’t give a shit. Hell, he is probably as ignorant as you are. So please, for the love of your god, quit telling me the bible is true because you suck at history.
The Spartan Atheist