Saturday, January 8, 2011

Atheistic Gratitude for the Bible

Recently, a fundamentalist Christian friend of mine stated the following (paraphrased):

Remember, the Bible helped you form your opinions about right and wrong. It gave you morals and ethical guidelines.

I find it odd that a fundamentalist would feel it necessary to remind me of this. Yes, the Bible has had a profound impact on me and my thinking in just about every arena of life, not just morality. It was through biblical studies that I realized how important objectivity and hermeneutics are. It was from the launch pad of my own cultural framework—filtered as it was through the Bible—that I began to understand people in other religious traditions. The Bible, as I was taught to understand it, ingrained in me many of my notions of morality and fidelity in relationships. It made me aware of the value of pluralism against the backdrop of heterogeneous ritual moralities. Yes, the Bible has profoundly impacted my life and my thinking, and the above examples merely scratch the surface of it all.

However, in addition to all of the above, the Bible has also had the most profound influence on my disbelief in the supernatural and a supernatural God. It was through biblical studies that I was able to quantify God—pinning down God and God's values to be studied. The Bible's God, I learned was the inspiration behind retrograde moralities such as those that prescribed the death penalty for cooking an egg on the Sabbath or loving another person of the same gender. If it had not been for the limits that the Bible places on God, the quantification that it allowed, I might never have had the tools or the raw material to assess and reject God.

So, I do not deny that the Bible has had and is having a profound impact on my thinking. I do not deny that the Bible has helped me think beyond myself and beyond my immediate cultural limitations. Yes, these are all aspects of my biblical studies that I am grateful for. However, this does not mean that I am in any way limited by the Bible. I am not limited to the arbitrary standards that the Bible prescribes relative to sexuality, diet, table fellowship, or entrance into the pearly gates. I have broken away from local truth systems, I am no longer a slave to cultural-historical frameworks anchored in the Bible

1 comment:

MVitaminX said...

Hail!

Many thanks for sharing.
You find it odd, whereas I do not find it odd. I'm not going anywhere with that comment, just tossing it out there.

I lack any questions at the moment.

May Allah continue to blind and deafen you to his truth.