Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mr. Miles' Bible Class Lesson 4

I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I'm a secular humanist, and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.

Lesson Menu:
Lesson #1; Lesson #2; Lesson #3; This Lesson



Jim Miles teaching a World History class at
Armona Union Academy, Armona, California.
Aug. 29, 2007.
#4 "The Bible is Inspired History" (which brings along corollaries like "The Bible is an Inspired answer to Big Philosophical Questions" and "The Bible's Inspired Prophecies of the Future tell us Where We're Headed" and "The Bible's Inspired Gospel Story is the Only True Way to Avoid Missing Out on an Eternal Life of Bliss")

Nope. Mr. Miles, your old Bible Teacher, is here to tell you: that ancient book we tried to make seem so relevant, up-to-date, and modern is in fact just SO FULL OF OBVIOUS CLUES that it is NOT INSPIRED, well... I'm honestly ashamed to think of how many of you I convinced otherwise. I'm not going to repeat here what others have already shown about the basic reasons to know that the Bible is not inspired or worthy of your attention. (Those others to whom I would direct you include John W. Loftus and his first, second, and third books on this topic, and the website of author Steve Wells, the Skeptic's Annotated Bible).


The evidence is in: the Bible is NOT inspired. Therefore, you do not owe it, or the God it describes, any allegiance or worship or, in fact, the slightest attention. Yes, I realize that I used to hammer on about "study, study, study your Bible". I've had to adjust my thinking, after seeing the evidence (and lot's more) I pointed to in the links above.

I would ask you now to adjust your own thinking: PLEASE IGNORE THE BIBLE; IT CAN ONLY WASTE YOUR TIME. With Richard Dawkins, I would agree that a basic knowledge of the Bible is indeed necessary to appreciate English literature, and to enhance comprehension of historical writings in the history of English-speaking people. But after gaining that familiarity, do not treat the Bible as if it was magical or special. It's not.

Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Makes perfect sense.
(Source unknown, from an image uploaded to ImageShack, August, 2008-?, removed Nov 2013; last seen here)

3 comments:

  1. The Bible is not a magical book. The term "sacred" often used to describe it is not a concrete concept. The writers captured stories and thoughts that can serve others well. Similarly the real life experiences of others captured in any form especially from those who have attained some wisdom can be helpful to many. Indeed, sometimes life changing experiences come from living another's life lesson through a story.

    However, worshiping a book, any book, is idolatry.

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  2. "Stories and thoughts and thoughts that can serve others well" should exclude the Abrahamic religions' scriptures, which schizophrenically alternate between the sublime and the barbaric, poetry and crudely painted cruel deities, between dross and --at best --base metal. How can you call it "wisdom" when it has gone on to be used in such unwise and unhealthy ways?

    Scripture is not literature worth examining for its valuable insights. It's only worth examining as information illuminating the darkness out of which human civilization is attempting to pull itself. If we succeed in casting off its terrible mythologies, it will take its place alongside Greek and Roman mythologies on dusty library bookshelves, drained of its power to suppress reasoning and questioning in vulnerable members of our species.

    I can appreciate your sentiments against organized religions. I disagree, however, that their scriptures stand separate from them and can meaningfully be extracted from religion and be of some value apart from them. An engine can be extracted from its vehicle. But apart from deeper analysis of what made it a powerful form of transportation, an engine alone won't take you anywhere.

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  3. I have no argument with you that the Bible has some distasteful, barbaric accounts and apparent rationalizations for things that are beyond rationalizing. It’s a fact. My comment about wisdom was in reference to biography and histories in general.

    The way any book is read and applied can make a big difference. Instead of taking history for what it is at face value it seems to me that group-think patriotism often legitimizes what the founders have done. Certainly American history, as does Canadian history in my case, paints over past events with a brush that implies or explicitly claims that its history was God ordained since some good things came out of it; instead of admitting that the harsh savage history of our ancestors, what is now regarded as genocide, has benefited us.

    I do share the opinion that misused the scriptures are a reference point for irrational thinking patterns and barbaric behavior. Such is what happens when any THING is worshiped. Where we part ways is the idea that society is better off by rejecting all moral systems that have some historical connection to a religious tradition.

    The idea that we are smart enough to find our way out of the messes across the globe is in my mind comparable to religious extremism thinking. Whenever people get together and build any societal system there will be a class of cunning individuals who will use the very system to further their own personal ambition and ultimately the system will crash, despite all the stops and checks. Recent US history provides abundant evidence of this i.e. Enron (the R-rated documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” was especially enlightening) the sub-prime mortgage debacle, the banking crisis. Some of these colossal scams apparently will never have the stories told because the key enablers are either now working for the US Gov’t or have been deemed un-touchable as result of toothless policies created by their former colleagues.

    I’m a product of Western thinking and do hold “religiously”, if you pardon the expression, to the belief that democracy is the best balance of rights and freedom for a nation. However, it seems very apparent that we are witnessing the slow crumbling of the western democratic systems. Besides the economic turmoil the western gov’ts are losing their ability to govern effectively. What’s next I doubt will be nicer. In my mind a benevolent dictatorship starts to look not so bad.

    H’mm, so how far did I digress? 

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