[caption id="attachment_1062" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo © Billie Hara"][/caption] One of my friends recently asked me what my favorite verse in the Bible was. This became a much tougher question than I expected. As a believer, my favorite passage was Job 19:25-26. But now, what lessons do I take from the Bible? Should I take any? Shouldn't my "heathenry" keep me from wanting to find any good in this book just out of spite or malice? Though I do not live my life by the Bible and do not believe it holds any special cosmic power or divine influence, I can still find some great passages that I think anyone can take with them and think about--even the skeptical atheist. To illustrate this, I've collected verses about a variety of topics that I think thoughtful non-theists may enjoy. Do they belong in a religious book? What do you think of them?
Wisdom and Knowledge
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. --1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness... --Ecclesiastes 7:25 KJV Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. ... Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. ... Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding... --Proverbs 23:9, 12, 23 KJV Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.... --Proverbs 4:7 KJV Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.... --Proverbs 12:1 KJV And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.... --John 8:32 KJV
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="405" caption="Photo © Jim Kuhn "][/caption] I suppose I'm a bit of an atheist cliché. I have expressed on numerous occasions my distaste for the Judeo-Christian god as depicted in the Bible. (check out why God's justice is anti-American and God is immoral). But if we don't speak up about the inconsistencies we observe, they might go un-recognized by those who seek the truth. So in the name of critical thinking, I'll continue to challenge the Get Out of Jail Free card often handed to God even when our own reasoning indicates he's in violation of the most basic standards of morality. So, what about torture? This topic has been the focus of a steady buzz in past months, but only recently have I had much personal interaction with the topic. (more…)