Why Atheists Cannot Understand the Bible

Atheists habitually quote the Bible in their never ending attempt to discredit religion in general and Christianity in particular.

But is it really possible for atheists to actually understand what they are reading when they pick up a collection of ancient works such as those that comprise the Bible?

The answer is a resounding, “No!” and here is why:

We can discern much about the Bible through the understanding conveyed by our Western Heritage.

For example, justice was one of the premier themes in Plato’s, “Republic” and justice is also a premier theme all throughout the books of the Bible.

lady-justice-drawing

Plato brought the written word to life in his famous device called, the dialogue. In the dialogue, the reader’s own mind is activated to think for itself and examine the questions presented by the characters in the story.

The ancient Hebrews used devices like parables, symbols and types to breath life into their Bible literature.

Through those devices it is possible to discern themes, values and modes of thought that run from one generation to the next, down through the centuries.

Eventually those themes, values and modes of thought comprised what is known as our Western Heritage, which itself became known through the works of literature often referred to as the Great Books.

And central to our Western Heritage is the idea, or to speak in Platonist terms, the form, of justice.

Hell concerns justice.

Consequently, if a person does not understand the meaning or idea, or form of justice, then it is not possible to understand the meaning or idea, or form of Hell.

And just as one can spend his entire lifetime contemplating the ideas presented in Plato’s, “Republic,” one could spend an eternity contemplating the ideas presented in the Bible.

But what purpose is found in contemplating a basic idea like justice as presented by Plato or the authors of the Bible books?

The answer is wisdom.

Both the Hebrew, the ancient Greek and the Christian view wisdom as central to understanding the meaning of justice.

Unfortunately, atheism is a total rejection of our Western Heritage.

That means that it is impossible for the atheist to use his mind to contemplate ideas basic to Western Civilization such as justice.

Therefore it is impossible for the atheist to acquire wisdom.

As a result, when the atheist quotes the Bible and offers up his interpretation of it, the result is as useless as a cadre of chimpanzees trying to bang out the works of Shakespeare on a keyboard.

106 responses to “Why Atheists Cannot Understand the Bible”

  1. SOM,

    You seem to be defining Western Heritage as a Platonic Form! As if there is this essence floating about called Western Heritage that writers tap into rather than their ideas create Western Heritage. Your Machiavelli comment is a new true scotsmen fallacy!

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    • Console,

      Every regime rises up around the form, or idea of justice.

      But just as there exists the idea or form of a chair, in physical reality there exist infinite number of materially made chairs, none of which are perfect, as is the idea or form.

      Because Western Civilization is a physical manifestation of our Western Heritage (a certain set ideas about justice and the nature of man), Western Civilization cannot be a perfect and is therefore not a form.

      Leftists, which includes nearly all atheists, apply their personal forms, or ideas of justice to Western Civilization and find Western Civilization sadly wanting.

      But atheists never, ever apply their own standard of perfect to the regimes that have attempted to manifest atheist forms in physical reality.

      That’s why atheists never question why atheist regimes are always the most genocidal and brutal or why nearly all atheists believe in proven hoaxes like global warming, ObamaCare, social justice implemented by experts and bureaucrats, prosperity created by government, etc.

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      • Just as Western Heritage isn’t a Platonic form, it also isn’t a single set of ideas. Probably the best way to conceive of it is as a back-and-forth debate in which certain ideas form the topics under consideration. Western culture is a bit more than just the question: what is justice? This leads me to wonder if you actually understand Western Civilization.

        I think you’re being rude to atheists, by the way, to suggest they have no sense of justice! People have a natural sense of justice, which is then further modified by culture and individual attitudes.

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      • Consoled,

        Our Western Heritage is indeed a particular set of ideas.

        Those ideas are taught in classes in nearly every university in Europe, North America and Australia.

        At the foundation of the Western Heritage are the ancient Greeks and Hebrews.

        At the apex, America’s Founding Fathers and the philosophers they borrowed from (Locke, Montesquieu, etc.)

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      • Yet I can think of no university that I ever attended that presents them as straight-forward “particular set of ideas.” One of the most important qualities of our Western Heritage is its willingness to critique its own ideas, hence there can never be a single set of stable ideas. It is more like particular themes that come back again and again, whose virtues and flaws are then constantly debated.

        Not a fan of modernism or postmodernism I take it, given you described the Founding Fathers and some of the Enlightenment thinkers as the apex?

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      • Console,

        In graduate school the Western Heritage is presented through a particular set of philosophers.

        The philosophers present a certain set of ideas.

        Plato’s, “Republic” is the foundation of Western thinking on politics which concerns the definition of justice.

        Aristotle continues with his Ethics and Politics.

        The Christians, Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas in particular, meld Christianity with the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

        The Renaissance kicks off with Machiavelli who presents the first formal, philosophical break with Plato and Aristotle.

        Then follows, the Enlightenment and the teachings of John Locke, Adam Smith and the Founding Fathers.

        The modern philosophers such as Des Carte, Kant, Hegel, and Marx break with Christianity and the ancient Greeks to develop philosophies which attempt to replace God with the State.

        The result was the blood baths of World Wars I & II and the genocidal atheist regimes in Asia.

        Christian, Lockeian America tore the evil blood lusting heart of out of Europe and Asia and became the world’s first hyper power.

        The rejection of Christianity by the postmodern West is taking mankind back to its blood socked, plague scourged past.

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      • Console,

        If human beings have a natural sense of justice, then why do parents have to spend so much time and teaching their children how to behave?

        And if atheists naturally understand justice, why have atheists regimes been the most genocidal and brutal?

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      • Complex question. Putting aside the actual content for a moment, notice we’re having the nature/nurture debate, a theme within Western Culture, but not one that has ever been definitively answered and one in which people still debate, research, and discuss today, hence my point that the themes and debate about these issues continue, but there is no definitive answer from which we can declare a final answer.

        Some Scientific Research suggests that toddlers have a sense of fairness (i.e. justice). The nature/nurture debate is fraught with problems. Whatever we might inherent genetically (let’s say intelligence) is always modified by nurture (our experiences). Take two twins with high “natural” IQs and stick one of them into a bad environment and you’re likely to see the one in the bad environment and the one in the good environment develop completely different IQ levels. I see no reason our sense of justice wouldn’t be modified in this way as well.

        You’re assuming that parents are teaching their kids justice when they spend all that time teaching behavior. However, often what parents are teaching their kids is socialization skills. We say “thank you” after someone gives you something. We raise our hand in school and don’t call out. Much teaching of behavior is more about teaching societal expectations rather than explicitly teaching them justice. My typing this sentence right now is technically a behavior that I had to learn how to do by practicing and being taught to a certain extent, but it has little to do with justice one way or the other. So behavior is a broader term anyway. Likewise, to pick up on my earlier point, who says there is only one possible conception of justice?

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      • Console,

        Actually it’s quite simple.

        Poor parenting produces mentally unbalanced, angry human beings.

        Many of those mentally unbalanced , angry human beings inhabit out inner cities and fill our prisons.

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      • Sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, but there are exceptions to the rule. There are people who have poor parents and bad home lives who end up growing up into productive, well-balanced human beings. There are genetic components to personality and genetic components that affect how we deal with stress.

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      • Console,

        Where people are concerned there are exceptions to every generalization.

        But such exceptions do not invalidate the generalization that poor parenting leads to mentally unstable, angry people.

        I recommend you do a stint in an inner city high school.

        Heck, even good schools are very trying for teachers these days.

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      • Console,

        Answering questions with questions that not so subtly change the subject means that you are out of answers.

        But maybe you can answer me this: what the heck are the “Great Works of the Western Canon?”

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      • You asked me a question in the post above? Where was the question? Do you mean the original question about teaching kids behavior? I already answered that question and I didn’t feel the need to repeat myself; at least not until I have additional information.

        You seem to be speaking about inner city schools, the teaching experience in good schools, and even graduate school as if you have experience and used these to support your position. It is incumbent upon me to learn about the nature of those experiences in detail so I can better understand your position before I give anymore answers.

        Western Canon

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      • Console,

        Thanks for dropping by and thanks for teaching me a new term.

        I’m Catholic and Canon has at least a couple of very different meanings:

        The Bible Canon, for example, refers to the books of the Bible.

        And Canon Law is a huge body of rules concerning every aspect of the Church.

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  2. Oh dear. I was a dedicated, devout, fundamentalist christian for almost ten years. During that time I attended church or house group at least 5 times each week, read a chapter of the Bible daily and subsequently contemplated the meaning of the passages I encountered as part of my daily devotions. I achieved a very real understanding of the bible. My Western heritage had little to do with that by the way. Christianity is a middle Eastern religious tradition, after all.

    Anyway – the result of this understanding, this ‘wisdom’ if you will, was that I left Christianity because it is unjust and divisive. I later came to see that it is also incredibly illogical, based upon the ancient Paganism of the God of Abraham, himself created from the two Gods YHWH and Elohim. These two Gods (part of the ancient pre-Hebrew pantheon of many Gods) merged to form the Jewish God of War that the modern world knows as Jehovah/YHWH/God/Allah – all names for the same basic entity that evolved from the ancient Hebrew writings we see in the Old Testament.

    When I read that I, as an atheist don’t understand the meaning of the bible and then see it backed up by the extremely superficial reasoning above I have to laugh.

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    • SOM’s definition of not-a-real-Christian is anyone who has left behind believing in his version of Christianity. Ipso facto. There’s no room in the silence of his mind to consider anything that he doesn’t first believe and the fault and problems that arise for this lies everywhere but with him.

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  3. So this is what Christianity has come too. Insulting others ability to obtain “wisdom” because we don’t want to worship your god. Let’s entertain the dilution that there is a god(s). Why should we believe in your’s. They’re not the oldest. What makes the other religion’s wrong and your’s right? And don’t quote the Bible because everyone else’s holy book claims that their’s is the “one true god.” Until proven otherwise, I’m going to continue to look at the world with a curious and questioning view, and will use science to see things objectivity.

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