Christian values vs the Bible

As an atheist who reads the Bible daily, I sometimes wonder if Christians read the Bible at all. They sure don’t act like it.

Why do Christians think they need to dress up in their finest clothes when they go to church? The Bible certainly doesn’t say they should do that. On the contrary, it says women, at least, should not adorn themselves with expensive clothes and jewelry and stuff. Christians seem to have decided that Sunday is disobey-the-Bible day.

Why do Christians think it’s proper to call priests, monks, the Pope, etc. “Father”? Jesus clearly told his followers not to call anyone “Father” except God.

Jesus also said it was wrong to take any kind of oath. Yet Christians don’t usually seem to see taking oaths as a bad thing. Avoiding oaths seems to be more associated with atheists. Most Christians have no problem with swearing on the book that tells them not to swear by anything.

Christians generally think following your conscience is good, important, and one of the best ways to make sure you’re doing right. The Bible, on the other hand, says it’s quite possible for your conscience to mislead you, making you think you’re doing right when you’re really doing wrong. It says a lot of people have no idea that they’re doing anything wrong, so their conscience clearly isn’t doing them any good. You have to train yourself to distinguish good from evil, because your conscience is naturally so unreliable. So if the Bible is right, trusting your conscience is a terrible idea!

Some Christians think it’s wrong for a couple to live together when they’re not married. But not only does the Bible not forbid that, it commands it in certain cases.

Prayer

The Bible says praying often or at length won’t make God any more likely to hear you. If anything, it will make him want to punish you, especially if you do it in front of other people. It says you shouldn’t be quick to talk to God at all. And if you do, you should keep it brief. Yet for some reason, an awful lot of Christians think it’s a good idea to pray regularly or impulsively. Or even to engage in repetitive prayer rituals where they repeatedly recite a certain set of prayers a certain number of times in a certain order.

Christians are often criticized for opting to tell the world about all the “thoughts and prayers” they’re offering to the victims of tragedies, rather than actually doing anything to physically help. Considering what the Bible says about that kind of thing, you’d think the Christians would be on the other side of that dispute.

Interfaith relations

Some Christians, particularly Jehovah’s Witnesses, are infamous for going door-to-door to preach about Jesus. If you need a way to get rid of such visitors, perhaps you could point out to them how disapproving the Bible is of busybodies going about from house to house.

Some Christians subject atheists to discrimination, harassment, vandalism, and violence. Don’t they know that they’re supposed to be merciful to those who doubt?

Communism

Christians tend to strongly oppose communism and associate it with atheism. Which is pretty weird considering how communistic the original Christians were. As described in the Bible: The Christian community abandoned the concept of personal property and shared everything they had. Any money they earned had to be brought to their leaders to be distributed among the community, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs“.

Jesus said it was right to pay everyone the same regardless of how much work they did. Only evil men and troublemakers think people who don’t work shouldn’t get paid. The goal of the Christians was to achieve equality, with no one having too little or too much. The Bible suggests that God approved of this system so much that he killed anyone who chose not to give 100% of their income.

Abortion

Some branches of Christianity, like Catholicism, are officially against abortion.1 People are more likely to think abortion is wrong if they consider religion important, if they rely on religion for moral guidance, and if they believe in the (literal) truth of scripture. So you’d expect that the Bible must support the view that abortion is murder and therefore unacceptable. But what does the Bible actually say about abortion? Not a lot, and the few passages that are relevant to the issue are far from pro-life.2

The Bible equates life with breathing, which is not something a fetus can do. When God states how much he thinks the lives of people of different ages are worth, he says younger children are worth less than older children and adults. And babies under a month old apparently aren’t even worth mentioning, let alone unborn babies. So if someone causes a miscarriage,3 this is not even considered a serious injury according to the biblical law. If they had killed a person, the punishment would have been to take life for life. But for merely causing a miscarriage, it says they only have to pay a fine.

The God of the Bible doesn’t even seem to mind infanticide, much less abortion. Sometimes he commands people to kill babies, and sometimes he kills them himself. The Bible’s laws say any woman who commits adultery is required to drink a substance that will cause a miscarriage. A prophet once cursed someone for failing to perform an abortion. And when another prophet suggested that God should cause some miscarriages, God didn’t object. He just continued talking about his plans to murder lots of children. That’s how pro-life he is.

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