Thoughts on Religion: Sept 2018
I’m an atheist or agnostic, depending on your interpretation, but I don’t share the view of some atheists that religion is such a terrible influence in the world. It certainly is a bad influence in the case of extreme Islam and the extreme right Christian bible bashers in the US, for example. However, I suspect if man didn’t invent religion, he would invent some other means of controlling the masses.
Now, I'm not interested in proving whether or not there is a God: I simply claim that the Bible is not proof of anything. I'm simply suggesting that assertions about God's existence or otherwise are pointless unless everyone argues the case for God from the same premise as to the basic nature of God.
I don't think that is the case: People have different perceptions of God. Many "good Methodists" and other believers don't accept the harsh, cruel, unjust nature of much of the Bible - the Old Testament, in particular, and have modified their beliefs accordingly by following the more loving and forgiving nature of Jesus's message. I have no problem with that: It's a beautiful message and I like to think that most decent atheists would concur with that message as described above.
However, when we read more about Jesus in the Bible and see the full picture, we can see glaring inconsistencies:
For example - Here we have the loving, forgiving Jesus:
Luke 6:27-29 ...Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
But here we have the unforgiving, cruel Jesus:
Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
It has been said that there are several hundreds of inconsistencies like the above in the Bible:
I think Humans are able to, and indeed have formed, a moral code regardless of God because they feel innate empathy with other humans and also, over time, have recognised the need to cooperate with each other. I can't prove it but it seems highly likely, if not obvious, to me and many others - atheists and believers alike.