Atheist group criticizes Christianity, Bible verses
ORLY? What a shocker…
About 15 members of the group Backyard Skeptics participated in the demonstration, some displaying posters with phrases such as: “Smile. You’re not alone. Millions are good without God” and “Worship me or I’ll send you to eternal hell … Have a nice day … (signed) God.”
The group’s leader, Bruce Gleason, along with a fellow member, tore up sheets of paper printed with verses from the Bible to make their point.
One paper that was torn to pieces was printed with the verse, Matthew 5:29, which states: “So if your eye – even your good eye – causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away.” Another, which was torn, Corinthians 14:34, states “The women are to keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak.”
A this point it should be said that prior to this event, the story was badly misreported. The media had taken the “atheists are going to rip up bibles” meme and run with it, which clearly was incorrect. And in fact I went on a little twitter rant (starting with this tweet) about how I didn’t support the group’s tactics. So I’ll take this opportunity to retract my previous criticism. Symbolically and as a matter of fact, printing up individual pages with specific verses and ripping them up is substantively different from destroying books. I have a problem with the whole book burning m.o., but not with what the Backyard Skeptics actually did.
Moving on, the part of the story that really caught my eye was this:
Isabel Moore of Huntington Beach, a self-professed “born-again Christian,” said the group is taking specific verses out of context.
“Most would have a different meaning if taken in proper context,” Moore said. “We have to read the whole passage and not just one verse.”
Perhaps the most vocal of those disagreeing with the Backyard Skeptics was Greg Allen of Santa Ana.
Allen, a Christian, said he spends most Saturdays preaching at the pier.
“There is a level of frustration when you deal with the type of argument that they bring,” Allen said. “They misrepresent the Christian view and what the Bible is actually presenting.”
“…a different meaning if taken in proper context…”
“They misrepresent the Christian view…”
The “out of context” defense of the bible is one of the most common, and most fallacious arguments that Christians (and Muslims, and most devout religious believers of any faith) put forth. The idea is usually that a) we need to understand the historical context of that time, and b) the criticized passages from these holy texts make more sense if you read them in context.
So my first question would be this: Continue reading