|The Creation of Man by the Giant Spaghetti Monster in the Sky|
I am in a dialogue with a surprisingly intelligent atheist over at Facebook. Maybe he's no more intelligent than the rest, but his heart is open, as well as his mind. That's a rarity in atheists these days.
His big beef is that he thinks the Bible has taught people to hate each other, that it condemns "gays" and that it's a work of fiction designed to placate our desires.
Here are a few things I've said in reply ...
I know there are some disturbing things in the Old Testament here and there, but the Bible, especially the New Testament, is hardly a "book of hate". It is exactly and precisely the opposite. The source of the emphasis on love in Western Culture is entirely due to the Christian Faith - both sacrificial love "of orphans and widows" as St. James says ... as well as romantic love and love seen as the meaning of life.And the problem with your theory [that the Bible is fiction] is that the New Testament is clearly historical. You may deny that Christ is God, but that's precisely what He claimed to be - and that's why He was crucified. The historical authenticity of the New Testament books cannot be ignored. The Bible was not "written" to work out our desire for a giant spaghetti monster in the sky. The NT is a collection of gospels and letters that describe and reflect upon historical events. You need not buy the conclusion of the Christians as to what those events signify, but the NT is clearly not a work of fiction.
And here's where you and I are in complete agreement: people who use the Bible or any religion as an excuse to hate are horrible people. The Bible does not encourage that.But what do you make of the fact that the whole tradition of "love" comes from the Christian Faith? It's not a tradition in Islam, and it's not a tradition in Asia. "Love" is what Christ taught. "God is love" is in the Bible. "Love one another" "Love your neighbor as yourself", giving up your life for another - that's all Christian. That's the heart of our faith.If Christians have hated, they are bad Christians. But even that is what our Church teaches - we are sinners. We should love, but we don't. We hate. We are selfish. We cheat. We lie. Jesus did none of those things, and they killed Him for it.
Love is so much a part of the air we breathe that we don't even notice it. We don't realize that only in the West - that is, in Christendom - is there a tradition of the innate supernatural value of man, and the corollary of that which is love.
Railing against the religion of love for being the religion of hate is like cursing the air you breathe for suffocating you.