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6 Bumps

Are Atheists missing the point of religious faith?

Firefly scene in which Shepard Book finds River Tam altering his Bible:

Book: What are we up to, sweetheart?

River: Fixing your Bible.

Book: I, um…
Book: What?

River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.

[she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…

River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.

Book: Really?

River: We’ll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
[rips out page]

Book: River, you don’t fix the Bible.

River: It’s broken. It doesn’t make sense.

Book: It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.

I think Whedon really caught the dynamic between atheist and evangelical there.

Atheist: This doesn’t make sense.
Christian: You have to feel it!
Atheist: But is it real?
Christian: That’s not the point, it works!

As Zach Alexander pointed out in his review of Faitheist, to most atheists epistemology is important. But to progressive Christians, fussing over the number of animals on the ark misses the point completely.



Asked by IhartU at 7:36 AM on Feb. 15, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,412 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (30)
  • i think some Atheists miss the point of faith just like i think some Christians miss the point of logic. faith is not science, faith is not about logic. you cant prove nor disprove God. you can disprove things in the Bible, but even that only proves that it is a work of man, not anything about a higher power. imo the Atheist and Christian are arguing 2 different things:

    Atheist: God isnt real b/c i cant scientifically observe it.
    Christian: God is real b/c i can feel a connection w/ Him.
    Atheist: But i can't see it, so its not real.
    Christian: But i can feel Him so He is real.

    its like me arguing that im cold b/c the temperature is only 68 and DH saying "but i feel hot, its plenty warm in here".

    Answer by okmanders at 2:52 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • So are you saying that something traumatic needs to happen to an atheist for them to feel differently, mad? I have had several very traumatic things happen to me (I am proof that there are indeed atheists in foxholes) and I do not feel any differently about god or my atheism. We do get.

    Answer by Nos4 at 1:26 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • okmanders once again I bow to your wonderful way of putting things.

    Answer by Dardenella at 3:45 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • Are Atheists missing the point of religious faith?  Not really.  Like River Tam we have discovered that NONE of it makes sense.  Not the book.  Not the path its followers take.  None of it.


    Answer by witchqueen at 5:06 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • I think there's a point missing. I think the problem is that some people take G-d out of the equation to "prove" the Bible is false. Like Noah's Ark. Sure, it's NATURALLY impossible for that to happen, no one can argue against that. But if we're saying G-d had a hand in it, then it's not longer a natural event that has to he explained in a natural manner to be believable. That's where an element of "faith" comes in. If anything faith in the existence of G-d.
    However, you can reach the conclusion of G-d's existence in a rational manner, using logic, so it's not necessarily pure blind faith as well. And I don't think anyone should have blind faith. But I'm a person that needs certainty, as many Atheists need too. In that sense, they haven't missed the point. IMHO, a belief that cannot hold to scrutiny and needs to ultimately say "It's a matter of faith!" cannot possibly be truth.

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 9:19 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • Athiests are missing it all! For goodness sakes! There is no reason why they don't see it..I just find that the there is truth to it all, everybody has their own opinions and beliefs..and until something traumatic happens, there will be no changing how a person feels.

    Then why haven't you accepted Frigga and Freya and Odin and Thor? There is no reason why you don't see it, I just find that there is truth to it all, everybody has their own opinions and beliefs, but once you are exposed to it, you know it's right, you don't need to be traumatized to figure it out, it's far more obvious than that.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:07 PM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • Haha, <3 Firefly

    But, no, I don't believe that this is an accurate portrayal, at least for me. Believing blindly in something that didn't happen doesn't "fix" anyone. But by understanding that the Bible doesn't represent literal history and being able to find the more-than-literal meaning is more in tune with faith is like for me. Not the intellectual assent that a flood actually happened, but the meaning behind that narrative, as with the rest of the narratives in the Bible.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 9:33 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • Athiests are missing it all! For goodness sakes! There is no reason why they don't see it..I just find that the there is truth to it all, everybody has their own opinions and beliefs..and until something traumatic happens, there will be no changing how a person feels..

    Answer by madmueller at 1:04 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • I'm confused. Are you talking about my comment or someone else's comment, staci?

    Answer by Nos4 at 2:06 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • I don't know what atheists are missing, or if they're missing anything at all. It's not up to me to figure out what others should believe or why they believe as they do. I do know that a lot of atheists get a hostile, superior attitude and feel they're more intelligent than those who believe differently than they do. In that way, they're closing themselves to other perspectives. I don't care to interact with anyone who looks down on me for what I believe, atheist or otherwise.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:06 PM on Feb. 15, 2013