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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…
[alarmed]
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.

~vorjack

 
IhartU

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

Level 27 (31,406 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (30)
  • I had religious faith for over 20 years, so I understand it.

    The number of the animals on the ark bothers me less than how the story of global genocide is held in such high regards.
    anng.atlanta

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 8:38 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • No I don't think most are. I understand that it is blind faith, what I don't understand is why someone would have blind faith.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:01 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • No, they're not. The point is that it's not in any way logical to have blind faith in something that is so ridiculously full of fallacies and, has not be proven in any single way.


    If someone completely believed our current government, you'd call them a fool or naive.  But, the government has actually been proven to exist, as compared to God, & our nation's bi-laws actually contain less fallacies than the Bible.


    So maybe, it's not the atheists missing the point at all.

    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 8:12 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • I JUST watched this episode last week again!
    Love this scene.

    Anyway, am I missing the point of religion? Hardly. I grew up going to church, doing the catechism classes, making my confirmation, etc. Sunday school, prayer, VBS....the whole nine yards. I saw firsthand and experienced "faith".
    I think I got the "point" pretty early in life. And that is-you aren't really in control of your life, yet you will be judged on how you live your life unfairly. and I didn't have any inner power to forgive myself for things I found to be minor trespasses. I learned that in order to feel "worthy" of love and forgiveness I must bend to this idea that I am a faulty human, whose only good resides in my belief in this god.

    I threw that shit out the water a long time ago the moment i realized i HAD a choice in the matter. I knew deep down, that the point of "religious faith" was to beat me down as a person. The GOOD person that I am.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:15 AM 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.
    momto2boys973

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

  • Atheist aren't missing jack shit

    LostSoul88

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 9:21 AM on Feb. 15, 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.
    bandgeek521

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

  • Atheists aren't missing a point, They simply realize they don't need to believe in false logicistics or contradictions in order to be able to change themselves for the better (or "fix" themselves). And they don't need the bible to tell them to be good people. However the "point" of the Bible often eludes these two premises to begin with and it is used as a tool to beat others down or justify prejudices and hate. So really I think it's most "believers" that are missing the point, not those "atheists or other non-believers" who see it and are intelligent enough to realize that a book or faith or religion is not needed in order to accomplish the intended goals.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:53 AM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • No we aren't. We've just outgrown the need for the crutch that religion is.
    FreeForAll

    Answer by FreeForAll at 12:26 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • No, not at all.  I think we realize that the point of religious faith is to remove the burden of critical thinking and responsibility for the lives we are living and what we are leaving to the future generations.  We know that leaving things to "faith" is to refuse personal responsibility for finding solutions to problems - to leave it to a "higher authority", then when things don't work out, tell oneself that "God just has other plans for me", like helpless little puppets that rely on the manipulations of an invisible puppeteer.  We totally get the attraction of faith, we are simply attracted to something more tangible.

    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 12:55 PM on Feb. 15, 2013