I have heard some atheists refer to the bible as the “atheist maker”, meaning that the bible falls short of what they consider would have been written by an all-knowing, all-powerful god. For some the stories of the OT which offend modern moral sensibilities and the obvious contradictions in gospels told in the NT, are causes to reject the bible as the evidence of an existing God. Some Christians deconvert with the conclusion that the bible is not the holy book it has been purported to be and adopt an all-or-nothing mindset with regard to spirituality. They seem to hold onto the concept that the Christian god would be the only one true god. So the reasoning seems to be since the bible is a crock, there is no Christian god, therefore there is no God.
Many atheists were former Christians. There are several accounts of former evangelical preachers and fundamentalists converting to atheism. Not surprising for people who have been deeply entrenched in the authoritative practices and rituals of an uncompromising religion because once the cracks begin to appear in the faith structure it completely shatters from its rigidity. Or perhaps they are just pissed off at being duped for all those years. Either way, faith fails, atheistic thought prevails.
Christianity is not what I was taught to believe that it was. But despite the discovery of biblical fallacies and pagan myths bracing the structure of this religion, I am not inclined just yet to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I personally hold the opinion that someone can remain Christian by following the teachings of Christ and accepting the bible for what it is.
I consider the bible as a record of human history. It describes the accounts of human survival and the lives of people who sought the face of God and how they applied their beliefs to their existence as a struggling human species. It tells the stories of people who lived through tragedies, atrocities and continued to prosper using their beliefs in God as an instrument of will. But foremost for me, the bible is a chronicle of man’s desire to know and understand God. Each story told can teach us about ourselves and the person that we can choose or not choose to be. It can teach us about our abilities and inabilities to interact with others, and reveal the ugliness and beauty found in the human soul. It can teach us about optimism and perseverance, as well as consequences for hatred, anger, envy and injustice. It can teach us about our search for spiritual meaning in our lives and our capacity to create evil. It can demonstrate how to fall in grace and rise from the ashes. It can remain to be what it has always been, a book of inspiration for determining our life’s journey and a cause for hope in times of despair.
The biblical gospels tell the stories of how Jesus, within his belief of his heavenly father, strived to live a life of love, compassion and the ethical regard for others when acts of hatred, brutalities and misfortunate flourished all around him. A Christian should be a follower of Christ. The bible may not be the infallible word of God, but its account of histories, poems and allegories leads to understanding the way, the truth and the light in the story of Christ. In that alone, the bible serves its purpose for the Christian faith. It need not do anything more.