Skeptics love to bash the Bible, with little or no knowledge of it. Maybe they once read a book by an Old Testament scholar claiming that parts of the Hebrew Bible have pagan origins. Or maybe they’re repeating a claim to a contradiction or other oddity someone seems to have found in the Bible, or took a college class on comparative religion. Then you have the drug babies (momma “drug” me to church as a kid.) Too often, it is quite evident that either 1. They have never read the Bible themselves or 2. They have read it only superficially and lazily, looking for ammo against it without trying very hard to comprehend what they were reading.
But, if you are an atheist, agnostic, non-religious, or otherwise skeptical of the Bible, is this intellectually honest? The Bible claims to be God’s word for man. If you’re going to go around calling that claim false, wouldn’t it be a good idea for you to know what you’re debunking?
I’m issuing a challenge to all skeptics of the Bible (atheist, agnostic, non-religious, non-Christian, etc.)
1. Read the Bible once through, in its entirety, without notes or commentary. When you do so, take an honest scientific approach to the literature, and try to understand its message on its own terms. Be as unbiased and open-minded as possible. After all, you don’t want your presuppositions to color the conclusion. That would be very un-scientific.
2. Secondly, find a church that takes the Bible seriously. I mean, very seriously. One that doesn’t just give the Bible lip service, but makes a genuine attempt to proclaim it from the pulpit and live it among the membership. (I’d be happy to select the church for you, if you tell me the area where you live.) Attend there once per week during the time that you are reading the Bible. Go to a worship service where the Bible is preached. You are not required to participate in the songs, prayers, offerings, etc. This part of the challenge is important because the Bible is intended not only to be read privately, but to be preached amid an assembly. That’s where its power lies. If you have not tried this recently, you are not in a place to criticize it.
Once you have finished reading through the Bible one time while attending church weekly, you have completed the challenge. Then come back and tell me your view.