The Bible — aside from it’s literary value — is quite simply an incoherent basis for morality. The truth is that everyone — atheist, liberal theist, fundamentalist, whatever — uses their own moral compass to decide what they accept and what they reject. If any Bible-believing Christian tells you otherwise, just ask him or her if a rebellious teenager should be stoned to death.
The Bible makes a convenient scapegoat for some because frankly, one can base pretty much any belief on one or more more scattered fragments of scripture. That’s probably a big reason why it has survived for so long — and why Christianity has not been one single religion, but dozens, for several centuries at least. I can come up with pretty much any bullshit doctrine I care to and find some Biblical backing for it, and voila! A new sect is born.
This is why I get so frustrated with folks who claim that there is some overarching set of principles that form a Christian ethic. It is simply not true. You might say that about a particular church or denomination, but not about Christianity as a whole.
Family values? Which family values? The ones that say, as Jesus did, that one should hate his family and follow Jesus? That he came to turn family members against one another? He is quoted as saying lots of things that are not very family-friendly. And that’s the kinder, gentler God of the New Testament. You don’t even want to talk about O.T. family values![
I wish we could have an honest dialog about this issue in America. Because right now, in most places in this country, a person who totes a Bible around is automatically granted the moral high ground, while a non-believer is suspect.
I don’t say all this to slander Christians. Many, if not most people who call themselves Christians are good, decent people. So are most non-Christians. All I ask for is a level playing field. It’s time for our society to get past the idea that religious folks get assumed to be moral, while the rest of us are assumed to be amoral at best.