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I have been hesitant to make this post, but I think it will do more good than harm, so I’m going for it. I pray that no harm will be done.
I have a link to an atheistic website that has been somewhat helpful to me in my personal Bible Study. It’s called the Skeptics Annotated Bible.
<Before you click on it, I should warn you that it is direct and some may find it offensive. If it might ruin your day to read words from a person who thinks that the Bible is mostly ridiculous (and this is an entirely reasonable fear), I suggest not going>
A thinker who doesn’t like Christianity has taken the time to go through all of the books of the Bible and make notes of all the problems he finds. With this tool, you can choose any book of the Bible and this page will tell you what they think is wrong with it. This includes noting passages that the author feels is contradictory to other Biblical passages, and passage that the author finds offensive (sexist, racist).
It’s sort of like a study Bible from the other side.
So for example, the page for 1 Peter 2 points out this sentence (vs 12):
“That they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God”
Should we let others see our good works?
This is what they call a contradiction, and to prove it, the link points to page with all of the verses for and against the idea that we should make our good works visible. Most chapters have a dozen or so links like this.
In the past few years, I haven’t considered any study of a passage to be complete* until I have checked out what this web page has to say about it.
I find it beneficial for the following reasons:
1. Generally speaking, a thinking person has some responsibility to know what the other-side thinkers think, and why they think it.
2. More specifically, a Christian should learn about the things that hinder others from having faith, so they can respond intelligently to them.
3. This page has shown me that many/most of the counter arguments against Christianity are easily handled.
4. This page has shown me how wrong-minded an atheist can be regarding fairly simple theological ideas, and has given me ideas for how to respond to these difficulties.
5. This page also notes passages (with a thumbs up symbol) those passages that the author things are worthy of praise. This is encouraging to see, coming from atheists.
6. At some point, I’m going to be heading to these pages with my kids, to challenge them and get them to think about how to respond to the criticisms that Atheists have against the Bible.
7. This page has encouraged me to do research to figure out how to handle the apparent contradictions. In the case of the First Peter example above, I happen to be lucky that Pastor John has recently discussed this issue.
8. This page has increased my faith in the Bible.
So now, I have a question – do you think I should put up a permanent link to it? Or might it be too likely that someone will see it, click on it and be negatively affected by it?
*not that I ever find any study of any passage of the Bible to be complete, mind you.