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Does the bible unwittingly promote Atheism?

I don't know who said it but maybe one of our Atheists/Agnostics does..but the line goes something like..the best way to become an Atheist is to read the bible. Any info on this please?

Tommy19 7 July 26

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"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."

~Isaac Asimov from a letter written in 1966

I have heard many variants on that theme over the years. Here is a smattering of stuff from Asimov:

Asimov was an atheist: "I am Jewish in the sense that if an Arab wanted to throw a rock at a Jew, I would qualify as a target as far as he was concerned. However, I do not practice Judaism or any other religion." (March 17, 1969 letter). Asimov called himself "an orthodox, practicing atheist" (April 29, 1988 letter). He also observed, "I must say that I stand amazed at the highly intelligent people who have taken so much of the Bible so seriously" (Oct. 28, 1966 letter). "Nobody but a dedicated Christian could possibly read the gospels and not see them as a tissue of nonsense" (Nov. 1, 1966 letter). "I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I considered detrimental to mind or body" (Aug. 22, 1963 letter). "I am prejudiced against religion because I know the history of religion, and it is the history of human misery and of black crimes" (March 27, 1976 letter). Elected in 1985 as president of the American Humanist Association, Asimov rejected an offer to support "Jewish" humanism: "I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less" (June 21, 1985). (All letters cited from Yours, Isaac Asimov, a Lifetime of Letters, edited by Stanley Asimov, 1995). Asimov noted that "it is an excellent sign that the right wing is trembling before a few thousand Humanists. We are weak and yet feared. Let's give them more cause to fear!" Upon his death at age 72, he had written more than 470 published books, covering every category in the Dewey Decimal System, fiction and nonfiction. Asimov was married twice, and had a son and daughter. Isaac's death from heart and kidney failure was a consequence of AIDS contracted from a transfusion of tainted blood during his December 1983 triple-bypass operation. He died April 6, 1992.


One of my favorite quotes comes from Robert Green Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic of the 19th century:
"All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention, of barbarian invention, is to read it. Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from
your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such
ignorance and of such atrocity."
The Gods, 1876


The famous atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair used to say that back in the '60's. Frankly, reading the bible cover to cover back in the 60's is what first shook my faith.


Like this?

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived ~ Isaac Asimov

His meaning from what I understood was that most get a filtered view of religion through whatever sect someone subscribes to. Unfiltered, reading from Genesis to Book of Revelation, the unfiltered view will disgust most people, having them question "This is what I believe in?". Hey, you take just Old Testament and god is a big asshole.


I’ve heard this from a couple of people such as bill Maher and Steven fry. Yea the Bible is violent, barbaric, just plain stupid. One of the problems is that more people haven’t actually read the Bible.


It isn't that the bible promotes atheism. It's that if you read the bible and you actually pay attention to what you are reading you will quickly realize that most of the bible doesn't make any rational sense and is not only internally inconsistent, it is also self-contradictory. Maintaining belief in a god based on a book that you know is internally inconsistent and self-contradictory is very difficult for a rational person.

icolan Level 7 July 26, 2018

That's what made me an atheist!

BillF Level 7 July 26, 2018

I had also heard it was Asimov. And in my case he was correct. Serious bible study was one of the keys to me ditching my religion.

JDRay Level 5 July 26, 2018

I find deconversion stories fascinating and have listened to several dozen. One of the most common themes is deconverting after reading the many passages in which violence, cruelty, and intolerance are condoned. Preachers often avoid sermonizing on these.


The "good book" is full of outrageous assertions, conflicting narratives, and backward mores. It is obviously the product of many writers, editors, and translators of dubious qualifications and/or twisted political agendas. One would think that any omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent god worth his/her salt would at least be able to assemble a competent public relations staff. Or at least farm the work out to a good Madison Avenue agency. But apparently not in this case. The inconsistencies are enough to test the faith of a saint.


The Bible is the gateway to the occult - beware! I heard that seminary will make an atheist out of the most ardent believer.


No the Bible promotes things like Grimm's Fairy Tales. Maybe you could say it also promotes inconsistency. Don't you think if there was a God he would at least be consistent in all teaching?


Why would I want to waste my time reading such fat incoherent useless book? Beats me

My man... exactly, fuck god and those reading the bible fuck'em. Absence of god should be absence in all manifestations. This starting to turn into a church meeting prior to the next church service.

@GipsyOfNewSpain well buddy, we both agree on something. There is always hope ?? Have a good weekend

@IamNobody Exactly!

For some of us, we choose to read religious texts to understand the historical implications. And it’s always nice to know the text better than the self claiming followers, lol.

@Jimm Hi Jimm, thanks for your comment. Everyone is entitled to read whatever fits their taste. Agree with you in one thing though, I wouldn't like for a second to self claim that one. Hell freaking no. There is so much stuff available in other fields, one life time is just not enough to read everything I wish I could, therefore my comment on why would I want to waste my time on the bible. Just so we're clear, I am not trying to convince no one to change their reading habits, no no no.

@IamNobody I didn’t think for one second you were trying to tell people what to read or not, was just tossing my two cents in, lol. One person I like to read is Reza Aslan, his books are very insightful about the times the stories supposedly took place and good history on the construction of the religions. You reminded me of what my grandfather always told me, “My favorite author once said his only regret in life is being unable to write everything I want to in my life, and I thought my only regret is I won’t be able to read everything I want in my life.” That was powerful to me, as there were books that I reread quite often, but ever since then I have only moved forward, no rereading.

@Jimm Reza Aslan is an excellent example of what I wouldn't want to be ever. He is a serious individual about religious research with a PhD. I learned about him few years ago when a CNN interview went wrong. It was the beginning of YouTube videos going viral. Anyhow, same logic from me, if he wants to spend his time studying that particular field then that's his choice. Anyhow, getting back to your grandfather, that's a nice story, thanks for sharing. Having someone that have left such influence is a great legacy. Last but not least regarding re-reading, there are few exceptions where there is some sort of guilty pleasure when one discover new things if going back to a book. The book is the same but we change as we grow old...... I am sure we both agree reading is a wonderful thing !! Nice talk !!


I've heard it many times from many people. The easiest way to become a non believer is to actually read the whole bible.

I've heard that too. I tried several times to read just one page and it didn't make any sense to me. I wasn't reading the new versions. I read from a bible given to me when I was born in '44. My mother made me carry it to church each week. So, I gave it a try and thought whom ever understands this is crazy.

@sweetcharlotte probably a King James version? While pretty it’s among the least accurate translations. I just read for all the sex. He knew his wife and so forth, lol.

@Jimm Bart D Ehrman is a specalist in teaching the bible. He actually undands and can read the most ancient Greek texts of the new testament. He's written many books on that issue.
Ironically, Even though he teaches the new testament , at his colledge, which I believe if memory serves is Chappel hill in North Carolina.

Ironically, he himself is an agnostic.

@TristanNuvo who better to teach on the Bible than a historian with the ability to read the early texts that have survived, huh? And I by no means was disparaging him, was just curious if the Bible she was given was the King James.

@sweetcharlotte If it was KJV probably not the best way to go. And you can't read in sequence from cover to cover it doesn't work like that as it is a collection of works, not one big book. If you did have the patience you would be best to get the guidance of a theological scholar. Certainly not a church person. There are Agnostic theologians as it is a study, not a religion.

@Jimm Ehrman has a book called Forged. It's all about all of the things that were added along the way from the Greek texts. He goes into much detail especially all the stuff that was added, and changed in the king james version. It was a very informative read.


yes, if you have the smarts to read it for what it said, rather than letting some religious nut tell you it said what it did not state. bible study, is one of the main reasons i am an atheist today. i was lucky i was also taking a class in ancient mythology at the time in school.


If it do or don't does not matter to someone that do not believe in god. As I see it. I am not searching on the bible to argue with a scientific method. I simply do not believe in god... with no back up or wingman needed. No bible was ever necessary.


Reading the bible cover to cover was what made me stop trying to believe in my parents religion (Mormonism).

I think it only promotes atheism in educated and intelligent people though.... peopel who think for themselves rather than let others think for them.


I am so dissapointed with atheists and agnostics in this site... always talking about god. Always talking about religion, always reading the bible, always mentioning church. THAT IS IRONIC. Wonder if jehova witnesses are always talking about atheist this and agnostic that. Just Wondering.... umhm. I used to go weeks and weeks without hearing the word god. Whatever happened to absence of god? Reckon next atheist mentioning god I will say "You just could not ignore the Pink Elephant in the room, couldn't you?" Me, I don't do god, in any manifestation... you guys seemed to be slaved by the word and fascinated by it too. He, he, ha, he, ha. Ironic, ironic. This place is turning into a church. Looking for volunteers for bible reading?

Good post. I doubt that JW's discuss much beyond their cultish religion. And that's the problem; they blindly follow the program, never questing or questioning. Whereas our group loves discussion...we learn from it.

@Tommy19 He, he, ha My first Real Normal, Regular, Job Experience, art department of a shopper. 1 of 2 illustrators... the other jehova witness... a few baptists and the flesh is weak drones... I was their devil but anthing to be draw with tits will come to me.... the jehova witness complained. So I told our boss give him the cow for the dairy commercial and she did... he really, really hated me after that. I was young and evil and they were easy target. But I never hated them like other people so they tolerated me like a young little demon pet.

I think it’s reasonable for people who don’t believe to talk about negotiating through a world that does bring up God so often. And when on a site of people with similar views it can be cathartic to let it out.

Maybe you should check out the other discussion groups her or the other chat rooms. Not much religion on the astronomy or insomniacs site.

@Jimm You go ahead and talk god, church and religion... Not My Bag! I already Level Up from that garbage.

@GipsyOfNewSpain I used to be militantly antireligion but I grew past my anger. I was merely suggesting a possible reason for such discussions on this site.

@Jimm Okay, my thoughts and prayers with you.

Maybe you should choose not to read a post about the Bible if you don't want to read about the Bible? There are a ton of groups in here where all kinds of things are discussed. Maybe you could look in other places. Really, don't torture yourself. And it is so rude to use someone's post to say it should not have been posted.

You sound to me more like "This used to be my club, and all these new people should just assimilate rather than bring their own thoughts in". After all, who decides what is posted about? Members. Why do they post about religion? Because they want to talk about religion. Should there be a ban on talking about religion? Or a cap on it?

If you don't like any of the groups which do not talk about religion; if you want to talk about another subject; make a post!

@LionMousePudding this is old news go on read the bible and critic the bible, I level up from bible studies before you were born. It was never my club. But go on is all good... my prayers and thoughts with you.


I think there is a strong correlation.


Definitely, I say it all the time too. I would modify it to: the surest way to make a staunch atheist is to make a smart kid read the whole bible. I was made to study it in depth too. I memorized every common flowery pretty verse you can think of, but in addition to christian school and church several times a week I was the kind of dork who would voluntarily study the Bible and pray in his free time as a young kid. It didn’t bring me to any immediate realizations at the time but it sure raised a lot of questions when you read those extra verses pastors never talk about. There’s just no way to read the whole thing, understand it, and not notice all kinds of impossibilities and inconsistencies as a thinking person. Sometimes it takes a while to sink in but if you’ve read much of it you have enough info to digest and determine its lunacy.

When I got older and began questioning everything and studying comparative religion, I was very familiar with the parts that make sense and are beautiful, but also the parts that are batshit crazy and impossible. Having studied the Bible more thoroughly than most everyone except seminary students, Ive got plenty of ammo for refuting their nonsense and finding the inconsistencies. There’s no way to go back to believing that nonsense once you study some of the Hebrew and Greek behind it and see how bonkers it was to begin with, not to mention how poorly translated and interpreted.

Thanks for your great post. Good reading.


It's like a sub plot in a TV series. The "turning away" from other gods until you finally realize they are all imaginary.

Old saying: "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater", kinda sums up why people pick and choose from it, they just let others tell them what is the bath water and what is the baby. Reading it for yourself you realize You are the next chapter after Revelations lol.

FynTul Level 6 July 31, 2018

Worked for me and I make this claim.

Reading the bible and especially trying to understand the mental gymnastics great theist "thinkers" have gone through for centuries is an excellent path towards unbelief.

If only more religious people took their holy scriptures seriously


Christians rely on cherry-picking the bible to avoid all of the truly horrendous things in there. Actually reading the entire bible has created more Atheists than any other thing.

Thanks for the reply. My feelings entirely.


People are saying such things. I think that reading the Bible critically might relieve you of your childhood indoctrination, and if you had had a childish concept of God you might start saying that you were an atheist.

However, reality is one huge mysterious enigma. As for me, my relationship to that enigma is total bewilderment. Arguing over whether something out there in that dense fog should be labeled “God” seems inappropriate and shallow to me. Call it what you want, but there really is a great unknown.

If you are interested in turning bewilderment into understanding try reading up on evolutionary biology. It will give you a better sense of connectedness to nature and kinship with all living things on Earth!

@Flyingsaucesir I did that already, and I am forever reading laymen’s books on physics. Valuable as it is, science does not even address, much less answer the deep questions of reality.

I’m very appreciative of science, and I do feel kinship with all living things. The glimmers of understanding afforded by science however are shallow, and beyond there is a very great and staggering unknown.

True dat! There's a lot we really don't know.


I believe there is some truth to that.

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