Thursday, June 02, 2016

Penn Gillette on Atheism

I just read "Penn Gillette: Time for Atheists to Stand Up and Be Counted." I have no problem with that, except when it comes to counting.

But I cannot let one of Gillette's statements go by. Gillette says: "Every atheist I've met knows the Bible really well."

Amazing. Because I've never met an atheist who knows the Bible really well (probably if I think hard I can remember one, but it's late and I'm heading to bed). And I've been in the atheist-theist discussion since I became a philosophy major in 1970. 

I've met plenty of "ex-Christian" atheists who think they know the Bible really well. But thinking you know the Bible well is not the same as knowing the Bible well. I feel certain that Gillette knows as much about the Bible as I know about magic (does Gillette read koine Greek?). I used to be able to do a few card tricks, but struggled with pulling them off in front of people.

Nearly all (approaching 100%) of the ex-Christian atheists I know come out of a fundamentalist hermeneutic which is itself not of the Bible. That is, precisely, their ignorance and consequent misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Sadly, from a scholarly point of view, this reduces the atheist fundamentalist to being no "fun," too much "damn," and not enough "mental."

What about some atheistic philosophers I studied under? Those who were not ex-Christians? They did not know the Bible at all. And admitted as much. 


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