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Atheists Should Learn About Religion

When you’re an explicit atheist, it’s easy to think that religion is a bunch of hogwash that isn’t worth a minute of your time. I’d like to make the case that atheists should learn about religion. Those of us who weren’t indoctrinated into a religion might never pick up a Bible or the Quran – and this is, of course, completely justified.

Learning about religion isn’t the same as joining one

It’s not our job as non-believers to pick up every holy book ever claimed to be the word of God and familiarize ourselves with it. Familiarity with scripture isn’t necessary to come to the conclusion that God isn’t real. But that doesn’t mean atheists can’t benefit at all from reading scripture and analysing the messages within it.

Learning more about religious practices and the consequences of religion on our world, becoming familiar with the dangers of devoting one’s life to God and the negative effects of an unjustified belief in the afterlife, these can be as enlightening for an atheist as leaving a religion can be for a theist.

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Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where God has influence. Not as an all-knowing, all-powerful deity, but certainly as an idea. That’s why atheists should learn about religion. Culture, history and our entire world has been shaped by it. As such, knowing more about religion roughly equates to learning more about people – their lives, their choices, their methodologies. Discovering not only what people believe – but also, equally important, why they believe it – will help you better understand the predicament of religion and therefore be better equipped to react to it.

Scripture shouldn’t convince anybody of anything

When I had only just became a skeptic and taken a hard stance against religion, I remember being afraid to read the Bible. I knew myself well enough to know that I would come out of the experience with more questions rather than answers, but a younger, more ignorant version of myself spoke to me from the back of my head. I was so afraid that if I really read the Bible, took my time with it and really went through it properly, I would come out the other side a Christian. Not because I had determined it was rational to consider the Bible the word of God, but because so many people are drawn into faith every single day all across the world. What makes me any different from them?

This “Book” or collection of books that I was dreading to read had shaped the world like nothing in human history. It felt as if opening the cover alone would do away with my years of experience as a humanist, a rationalist, and most of all an atheist.

I now know this fear was irrational. See, I had not come to my current understanding of the world through taking things at face value. My beliefs, even then, were grounded in evidence and reason. No baseless claim of any kind can penetrate a proper barrier of skepticism. The only way opening that Bible would make be believe that God exists is if I already wanted to believe it.

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If for nothing else, read scripture so that, like me, you can learn about the atrocities of Gods and the unjust nature of their proposed morality. Read scripture so that you could never want to believe in God. It’s that intention to believe – not the belief itself – that sets people on an imperfect path to truth.


  1. Hi Michael, I just noticed you had read one of my postings and saw this thinking what an excellent job you did here; very strong and deep message! Immediately this made me remember how a few years ago on Christmas day I and my faith were attacked, something like this online ever happened to me; so I want to share it here and you can of course read it but if you don’t think it fits with your work here then at least you got to read about what happened.
    God bless you

    Aツaz Your own words; “live the way you want and not dictate as you are just a human and not a messenger of GOD, like Jesus and Muhammad were.” Muslim hoax” I am wondering how you equate a “hoax” with facts of an Islamic Empire” Wonder NO MORE, Pay attention and learn of your blaspheming error! You have a huge inaccuracy that needs to be corrected!

    Saying that Jesus is another prophet like Muhammad is blasphemous. First Jesus was not a mere prophet but was God Himself and therefore the Redeemer and Savior of Mankind as he said. Muhammad was only a supposed prophet and there is irrefutable evidence in the historical text of the time he lived that points to his being an outright liar and heretic as well as a criminal and child molester along with his being a polygamist! The following statements are highly accurate and actually proven.

    “In 632, only months before he died, Muhammad apparently met for the first time with a Christian community as such. An official delegation of Christians, probably led by a bishop, came to Mecca from Najran in Yemen. After engaging the Christians in discussion, the Prophet is said to have realized that Christian teachings are indeed incompatible with Islam, after which the revelation followed that only Islam is acceptable to God as a religion. The Quran also says very specifically that those who refer to Jesus as God are blasphemers, and that Christians saying that Christ is the son of God is an imitation of Jews, who earlier had said that Ezra is the son of God. According to the Quran Jesus was only a servant; Jesus the son of Mary was no more than an apostle of God. Quranic verses dealing with Jesus’ death have been interpreted differently by commentators, but generally they have been taken to mean that Jesus did not die by crucifixion. For Christians the Quran has thus served as a denial of Jesus’ incarnation and death on the cross and of the reality of the Trinity.” (Oxford University Press)

    These two points alone put Islam and the Muslims completely at odds with Jesus Christ and all Christians and are the enemies of such! Muhammad himself began this conflict and was the spoiler and Heretic directly attacking God’s plan as foretold by all the previous prophets going all the way back to Abraham. Things have been in conflict because of Muhammad ever since and are getting worse, this shows what Muhammad propagated as a fake religion started by a false prophet and therefore heretic! In Summary Muslims that follow his teachings are in complete denial of what Jesus Christ said and who He was which makes them Anti-Christ and supportive of the Devil and all that is unholy.

    Basically Muhammad started this Blasphemy back in 632 AD and outright declared War on Christendom! Islam you yourself stated is an EMPIRE which puts it in the category of being a Nation not a Religion! It is not a religion that is backed up with solid historical evidence and prophecy over time by many prophets other than what Muhammad said, he made it all up, the heretic!

    A wonderful book by a most astute and good man Raymond Ibrahim, “Sword and Scimitar” is so well researched and goes into the truth incredibly well. Very fine reading if you haven’t yet! I saw Raymond speaking about this on TV just after that Christmas attack; a sort of God Send for me.

    Thank you.

  2. Jewish Wellsprings

    “If for nothing else, read scripture so that, like me, you can learn about the atrocities of Gods and the unjust nature of their proposed morality. Read scripture so that you could never want to believe in God.” 👏 Amen!!

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