Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 3, 2010

Atheists and Agnostics

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Did you see the headlines from the Los Angeles Times that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than members of faith groups? 

It suggested that atheists and agnostics know more about the Bible than those who believe the Bible.  The quip was made that if one wants to know about the Bible they should ask an atheist.  This shocking announcement was the result of a survey taken by the Survey of U.S. Religious Knowledge by the Pew Forum group.

I am appalled by the headline.  Or maybe I am just reacting!  But here is the difference — the word used is “religion” and not the Bible or matters of faith.  There is a world of difference!  The newspaper article was misleading.  Of course, the headline is what caused me to read it.  But imagine the thousands of people who read it without separating religion from faith.

I checked some web sites to see about the survey.  The questions asked were not about the content of the Bible, but about religious facts.

For example, these are some of the questions:  Who was Martin Luther?  Was Mother Teresa Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, or Hindu?  In what century did Joseph Smith dictate the Book of Mormon?  What is the name of Islam’s holy book?  What is the first book of the Bible?

I don’t recall any of those being teachings in the Bible.  You see, the survey asked no questions about God.  It asked about “religions.”  One can have a brain full of facts about religions, but no real knowledge about God.

Other questions on the survey of 3,412 people included core teachings of different faiths about communion and various practices in different religions.  There was even a question about the constitutional restraints in public schools.  That really is a Bible question, eh?

I am sure that we Christians are not as literate about religious matters as we could be, but does it really matter?  It is not religious knowledge that changes a life.  An individual can be the most knowledgeable person in the world about religious matters and still not know God.

My hope is that we focus more on the teachings of the Bible than on what others believe or practice.  We do not need to pride ourselves in ignorance about what others believe, but we must give priority of our learning to the matters of faith as taught in the Bible.

And even in an overwhelming knowledge of the Bible, we must not allow that academic knowledge to cause us to miss the Christ that is revealed in the Bible.  The Bible is not to be a history or sociological book; it must be accepted as the living word of God to us today.

Absorb the revelation given through the Bible and  discover life eternal and life today with joy.

” . . . these are the Scriptures that testify about me . . . .”  (John 5:39)  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  (2 Timothy 3:16)  “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints, and marrow;  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12)



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