Stupid Atheist Meme #5

Here’s #5 in my series on stupid atheist memes, which I saw being shared around Facebook this week. Every single claim in it is wrong. It comes from someone who calls themselves Hellbroke Lucy, which appears to be from this website called the Fact-Based Initiative.

atheistmeme5

It’s wrong on every count.You can buy a Bible and never read it and not be a Christian at all, much less a good one. You can read parts of the Bible without becoming a “pious son of a bitch.” You can read the Bible over and over again and not become an atheist. And if you do become an atheist, that doesn’t mean every Christian hates you. Just simpleminded bullshit from beginning to end.

Ironically, the Faith-Based Initiative says it “takes information, science and facts – no faith – and brings you a real look at the world and what we can and must do to save it.” And apparently they aim to save the world by spreading inane memes like this. Good luck with that.

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  • carpenterman

    Buy a Bible, never read it, and you’ve wasted $19.95.

    Buy a Bible, read parts of it, and those parts will be Genesis, Revelations, and the parts of the Songs of Solomon that are about tits.

    Buy a Bible, study it thoroughly, and you can *nail* that category on Jeopardy.

  • lorn

    As with so many things there are a few grains of truth to the saying.

    A lot of Christians know little or nothing about the Bible beyond the reputation for being inerrant and a holy book. Many of those who consider themselves deeply knowledgeable do have a good understanding of the select parts of the Bible necessary to form the coherent story they wish to tell, but only a gloss of knowledge outside those select parts, and very little or no understanding of the wider context and historicity of the Bible.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I bought a bible, and I’m still an atheist.

    I find it to be occasionally useful in working crossword puzzles.

  • abb3w

    Cue XKCD correlation comic?

  • John Small Berries

    “Ironically, the Faith-Based Initiative says it […]”

    That’s a typo, right?

  • garnetstar

    The Italian version is (or, was), if an Italian man’s wife and children go to church, then he is a good Catholic, even if he never steps a foot in the door.

  • laurentweppe

    Stupid Atheist Meme #5

    You could also call it “Evidence #5 that Atheist versus Religious “debates” are virtually always infuriating contest of witticisms, where the guy who throws the most “elaborate” insult is declared winner

  • rietpluim

    I second @lorn #2. If taken literally then yes, it is a stupid meme – but if taken as a hyperbole (which I think is an acceptable stylistic device in this case) it correctly points out that atheists on average have better knowledge of the Bible than christians do, and that actually reading the Bible may make christians turn away from their faith.

  • Nemo

    Ed, for a comedian, you can be a bit humorless at times. These really aren’t meant to be “claims”.

  • llewelly

    Almost all memes are some combination of gross exaggeration and oversimplification. That’s hard or impossible to avoid because they contain so little information in the first place.

    I grew up studying the scriptures in great detail. That was not the only influence in me becoming convinced they were both false and immoral, but it was a very important influence. It is extremely difficult to include that kind of complex qualifier in a meme.

    Now I realize surveys only show that about 79% of “unaffiliateds” grew up in religion, and show that the average atheist has only a little bit more bible knowledge than the average Christian, and thus, though there are many atheists like me, who claim we became atheists partly due to studying the bible, there is not much data to show how strong or weak the influence really is.

    But that too is a complex qualifier that is extremely difficult to encode in a meme.

    I do want people to make their memes, and especially memes that are intended to be jokes, a lot more accurate.

    But that cannot be accomplished by saying this meme is “wrong on every count”. People will see the kernel of truth they want to see in the meme, and they’ll push the meme anyway.

    What is really needed is to teach people that the simplicity of memes mathematically requires that complex thought is needed to either create a meme, or to decide whether or not to pass it along.

    The proof that compressing a large volume of data into a small volume of data requires progressively more computational resources as the amount of compression achieved is increased is quite old.

    The proof that lossy compression, which throws away information, like jpeg, provides larger and larger savings in computational resources as the compression ratio increases is also quite old.

    Therefor, expressing any complex reality in any short message will always result in simplifications, which will require complex thought to do well, and complex thought to judge accurately.

    It is high time we taught people the consequences of these proofs apply to soundbites, memes, tweets, blog comments, and all communication, to one degree or another.

    There is a certain irony here. Dawkins invented the word “meme”, and it seems very short messages have much greater overall survival and evolution advantages, perhaps akin to the fact that bacteria, which typically have very short genomes, are far greater in number and evolutionary lifespan than eukaryotes, which typically have long genomes.

    But Dawkins dislikes the image meme phenomena, and dislikes the fact that it took over the word he coined even more. Furthermore, Dawkins is terrible at creating short messages, as can be observed on his twitter feed.

    (Yes I am aware that meme evolution is strongly driven by deliberate, designed mutations, while the mutations of biology are not deliberate or designed, so Dawkins’ coinage contains its own misleading oversimplifications.)

  • grumpyoldfart

    I agree with Nemo #9

  • zippythepinhead

    Ed wrote, “Here’s #5 in my series on stupid atheist memes”

    Wait, wait, I had my stupid atheist meme bingo card here just a minute ago!

  • llewelly

    Nemo:

    Ed, for a comedian, you can be a bit humorless at times.

    In order to improve as a comedian, you need to understand why some jokes don’t work. Now it turns out many jokes fail because some people are humorless pedants. (Other jokes are bad because they hurt people, but that’s a different matter.) So, in order to reduce the portion of people who will cast the glare of humorless pedantry on your jokes, you need to adopt the viewpoint of a humorless pedant.

    Ironically, being a humorless pedant is actually useful for a comedian, at least in moderate doses.

  • lofgren

    I agree that this is a stupid meme, but I also agree with the others that I think I see what it was trying to get at. However my interpretation was somewhat more nuanced than others.

    I see this as an attempt to point out the naturally fractious nature of hardline fundie denominations. If you buy a bible and never read it, but rather trust your pastor’s interpretation and declarations implicitly, then you are a good Christian. If you start to read and interpret the bible for yourself, you’re likely to be accused of excessive pride for thinking that your opinion counts for as much as your pastor’s. If you actually read enough to realize your pastor is completely full of shit, you’re going to be accused of heresy.

    Of course it is true that this doesn’t apply to all or even most Christian churches, but that’s not why I think it’s a stupid meme. I think it’s a stupid meme because you really, really have to try in order to get something out of this message (and probably already be sympathetic to the messenger) that isn’t plain offensive, inaccurate, and false. Yes, oversimplification and overgeneralization are to be expected from these types of memes, but even allowing for that this is poorly expressed whatever intent was.

  • zbeeblebrox

    Years ago an atheist friend came to visit and saw a bible in my bookshelf. He looked at me rather strangely and asked why I had that book. My answer: know your enemy.

  • raven

    As a factual statement it fails. As hyperbole it works.

    Reading the bible started me on my way out of xianity. At age 8 in church I started reading Revelation out of boredom. I’d been told the bible was a magic book and Revelation was the future. How cool is that, a magic book that tells the future.

    I read a few pages and decided it was gibberish. So much for the magic book.

    I’ve read Revelation several times since then. It’s still gibberish.

  • Michael Heath

    This meme doesn’t work as hyperbole and merely reveals the determined ignorance of some atheists who lazily subscribe to a fantasized version of reality.

    Devoted Protestants generally spend their entire lives reading and studying the Bible. The problem I see with Christians is their defective approach to thinking, which results in their avoidance or explaining away the evil, irrationality, and absurd assertions promoted in the Bible. It’s not avoidance of either the Bible or even its inconvenient passages that’s the problem here.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I agree with Nemo, but I also agree with Heath…

    It’s not avoidance of either the Bible or even its inconvenient passages that’s the problem here.

    The problem here is that a lot of Christians do indeed read and study the entire Bible at great length and depth — but instead of honestly admitting the flaws in that document, they make whole careers of rationalizing, waffling and simply pretending that all those flaws, errors and contradictions are something other than what they plainly are, in order to keep up the pretense that the Bible is “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” or whatever nonsensical superlatives they need to stick onto the Bible to either avoid troublesome questions or avoid being accused of apostasy. That’s pretty much the whole of what “Bible scholarship” is: pretending a mountain of bullshit is actually dark chocolate. A nice secure job for people who have no scruples, no other marketable skills, and no grasp of reality.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Of course, the fact that “Bible scholars” have to spend so much time and energy rationalizing all the nonsense in that supposedly “inerrant” book, pretty much proves that the meme discussed here isn’t really that stupid after all — the more you actually read and examine the Bible as a whole, the more likely you are to conclude it’s crap, unless you get some Bible scholar to give you an alternative explanation/rationalization that allows you to avoid such an otherwise-inevitable conclusion.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And besides, a lot of people who read and understand the entire Bible don’t necessarily become atheists — but they’re very likely to be accused of atheism, heresy or apostasy by less-well-read theists. I’ve been hearing such accusations from the hyper-emotional Born-Again Christurbators since I was in junior high school.

  • raven

    Devoted Protestants generally spend their entire lives reading and studying the Bible.

    1. I’ve never seen that among the fundie xians. They seem to be completely unaware of most of the bible.

    2. A lot of fundies have a collection of a few dozen or hundred proof texts, quote mined from the bible. And that is as far as they go.

    3. Even my moderate Mainline church didn’t emphasize the bible. The OT was all but ignored except for Psalms, and Revelation was treated as the crazy uncle locked in the basement. They avoided all the weird and barbaric stuff, which is a huge chunk of the bible.

    The vast majority of what I know about the bible was learned while deconverting after 4.5 decades.

  • igotjesus

    A lot of people don’t understand God in this generation as well as earlier ones because they are blocking themselves with heart idols. Though some are troubled by demons.

    Of course, the biggest problem these days is the propaganda. It has been in full swing in the west for about 100 years telling people a lot of confusing half truths. A lie mixed with partial truth is harder to detect.

    Subliminal messaging is all over tv and people publish lies as if they are facts all over the place like the tv, the newspapers, the radio, advertising, etc.

    I even read once on the Libertarian Alliance home page that they were dedicated to using agitprop propaganda to disseminate their ideas.

    3 years ago I came across an article about a gay billionaire buying up local political races to swing people in favor of same sex marriage. He didn’t respect anybody’s right to free think at all.

    With all the massive number of lies being perpetrated….I just turn them off and go and read the bible where I know God never lies and gives tainted evidence.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    A lot of people don’t understand God in this generation as well as earlier ones because they are blocking themselves with heart idols. Though some are troubled by demons.

    Good Gods, here comes yet another born-again dumbass thinking he’s the only one who ever understood God the RIGHT way, even though Christianity has been around for more than two thousand years. Seriously? You really think that BILLIONS of Christians, today and before, ALL got it wrong, and you and your silly little sect are the only ones God spoke to?

    3 years ago I came across an article about a gay billionaire buying up local political races to swing people in favor of same sex marriage. He didn’t respect anybody’s right to free think at all.

    Yeah, right, and the bigots who spend even more money spreading idiotic lies about gay people — and pushing for punitive laws against them in places like Nigeria — are TOTALLY RESPECTFUL of everyone’s “right to free think.”

    With all the massive number of lies being perpetrated….I just turn them off and go and read the bible where I know God never lies and gives tainted evidence.

    Right — you trust your God, even after admitting he knowingly allows Satan to spread so many lies, for so long, in all sectors of human life, including the practice of your own religion. Are you even smart enough to understand how stupid you sound? Do you really think anything you’ve said is believable? Even when I was a Christian, that sort of talk didn’t make any sense.

  • igotjesus

    I found an atheist meme the other day. Lies are being touted as truth in the media and on the net a lot and nobody knows to do the research themself that reveals the meme is a lie.

    I don’t know why people are so gullible but they are. Advertising makes false claims and the media is controlled.

    But nobody is lying….Come on people wake up…..do you really want the liars to prevail?

    Next you will be giving the thieves a free pass…..oops we already did that…..the Banks acted incompetently and no one was prosecuted….

    In the Savings and Loan crisis of the 80’s more than 1500 people were prosecuted.

    I guess we are living in the gullible “believe the media” generation….so if we get robbed of everything…we let it happen ….

    Hitler almost destroyed Germany with propaganda….so did the Soviets….yet we never go far enough auditing the media…

    Money controls the media….not the people and the money people are the wolves.

  • igotjesus

    Raging Bee you have a choice to determine the truth for yourself or sit on your butt believing everything spoonfed to you by people you don’t even know.

    I know Christ’s character….all the disciples,witnessed about it at great personal risk to themselves so I know my source is good.

    You believed people you never even met and people lie and can be wrong.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I found an atheist meme the other day. Lies are being touted as truth in the media and on the net a lot and nobody knows to do the research themself that reveals the meme is a lie.

    Funny, you don’t actually specify which alleged lie you found. You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?

    As usual, the dumbest person on the thread is the one claiming to be the smartest.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I know Christ’s character….all the disciples, witnessed about it at great personal risk to themselves so I know my source is good.

    Lots of people “witnessed” for Islam, at great risk to themselves too. Does that mean Islam is true?

    Also, lots of people “witnessed” about Jesus, and went on to say a lot of things that were demonstrably false. Including you. So no, your “source” is nowhere near “good.”

  • raven

    I know Christ’s character….all the disciples, witnessed about it at great personal risk to themselves so I know my source is good.

    Quoting imaginary characters from a known work of fiction isn’t very convincing.

    I know a lot about Frodo, Gandolph, Sauron, Spiderman, and Cthulhu but that doesn’t make them real either.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m curious if “Hellbroke Lucy” made that zirself, because holy crap, quoting oneself is all kinds of wrong.

  • igotjesus

    The bible is nit a work of fiction, Raven.

    Tacitus, Josephus and the Talmud all provide historical proof for Jesus.

    Are the Jews a fictitious people?

  • abb3w

    @22ish, igotjesus

    With all the massive number of lies being perpetrated….I just turn them off and go and read the bible where I know God never lies and gives tainted evidence.

    Was the obscuring of the subtle question of epistemology with trivial technical correctness deliberate? Probably not.

  • igotjesus

    You are wrong again Raging Bee.

    You didn’t do the analysis of Christ’s character with Mohammed’s ….you assumed.

    Keep agreeing with the superficial lies and don’t investigate…..and see what you get.

    You reap what you sow….in your case you didn’t sow or you’d know to debunk Islam.

    Mohammed claimed to know the God of the bible then corrected His witness and everybody knows a prophet doesn’t correct God.

    Jesus certainly never did.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Tacitus, Josephus and the Talmud all provide historical proof for Jesus.

    At most, they prove that someone kind of like the Biblical Jesus existed. They do not, by any stretch, prove any of the folktales that grew up around this person.

    You didn’t do the analysis of Christ’s character with Mohammed’s ….you assumed.

    Once again, you make a bald assertion about my thought processes, of which you have ZERO knowledge. And your assertion is wrong. And since you keep on making wrong assertions, the “authority” on which you base your assertions is therefore disproven.

    …everybody knows a prophet doesn’t correct God. Jesus certainly never did.

    Actually, Jesus countermanded a LOT of the things his God had said in the Old Testament. Your “disproof” of Mohammed sounds like more bullshit.

  • StevoR

    @24. igotjesus :

    “I found an atheist meme the other day. Lies are being touted as truth in the media and on the net a lot and nobody knows to do the research themself that reveals the meme is a lie.

    Specifically? Which meme and why is it a lie and research where using what sources and how reliable are they?

    While we are at it which gay billionaire too?

    These vague claims without any supporting evidence really aren’t at all convincing.

  • raven

    The bible is nit a work of fiction, Raven.

    Tacitus, Josephus and the Talmud all provide historical proof for Jesus.

    No they don’t.

    Tacitus just says there were xians. Which we already knew.

    The Josephus quote is a forgery added later.

    The Talmud barely refers to jesus and it was long after he supposedly lived.

    It’s known that the bible is mostly fiction. The NT is an incoherent and contradictory mess. Matthew and Luke are just rewrites of Mark and they just made up whatever they felt like. John is just a theological work pretending to be a biography.

  • StevoR

    @32. igotjesus :

    everybody knows a prophet doesn’t correct God.

    Moses, Abraham, Habbakuk, Jonah, Job are allamong the exampels of prophets who argued with God – see :

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101027181144AANG207

    That research took all of about a minutes googling.

  • StevoR

    Anyone else here suspect ” igotjesus” is sockpuppet / new nym for DukeDogshit / Egnorance?

  • igotjesus

    Arguing isn’t the same as correcting.

    They may have been emotional and pleading….in Jonah’s case he didn’t want to warn Israel’s enemies.

    Mohammed changed a fact. None of those prophets you mentioned went back and edited the Old Testament but Mohammed did.

    He changed the birthright in the Koran.

    On top of that Paul said not to believe angels…..Mohammed claimed tomget his revelation from an angel.

    There is no substitute for a good bible education backed up by researching the facts.

    And, Josephus and Tacitus and the Talmud all report Jesus.

    Don’t fall for the crazy outliers….check the historical record in the encyclopedias yourself.

    Imagine, God plans great things for people and some con men chump you out of it because you weren’t diligent enough in seeking the truth.

  • dingojack

    You are aware that the Bible has been extensively edited & re-edited. That there are large chunks of retrospective ‘prophecy’ added well after the fact, ‘air-brushing’ out of ideas and characters, and out-and-out forgery, right?

    Dingo

  • raven

    Igotcrazy lying:

    There is no substitute for a good bible education backed up by researching the facts.

    And, Josephus and Tacitus and the Talmud all report Jesus.

    The troll is now flat out lying. I’m not wasting any more time here. Hate and lies are all they have.

    Most of us are ex-xians. We know more about the bible and the religion than he does. Which is why we are…ex-xians.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …check the historical record in the encyclopedias yourself.

    Encyclopedias are not “historical record,” you fool. They’re what children use to BEGIN getting acquainted with certain subjects.

    Imagine, God plans great things for people and some con men chump you out of it because you weren’t diligent enough in seeking the truth.

    Yeah, God has great plans for us, but he doesn’t bother to announce them clearly, so we all have to seek out all the details of his shiny plans with no help from God but vague unreliable untestable clues, and if we don’t find what he knowingly allowed Satan to hide from us, he sends us to Hell for all eternity.

    Your God is a fucking idiot, and so are you.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    StevoR: I’m pretty sure igotvaporware is not Egnor/Dukedog/DuckDumbass/whatever. Different tones, different flavors of stupidity and hatred.

  • Synfandel

    @1 carpenterman wrote:

    Buy a Bible, study it thoroughly, and you can *nail* that category on Jeopardy.

    That’s a fine plan, given that the Bible constitutes more Jeopardy material than any other subject area.

  • Synfandel

    @16 raven wrote:

    I’ve read Revelation several times since then. It’s still gibberish.

    Yes, but it’s far and away the most entertaining gibberish in the book.

  • rietpluim

    @igotjesus #38

    There is no substitute for a good bible education backed up by researching the facts.

    Then what are you waiting for? Get an education!

  • Dago Red

    My only problem with the meme is the phrase “Buy a Bible…” Yeah, Buy a Bible and call yourself a sucker! If your only intentions is to read the stupid book, who doesn’t have access to at least ONE somewhere in their life? You’d have to be hatched from an abandoned egg laid a hundred miles from nowhere to actually need to purchase a copy. Download it off the Internet, dumpster dive behind a church or simply ASK them for a copy, stand outside a grade school and wait to be handed one….Hell, boost a copy from the motel night stand during your next road trip…. “buy a bible” — what a stupid thing to suggest.

  • Synfandel

    Dago Red, you could probably even find a copy at your local public library.

  • dingojack

    Dago Red – @220.5203BIB

    Dingo