On Christians who cite scripture in an attempt to win arguments.

We’ve all had those conversations with believers, where we cite scientific and historical fact as supported by mounds of evidence and they respond with trotting out scripture, as if scripture carried more (or any) weight to us.  My father just watched this happen in a thread and made the following comment.

I just do not understand why, in the midst of a discussion, Christians quote scripture at non-Christians.

Surely they know that since I am not a Christian that their scriptural quote will mean absolutely nothing to me. Is this something they throw out there because they have no reason, logic, evidence, or factual information to use to promote their position?

Do they have their head so far up their biblical ass that they are unable to put themselves in the shoes of others? I mean, if I were to quote verses to them from books they don’t believe in like the Koran, the Bhagavad Ghita, or the Egyptian Book of the Dead, don’t they realize they would be exactly as impressed as I am by them quoting biblical scripture?

I am particularly confused when they quote scripture in the midst of conversations about the law of the land and government functions. Are they so eat up with their religious bullshit that they do not comprehend that their scriptures have absolutely nothing to do with civil laws and government in the USA? Are they in such denial that they are unable to recognize over 200 years of established jurisprudence on the issue of separation of church and state? Are they too damned dumb to comprehend that their religion doesn’t have one. single. damned. thing. to do with MY government and the equal treatment of ALL citizens?

If I spewed a quote at them from Aesop’s Fables as some sort of absolutist justification for whatever I am trying to promote like they do from Bible’s Fables, they would be unnerved that I considered that an immutable fact with which I could justify enforcing my ideas on them and on the rest of society. Helloooo!! Thumpers and quoters need to understand that they are scary! They also need to understand we do not have, and do not want, a theocracy in the USA. Since they give the impression that theocracy is exactly what they want, many of us are terrified.

Personally, I love it when believers try to win argument with scripture.  It gives me the chance to ask why the bible is believable and to watch them flounder.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • UsingReason

    “It gives me the chance to ask why the bible is believable”

    Blah blah blah, because God!!!! In summary.

  • sqlrob

    Of course the bible is believable, Why wouldn’t the bible be believable?

    Warning: Large PDF.
    And if you’re viewing it scaled, that’s not a red half circle on top.

    • baal

      I love that chart. Some of it is a stretch or formalistic but even with a 50% (too high) discount, that’s a lot of self-contradictory nonsense.

      As to the OP, I see the quoting of scripture as appeals to authority (wrongly done) and the normal human nature to fall back on mental shibboleths when under cognitive stress. Both tacts work for continuing to pressure them. “why would I care about the bible quotes (like JT above)” and “you know that’s not relevant or you’re going to have to explain why that quote has meaning in this context” (gets to a reason and off the recitation)

  • pjmaertz

    JT, your pops is the tops.

    Whenever I’ve asked those who cite the bible for some bullshit about why the bible is believable, I don’t get floundering. It usually ends up being some incredibly confident, inane statement that circles back around to “Well, its the Bible”. Oh shit, nevermind, that is floundering.

  • Jasper

    I was actually starting to just straight up ask Christians why they do it. Like,is it some kind of spell they’re trying to cast, or something?

    I never got a coherent response. The clearest reply I got was “Well we think you need to hear this.”

    • eric

      Translation: “tt worked on me, so I’m trying it on you.”

      • Jasper

        Most likely.

        I have the freaking New Testament in audiobook, which I’ve listened to several times (it was the only way I could actually get through it). I think I’ve heard it by now. I have three Bibles, two books of Mormon and a Qu’ran. I think I’m covered.

  • Glodson

    ” There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” – Ezekeil 23-20

    A verse a keep close to my heart. Now repent, sin-asses and embrace the holy lies of the Bible! Can’t you feel God’s love in that verse? Truly, this is a book all children that should study for moral guidence. Like when you should marry your rapist if he pays your father, when you should kill your children, how to trick your father for your brother’s inheritence, and all about giant dongs.

    Have faith or burn! Which is the main point of the Bible.

    • MathMike

      When pressed, someone is likely to bring up ideas like beauty, love, etc. Before dismissing it, I like to trot out Psalm 137, verse 9; “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I guess it depends what they’re arguing for.

    If you’re arguing to convince, you use evidence, reason, logic, and, you know, stuff.

    If you’re arguing to reinforce your own sense of righteousness, you just throw Teh Incontrovertible Truth out and feign shock that anyone could be so depraved as to not see the divine spark inhabiting every single perfect word. I mean, it’s not like you ever had a chance if they willingly blind themselves to such beautiful and fractally true words, is it?

    • John Eberhard

      May I add this?

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)


  • Rebecca Hensler

    I like to find multiple translations of the verse they are quoting that have substantively different meanings and ask which one they mean. And how they know that THAT one is the divinely inspired truth.

  • steven findley

    Ok, then we’ll try a quote from Thomas Jefferson, who most of you believe was a non-believer.

    ” I swear upon the altar of “GOD”,eternal hostility towards any kind of tyranny over the mind of man!”

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Why is it when it comes to quoting Bible verses believers include book, chapter, and verse numbers… But when it comes to quoting anyone or anything else, the concept of a citation is forever beyond them?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Presuming that quote is genuine, I’d like to swear on the altar of GOD as well. Where is it?While you’re at it, tell me about Jesus H. Christ ascending into Heaven. So it must be somewhere in the direction up. Could you be more specific please?

      • Reginald Selkirk

        BTW, that quote is listed on the Monticello site, but steven findley messed a few things up. It is from a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800; the true quote is past tense, “I have sworn,” and “god” appears in all lower case. Also, “against” not “towards” and “every form” rather than “any kind.”If you had any respect for TJ, you would take the care to get it right. The full quote:

        I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

  • John Eberhard

    Steven Findley, Jefferson was a DEIST. He wasn’t talking about your god, as he was not a Christian. He did believe in the existence of Jesus, but that Jesus was neither the son of God nor divine. He believed all of the supernatural stuff in the bible was myth, and removed all of the miracles, angels, and divine or supernatural stuff when creating the Jefferson Bible.
    Do a little research and educate yourself so you don’t appear to be quote-mining for points instead of for truth.