Atheists object, with understandable indignation, that religious teachings are filled with justifications (or even ‘divine commands’) for violence and cruelty toward others, and that religious people often turn their backs on the splendid opportunities of life in exchange for the promise of something better after death.
When religious teachings are taken only literally, this is true! The stories are filled with gore and terror and impossible demands for a rather hypocritical morality. It has been said that if an earthly father treated his children the way God often treats the characters in the Bible, we would declare him crazy and have him locked up.
But these stories are not meant to be taken literally. They are symbolic stories about the internal battles that an evolving soul must wage against its own negativity and weakness. It all takes place in here! The harsh actions against ‘wicked people’ are really allegories about how we can conquer and destroy our own negativity.
When the Bible is read this way, it’s not about “blind faith in an angry God” or “killing in the name of the Lord”. It’s about working on oneself to become all that a human being ought to be, here in this life, right now. There is nothing offensive about this to any open-minded person, whether they call themselves atheists or believers.
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