The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief—call it what you will—than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course. ~A . A . MilneOne of my family members, who is a minister, responded in a somewhat cynical way.
Could be true. Man is a depraved creature and always tends to run AWAY from God not TO Him. Man doesn't understand that the limitations of "do not kill, steal, lie, covet, commit adultery" are actually good for him.I rather think my uncle is probable being a bit sarcastic, which is part of his character. However, it does reflect the attitudes toward non-theists I observed when growing up in chruch.
Believers (particularly fundamentalist christians) often have the idea that one becomes a non-theist because he/she likes to sin. In my case, nothing could be further from the truth. Here's my response to my uncle's comment.
The OT had a lot to do with my deconversion. My problem wasn't with the ten commandments. It was with verses like deuteronomy 21:18-21. As long as a horrible commandment like that is in the bible I will neverMy deconversion was a troubled time for me. I didn't come to a decision to be an atheist, lightly. I sought answers from ministers. I prayed. Man, did I pray. I read the bible. I read literature. As much as I hated it, I had to come to the conclusion that The Bible was like all other holy books. Written by men who thought that they knew about the universe, but didn't. The Bible, like all other holy books, was written to control people and written to make them conform.
exceptaccept it as the inerrant word of God.
I know, you'll protest that that was before the new covenent or something similar. But, the fact that God would have commanded filicide at all is very troubling to me. The simplest explaination is that it (the bible) was written by tryanical men who sought to control the common people through fear. Stuff like that has no place in my spiritual life.
Unlike my uncle, I don't think that humans are that depraved. Sure some of us are, but most people? Nah. Morality comes from society and from our own conscience. We are moral because we don't like to see others suffer. Maybe, it's a survival trait. Maybe, a species whose members help themselves have a slightly better chance of survival.