I am pleased, but not surprised, that the new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that atheists know just as much -- if not quite a bit more – about religion than do religious people in general. The simple truth is this; the more someone knows about religion, the more likely they will reject it as mythology.

Consider the books of Leviticus, Job, or Revelations. These are not books of love, but rather of barbaric rules, ruthless torture, and threats from a petty and bloodthirsty god. Islam is no different, placing a pedophile on a pedestal of perfection.

How anyone could read these books and take them as holy and relevant is beyond me, and most others who seriously think about it.Remember, the purpose of religion to the believer is to provide easy answers and the belief in immortality.

Many religious people do not read their holy books for fear of finding things they don’t like, which will force them to consider whether those easy answers are valid, and whether death is in fact permanent. In other words, religious people already have doubts, and avoid reading their Bibles to avoid addressing those doubts.

Preachers, on the other hand, know that knowledge of the Bible can often lead to atheism, so they prefer the flock listen to the preacher talk about the Bible (which the preacher can edit as he sees fit), rather than read it themselves. This is how they make a (tax free) living.

Because of the reasons I addressed above, believers are happy to comply.

When a person begins to doubt the veracity of the religion into which they happen to have been born, they often read the holy books in the hope that they are wrong, that it will all make sense, and that the answers provided by those books will be logically valid. The problem is, they aren’t.

Further study will show that indeed, all religions are the same in that none of them provide anything but yesterday’s mythology.

So please, dear readers, read your Bible. Before you pay your preacher another penny, or get on your knees to beg your god for something you know very well he’s not going to give you, read your holy book, cover to cover, alone. I dare you.

And by the way, our next atheist convention is in Des Moines, Iowa from April 21-23. Tickets are on sale now at atheists.org.

Dave Silverman is president of American Atheists, Inc. For more visit atheists.org.

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