Looking out of the window this morning we realised that our road was in for its regular visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I wasn’t really that bothered as they seem to have skipped our house for a while. But today we got a visitation.
I was in the mood for a heated debate. And I quite enjoyed it. I let them know right from the start that I thought that the bible was poppycock. They threw all sorts of stuff at me. The idea that science was confirming bible stories, the world would be a better place if everyone followed the bibles rules etc.
For instance: ‘Do you think the world would be a better place if people followed the teachings of the bible?’. I said that while it was clear some of the moral codes in the bible were useful, most of them were a reflection of the time and place that they were written. It made sense not to eat certain foods in a pre-refrigeration desert society where such foods would make you ill. Just like in Islam, a religion born of an arid region it made sense to have a hand that you kept clean and one you allowed to be less so. But the rules were for a time and place. In a world where we understand germ theory, have disinfectants and access to plentiful water these rules were less useful. But then some of the rules are just bizarre. Does it matter if you wear clothing of mixed fibres? And other rules are just objectionable, especially those around the roles of women.
As to the idea that the bible was being confirmed by science, I gave that very short shrift, pointing out that the bible seems only able to be confirmed by science by a retro-fitting of interpretations. I likened it to the predictions of Nostradamus and how people found indications of events like World War II in his texts, but only ever in hindsight. The bible, like Nostradamus has never had any predictive ability.
I enjoyed the whole thing. But I don’t think I will be hearing from them any time soon. Maybe I should have recommended ‘The God Delusion’ while they were here…