Whenever I write or speak about religion, I always do so from the Christian perspective. It’s not that I am completely unfamiliar with other religions, it’s that I have personal experience with Christianity and am therefore more qualified by that experience. I’ve spent time in the middle east, but I did not attend services at a Mosque so have no personal experience with Islam. I can make statements concerning Islam because I was very much adjacent to the belief because I worked with many people who were, of course, Muslims.
Being an atheist doesn’t require any knowledge of any religion, just a general non-belief in the supernatural, gods being specific in that non-belief. My experience with religion led me to atheism over time but I know people who’ve been raised as atheists and speak out against religion all the time even though they hav never had any personal experience with religion, ever.
All one has to do is stand aside and peek inside to discover what makes religion what it is today. Just from the texts, the televangelism (of christianity) a person can learn a lot about religious belief and understand enpugh to validate their non-beloef.I mean, Christians themselves make it too easy because their beliefs are literally an open book.
Just read the New Testament to discover what makes no sense. For instance, the book of Matthew lists the genealogy of Joseph, to show that Jesus was in the direct line of King David, yet it also tells us that Joseph. was not the father of Jesus. What? how about Luke who corrects that mistake by listing the genealogy of Mary. Since when did people in the ancient middle east list their mother’s ancestors as proof of anything? Sorry, but never. Genealogy was patriarchal. Wait, you say, Luke’s genealogy is patriarchal. It’s confusing, I admit. I found a table that I think helps explain it:
Whew! I think I can recite my own ancestry back to my great grandparents. Which raises the question of how Matthew and Luke were able to list the ancestors of Jesus going back more than 70 generations and they didn’t have “Ancestory.com” for help? That’s just one inconsistency in the New Testament. There are many more.
Then there’s the Gospel of John which is a much more mystical account of Jesus to the point where I call it gnostic and makes me wonder if it were included in the canon only to pacify those Christians of that specific belief? I’m probably wrong but ask a dozen scholars and see what answer you come up with. I’ll save you some time and tell you there is no consensus.
I know it’s hard to put faith up against fact, but overtime faith is malleable where facts aren’t . That’s what religious criticism is all about, showing the inconsistencies in belief and how those inconsistencies have to be handled in order to keep the faithful, faithful. ask any scholar and they’ll tell you that the gospels were not written by Jews living in Roman occupied Judea, but those authors lived somewhere else in that same roman world. Look at the geography descibed in Mark. As the article linked jokes, I don’t think I’d use Mark as a travel agent. It also shows he doesn’t know anything about Judea in the first century.
Critiqing Islam isn’t much more difficult, even from the outside. Consider Mohammed’s “Night Journey” from Mecca to Jerusalem. This is the sixth century and I don’t think there were jet aircraft around then. then, neither was I so I cannot say for certain.
I think it’s easier to be an atheist.