What about a ‘Follow the Bible Literally’ Day?

Sep 18, 2012

Discussion by: MikeyDunn
I have been thinking that it might be good fun to try to campaign for a day to be recognised as ‘Follow the Bible Literally Day’.

I think it would be a great way of showing the Bible up as the monstrous source for morality it really is. 
The funny thing to me would be that christians couldn’t really raise a strong objection to it!

I think the whole endeavour, whether it came to fruition or not, would raise a lot of people’s consciousness about what annoys me the most in the religious argument against atheism – the idea that we couldn’t possibly be moral without god or the Bible.

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others assert that, given most Christians have decided to ignore 90% of the morality offered by the Bible anyway, we use our own judgement to decide what is moral and what is not. This point seems not to be grasped by all religious people and, hopefully, a day such as the one proposed would make them think twice about the idea that the Bible offers the only path to morality we have.

I would love to hear people’s comments on this topic.

49 comments on “What about a ‘Follow the Bible Literally’ Day?

  • Great idea. I’ve never heard anyone propose that before but I think it has a lot of potential. A great way to make people think twice about whether they should use myths from bronze age or whatever age peoples as the basis for morality would be to raise their awareness about what is really in there.

    Boycott Red Lobster with signs modeled after the West Baptist Church (God Hates F*gs) that say God Hates Shellfish!  Or hand out flyers at Target and Wallmart warning people about the evil of mixed fabric garments.  Actually, I wonder if Chick Fillet (US company that is anti-gay because the bible says so) serves any kinds of shell fish? Probably not but that would make a nice contradiction if they did.

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  • 3
    Bryan Dibben says:

    If  it’s held on a Sunday I won’t be able to make it as I gather sticks on that day. Otherwise a great idea. Perhaps a poster or video competition might be fun. 🙂

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  • 4
    DocWebster says:

    So I guess I have to point out an obvious flaw in this idea, what to do about all the guys who are counting their sheckels to go wife hunting. I don’t even think I have to bring up the even more absurd unintended consequences, that should keep half the population at least firmly in the no column on this idea.

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  • 8
    Simon Tuffen says:

    I’d like to hear someone claim in a British court that they followed the instructions of the Bible because they’d been educated in a state funded Christian school, and they’d heard the head of state was the head of the church, that our parliament included a number of unelected bishops and that our government “does God”, so how could it possibly be wrong to follow the Bible? If the Bible is judged to be wrong, why are we “a Christian nation”? Are they trying to mess with our minds or something???

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  •  Jumped,

    Please stop whining about your country. I tell you what; you send us your Queen and her family, send us your Bishop of Canterbury and his friends and even send us some of your bat shit crazy Mullahs. In return, we will send you all our fundamentalist and their preachers.

    I would be very happy with that trade.

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  • 12
    SaganTheCat says:

    I actually think there are only two ways you could do this. 1, lock yourself in a room and don’t communicate with anyone. 2, accept you’ll probably have to kill someone before the day’s out

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  • 13
    scottishgeologist says:

    Brilliant idea. First thing you’d have to do on wakening of course, is check your wife / female partner to make sure that her “curse” hasnt started during the night. You’d then have to lock here in a menstra-shack at the bottom of the garden to avoid her uncleanness. Probably have to go to the temple and kill some animal/bird in sacrifice, just to be on the safe side.

    Good article on this subject here:


    Typical Pastor Deacon Fred stuff, very funny!


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  • Nope, it wouldn’t make any impression on the believers. They’d trot out the usual stuff about the Bible not being meant to be taken literally – despite the obvious fact that for most of the last two thousand years that’s exactly how it was taken.

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  • Not a good idea, I don’t like the idea of stoning someone to death and that would be required if we tried to follow the bible literally.  It does show up how stupid the book is and how dumb people are to believe that it gives us our morals.

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  • 20
    Simon Tuffen says:


    No deal!

    You raise a good point and I’m sure it’s the case that in day-to-day life religion imposes itself more directly upon the average American than the average Briton, even though you supposedly live in a secular state whereas we have a state religion.

    However, it still causes a great many problems here, very serious problems for some people and in certain communities, and the sooner we can show the remainder of the largely non-believing population that there is nothing special to respect about religion the quicker we can resolve those issues.

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  •  You mean, for example, we should bang on and on about the fires of Hell, just as gentle Jesus does? I am constantly amazed at the way even secularists speak of the New Testament as if it were all tolerance, sweetness and light. It isn’t.

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  • 23
    lilalindy says:

    When I get to sell my daughter into slavery, it states that I should get a reasonable price for her. Do the Christians know what the going rate is?

    Also, I work on Sundays. May I suggest that if this should become a reality, it is not done on a Sunday, otherwise, it could lead to loss of life – a God-given right, non the less.

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  • I really dislike fans of my football team’s local rivals. But I think there may be problems if I get our fans to actually put them and their children to the sword whilst taking their young women for ourselves (a la Moses).

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  • 26
    godzillatemple says:

    It’s certainly fun asking fundies why they claim the Bible is the inerrant word of God yet don’t follow all the laws described in the Old Testament, but it’s ultimately futile.  Any fundy worth his (or her) salt will simply whip out Matthew 5:17 and claim that Jesus “fulfilled” all the old testament laws and now all we need to do is love God and love our neighbors.

    Unless they’re gay, of course.

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  • 27
    Emdee Aalms says:

    As a former muslim I’d like to make the same proposition to muslims. Unfortunately it won’t cause to much trouble to them, because a blind literal interpretation of the Qu’ran is what muslim do in general.

        A story about the prophet states that one day he called the moon that went through his shirt, entering from one sleeve and leaving by the other. [I don’t remember the myth in detail, I think the moon was split in two and each part went through the shirt] This is obviously one of these lies enough insolent to break in tatters any system of belief , unless it’s assumed not to make a literal interpretation.

    It never ceases to amaze me how in religion it’s so easy to decide which interpretation to give to a statement.

    Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, when I want to die, I’ll make this proposition to the clerics of my former religion. I don’t think you either will be more successful.

    …….[About the story on the moon, I’ve found it on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…. There I didn’t find any mention of the shirt, but unless my memory is playing a serious trick with me, I think I really recall about the shirt. Maybe the moon entering and leaving the shirt is an addition by the priest who told us the story]

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  • 29
    N_Ellis says:

    I have been thinking about sitting down with a bible for some time and finding out all the things it says I am allowed to do that are illegal in most countries, all the things that everybody does every day which are strictly forbidden, and all the things that make absolutely no sense which are supposed to be ‘moral guidelines’, so that the next time I get god botherers on my door step I can give them the worst 3 hours of their lives.   I doubt I ever will though, it would be time I could never get back and I already give them both barrels (metaphorically speaking you may be sad to hear) whenever they show their faces.   I don’t need more ammunition, what I have is already sufficient.

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  • 30
    NoKiddingMan says:

    I think we should have Bible Reading Day.  This way we can make people think and understand how nonsense the contents of this books is.

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  • 31
    Jos Gibbons says:

    There’s one unavoidable practical barrier to this. We don’t want people being killed for countless stupid reasons all day long, so we’d have to pick and choose which parts of the Bible were followed literally, and that defeats the whole point. But there are two alternatives. We can have a day of noting what the Bible tells us to do, but not one of actually obeying it. We could also have a work of fiction – anything from a film to a comedy sketch – showing what doing it for real would actually look like. I guess those two methods are really the same in the end.

    But perhaps this Bible-says idea is thinking too small. Let’s be informed, for each relevant action, what each of many, many religious instructions are, including no doubt mutually contradictory orders from the Bible alone. But list every verse of the Bible, Koran etc. that gives us instructions on whatever issue is at hand; it’ll seem even more comical.

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  • 32
    The Fog Horn says:

    Nahum 1:5-6 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

    I think your idea is excellent. Why not start off by giving a literal interpretation of the above verse?

    Why not do these while you’re at it?

    Isaiah 30:27 See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.Deuteronomy 4:11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness.Deuteronomy 5:4 The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain.Deuteronomy 33:2 He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.Isaiah 10:17 The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers.Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”Isaiah 66:15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done–burn with no one to quench it.Ezekiel 22:31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”Daniel 7:10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.Lamentations 4:11 The LORD has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.Ezekiel 7:8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.Exodus 3:12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”Isaiah 29:6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.Revelation 11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.Exodus 19:16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.2 Samuel 22:10 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.Psalm 104:3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.Jeremiah 4:13 Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined!1 Timothy 6:16 The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power eternal. Amen”Deuteronomy 4:32-43 “For ask now of the days that are past … whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is? … Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials , by signs, and by wonders … according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain 9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. 12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death. 13 there shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live. 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, Rev. 4.5 and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 18 And mount Si’nai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: Deut. 4.11, 12 and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. PSA 18:8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.ISA 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:Isaiah: 5:26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.Revelations: 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.Exodus: 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth” Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death – the lake of fire.Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. 1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. Genesis 15:17And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. Leviticus 9:24And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. 1 Chronicles 21:26And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. 2 Chronicles 7:1Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. Hebrews 12:29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”Exodus 15:7 In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.Exodus 24:17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.2 Samuel 22:9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.Psalm 97:3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.Jeremiah 25:37 The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the LORD.Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.Hebrews 12:18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.Numbers 16:34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”Numbers 16.35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.Revelation 11:5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.Leviticus 10:2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.Numbers 26:10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign.Psalm 50:3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.Revelation 9:2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.Exodus 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.

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  • 33
    BigChris says:

    Great idea – for those people who claim Biblical morality and the inerrancy of the Bible. What bothers me is that many people claim to do this already and do not see the contradictions. I do get frustrated when they say ‘this bit is literal but that bit is metaphorical – and that other bit is beyond our understanding’.

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  • 34
    nick keighley says:

     > However, it still causes a great many problems here, very serious
    problems for some people and in certain communities,

    like who?

    > and the sooner we
    can show the remainder of the largely non-believing population that
    there is nothing special to respect about religion the quicker we can
    resolve those issues.

    what issues?

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  • 35
    dave.allen.106 says:

    A similar idea might be to just use the Westboro Baptist  Church as a test case, I’d love to hear someone like William Lane Craig give a thorough explanation as to who follows the bible more accurately, the Westboro Baptists or your average Christian moderates, catholics, or even himself.. I think if one were to create a graph with the literal bible on one end and atheism on the other most Christians today would find themselves shoulder to shoulder with the nonbelievers, the Westboro Baptists probably hanging out somewhere in the middle, and nobody even close to the bible

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  • 36
    RationalConclusion says:

    What about a ‘Follow the Bible Literally’ Day?

    I can only imagine how busy the police would be if we were to have a day in which we all start following a literal interpretation of the bible.

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  • 37
    The Fog Horn says:

    I get frustrated with people who believe everything in the Bible is fiction. That is as unlikely as the whole thing being fact. The Bible was written due to ignorance so it contains a lot of human error, which is often described as metaphorical.

    Isaiah 66:15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

    This would have been written due to, at one point in time, Hebrews witnessing their deity. The verse describes their deity using the only words they knew to use. Theists now claim verses like these are metaphorical when they are in fact just foolish.

    If I re-wrote the above verse using the correct terminology it would go something like this…

    See, the volcano is erupting, and ash clouds are tumbling down; it will erupt very badly, and spew out lots of flaming lava.

    You need to be able to empathise with the ancient Hebrews in order to work out what was going through their minds and what it was, in fact, they were witnessing. We all know their deity was non-existent; now we need to understand what WAS in existence that started this whole thing off….


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  • What a great idea. Yes it would be fun to see how christian churches would redpond to such a day. Perhaps even better would be a “Museum of Literal Christianity”. Imagine walking into different rooms & seeing separate stories literally acted out from the bible. Perhaps they could be a short film or animation or moving sculptures? Maybe it could be built close to the so called “Creation Museum” in the U.S. We atheists would find it such a laugh!

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  • 39
    matthew 5:11 says:

     I think he probably means the issue of non-believers clinging to the idea that religion should hold a privileged position within society, and the imbalance that that brings. Religion is a private matter and has no place in government or law.

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  • 40
    matthew 5:11 says:

     And it would have to be all of them, cos if Noah didn’t get them all on board, where did they come from? Evolution, obviously.

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  • 41
    IDLERACER says:

    Alright. If a burning bush starts talking to me, I will remove my sneakers and then do whatever it says.  Something tells me this ain’t gonna happen, though.

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  • 43
    JamesWG says:

    Haha, an interesting idea and not without a valid point to make, but what it means to take a text literally is a complex question that both atheists and theists can misconstrue.

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  • 44
    Johng78 says:

    My grandad is an atheist, he’s the most honest kid hearted person you could ever meet, I’m a Christian and not half the man he is.
    You can’t look at Christians and compare them to Jesus teaching, because we will never live upto them. We are no better than anyone else but I try to live by this saying. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Luke 6:31 NLT) is there any harm, would it make for a better world?

    I think your idea is great though and it would show up a lot of Christians but it would not show up the truths of the bible.

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  • 45
    JamesWG says:

     The notion that religion in the Christian sense, properly understood, is a private matter is a ridiculous assertion. Obviously there are many good reasons to be concerned about religions’ effects on public life, but to assert that religion simply is a private matter will not find justification.

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  • 46
    MikieDaYank says:

    Yes, it would be a great learning experience for the blindly faithful, following their arrest for murder, rape, theft and a host of other crimes these very peoples’  grandparents voted into law as criminal offenses. 

    But let me throw a wrench in the works…We could see similar outcomes if we proceeded with what we had considered “science” in the last century, and with what some noted “scientists” and sitting professors still consider empirical and scientific to this day.

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  • 47
    Philip Ward says:

    I don’t think I have enough hate in me to follow the Bible literally and as others have commented, people would die. Maybe a nice idea for a book or a play? I would love that!

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  • 48
    sffmadman66 says:

    It might. Like Mister T said, it’s amusing. Taking the Bible literally is dangerous. A moral compass that keeps insisting you kill everyone who doesn’t believe as you do. Right. It isn’t a bad idea, though. better than some I’ve seen proposed here, which don’t always take into account just how entrenched fundies can be.

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  • 49
    Tyler Durden says:

    In reply to #6 by SvdB:

    This reminds me of A.J. Jacobs’ ‘My year of living biblically’

    A very funny read. Recommended reading for anyone with a critical eye on Bronze Age thinking in the 21st Century.

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