[Props to Mercutio - his sig line inspired this thread]
To paraphrase from Kurt Vonnegut: A useful religion can be founded on shameless lies.
Let’s posit for a second that the Bible (or, for that matter, the scripture of most any religion) is an utter myth. The OT was written by a Jewish Homer who thought he was writing a pretty good yarn, and future generations got confused. The NT was written by a bunch of JC’s apostles who were deeply embarrassed by the fact that their supposed Messiah died without accomplishing anything, and decided to salvage something from the wreckage. (I guess for purposes of this discussion, we need to assume god exists, but I’m not even sure about that).
Does that mean the religions based on these books are invalid? I mean, personally I’m an atheist, but I think living life according to the creed of “love your neighbor as yourself” is a pretty good way to go about things. And at least the final 7 of the 10 Commandments seem like sensible rules to follow.
If (a) god does exist, but the scriptures were myths created to try to explain god to the uneducated masses (either back then or now), is this an acceptable shortcut?
If (b) god doesn’t exist, but the (at least basic) rules of the religions based on the scriptures are good ones to follow, is it such a bad thing to have religions that (sincerely) try to persuade their adherents to be nice to other people?
Is Vonnegut right?