This book is a skeleton. It's just a framework upon which flesh shall later be draped, because as I'm writing it, I'm realizing all sorts of things that I need to look up and quote and get exactly right. So to any of you who are going to be suffering through reading this first draft: keep in mind that what you're looking at is a rickety scaffolding upon which something lasting will be built.
I'm one of those weird writers who tends to write too little rather than too much in most first drafts, it seems.
I came across a fantastic little tidbit tonight, so I'll share this section from "What to Expect if You Bring Up God," bare bones as it is:
WE KNOW ALL THE EMBARRASSING BITS OF THE BIBLE
It's not uncommon for atheists to know more about the Bible than Christians do. In fact, a Kelton Research survey of 1,000 Americans commissioned by the Ten Commandments Commission in 2007 discovered that the ingredients of a Big Mac are better known than the Ten Commandments: 80% of respondents knew that a Big Mac includes two all-beef patties, but less than 60% of them knew the Ten Commandments include the command, "Thou shalt not kill."
Most atheists could not only get that one right, but if you bring up the Ten Commandments, be prepared for the question, "Which ones?" Most Christians don't realize there are actually two sets of Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, and those sets don't mesh.
We know all sorts of pesky details. And if someone starts claiming the moral supremacy of religion and the infallibility of the Bible, we're more than happy to trot them out, chapter and verse.
Some of us can even give Biblical scholars a run for their money when it comes to describing the minutae of erroneous translations, ambiguous passages, obvious copying errors, and all of those books that didn't make it in to the Book.
Why do we know the Bible in such detail if we're atheists? Simple. We have to know our adversary. When so many fundamentalists and even moderate Christians are attempting to use their faith to dictate morality, conduct, and the course of our destiny, we have no choice but to study the scripture used to justify those things.
If you want to get into a conversation about the Bible with an atheist, just be prepared to learn things about it you may never have wanted to know. After all, it was during a Bible study course that Julia Sweeney lost her faith.
The link is here. I love that fact: more people know the Big Mac better than the Ten Commandments. Quick! Let's base all of our jurisprudence on the ingredients of a fast food sandwich!
For the record, I'm one of those who doesn't know all ten. But I know more off the top of my head than Lynn Westmoreland:
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, his ass, etc.
Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
Thou shalt not bear false witness.
And that's where I get fuzzy. I suppose I'll have both sets memorized by the time this book is finished and available to the general public. Wouldn't do for some snarky religious bugger to be able to recite seven or eight to my six, eh?
In case you wanted to brush up, here's both sets.