Take an exchange a few days ago with one such Christian. I won't identify her because I don't want this blog to become a vehicle for continuing things started on Twitter.
The exchange started with her asking me why I was so afraid of Christians (note the smug judgmentalism). So I answered in kind with "Because of what they would do to us Atheists if only they had the power. Jesus tells you to slay his enemies." I always try to play with a straight bat (a cricket metaphor, not a reference to the sexuality of flying mammals).
The reply was almost immediate: "Jesus did NOT say that. Where does it say that in the Bible? You're a liar"
So I gave her Luke 19:27 (But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me)
A long silence. I could almost hear her looking for a Bible and trying to find the chapter and verse. At one point, out of boredom, I tweeted that Luke was the chapter following Mark, if that would help.
I would love to have seen her face. Obviously, no Sunday-school teacher, preacher or televangelist had ever told her that verse. No one told her Jesus instructed her to slay his enemies. The Jesus she had been told about was the one who told her to turn the other cheek and forgive her enemies (and not to judge them either, though that seemed to have passed her by). Just the nice, kind, carefully cherry-picked and sanitized version of Jesus from the milquetoast Bible.
Eventually, about twenty minutes later, a tweet came back - "That is a parable, not Jesus telling us to do something". She had actually found and read it!
Me: "Indeed. A parable in which Jesus tells you to bring his enemies and slay them before him. Was Jesus right or wrong?"
Inevitably the reply was the fall-back "You have taken it out of context". Strange how every inconvenient Bible quote is always "out of context" yet random quotes from the Christian rent-a-proof Bible can be used to support whatever a Christian needs it to support, no matter what the context is.
And that was that. All my questions went ignored.
Someone who proclaimed her love for Jesus and had came rushing onto Twitter to defend him had not actually read the Bible and seemed to have just swallowed a version handed out to her by someone else. Her Jesus was was a Jesus of her own or someone else's creation, yet she felt empowered by it to wave her holier-than-though judgmental moral superiority in our faces and would no doubt welcome the opportunity to force-feed our children with her 'faith' and have our laws based on her notion of Christianity.
Obviously, when you know it all you don't need to look in the books, where it stands to reason that God and Jesus will just be agreeing with you. Hardly worth the bother of opening it really. Just display it where visitors can see you have one and marvel at your piety and devotion to Jesus.
No wonder that many people who DO read the Bible are Atheists and many of those who profess to be Christians have only read selected passages if any, and are much more likely to be just going by what they've been told is in it or even what they assume is in it.
So, Christians, risk Atheism and read the Bible if you fancy your chances in debate against an Atheist. The chances are they will know it far better than you do. The nasty, inconvenient bits won't go away if you ignore them. Your ignorance really does not trump knowledge, and your 'faith' won't tell you what's in there. For that, you need to read it.
That goes for science too, by the way. Ignorance is not your strength; it's your weakness.
Debating from ignorance is like running proudly out onto the pitch and finding, when the pitcher throws the ball, that you don't have a bat. Hilarious for the watching crowd...