As soon as I finished describing the book to him he said to me in the most arrogant and pious manner possible that I should read the Bible if I wanted to obtain true enlightenment. Pffft!! I waved my hand at him dismissively and replied that that was a complete waste of time to which he told me I should never say that about the word of God! I told him I read it four times but he had already turned his back on me and began to walk away. It took a moment, but then and there I realized that this man had to be a Pentecostal and not just any Pentecostal, but an Hispanic Pentecostal.
Let me explain why in my experience and opinion I have come to believe that the Hispanic Pentecostal church is different from its anglosaxon counterpart. I was a former Pentecostal evangelist and upon reflection considered myself to be one of the most fundamentalist extremist of my day. Our church taught us that women should not wear jewelry, provocative clothing, pants, make up, short skirts or revealing blouses because the Devil would use them to tempt the male members of the church into adultery or fornication. Men were to take their place as head of the household as taught in the Bible and women were to subject themselves to him not as an equal partner but as an help meet unto him as described in the scriptures.
Everything that ever happened to us in life was either God's will, him testing us, or Satan and his minions tempting us or trying to draw us away from "the truth." Reading literature outside of the Bible and what was taught in the church was frowned upon and would most likely get you admonished. In our church you only needed the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the Pastor and any books he may recommend to help you study your Bible more effectively.
When it comes to theists of this sort the one thing I find most annoying about them is their arrogance and hypocrisy. When you tell them that you have read the Bible in its entirety they either reply that you read it without faith or the guidance of God's spirit therefore you did not understand it. Or you don't understand the spiritual things of the Lord because you don't have faith. The hypocrisy comes into play when you realize that many of these theists have never read the Bible in its entirety and if they have they have done so with the blinders of faith on. If they come across something they don't comprehend or that leads them to ask questions they ask God to somehow reveal it to them!
Theists see themselves as saved by God's grace and in turn enlightened because of it. Everyone else is just another lost soul in need of saving. If that is not arrogance then I don't know what arrogance is.
arrogance: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people : an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions
But it's not entirely their fault! The Bible actually teaches this in both the O.T. and the N.T.
First: all knowledge comes from God
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, ... Proverbs 2:3
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:5-6
Without the presupposition that God exists and that he is the giver of wisdom you can never comprehend his ways.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
So as you can see faith is a prerequisite in order to approach God knowing without evidence that he exists and that he hears the pleas of those that seek him.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
The rest of us are foolish and wicked for not accepting a belief in God without evidence. In fact, the knowledge of man as theists refer to it is condemned in the scriptures.
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:20
So Christian theology is nothing more than a vicious circle of irrational thinking called the fallacy of circular reasoning.
A veritable catch 22 for us nonbelievers! If you don't accept beforehand that God exists then you can't know him and he can't reveal himself to you. It's all part of the indoctrination found in the scriptures and taught by the church. The fact of the matter is that most anyone who reads the Bible critically tend to come out of that experience if they are honest with themselves as either agnostic or an atheist. Many prominent atheist were formerly believers who were pastors, priests, ministers, etc. and in search of ways to prove their faith ended up becoming atheist instead. No devil required just analytical study of the scriptures and the end results are usually the breaking of the chains of superstition and superstitious beliefs in ancient myths. So Christians please do read the Bible from cover to cover but do so analytically and put your fear of the Lord to one side. You might be surprised at how idiotic some of your beliefs are. Atheists and agnostics should read the Bible in order to show theists how childish, irrational, and idiotic their beliefs are.
Note: All scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.