It's not often that a Christian minister agrees with the New Atheist movement, but the Rev. Michael Dowd believes it's possible when it comes to what he calls the "idolatry of the written word."
A self-described "New Theist" — one who "value[s] scientific, historic and cross-cultural evidence over ancient texts, religious dogma or ecclesiastical authority" — Dowd believes that Scripture is outdated and fossilized and needs to grow and change with modern times, calling some injunctions "morally repugnant." As an example, Dowd points to how some parts of the Bible, such as stoning people for being disrespectful or executing them for working on the Sabbath, have been abandoned as "moral reasoning" — which he calls "secular reasoning" — has emerged down the ages. It's this pick-and-choose attitude to the Bible, he believes, that leaves some Christians, especially evangelicals, open to criticism from people such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.