Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I'm re-reading the Bible - but don't worry, folks!

This is going to be the sixth time I'll have done a cover-to-cover read, but emphatically NOT for religious reasons, though the first couple of times maybe were. (How many 'true' Christians have read the Bible right through, even once? Only a minority, I would suggest.)
When I'm asked "What made you 'lose' your faith?" I take satisfaction in replying "Reading the Bible." which rather stymies the nosy enquirer, as their antidote to disbelief would almost invariably be to read the Bible more. (And why do they always refer to one as losing one's faith? It seems to imply that one has misplaced something valuable that one would like to have back again. I didn't lose it - I intentionally discarded it as being both erroneous and useless!)
Anyway, as with my previous reads it's very much a piecemeal affair - maybe a couple of chapters every morning, taking notes as I go and scribbling in the margins. (My own most overworked word on previous readings has been "WHY?".) Each time it usually takes over a year to get right through.
My reason for undertaking this seemingly masochistic task is partly to get even more informed as to what I'm talking about when countering 'Bible- thumpers' and 'God-botherers' but also to get further ammo for any future confrontations (not that I'm actually looking for any).
But having so far re-read only the first few chapters of Genesis it's again so evident to me what a hodge-podge of half-baked ideas and inconsistencies the Bible is. As the chronological history it purports to be, it's in hopelessly incoherent and contradictory order. Presumed to be written by Moses, you'd think that God might have made a better job in 'inspiring' him to write this sequence of events properly (even if intended to be allegorical) with some logical flow. How so many maintain that it's directly the word of the Creator and it's got to be taken literally is just beyond me. You'd think that they (and God) would grant us the intelligence with which we are supposed to be endowed and favoured.
Could continue further in this vein but I'm sure there'll be loads to say on the subject in future blogs.

Btw I don't intend to make myself out as viciously anti-ALL Christianity - or, indeed, all religion. I only direct my fire at those who see the Bible or the Koran (which I've now read eight times in five different translations - so far!) etc as set in stone and absolutely not susceptible to interpretation in the light of subsequent (scientific, biological and other) discovery and social changes. Actually I do have admiration and considerable respect for Quakers, certain other 'sects' of Christianity and Hinduism, but probably most of all, for Buddhism with its emphasis on taking personal responsibility for one's own actions and their consequences. That's religion that I have no argument with.

7 comments:

  1. It's supposed to read the Bible like a novel. You can read many times if you'd like.

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  2. I don't know what 'faith' is anymore. Does having faith mean you feel superior to everyone? Does it mean you have hatred in your heart? That sure is what it looks like from where I'm sitting.

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  3. Nice one, Cubby - but true also. I don't really care what people believe as long as it doesn't license them to harm others (animals as well as humans), but it's the arrogant insistence that everybody else MUST believe the same absurdities that really gets my goat.
    Next month His Hole-iness Papa Benedict himself deigns to grace us our country with a holy visit (largely at British taxpayers' expense!). No doubt we can expect some more finger-wagging at our sinful lapsed morality - and this from a man who clearly knows all about the subject so we've just GOT to take him seriously, haven't we? ;-)

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  4. Vuong: I like your idea of reading the Bible like a novel. So it's fiction then? No, I have to concede that though part of it is almost certainly not actually historically true, a fair part of it is probably factual - but only up to a point.

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  5. I agree most Christians have never read the Bible...Most don't even know why they believe, what they believe.

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  6. Very true, Bo (and welcome - I'm flattered!) The tragedy is that most people follow the faith of their parents because, as children, they are given no choice but to do so - and I suppose later on it's too 'inconvenient' to change. I myself was a practicing, devout Catholic until my mid-20s - then I decided to start thinking for myself and questioning the ideas that had been implanted in my mind since infancy.
    Btw one particular mystery for me remains is: Why do people decide to convert to ISLAM? Knowing the Koran as well as I do I find absolutely nothing in the leaat attractive about that belief-system. All I can come up is that the simplistic black and white interpretation of right and wrong, appeals - though even there, as with Christianity, there's a huge disparity of opinions.

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