What I learned from reading the entire Bible

 
 
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Beam
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06 March 2009 14:13
 

By David Plotz

http://www.slate.com/id/2212616/?gt1=38001

You notice that I haven’t said anything about belief. I began the Bible as a hopeful, but indifferent, agnostic. I wished for a God, but I didn’t really care. I leave the Bible as a hopeless and angry agnostic. I’m brokenhearted about God.

After reading about the genocides, the plagues, the murders, the mass enslavements, the ruthless vengeance for minor sins (or none at all), and all that smiting—every bit of it directly performed, authorized, or approved by God—I can only conclude that the God of the Hebrew Bible, if He existed, was awful, cruel, and capricious. He gives us moments of beauty—such sublime beauty and grace!—but taken as a whole, He is no God I want to obey and no God I can love.

 
 
 
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eudemonia
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06 March 2009 14:18
 

‘The second response tends to come from Jews, who razz me for missing the chief lesson of the Hebrew Bible, which is that we can’t hope to understand the ways of God. If He seems cruel or petty, that’s because we can’t fathom His plan for us. But I’m not buying that, either. If God made me, He made me rational and quizzical. He has given me the tools to think about Him. So I must submit Him to rational and moral inquiry. And He fails that examination. Why would anyone want to be ruled by a God who’s so unmerciful, unjust, unforgiving, and unloving?’


Word.

 
 
goodgraydrab
 
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goodgraydrab
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07 March 2009 11:15
 

Why would anyone vote for George Bush? Or worship as Supreme such a flawed fictional character? In the Bible, God stated that Adam and Eve became like him after eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge; that made them the world’s first Atheists. You would think that reading the Bible would result in nothing but creating Atheists.

 
 
 
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Carstonio
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08 March 2009 20:26
 

I read Plotz’s original Blogging the Bible series in Slate, and I had hoped the magazine would continue the series into the Christian New Testament with a “non-practicing Christian” writer pursuing the same goal. I understand that most Christian denominations discourage adherents from reading the Bible in solitude, urging some interpretive guidance, and that interpretation is even more important in Judaism denominations. But why should scripture need interpretation in the first place?

 
 
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eudemonia
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09 March 2009 08:14
 

‘But why should scripture need interpretation in the first place?’

Because it must be an easter egg hunt Carsto.

How boring this universe and our biosphere in our little corner would be if god gave us all the answers without anything left to interpretation. He wants thinking humans to figure things out, he does not want robots. He wants us to figure out that science cannot know every answer and we must take some things on faith.

Faith is the easter egg hunt and it must remain that way.

Life is just a game, didn’t you know that? grin

 
 
 
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Carstonio
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10 March 2009 03:53
 
McCreason - 09 March 2009 12:14 PM

Life is just a game, didn’t you know that? grin

(chuckle) I always got a laugh out of that type of excuse. The believers can’t prove their assumption that gods are behind it all, so they attempt to pile on more assumptions about the gods’ intentions, until their whole argument resembles a theological Jenga game.

 
bigredfutbol
 
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bigredfutbol
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13 March 2009 06:29
 

I have a copy of the book here at work (I’m a librarian) and I’ve been reading it off and on during breaks (it’s a good book for that; it’s hard to read extended narratives and so forth when I get interrupted so much!).  I’m about 1/3 of the way through it; it’s a fun read.  The guy has a good sense of humor, and the novelty of ‘non-believer encounters the reality of the Holy Book he thought he knew’ hasn’t wore out its welcome.