I'm sure a lot of us have read it.  I'm curious about your reactions to it.  I read it a while ago, and found it disturbing.

I think the Christians in my life thought I was actually looking for their God in it.  I tried to be as open-minded as I could, trying to see what they see in it.  I found it to be violently, depressingly narcissistic.  When I told the Christians my thoughts, they dismissed the OT and praised the NT.

I found the NT to be as insipidly nauseating as the OT.  I had to stop reading it somewhere around Paul's Letter to Some Misguided People Somewhere before I imploded.  

My response to one particularly rabid Christian is that I have read it, and if his deity had wanted to get through to me it had its chance.  He said I need to study it with assistance from somebody who knows how to interpret it correctly.  

Nope!  Call me stubborn, defiant, possessed... whatever.  I say that if people can find guidance and comfort in the Bible, good for them.   I haven't - it's not the book for me. 

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Diane,

Well, as a student of the Bible and not a Christian I can say that you found what you were looking for, in a sense, and you should be happy about that. It wasn't guidance or comfort you were looking for, and I'm not entirely sure what capacity you could have imagined to find those there, but I digress, it wasn't the point. You found what you were looking for.

Certainly, but I did try to allow for the possibility that I might find something unexpected. I can't be where I'm not at.

Diane,

Did you get to the part where God was in hell? Or Jesus in hell on earth and then going to hell in heaven? Or the part where there will be a resurrection of the unrighteous as well as the righteous?

Did you get to the part where the Bible makes it clear that the earth couldn't have been created only 6,000 years ago in 6 literal days? Lets see . . . that was Genesis 1:1.

Wait... what?  I know David might not be around here now or ever again, but I just have to say this post brought my brain to a screeching halt.  Did you hear that?  It was the sound of my frontal lobes crashing up against the inside of my skull.  

The old study it with someone knows how to weasel out of what it says gambit.

Simple issue here, if people didn't mean what they said why did they say it? How do those who know what it really means know? Who told them? And why were they credible? What makes one guess better than another?

Another thing you will find if you actually read exactly what it says there is no monotheism in either the OT or NT. It simply is not there. In fact some people claiming private revelation invented the term henotheism to claim there is something like it there when there is not.

The words are not only interpreted in terms of later theology but often translated in terms of later theology. 

A trivial NT example is Jesus Christ. Christ simply means anointed. But you never find Jesus the Anointed. It is left as though it were some kind of special title. Anointing was a very common thing for all the ancient religions and of course it could have only been done by a priest which excludes Jesus.

I agree Matt.  I have always been frustrated with the challenge I've been given by Christians to study the Bible in some better or more effective way.  I don't WANT to study it.  I think I gave it all the consideration it merits.

What I wish, and I am beginning to realize the futility of this, is that Christians would just let it go at that.  Some do, and it is so nice.  Others have to insist that I'm being stubborn for refusing to devote hours and hours to trying to understand it the way they want me to understand it.

Don't get me wrong - I will happily devote hours and hours to learning about things that interest me or things I need to learn for some reason.  I am reading a book about Krakatoa right now, for instance.  I don't need to know about conduction zones or plate tectonics but I find it fascinating how scientists now understand the mechanics and physics behind volcanic activity.  I am not a scientist and I don't always understand what I am reading but it is intrinsically motivating for me.

I understand that if I knew more about ancient history, sociology, and theology, etc., I might have a better understanding of what the writers of the Bible were saying.  Here's the issue though: I don't care. 

Maybe Jon Krakauer or Mary Roach should rewrite the Bible for those of us who need a different understanding of it.  Maybe Christians who want to convert everybody need a clearer, more easily accessed message.  I don't know.  I'm not stupid, but I don't get it.  

I have actually had a Christian tell me my intellect is getting in the way of me understanding Jesus.  Damn right it is. I understand knowing things on a gut, instinctual level - I can be very simple.  But yes, I do use my brain.  If I have to turn off my brain to understand God then I will probably never understand.

Dang, that was supposed to be subduction zones I don't need to know about.  It's a good thing I don't need to know about them

All you really need to know, is that a volcano is a zit on the face of the earth.

You might first stop hanging out with them. But then you might express it to them the way you said it here, " I think I gave it all the consideration it merits." You might also point out there is no point to finding hidden meanings as they are so easy to find.

As to ancient history and such, I have spent my time in hell on that specifically in dealing with bible believers although as a sideline to general ancient history. I posted the intro here. http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/made-in-alexandria-the-ori.... It has a link to the full discussion.

And that often encourages a group of fake atheists who still have some emotional involvement in the existence of the Land of Oz, aka biblical Israel. They are the most annoying of all as they almost instantly start playing the antisemite card even though they are not Jews.

I try to not seek them out to hang out with  but I seem to have been working with an inordinately high number of them.  I am leaving that job now so who knows?  Maybe God is done trying to reach out to me.

You need to learn a new language, Diane - allow me to introduce you to, "Theist." Translation from Theist to English, of, "He said I need to study it with assistance from somebody who knows how to interpret it correctly," is, "You need to study it with somebody who can tell you what to think."

Bilinguality is an asset.

I agree.  The ironic part is that I never tell these theists that maybe they should try reading The Grand Design, Why Evolution is True, or The Story of Science with a guide to help them understand them better, even though they frequently ask questions whose answers can be found in those books.

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