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.
True, Richard - though Confucius said basically the same, "do unto others" thing 300 years earlier, he did indeed phrase it differently. The biblical phrasing is unique.
Don't suckered into a fight you can't win. Treat all men well. Don't start fights. Don't go looking for trouble. It is hardly anything new.
If you are impressed by the English translation of the golden rule in Greek then you should actually use that translation. It is correct the idea of far from new.
But at best that is two decent ideas out of a half million words or so.
As to Paul the interesting this is his church started in what is now SE Turkey and NW Syria. That is quite a ways from bibleland without a car.
The practice of Christianity is nihilism. -- Nietzsche
Somewhere between 50-65 CE, Saul of Tarsus (aka "saint" Paul) founder of the xian cult writes to an underground cell of proto-xians in Corinth, Greece about what makes him and therefore them special.
He markets to the vast underclass of the eastern Roman Empire an easy-to-own inverted snobbery of anti-intelligence, anti-education, anti-refinement -- it is the essence of xian hatred of "sin" projected onto the world -- nihilism:
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. 26 Brothers [sic!] think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—<i>and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are. . . .1Cor1:25-28.
That is -- We stink, but stinking is godly.
do we have to study Karl Marx (not as funny as groucho, and less musical talent than chico or harpo) to not be communist?
I've been reading the Bible for several years now. No, not several read-throughs over several years. It has taken me several years to get through it once.
I have to put the thing away after every few chapters/books and read other things for a few months. It's just that bad of a book.
And I'm not even talking about content. It's just terribly written and constructed. Obviously, much of that comes from its patchwork origins, and the intervening translations and edits, but it's now just a terrible book.
Of course, the content is also equally terrible, but I don't think I need to cite any examples here.
I have read the Bible extensively, all the way through more than once, and some parts several, even scores of, times. My first readings were when I was a credulous child, not understanding what was wrong with it, nor having any concept of testing it. I believed it because people I trusted insisted that it was true.
Of course, early on, I skipped over parts in the "OT" that were uninteresting or hard to understand, but focused on the thrilling parts: conflict and victory! Similarly, in the "NT", I focused on the admirable Jesus, not the theology in writings by Paul.
Eventually, as an adult, I had the discipline to actually study it, was disturbed by many things, and became a heretical believer, still clinging to faith through every extra-biblical support being shredded, but eventually succumbing to objective criticism demonstrating the unreliability of those "holy scriptures".
I am grateful to Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty, Kenneth Humphreys, and others, for clear and skillful demonstration that I had been deluded. I regret that it took so long.
I've read parts of the Old Testament and New, but I've never felt inclined to read the whole thing. I'm all about intrinsic merit, and the Bible doesn't seem to have much of that in line with my interests. It has contextual value in that it is really popular in my culture, but the same is true of Fifty Shades of Grey.
It's a quaint, historical piece of literature that speaks volumes about oral history passed down through cultures and history like a game of bizarre telephone.