I’ve decided to finally sit down and read the bible, but I’m finding it to be terribly tedious. This book could benefit greatly from editing. I’m encountering a bunch of useless accounts of lineage and pointless stories that fail to advance the story or even one’s moral understanding. I’m working my way through Genesis right now. Can anyone offer suggestions as to the essentials of this section? In other words, what’s worth reading? I’m finding that a lot of it is a waste of my time.
Honestly, I think your time and effort is better spent reading a science book.
I applaud those atheists who study the bible for discussion ammo but personally I rather prefer to fill my head with science.
@Martin: I don’t agree that time is better spent reading science as I see value in investing time and effort into both sides. Believers try to justify their beliefs and influence the lives of others based on a book they are vaguely familiar with at best. As a result of their ignorance, they demonize atheists, homosexuals, influence government policies and educational practices. I think at the very least I owe it to myself to know what the book actually says when its contents are going to be twisted in a way that could potentially affect m life and others. That being said, I just want to get to the heart of the matter and skip all the BS.
Some atheists do study the bible for discussion ammo, but then they find that almost always they know the bible better than the devout believer who claims to have read it.
Better ammo, in my opinion is the fallacy that men stand up at the front of rooms every Sunday and claim to interpret the bible. If the bible really was written with inspiration for a supreme being, it would be clearer.
Revelations is, however, the transcript of an acid trip. Fun.
Yes. Skip over all the begats - LOL, but you are doing the right thing. Atheists tend to know the bible better than christians. A great guide is Answers in Genesis http://www.answersingenesis.org/
This site is serious, but it shows what is going on in a fundamentalist mind.
I only read books I would be interested in. The Pentatuch, Revalation and the occassional prophet.
It really depends on why you're reading it, I think... If you're looking for a better understanding of Christianity as a whole, then you may not be edified by actually reading the Bible I'm afraid. I think it's rather telling that even those who can agree in the holiness of the Bible can't really agree on what most of it actually means or which parts are most important.
If anything, I might suggest reading the gospels because they should sum up Christianity... If you focus on what Jesus is quoted as saying, you get the sense that he's trying to overcome a lot of fundamental and warped views of Judaism and the Old Testament at the time -- much of which is lost on fundamental Christians today. If you keep reading into the New Testament, you get into attempts to clarify and define what Christianity should be. Even the disciples couldn't quite agree on the most important take-aways from their teacher, so those of us removed a couple thousand years and translations of copies are probably unlikely to get more clarity from reading the Bible now. :p
To add on, I'd recommend reading Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus". I am halfway through it now, but it is so much more insighful than anything you'll find in the Bible. I gave up trying to read the Bible as a novel while still in Genesis. It is just god awful, so to speak.
But it gets better! So entertaining, with all the hypocrisies and general weirdness, not to mention all the killing, raping, and pillaging. I recommend sticking with it, and kind of skipping over the parts that hurt your attention span.
I've read more of it in bits and pieces over the years. Revelations was always my favorite simply because I do love apocalypse stories. It was bizarre and nonsensical, though. Nowhere near as cool as the Planet of the Apes or Mad Max.
My hope was to read it as I would a novel and I never skip ahead in novels.
That is hard to do. I think the New Testament is kind of boring, too. I liked Leviticus a lot. All the ridiculous things you can and cannot do, which sometimes overlap or change from page to page.
I've somehow managed to trudge my way through two different translations of the bible and, frankly, I've gotten absolutely nothing worthwhile out of it (except maybe the satisfaction of knowing the bible better than most of my religious friends, but they're mostly mormon so they're more concerned with the book of mormon and there's just no fucking way I'm going to read that crap. It's even MORE boring and tedious than the bible). I guess what's important depends on what you are trying to get out of the bible. Do you want a better understanding of christian beliefs, ammunition for bible-quoting wars with believers, or are you reading it as a piece of mythology and a look into the social attitudes of the people who wrote it like I did? Regardless, you should supplement it with other readings, because the bible alone isn't going to clarify anything.
To be truthful, I read the whole thing. Even the begat crap. Never understood how you can say I don't believe something if you never read it. Don't go by someone elses accounts. It's a crock of sh!t but I read the entire mess. Took four months, lol.