My parents gave me a Bible for Xmas (might be a good sign to come out to them?).

Anyhow, its one of these "Read the bible in 90 days" pieces, and I decided it might be fun to see what all the fuss is about. So, I've started to dig in.

I've gotten to the beginning of Leviticus. I've been amazed by both the contradictions and the incredible BOREDOM. Exodus is the biggest snoozefest ever after the plagues. I completely understand why most Christians have only a cursory understanding of the Bible: its the lamest read imaginable.

I was just curious if there are any other folks who have actually read significant portions of the "Good" Book, and what your thoughts were on the experience.

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Most fundy theists I know prefer to get their messages straight from the source apparently. :D

I agree however that non-theists should at the very least familiarize themselves with the general writings of most of the major religions, or at the very least read the Coles notes versions, though to be honest I am not even sure it those actually exist, but it would be great fun if they did.
i agree that its best to focus on parts that have contradictions, but if you are close reading, you can only find very narrow condradictions (ie- within a particular book/chapter). the contradictions that are most damning are the ones that are across books, or that just don't agree with present observations. like Israel being the "chosen people."

as a sidenote to that, one of my biggest pet-peeves of the american fundamentalist movement is its close association with nationalism. a lot of US fundies have the idea that america is god's chosen nation. i'm not sure when/how this started. does this exist in other countries as well?
To me, the most damning thing to those who believe the whole Bible to be true are the parts of the Mosaic law that any sane person would believe to be a horrific crime. For example, the passage below states that an unwed rape victim who is pledged to be married should be put to death alongside her attacker, and one who is not pledged to be married should be forced to marry her attacker.

Deuteronomy 22:23 If there is a young lady who is a virgin pledged to be married to a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones; the lady, because she didn't cry, being in the city; and the man, because he has humbled his neighbor's wife: so you shall put away the evil from the midst of you. 25 But if the man find the lady who is pledged to be married in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only who lay with her shall die: 26 but to the lady you shall do nothing; there is in the lady no sin worthy of death: for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and kills him, even so is this matter; 27 for he found her in the field, the pledged to be married lady cried, and there was none to save her. 28 If a man find a lady who is a virgin, who is not pledged to be married, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the lady's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.
Nazi Germany. The Aryan "Chosen" race.
i read all of genesis, exodus, leviticus, and a good portion of both numbers and deuteronomy . It is comprised of 1) rules and 2) killing. The rules are for the most part very boring, and the killing is disturbing. ultimately it was the slaughter that god enjoys that got me to question my religion and eventually leave it.
I find it's really hard to get through Judges and Kings, maybe Deuteronomy, for all the bloody slaughter. It gets so unbelievable that you find yourself desensitized to this wholly racist/ancestorist(?) garbage. Can you imagine reading about all this slaughter and getting bored? Yep. That's how it is--it makes you disgusted with yourself.
I'm extremely interested in studying religion. I feel like it will strengthen my argument as an Atheist and make my brain more juicy with sweet knowledge. However, whenever I start to read religious texts, which tend to be Mormon from my upbringing, it starts to irk me and I can feel the bitterness rising like bile.

Still, you don't have to know much of the Bible to discredit it.
Why read the bible when we have Hunter Thompson, Louis F. Celine, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc. They're so much more entertaining to read than any biblical text. I've read parts of the bible but only because I've had to. My parents put me in Catholic school for grade school and high school so they kind of rubbed my nose in the filfth but now you'd have to pay me well to pick up that thing and so far... no check today's mail and tommorrow's not looking real good either.
I agree with Jezzy- you don't have to know much of the bible to discredit it. And Dionysus, that was funny, "..have to pay me well to pick up that thing and so far... no check today's mail and tommorrow's not looking real good either." haha A childhood friend read me most of Revelations when I was staying overnight at her house. I was in 6th grade and I will never forget the utter terror I felt (at the time, like many brain-washed people, I believed the bible was god's word). As we lay in the dark, my friend drifting off to sleep, I was awake, tears streaming down my face in abject fear. My other major encounter with the bible was in 9th grade PUBLIC school when we read major sections of it in my honors English class as it was considered "literature." Littered my brain is what it did.
I think my original post was overly ambitious. I got into Leviticus and gave up on the old testement. I've skipped ahead to the new, but mostly just read the good friday/easter stuff. Some amazing contradictions there, especially since the resurrection is the cornerstone of christian theology. For instance:

Matthew 28: 2 women (Mary Magdalene + other Mary) go to tomb (which is sealed) at dawn. Violent earthquake, angel rolls back the stone and sits on it (outside tomb). Angel says, "Do not be afraid ... He is risen ... Go quickly and tell his disciples." Women joyously run to find them, bump into Jesus (yeah, that guy).

Mark 16: Same 2 women + Salome (whoever that is...) go to tomb at dawn. When they get there, the stone is already rolled away! They enter the tomb, where a man in white (maybe an angel, but never identified as such) is already there. Gives the same schtick, women flee from the tomb, but this time terrified. Then, somehow in verse 9, right away when Jesus arises he appears to Mary Magdalene. (Im not sure how she forgets this by the time she goes to the tomb with Mary and Salome. You'd think she could've saved them the trouble.)

Luke 24: Unspecified number of women (although this time Joanna is with them) go to tomb, which has been opened (what about the earthquake? I kinda liked that part...). The tomb is empty as the enter, but suddenly two (2!!) men in "clothes that gleamed like lightening" appear. They don't tell the women not to be afraid, but admonish them for looking for the living among the dead. Jesus is no where to be found at this point, not until some of the menfolk go to check out the tomb.

John 20: Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb. (Alone, supposedly. At least, if Jesus' mother was there, one would expect that tidbit to have made it into the story. Oh, also it is still dark. No dawn yet.) She sees the tomb already open, gets scared, runs back to find Simon Peter and a second disciple. Footrace to the tomb. They go in, look around, and understand what has happened. (-Um, what about those angellic beings from the other books? -Oh, yeah, we decided that bit just made the story too busy, so we trimmed it down a bit. -I see. Well why did you add all that mess about the footrace? -I like drama -Drama?!?!?! What about the earthquake? What about the heavenly host descending and proclaiming the Good News? -Eh, thats rubbish. I wanted a footrace. -You know John, you're a bit of a wanker.)
It's highly disturbing, isn't it? I sometimes wonder what other people hear when they read the Bible that they don't see what we do. I don't really understand how things like "man is at the head of woman and god is at the head of man" translates to "men and women are a team".

My experience isn't nearly as haunting but it's thorough. As a kid I avoided church, but didn't think about it too much. I remember when I was probably around 12, I read that having lustful thoughts is as bad as having sex. I had a pretty big moral objection to this, even though in my girlish fantasies, my husband and I slept in separate twin beds. Oh, childhood.

I went to an LDS private school for about 5 years in 2nd through 7th grades, and it was in 7th grade that I first have conscious memory of rejecting my religion. It was only about last year I plunged to full-out Atheism, and I've been gathering material since-- It's almost too easy when you know that two blue whales can't fit and survive on an ark.

Your school is very crafty. It would be illegal to read the Bible, but I guess if they call it literature and not doctrine it's okay. We wrote research papers yet again in English this year, in a persuasive essay format. I did mine defending gay rights. The problem? I live in a very conservative area, like I've mentioned its Mormon-- and Mormons are famous for their prop 8 support. The larger problem was that we had to present our ideas in front of the class and have a mini debate. Our teacher is liberal (thank the stars), and she actually had to give a disclaimer at the start because there had been some issues with this subject in other classes. This girl who very nearly wrote hers with the opposing thesis to mine said "I know there's separation of church and state and everything, but it's 'Adam and Eve' not 'Adam and Evan'". It was a bit tricky to word my reply without offending. I wanted to bring up Adam's first wife, and the fact that many scholars believe he was screwing the animals, and should not be used as an example for "proper" sexuality. I wanted to bring up that the Bible condemns shellfish, and supports slave trade. But instead I told her that separation of church and state does exist, and I'm not really religious, but Adam and Eve were the only possible match to procreate blah blah etc...

My replies always end up far too long. I'm a rambler. :(



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