Believe it or not, I do like the Bible. I may complain about bits of it, but it is actually a beautiful series of books. Granted, I think that Judges and Numbers were just thrown in there to up the word count and Ecclesiastes isn’t to be advised if you’re prone to depression but on the whole there can be found some wonderful writing and amazing stories within it.
It’s when people start to treat it as if it’s a science text book and a rule book for life that we run into problems. There could be a series of 50 posts on the inconsistencies of the Bible, but I’ll just say that if it is in fact inerrant then I’m concerned that Gods grasp on his own reality isn’t that flash, given that the Earth is not flat and doesn’t sit on pillars, as several sections claim.
As I see it, it’s not the Bible that ruins the Bible. It’s people that ruin the Bible.
If you focus on the ‘red letter’ bits; the things that are attributed to Jesus, then you have a much better chance of making the world a better place rather than using the Bible as justification to teach creationism and to hate on gays. Using the Bible as a tool to persecute and opress kind of make you the anti Jesus (in my opinion, of course).
I’d always thought that the New Testament was written an impossibly long time after Jesus lived. It was part of my atheist manifesto – that it was based on rumour and speculation long after the fact. But actually, Paul’s letter were begun only 20 years after the death of Jesus and the Gospel of Mark was written between 35 and 40 years after his death. This is a time frame similar to my writing down stories that my father has told me about my grandfather; living memory within a culture that placed great importance on the relibility of oral history.
When it comes right down to it, Jesus wants a relationship with those who suffer. God cares about the weak and demands justice. Jesus and God want us to care for the poor and the needy. Not just those far away, but those we encounter everyday.
How hard can it be to just be good to each other, for God’s sake?