Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Zadoc Reads The Bible: Introduction

Before I begin, let me stress that it is not my intention to offend anyone, instead my intention is that everyone should keep the same open mind reading my post as I'm trying to keep while writing this.

For those of you who don't know, I am an atheist and have struggled to come to terms with that term, word, and meaning for years while defining myself as agnostic. I started doubting my parents' religion when I was about 8 or 9 years old (sometime after my first communion) and let go of those beliefs by the time I was turning 14 and was faced with the catholic ceremony of confirmation.

As I child, I had little reason to doubt what my parents had raised me to believe - they were (and still are) wise and intelligent people and provided me many answers to the burgeoning questions I would have growing up. Coming to the realization that Santa Claus was not real - despite my parents insistence to the contrary - started to plant the seed that not everything my parents had taught me was rooted in fact and truth. What would actually open the flood gates to further critical thinking however, was a gift that I received for my first communion - a children's bible.

Growing up I never doubted the possibility of an invisible man in the sky who knew everything, was all powerful, all knowing, could be everywhere at once and was full of love. Following that belief, I didn't think it was impossible for God to have a human son who could perform miracles, yet have mortality - as well as the power to transcend that mortality. What really started to sound fishy to me were these other stories that I had not heard much of - if at all - that were represented here in my children's bible.

Stories of people living over 800 years(!); people building a tower to heaven (the tower of Babel) and having it struck down by an angry and vengeful God who punished the people by giving them different languages to speak; stories of a man and his immediate family building a giant boat, managing to gather at least a pair of *every* animal on the planet and get them all onto the boat, and everyone and every creature surviving on this boat for months while an angry vengeful god commits mass genocide and mass killings with a world wide flood; a man who speaks to god in the form of a burning bush who battles with Egyptian pharaohs in a game of "miracles vs magic" with both sides turning staffs into snakes and conjuring frogs, culminating in the same staff being able to part the Red Sea.

Anyways, at this point and further throughout my life, I began to see the bible as pretty far fetched and probably meant more metaphorically as parables than as historical. I began to question more of the world around me and became aware of the many legends, myths, and ancient religions that preceded Judeo-Christianity where it was clear to see what was borrowed and adopted as part of their own story. I was exposed to many bible verses that were downright appalling, sickening, misogynistic, and downright hateful. This was in stark contrast to what I had been raised to believe about my family and church and their concept of the bible.

However, although I have a general grasp of the stories in the bible and have read several passages, I have never read the bible from start to finish. This is the actual point of this new blog entry - to start fresh, and read the bible from Genesis to Revelations. So far I have made it up to Leviticus, but I would like to go back and give you my impressions, thoughts, and insights on Genesis and Exodus as well and hopefully challenge you to think about these chapters yourselves and to give me your thoughts if you feel that I might be missing or may have misread something.

I realize that I might miss some meanings of certain chapters, verses, or quotes without the context of having read the entire book, so when I am finished with the entire book I will return and give a recap on each chapter.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is quite an undertaking. I've tried to read the Bible from start to finish several times but could never get through it. I could not get past the long boring parts that occur between all of the bloodshed. You know, the "He begat him, and they begat him" stuff.

    Also (I may have told you this before) I started doubting the Bible at about the same age you did. My parents used to make me go to Sunday School, where they would teach us Bible stories. I was a big fan of dinosaurs as a kid, and had many books about them at home. So, there was one famous incident when I asked the Sunday School teacher why the Bible said that animals and humans were created in one week but scientists say that dinosaurs were here millions of years before humans. I think she looked at me like I was the son of satan or something. I was about 6 or 7 years old.

    Anyway, looking forward to your take on this book. Thanks for doing this.