12 April 2015

The Bible

Let's start with the obvious.

When I was a kid, my parents made me read the Bible every night before going to bed. They'd sit there and listen to me read aloud. I'm sure we talked about it, but I can't remember any particular discussions.

What I do remember is liking Esther and Proverbs. I think I liked Proverbs because the chapters were short and most of what was written there made sense. And Esther was just a good story. Though when I look at it now, I see Mordecai as kind of awful. He eavesdrops and manipulates, and we're supposed to celebrate him for that.

I had a King James bible, leather with my name in gilt on the cover. Words of Christ in red and all that. Later, when I was in private school, I was required to use an NIV bible. But I preferred the heightened language in my King James, and I also like the index and concordance and all the colorful maps in the back.

During church, I would happily thumb through my bible and find all the interesting bits. Because I loved Indiana Jones, I would look up everything I could find about the Ark of the Covenant. And I liked parables, and that story about the demons going into the pigs. Jezebel, too, being thrown from the tower so that only her hands were left, or something like that? Prophets, on the other hand, were supremely boring.

At some point my parents bought me a Life Application Bible. This might have been when I graduated and was going off to university, but I'm not sure. Basically, a Life Application Bible is filled with footnotes explaining how to apply scripture to, well, life.

Did the bible influence my life? I'm sure it has, but being brought up in a religious household probably had more influence than the bible itself. I grew up accepting what I was told and taught, mostly because I had no reason not to accept it. These teachings did not conflict with anything in me. It wasn't until much later, when I began looking at things through a historical lens, and when I began recognizing streams of hatred in some of what was being said, that I stepped away.

I'll admit, I no longer read my bible regularly. It's on my shelf, and I sometimes go to it for a half-remembered scripture, just to see if I've got it right. But while I like to think I live a moral life, and a spiritual one, I no longer live a very religious one.

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