Regrettably, I am one of the growing numbers of Americans who do not believe in God. I say regrettable because I would very much like there to be a God and hope to one day discover that my lack of faith is errant and misguided.
Just as long as God is not as angry and vengeful as The Bible depicts him.
Despite my lack of faith, I have read The Bible, front to back, three times in my life, and I recently began a fourth reading for a new project that I’m working on. As a result, I often find myself possessing more knowledge of Christianity’s primary source document than many of the Christians who so vehemently affirm their belief in the religion based almost solely upon this book.
In fact, I think one of the surest ways to create an atheist is to ask a person to read The Bible from cover to cover. All it takes is the discovery of two different Genesis stories to kindle doubt.
I’ve asked my religious friends why they’re weekly church service doesn't entertain the idea of spending a year reading from Genesis to Revelation rather than choosing random passages of Scripture each week. I know these passages are meant to support the sermon, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that your congregation has actually read the entire Bible at least once?
But I suspect that the ministers and priests know what I know:
The Bible does not tell a pretty story, or even a consistent one.
This is why I am not surprised by recent studies indicating that those with a belief in God subconsciously bestow him with their own opinions in order to “validate and justify” them.
It’s fascinating research seeming to indicate that people assign their own moral compass to God, regardless of what The Bible actually says.
But as I said, I am not surprised. In the past, I’ve met Christians who believe in reincarnation, karma, multiple Gods, a vengeful, eye-for-an-eye Jesus, and even idol worship. In all these cases, I’m willing to guess that these people did not take the time to read The Bible from cover to cover, because if none of these things can be found in the book, which is supposed to be the word of God.
This is not to say that I think people should avoid reading The Bible or abandon their faith just because the book is potentially flawed. Even though the story that The Bible tells doesn't not always mesh well with the religion that it supports, it’s a great book full of epic heroes, dastardly villains, and inspirational text.
Four out of five stars. And I’m a tough critic when it comes to rating books.