Friday, April 30, 2010


The New Testament is read, and the Old Testament is partly gone.  I stopped reading after Job and have now resolved to pick up the tome again and finish the Old Testament.  At the moment I am working through Psalms and it feels like reading People magazine when one is used to The Economist.  Psalms is all short sound bytes, quick prayers to God to smash the enemies of the author and cast all those the author deems unworthy into death.

It is a much quicker read both due to the nature of the writing and the formatting of the text.  Instead of complex and twisted tales and instructions it is simply page after page of begging for mercy and desperate wishes for the destruction of others.  Interestingly the Psalms also often refer to the current generation being wicked and falling from grace, which is of course something that will strike a chord in every single generation that hears it from 4000 years ago to the modern day.  It is either true that every succeeding generation is more and more depraved, violent and self centered than the generation before it or every generation is willfully blind to the fact that people don't change all that much.

It is a bit of a struggle sometimes to continue reading.  I end up thinking that I have read the big stories, I have experienced the whole New Testament, is there really anything to be gained in hundreds of pages of songs praising God and asking for his intercession?  I suppose that I don't know the answer; it is not clear to me whether or not this additional reading will actually have any useful revelations contained within it.  There may be some pride at stake in that it isn't particularly special to say "I read *most* of the Bible" since that clearly implies skipping the parts I don't like or just reading what I already agreed with.  It is far more impactful to say that I have read the entire thing, every bit, even the boring parts I don't like much.  Given that at least in part this reading project is about being able to effectively argue about the Bible with those that thump it this point is probably a significant one.  If for all my interest in religious thought I am unwilling to read the Bible it seems like a stretch to expect other people to do so even if they claim to use it as an authority for all moral decisions.

It will be a relief when this is done.  Plowing through all this just for the ability to say I did so is certainly a chore.

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