How often do you read the Christian Bible?

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How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Every day
3
3%
Several times a week
6
5%
Once a week
3
3%
Couple times a month
0
No votes
Occasionally
13
11%
Rarely
36
31%
Never
54
47%
 
Total votes: 115

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How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:51 am UTC

How often do you read the Christian Bible? I am curious to find out how much the Christian Bible is read among the xkcd crowd. You might also post a reply describing in what capacity you read it (religious devotion, interest in great literature, skepticism, coursework, κτλ...).

I read a few times a week, always on Sundays at church as a part of Christian worship. Going through Bible college and seminary I have read the entire Bible for coursework as well.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby tiny » Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:02 am UTC

Just yesterday my SO asked me when I'm going to throw away my bible, but I keep it for research (I'm about to write a novel with a very religious character in it), plus it's part of humanity's history and some historical things can't be understood without knowledge of the christian myths.
I never read it, though. Sometimes I flip through the pages out of curiosity, but I'm usually taken aback by what I read so that I put it back on the shelf and am happy that I was born in a time where I can reject religion without fear of punishment.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Jack Saladin » Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:13 am UTC

I've tried to read it a few times, just so when some religious nutter is all like "have you even read the Bible, heathen?", I could be all like "huzzah! Yes, in fact I have!"

But goddamn that shit is boring. Flag.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby JayDee » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:33 am UTC

I've read bits of it. I tried from the start once, as I'm sure many people do. Didn't get very far that time. I've read most of the gospels, and plenty of bits of the NT when I've seen them referenced somewhere. Oh, and I read Revelations back in '99. That shit's whack.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Dobblesworth » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:07 am UTC

Now and again I'll have a read of a Gideons' Bible left in a hotel room*, but since I went Agnostic/Deist from Roman Catholic I haven't had a good sit down and perusal of "Ezekiel begat (sp?) Job, Job begat Ishmael, Ishmael begat Isaiah (ad nauseam)". Although I do intend to read Revelations at some point to make up my own mind on its interpretations, rather than relying on documentaries by the Nostradamus Society of Liechtenstein for Discovery Channel for the fragments of text which, of course, mean that Dubya is the malicious intellect behind a 27-headed feathered serpent of Baal.

* Side note: how much do the Gideons Society spend for booking a room in every hotel worldwide for a member to stay at and leave a Bible behind on departure?

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby vqcg » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:14 am UTC

I haven't read all of the bible, but probably 5 or 6 times a year I will either look up something specific, or read a portion of it out of interest.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Moo » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:15 am UTC

I haven't seen a Gideon Bible in a UK Hotel room, like ever*

I read my Bible less often than I'd like to admit, atm around once a weak**, but once my awesome hand made copper embossed cover journal arrives that I want to use for notes and study, it should go up to 4-7 times a weak - ideally 7 but I'm making allowances for my lack of self dicipline and any sort of routine in the mornings/evenings.


*i.e. in the two years I've lived here as something other than an empoverished, hostel staying backpaker.

**this is excl church and cell group attendance.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby existential_elevator » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:17 am UTC

As much as I'm strongly non-Christian, a lot of the Bible is quite interesting. I chose occasionally. I have formally studied Luke's Gospel, and at some point I definitely intend to do a thorough reading of Acts. It's great knowing the Bible well - it means I can do stuff like point out the Book [or Song] of Solomon, which is in between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah, and is one of the oldest known erotic poems. Some editions omit it, and if I remember rightly I think it was banned at one point. It's good reading. The Gnostic Gospels are also very good reading, even though they are not strictly speaking a part of the Bible. I recommend at least having a look at the end of the Gospel of Thomas; it is far stranger than anything elsewhere in the New Testament.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Dream » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:47 pm UTC

I'm boycotting the Bible until they restore the apocrypha. It's all about the Book Of Tobit.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Semidi » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:05 pm UTC

I read parts of it when I forget it. It's incredibly important stuff to know if one wants to study Western Literature (like I did, not so much anymore).

I don't think some of the "Old" Testament is actually sort of good when one approaches it like they would other ancient literature.

The New Testament, much less so, The Gospels are OK, Jude and Revelations are trippy enough to be cool.

About 85% percent of it though, is rather dull, and I couldn't ever see myself ever approach it as anything more than a work of fiction.

Now the Book of Mormon. That's a shitty book, that I've been unable to finish.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:17 pm UTC

Dream wrote:I'm boycotting the Bible until they restore the apocrypha. It's all about the Book Of Tobit.

Fear not, my friend! Only the Protestants typically have no apocrypha bound in with their Bibles. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions still include Tobit. The New Revised Standard, New American, and New Jerusalem versions all have decent, recent English translations.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Kizyr » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:19 pm UTC

The Bible will always seem dull if approached from the point-of-view of a novel or even a historical document. I figure certain things--like descriptions of lineage--are in there for largely irrelevant reasons (at least, now-irrelevant reasons). It really is one of those books where skipping around is, I think, the best method of reading it. Also, I prefer to approach it trying to take into context when it was written--so, if I read any of the Old Testament, I try to put it in the context of it being written 4000+ years ago.

Anyway, I've read through Genesis, some of Leviticus and Exodus, Job, some of Psalms (probably my favorite of the OT books), the four Gospels (Matthew is probably my favorite of the NT books), and Revelations (do not like). Oh, and the New International Version, please; I don't like deciphering KJV.

I should mention that I'm not Christian. But I find it interesting from a religious and sociocultural standpoint. Though for that same reason, I don't have any overwhelming desire to read all the books of the Bible any more than I have a desire to read all of the Mahabharata. KF
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:14 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:The Bible will always seem dull if approached from the point-of-view of a novel or even a historical document. I figure certain things--like descriptions of lineage--are in there for largely irrelevant reasons (at least, now-irrelevant reasons). It really is one of those books where skipping around is, I think, the best method of reading it. Also, I prefer to approach it trying to take into context when it was written--so, if I read any of the Old Testament, I try to put it in the context of it being written 4000+ years ago.

Anyway, I've read through Genesis, some of Leviticus and Exodus, Job, some of Psalms (probably my favorite of the OT books), the four Gospels (Matthew is probably my favorite of the NT books), and Revelations (do not like). Oh, and the New International Version, please; I don't like deciphering KJV.

As it turns out, some genealogies in the Bible end up being quite important for the Christian story (e.g. determining that Jesus was a descendant of David, etc.). There are also some ironic tidbits, including foreigners (Ruth), prostitutes (Rahab), and a woman impregnated by the king whose husband was later murdered (Bathsheba). :shock: But there are some very dull parts, including in Exodus when the tabernacle schematic is given to Moses, and when it is repeated (almost verbatim) a few chapters later when they actually build the thing.

I am curious about what you do not like about Revelation. Also, I agree, the modern translations are much better for today's audience than the KJV (and also have a better textual base). Nothing gets me more worked up than the King James only crowd.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Robin S » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

I'm interested in the ancient history of the Middle East, particularly in the Biblical era, and in the origins of religions and sacred texts, so I read bits of it occasionally.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:59 pm UTC

I read it less often than I'd like these days, but I have read the whole thing (though I'll admit to skimming the lineages). Sadly, I most often find myself using it in debates against other Christians, who have not read the entire thing and instead flash around a few out-of-context quotes to support their views.

Like many other things, it makes much more sense if read in order with a thorough understanding of the time period.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:Like many other things, it makes much more sense if read in order with a thorough understanding of the time period.

Which order would that be? I only ask because there are several options for how the Old Testament books can be ordered, and the New Testament has a fairly arbitrary organization (Gopels, Acts, Paul's letters in order of length, catholic epistles, Revelation).

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby -hartley » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:57 pm UTC

Along with the readings at weekly masses (I'm a Catholic), I read through the New Testament last summer as part of a New Testament course, and I'm now working through the NT again because I'm taking a course on the Life and Letters of Paul.

For the people who see it as boring: It might seem boring, but it's not meant to entertain. Hegel's writings are slow and thick, but that doesn't mean that reading a good chunk of his philosophy isn't good for you. I just reread Romans 1-11 yesterday for my class, and I was riveted as I followed Paul's reasoning about Jews, Gentiles, and how all of this stuff fits together. I also read chunks of Psalms here and there, and they're quite beautiful when given a good translation.

On the other hand, I've tried reading Genesis straight through. Couldn't do it. I guess that I'll have to take a good class to be able to better understand more of the Old Testament.

ndansmith wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:Like many other things, it makes much more sense if read in order with a thorough understanding of the time period.

Which order would that be? I only ask because there are several options for how the Old Testament books can be ordered, and the New Testament has a fairly arbitrary organization (Gopels, Acts, Paul's letters in order of length, catholic epistles, Revelation).


Yeah, I found it wild when I learned that Paul's letters were written before the Gospels.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby poleboy » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:07 am UTC

I've only read bits for reference or school. I think the writing is a bit too heavy to read it casually. And since I'm not religious, I'm afraid I don't feel very obligated to do it.

Fun fact: Due to school assignments, I have actually read more of the Qur'an than the bible. Excerpts, sure but still.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby steewi » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:11 am UTC

I know most of the commonly referenced bits (not by heart, but well enough) that I can conduct conversations without the need of a bible present. I still don't read it very often; I only do when I want to check a more obscure reference, or confirm something I'm not sure of. I'm not one to read it simply because, or out of duty.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby John O))) » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:16 am UTC

I've read the Bible twice, once as a Christian, and once after I became an atheist.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Dream » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:06 am UTC

ndansmith wrote:
Dream wrote:I'm boycotting the Bible until they restore the apocrypha. It's all about the Book Of Tobit.

Fear not, my friend! Only the Protestants typically have no apocrypha bound in with their Bibles. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions still include Tobit. The New Revised Standard, New American, and New Jerusalem versions all have decent, recent English translations.

Actually, I only read the bible as an insight into its use as a subject in art. Works from the Book of Tobit were quite common, but it wasn't in the edition of the bible I had at the time Which is strange because I was in Ireland with all the Catholic action there. Must have been a calvinist saboteur at the printers...
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Snoof » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:40 am UTC

Whenever I need to win an argument with an evangelist.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Ramses IV » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:29 pm UTC

What Snoof said. But that's not very often, and I don't really lke it as a book (of literature or Holy Truth). So "Rarely" pushing "Never".
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby 0xDEADBEEF » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:06 pm UTC

I pick one up now and then, and try to find the part where Jesus says all that stuff about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution. I still haven't gotten there yet. I'm still at the part where Jesus was a cool dude, I guess before he turned all Christian and shit.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:22 pm UTC

ndansmith wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:Like many other things, it makes much more sense if read in order with a thorough understanding of the time period.

Which order would that be? I only ask because there are several options for how the Old Testament books can be ordered, and the New Testament has a fairly arbitrary organization (Gopels, Acts, Paul's letters in order of length, catholic epistles, Revelation).


Even though it wasn't written in chronological order, it makes more sense read that way.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Moo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:45 pm UTC

0xDEADBEEF wrote:I pick one up now and then, and try to find the part where Jesus says all that stuff about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution. I still haven't gotten there yet. I'm still at the part where Jesus was a cool dude, I guess before he turned all Christian and shit.
None of those were Jesus. Old Testament.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

Moo wrote:
0xDEADBEEF wrote:I pick one up now and then, and try to find the part where Jesus says all that stuff about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution. I still haven't gotten there yet. I'm still at the part where Jesus was a cool dude, I guess before he turned all Christian and shit.
None of those were Jesus. Old Testament.

Well let's see here:

- The idea of "gay marriage" probably wasn't even conceivable in ancient Israel. Homosexuality is, of course, not permitted in the Old Testament.
- There is nothing about abortion per se in the Old Testament. If a man strikes a woman and causes a miscarriage, it was not considered murder. However, there are various scriptures about God knowing individuals in the womb, and are therefore used as an argument against abortion.
- Evolution is not addressed directly. However, the Old Testament does make a claim about God as the creator, so that may be contrary to some people's view of evolution as the origin of species.

I have never understood the line of reasoning that "Jesus did not talk about x, therefore x is not really important." First of all, what we have are Jesus' recorded words (not everything he said), and a small portion at that (according to John). That does not mean Jesus never talked about a certain subject. Second, if Jesus was silent on a subject, so what? How do we interpret that?

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby kanavazk » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

My father's part of my family is Christian, so when I was little (uh, six or seven) I read the bible from the beginning to the end two or three times. After that I only read bits whenever I go to church (I don't go to church often).
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby nsmjohn » Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:33 pm UTC

Semidi wrote:Now the Book of Mormon. That's a shitty book, that I've been unable to finish.

Oh come on, I take exception to that. The Book of Mormon is... is... wait, it did suck ass. I can never get past Alma if i remember correctly. The whole olive tree thing in Mosiah(?) pissed me off too.

As far as the bible is concerned I don't think I have touched one since I stopped going to church 2 years ago. Certainly didn't read it much outside of church. The most involvement I ever had with its text was during Mormon Seminary in highschool. We spent a year studying the Old Testament and a year studying the New Testament... granted, I slept most of the time. I have tried reading it cover to cover but I don't find it to be a very compelling read. Might look into Genesis and Revelations though.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby cyberblade » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

I've read it through (genealogies and all) twice... Other than that I've read most of it many more times, in pieces here and there. I think the biggest difficulty with most people is that it is such an old document that almost none of the culture (and therefore a lot of the language) makes sense unless you've studied it. I read a bit every week or so... More often I'll browse for an intertesting passage and then do a brief hermeneutical study of it. (There is some wonderful software if you really want to understand the context, and what the original word(s) were/meant-I have the Logos Scholar's Library, SIlver Edition. Costs a bit, but much, much cheaper than all those books in hardcover...)

I don't think I can stress that point enough-regardless of whether you're reading the Bible as a religious guide, philosophical book, historical book, or whatever reason. You have to be able to understand what the original writers meant. That doesn't mean you need to learn Greek or Hebrew-there are plenty of dictionaries, lexicons and such. (I should know, my greek is horrible-and hebrew non-existant). There are plenty of sites that also have these hosted. Whatever passage you do chose to look at needs to be properly analized and interpreted with regards to the time period and culture. Yes, most people here probably know that-but how many of you have done the proper research that should be done when reading a 2000 year old, translated text.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Asleep or Wrong » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:21 am UTC

i think i left off at psalms a month or two ago. they're beautiful individually but as a book it's sort of difficult to wade through them and i don't want to do them a disservice by reading them automaton style.

nonchristian reading for edification.
e: after having posted this i read psalm 48. i think i'll do one a day. slowly up-building.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Moo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:23 am UTC

ndansmith wrote:
Moo wrote:
0xDEADBEEF wrote:I pick one up now and then, and try to find the part where Jesus says all that stuff about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution. I still haven't gotten there yet. I'm still at the part where Jesus was a cool dude, I guess before he turned all Christian and shit.
None of those were Jesus. Old Testament.
...
I have never understood the line of reasoning that "Jesus did not talk about x, therefore x is not really important." First of all, what we have are Jesus' recorded words (not everything he said), and a small portion at that (according to John). That does not mean Jesus never talked about a certain subject. Second, if Jesus was silent on a subject, so what? How do we interpret that?
I don't think you interpreted as such but just for the sake of clarity, I personally did not at all mean "Jesus did not talk about those things therefore they not really important" in my response. A glib (but incorrect) statement got a glib (correcting) response, that's all.

I completely agree with you; the idea that the NT somehow voids the OT is a very ill-informed one.
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby cyberblade » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:15 pm UTC

Moo wrote:
ndansmith wrote:
Moo wrote:
0xDEADBEEF wrote:I pick one up now and then, and try to find the part where Jesus says all that stuff about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution. I still haven't gotten there yet. I'm still at the part where Jesus was a cool dude, I guess before he turned all Christian and shit.
None of those were Jesus. Old Testament.
...
I have never understood the line of reasoning that "Jesus did not talk about x, therefore x is not really important." First of all, what we have are Jesus' recorded words (not everything he said), and a small portion at that (according to John). That does not mean Jesus never talked about a certain subject. Second, if Jesus was silent on a subject, so what? How do we interpret that?
I don't think you interpreted as such but just for the sake of clarity, I personally did not at all mean "Jesus did not talk about those things therefore they not really important" in my response. A glib (but incorrect) statement got a glib (correcting) response, that's all.

I completely agree with you; the idea that the NT somehow voids the OT is a very ill-informed one.


As a Christian I agree with you there. In fact, in the NT Jesus even says "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." He goes on in that tangent for a few more verses as well. (This is somewhere in one of the gospels-I can't think which one right now.)

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Zohar » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:05 pm UTC

I'm Jewish, so the answer is never.

As an Israeli, we study bible during school. Even though I'm in no way religious, I think that was time well spent, overall. So I used to read parts of the bible at least a couple of times a week. Nowadays, it rarely happens. I think I looked something up a few months ago...
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ishikiri » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:54 pm UTC

Its probably worth pointing out that the psychotropic mushroom "Amanita muscaria" grows indigenously on the Island of Patmos, where the book of Revelations was written.

So John sat, alone, in a cave; on an Island where highly potent psychadelics grow naturally and had a vision from Jesus about 27 headed feather servants of Baal. Hmmm. . .
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby ndansmith » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:13 pm UTC

ishikiri wrote:Its probably worth pointing out that the psychotropic mushroom "Amanita muscaria" grows indigenously on the Island of Patmos, where the book of Revelations was written.

So John sat, alone, in a cave; on an Island where highly potent psychadelics grow naturally and had a vision from Jesus about 27 headed feather servants of Baal. Hmmm. . .

The Book of Revelation is interesting in that it has over 200 allusions (but no direct quotes) to the Old Testament. So, what seems random may actually be referencing various prophetic visions of Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc. It seems more deliberate to me than the result of a bad trip. That being said, it does have the worst grammar of any New Testament book. :wink:

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby bbctol » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:32 pm UTC

Being Jewish, I read what could be described as the Old Testament once or twice a year. I've never understood why anyone reads it by choice, frankly. That shit is more dense than the Scarlet Letter.

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Quixotess » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:46 pm UTC

Psh, Scarlet Letter isn't that bad.

I would always read the bible when staying at hotels for lack of another book. It's important to know the stories because our culture and our literature is based so heavily upon it. I'm always surprised when I have to explain the relationship between the old and new testaments to someone, or about, say, the four horsemen when these are such important things to know if you want to be culturally literate.

My favorite story has always been the Book of Esther.

Leviticus is always good for a laugh, and some of the psalms are quite pretty. The 23rd especially is some of my favorite poetry ever--so simple, so beautiful. You don't need to believe in God in order to believe in the reality of that human emotion. (So same with Psalm 137--how can we sing the Lord's songs in a strange land?)
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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby cyberblade » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:53 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:Psh, Scarlet Letter isn't that bad.

I would always read the bible when staying at hotels for lack of another book. It's important to know the stories because our culture and our literature is based so heavily upon it. I'm always surprised when I have to explain the relationship between the old and new testaments to someone, or about, say, the four horsemen when these are such important things to know if you want to be culturally literate.

My favorite story has always been the Book of Esther.

Leviticus is always good for a laugh, and some of the psalms are quite pretty. The 23rd especially is some of my favorite poetry ever--so simple, so beautiful. You don't need to believe in God in order to believe in the reality of that human emotion. (So same with Psalm 137--how can we sing the Lord's songs in a strange land?)


Esther has always been interesting. Particularly so, given that the "beauty contest" (as it's always explained to children) included an overnight stay on the part of each girl... and in the morning the king decided whether the girl would be his wife or if she would just join his harem. :shock:

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Re: How often do you read the Christian Bible?

Postby Quixotess » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:55 am UTC

No joke, talk about a life of hell for women.
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