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Insurance and libraries - John C. Kirk
Jun. 22nd, 2006
11:21 pm -
Insurance and libraries
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June 23rd, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
Of course, I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't believe in the Bible at all, but if you do follow it then it's probably a good idea to read it once in a while...
First of all, there are tons of Christians out there who haven't actually read the whole of the Bible - I was one of them. It's quite an undertaking and, while most churches will encourage you to do it "one of these days", it's not something they usually push you to do. Most believers are left with the impression that they can know all the relevant points about their faith just by having grown up in a church and just by having read the more interesting passages.
Secondly, the Bible is rather open to interpretation, especially the Book of Revelation, which has spawned all sorts of churches with all sorts of eschatological theories. I'm sure there's some way to twist things so that the Second Coming is going to be another baby born of a virgin mother.
June 23rd, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
First of all, there are tons of Christians out there who haven't actually read the whole of the Bible
Yes, absolutely - I certainly recognise that, but I stand by my comment that I think it's a good idea to change that. Admittedly, I haven't read the entire book cover to cover myself, but then again I'm not expecting to be playing a significant role in the grand scheme of things either :)
One of these days when I have enough spare time (hah!), I am going to write up my religious views. As a quick preview, though, I did try reading the entire Bible when I was an undergrad. There's a scheme for doing the whole thing in a year - as I recall, the idea is to read 5 chapters a day Monday-Friday, then 7 chapters a day at weekends. I think I was doing a mixture of Old Testament and New Testament, to avoid getting too bogged down in all the "X begat Y" stuff.
Anyway, I started out with my copy of the New English Bible, which is written in relatively modern English (e.g. "you" instead of "thou"). A friend of mine then saw me doing this one day, and said "Ew, no, you can't do that - you have to use the King James version!" So, after that I'd basically do my daily reading with both books open in front of me; I'd start out with the King James version, get confused, read the New English version to get the gist of what was going on, then go back to the King James version to make sure I was getting an accurate meaning. This did slow me down a bit, to the extent that I eventually got out of the routine, and I haven't resumed it yet. Mind you, it turned out that my friend had actually been joking when she said that - oops :) William (who you met at my flatwarming) has said that I was effectively doing basic theology at that point, by comparing different versions of the text.
More recently I've got hold of a Greek version of the New Testament, although I haven't used it yet. I think that most English translations of the Bible will be reasonable if you want to get an idea of what's going on, but it's pointless to do any kind of debate about controversial issues (e.g. homosexuality) unless you go to the source. The same thing applies to the Old Testament, but I did classical Greek up to GCSE (which is fairly similar to Testamental Greek), whereas I've never studied any Hebrew.
I'm sure there's some way to twist things so that the Second Coming is going to be another baby born of a virgin mother.
So, yes, there are probably idiots who will come up with stupid theories about everything (cf "hollow earth"), but unless they've done a detailed study of the original Greek then I'll cheerfully ignore them.