Why I Didn’t, Don’t, Didn’t Like the Bible

Here is a dull sentence. Its purpose is to ensure that this post does not begin with a cheesy hook.

Why would you immerse yourself in stories about a nomadic Middle Eastern culture that morphed through various political alliances before being smashed to bits by an occupying force and sent into exile? Why would you concentrate on stories about a man who said some interesting things, did some odd things, and then was tortured to death?

I remember hearing about a local woman who did goddess-y, nature-y things back in the 80s and 90s. She’d been a good Lutheran, maybe even hanging out at UniLu in Cambridge, until she said goodbye to it all and hung out her shingle as a therapy-nature-spirit guru.

She said she couldn’t stand the stories any longer.

That’s what someone told me.

Well — Jesus God! Why do I read about girls being sold, girls being bought, girls being sent into exile by jealous wives with only fractionally more power than they, girls being offered for gang rape, girls being spied upon and taken for sexual access by powerful men. Women powerless against divorce, powerless against being rejected by their families, powerless to protect themselves or provide for themselves.

Why read passages that put me in a place of subservience, for the mere reason of the accident of my birth, not because of my actions or failings. Why accept a despised, diminished valuation, offered by men who think themselves interpreters for God. They can go to hell.

Why go to the source that puffs up the fragile egos of Christian Manly Men Dude Bros, the ones who would leave their churches in droves if anyone ever told them that Christianity does not give them the upper hand? I knew a kid in college, at the Campus Crusade for Christ the few times I ever darkened their door, who in conversation, a little smile hovering over his lips, rattled off the citations – literally, the book, chapter, and verse numbers – of all the passages that assert male authority over women. That is the comfort Christianity gave him, and he found it in the Bible.

That awful book.
I don’t ever read it.
I wish we didn’t have to have it.

In the early 80s, an older woman at Christ Church Cambridge said that to me, her words a mixture of frustration and humor. Yes, humor, and yet she was serious. I bet you anything she was a lifelong, committed Christian, too.

Sometimes I read the Bible and pick the diamonds out of the shit. Other times, especially when I am in the company of a true scholar, I am blown away by the riches, the wonder, of that awful book. Because I got away from the fundie dude bros long ago, and have had a rich life in a church that now has both women priests and bishops, my early despair and anger have been partly assuaged. I mostly love the Bible now and am fascinated by it, but I still partly hate it.

November 25, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

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