Friday, July 28, 2006

And received in the same year an hundredfold

Partially by coincidence and partially by design, this is the anniversary of the first post of this blog, and the 100th post as well. I suppose I'm happy to hit this milestone, but would have been a bit happier to have had something more like 200 posts right now, but I guess I've been busy this last year.

Thanks to Steve Wells for being good sport about this, and I hope I've been civil enough about it myself, not engaging in unfair attacks on him, and being honest in stating that I don't know the answer to every question that the SAB raises.

Just as the atheist blog I have been occasionally guest-posting on, Goosing the Antithesis, doesn't completely share my values, but has in its mission statement, if you will, something that I can partially agree with ("We attack Christians who claim to monopolize epistemology and values..." I tend to do that as well, believe it or not.) the SAB has something of value in the purpose it serves. To quote from "About the SAB":
Millions of such Bibles are published and distributed each year by believers in their tireless and tiresome effort to propagate their beliefs. Consequently, nearly everyone, whether believer or skeptic, has at least one copy in his or her possession. Among these Bibles will be found many different versions, but all have one thing in common: all are believer- friendly editions that support, promote, and defend the Bible.

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible attempts to remedy this imbalance. It includes the entire text of the King James Version of the Bible, but without the pro-Bible propaganda. Instead, passages are highlighted that are an embarrassment to the Bible-believer, and the parts of the Bible that are never read in any Church, Bible study group, or Sunday School class are emphasized. For it is these passages that test the claims of the Bible-believer. The contradictions and false prophecies show that the Bible is not inerrant; the cruelties, injustices, and insults to women, that it is neither good nor just.
It is my very purpose (other than the already stated one of self-imposed (near-)daily Bible reading) in writing this blog to also remedy such imbalance. While I do not intend to show that the Bible is a bad book that should be disdained, as Wells begins to say in this last paragraph and continues throughout the rest of the page, I think it fosters a healthy, thinking faith to not put one's head in the sand in regards to what is in the Bible. The footnotes in a Bible should focus on both the good and the bad.

In the book of Revelation, John meets with an angel who is holding a book. The Angel offers the book to John, and oddly enough, tells him to eat it.

And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. (Revelation 10:10)

Now, the "book" spoken of here (probably a scroll, actually) is probably not actually the Bible, but it's always seemed to me to be very appropriate symbolism. To the Christian, the Bible should be sweet in your mouth. Once you really start to dig in, though, and you think you've really digested it, if it doesn't give you a bit of indigestion, maybe you missed something.

Unlike Wells, who thinks there is more bad than good in the Bible, I think there is more good. Yet, I cannot honestly say that there is no bad. Sometimes, it's that bad that we really need to focus on in order to understand the deep things God is trying to tell us. Is it really better to have a gang of perverts rape your virgin daughters than your houseguests? Is it really a good thing that some young men were mauled by bears for taunting a prophet? Should believers respond to questionable religious activity with physical violence, and then respond to capital crimes with complete forgiveness? There are definitely many, many questions that we should be asking ourselves about this volume that forms the structure of our faith. If we truly have faith, then we should expect to find answers.

I am hoping to find ways to make this blog a bit more accessible. I've noticed that some blog websites have tools that allow you to organize and index things within your blog to make it easier to find topics from the archives. While some of those tools that I think I would like to have are not available here as far as I know, I am trying to come up with something of my own. one thing I do have is a complete list of all posts here (site no longer available). That unfortunately is not set to automatically update, so it may not always be up-to date. On the other hand, most of the recent posts should always be available on the sidebar. It may not matter, though, as the great majority of the traffic I receive seems to come through the SAB itself, from links on appropriate pages.

Thanks for reading, all three or so of my devoted fans.


Francois Tremblay said...

Hey Brucker, Niels has said he doesn't want to write more questions. He says he's run out of topics. How would you like to continue?

Francois Tremblay said...

Sorry, I meant Mr. Neil, not Niels. I always get them confused.

Brucker said...

I thought you were quitting? I'll see if I can come up with something.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, yea, but Goosing is gonna need more questions. It's a fun feature that stimulates comments. And I use the questions for the show Vox Populi also.

Besides, I won't be completely out of the picture, so I can still concern myself with the Questions.

Brucker said...

I went and listened to the Vox Populi archives. Great show! It was neat to hear people going into greater detail on the questions.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the short list of your admirers. In every generation we need a hero to stand away from the herd mentality and tell us plainly that the emperor is naked.
Much in the Bible examined even half objectively is about as spiritually edifying as a tooth ache. Yet so great is western man's lust for life after life that he willingly prostitutes his conscience in pursuit of it. He dons his armor and defends as God's word much that rightfully belongs to the outhouse.
Thanks for the tremendous labor you've poured into this liberating website. I'll be a regular.

Eugene S.