As I read through the Bible, going from the start (Genesis 1:1) to the end (Revelation 22:21), I find things I never really knew were there. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I was raised Catholic. The odd thing about Catholic services is that there is a schedule of sorts, for which chapters, verses, and from which books you will read–and certainly it does not cover the whole Bible, even in a complete cycle.
Why is that?
Well, the first reason is that there are some very odd things in the Bible (as I’ve mentioned at great length before), obviously. The second is that there are some stories in the Bible that… Well… You just know, right? The Tower of Babel is one such story, right?
I would wager that you know more about the Tower of Babel than was actually written about it. How long do you suppose the story was in the Bible? A chapter? No, it was 9 verses. It is summed up in the following:
The people all spoke one language and wanted to build a city out of brick instead of stone.
God saw this, and decided that if people built a city of brick, they could do anything. He did not like that, so he confounded their language.
Yes, that is really the gist of it. God was threatened by the humans using such advanced materials as brick, so he scattered them. This, again, seems more like God not having a lot of foresight (or human wishful thinking that really shows how little creativity people show when trying to explain something as complicated as language).
That being said, the old testament is an interesting read (or at least, parts of the old testament are very interesting) in that things are … Weird. It was Winston Churchill’s own son who was said to have quoted “God, isn’t God a shit?”
But even in the New Testament, it is the rare believer who is really familiar with the works. Certainly, the story of Jesus’ birth is a story that has as many versions as there are people who remember it. Why was Joseph in Bethlehem? Well, there are a few reasons given. Did he go to Egypt? No one is quite sure, except it is mentioned in one gospel.
Oddly for Catholics and their doctrine of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Gospel of Matthew lists Jesus’ brothers and sisters (and, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Jesus’ brother James led the early Christian Church from the council in Jerusalem). How can the most populous Christian Church in the world get something so obvious so wrong, and how can a billion people believe it? I mean, it is even in prayer and song; Blessed Marry, ever virgin. Can that be true? No.
I am not even talking about contradictions, here, I am just talking about the parts of the Bible that are written clearly that people simply don’t know, or completely ignore. It is like certain chapters and verses are straight up non-existent.
I won’t lie, I haven’t gotten to my reread of the Epistles of Paul, or the Book of Acts, so who knows what I will find there?
Paul is an odd character, both in his written works and in his historical story. He seems to just not care about the actual story of Jesus, aside from the ending (the resurrection). As I recall, he is more concerned with two things; how awesome he is (for as it says in the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 1, verse 8-9, if anyone preaches a gospel to you other than what I have preached to you now, even if it is an angel of God, let him be accursed), and how much more he knows about the TRUE JESUS than the actual apostles (the same verse is a pretty good example, actually). It is well sourced that Paul did not get along with the 12 apostles, not least of the reasons being that Paul believes that he was the best apostle, selected before his birth by God. He states in his epistles that he would have been the greatest of the apostles, except for the fact that he was born too late.
The point of this is that modern Christianity is more man-made traditions than it is revelation from God. So many modern Christians think they know what is in the Bible, because their pastor said this thing or that thing, but very few understand how many traditions in the Church come from somewhere well outside of scripture.
I don’t mean to insult you, but I think if anyone wants to debate religion, or even fully discuss religion, we (as a whole society that is still majority Christian) needs to go back to the basics. It is almost a cliche, to return to the fundamentals, and to say someone is a fundamentalist Christian is often used as a back-handed compliment… But I mean it. The Catholic Church is probably the worst for made up traditions. There’s a reason lots of Protestant faiths don’t have a very high opinion of the papal seat… But even nondenominational beliefs need to be examined.
What I am saying here is before you get all up in arms, you should probably read the Bible. There was a very good snafu lately from people having no idea what the Bible means, summed up in this image.