My wife dragged me to Disciple class at the Methodist church last night. What a monumental waste of time. I kept my mouth shut partly to asses the situation and partly as a promise to her. Some points to ponder:
1. Facilitator: "The first thing you need is a bible. You
can use any kind you want. You probably want to stay away from the King
James version however. That one is hard to read. There are versions that
translate the bible word for word and there are versions that interpret the
bible. You may pick the one that you are most comfortable with...blah blah
Biker‘s thought: "If we are going to read and study the bible, shouldn't we read THE Bible? What's all this 'version' shit? Do we get to make up our own religion as we go along? Sounds like fun. My God likes to ride bikes and watch science fiction movies."
2. Guy on the videotape: "Some may read the bible and not
understand what this passage or that passage means. Or some may read the
bible and claim that this passage contradicts that passage. And so on.
These people are concentrating too much on the words and not enough on the
message that permeates and underlies the entire bible. They need to be
patient and keep reading until they get the message of God's love and
salvation and... blah blah blah."
Biker's thought: "Gee I'm not sure that's quite vague enough. I get to read the bible until I get the right answer. I'm supposed to pay enough attention to the words to hear the "message", but don't look so close that I realize a lot of the stuff doesn't make sense. I have a book you should read; The Emperor's New Clothes. It's about a little boy who thinks for himself and sees the truth even though all the adults have crammed it down his throat that he should be seeing something that's not there. Hmm...seeing something that's not there...let's see who else does that...hmmm...could it be....CHRISTIANS?"
3. Scripture:"All Scripture is inspired by God..."
Facilitator:"What does that mean to you?"
Cult member wannabe:"It means that the bible was written by humans and those humans wrote with God's help or guidance or whatever. The words in the bible are not directly from God, which means sometimes it's hard to understand."
Biker's thought:"That means that if you find something in the bible that is wrong, stupid, contradictory, meaningless or different then it's the author's fault. If you find something in the bible that you agree with, or furthers your cause, then that's God's word. Sounds like someone has an out if Mr. Logical Guy wants to start asking questions about the inconsistencies.
4. Facilitator:"A renown christian apologist has said in
defense of the bible; It's divinely inspired because how can you have so
many different books, (chapters in the bible) from so many different
authors, over so many centuries, that all contain the same message and fit
together so well. Especially back then when we didn't have the modern
communication that we do today?"
Biker's thought: "Didn't we just get done learning that a bunch of Bishops got together in the 1500's and decided which books were going to be included in the "official" bible. What a surprise that a central theme was adhered to while this collection was established. How many total "divinely inspired" stories did they have to choose from? I wonder if they had an agenda? I wonder how many people could read in the 1500's? And once again, if the "message" is so flippin' clear, why do people spend their entire lives studying the bible and not reaching any clear conclusions that can be used to convince skeptics of anything." (Hylo’s note: And didn’t they also just get finished learning that the bible DOES NOT fit together so well, and that’s why you shouldn’t read it too closely?)
In conclusion: There was so much circular reasoning going on, it was impossible to even contradict anything. Everything was very vague as well. There was a lady there who hinted that she had been raised in a skeptic environment, and she wanted to see if she could learn more about the bible because all she had ever heard was negative stuff about the bible. I thought to myself after the meeting that I should have told her she was a lucky lady, because she was going to get exactly what she wants out of this class. She obviously needs an answer to the meaning of life. She'll get it. She wants comfort from death. She'll get it. She wants to know she's not responsible for her life. Like I said she's a lucky lady.
In summary: The bible is inspired by god. You will get out of it what you put into it. There's a message, but I can't tell you what it is. I can tell you when you're wrong, but that's about it. Don't question the words, that means you're concentrating too much on reading and not enough on getting the message. No, I can't tell you what the message is so stop asking. If you open yourself to god you will be rewarded because god will answer you as you read and talk to god. Oh, you can't hear him? That mean's you're not listening. You can't see him? That means you're not looking.
I'm sorry this went on so long. I guess you could call this an inspired rant.