I had two eager visitors this morning knocking on my door promoting Bible reading in the area. I politely turned them away, but it got me thinking. The Bible, more copies sold world wide historically than any other book, is the most controversial book EVER. If there was any other object in history that has caused as much war, hatred, intolerance and cruelty, then every nation, people group and government would quickly and unilaterally outlaw it. But Bible sales are going strong... I should stop myself here and reflect upon what I am saying (hopefully Christians haven't stopped reading yet to formulate their defense).
I minored in Biblical Studies in my undergraduate program. And for a time I defended the Bible tooth and nail. But then I realized it wasn't the Bible I was defending, but my interpretation of the Bible. It was my belief structure rooted in my understanding of the Bible (the making of a vicious cycle) that I defended so arduously. And when I realized exactly what I was doing, it made me sick. I moved from defending what I thought was the "truth," to understanding that I was only defending my version of, or what I understood to be, the truth: my opinion. I caused more strife and animosity with my "defense" than any amount of good could over come. And so I had to re-evaluate and walk away from that whole scene.
With new and fresh eyes I approached the Bible again. And found something wonderful and awesome. I can no longer raise my opinion above others. I have to respect the heartfelt belief of others even if I disagree with them. I think everyone, with open eyes and heart, should read the Bible and come to their OWN understanding of what it says. Don't let others tell you what they think it says. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions. It is the ones in power and authority creating "interpretations" of the Bible to further their own agendas that bring about all the war, strife, hatred, intolerance, etc... The Bible is just the object used by lesser people to try to make themselves great.
Two side notes:
1. I am not a church-going Christian. I will explain that in more detail later, or you can ask questions in the comments section if you can't wait.
2. Everything I said above extends to any and every holy or sacred book. We are each responsible for our own beliefs. So read, reflect, think and repeat.