Sunday, May 5, 2013

Introduction – Why I’m Reading the Bible

On more than one occasion I’ve heard Christians tell atheists that they should read the Bible and it will lead them to god. I’ve also heard atheists say that the surest way to become an atheist is to read the Bible. So we have two sides of the debate saying mutually contradictory things about the Bible. Color me shocked.

So, let’s put it to the test, shall we? The purpose of this blog, quite simply, is to document my attempt to read the Bible, and give my impressions of what I’m reading as I go along.

Now I’ll say right up front that this is not a fair test. I’m already an atheist, and therefore already predisposed to think it’s all a load of crap. But I suppose there’s some possibility that reading the Bible will change that. I guess we’ll find out.

This first post is just to introduce myself, and set up the premise of the blog. I was raised by a Southern Baptist family, though most of my young life I went to non-denominational churches on military bases. Most of my understanding of the Bible came from Sunday school, which as we’re going to see is a pretty damn sanitized. Sometime around my 12th birthday, my grandmother gave me a copy of the Bible as a birthday present. Dutifully, I tried to read it, and didn’t make it past Genesis. The thing’s a snore, to be honest, and just couldn’t compete with The Lord of the Rings or pretty much anything written by Heinlein (or most fiction written by reasonably creative high school students). The Bible went back in its box, displayed on my bookshelf amidst stuff I actually did read so Grandma could see it there when she visited.

A couple years ago I tried again. By this point I had been pretty comfortably atheist for years, a grown man with a college degree and a wife and two kids. This time, I made it as far as the Psalms before petering out. The reasons I couldn’t sustain this second attempt were slightly different from the first – I had no real outlet to express my frustration and disgust with the text. Being older and more experienced, and not at all predisposed to see everything in the Bible as good just because it was in the Bible, I was actually kind of horror-stricken to realize the stuff I was reading was stuff that many people actually believe was true and good. And since I don’t like burdening my friends and family with my own little rants (and most of them wouldn’t have been sympathetic anyway – Southern Baptist family, majority Christian society, etc., etc.), I just lost momentum under the weight of just how depressing a read it was. Aside from the fact that the quality of the storytelling hadn’t improved any with age.

But maybe blogging will help. Maybe this will give me just the outlet I need to keep up flagging spirits. So… here we go with attempt number three. I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version for a couple simple reasons: 1) I’m in the middle of moving, so the Bible my grandmother gave me is in a box in a storage facility, and 2) I could download it for free from Amazon onto the Kindle app for my phone.

Next post will start In the Beginning: Genesis.


  1. Howdy. I just came across your blog. I feel much the way you do about the Bible, but somehow can't completely let go of it as of yet. My last attempt at reading the entire thing ended with Ecclesiastes. I look forward to reading your blog.

    1. Welcome aboard, and thank you for your comment! I hope this proves to be of some value to you, and I look forward to your input.

      Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of Ecclesiastes right now, and hope to be getting that post up fairly soon.