The Hallquist challenge: reading the whole Bible

Over at Patheos, Chris Hallquist (The Uncredible Hallq) is beta testing his book by posting chapters online for anyone interested to peruse and make suggestions.

In his introduction he has the subtitled section The one book that will convince you Christianity is false, and he isn’t talking about his book. He’s talking about the Bible, which features in most ex-Christian atheist deconversion stories. It remarkably appears in some people’s conversion stories, but this is less common, I think. The question is, what is it about this book that some readers feel it is divinely inspired and others see at as outright evidence against the claims it makes. The simple answer, for the atheist, would be, most Christians haven’t read the Bible. Here’s a quote from the aforementioned introductory chapter:

“As one internet wit put it, most believers treat the Bible like a software license agreement: they don’t read it, they just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree.” They may say their moral and even political views are based on what the Bible says, but that’s rarely true. Instead, their views are based on what their religious leaders have told them the Bible says. Oh, they may have read bits of the Bible, but only the bits their religious leaders have told them to read.”

What struck me about this was that it makes perfect sense, this is exactly how I feel talking to fellow Christians about the Bible. I have never used the “license agreement” comparison, but it isn’t far off what I have said, that most Christians enter into a contract with a being they believe has the power to subject them to never ending torment, without reading the contract. This is the reason why I decided to read the Bible through, at least once, before I got baptised, and my pastor respected this decision.

Hallquist claims he understands the issue, the Bible is boring, adding that he’s read it twice. He’s one up on me, I’ve only read it once, but it was awesome until about Job (excluding the Chronicles). After that I had to read a hymn book, which somewhat dulls your senses, this caused many problems later in my reading. The Bible is everything you’d want in a blockbuster action/thriller/horror, all the blood, intrigue sex and betrayal you could hope for between the covers of a not particularly large book (in comparison to the Twilight or Harry Potter series). So why is it so boring to read? It shouldn’t be, but there are a number of reasons why it is, which I won’t get into now, because I want to really get to the point of this post.

I will be adding an extra page to this blog within the next week, a page dedicated to reading through the Bible. This reading plan will not be starting immediately, but the starting date, the nature of the reading plan and any other relevant information will be contained in posts, which will be linked to on the page for the plan. What I am really hoping is that Christians will guts up and join me in this endeavour to read through, and better understand the Bible and the complaints levelled at it. Follow this blog if you are interested in finding out more.

DISCLAIMER

I will give the Bible as fair a chance as possible. My interpretations will be charitable, and will not generally attempt to make theological judgments between denominations. It will simply attempt to give a basis for further study, by Christians, of the Bible, with a diverse community that can bring different points of view, and resources to light. This is a public forum, so atheists (muslims or any other critics too) are welcome to join in and voice their complaints. If you don’t feel your faith is strong enough to take reading your own religious texts, then this isn’t for you, and I will not take responsibility for any conversions or deconversions.

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