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An Extremely Difficult But Rewarding Read
The Bible is one of the most influential and controversial works of literature ever created. If it is put under technical scrutiny, one will find several flaws, including but not limited to severe Values Dissonance, Purple Prose, Arc Fatigue and an extremely confusing timeline and continuity. The problem, however, is not in the errors which seem to exist on the surface, but in the fact that most people can't look past them and see the deeper meaning. At more than sixty books and heaven knows how many pages, the Bible can be taxing to read, let alone understand. Often it takes years of study, of learning the history behind the events of the Bible, the various aspects of the culture of the people of the Holy Land, and all the minor changes made in the Bible through years of being translated and re-translated. Knowing the context is essential, especially when reading the Old Testament. Things like all those nit-picky laws from the book of Leviticus might be incomprehensible or even nonsensical to us nowadays, but when the Bible was written, things like that were very significant.

Another issue is the fandom/Fandumb. Without even addressing the Hatedom and its various problems, the people who believe in the Bible have a myriad of differing ways of interpreting it, and each group is usually adamant in their belief that their interpretation is exactly the right one. Some people take everything in the Bible completely literally. Some consider the stories to be nothing more than elaborate parables. Some settle in between these two extremes, believing that the Bible is mostly true with some exaggerations. Many extremely well thought-out arguments can be made for each of these interpretations, but they are to be taken with a grain of salt, as none can be proven to be correct. One should study the Bible on one's own and form one's own conclusions.

Unfortunately, the Bible's value as pure entertainment is minimal. Nevertheless, readers may notice excellent use of plot devices such as foreshadowing as far back as Genesis. The plot of the Bible is far more cohesive than most people give it credit for, and it's especially impressive for a book which was written by so many people over the course of thousands of years.

My advice? Give the Bible an honest try. I can't guarantee you'll enjoy it or believe it, but giving it any effort at all is commendable.
Excellent review.
comment #5771 MarkAntony 12th Jan 11
It's interesting to see how many Christians haven't actually read the bible.

I started it a month ago, but it's kinda an on-and-off project.
comment #5773 Scardoll 12th Jan 11
Mistake: Much of the Bible CAN be proven wrong. It's God's existence that can't be proven either way.
comment #5779 150.212.50.239 12th Jan 11
^Not everyone agrees with you on that first point.
comment #5804 shiro_okami 13th Jan 11
I don't think anything can really be proven either way. Like I said in the review, effective arguments can be made for many interpretations of the Bible. (I'm in the "mostly true with a little exaggeration" school of thought, personally.)
comment #5819 Ironwing100 14th Jan 11
The comments section is for comments on the review. Not the place for an argument about religion in general.
comment #6124 Madrugada 27th Jan 11
Exactly what the hell is the "rewarding" part that you never mentioned?
comment #6125 150.212.50.207 27th Jan 11
@Madrugada: Thank you. Seriously; this whole thing was getting completely out of hand.
comment #6133 Tiburon 27th Jan 11
as an agnostic, i've read about a 3rd of the bible, and i think this review is by far the most accurate - it's not easy to read, but with an open mind and critical thinking (looking past the flaws), one can glean quite a fair bit of wisdom and interesting stuff.

good review
comment #6939 ginsengaddict 21st Mar 11
@ginsengaddict: Thanks a lot!

@Anon 130.49: Um... no. If you care to throw out statements like that without any proof or supporting evidence, then by all means be my guest, but don't expect them to be taken very seriously. Besides, no one is trying to encourage anyone that anything in the Bible is factual, so please refrain from making irrelevant assertions.
comment #7120 Ironwing100 29th Mar 11
Open-minded review
comment #8144 mosspoint 17th Jun 11
Nice review. I can't agree with you on the part about the confusing timeline, but at least the review wasn't randomly insulting or biased to either Christians or non-Christians.
comment #8246 DaJCTR 23rd Jun 11
Excellent review. Thanks for being respectful.
comment #9654 azraelfinalstar 2nd Sep 11
Yes, this is an excellent review. Even Hate Dumb members like me can recognize that. As someone who has read large parts of it, and is obliged to study it in school, I can say that some parts are downright silly, some parts are really bad, morally speaking, some parts are really good (Song of Songs) and the rest is meh. So: don't use it as a moral guideline, but does possess multiple parts which are really well written, so it makes a nice read for a rainy day.
comment #9686 desdendelle 3rd Sep 11
As a religious person, I have to say this is a nice, fair review. Seems to me most people who mock the Bible have read about as much of it as the people they hate for following it. Not being a historian, I can't vouch for its historical accuracy (except for the whole 'seven days' bit), but once you get past the Moral Dissonance there are quite a few legitimate morals in there and reading into some of the characters can be quite fascinating.

Though I have no right to, I apologize on behalf of the loonier followers. Faith is good, letting it blind you isn't.
comment #9723 Wackd 5th Sep 11
Apology accepted, Wackd. Regarding the morals: though there might be some good ones in there (I don't know, I haven't read the whole of it... yet), you still cannot use it as a moral guidebook, since it does not tell you what the good ones are; you are obliged to get another source as a guide.
comment #9725 desdendelle 5th Sep 11
As to the whole Moral Dissonance thing, few realize that The Bible has Moral Dissonance within it: dissonance between the Israelites and the other nations, between the Israelites and God, and also between the Old Testament (Mosaic Law) and New Testament (Jesus). I'd guess that much of the supposed Moral Dissonance comes from the Old Testament and God being lax on the Israelites when it came to popular practices of the time like polygamy and slavery* , and possibly being big on capital punishment. On the other hand, the Mosaic Law also served as the template for rules on sanitation and sexual morality (like the forbidding of incest). However, Jesus himself said that the Mosaic Law would not be (as) relevant after Jesus' death. Of course, people also apply Moral Dissonance to God's action and the New Testament as well, but I don't see how anyone could do that and yet consider themselves Christian.

@ desdendelle: If you are going to a Jewish school, I suppose that last bit on Jesus was irrelevant. But then again, if you are going to a Jewish school, why are you studying the whole Bible in the first place?
comment #9731 shiro_okami 5th Sep 11
I'm not. Look, it's really complicated, but the gist of it is that I live in a mostly Jewish environment, but me and most of my family are Atheists / Agnostics (that's complicated, too). So: I study the Bible (ie, the Old Testament) in school, but am interested in the New one as well. Actually, I know pretty well that Moral Dissonance exists in the New testament, too, mainly the matter of the Original Sin.
comment #9737 desdendelle 6th Sep 11 (edited by: desdendelle)
^ You are badly misinterpreting my statements/intentions and taking them way out of context. I was curious as to why a Jewish person, especially a school, would read The Bible, considering, you know, they don't believe in Jesus, or that he was The Messiah. Although I suppose they could out of curiosity, and Desdendelle said he/she wasn't Jewish anyway. I was not in any way implying that atheists or people of other religions should not read The Bible. My statement to Desdendelle about Jesus being irrelevant to them was out of respect for his/her beliefs (or at least what I thought they were).

You want to say I presented myself badly, fine. But don't put words in my mouth, I hate it when people do that! I was not attaking anybody and there was no argument taking place.
comment #9802 shiro_okami 10th Sep 11 (edited by: shiro_okami)
So...what happened to commenting on the review, instead of religion as a whole?
comment #9824 TerminusEst13 11th Sep 11
Anything related to religion will inevitably end up becoming about the religion and not the thing related to it.

Ontopic: The reason the issue exists is because most (Or at least it used to be most) Christians claim the Bible is perfect/word of god/whatever, implying that they should always use the Bible as moral guidance.
comment #9826 eveil 11th Sep 11
I tried reading it, honestly. It's still on my bedside table, waiting to picked up again, but I just couldn't finish. I probably read it the wrong way. I got till about Leviticus until I couldn't take anymore reading about how whatshisname birthed so and so many sons and then a list of their names and ugh ... Maybe I should skip the Old Testament.
comment #10698 McSomeguy 11th Oct 11
This cracked me up, bro. Instead of the usual "It's The Bible, READ IT" that's given to people, you've presented us with a pretty cool review. It's not every day you see something this win.

Hell, I might give it a try sometime.
comment #10699 MrMallard 11th Oct 11
This is a fairly decent review.

I would add a few other reasons to read it and maybe even a few scholar's words on it (from all sides.) There are references to the Bible throughout western civilization in form of literature, movies, songs, art, poems, etc.

It may even help to try to read it from many different points of view. As a collected set of legends, mythologies, oral histories, and then as an overarching narrative of mankind according to a few groups of religious sects.

Regardless of your personal feelings on the book itself, or it's fans/detractors, it did change the world as we know it, either directly or indirectly. It is the single greatest source to try and understand the motivations of many who grew up believing it to be true.
comment #17507 Doxiedame 31st Dec 12
Good review.

And people need to stop mocking this book. Seriously, guys, it's annoying.
comment #21069 Mooglewoogle 11th Sep 13
A really smart analysis of the Bible. Wish more people were as objective as you.
comment #21094 Theokal3 12th Sep 13
An excellent review that is fairly impartial about the whole thing. Excellent.
comment #22175 dRoy 22nd Nov 13
  • Shrug* Whatever

To get back on the subject, I personnally believe the Bible is extremely complex to understand and interpret; we don't know which parts of it are symbolism or truth, what parts were added or modified over the course of years, and I could go on. In the end, I don't really think it matters; people believe in it or not, but I feel the real important thing about Christianity is its values of helping each others rather than what part of the Bible is true or not. Too bad so many people miss this point.
comment #22195 Theokal3 23rd Nov 13
To be more precise, The Bible from a literature perspective is an anthology of books. It was through the actions of the Council of Nicaea (sp?) that it was all mashed into one book. Consider also, like the tremendous review, there are more than sixty books to the bible, and they were all not written by the same author. Back then, they were *VERY* relevant to those who read it, but since there are a massive number of authors, there is bound to be some dissonance within the overall plot.

Another thing to consider is how each successive generation of Christians have interpreted the Bible throughout the years. The Crusaders obviously interpreted the Bible differently than the Reformers, and the Eastern/Western split naturally also divided some views. We haven't even touched the Gnostic Gospels yet.

Be careful when citing or claiming that "All Christians (Blank)". Especially for those who are of faith, rather than those who are not. Understand that the term "Christian" refers to over 1 billion people on the planet, and that any one label is bound to be inaccurate on some level or another. Also attempt to glean from what perspective said label is coming from. There is a difference between what Christians believe, and what society believes that Christians believe.

Really, it's not so much a matter of Fandumb, as it is a matter of human error. Everywhere. Much like a good portion of the US media tends to be biased in some way, no review can be wholly unbiased. Fandumb is misinterpretation Upto Eleven.
comment #24258 LordHerobrine 4th May 14
^ Same thing with "All Atheists are (blank)" as this relates to an equal (if not greater) portion of people.
comment #24260 LordHerobrine 4th May 14
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