The Bible is never really treated like other books. Since The Bible is a major source for how we understand God we usually shy away from criticizing it, at least out loud for fear of being sacrilegious, but the truth is that sometimes we, or at least I, think things in the Bible are weird or confusing. Would I be ok with that in any other book? I don’t know, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the Bible as a book and review it like I would other books, just for fun… I apologize if my thoughts offend you; please know that I believe the Bible is true and this is just an attempt to humorously share my struggles with understanding it.
Synopsis: Well this book starts out with some really bizarre stuff about talking snakes, girls trying to get their father to impregnate them, a dude killing his kid to thank God for helping him win a battle, the sun standing still in the sky, people blowing trumpets to knock down walls, some kids getting eaten by a bear because they called a prophet bald, and a bunch of other really weird stuff.
The story is mostly about this guy, God, and the people that he created. For a big part of the book it focuses almost exclusively on God dealing with a certain racial group, the Jews. They are special to him for some reason, but they keep doing things he doesn’t want them to do, so he punishes them but makes all these promises that he will make things good for them again someday.
The major shifting point in the book is when this guy Jesus is born. Apparently he is God’s son who is planted in Mary without the, umm, normal means of seed planting, so to speak. Not a lot of people really seem to get who he is or what he is supposed to be doing, but they are all pretty interested in him because he can heal sick and handicapped people, he talks like he has God’s authority, and he just seems to get what’s going on better than anyone else. Some people think he is going to be the Jews’ new king and overthrow the Romans who are oppressing them, but he says that he is supposed to be a “spiritual” king which I can only imagine some people saw as a cop-out. So, he seems to want people to change and not be so comfortable and they don’t really like that so they have him killed, but then he comes back to life after being dead for three days.
Some of his followers go on to other places to tell other people about him and now it seems like the focus of the book largely shifts from God caring about just the Jews to him caring about everyone again. The book ends with some really weird stuff about lamps and bowls and Jesus coming back to earth again and making everything all better finally.
My Opinion: So, this is like God’s autobiography. I don’t think he casts himself in a very good light. First of all he seems racist when he is so preoccupied with the Jews and trying to get them to kill everyone else. Why should all those other people die? Just because they aren’t Jews? Seems kinda messed up to me. Another thing is that God seems to be all about himself. I mean the book is full of really awesome things that he does, but he always seems to do them so people will think he is great.
Another problem I had with The Bible is that there are so many confusing parts like the prophecies and the stuff about Jesus coming back and all the stuff that was going on with the Jews. It just seems to me like the book lacked focus and clear direction. The reader was left to infer a bunch of meaning and connections in the plot. Seems like a novice mistake by the author. There also seem to be a lot of contradictory facts, like how God chooses people he wants to follow him, but at the same time people choose to follow God. If he could have ironed all that out a little better I think it would have made more sense.
Some of the characters were confusing too. You weren’t sure if they were supposed to be good guys or bad guys. Like this one guy David who seems like he is all about following God and then he sleeps with another guy’s wife and kills the guy! What is that about?!?! Or David’s son Solomon who is supposedly super wise (like Mr Miyagi or something) yet he marries a bunch of women, and turns away from God to impress certain chicks? Doesn’t seem even slightly intelligent to me.
So much of this book’s plot, characters, and morals are confusing. You get a general idea that people are bad, that God loves them but he’s upset with them, that Jesus loves them and that him and God made a way for them to follow him. Love seems like a big deal. Humility seems like a big deal. God seems pretty interested in everyone knowing how awesome he is. Beyond that I just didn’t get much else.
FYI: there are several unofficial sequels and bonus materials to go along with The Bible like The Book of Mormon, The Apocrypha, and several additional gospel sections