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Monday, December 10, 2012

Read The Instructions

Recently, my wife and I were watching a movie on TV, when we heard the line, "It's too bad new families don't come with an owner's manual".

I said, "That's not true."

"Did we?" Barbara asked, rhetorically.

I held up a Bible. "Gotcha."


"Bet you didn't expect to hear that from me."

"No, not really." If I'm recognized for anything religious, it's my loathing of Bible study.

But the point here really isn't Bible study, i.e., the line-by-line and word-by-word "unpacking" of meanings and hidden meanings and meanings within meanings. It isn't really religious at all.

The Bible is a very good read, and nothing if not an epic. It has a degree of internal consistency that would be tough for a single author to maintain, let alone the many that actually did produce it over hundreds of year. It has memorable characters, interwoven plots, and literary devices like foreshadowing are skilfully used.

Even for the non-religious (or irreligious), the Bible's worth a look.

And, like any good epic, it says a lot about its characters, but more about the people who are reading it.

Want to shag an employee's wife? Read about David and Bathsheba.

Jealous of your annoying "golden boy" younger brother? ("Why can't you be more like him?") Read about Joseph and his brothers.

Whatever you can think of, it's there. And as a potential owner's manual for a marriage, or a life, well, you could do worse.

Yes, I know that there are things with which you may not agree. The Bible's not particularly easy on homosexuality, for one thing. It also has some definite ideas about a woman's role.

Very true. But it is the "property" of the author, as it were...you write a book, you have the right to say what you want.

And please note that I said, "you could do worse".

I'm just not at all sure you could do better.

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