“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” John F. Kennedy
I feel it is important for me to come out of the proverbial closet. I am an unbeliever. I have never been religious even though I grew up in West Texas. I have felt out of place for most of my life. Regardless of my lack of faith, however, I try to be the best person I can be. I am honest to a fault, I try to never judge others, and I believe in standing up to injustice. I have been asked if I worship the devil (no, I don’t believe in him either). I have been asked how I know what is right and wrong–I think I have my parents to thank for that.
Every day I am surprised for the total lack of respect we show each other. From hateful Facebook posts, to conservative “news” articles, and the incessant invocation of God by the GOP Presidential candidates. Last week I read an article entitled, “No, Christianity Should Not ‘Welcome’ or ‘Include’ Your Sinful Lifestyle.” It is completely predictable in its premise—being gay is a sin and you need to mold yourself to our faith or get used to being discriminated against. I can only imagine having that much hate in your heart causes indigestion. This is just one example of weaponizing the Bible. Even though articles like this one are prevalent on the internet, the venomous tone of this piece, urged me to act. I decided that silence is essentially acquiescence to these types of assaults. Although the LGBTQ community seems to be the latest target getting the most heat from Christians, they not the first group to be targeted and they will not be the last.
As a woman, I feel the brunt of the Bible in my everyday life. I have been called a bitch, I have been told not to speak out of turn, and my uterus, along with millions of others, is being held hostage by a group of mostly old, white men. I have experienced pay inequality, misogyny, and sexual harassment. How does this relate to the Bible? I think you will see. Stay tuned.
As a liberal, I see a deluge of the personal religious beliefs of a few being imposed on the rest of us. I see presidents who claim they actually talk to God. I see protesters outside of soldiers’ funerals chanting “God Hates Fags!” And I see rich white men working tirelessly to block any legislation that would provide employment protections for the LGBTQ community, equal pay for women and parental leave.
I’ve had enough. Words are weapons and the words in the Bible have become weapons of mass destruction. They have been twisted to justify (and spread) discrimination, intolerance and subjugation. Thus, I am going to read the Bible. Cover to cover.
I am reading the “Holy Bible: English Standard Version” which you can download for free from Amazon. I am going to give a brief summary of what I read and my general thoughts. If you are offended by satire, this will not be the thread for you. I will be addressing gender issues, cultural issues, and political issues I believe are relevant right now. Finally, I will not do any outside research. I am only discussing the text.
The rules for commenting on this thread will be that no other parts of the Bible that have not been read yet, can be referenced in this discussion. Once we get further into the reading, we can refer back, but we will not refer forward. I plan to post on this topic at least two days per week.
This is my personal journey to understand. I have never read the Bible and I hope you’ll join me.
The first section I will discuss will be Genesis 1-10.