Considering that my blog has the title that it does, after the two preambles I feel I should write something about The Bible.
Apparently it’s the most read book in the English language. However, judging by how readily the average person on the street can give you a multitude of information about Harry Potter and his amigos, compared to how little some people can wax lyrical on the Bible, causes me to question that stat.
And putting myself in the shoes of HNAC Alison, I completely understand the hesitation.
Even if you are well aware that the Bible is a text from the ancient world, I get the sense that many hold a general feeling that the book is more like a dull guidebook from Victorian England.
However, I actually find the Bible (ultimately) a liberating polemic.
It’s also unhelpful to think of it as being produced in a repressed context, ignorant of the sexual liberation and openness of our modern Western culture. Actually when compared to the ancient world, I feel as though modern Western culture can even appear a little “Victorian” itself at times.
Parts of The Bible were written in places where kings had harems and the Temple of Aphrodite was in full swing: over a thousand female sex priests at the top of a hill. If that’s not sexually loose, what is?
So The Bible isn’t some sort of context bound, rule book of the day. In many ways it’s a reaction against the times. Like I said, a polemic.
However, I know HNAC Alison would be thinking “Why should I bother reading what a bunch of dead guys wrote?”
Probably because it’ll take you straight to the source.
Christianity is about Christ, aka Jesus.
Some of those dead guys who wrote parts of The Bible hung around with Jesus and kicked up the same dust as him on the ancient roads of Jerusalem. Personally, I’d want to hear from them if I was trying to find out about Christianity.
HNAC Alison would still be unconvinced though and asking why she should care about some ideas people had back in the ancient times and why she should place any trust in them still.
Probably because we do that sort of thing every day.
Been inside a building lately? Or on a plane? Or walked up a hill?
For your sake I hope the building had its foundations laid properly. Or that the pilot knew when to start their descent towards your destination. Or that you knew how steep the hill was before you started walking up it.
If you did any or all of those things, you placed your trust in an idea from the ancient world.
It’s usually called Pythagoras’ theorem, but apparently the Babylonians had worked it out earlier. Maybe that’s why the construction of their Hanging Gardens was so wonder-full.
Just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s no longer valid.
To think that it is invalid is what C.S Lewis coined chronological snobbery: ‘the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited.’
The Bible has been around for a long while but it claims to be relevant for a long while yet. As Lewis also said, ‘all that is not eternal is eternally out of date.’
So it might be worth at least pausing and considering what The Bible has to say.
Yours in antiquity,