Saturday, July 30, 2005

Instruction Manual

I knew somebody at my church that had a shirt that read "If all else fails, consult the Instruction Manual". Instuctional Manual refers to the Bible. I always liked that shirt. That seems like an excellent way to think of the Bible. To Christians, it is the ultimate source for how to do things and how things are suppossed to work. But like all instructional manuals, it sometimes relys on common sense, better described as generally accepted assummptions, to fill in the blanks. Also, every instructional manual contains mistakes (usually poorly written or described instead of blatant mistakes) that the reader will have to catch, sometimes the hard way. That also applies to the Bible. Finally, every instruction manual does not tell you absolutely everything you need to know to operate. Some things are just too vaguely described, too open for different interpertations or just plain not covered. I think probably ninety percent of the Bible falls into this category.

I have read most of the Bible. I haven't read it cover to cover. I could never sit through Psalms and haven't read a couple of Old Testament books after Psalms. I think there's a couple of epistles I haven't read yet. But unlike the majority of Christians, I do read the Bible outside of Church and have even read over 3/4 of it. I have to admit, it never really did much for me. It's like reading a horrorscope. It rings true a lot of times, but the words are vague enough that every reader will gain radically different insights from the same set of words. Even the same person can get different insights at different times. In other words, the words themselves are basically meaningless and empty. It's the communion with God that it inspires that really matters. Personally, I commune with God by prayer much more than the Bible. But everyone sparks the connection in their own way.


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