This leaflet came through my letterbox last week. “An exciting 6 week seminar”, free of charge, to learn how to read the Bible effectively. Apparently. It is being run by the ‘West Christadelphians’ – something I can only assume is an organisation set up by fans of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. At first I was going to give them a little credit, since running a 6 week long seminar is quite ambitious and impressive by anyone’s standards. However, a further look inside reveals that they actually meant ‘seminar series’. Darn.
Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting things we might hope to learn on this wonderful course.
Who wrote the Bible – where did it come from?
That’s a pretty good question. As far as I’m aware, multiple authors contributed to it over a number of centuries, and precise authorship is not known. Add to that the fact that there are a bunch of different ‘versions’. If they can answer this, it would be worth that low low fee of £0 alone.
How to use cross-references.
How to learn more in less time with effective study tools.
How to read carefully.
You know, just in case avid readers of the Bible failed high school. On second thought, these might be useful inclusions.
An overview of each book of the Bible in a concise, easy to understand manner.
History and chronology (the order of events) in the Bible.
All of this information is pretty easy to find online. What worries me a bit is the fact that ‘chronology’ has to be defined. If their audience is people who don’t want to look up things they don’t understand, that surely defeats the purpose of the course, doesn’t it?
Three tips for letting the Bible interpret itself.
It seems that the Bible has consciousness. In any case, if the Bible can interpret itself, why would I need to learn to interpret it myself? Job done, I’d say.
How to prove to yourself that the Bible is not a work of fiction.
1 [ mass noun ] literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
2 something that is invented or untrue: they were supposed to be keeping up the fiction that they were happily married.
I’m especially excited to know how I can prove to myself that a dude parting the sea with his hands, or another dude coming back to life after dying are not imaginary/invented events. You know, considering that both are physically impossible. I wonder if it involves clicking my heels together 3 times and saying ‘the Bible is not a work of fiction’.
What happens at death.
You could also just ask your GP. Body processes stop, breathing stops, things go stiff, things begin to decompose, you start to smell pretty horrible. They didn’t claim to explain what happens after death, but hey, I can give you that one for free. Microbes (and/or scavengers) feast on your fleshy bits and leave the bones behind. This includes the brain, which is what defines ‘you’. So the hydrocarbons and metals in your body get distributed around the environment as energy and materials for other organisms. ‘The Circle of Life’, as Elton John would say.
How critics of the Bible “prove” their criticism.
I can’t speak for all the critics of the Bible, so I’m not sure what they mean by proof here. In any case, the burden of proof is on people that believe the Bible is completely factual, being that evidence is largely stacked against that view.
If you claim to believe in God, you are obliged to understand for yourself His purposes for man. Jesus himself said, “Have you not read…?”
Two things here. Firstly, if you claim to believe in God, then you can believe what you like, given that there has yet to be an agreed upon universal definition of what God actually is. In accordance with this, you are therefore not obliged to do anything. Secondly, note the inclusion of a completely arbitrary portion of a quote (i.e. not even a full statement). This is particularly amusing when you read the bullet point on the previous page that reads:
Why quoting a single passage is dangerous (how to keep in context).
I think I’ll stick to games and music on my Saturday mornings, thanks.