Over the years I have studied and studied the Bible, reading it through about 5 times so far. Taking books of notes and finding..So, many people are so wrong. The way the words are twisted, making one scripture contradict the others. The Bible is what it is (a Guide Book to a better life). No more NO Less!! People want to pretend that there is some type of Omega message between the lines. I do believe that some of what JW's teach is true, but not much. I have also found truth in many other religions, but in all there are many lies. There is only 2 words that I have ever had for all of them "prove it." The funny thing is ..that is what Jehovah will be asking them to on judgement day. I and I only I will have to answer to only him. What do you think? Is it a Guide or a Message?
A Guide Book To a Better Life?
Congratulations on being able to read it that many times, Niecy! Even though I was also a witness for 30+ years , I never really forced myself to go all the way through it. You know, being spiritual and stuff takes up a lot of time.(service, meetings, talks, assemblies, blah, blah) OK not that spiritual at all. Since I left, I had no option but to reevaluate what that religion and what all the rest of christianity is based on and like you, see the results of a book written by man.
As for being a guide to a better life, I think we always undersold ourselves and others when we assumed we'd be axe murderers (or something more horrible) if we didn't have the bible to tell us what to do. Personally, I think the bible gave us an excuse to look down on other people which I really try hard not to do anymore.
You might enjoy this look at the bible The Age Of Reason. It takes a logical approach to examining the Bible and it may help clear some things up for you.
Good question Niecy. It's inevitable that we're drawn to the scriptures that are common to our society. After all a human's religion is more often than not dictated by where he was born, ie Middle East - Islam; Europe - Christian; - India -Hindu etc. I
've always read the Bible since I was small child and have kind of grown up assuming it has dark secrets to be unlocked, paticularly the Revelation part. The JWs taught me to "fear" the Bible and take everything literally that was written in it.
I don't really buy into the idea of a "true religion" anymore but believe that words written by or about spiritual people of old, whether it's Jesus, Buddha, Guru Nanak or whoever are fascinating and worthy of respect. You can then make your mind up whether you want to or are able to live by these ideals. So not to answer your question exactly, I see the Bible as a gift.
The worth of the Bible, or of any 'Holy Book' is based on its content.
Most 'Holy Books' contain passages that are problematical for anyone seeking to find guidance; as you've read the Bible as many times as you have I would be surprised if you'd not wondered what worth or guidance the invasion of the 'Promised Land' by the Israelites has.
In modern terms it was wholescale ethnic cleansing of an area, including what we would now call war crimes; instructions to kill all but virgin girls (who could then be taken as 'wives' who could be dismissed at will by the very same soldiers who had butchered their families) are hard to see in any other way.
Is this ANYTHING to do with ANY god that one might consider just and loving? Obviously not. Is it therefore a 'historical' account of a people doing what they thought god wanteed? Probably; as with most other 'Holy Books'.
On the other hand, the most basic essense of Jesus' message, that of the importance of love, is valuable. But most major religions emphasise the importance of fair dealing and brotherhood.
To name 'god' as Jehovah or Yahweh or YHWH on the basis of the Bible being just another Holy Book (when all the other Holy Books have different names for god and contain equally wise and equally problematical passages) would seem to be hasty and unsupported.
If 'god' is revealed imperfectly and partialy by a variety of books, all of which are 'infected' with the cultural perspective of the people writing the various books, then to select any one book is to 'worship' a BOOK, rather than god as god may be.
Instead one should free one's mind from supersticous, primative conceptions of god. For example, the Creation:evolution debate is grossly distorted by many religionists. Because a bronze-age goat herd tried to explain how he thought god made the world doesn;t mean that is the way god did it. If every shred of hard evidence points to literal interpretations of things like the Creation account or Flood account in the Bible (and their equivalents in other Holy Books) being wholey wrong and erroneous, some assume the Holy Book MUST be right.
Why they don't assume god is lot cleverer than a bronze-age goatherd could conceive, and that whatever way god did it is at least consistent with the evidence I don't know, but it's part of worshipping BOOKS rather than god.
If we want to know 'god', we have to use our MINDS.
Welcome to the boards!
I agree. I think most religious organizations are a mix of a little truth and a lot of falsehood, or at least misplaced faith. I think that the Bible is what it is to each person. You don't have to be a JW to believe that the Bible is to be taken literally. You can have a strong belief in God, yet question that every portion of the Bible is to be taken literally.
What I've seen from being on this forum is that many former JW's are SO tired of hearing about God, the Bible, the end of the world, etc, that they become atheist or agnostic. It's just easier. Others are so happy that they feel that they have found the 'real' message of the Bible and that it is not a heavy-handed "you will be destroyed" mentality, that they renew their faith in God and Jesus and reach new heights of true spirituality.
I personally am not convinced that you have to be part of an organization to be 'saved'. I think that you must read the Bible, formulate your own opinion, and be ready to defend that opinion and your life course before God. I completely agree with your statement that you and you alone will have to answer for your spirituality and the choices you make.
One other thing. I think getting caught up in whether we all go to heaven, or whether there is life after death, or any number of other doctrinal issues is wasted time. There are many things in the Bible that we probably truly cannot understand completely. I think if you develop the best relationship you can with God, accept the basic tenets of the Bible (the ransom sacrifice), and do the best you can, then that is all God can expect out of imperfect humans.
I agree there is probably no mystical message between the lines. The Bible Code is one example of what I believe to be grasping at straws.
I really don't believe it's much of a guide book to a better life, at least not in its present form. Sure, there is a lot of good advice in it. Unfortunately, it's peppered in with a bunch of really bad advice and examples of how not to live.