So, just what are the “Musings of a Modern-day Heretic” anyway, and why should you care?
Well, the ‘Heretic’ is me and the ‘Musings’ are some thoughts I’ve had about the Bible.1 You might care if, like me, you’ve found certain things about the Bible that just never seemed to add up. Or you might have never read it before and you just want to get an idea of what it’s all about.
When I read the Bible the first time many things struck me as strange and not at all like I’d learned growing up. The more I looked into it, the more I found that what’s actually ‘in’ the book and what I’d been taught ‘about’ the book, are two entirely different things.
Before we get started, I want to be clear I am in no way attacking the wisdom of the Bible in any way. But I am going to point out some biases, inconsistencies and distortions that run through the entire literal narrative. Whether these distortions were the natural result of changing times and the multitude of interpretations or deliberate attempts to press an agenda we’ll never know. But the fact remains, the Bible is littered with too many distortions and inconsistencies to ignore.
I’m not famous and I have no academic credentials, per se2. I didn’t cure myself of cancer nor did I have a near-death experience. I haven’t hooked up with aliens, studied under the Maharishi, or channeled spirits.
But I have seen God.
A bold statement, I know, but it’s true. Actually, “seen” is not exactly the right word but it’s as close as I can get. There was no blinding light or anything like that, but I understand why people say that. There really is no way to explain it. Today I say I was consciously in the presence of the Infinite All That Is,
To make a long story short, I’d had a traumatic injury, was extremely distressed, and was at my wits end. I’d always believed in something ‘more’ and I’d prayed to God off and on since I was a kid.3 But when I prayed it was like, “please don’t let me get a ‘D’ in math,” or “Please God, don’t let her be pregnant.” You get the idea. But not this time. This time something shifted. I prayed in absolute surrender. That’s when it happened.4
To paraphrase Robert Browning, “It was like the forked tongue of the Infinite pierced my heart.”
I literally went to bed one person, and woke up another. Whatever happened that night, I woke up and I ‘knew’.
Knew what? I knew God was real,5 he was paying attention, and he6 cared. I knew I would always have a roof over my head, have enough money, plenty of food, and people who loved me. I knew my purpose in life was to be happy. I knew there was no need for struggle or strife. I knew everything would always work out because, no matter what, God had my back. And the best part, I knew life was eternal. What we call death is an illusion.
And no, drugs were not involved.
But there was more to it than that. I’d been a ‘seeker’7 for as long as I could remember and in the preceding couple of years I’d been seeking in earnest. I guess God was listening because in the instant I ‘knew’ these things, I also got a message. That message was,.“Shit, or get off the pot.” Forgive my French but God made it very clear that if I really wanted to get into this seeking thing, I had a decision to make. If I wanted to get serious, now was the time. And if I decided to go for it, God would take me on Mr. Toad’s wild ride on steroids.
I went for it.
But I also made a deal with God.8 I told God I was going to let him show me the way. I wasn’t going to go to some guru or preacher and let them tell me what God was all about9. I was going to look at everything, read everything, talk to everybody, listen, and let God show me the way. He said, “Sounds good, let’s go,”10 and off we went.
I read the Bible five times, cover to cover, in four different versions11. I read the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon, the Analects, I Ching, Lao Tzu, the Koran, the BIg Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Science of Mind and countless spiritual and metaphysical books. When the Mormons came knocking, I invited them in. They even showed me their movie.12 For the next ten years or so I was insatiable.
After awhile the common thread became very clear; have faith in the Great Spirit13 and love in your heart and everything will work out just fine. It really is that simple. God is paying attention and he cares and, if you trust the process and act from love, everything will always work out.
But there was always something that bugged me about the Bible. Not the Bible itself so much, but the way it’s presented. The more I read it, the more I couldn’t reconcile what was being claimed to be the word of God to what was actually on the page.
So, about the third time through, I started paying real close attention; cross referencing, looking into language and interpretations, researching the backgrounds of the different versions, Aramaic traditions and idioms, the Middle Eastern landscape and people of the time. Most of this was done before the internet so I did a lot of reading.14
I took a ton of notes and this book is the result of all that.15 Just one heretic’s view on the most influential book of Western civilization.
This is in no way meant to be a thorough treatise of the Bible. It’s a rare person who has actually read the Bible cover to cover. That’s okay. Think of this as an abbreviated Cliff Note version. My ‘musings’.
I’ll take you through the first part of the Old Testament, where all the basic groundwork was laid, and the first part of the New Testament, which is all about Jesus and the beginning of the Christian church.
I’ll cover the basic who?, what?,when?, where? of it and point out some things that don’t seem to add up and other things that are incredible. So, if you’ve never actually read the Bible, this might be really helpful.16
I don’t expect you to agree with all of it but, if you’ve come this far, hang in there and see what you think.
1 I’ve read it five times cover to cover, four different versions; three more times minus the prophets (they’re boring), and numerous ‘partials’
2Although I am a licensed Religious Science Practitioner for Centers for Spiritual Living.
3 I was 22 at the time of this revelation.
4 I’ve heard that’s common in revelations like mine, the ‘surrender’ thing.
5 Although I had no idea what He (or It) was.
6 If the “he” thing bugs you, it does me too. Read on.
7 Seeking what? The meaning of life; the nature of God; things like that.
8 How pretentious.
9 Jerry Falwell and Hal Lindsey were big at the time.
10 He didn’t really say it out loud. I heard it in my heart.
11 And three more times but I skipped the prophets…repetitive and too depressing in my opinion.
12 It was eye opening. I recommend it if you really want to know what Mormons are all about.
13 However you define it.
14 But have since used the internet extensively.
15 Not all of it. I’ve still got plenty left that’s not included here.
16 Without having to read the whole thing yourself.