I started reading the bible, and before we go any further I want to make clear that I am an agnostic. I lean towards atheism, but in the former case I'm still a deist. So this has been quite on odd experience for me. I thought that it couldn't hurt to give it a go, and at the very least I will have a better understanding of why I reject organized religion (and religion in a broader sense). Also, I had wanted to read it at a younger age and I think that it is an importantto read at least once in my lifetime. What could it hurt?
I have finished Genesis and am now halfway through Exodus. So far my views on religion have been solidified by the fiction. And yes, I call it fiction, and for a good reason. Even when I was "religious" in my youth I was never able to beleive in Creationism. I'm an evolutionist in every sense of the word. Evolution is scientific fact, not theory. Aside from my feelings about Genesis I find that much of the story is filled with contradictions of both elementary and fundamental types. The only explanation to account for the kind of discrepancies is to say the the will of God is arbitrary or whimsical. If this is the case then even if I'm wrong I'll take whats coming to me, because I wouldn't agree to praise something so perfunctory. However, maybe I'll find something before the end of it that will change my mind. I doubt that will happen though. As a work of literature, I would say that it's well written fantasy. The tales are interesting. The characters, although shallow at times, on occasion still show a measure of feeling. If nothing else it is an enjoyable fiction.
I hope I don't offend anyone who may be reading my comments, but I'm not about to censor my opinions on a topic that happens to be important to me. Those of the opposing view have never felt the need to censor their own opinions when discussing this subject matter. In fact, I have strangers come to my door ALL the time where I live, pushing their values and beliefs on me. I get stopped in the street by Mormons too. I don't belittle any of these people and that's certainly not what I'm doing here. I think it's a relevant discussion on literature, and if anyone wants to discuss it reasonably with me, I would rather enjoy that, because I never get the chance to have a conversation on this in my regular life.