Saturday, June 4, 2011

Heavenly Father's The Holy Bible

On my Facebook profile, I wrote, “I can now say that I have read the whole Bible in English, from cover to cover.” Then one of my friends posted a comment: “That is awesome … should we expect a book review?” The comment really surprised me for two reasons: firstly, someone was actually reading my reviews, and secondly, I did not expect any sort of request to write one. Sure, the Bible is a book and I have read it completely, but can I write a book review about this ubiquitous tome? No, not really. To carry out such a task would be a quixotic enterprise in my case. Therefore, I replied to my friend’s comment saying that I was not planning to write one.

But after some thought, I decided to try. I know there are more authoritative discussions and volumes than what I can offer. Yet I cannot shake the feeling that one more review is not going to hurt. And someone is expecting me to write a book review anyway. Can I disappoint my friend? I should not. So, this review is for my Facebook friend.

I know this review will not be objective, nor will it try to be. I do believe in God. I do believe he is a beneficent being and I call him Heavenly Father. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and he is my Savior. I believe there is a personage of spirit called the Holy Ghost that helps me to commune with my Gods spiritually. I do believe extraordinary events happen, even though I cannot prove that they have happened or not. Lastly, I do believe that all of the prophecies recorded in the Bible have been fulfilled or will be fulfilled. In other words, I believe the Bible is true.

I understand that the Bible has been a divisive power as well as a unifying one. I cannot deny that. I understand the Bible may be incomplete, translated incorrectly, twisted by interpreters with malicious agendas, or simply misunderstood. All of these are very probable. What I do not understand is how anyone can critique it, criticize it, or even demonize it without having read it. The same goes for the other extreme, too. I do not understand people who laud it, extol it, or idolize it without having flipped through its pages to see what is really inside. In either of these cases, it is a type of hypocrisy that I cannot tolerate without feelings of anger and disgust. I want to have discussions about the Bible, because they are inevitable and necessary, but the discussion is useless if one of the participants will not even thumb through the pages.

I give kudos to anyone that reads it and does the things the Bible asks us to do. One cannot just read it without being influenced by its message. It is the ultimate writerly text, to use Roland Barthes’s term. I give even more kudos to anyone that gets on his or her knees and prays to God if the Bible is true. When one receives proof from God, it should not matter what anyone else says, argues, or thinks (although those activities do help or hurt sometimes if the person's faith is not strong enough). This attitude is neither smugness nor arrogance. The proof is for that person and is that person’s alone. It becomes an individual and cherished part of being. This method applies to other scriptures as well, namely the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, all canonical texts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I even go so far to say that anyone has the power to ask God if any other scriptural text from other religions is true. I cannot say what answers God may give (even though I have very strong opinions of what those answers are or should be), but it is an individual matter and even I will not encroach on another person’s privilege or conscience.

I cannot even begin to write all of the insights I have had while reading this book. It is large and overwhelming. I do not even categorize the Bible as a book. I categorize it as scripture. It does not need a book review, because what it contains stands on its own. If it does require a review, then it is simply this: Read it!

Andrew

2 comments:

  1. The Bible is unique in that you can always ask the author directly, "Now what did you mean by that?"

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  2. Yes, true. You can. It's too bad that most of the scientific and academic communities "set at naught and trample under their feet even the very God of Isreal" (1 Nephi 19:7). Now, men's interpretation of the Bible: that's a whole 'nother story.

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