So I had to buy a bible.
My mom laughed hysterically when I told her I had to buy the King James version of the Bible for my English class. At first she paused, staring at me blankly/in shock…and then she broke into hysterical laughter. It was good to see. I love making people laugh.
But it’s true, I bought a bible. Me, who have never actually owned a bible in my life, even when I was a Christian. Unless the children’s bible with the pretty pictures counts. If it does, then…I mean after the children’s stage passed have I never owned a bible.
Just the word “bible” looks funny to me. It looks like I should be saying “bib,” as in a baby’s bib, with “-le” tacked on the end. And that makes me giggle.
I digress. My mom, after her laughter had subsided, did however make a good point. The bible really does have some good stories in it. She especially noted the Psalms (which I can’t even remember from my Sunday school days). But the point is valid. How can I call myself a student of mythology and not hold the bible in some respect? Sure, it has been used a tool for propoganda and religious hatred for hundreds and thousands of years, but that wasn’t the original point of it as far as I’m aware. Take religion out of it and view it from a mythology context, and it shouldn’t be that bad.
But as a pagan, how am I going to get through reading the bible? When I was younger I considered the bible to be the bane of my existence and the source of many religious troubles. Now I know it’s not the bane of my existence, and it’s only the source of religious troubles because we stupid humans make it the Word of God (written down and translated by man). Still…how can I, as a pagan, read the bible and not take some kind of offense at some of the things I find there?
Yet it would be a pointless offense. There’s nothing I can do to change what’s written there, and book burning goes against my very nature and love of all books no matter the content. As a student of mythology, there are stories I read on occasion that I find horrifying, yet they all serve their purpose to the culture that created them.
What, then, is the purpose of a pagan reading the Christian bible? Other than the class requirement, I mean. And it’s possible I’m making too much of this situation I find myself in. Normally when I read something, I pour myself into the story and enjoy. Never have I had to separate myself from something I was reading, not even science texts, which I’m not very good with.
Either way, it will join my vast collection of books in my apartment, and adorn my shelves, giving a great deal of amusement to my friends who know me–and providing cover for the people who don’t know my religious affiliation.
I mean, who would guess that a pagan has a bible on their bookshelf? I could believe it of some of my pagan friends who have done some research and compared various religions, but of others, I could never believe that they owned a bible, much less displayed it publicly on the bookshelf in their living room.