I wrote this as a Facebook post two years ago on Feb. 21, 2012:
“The Christian bible has a lot of wise and wonderful things to say. It’s a lovely assemblage of documents. If all documents were as carefully preserved — by historians, theologians, and indeed a large segment of the entire world, poor, middle-class, and rich — we would have a much fuller memory of what exactly went down when, say, about 200,000 Angle and the Saxon people moved from the Baltic Sea region of modern-day northern Germany, just south of Denmark, to invade and establish kingdoms in the 5th century in what was to become England, whose descendants, the Americans, went on to impregnate the entire planet with its culture, language, and technology. Had that era been as lovingly recorded as were many of the events and peoples of the Middle East a few hundred to a few thousand years earlier, we would have a richer, more human understanding of the origins of the world and what it has become today. The bible tells us about the souls of a people who help to define who we are. It is a treasure trove of history, genealogy, primal terror, spiritual bliss, political intrigue, gut-wrenching poetry, and a culmination of surrealistic description that the likes of Hieronymus Bosch and Timothy Leary might have bowed down to. One of the most famous translations of the bible, the King James Version, is held up by English professors as a paragon of English prose, shoulder-to-shoulder with Shakespeare.
“What the bible is not, however, is my bible.”