is actually the first comment by someone we can (presumably) refer to as a Christian. I have little doubt Lisa is being genuine and sincere in her comments and truly means the best. I do believe having an open mind is an important virtue--it is the best way to understand. I believe that tolerance is vital and having an open mind is a good way to obtain tolerance. However...
I've completed the first 21 books of the Bible and I can say for certain that the God of the Bible is not
tolerant and by no stretch of the imagination is open minded
. He (and I do mean He) is jealous, spiteful, genocidal, homophobic, sexiest, malevolent and down right mean. God right out admits He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) and has zero tolerance for other religions. The 12 plagues of Exodus are by definition malevolent. Exodus, Leviticus, Joshua, Kings I&II and most of the rest of the old testament is full of genocide. In Deuteronomy, God explicitly orders genocide against the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites saying "... you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally". I hardly need to get into homophobia or sexism.
Most people have never taken the time to actually read the Bible. Some say it is difficult to read and I don't think they are referring to the content being dull and repetitive. Rather, it takes a lot of work to reinterpret what is actually written in the Bible to reflect the modern world. When you read the text as it is written, you quickly develop a picture of a iron-fist God who demands nothing but obedience. It's not too difficult to see that those who are being untrue to the religion are those who want open-minds and tolerance.
The reality is that the Bible is not the word of some God, but the words of men. It was folklore conceived and revised over thousands of years before more or less being solidified into the book we know today. The stories are no more a reflection of reality then any of the thousands of other religious text floating around. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins: We are all atheists about most of the gods ever to exist, from Allah to Zuse--some of us just go one god further.
I am not a non believer simply because I lack and understanding of what Christianity is--indeed I often find myself educating those who claim to be Christians on the stories of the Bible. It is not my intention to "convert" people to my way of thinking--my blog is a method by which I try to share my experiences with the world.
So Lisa Marie, while I appreciate your comments and your views are always welcome, I doubt highly that my views on religion--and particularly Christianity--are going to be swayed. I will continue to study religion (I have some books by the Dalai Lama queued up on my reading list), but so far, everything I read/watch/learn continues to reinforce my position that all religious texts are folklore and not divine.
Pictured is Mandy, known lovingly as "Jesus Girl".