View Poll Results: How much of The Bible have you read?
Never touched the Bible 5 2.78%
Skimmed the Bible 55 30.56%
Read the Bible 105 58.33%
Other 15 8.33%
Voters: 180. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:20 AM
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Atheists and Biblical Familiarity

Saw this in another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Everyone, even those atheist and who have never touched a Bible understands what is meant by "A Good Samaritan". It's part of our culture.
, and I was wondering if "People that are atheists because they never touched a Bible" is an actual thing, so I created this poll.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 02-08-2019 at 10:22 AM.
  #2  
Old 02-08-2019, 10:22 AM
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Read it front to back several times, five different versions.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:40 AM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is offline
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I'm ineligible to vote in this poll, but I don't think that's what the poster meant.

Of course, I don't have the context of the quote, but it seems to me that he is putting "atheists" and "those who have never touched a Bible" in separate categories.

I certainly didn't get any implications from that quote that anyone is an atheist because they have never touched a Bible.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:46 AM
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As a child, I read only the parts that agreed with the priestly hierarchy.

As an adult, I have found that most parts don't support that at all.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:53 AM
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I've read the bible, cover to cover, several times. And I have read several versions, though slightly less vigorously. They are what managed to convince me that they do not describe or provide evidence for any sort of divine beings or creations.



Quote:
Originally Posted by EscAlaMike View Post
I'm ineligible to vote in this poll, but I don't think that's what the poster meant.

Of course, I don't have the context of the quote, but it seems to me that he is putting "atheists" and "those who have never touched a Bible" in separate categories.

I certainly didn't get any implications from that quote that anyone is an atheist because they have never touched a Bible.
He certainly implied that an atheist would not know what a "good samaritan" was, were it not part of our culture.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
He certainly implied that an atheist would not know what a "good samaritan" was, were it not part of our culture.
Ah, gotcha.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:28 AM
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Read it all the way through in my youth. Even "Numbers", and no one should have to do that.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:36 AM
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I voted "skimmed." Which isn't really accurate, but I thought the best choice. Baptized catholic, attended catechism classes thru grade school, confirmed, required to attend church regularly until moved out of the house for college. So I never really "studied" the bible, but I definitely "touched" them, and read/heard various parts over and over.

I can recall the exact time I became convinced of the reason of atheism. Somewhere around 4th-6th grade in catechism class. I even recall the lay teacher's name - Mrs Beers. One day she was going on about heaven and who gets to go, and it just struck me as ridiculous that millions/billions of fine upstanding Indians and Chinese couldn't go to heaven, no matter how nice they were. The rest of the blocks soon fell as well.

As an adult who reads a lot, I periodically considered reading the thing cover-to-cover - just out of interest of familiarity with an "original source" of such social import. But I never felt it was worth the time and commitment. Too many other things I'd rather read.

Lately we've periodically purged our bookshelves of deadwood. The last 2 times I've suggested we toss our remaining bibles (2, I think.) Wife prefers to hang on to them as reference materials.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:56 AM
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Read as much of the bible as one going 12 years to Catholic school would. In other words: not much, generally the same few parts over and over. The bible was not a primary source for religion class - catechisms early on, religion textbooks later, philosophy and theology texts in high school.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:11 PM
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I've skimmed it a bunch and read it through once. I have no desire to do that again.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:17 PM
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Only when I was forced to do so for Sunday school, up until the age of maybe 12 or 13.

However, I do know the story of the good Samaritan, not because I read it, but because I was told it in that same Sunday school. My suspicion is that more people learn those kinds of stories (also e.g. the prodigal son, and other "object lesson" stories) by being told them rather than by reading them. Or by reading them in popularized versions rather than in the original (i.e. bible).
  #12  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Read it front to back several times, five different versions.
Two versions for me, once each. That was plenty.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:20 PM
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Read more than 50% of it, so I cannot claimed "read" nor did I "skim".
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:21 PM
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I've never read the bible, but I've read what others have written about the book. It is not a genre I enjoy reading (historical fiction) and happily I was never forced to read it or learn about it.

I do know how to find Ezekiel 23:20, and usually underline or highlight that part in hotel bibles.
  #15  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:24 PM
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I chose other.

Atheist, I wouldn't say I've read the Bible front-to-back like a novel, but I've definitely done more than just skim it, and have a passing familiarity with most of it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:28 PM
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I've never sat down and read the bible cover-to-cover, but I've read almost all of it at one time or another, so I voted "read it".

Quote:
and I was wondering if "People that are atheists because they never touched a Bible" is an actual thing, so I created this poll.
I'm pretty sure he didn't mean to imply anyone was an atheist BECAUSE they hadn't read the bible. I took the statement to mean that people who don't believe the bible and/or haven't read the bible still know the gist of the story of the good Samaritan, because that story (and many other Bible stories) has become part of our broader culture. And I'm inclined to agree with him.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:29 PM
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Being a Christian and rostered laity I don't qualify for the poll but I went "other".

You said "and I was wondering if "People that are atheists because they never touched a Bible" " and my reading of DrDeth is different. I don't get that he thinks they are atheist because they never touched a bible but more they were raised in a tradition that was without that particular book. FWIW most atheists I know have come out of at least semi-religious backgrounds or families. Some were in a more agnostic sense and may not have had a firm Biblical experience but I can't think of one who has ever said "never saw one, never opened one". I am sure such a person exists and has probably already responded here ----- and you ask an interesting question. But I wonder if the question needs more refinement maybe?
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:40 PM
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I'm an atheist non-Christian because I touched a bible. I read the thing, listened to the church talkers, and decided my reading comprehension was so poor I didn't have what it took to be a Christian--it was like I'd read an entirely different book.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:47 PM
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I said “never touched” because it closest. I have actually read the first few pages.
  #20  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:53 PM
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I picked "other," meaning that I've read most of the famous bits and lots of the less-famous ones at one time or another, and I'm fairly familiar with the contents and would consider myself Bible-literate. However, that doesn't mean I've read, say, the Book of Numbers, or Zephaniah.
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:56 PM
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I'm not sure how the OP got "atheist because they never touched a Bible" out of that quote.
  #22  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:57 PM
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I've read it several times in several different versions. I've also read many of the "lost" books. None of it convinced me of the existence of any God(s).
In its favor, it is a better read than the holy books of some other religions.
  #23  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I was wondering if "People that are atheists because they never touched a Bible" is an actual thing, so I created this poll.
Is poll supposed to be only for atheists? It doesn't specifically say so.
  #24  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I'm not sure how the OP got "atheist because they never touched a Bible" out of that quote.
It's just a combination of this
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
He certainly implied that an atheist would not know what a "good samaritan" was, were it not part of our culture.
and curiosity about how well-read atheists are when it comes to the Bible.
  #25  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I'm not sure how the OP got "atheist because they never touched a Bible" out of that quote.
Me too. Surely the OP knows that correlation doesn't imply causation. (If there is causation, I would have thought it more likely the other way around.)

But that exchange in the other thread got me wondering about "atheists and Bible familiarity," too. I would suspect that, in general (with exceptions), atheists would tend to have less familiarity with the Bible than Christians.
  #26  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:37 PM
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I've read virtually all of it, but only because I went to parochial schools and I had to.
  #27  
Old 02-08-2019, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
It is not a genre I enjoy reading (historical fiction) and happily I was never forced to read it or learn about it.
Hmm...you might want to learn a little bit more about it before claiming that a collected library of 73 separate books can be classified under one genre, not to mention a genre that, for all intents and purposes, didn't even exist until the 17th century (historical fiction).
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscAlaMike View Post
Hmm...you might want to learn a little bit more about it before claiming that a collected library of 73 separate books can be classified under one genre, not to mention a genre that, for all intents and purposes, didn't even exist until the 17th century (historical fiction).
The genre existed-it just wasn't labeled as such.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:58 PM
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The genre existed-it just wasn't labeled as such.
Even so, classifying all 73 books under one genre...
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by EscAlaMike View Post
Even so, classifying all 73 books under one genre...
You are welcome to reclassify them for us...but I would personally prefer that you start up a new thread to do so, because I think it is an interesting topic on its own and would most likely eclipse this one.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:12 PM
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I haven't read all that much of the actual Bible. When I was a kid, we had a set of much thinner books (each about 1/4 inch thick, IIRC) that summarized each Book, with Chapters as headings and I think Verses noted off to the sides of the paragraphs. So I don't know chapter and verse, but I learned most of the stories, enough to understand most Biblical references.

What I remember most were the illustrations, from Gustave Dore -- just looking at that page brings back memories.
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
and curiosity about how well-read atheists are when it comes to the Bible.
That's just it really; with a lot of the Bible stories/traditions being well read is secondary possibly. So much has passed into daily life and remarks - heck the Good Samaritan was even the subject of a bad 60-second cartoon back when I was a kid (there was the companion one about hanging someone). Short of living in a cave and being raised by wolves ................
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Old 02-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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I voted by accident; I'm not an atheist.

But I can say that of the avowed atheists I've known, they've all generally come from VERY religious backgrounds and were very turned off by the heavy-handed application of religion in their communities and/or families.

Most people I've known who came from less religiously intense backgrounds usually end up being some sort of half-assed theist at best; they don't repudiate the idea of God, they just sort of become areligious and secular through not being involved. It's a less active process, I suppose.
  #34  
Old 02-08-2019, 02:29 PM
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I've read the Bible. I've also read a few dozen books about the Bible (by believers and non-believers) which I feel is at least as educational as reading the Bible itself.

I admit it's strange that a non-believer like myself has a significant interest in theology but there you go.
  #35  
Old 02-08-2019, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
You are welcome to reclassify them for us...but I would personally prefer that you start up a new thread to do so, because I think it is an interesting topic on its own and would most likely eclipse this one.
No need to reclassify them—there are plenty of sites that classify the Bible books by genre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_genre
  #36  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
No need to reclassify them—there are plenty of sites that classify the Bible books by genre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_genre
In-house classification that doesn't allow the term "fiction", let alone "historical fiction".
  #37  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:08 PM
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I remember poking around in it a bit when I was a kid out of curiosity but most of what I know of the bible is from other references, anecdotes, pop references, wikipedia, whatever.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:39 PM
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I'm closer to read than skimmed, so that's what I put. I've read the entire new testament a couple of times and a lot of the old, but I skimmed a lot of the genealogy and Jewish law.

I'm kind of with EscAlaMike on the historical fiction bit. How can you say that the Psalms, for example, are historical fiction? That's like saying Leaves of Grass is historical fiction.

If anyone is interested, I found This book to be a great way of getting at the meat of the Bible without having to deal with the repetitive boring bits or the inexplicable tiny print and numbering system.
  #39  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:40 PM
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As someone who grew up in a religious home with Church on Sundays and went to a Catholic high school, I've more than skimmed, but have never actually read the entire Bible, cover to cover in chronological order. I'd estimate that if I were to add up all the passages that I read, it would likely cover it all. My atheism is well-informed.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:46 PM
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I've certainly read many portions of the Bible or had them read to me. I did attend Sunday school religiously :-) as a child, because my family went. I don't know if they'd have forced me to go after I'd reached a certain age, but I never made an issue of it. I stopped going when I went to college, but my beliefs were mostly formed by that stage of my life.

If atheist is defined as not believing in the god of the Bible (either new or old testament), then I'm an atheist. If you define atheist as someone who is 100% positive that no gods exist, then I'll have to fall back on having someone give me a clear definition of a god first.

I certainly know the story of the Good Samaritan. In fact I'd say I probably know it better than most religious Christians. "Samaritan" has become come a word that is essentially synonymous with "good Samaritan." That was almost certainly not the point of the original story.

Asimov is a much better writer than I. In his essay "Lost in Non-Translation", he explained that there were no "good" Samaritans at that time at least to Jews of the time. In the South of the 1950s (and probably later), the story should have been translated as a preacher and someone else (a politician I think) ignoring the robbed man. The Samaritan wold be a poor black sharecropper.
  #41  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:05 PM
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I was a pretty lost kid and I tried lots of drugs and alcohol and when they didn't help much I allowed myself to be brought to Christ by some lovely schoolfriends. I had a fabulous time hanging with them and families, the speaking in tongues stuff at church seemed odd but they were just so nice and loving and I felt like I belonged somewhere at last... then we all realised I was queer.

In those months I read the bible cover to cover several times. I tried really hard but all that did was convince me that it could be used to prop up any hateful beliefs you wanted to prop up and I just couldn't see how anyone came away from it giving it rave reviews. When it was used to tell me my very being was wrong I went back to the drugs. I saw God a lot more via smack than church but I knew it wasn't reality.
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  #42  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
He certainly implied that an atheist would not know what a "good samaritan" was, were it not part of our culture.
..an atheist who has never read the Bible... Intersection of "atheist" and "people who haven't read the Bible".

Heck, I expect people who have never read the Bible to be familiar with the expression no matter what their religion happens to be, because the expression gets used frequently enough outside religious circles. What I don't necessarily expect anybody who has never read the Bible (not necessarily end-to-end) or attended church is to be able to tell the parable, nor anybody (including those whose nominal religion is some form of Christianity) to be familiar with the sociopolitical background behind the choice of representative figures.

But the same is true for people being familiar with, say, Romeo and Juliet without having ever watched the play (either as written by Shakespeare, or any of its cinematic redos), or with Don Juan without really knowing anything about him beyond his name. Or knowing that "the number of the beast" is the name of a song by Metallica... all three of which I've encountered.

All those are expressions people know because they're part of our popular culture, without necessarily being familiar with the background.
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Last edited by Nava; 02-08-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:16 PM
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Assuming you don't want theists to vote in the poll, so I didn't. If you do, I have read the entire Bible including the begots. As a matter of fact, I just finished listening to the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles on audiobook. I used to be able to read Greek, so I read the New Testament in the original language, although I can't any more.

I have read the Old Testament probably a dozen or more times, and the New Testament more like fifteen, end-to-end. The lectionary of the Lutheran church goes on a three year cycle, and I have been going to church all my life, so do the math if you like. I have also read about the Bible, devotional, textual criticism, all that.

FWIW.

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  #44  
Old 02-08-2019, 04:28 PM
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Atheist here. I went to a Catholic high school, which means I've had two and a half years of Bible classes, during which we read the Bible cover to cover and took notes. Our Bibles had some apocryphal bits in them, such as the Book of Tobit and the 13th chapter of Daniel.
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:32 PM
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As others have said, there does seem to be a big gap between Skimmed and read the whole thing, but with the choices offered I said skimmed.

I had some 13 years of Sunday school and gotten as far as Chronicles trying to read is straight through. But haven't made a completed it yet.
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
As others have said, there does seem to be a big gap between Skimmed and read the whole thing, but with the choices offered I said skimmed.
That's why I put in a choice that perfectly fits the category you seek:
Other.
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Old 02-08-2019, 05:00 PM
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Skimmed, I guess. Was forced to go to Sunday School until I left my parent's house, so had plenty of exposure to the stories. Quite enough to be culturally literate wrt Christianity. I've read large portions here and there and I've tried to read it cover -> cover several times, but don't ever get anywhere near. There are just frankly large portions that aren't very interesting. I have a King James version on my bookshelf (I can see it right now actually) that I bought 20 years ago and use when I need to familiarize myself or research something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've never read the bible, but I've read what others have written about the book. It is not a genre I enjoy reading (historical fiction) and happily I was never forced to read it or learn about it.

I do know how to find Ezekiel 23:20, and usually underline or highlight that part in hotel bibles.
You're a bad, bad man.

Last edited by Sicks Ate; 02-08-2019 at 05:04 PM.
  #48  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:29 PM
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Other: Read much of it, attended serious Bible studies, took university courses in Biblical history. Confident that I know more about the actual contents of the Bible than most of the mouth-breathers who claim they are “Christians” but don’t know the history of the Bible or even their own denomination.

And yet the same retard brigade insists I am ignorant and that if I only gave it a try, I would realize how wrong I am.
  #49  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Read it front to back several times, five different versions.
Obviously never in Hebrew.
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Old 02-08-2019, 05:56 PM
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Obviously never in Hebrew.
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