As a lot of people know, I’ve been hosting a Skeptic Bible Study for the last year and a half. Upon reading the actual Bible and learning just how poorly constructed and confusing it is, I have decided to share with everyone how if I was god, I would have written my holy text. Keep in mind that I am just a person, a little bit of carbon with great hair. I am not all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, all anything. Yet my version of a Bible would be so much more interesting, more straight-forward and lead to less deaths than the actual one.
1. Have one author and have that person be known and verified.
The Bible has dubious origins at best. Different people from different time periods and in different places wrote all of the books and some books have multiple authors that were writing 150 years or more apart. Needless to say, this is what contributed to a lot of Bible contradictions. If one author writes the entire text, then that will cut down on the inconsistencies.
Also, that person, probably me as I love to write so much, would have enough information about them available that people know that they actually existed and have some solid biographical content for the About the Author blurb in the back. There’s no point in letting someone write your holy book when the people you’re trying to reach really don’t know who they are or if they’re reliable.
2. No huge sections with lists of names and places.
The Bible likes to go through lineage at a painfully slow pace. Instead of having to read through pages of the tedious blank begot blank who begot blank who begot bank, I would put a massive family tree in the back and clear up all of those questions about who is related to whom. I would also include women in the family tree as they do tend to contribute a little to reproduction and families.
For places, I would draw maps for different sections of the book where location is important. The maps would evolve based on the book, so everyone would know where all of this shit is. It would also help keep things straight when everyone is going to war with everyone else.
3. The entire book is chronological.
If you bought a non-fiction history book of any kind, you would generally expect it to flow in a logical order. Not so with the Bible. It jumps around, mostly without warning, people who died in several past books come back to write poems, it’s irritating. How is anyone supposed to keep track of what’s going on when a book can change authors halfway through and no one even lets you know?
4. Have the literal parts be clearly marked as well as the allegory parts.
How many people have died or suffered because someone took their interpretation of the Bible to an extreme? If wanted people to know the difference between what you’re supposed to actually be doing with your life and what’s a nice story to illustrate a point, I’d be really fucking clear about it.
Literal: Be compassionate to all people you meet.
Figurative: Don’t hold a butterfly too tightly in your hands.
How fucking easy is that? If I wrote a holy book, no one would use it to form the Cult of the Butterfly, dedicated to finding anyone who has ever abused a butterfly and holding them accountable for their actions. There should be no room for mistakes or misinterpretations when you’re dealing with a book that people fight wars over. Imagine if the army decided to write all of their memos in rhyming quatrains. Sound fucking ridiculous? It is!
5. Have one official version in every language.
One problem with the Bible is that there are simply so many different versions of it. During our Bible study it’s highly common for me to read something from my English Standard Version that sounds very dubious and for someone else to announce, “Mine says something completely different.” and discover that their copy of the Bible has another verse entirely.
There needs to be one version done in every language so there’s no confusion about anything. People live their lives by these books, they need to be as clear and easy to understand as possible. Also, children’s Bibles that waterdown the naughty parts and gloss over the really questionable things wouldn’t exist. Everyone can read the same version of my Bible. If it’s not something that is appropriate for children, maybe it shouldn’t be in the Bible in the first place.
6. Have it actually be an enjoyable read.
I don’t care if you love Jesus or if you don’t think he really existed, the Bible is not a fun book to read. It’s tedious, the pacing is terrible, the writing is mostly stilted and weird, the historical things sometimes make little sense, the magical parts make no sense at all. Writing a nonfiction book isn’t easy, but padding said book out with huge chunks of tedious listing is just bullshit.
It’s no wonder that so few Christians have read the goddamn book. The sheer size of it alone is enough to scare away even regular readers, but then to add in so much fluff and nonsense and shit that will just make you rage? I’m struggling to get out of the Old Testament with my group and I started off as determined as anyone to read through the entire Bible.
7. Use the book for the betterment of mankind, not the detriment.
If I wrote a bible, it wouldn’t be racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic or anything in the bigotry family. I wouldn’t be advocating giving up your life to an invisible friend in the sky who is supposed to hook you up with eternal life either. My bible would stop wars, not start them.
Americans sometimes don’t realize just how many social and societal conventions are built around Christian teachings. Without them, we’d all probably be more more caring and considerate to each other. Sure, the Bible says some nice things, every so often. It encourages people to be nice to orphans and widows. But none of that makes up for the violence, discrimination and hatred that it also encourages.
My bible would promote freedom, equality, understanding and fun. Life is too short and cruel to impose personal restrictions and impossible limitations on everyone. So I guess what I’m saying is that if I wrote the Bible, it wouldn’t be the Bible at all.