The best selling book of all time is a hefty read.
This is all what I've come to understand, but may not be gospel (hehe) I'll have to have Matty confirm this, seeing as how he is my Christian authority. . .
The bible is split into two testaments. The first testament was written as a guide to Judaism. Jewish folk call it the Tanakh. This makes sense because they only have the one testament, so why call it "Old"? Nobody would refer to World War I as World War I if there was no World War II, would they?
The Tanakh has three parts. The first, The Torah is totally the best one. It's made up of the five books of Moses. The first, Genesis is the story of Creation. The 7 days to create everything, Adam and Eve, and the first appearance of Lucifer. Pre-Devil Lucifer! (Right, Matt?) The second book is Exodus - or as I know it - the inspiration for "Prince of Egypt"! Moses parting the Red Sea, the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the burning bush. It's a good read!
The rest of the new testament is so boring. I'm sure there are messages imbedded in the stories, but it's hard to get anything through two drooping eyelids and a glazed stare.
Christians took the Tanakh and use it as their Old Testament. A prequel of sorts. In addition, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christian religions threw in some more books that were part of the Jewish society, but not the Tanakh. I think they were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Chad's Guide to the Old Testament:
It is my understanding that the Tanakh was written as a guide to get people to straighten the hell up and fly right because until then they had been living like a pack of wild baboons. It was not written as an account of history. It is filled with stories with morals, not a textbook. There's even a massive support in both Christian and Jewish faiths that the book was inspired by God, but written by man - who is fallible and gets shit wrong.
The New Testament . . .
Never ones to be outdone, Christians wrote a new book. They have a new, better character, you're gonna love him!! Jesus Christ. Christ isn't his last name, but a title that means King of the Jews. He's like an ancient Barbra Streisand.
This book has its moments, but is a very random read. Sometimes you find yourself thinking Why the hell is this in here? Were they trying to hit a page quota? It starts of with the story of Jesus. Then another story of Jesus, then another, then another . . .
I'm pretty sure that I'm going to hell because I'm about to explain what I understand the New Testament to be using Star Wars.
Lets say that Jesus is Luke Skywalker. The New Testament starts off telling Luke Skywalker's story from Han Solo's point of view. Then from Princess Leia's. Then from R2D2's.
We get it. The man was selfless. Lets move on.
The next part is a mess of letters from Chewbacca to little Luke Skywalker(ian?) churches all over the universe.
There's songs. There's prayers. There's shit you skip over because it is just redundant.
The book of Revelation. As it turns out, we're all fucked. Sometime in the future there's going to be a holy shit storm and you can kiss your ass goodbye. So be good that way you can get into heaven!
Chad's Guide to the New Testament
If I can compare it to the Old Testament I would say that they are completely different in most ways. While the OT is really interesting in some parts and really boring in others, the NT is pretty much just ok the whole way through.
My favorite difference between the two? I guess that having a son really calmed God down because before before that he (or she) was out of control. Demanding sacrifices, torturing people, destroying cities, all kinds of nasty shit! The new God is much more chill.
Chad's Guide to Western Organized Religion
I hold strong to the idea that the Bible is a book of stories written as a vehicle to deliver morals before 70s sitcoms. The morals are all good ones. It's the golden rule, people. The Bible is teaching you the golden fucking rule. It is NOT telling you that God created shit from start to finish in 6 days. If that were true than we could all gather around "The Flintstones" as if it were a documentary. It could be the science that my mind tends to be supported by, but that's what I think.
Organized religion, especially Christians is violently skewed. The intention behind organized religion is for like-minded worshippers to be able to congregate. It has become a reason to constantly judge others for being wrong.
Matt and my sister, Chelsea are my favorite Christians because they don't do this. They don't preach, they don't judge, and they don't attend church barbecues. They realize that religion is for faith. Faith being the operative word. You believe something because you believe it. Not because somebody told you to.
I guess my moral would be that faith is a fantastic thing to have and is going to be different for every person. Religion is an organization with strict rules and regulations and meeting times. The Bible? It's a good book to read at least once, like The Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost. It has good messages that anyone, no matter their belief system can value. But don't treat the Bible as gospel.
Also - don't ever invite me to a church barbecue. I may bite you.
Or slap you until you bleed.