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I was raised without religion. My mother was a lapsed Catholic, my father a lapsed Protestant. My understanding of Easter as a child was that it was that day you ate ham (as opposed to Christmas, which was that other day you ate turkey). I have been to regular church services exactly four times in my life, and I can’t say I remember much about them – except for the hymns. For that matter, I’ve been to Passover services exactly four times, too, with my ex-girlfriend. I seem to remember liking the music there, too.
In other words, apart from the singing, when it comes to the Judeo-Christian tradition, I haven’t a clue. I could not – and still cannot – tell you the difference between a Presbyterian and an Episcopalian or a Methodist and a Baptist. In addition, I grew up in New England, in an area where Jews were nearly as prevalent as Christians, and seemed to have nearly as many variations on their religious tradition as the Christians did. All of these different people, so much alike in their non-religious lives, yet each of them carrying a torch for some particular branch of a faith, the nuances of which I couldn’t begin to understand. What could they all have in common? The Bible, of course.
So I decided to read it. Yes, I read it, the whole thing, even the really boring parts about who begat whom ad infinitum. And you know what? It turns out that The Bible is really pretty interesting – particularly when you know next to nothing about the religions that use it as a basis for their doctrine and faith. And so I sat down and began analyzing what The Bible said to me as a layperson, someone with no emotional or historical attachment to its teachings and tenets. These volumes are the result of that analysis.
It is not my intention to judge the value, relevance, or accuracy of what The Bible says, nor do I pretend to be a religious scholar of any sort with special knowledge of biblical interpretation or history. Rather, I examine the meaning of what The Bible says to ME, an ordinary twenty-first century person without religious training or knowledge who has picked up The Good Book for the first time and said to himself, “Well, look at that! Who’d have thought that was in there all along?”
I had a lot of fun digging these gems out of our most famous work of literature, and I hope you’ll have fun reading them, too. This first volume is on everyone’s favorite subject: SEXUALITY. What does The Bible really say about homosexuality? About adultery, chastity, and incest? If you’re a layperson like me, I think you may be surprised by just what’s contained in those two testaments – and the impact those words have had upon our society down to this day.