Some might wonder why an agnostic secularist such as myself would take the time or make the effort to study the Bible. And understandably so.
Yet I hasten to state that though I no longer believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God; that although I no longer believe in either a Creator or an act of creation as such; that although I no longer believe Jesus of Nazareth to have been more than a mere mortal man (if a historic character at all); that nonetheless I regard the Bible as fascinating literature and the writers, composers, and editors of such to have been among the greatest of all literary artists. In my opinion, the skills and the effort necessary to compose, edit, and compile such a book is noteworthy, if not exemplary. My immense respect for such is even moreso enhanced by my theory that no deity influenced or assisted these efforts, and that therefore the finished product itself is indeed a work exclusively of human effort and skills. Indeed, a literary work worthy of respect and reading, yet which is surely and clearly a “mythical history”. Or so it seems to me.
The story itself is fascinating. A god among gods (Psalms 82) whose allotment among mankind is the Hebrew people (Deuteronomy 32:7-9). An epic narrative of a people whose rise from wholesale slavery to regional dominance is attributed to its god among the gods (Exodus 15:3-4,11-18; Joshua 23:1-5,9), yet whose eventual decline and humiliating subjugation at the hands of foreign powers is represented so as to protect the integrity and the image of that very deity himself (2 Chronicles 36:11-21). Along the way an evergrowing perspective of monotheism ultimately gives rise to the theory that ensuing world events, however reflective upon the Hebrew people themselves, are but a part of a master plan whereby the Hebrew god not only lays claim to his ancient heritage but likewise claims authority over all nationalities of people (Daniel 4:17,25,32,35). Thus, the story which begins with Yahweh as a mere god among gods, concludes with all people of all nationalities of all religious perspectitves of all time being eternally indebted to this one specific deity who rose from the ranks of the council of the deities to assume the position of the one and only God of all times for all peoples of all places; henceforth and forever more (Psalms 89:5-8).
Perhaps most remarkable of all is how the early writers of the Bible were able to transform their people’s national defeat and and how later writers were able to market the natural death of one specific individual so as to develop a worldwide movement which continues to function some two millenniums later. Absolutely fascinating.
And the characters so involved in the entire process; from the writers and creators of the stories which complemented their early history right down to every propogandists of the movement who continue to breathe life into its very ongoing existence by way of public teaching and private tutorials designed to persuade and influence the minds of the masses, have succeeded to maintain and monitor this movement completely by their own efforts, with no actual divine influence whatsoever. Absolutely fascinating.
Indeed, I am an agnostic. Indeed, I am a skeptic. But I indeed sincerely respect the literary skills necessary to have written, composed, and compiled the book which more than 2,000 years after the fact, continues to hold a seemingly irrepressible allure over the minds of the masses.