So, Before You Get Mad…

This is strictly for learning purposes. Mostly. Mostly for learning purposes. Hopefully, we’ll get some laughs out of it as well, because this shit is heavy stuff. Heavy enough to argue with loved ones over, heavy enough to draw bitter lines over, heavy enough to fight wars over. So what’s the big?

The ridiculous idea of determining what the big of religion is, popped into my head during one of my (many) family disputes over religion, society, politics, and blah. I just couldn’t get over how people (many of whom I am 99% sure have never read the Bible cover to cover) will argue a few lines from a book someone wrote centuries ago and use it to vilify people they’ve never even met.

Now granted, my family is Southern Baptist, so they’re like WAY out there, but still… the fuck? Now, people using the Bible as a battering ram is only part of why I decided this would be a good idea. Enter my Texan Uncle. He informed that the evil Muslims have a secret plan to kill us all and take over the world, because religion. Now you may say (as I did) that this idea is completely ludicrous, but he truly believes it. He told me all about how brutal and disgusting the Koran is and how horrible Islam is. The catch? He knows zip zilch about Islam. I tried to argue, but truth be told… I didn’t really know enough about the Koran itself to make specific arguments. Which is upsetting, because I consider myself much more educated about Islam than most.

I have a degree in History. (Which is why I don’t have a career). And while I was working on that very expensive piece of good luck making a living, I studied the Middle East and Islam. I even wrote a paper about it and didn’t use Wikipedia. I knew the fundamentals, the 6 Pillars and all that, but I didn’t know the Koran, and therefore, I didn’t know anything about the core of Islam.

So my dilemma was two-fold. I knew that there are parts of the Bible repeated ad-nauseum to argue what people and society should and should not do. But aren’t there just as many parts that get glossed over or ignored altogether? I also knew (college again) that the Old Testament is not a fun-filled romp through the history of mankind. It is bloody, and in some parts, makes Game of Thrones look tame. But was it really as bad as I remembered? And what about the Koran? Would it make George R. R. Martin cry into his pillow at night? There’s only one way to know for sure. Time to read, mother fuckers.

So, to find out what the big of religion is, I have challenged myself to reading first, The Bible, followed by the Koran. That way I can 1) Read every word in them and not rely on what I’m told is in them 2) Compare and contrast 3) Try to get at the core of each religion, so that I’m not arguing without really knowing what I’m talking about 4) Continue my trend of self-flagellation for picking a degree like History.

I want to take as many people with me on this journey as possible, which is the point of this blog (I’m hoping to start a video blog as well). If you disagree with anything in this blog, that’s cool! I’m an idiot, and it would be a complete waste of your energy to get upset about it. Everything in this blog is my opinion. But also understand that the point is to be an informed idiot, so that I can provide an informed opinion. (And please also understand that I do not think ill of all Christians, some of ya’ll cool af). I’m not trying to be reckless, folks, just honest. So, let’s do it. Let’s take it all the way back to the beginning (but not before the dinosaurs. I think. Still unclear on that).

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9 thoughts on “So, Before You Get Mad…

    • My plan is to do one book of the Bible each week, but I may have to break some of them into two parts. I will be starting at the beginning, so my first blog will be about Genesis.

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  1. Count me in, nichols448! Dude, this is outstanding!! You are clever. And bold. And brave. I love your first post and your plan. It’s thoughtful and ambitious and has just the right dash of snark. Oh, also, I love all the swearing. Your style is daring but not irreverent or iconoclastic or harsh. Religions – all of them – are fascinating and rich, and can only benefit by a robust and critical scrutiny by both their adherents and their students. Good luck to you!!! Good luck to all the rest of us hoping to keep up with you! Please keep us posted of where we need to be each week. This is going to be fun!

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  2. This is amazing, Amanda. Your half-souled gay friend is going to do his best to read that damned book right along with you. I just need to get a copy first…

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  3. I wish you luck as well, but your plan is flawed. In order to understand Islam, one must only read the Koran, but the Hadith and the Syrahs as well. To top it off one must know how it was written as it is not like the bible in sort of a chronological order. It was meant to be difficult and missunderstood.

    You have a new follower, have a great day and I cannot wait to hear all about the genocide in the first five books of the bible.

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    • Thank you so much for the comment and the follow! Yes, flawed though I am, I intend to at least try to understand Islam. I was raised a Baptist, I’m half-way through the Bible, and I still don’t understand Christianity. But I think that is normal; religion is such a tricky, multi-faceted thing, not many people can agree on what one single religion is or means. That’s part of why I find it fascinating. Of course, the main goal in this blog is just to try and grasp at the roots a bit, to find the foundations of Islam. And I would like, eventually, to add other religious texts to the blog (if ever I finish the two books I’ve assigned myself.) And also, I would like to be able to argue in a more educated fashion when I go home to visit my very conservative family. What they understand about Islam is what they have been told to fear about it; I’m fairly certain there has to be a better way.
      And so, onward! You have a fantastic day as well!

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