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OpryLeigh's avatar

Have you ever read a holy book?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25280points) December 16th, 2009

When I say read I mean read cover to cover rather than just dipping in and out or reading the bits that suit you and nothing else.

There is a lot of discussion about religion on Fluther and while I enjoyed contributing to those it got me wondering how many people, regardless of their beliefs or how they feel about religion in general, have actually read a holy book. Many people quote The Bible for example but I wonder how many people just search the internet for something in the Bible that backs up their arguement without knowing what else the Bible has to say.

Personally, I am not religious although I do have a certain amount of faith. I read a childrens Bible when I was younger but, although I have tried, have never been able to get through an actual Bible. It’s hard work!

This question isn’t just aimed at the Bible by the way. I am interested to know if you have read any holy book.

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63 Answers

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I’ve never read the Torah from cover to cover, but I do go to Jewish services regularly. We read from the Torah every week, so I can say I’ve read a good deal of it, though not all.

LouLou's avatar

No I haven’t. The Bible is far too difficult to simply read cover to cover, unless you’re actually studying it. And trust me, I’ve tried!

anoop66's avatar

Have read Gita(Hinduism) completely, bits and pieces of Guru Granth Sahib(Sikhism) and the Bible. Found out that all religions are the same. Also found out that its tough to see THE path on your own. Wish I had a spiritual mentor. Interested in going through Buddhism’s teachings.

P.S. I am not an extremely religious person. Just wanted to know the answers to life’s questions and still seeking.

gemiwing's avatar

I’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover many times. I can’t say that I memorized it, yet I have studied it for several years in my youth.

I tried to read the Tibetan Book of the Dead and it was very difficult for me. I had to keep notes on my notes.

Qingu's avatar

I’ve read the entirety of the Bible and the Quran… I admit to skimming some repetitive parts though.

I also read a small chunk of the Mahabharata (plus the Gita, which is really a small sliver of a chunk of the Mahabharata). The Mahabharata is one of the two great Hindu epics. It is 10 times as long as the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. So, yeah, it’s not something that you can really read easily (and I’m pretty sure not all of it is even translated into English!). I did read a very abridged version of the whole Mahabharata, though. I also read a stylized abridgement of the other Hindu epic, the Ramayana. And I’ve read parts of the Rg Veda, but not the whole thing.

I’ve also read the Code of Hammurabi, which claims (like the laws of Moses) to be handed down directly from the gods. Also, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Epic of Atrahasis, and the Enuma Elish from Babylonian/Akkadian mythology.

Jewel's avatar

A few. From different religions and beliefs. So I am an agnostic now.

anoop66's avatar

@Qingu If you could condense all the religious ideas you gathered into a line, what would it be?

Fyrius's avatar

I admit I haven’t either. I’ve tried the bible several times, but…
I once compared the bible’s writing style to a legal disclaimer written by Mojo Jojo.

And lacking the required solid faith that somewhere in there, there has to be something worthwhile, I gave up after a few chapters.
Not much point in studying the manual to a product you’re hardly even interested in.

Jewel's avatar

@anoop66, make a question out of that answer!
Mine would be, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
So many ideas run through all religious texts, and many seem to boil down to this simple idea: Be kind.

icy's avatar

i certainly have. i have also read tons of books about what the holy books are trying to tell me.

Qingu's avatar

@anoop66, probably something like,

“Obey the people who wrote this.”

Confuscious's avatar

I tried reading the Bible like you would read a book, but you get lost pretty quick. Haven’t tried again since failing the first time. Now I just read small parts at a time.

anoop66's avatar

@Qingu Hehe Good one

Qingu's avatar

@Jewel, I’m not sure where you get “Be kind” from your religious reading. The Bible condones slavery and genocide. The Quran’s repeatedly says not to trust non-Muslims (“kufr,” or “infidels,”) and says that Allah will laugh at us as he tortures us in hell.

Even the Gita, long loved by hippies, isn’t all that nice in context. It’s a conversation between the warrior Arjuna and the incarnate god Krishna. The substance of it is that Krishna convinces Arjuna to “do his duty” and go to war, largely needlessly, against his family. The morality of the Gita is not “Be kind,” it’s “don’t ask questions when you’re supposed to be fighting a war.”

With few exceptions, any “be kind” morals in these texts are supposed to be applied only to the religious in-group.

MacBean's avatar

Cover-to-cover, I’ve read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Talmud. And Dianetics, if you want to count that… I’m currently working my way (very slowly, because I’m also reading a freakin’ ton of other stuff) through both the Qur’an and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

By the way. The Qur’an? Not exactly the wisest train reading. Stick to Dan Brown if you want to read religious hooey in public. Just a tip.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover about five times over my lifetime ( I’m 66 years old ).

wildpotato's avatar

I’ve read the Upanisads, the Rigveda, some of the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, much of the Old Testament, and all of the New Testament. Also the Dead Sea Scrolls, if that counts.

Jacket's avatar

I have read most of the OT and the NT. The OT is a bit of a heavy read imho. Not much of a source for guidance in todays world. I find more relevant truth on the internet. But interesting. I think everybody should read the bible, and other scripture like the Koran. It gives some insight if one wants to understand and discuss religion.

anoop66's avatar

@Qingu Gita is like ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’. But most of it is quite pedantic

Qingu's avatar

By the way, I don’t mean to suggest that these “holy books” are bereft of any value. They’re fascinating texts to study, and extremely enlightening about the views and worlds of ancient cultures.

I just really object to the idea that, because these books are “holy,” they must contain some special set of wisdom. The only reason such books are “holy” is because their authors had the great idea to claim they spoke for God(s), and some critical mass of people were gullible enough to believe them.

MacBean's avatar

@wildpotato: The Dead Sea Scrolls count more than Dianetics, which I counted. XD

Jewel's avatar

@Qingu,
I didn’t say that the books were all positive. As I noted, I am now agnostic (except when I am atheist). But looking at all of the positives in the books and writings that I have read, there are some underlying themes. One is to be kind to each other

Sophief's avatar

No, I haven’t.

Qingu's avatar

@Jewel, I really disagree. I don’t understand where you’re even getting that theme from. Maybe we have different standards for what counts as “be kind”? :)

Fyrius's avatar

@MacBean
I’ve read Dianetics cover to cover too. Along the outside.
And then I read the name of a science fiction writer on the spine and decided not to bother with the inside.

MacBean's avatar

@Fyrius: See, I got it when I was a twelve-year-old sci-fi geek. Had no idea what it was about. All I knew was… there was the name of a science fiction writer on the spine! And then it sat on a shelf gathering dust for five years or so before curiosity got the best of me and I actually read it. I mean, it was there, so why not?

Blackberry's avatar

No way, I wouldn’t subject myself to such crap.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have read the Bible, the Qu’ran and the Torah – I don’t believe in books being holy so they were just books to me

wildpotato's avatar

@Blackberry Actually, the Bible is a really trippy book. It’s especially fun to read the Gospels and think about how the different versions of the same story overlap and don’t overlap. And you have to put it in context – these were a bunch of people who knew that the world was going to end in the next few years. It makes Christianity make a lot more sense, once you can think of it as what it is – a religion born from the expectation of imminent apocalypse. Plus, a lot of crazy shit goes down in there, man. My apologies if I sound a bit flippant about a text anyone holds near and dear – I come at the NT from an outsider’s perspective, so I read it for fun and for a good history lesson (in the way people think) rather than for personal enlightenment.

And the great Hindu texts Qingu and I mentioned above are also really fun to read, for similar reasons – crazy interesting stories.

Fyrius's avatar

@MacBean
Lol, you’re right. I don’t mind that there’s the name of a sci-fi writer on the spine. I love science fiction.
It’s of course only the fact that it grew into a religion that has me facepalming.
In the terminology of TV Tropes, that must be the hardest Dan Brownage in the history of modern literature.

Blackberry's avatar

@wildpotato Hmm I see, interesting.

Lua_cara's avatar

I don’t read it cover to cover but yes I just open the book and read whatever page is in front of me.I don’t limit myself to the religious books of my religion but I use this same philosophy to read all religious books.

casheroo's avatar

The only religious text I’ve read cover to cover is the Bhagavad Gita.

I’ve tried to read the Bible but I found it difficult to continue.

syz's avatar

I read the Bible cover to cover at about 12 years of age. That was the time at which the obvious logic flaws, hypocrisy of the church, and required blind faith of organized religion became overwhelmingly obvious. My reading did nothing to change my rapidly cementing opinions.

Amorphous_Blob's avatar

“The Very Hungry Caterpiller”. (Hole-y, get it? ...no? Well, the idea is that the caterpillar was very hungry, and ate holes thru the various foodular items depicted on the pages, with actual holes in the pages.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Amorphous_Blob I did get it…lol…my kid loves that book

Amorphous_Blob's avatar

Bonjour Simone! I think I read once that that book has sold more copies than The Cat In The Hat, which seems like heresy to me…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Amorphous_Blob i like your username…and I never read that…didnt’ grow up here

Amorphous_Blob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, etes-vous vraiment francaise? You have to look into all of the books by “Dr. Seuss” – they’re everybody’s favorites.

drdoombot's avatar

@MacBean Did you really read the entire Talmud? It’s a 60+ volume work! During high school (I attended a religious school), we only got through around 20 pages of single volume. 20 pages in 4 years! Of course, we were translating it from the original Aramaic… There is an accelerated study schedule called the Daf Yomi, where religious Jews study a single page of the Talmud every day. It takes them 7.5 years to complete the cycle. Did you really devote that much of your life to the Talmud?

As for myself, I attended Jewish day school, so I’ve studied most of the Torah (with emphasis on Genesis, Exodus and Numbers) and a number of other supplemental religious texts and commentaries to boot!. Plus the book of Samuel and many excerpts from Judges, Prophets, etc. 20 pages of one volume of Talmud and maybe about 5 pages of another. In college, the books of John, Luke and Matthew from the New Testament.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Amorphous_Blob nah, I’m Russian…and I guess I’ll consider it

Jack79's avatar

I have read the New Testament cover to cover (in Arabic with English translation). Which is weird, considering I am fluent in Greek. But that was the version I had.

master_mind413's avatar

Ive definitely read holy books , they would not be considered the bible but I have researched some of the books removed out of the bible I just can not bring myself to read some thing that is so contradictory of what it is lead people to believe it is

MacBean's avatar

@drdoombot: No! I fail at specificity when I’ve been awake for as long as I had been when I wrote my first answer here, apparently. Through the joys of teh intarwebz, I found a site similar to this one years ago and I read Zeraim, Nashim and Tohoroth. I was working on Kodashim when I stopped. I don’t recall deliberately stopping. I think I just got distracted by something (probably another reading project) and stopped visiting the website.

Of course, I wasn’t translating anything, and I was just reading out of idle curiosity instead of serious study, so that would give me a bit of an edge when it comes to speed. Heh. And now that I’ve found that site in my search to recall which volumes I read, I should probably finish it, because it would’ve been so much more impressive to have been able to say “Yes! I read all 60+ volumes!” instead of “No, sorry, I’m an unspecific turd.”

tinyfaery's avatar

The Bible
I read something called the Book of Buddha once. I found it in a hotel.
I’ve read a bunch of “mythology” from numerous cultures.

Ria777's avatar

@Fyrius: It’s of course only the fact that it grew into a religion that has me facepalming.

you make it sound like an organic thing that just happened naturally. L. Ron Hubbard ran everything, though. I don’t think he had it all planned out beforehand, I think he stared recollecting his own joke that you could get rich starting a religion and decided to try it out. either that or he did plan on doing that all along.

drdoombot's avatar

@MacBean I was kinda hoping you’d say “yes.” I would have been super-impressed. Because you did read those 3.5 volumes though, I’m still just impressed. It’s not the easiest or most-interesting reading.

Fyrius's avatar

@Ria777
True.
But he succeeded. People actually bought into it. And people still believe it. This is what has me facepalming.

I suppose each believer’s individual facepalmworthiness quotient is a matter of how well they did their homework, and where they got their information. It’s probably easy enough to convert someone to something obviously fake if you soak them in misinformation and keep them away from the critics.

But we digress.

Ria777's avatar

@Fyrius: without sounding like an apologist or that I don’t eagerly scan Google News daily hoping to read about new signs of the Church’s demise, I think you have misinterpreted this as complete quackery. I don’t think that the perceived benefits don’t all come from the placebo effect. (I really like to have auditing tested scientifically. of course, the Church would never allow it.)

LRH started Dianetics as a therapeutic technique and then bolted the religion and the upper levels onto it to make money.

part of this has to do with the effectiveness of the Church in creating Ronbots (now upgraded to DavidMiscavigebots.)

BTW, I have not done Dianetics myself. several family members have gotten involved with Landmark Education, an amoral corporation which borrows from Scientology. (the founder decided to start a cult-for-profit just like LRH. so he did.)

Ria777's avatar

as for accepting misinformation, well… media literacy and critical thinking. you can find one source of information with a favorable view and another with a critical one. if your brain can’t weight the evidence then it doesn’t matter if they find the critical one. I think our need to find someone to save us will override our critical faculties. and simple ideas (often wrong) communicate more easily than complex ones. and slick, eyecatching media more so than academic media, etc.

Fyrius's avatar

@Ria777
I think you’ve done your homework on this better than I have.

Ria777's avatar

thanks. number one misconception, that apart from wanting your money Church of Scientology does no real harm. well, no, they do real harm. as an example, the current head, David Miscavige has literally gotten away with murder. he had his mother-in-law killed before she could defect from the Church.

Fyrius's avatar

@Ria777
Oh, I know. And they broke into the American governmental records to erase information that made them look not so nice.
And there’s a list of people who died at the hands of Scientology that’s quite a bit longer than one mother-in-law.
And then there’s the copyright lawsuits to shut up their critics.
And then there’s the Disconnect policy saying members should be separated from their families if those don’t approve of Scientology, and the Fair Game policy telling members to do everything in their power to get rid of anyone who opposes the Church.

Xann009's avatar

I’ve read the Bible and the Qur’an, straight through. You could say that I have still yet to be convinced. In fact, it only strengthened my disbelief.

texasescimo's avatar

I’ve read the Bible and enough of the “Book of Enoch” to know that it does not belong in the Bible.
Enoch shows that the were nephilim 300 cubits tall with evil spirits proceeding from their flesh. Enoch living 500 years. Angels making the Ark.

If the nephilim were 300 cubits tall, covering the tallest of the mountains to 15 cubits (Gen7:20) would not have done the trick. The Bible shows that Enoch only lived to 365.(Gen 5:23) The Bible shows that Noah built the Ark. (Gen 6:13–14)

Fyrius's avatar

@texasescimo
Where “shows” should be taken in a very liberal sense.

tinyfaery's avatar

Maybe there are pictires.

texasescimo's avatar

Maybe I can’t read. Maybe watch a sign language presentation of the Bible. Maybe I had to watch a sign language presentation of the Book of Enoch. Maybe I watched Charlton Heston and considered that reading the Bible. Maybe thats whys I says shows. Maybe..
Lol

Fyrius's avatar

My point is that “states”, “claims” or “asserts” would be more suitable.

texasescimo's avatar

Oh, okay. I thought you were joking, sorry. I think “shows” is acceptable to most, but I’m not an English major and definitely got bad grammar. Perhaps “states” would have been better. I might try to use that next time. Thank you.

http://www.wordwebonline.com/en/SHOW
10 Give evidence of, as of records
“The diary shows his distress that evening”

Fyrius's avatar

It still seems to elude you that that definition is exactly what I have trouble with. It’s not a grammatical point I’m trying to make here. It’s one about the reliability of the source.

The bible does not give evidence of anything. It only states and asserts and expects that we take its word for it. It does not show that people have lived to be over three centuries old, it only asserts so.

Mkay?

texasescimo's avatar

Hello again Fyrius, sorry that I misunderstood where you were going with your comments. Here are some online links of Bibles, Concordances, and Manuscripts if anyone wants to dig a little deeper.

http://bible.cc/psalms/83-18.htm /. Several translation, only one verse at a time.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1John5:7-8;&version=31;77;50;51;49; /. 5 versions with up to 5 groups of verses
http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/tyndale/ /. William Tyndales Bible
http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_00.htm Many articles with links to scriptures.
http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/joh1.pdf Online interlinear.
http://www.thebiblereference.com/ /. King James and American Standard with Strongs references
http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines /. Vines concordance
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm Many versions, concordance’s, manuscripts (including the “Textus Receptus” and the “Alexandrian”.
http://www.eliyah.com/lxx.html Fragments of the Greek Septuagint
http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx Query&book=36&chapter= 1&lid=en&side=r&ve rse=18&zoomSlider=0#36–1-1 8–5 Sinaitic manuscript, I believe that it is the oldest complete manuscript.
Here are some differences that I have noticed. http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/7025764

The following have something to do with the Vatican MS 1209 from the 4th century, but as of right now, I don’t see an English parallel. [http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_03
http://www.biblefacts.org/church/pdf/Codex%20Vaticanus.pdf
Further information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Vaticanus
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04086a.htm /./ http://betterbibles.com/2008/07/24/in-the-news-worlds-oldest-bible-goes-online/]

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