Bible Backstory 2: The Bible & Me (Part I)

I thought it might be helpful for you, the reader, to understand something about my personal history with the Bible. I’ve shortened the story considerably, but I have still broken it down into three parts: I, II, & III.

John Lennon’s “Imagine” Album Cover

Part I: My First 20 Years – Little Exposure, No Faith

I had almost no personal engagement with the Bible from ages 0 through 20. My adoptive parents had given up on practicing the religion of their upbring—United Church of Canada (mom) and Greek Orthodox (dad)—and never really spoke of it at all. They did have me baptized as an infant. They did give me a Bible (King James of course) when I was 10. They did encourage me to go to the United Church my friend’s family attended—though I only did so for a couple of months.

In high school, I dated a girl whose family was Irish Catholic, so I attended Mass with her when she went on Saturday evenings, until she asked me not to come because I was asking too many questions. I knew some kids in high school who attended church with their parents but didn’t see or hear any compelling reason for me, or anyone else, to embrace any sort of formal religion. In fact, what I saw in my small world (rural southern Ontario) and I heard/saw/read in world news, gave me all the reasons I needed to forego any engagement with the Bible.

In my mid-teens I decided that I was an atheist, and that the Bible was just a collection of myths and fairy tales. It was an antiquated book that had little to no relevance for us in the 20th century, who were enlightened by scientific knowledge and technological advances. I was probably a bit of a pain to people who believed in God and Jesus (or any other deity), the Bible (or any other sacred text) or the value of living any kind of religiously devoted lifestyle.

While religion wasn’t all bad, you didn’t have to be a student of history to know that countless atrocities were committed (and were being committed) by those who believed that their god was with them as they strove to rid the world of evil and its perpetrators. What was dominate in the news during my atheist years was the conflict in Northern Ireland. If either, or both, of those groups represented Christ, then I wanted nothing to do with him or his Bible. John Lennon’s 1971 hit song, Imagine, resonated with me. In case you are not familiar with what is reputed to be, by many, the most significant song of the 20th century, here are the lyrics:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Part II: Three Crucial Years – The Formation of Faith (To be continued…)

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