Forget what you know about the Bible, in fact if you know anything at all about it, ignore your knowledge and approach this thought with a completely fresh mind, as if the book were a first read for you hot off the best seller list. For the purposes of this discussion, strip away all the religious significance of the the Bible….I know it’s tough to do, especially with a whole lifetime of conditioning built up, but this really is a healthy exercise. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time, and with the end of the world coming and all, I really had better get this off my chest….I don’t believe in the whole end of the world thing and I won’t get into the problems with the hysteria, but if the attention surrounding the end of the world phenomena gets people talking and thinking, then it’s ultimately a good thing.
No matter your religion or even if you have no religion at all, the Bible is a profoundly important document. There are certain indisputable facts about the Bible which lay at the core of my suggestion that it has a place in understanding where we are in this country today. The most important fact lies at the foundation of any discussion is the fact that the Bible is the Greatest Selling Book of All Time, with an estimated 6 billion copies published. I am aware of no credible dispute of this fact and the point that I emphasizing with this fact is that even in this day of instant media, the ideas and the people and the stories described in this collection of documents have profound reach and impact across the span of time and throughout this entire globe.
That last point is what I want to emphasize here…the fact that the Bible is not one book, but a collection of historical documents put together and bound up into one convenient collection of stories, collected over hundreds of years. Now I appreciate the debate about the inspiration and the meaning of each of the stories, with some arguing that the words are divine and “The Gospel!” and “The Word!”, but I don’t want any part of that debate here…..in fact, forget all of that today, ignore all those possibilities and focus on what the stories are.
We know today that the collection of stories in the Bible are actual recordings of events that really did take place on this planet. I find this field of study, biblical archeology, so fascinating because it removes any real argument about whether this book should be placed in the fiction or non-fiction section of the bookstore. Now some would argue that some of these stories are totally unrealistic or grossly manipulated or just plain lies, but the fact remains that we know from biblical archeology and from thousands of different ancient texts and artifacts and places that you can still touch and feel and visit today that there are real, objective truths to many of the stories contained within the Bible. Now the critical analysis points up some very real inconsistencies and problems with some of these stories (Was Moses really a master ship builder?, Did those tiny little fish and few pieces of bread really feed all them hungry picnickers?, Did Noah really wander across the desert?), but the point that is beyond debate is that this book records a history of a people in transition and conflict and in turmoil over a vast period in mankind’s existence. I am also quite fascinated by a series of other documents that are crucial to biblical archeology and various secular aspects of the historical texts and traditions of the peoples represented in the Bible such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Gospels and the Gospel of Mary.
All these other extra-biblical elements are so fascinating to me because in both their conflict with the traditional collection of biblical texts and their conformity with other aspects of biblical text, they provide for indisputable confirmation of my original point which is that the Bible is a profoundly significant historical and secular text. And that rolls into my other big point which is that there is no question whatsoever that there was a guy called Jesus that was wandering around the middle east a few years ago. And while this guy was wandering around, he was stirring up trouble wherever he went. Ignore his challenges to the religious order…the bigger and more disruptive challenges he was mounting were to the existing political and economic systems of the day. Along the way, he convinced a rag tag collection of men and women from all walks of life to join with him to challenge the existing political and social order of the day….and those troublemakers likewise were blogging and tweeting and flying from city to city to participate in protests and to confront the secular order of the day.
In an earlier post, I provided the important etymological history of the word “profession”, which was a subject I was very interested in early in my career. The study of the word “profession” was actually part of my law school entrance exam study books and I obsessed over the word for some time. The bottom line is while we have diluted the word “profession” over the years, there are only three original professions in this world, The Law, Divinity and Medicine. This is not to diminish any of the other vocations which have adopted the moniker “professional”, I bring this up only to emphasize the key point in this very current history of the profession of law. In the early traditions of each of the professions, very real ceremonies and formalized ceremonies were held which were presided over by the elders of the profession…..and at the conclusion of these ceremonies, each new inductee into the profession was required to make a very real, a very somber and very important “profession”….this very public, very profound and very personal profession was the final step in many years of dedicated effort and study from the professant. It was in this profession that he accepted the awesome responsibilities and made his lifelong commitment to serve the highest goals and accept the very real responsibilities that came with carrying the mantel of the professions.
As usual, I swung a very wide arch here and I’ve sort of run out of time to pull it together, but that’s the beauty of this thing called a blog, this device of free expression that exists for all the world to see and pick apart and disagree with and criticize. And to my friend out there who has launched yet another attack of me, I appreciate your criticism and your attack. I want you to understand and appreciate that I get just a flicker of what you’re saying, but the fact of the matter is lawyers don’t give up freedoms, they fight for them. The fact that you expressed the following statement shows why all of us (and the lawyers especially), must fight like never before to make sure you and all people are always free to make such statements…..
As an attorney, you have a certain code of conduct you are expected to follow and that includes what you say and how you say it publicly. As an attorney, Weidner should know you give up certain freedoms when you receive your bar card.