Revisiting the idea of an agnostic Bible
On several occasions, interest has been expressed in an Agnostic Bible. It has been my practice to indicate my disinterest in such a project, and point at Bill Schulz's Agnostic Bible as an alternative option.
In recovering Schulz's Bible to publish it in the "Graveyard" section of this site, I came to realize why I was opposed to creating such a document for our Apathetic Agnostic Church. And that simply is the concept of a bible.
What is a bible - other than, of course, the Bible, the sacred text of Christianity? Turning to my trusty 1962 Webster's once again, the relevant definitions are:
3. any collection or book of writings sacred to a religion: as the Koran is the Muslim Bible
4. any book regarded as authoritative or official
Well, the very nature of agnosticism seems to disallow a sacred text, so we are left with something authoritative or official. And regardless of my exalted title (Patriarch of The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic), I'm not comfortable with authoritative or official pronouncements. I want people to think things out for themselves.
But there's more to it than that - the dictionary definitions don't capture what a bible really is in a religious sense. Consider the sacred texts of the three major monotheistic faiths, they are not solely about religious beliefs and practices, they are directions for way of life. They provide detailed rules for family life, for tribal life, and for society.
That is the very issue which Shulz's Agnostic Bible brought to the fore. His Agnostic Bible is not about agnosticism (even if we ignore his questionable definition.) It is an attempt, based on some very dubious premises, to reorder society with rules for the conduct of family life, for tribal life, and for society.
Now I'm not saying those issues are not open for discussion here on this site - they have been discussed in the past, and I expect they will be discussed in the future. But, they will remain open for discussion. Putting them in a bible, whether is is sacred, official, or authoritative serves only to terminate discussion. I'm not prepared to close the book on differing opinions.