Skeptical Bible Study

Skeptical Bible Study Week 1


Welcome to something new!  I’m beginning a weekly study/commentary on the Bible.  This will be my first time reading the Bible through an atheistic lens.  I’m curious to see what comes out to me re-reading.  I’m going to start with the New Testament simply because it’s where I spent a bunch of time in there in the past.  I’m also going to jump a little bit and start where I started in my reading as a Christian.  So this week I’ll be looking at the book of Mark.  I’ll also be use the NIV translation, after all it shouldn’t matter the translation it’s all the word of god right? Anyway Mark Chapter 1.

So I’ll start with a quick summary.  Interestingly enough this chapter doesn’t talk about the virgin birth of Jesus at all, It starts right in with his baptism.  After a bit of research it turns out that this might be the first book ever written in the new testament.  I guess that makes sense it being the least sensationalized gospel.  It starts with Jesus’ baptism, goes into his temptation (very briefly), then starts to talk about his early ministry.

I’d like to talk about John the Baptist first.  This character is very…different.  If you plucked him out of his time and put him in modern times he seems like he’d be one of those guys in the quad of a college with a billboard sign and a megaphone.   He makes mention of him being the voice in the wilderness clearing the way for god’s coming.  But in other gospels when asked if he was Elijah he says no.  The prophesy about being the voice in the wilderness specifically refers to Elijah.  So is he either lying or mistaken?

So on to the big show.  Jesus is baptized and a voice from the sky says “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  He was so well please with him that he marked him for a horrible horrible death?  I never understood that whole thing.  Why would he torture his son/self that he was happy with?  Seems like the kind of thing a sadist would do.  And right after saying how happy he was with himself(?) he sent him to be alone in the desert alone for 40 days?

So he goes through all that and comes back to town saying that the “Good News” is here.  Essentially announcing who he is.  This is important for later.   He then goes out to recruit his new posse.  He calls out to two guys on a boat who have spent the last few hours fishing.  Not like relaxing with a beer fishing but like fishing for a business.  He tells them that he’ll make them fishers of men.  Now I’m pretty sure that slavery was a thing back then so it’s possible (at least in my mind) that they thought he meant joining the slave trade…would probably make a lot more money than fishing.  Also these two guys left their dad to do all the work while the went off with this other guy…seems like a dick move.  They had no idea who this guy was.

After he’s got his new friends, he goes to another town to preach.  While preaching some guy stands up and says that Jesus is the “Holy one of God”.  He tells him to be quiet and expels the “demon”.  Here’s something I never got the whole be quiet thing?  Why all the secrecy, he’d already announced who he was once before (see I told you it would be important later).  This is a big theme in his early ministry.

He then goes on to heal a bunch of sick people (I can’t help be envision Benny Hinn).  Apparently he gets so popular he can’t even go into the main portion of the towns anymore.  This kinda gives me the “The fish was THIS big” vibe to the story.  Keeping in mind that none of these were written down as they happened but suffered from 50-70 years of the telephone game.

That kinda sums up Chapter 1.  As it’s my first go at this I’m open to feedback!


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