The Details of the Bible: Frustrating or Fulfulling?

Gutenberg Bible–Lenox Copy–New York Public Library. Credits.

The details of the Bible are sometimes sketchy
Regarding what, exactly, happened—and why—
And what, exactly, those ancient people believed and taught.

And while this fact famously frustrates many a scholar
Who is trying to discover such things,
It will be flatly denied by many a cognitive miser,
Who would rather believe that it’s all perfectly clear
And wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top—
For this way, they don’t have to think much about their religion—
Which is exactly the way they want it.

But there is one subject, at least, on which the scriptures
Are remarkably thorough and clear.
It is the subject of what is and what is not
Righteous and godly behavior.
Few are the questions on this subject that
Cannot be answered resolutely from the texts.

And this fact is less famous than the previous one,
For the sad reason that fewer concern themselves
With living righteously than with being teachers—
So, naturally, few would notice such a treasure.

And further, the moral miser would not want
To know this, for he does not want it
wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top!
He would rather count such matters as gray areas
Than as black or white—as light or darkness—
As good or evil.

The gray suits him, even when it must be pretended,
For he does not often concern himself with whether
He has got such things right, and would
Rather not be reminded of certainties.

I have said elsewhere that I believe that
The Bible is not for everybody, as
It is simply not what so many wish it were.
And I believe that the Bible may be as it is so as to
Give us excellent things to reflect on
During our sojourn here in this beautiful/ugly world—
Namely, about God and righteousness,
And about what kind of people we are.

And I can see how some people would
Rather it be good for something else instead.

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