Curious Looks at the Bible
|(A Work in Progress)|
was an ordinary fellow in nearly every respect, only his curious name
marked him as being a bit unusual. He was not, as his name suggests,
uniformly curious about everything: he was curious about certain
things and not so much about other things, just like everyone else.
But when he did become curious, it was like he was compelled to
justify his name, for then he became curious with a capital
“C” and endeavored to satisfy his curiosity with vigor
and tenacity—though not without considering his chance of
success before subjecting himself to that!
From time to time Curious wondered how the world began and where everything came from, just as everyone does from time to time. Being the person he was, liable to fits of burning curiosity, the subject frightened him. He realized that trying to get his head around that curiosity would be like—he tried to think of an analogy. It would be like trying to stuff a mountain into his latte cup.
Now on the practical side, Curious possessed a bit of methodology (his birthright for preserving sanity). He asked himself what he meant by “everything.” He did not immediately look upward to the starry sky, for he had noticed that those who went searching the cosmos to find a reason for everything came back with mathematical theories and numbers. He knew theories and numbers have no weight and no volume. In fact, every cosmogonical idea in the world would fit into his latte cup and still leave it empty.
So Curious decided to approach the subject indirectly, experimentally, and incrementally. He embarked on a journey to discover manageable aspects of “everything”—things more significant of an origin than what he had encountered in his sheltered life, yet hopefully not too big for him to get his head around.
First off he decided to experience nature in a deliberate way. He thought he might listen to nature speaking to him about her purpose in being, if not her origin.
So he sought out grand panoramic views, which seemed a reasonable place to begin. It was not a wise decision, of course. Anyone could have told him he would be overwhelmed—and overwhelmed he was. This was extraordinarily hard on Curious because he could not set aside his curiosity at those times. The stunning scenes he encountered in natural settings confounded him: he witnessed more beauty than he was able to imagine a purpose for. He could not get his head around those experiences at all because awe paralyzed his rational processes.
Nevertheless, Curious persevered in his project to sample “everything” indirectly—trying to pick things that are substantial yet not so overwhelming that he could not get his head around them. Anyone could have told him that when you go knocking about the world you encounter things that are best left alone—things you had better not think about too much. Unfortunately for Curious, his curiosity did not allow him to look the other way at those times. But since there was no beauty in such things, he could tolerate them without being overwhelmed. At least that’s how it worked at first. He bravely sought out what he started calling the “unappreciated side of everything” because those things seemed somehow more primitive.
But he let down his guard and went too far. He saw human behavior that literally made him sick. It was not so much the suffering (which he witnessed plenty of) that made him want to throw up. It was when he put it down beside the beauty he had absorbed in the earlier part of his travels that his mind and soul and body revolted at the contradiction.
You see, Curious in the first days of his journey had started to form a vague notion of a splendid Creator who delighted in arranging things just so—as an artist would—taking care to paint a breathtaking sunset at the moment when he happened to be looking for one. That fanciful insight had mollified his overwhelmed curiosity slightly, and poor Curious had formed a warm feeling toward the artist who made “everything.”
But now all that was ruined—irreconcilably ruined. He was mistaken about the magnanimity of the Creator. What he had casually called the “unappreciated side of everything” simply could not share the same planet with the other—if a competent Creator had anything to do with it
Curious was telling a friend about this agony of his soul when the friend responded by giving him a Book. Curious knew the Bible existed, but it was one of those things he had never been particularly curious about. That changed when he saw the smile on his friend’s face as she handed the Bible to him. He made a snap decision: he would read the Book and try to apply his curiosity to it.