Monday, August 18, 2008

A.J. Jacobs: My year of living biblically

In this TEDtalks video, author, agnostic, philosopher, prankster and journalist A.J. Jacobs talks about the year he spent living biblically where he followed the rules in the Bible as literally as possible.

Interestingly, he found that there were two things that were very challenging about living biblically. The first was avoiding the little sins. It's easy to avoid murdering but not so easy to avoid gossiping, lying or coveting. The second type of rules that were difficult to obey were ones that would get you into trouble into 20th century America - like stoning adulterers.

He makes an interesting observation how his behavior changed his thoughts. He pretended to be a better person and he became a better person. I've been having a discussion along these lines with Ben and Shira. I'm trying to convince them to change how they act towards each other and I've been telling them that if they change how they act, they'll start feeling differently about each other. (they've been irritating each other a lot lately and Ben's inherited his dad's sense of always being right. This is not good for Shira's ego or mood)

He concludes with the following lessons (can't say I agree with him though):
  • Don't take the bible literally.

  • Give thanks.

  • Have reverence (interesting concept for an agnostic). He talks about the need for sacredness even if there is no god.

  • You shall not stereotype

  • You shall not disregard the irrational. Rituals are by nature are irrational, just choose the non harmful ones. Don't disregard rituals.

  • Pick and choose the bits you want from the bible. You cannot live the bible literally.

1 comment:

Silvia said...

I just requested this book at the library, what a coincidence! And I also wanted to let you know you've been tagged with the Brilliante award. Check it out at my blog.