If you saw my post last month about my newfound love of audiobooks, you may remember this book making the cut. I love books that force me to reevaluate my faith and challenge me to view God and Scripture in new ways. This book, while pretty self-explanatory, did just that.
Goodreads describes this book as,
"From the bestselling author of "The Know-It-All" comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible.Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.
The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes."
I felt that the author dealt with this weighty undertaking with equal parts humor and reverence. Over the course of the year, Jacobs dances with Hasidic Jews, journeys to Israel and takes literally the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply." He does his best to abide by every single Biblical commandment and often acknowledges his shortcomings. He honors the counsel of religious leaders and genuinely tries to understand the meaning behind both Old and New Testament law.
Near the conclusion of the book, Jacobs writes,
"The year showed me beyond a doubt that everyone practices cafeteria religion... But the important lesson was this: there's nothing wrong with choosing. Cafeterias aren't bad per se... the key is in choosing the right dishes. You need to pick the nurturing ones (compassion), the healthy ones (love thy neighbor), not the bitter ones."
Overall, I thought the author did a fantastic job at viewing both ancient and modern religion as unbiased and respectfully as possible. My only complaint was that I thought he did not devote enough time to the New Testament. Although he hails from a Jewish family (while claiming to be an agnostic), I thought if he planned to spend a year living "Biblically," he should have focused more on New Testament scripture.
Which is why I gave this book...
FOUR out of FIVE STARS!
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Have you read this book? What did you think?!
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