I have finally finished reading the Book of Revelation from beginning to end. I’ve tried to finish reading it any number of times since sometime in the nineteen-sixties, in various translations. Next to visiting Greece, it’s the item that has been in my bucket list the longest. Each time, I tried to read it, I was put off it by the mean-spirited “loving” God it purports to represent. Even in the Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem Bible translation, which tries to soften the images where it can, God comes off as a jealous, petulant child who will play only it he has it all his way; reading it, I am reminded of my brother, as a child. Mama’s rule was, he was the baby, he always had to win, but I digress.
I managed to finish, this time, by reading one chapter a day. It was a distasteful chore, but it’s done. No opinions were changed. It is an inexorable, mostly plagerized from other biblical prophets, picture of a God I wouldn’t want to invite to dinner, let alone want to live with for all eternity.
The question is, however, why was it so important, to me, to read the book. Some of it probably has to do with bragging rights of some sort or other. I can’t imagine that a majority of people, even Christians, especially Christians, have actually read the book. I want to be among those smug few who can say I have. Not an honorable characteristic, I know, but what is, is.
However, there is also an element of not wanting to throw away the chance at truth just because I don’t like the wrapper in which it comes. I read Revelations for the same reason I read the pamphlets that people in the street hand me. There could be something on them I’d find enlightning. I keep alive some vague hope in the possibility there is some mystical more, that there is some sense in nonsense; I always want to believe in the “happy ever after” I read in the fairy tales I read as a youngster, despite the realities of life around me.