Our son, now 9½, still enjoys having something read to him at bedtime. So, having finished Huck Finn, we’re doing the Bible. He’s never been to Sunday School, so this is his first exposure. We’re working our way through Exodus and I’m developing a real attitude problem about that particular God.
This is a “Children’s Bible” my Mom had in her bookcase, a large lavishly-illustrated production of another era, which seems to be pretty well straight King James text, only with the boring bits and genealogies elided. Well, and the story about Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac; one can see why.
It’s a long time since I read this stuff and I guess I’ve changed. Because the Deity depicted in this narrative, particularly Exodus, is really just not very admirable. For example, slaying most of the Egypt’s first-born on a racially-selected basis to penalize its rulers is pretty extreme, but what I’d forgotten is that the Lord explicitly hardened Pharaoh’s heart to ensure that he’d turn Moses and Aaron down and thus bring the plagues on his people: see Exodus 7:3-5.
I could go on, there is lots more I find disturbing, but I won’t. Why should I hold ancient Near Eastern tribal deities to my notion of civilized moral standards?
Anyhow, I’m not editorializing as I read and the boy seems to be enjoying the stories. But I’m going to switch to a standard unabridged text when we get to the New Testament.