My Favorite Bible Verse?

File:Ouroboros 1.jpg

Maybe Micah 6:8 in the King James Version.

It has the quality of an elegant mathematical formula, a reduction of religion to elements that I, as an agnostic, can absorb and endorse:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

My agnostic translation: Do justly, love empathy, doubt.

And in doing justly I think it’s fair (and empathic) to say that I don’t like the author’s flagrant male gendering of the addressor (God) and the addressee (man). And in keeping with humility before the cosmic mystery, how does the author know that God is male? Or what God has shown us? Or even that God exists?

Okay, so the passage, on analysis, breaks down under its own weight. But that’s part of the verse’s beauty (and even its power). The author’s very admonishments invite upon themselves the same gestures implored, and are instructive. The verse is a kind of ouroboros, a snake or dragon that bites its tail (see above). And it would thus seem that the verse—if, indeed, it is inspired by God—has the purpose of teaching justice, empathy and doubt via feminism. In other words, this seemingly patriarchal God of the Hebrews might be some camp Oscar Wilde posing  to lead people to feminism. If one is, afterall, to do justly, to love mercy, and doubt the way that you think that God has ordered things, then one is driven (by the passage) to grapple with feminism.  

Okay, I know that part of my interpretation of the passage might be a bit of a stretch. But I like it. And who knows how subtle and ironic the Higher Power is in communicating with us ultimate things (if there is, in fact, a Higher Power there)?

Justice, empathy, doubt. The E=MC2 of religion?

And might God look something like Oscar Wilder, and share his humor?

Just asking.

File:Oscar Wilde portrait.jpg

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to My Favorite Bible Verse?

  1. My favorite verse also is Micah 6:8. Wrote a little book about it and would be happy to send a copy if interested titled God’s Three Step Plan. Some reviews up on Amazon and a bit is on my website. If you’d like a copy, send my a mailing address


  2. santitafarella says:

    Thank you David for the kind gesture. I’ll look at your book at Amazon.


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