The Year of Living Biblically
I’m not a religous person at all. I live by the “be nice to others” rule you learn in kindergarten. But “The Year of Living Biblically” was on display at the bookstore and it looked really interesting. I picked it up maybe 50 times before I decided to give it try, more because its categorized in the “humor” section and not the “religion” section.
The premise is simple: A.J. Jacobs, writer at Esquire magazine, goes through the Bible and records every rule or law he finds and tries to live by them for a year. Obviously, some of the rules are insane: he’s not going to really stone adulterers and I don’t think his wife appreciated him building a hut in their Manhattan apartment. But, others are things that everyone could benefit from: don’t gossip, don’t lie, give to the needy.
A.J. does a fantastic job researching the rules, their history, meaning and variations. He talks to just about every religious leader and group you can think of and incorporates their ideas, interpretations and opinions into his work.
Like I said, I am not a religious person, but now I find myself biting my tongue when I could easily say something negative about someone, being more thoughtful about helping others, and just generally trying harder to be a better person.
So maybe the bible’s “wear tassels on your clothes” rule doesn’t work for me, but I’ll take some of the other rules to heart, just like A.J. did. And I like to think not only am I a better person for it, but maybe if everyone tried just a little harder to think of others, the world might be a much nicer place.