By A.J. Jacobs
There are some people who believe that the bible should be followed to the letter. People should follow every law and rule. A.J. Jacobs decided to do just that. For an entire year he will follow the bible as literally as possible without picking and choosing. The resulting narrative is comedic, insightful and has just a touch of irreverence.
Although A.J. grew up following the Jewish faith and customs, he quickly became an agnostic. In college he studied how the bible had been behind some of the world’s greatest achievements but also how it has been used to justify humanity’s worst. He felt that with the ever increasing scientific achievements, that the bible would slowly fade away. He was happy to live that way until he had a son and then he started to question whether his lack of religion was a flaw that he’d inevitably pass onto his son:
As you might have noticed, I was spectacularly mistaken. The influence of the Bible -and religion as a whole- remains a mighty force, perhaps even stronger than it was when I was a kid. So in the last few years, religion has become my fixation. Is half of the world suffering from a massive delusion? Or is my blindness to spirituality a huge defect in my personality? What if I’m missing out on part of being human?
So in September, 2005 he began his journey. Some rules were easy to follow, others uncomfortable and even dangerous. Here’s a small sampling of some of the rules the book describes:
- Don’t wear women’s clothing (not even your wife’s comfortable college sweatshirt)
- Don’t lie, even a white lie (just don’t answer when your wife asks you if those pants make her look fat)
- You can’t touch a woman for seven days after she has started her period (even if it’s your wife)
- You can’t sit anywhere that a woman on her period has sat before (he carried around a foldable chair even in the subway)
- You can’t wear clothes of mixed fibers (started wearing a robe)
- You can’t cut the edges of your beard (let his beard grow out for the first time ever)
- You can’t mention other gods (you can’t say “Thursday” because it is derived from the god Thor)
- Once a year you need to build a hut and dwell in it for a week so that you get an idea of the Hebrew life style when they wandered through the desert (try doing that while living in an apartment in New York)
To find out more about this book or its author click here.