“I’ve been reading the Bible, Invisible Friend Jesus.”
I leaned back against his knees. For once, he wasn’t doing anything, just sitting to stare out the window with me. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Sometimes,” I said, “reading the Bible is worse than talking to God Girl and the neighbors.”
He chuckled softly. “How so?”
“There’s a whole lot of smiting in there, for one, and stuff that seems contrary to a message of peace, love and acceptance. Even you say some pretty nasty shit in there. What’s all this about not healing the Gentiles? I was reading that last night in Matthew 10:5.”
He flicked me on the back of the head. “You’ve got a problem with that, shikse?”
I smacked him on the knee in retaliation and looked over my shoulder with raised eyebrows.
He leaned back in his chair, squinting at me with his little smile. “The thing about the Bible, is it was written by people. People, as you might know, have their own issues and agendas.”
“But it’s the Bible, Invisible Friend Jesus!”
“Yes, and it’s a great help to many. But, if you don’t understand something in the textbook, you go ask the teacher, right?”
I scowled at him. “But…you’re saying, the Bible is wrong? Are you really Jesus? Because you look a little more like James Franco.”
He snorted, wrinkling his nose. “I wouldn’t say that the Bible is wrong. It’s a thick and obtuse tome, and it says a lot of things. There are definitely many lessons to be learned from it, but you have to look at it from the right perspective.”
“You’re talking around the issue,” I said.
“And you’re turning religion into an intellectual exercise.” We glared at each other a few moments. He kept raising his eyebrows higher and higher until I finally laughed.
“Listen,” he said, “I’ve always thought that biblical literalists lack imagination. They want instructions on how to be a good person and get into Heaven laid out in front of them so that they don’t have to think about it. They don’t stop to consider the realities.”
“You’d need a lot of imagination in order to be a biblical literalist if you ask me,” I said. “All that stuff in there that contradicts the other stuff, and all the crazy-ass things….”
“I believe you’re over-thinking it, which is something most of those people don’t do.”
I leaned back against his legs again, clutching my head and sighing. “Maybe I should be a Buddhist,” I said.
He shifted slightly in his seat. “Are you saying we should see other people?”
I laughed, but didn’t look up. “No, not really.”
“You’d probably have just as much intellectual trouble with certain aspects of Buddhism.”
“You’re probably right.”
“You’ve told me yourself that you get a lot out of these conversations we have, but here you are again, trying to justify it. You’re never going to go wrong seeking out that place of peace within yourself. It helps you in your daily life, in all your interactions with people. It makes your life better. If you don’t find that peace and joy from reading the Bible, well then, don’t read it. Come talk to me, instead.”
I sat up again, and settled back against his knees. “Okay,” I said.