Bible Study with Itza Crock
was a Catholic. Not just any Catholic. I went to church with my family
every Sunday and on every holy day of obligation. I attended a Catholic
elementary school, a Jesuit High School, and a Jesuit College. I was
married in a Catholic church with a Catholic priest. I was president
of my parish counsel at my Catholic church. And I am the God Father
to seven children. All this, and by age 32 I had never actually read
the Bible. If you had asked me when I was 32 whether I had ever read
the Bible, I would have given the same answer just about every Catholic
I have asked gives me: "Over the years I have probably read the
whole Bible, yes." But the sad fact is that after being a Catholic
for over 32 years, I had never read the book which is undoubtedly the
foundation for Christianity.
my son was born, I felt I needed to increase my faith in God. And, as
my three daughters were born, that desire grew. I didn't want to be
merely a good Catholic; I wanted to be a great Catholic. My parents
were great Catholics for me and I wanted to be that for my children.
I asked my parish priest what I could do to become a great Catholic.
He suggested that I start by going to the source of our faith; the Bible.
So I did. I began reading Genesis and didn't stop until I finished Revelation.
Over 1400 pages. I read every night. I read on planes. I read while
waiting for meetings. I read every day. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a
little, but always something. It took me over a year. At first, I didn't
take notes, I just read. I didn't want to turn it into a "study
thing;" I simply wanted to absorb the Word of God, to take it all
my goal was to become a great Catholic, at first everything made sense.
Everything worked. If it didn't, I made it work. King David is an adulterer
and murder? No problem. Rebecca favors her son Jacob over her son Esau
and cheats Esau out of his birthright? No problem. Jacob marries his
two cousins, and has 12 sons with two wives and two concubines, works
at some point things began to unravel. Maybe it was when I began to
appreciate that the Old Testament portrayed God as a racist. Or maybe
it was when Moses claimed that God told him to commit genocide in Canaan.
I didn't immediately conclude that the Bible was an offensive insult
to God, though. I simply concluded that I wasn't bright enough or insightful
enough to understand the mysteries.
I kept reading. But rather than simply read and absorb, I started the
process of folding corners. Every time something didn't make sense to
me, I folded the corner of the page. I didn't want to be slowed down
by my ignorance. I planned that, after I finished the Bible once, I
would go back and address the few outstanding issues. Before long, though,
I was folding both corners of every page. I even started making small
tears in pages, to remind myself that there were more than two issues
on particular pages.
the time I reached the New Testament, I had practically doubled the
thickness of the book with all of my folds. It looked like an accordion.
I was relieved to get to Matthew, though. After all, Jesus came here
to set the record straight. He came to tell the Jews they were on the
wrong path and to provide guidance for Jew and Gentile alike. My questions
would soon be answered. But that didn't happen. My issues only grew.
By the time I finished Matthew, I had given up on my corner-folding
technique and pulled out a pen. By the time I finished Revelation, I
had notes everywhere.
simply didn't make sense. This was the Word of God, but it didn't sound
like that to me. So I spoke with some really smart Christians. They
told me to pray about it. Wow! Why didn't I think of that? The only
problem was that I had been praying about it, every day, five times
per day. The book simply didn't make sense! Then they told me that I
must not have enough faith. I'm not listening. I'm not opening myself
up to God's Word. Let's see; I had just dedicated almost two years of
my life to reading a book most Christians haven't even read, I'd dedicated
myself to prayer at least five times per day, I'd gone to every smart
Christian I know to get answers, and I didn't have enough faith? I wasn't
listening? I wasn't opening myself up to God's Word?
made a new plan. I would read the book again. This time, though, I wouldn't
read it as a Christian; I would read it as a Martian. I wouldn't read
it with the belief that Jesus is the "Son of God;" I would
believe that Jesus was just a man, until the text proved otherwise.
This time I would read the book with only three assumptions. First,
that God loves his children at least as much as I love mine. Second,
that God wouldn't favor one child over another (I wouldn't and God is
a better parent than I am). And third, that God is all-powerful and
second reading changed my life.
see, without a lifetime of Christian baggage obstructing my view, I
was able to see Jesus for the first time. I didn't see the compassionate,
loving, Son of God who gave his life to take away the sins of the world.
At least not in Jesus. What I saw in Jesus was arrogance, anger, abusiveness,
self love, insecurity, and racism. Most of all though, I saw a man;
now find it funny that authors of books like the The DaVinci Code invest
all kinds of time attempting to expose major weaknesses in the Catholic
Church. Typically, Catholics respond with "outrage" at the
author, and sometimes disenchantment with the Catholic religion. I think
it's funny because regardless of whether the leaders of the Catholic
Church are corrupt, the religion is fatally flawed by the fact that
it's centered on Jesus. To discredit the Christian religion, one need
only read the book-not The DaVinci Code, the Bible. The Gospels in particular.
The words Jesus actually spoke. If you read the Gospels as I did, as
a Martian, you will see that Jesus is a man and Christianity is a fraud.
the next few months, I'll show you what I saw the second time I read
the Bible. I will write articles about the book that over two billion
people have accepted as the Word of God. I'll start with a few key people
in the Old Testament to provide some needed background. Then I'll talk
about the man himself, Jesus.