My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I spotted this book, I thought that it’s just another biblical book, maybe an enlightenment coming from thunder, burning trees, striking light, etc. However, my former psychology lecturer who’s atheist gave this book 5 stars, so I thought this must be not just another biblical book and decided to spend my last penny to buy this book.
A.J. Jacobs was raised in secular family, estranged from religious life. To quote from his saying, “I was agnostic before I even knew what the word meant.” For a long time, he thought that religion would fade away because the potential for abuse too high. However the influence of religion is still strong and he pondered that if he’s the one who’s missing it and not them. This part intrigued me the most: a secular agnostic experimenting to follow the bible as literally as possible. I wondered how it would turn out.
First of all, I have to give credit to him for doing somewhat bold, scary, and funny, things that I perhaps won’t dare to do as an agnostics. He did things that seemed oxymoronic in his quest in one year (what a long time). He grew beard, only wore cloth made from unmixed fibers, didn’t curse, ate only “biblical” diet, played 10 string harps, stoned adulterer, invited Jehovah Witness, went to religious community, even to the fundamentalist one, etc.
If he wasn’t self-observant and insightful, this book probably would go awry. He didn’t. He found a spiritual awakening and insight even from seemed-to-be-ridiculous rules. This book is absorbing, I couldn’t stop reading it and wondering what A.J. Jacobs would tell me on the next chapter. He’s funny and had a flair with words without being complicated. Reading his book was like listening to him talking to you. He was able to get me to sit in front of him for days and still make me excited.