It's a slippery thing to claim the "whole thing" needs to be looked at that way, because the entire second half is only about the fulfillment of the laws of the first, and as such, the ability to save yourself by following the medium of that fulfillment. Likewise, much of the first half (Old Testament) is merely a history. The only two books that deal with the "Law" are the ones I mentioned before.
The wonderful thing about Christianity is that it did not come from older religions that worked, not in its broader sense. The base of Christianity is, of course, Judaism. And yes, some parts of Judaism stemmed from even more ancient religions. However, Judaism introduced a brand new concept into religion, that of monotheism. Judaism was the first monotheistic religion on Earth, and also the first to base its system on ethics, on the acceptance of people.
Now here's the interesting thing. After the first five books you have, like I said, a history of events, and what's important to note is the struggle people have in conforming to God's law. Many people point to the Bible and say, why would God sanction this, when many events in the Bible weren't sanctioned by God, and were instead made by men who were TRYING to find God's will, sometimes failing miserably. It's the growing pains that lead to a message of salvation.
No, no, you are not getting it. Judiasm and monoethism is not what I am talking about.http://www.religious...g/chr_jcpa1.htmhttp://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm
It's great that Judiasm changed from several gods to one, but it's still the same old same old. And Christianity based itself off of that.
Looking at it rationally and from a historical perspective, it is clear that religions of ancient cultures changed with the times and the needs of the people and more importantly, their leaders. When we have more information at hand to decide, most of us can see that Mormonism is just kind of wierd, and Scientology is a construct of a science fiction writer. Put each of these beliefs a couple of thousand years in the past and suddenly the rational explanations fade and all that is left is the faith part. Likewise, looking at ancient religions, we know from simple scientific study that the Sun is not a person living in the sky.
Christianity falls between these two extremes - we've had lots of scientific evidence that for example, the Earth is not the center of the universe or even unique to the galaxy in terms of it's ability to support life. We know that the Earth was not created in the explained time frame as described by the Bible. At the same time, we do know that locations mentioned in the Bible do or did exist (but not all). Christians either rationalize or trivialize this knowledge, or stick to it like a rabid dog depending on their need to have absolute "truth". They attempt to hamper further scientific knowledge because of it - Creationists are todays equivalent of the people that sought to silence Galileo and his fellow scientists for simply asking questions.
The idea that a person can claim that half of the Bible is simply stories to guide an older civilization (while of course, the important things like parting the Red Sea and all that) are true, and that the second half of the book is somehow absolute in its correctness, is just a bit off kilter to me.