In my last post I tried to find a way to measure the goodness of the books in the "Good Book", but I wasn't completely satisfied with the results. So here's one more try. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
In the SAB, I identify the Bible's verses that contain good advice about how we should live our lives, whatever our religious views might be. For example, I think it's a good idea to try, at least as much as possible, to treat others kindly. So I include Leviticus 19:18 ("Love thy neighbor as thyself") in the "Good Stuff". Of course, not all the verses that I've marked good are as good as this verse, but I marked them good because they seemed (at least somewhat) good to me.
So take a look at the SAB's good stuff to see if you agree, at least most of the time, that the verses that I've marked good are, in fact, good. If so, then the following analysis should be reasonable for you as well.
I began my analysis by plotting the number of good things in each book of the Bible. (Of the 66 books in the Bible, there were 30 in which I could find nothing good.)
When size is taken into account, Ecclesiastes is the best (36.0 good passages/ 100 verses), with Proverbs second at 20.4. So Ecclesiastes has more good stuff (per 100 verses) than any other book in the Bible.
But what about all the bad stuff in the Bible? Shouldn't we try to find a way to rate the goodness of a book by weighing both the book's good and bad?
The simplest solution, I think, is to count up the good things in each book and subtract the bad. The result is the net good. (I totaled cruelty, injustice, intolerance, bad family values, insults to women and homosexuals to get the number of bad things, since the verses marked with these categories are all morally objectionable.)
When I did that, I found that there are only three good books in the Bible: Ecclesiastes (of course), Proverbs, and James. Three others have a zero net goodness. The other 60 books are all more bad than good.
Other goodness metrics that might be useful are the percentage of marked passages that are good and the net good number of passages per 100 verses. Since there are only three books with a positive net goodness, we can limit our analysis to these three.
Here is a table that summarizes the data.
|net good/100 verses||35.6||12.2||3.7|
|Percent good of (good and bad) highlighted verses||98.8||71.4||59.1|
So no matter how you look at it, Ecclesiastes is by far the best (and pretty much the only good) book in the the Bible.