Reading The Message version of the Bible makes a big difference. Sometimes it bothers me that the wording and phrases that are so familiar to me aren't in it but for the most part I've really appreciated it. To me it brings the entire Bible back to real life, reminding me that the Israelites weren't some alien race from another moon but rather people exactly like the ones I know.
It also reminds me that God is not Victorian, does not speak in Old English, and does not shy from making your skin crawl when necessary. It's amazing the difference it makes when the Bible is talking about sex for that word to actually be used. (Shocking!) If it weren't the Bible, I don't think my parent's would have let me read such a book.
Speaking of which, the difference between the plight of Israel and America today seems to be only that Americans are too advanced to bow to or name their idols. This is not judgment, only a statement of fact. Some people seem to think that America has reached new heights of sin, as though we have become even worse than God has ever seen. I think not.
As I read the thought keeps reoccurring, how much of my belief in God is really honest belief and how much is due to being taught about Him from a very young age? At first this thought scares me, "Am I falling away from God!?" Then I decide not to be silly, if God is God (and no matter the reason, I am very bad at doubting this) then He cannot be threatened by my questions.
Irrational as it may be, I love it that no matter how many questions surface about what I really believe, I am always asking God for the answers and expecting them from Him. It's like expecting light from the sun. As much as I try to be objective about it, it never works.