Dishonest Questions

Do I “believe the Bible”?dishonestquestions.jpg

I believe many people interpret things very differently when they read the Bible.

I don’t believe any of them have the “one right understanding. But then… when were we ever asked to believe the Bible anyway?

What I recall – from the Bible itself – is that our faith and trust is to be placed in God. I don’t ever recall Jesus instructing people to believe and assent to human interpretations of scripture. Rather, I recall Jesus saying things like:

  • follow me
  • love one another – by this shall everyone know you follow me
  • preach good news to the poor, sight to the blind, healing to the lame, freedom to prisoners, etc.
  • don’t condemn people; trust God with their growth and stop shoving your precious pearls of wisdom on them when they aren’t ready yet
  • don’t worry – about the future, about food and clothing, etc – just manifest a society that does God’s will
  • don’t be troubled – I’ll send the Holy Spirit (not a book) to guide you into all truth

Do I “believe the Bible”?

I believe Jesus.
His words and actions resonate within me.
His portrayal of what God is like rings true.

He doesn’t reflect an angry God who says “love me or I’ll torture you in fire.” No, this is a God who says “do what you want to me – kill me if you must – but I’ll still love and forgive you.” This is a God who loves and forgives so much he’s willing to sacrifice himself.

So when people use the Bible to propose an angry, Zeus-like thunderbolt thrower of a God, I’ll pass.

When people propose a weak, sociopathic God who “doesn’t want anyone to perish” but “oh well… I guess I can’t get what I want so welcome to Hell”, I’ll pass.

When people propose a God who says we should “forgive 70 times 7 times a day” and then doesn’t have to live up to his own rules… I’ll pass.

When people propose a God who resorts to genocide to get his way – killing men, women, children, and animals – I’ll pass.

The problem isn’t God, nor is it the Bible.

The problem is what the church – very late in church history – has declared the Bible to be (something the early church never claimed): The inerrant words of God clearly communicated once for all time.

And the truth is that no one actually believes that. No one.

What they ACTUALLY believe is that THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE BIBLE is inerrant, that THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD is infallible.

This arrogance has led to the creation of tens of thousands of so-called Christian denominations, all who think they are the “most right”.

It’s a distraction that enables them to ignore the life and example and teachings of Jesus so they don’t have to actually follow Jesus to be a “Christian”.

It’s an alternate gospel that merely focuses on getting into Heaven when you die and avoiding an imagined Hell that none of the early church believed in.

It ignores the fact that the early church fathers saw scriptures as the testimonies of HUMANS, not of God, and they considered and appreciated multiple interpretations rather than claiming they had the “only right interpretation”.

It ignores that God “morphs” across the Bible (because peoples’ understanding of God evolved over time, not because God actually changed).

It ignores the serious contradictions in scripture that are easily explained by studying the thought evolution of the authors and the cultural meta-narrative that coincided with it.

It’s worse than a paper pope because everyone who has access to the scriptures can assume THEIR understanding is the one right one. EVERYONE is a pope.

Do I believe the Bible?

Well, I don’t automatically believe that YOUR understanding of it is the most right one.

I’ll go with what the Holy Spirit confirms in my heart, with what resonates within me and makes sense to me. I won’t pretend anymore.

I’ll believe Jesus – both in what I understand he said and what I’ve personally experienced following him because THAT is REAL.

I’ll trust God with my life, my family, my prosperity, my health, my opportunities, with everything.

And I’ll fail. And I’ll try again. And I’ll fail again. And I’ll rise again knowing that God LOVES me, forgives me, roots for me, and sustains me. I’m not afraid of God. Certainly I’m in awe and reverence God, but afraid? “Perfect love casts out fear” wrote John.

Do I believe the Bible?

What kind of question is THAT? It’s a dishonest question and it totally misses the point.

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