How Could Anyone Believe the Bible These Days?

The Bible makes some outrageous claims.[1] I guess that’s why it is controversial. But I find it interesting that people doubt the Bible for different reasons. There are some who completely discount the Bible. They don’t read it, don’t want to, don’t care. We might call these folks secular.[2] A second group of folks see a value in the Bible, but understand it to be an ancient document, written for ancient times. It is a collection of great literature with some “golden nuggets” of wisdom and insight that has been passed down through the ages. We would be wise to glean from its pages. We might call these folks Liberal Christians.[3] A third group of people claim to follow the Bible “religiously.” They tell us the Bible is authoritative and infallible. It is God’s Word to mankind. We might call these folks Conservative Christians.[4] However, I want to make the case that none of these people believes the Bible, really.

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Secular people look at the Bible and they don’t believe it can be true. They read about a man being swallowed by a fish and living (Jonah). They read about floating ax-heads (2 Kings 6), and the sun standing still (Joshua 10). They just can’t believe it, so they discount the entire Bible. Of course, we recognize that their unbelief is not simply intellectual; it is from experiential and existential reasons as well. I don’t think anyone is confused about secular people distrusting the Bible.

Liberal Christians look at the Bible and they like some of what they see. They are inspired by the story of David overcoming incredible odds by defeating the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17). They are attracted to the message of the prophet Amos, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (Amos 5:24). They love the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers…; Love your enemies and pray for [them]…; Do not judge or you too will be judged…” (Matthew 5-7). Here we find the wisdom and counsel of God himself, they think.

But Liberal Christians don’t believe it is all true. For example, they shudder to hear that God punished Achan and his whole family for a singular act of stealing by stoning them all to death (Joshua 7). They read that Jesus told his disciples that he will cast some people into utter darkness, into eternal punishment (Matthew 25). They read about the wrath of God being poured out onto all mankind (Romans 1). They just can’t believe it, so they discount those parts. And just with the secular folks, their reasoning is not just intellectual, it is experiential as well.

Liberal Christians commonly struggle (or at least ought to) with elitism. One can hardly get more arrogant than to suggest that he can determine which parts of the Bible are divinely inspired and which are not. This kind of understanding would require an amazing understanding of God prior to coming to the Bible. This discernment is usually attributed to hearing a “ring of truth.” Where does this “ring of truth” come from if not from inside a person? One must have an awfully high view of himself to determine what God said. I don’t think I could do that with my wife! Additionally, Liberal Christians are required to discount the (nearly) unanimous opinions of most of church history, which accepted the Bible as completely true, without reservation. However, I don’t think there is much confusion about whether Liberal Christians completely trust the Bible or not – mostly because they do not claim the Bible as completely authoritative.

Conservative Christians, on the other hand claim that they take the Bible as authoritative and infallible. I don’t believe them. Conservative Christians resonate with the story of Creation where God is sovereign over all things (Genesis 1). They tell and retell the story of the Exodus when God brings the Israelites out of the evil land of Egypt (Exodus 13-14). They love the practical teachings of the Apostle Paul such as “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers,” (2 Corinthians 6:14); “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes,” (Ephesians 6:11); “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful,” (Colossians 4:2); and “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent,” (1 Timothy 2:12).

But Conservative Christians don’t believe it is all true even though they say they do. Unlike Secular people, they typically have no problem believing that the sun stood still, and an ax-head floated. Unlike Liberal Christians, they are typically comfortable with the punishment of Achan and the wrath of God being poured out on all mankind. But the Bible’s hardest statements to believe are not in these categories. Conservative Christians have trouble believing that God loves them.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

[Jesus said,] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:1-2

This is just a tiny sample of what the Bible says about two things – humankind is in desperate need and God alone is ready, willing and able to meet that need. If you are a Conservative Christian, like me, you might be thinking, “I believe those things.” Do you? Really? If I really believed that God loved me completely and unconditionally, what would that do to me?

I remember as a little child, my parents took me to a children’s amusement park. Among other attractions there was a jungle of big thick nets spread among a network of short telephone poles. There were little nooks and cranies and places you could explore and hide and be generally adventurous. These nets had holes big enough for me to put my arm or leg completely through, but not big enough for my head to fit. I remember exploring with my dad, my brother and sister. We climbed all over the little “jungle” until I remember finding myself standing on a platform. I looked down and saw several nets underneath the one I was about to jump onto. The ground was far away, and I could see the tops of people’s heads through the various nets. As I looked at the net I was about to put my faith in, my faith started to doubt. My father was there laying on his back, looking up at me. He saw the fear in my eyes. He tried to reassure me. It’s ok. The net will hold. Look, it’s holding me! I said, Yes, but just barely – if I get on, it will break, and we will plunge to the ground. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I was convinced.

What would happen if I were totally convinced that the net would not break? I would not think about it at all. I would jump right onto it and keep exploring and enjoying the great adventure with my father. But my lack of faith held me on the platform.

What would happen if I were totally convinced that God’s love for me was infinite, eternal and unchangeable, as the Bible tells me it is? I would jump right into life and explore and enjoy the great adventure it has to offer. But my lack of faith holds me on the platform, still.

I am gripped by fear. There are times I fantasize about some dreadful thing happening, and the horrible consequences that would unfold. I think about being shamed, or losing my job, or embarrassed in front of my friends, or rejected by my wife. This motivates me to change my behavior to avoid any pain or suffering. I change my life based on my fears. If I were totally convinced that God’s love for me is infinite, eternal and unchangeable, things would be different. What can shame do to me if God has given me the glory of Christ Jesus? If God loves me, perhaps a loss of my job would take me in a wonderful direction. With the complete approval of God, why would I feel the need to gain approval from friends? If God has totally accepted me, I can easily abandon myself and give freely to my wife with no personal need to feel accepted by her.[5]

Multiple other examples could be given, and might be the subject for another day. My point here is this . . . the Bible says some unbelievable things. Even those who profess to believe the Bible entirely struggle on their best days to believe. Perhaps Conservative Christians ought to say, with the father who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus,

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! Mark 9:24

[1] The reader should be warned that this article is not about religion per se, but about the Bible and people’s use (and abuse) of it.
[2] I hesitate to use this word, but I can’t think of a better one. I think this word is very emotionally charged, and I ask the reader to please forgive my lack of vocabulary. In debates such as these, most labels take on all sorts of nuanced meanings that cannot be thrown away easily.
[3] I’m using the term “Christian” here because it is my background. I would guess, though I am not really sure, that similar connections could be made in Judaism. I would be very interesting to learn from my Jewish brothers and sisters on this matter.
[4] I understand how this 3-tiered scheme of “Bible believers” is an extremely broad brush with many people left out of the picture. There are people who are “in between” tiers and many others. However, this scheme will serve to make my point, which is mainly toward the end of the article.
[5] Of course, this will free her from the pressure to perform well for me. Her freedom will help her to think of herself less and give herself more completely to me. The same could be said for all sorts of relationships in life – friendships, co-workers, parents, children, etc. This is one way God’s love for me “rubs off” on others and helps to make them more Godly. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24.

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28 responses to “How Could Anyone Believe the Bible These Days?

  1. Excellent post William.

  2. This post makes me a bit ill. The whole premise of this thinking is so warped and insane; I shall only pick one thing to argue with because otherwise I will weep with frustration.

    “Liberal Christians commonly struggle (or at least ought to) with elitism. One can hardly get more arrogant than to suggest that he can determine which parts of the Bible are divinely inspired and which are not.”

    It is amazingly arrogant to criticize liberal Christians as elites who think they can pick and choose from the Bible. It is inarguably insanely self-righteous to know that there are dozens of venerated religious texts and systems which have existed as long/longer as Christianity with as many adherents, and to deny their possible validity. To establish if they have any validity, I would say first: know them by their fruits. Good people like Gandhi and certain Buddhists and the Sufis have repeatedly shown us a world in which other faiths have produced beautiful saints. Though they too have their flaws, I will cut you off there: it was the empire endorsed by Christianity which is choking the world, which killed and raped in so many deceitful names. Christianity did not cause all those flaws, but a good many believers certainly did.

    If it is arrogant to examine the Bible historically, how much more arrogant is it to ignore nearly all of history, of other cultures and religions. I don’t believe all religions are created equally, and Christianity in and of itself is a miracle. What I cannot permit is for such feeble-minded nasty simpletons to use it as a weapon to attack those who would pursue truth with humility, and not egoism. I know I cannot change a person in a heartbeat, I have not that gift. But I must tell you that this is a wrong post, it is an arrogant post, it is un-Christian. You must not judge other interpretations so harshly, you must not ignore the rest of humanity. Truth does not stop being truth because someone else sees it differently (in all humility, this could be applied to my own response as a retort. I know this. But I’ll risk the hypocrisy, because you do not).

  3. Anna,

    I’m so glad for your helpful comment. You and I would probably disagree on several things, but perhaps not as much as it would first seem.

    I’m sorry for not being clear in the beginning of the article. I intended to write only about people who claim to follow the Bible’s teachings. Not everyone does . . . and that’s just fine. My purpose was to help people think through their hypocrisy. Nobody believes the Bible, not even the people who say they do. All Christians are hypocrites (including me, for sure). That’s my basic point.

    I did not intend to address other religious texts or their validity.

    I would certainly agree with you that other religions (and texts) of the world have produced amazing good for the world. I don’t really see a moral difference between Christianity and other religions.

    I’m sorry I was unclear . . . I don’t mind if someone disagrees, especially if I can be corrected, but I think your specific points in your comments are things that we actually agree on! Thanks for clarifying these things.

  4. Hi. I was doing a search on gender roles in the Bible and somehow ended up on your blog. Go figure. Anyway, I enjoyed your article, finding much of it insightful and accurate. Indeed, the Bible is a problematic text for any modern reader, believer or non-believer. I feel comfortable using the all-inclusive “any,” because each person must intentionally make adjustment to their interpretation of the text in order to make sense of it, and to extract meaning from it. Even the most conservative believer will emphasize some passages and downplay others. And, naturally, the passages that are emphasized are empowering and faith-promoting, offering a safe, protected platform of faith. However, toward the end of the post, you made it seem as though no one actually gets onto this platform. I think its important to realize that this is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Doubt–Faith is a spectrum, and I’ve met some people who are pretty far to the right on this one, and I believe their sincere. It can’t be quantified, but the look in their eyes and their countenance reveals it. It’s not an affectation, and it often comes from unexpected individuals, not necessarily the straight-laced church-goers. Like you, I wish I could get there myself, but in the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy marveling at the light they give off.

  5. Hi. I came across your stuff via searching Lauren Winner’s work on sexuality. Anyway–though I definitely go through the spectrum of belief and unbelief that you mention, on most days I believe both in the Creation story/Job/Jonah variety and in God’s love for me. So what does that make me? Indeed, it seems to me that God is both good and sovereign. As Lewis might say, he is good but He definitely isn’t “safe.” In other words, our categories for Him fail. Just thought I’d throw it out there. Keep up the good work.

  6. Hi, I agree that even conservative christians have doubts. To be human is to doubt. Even old testament heros of faith doubted at times. That is the beauty of faith. Even Jesus doubted on the cross. But said,” Father why have you forsaken me? Never the less, not my will, but yours be done.” Doubt can be our road to study. And study of the truth, our road to salvation, thru Jesus Christ our Lord.

  7. Hi, you said that “Conservative christians have trouble believing that God loves them”…you don’t speak for all of us. I’m a conservative christian and I do not doubt that God loves me. As a matter of fact, I believe His love for me is so infinite that I can’t grasp all of it, but I have enough FAITH to believe it when His words tell me so, along with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in my heart which guides me in all truth.

  8. 3 reasons why I cannot believe in the Bible.
    1. The Bible condones child abuse
    2. The Bible condones slavery
    3. The Bible condones murder
    also realize that people had a different perspective of people that were mentally disturbed. That in itself should make you wonder about the credibility of the Bible and religion and also at that time and was extremely superstitious.

  9. Ralph, I’m not sure what you mean.

    I’ve been studying the Bible for many years now. There are a lot of good critiques of the Bible, but I don’t understand what you mean when you say the Bible condones child abuse, slavery and murder. Those things are strictly forbidden in the Bible. Can you explain?

  10. I don’t think you believe in the Bible in it’s entirety either. Do you believe it is not only OK to own slaves but to beat them as well?

    Exodus 21:20-21 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

    So, if you beat your slave with a rod and he/she dies, you’ll be “punished”. But if he/she lives for a few days after the beating and then dies, you’re alright.

    Or how about making a rape victim marry their rapist?

    22:28-29 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

    Or Unicorns? Do you believe in Unicorns?

    Isaiah 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

    How about Dragons and Satyrs?

    Isaiah 34:13 – 14 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

    Surely you don’t believe the earth is flat?

    Daniel 4:10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. 4:11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

    (A tree couldn’t been seen from the anywhere on the earth unless it was flat. This is just one of many verses suggesting the earth is flat. Also, has edges and sits on pillars)

    I could go on forever. And what are you talking about? You’ve never seen any child abuse in the Bible? Have you even read the Bible? Ridiculous.

    And you might say something about “Oh, well, that’s the Old Law and Jesus came and changed it blah blah blah”. Even if that was true, the God in the Bible still commanded the Children of Israel to follow these laws and to do these terrible things. But, sadly, it’s not true.

    Numbers 15:15 One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.

    Also…

    Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

    These passages state that the law passed down by Moses is to apply to all subsequent generations. Nothing shall be added or taken away from it; including the laws about slave ownership, stoning your children, forcing rape victims to marry their rapists, killing non-believers and homosexuals, etc. I don’t know where all these Neo-Christians get off thinking that these laws no longer apply to them.

    And if that’s not good enough for you, here’s it straight from the horse’s mouth:

    Mathew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. -Jesus

    I mean, you’ve already excepted that a some crazy sky god created billions of people and is going to send the vast majority of them to burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for doing exactly what He created them to do. And that he sent his son, who’s also Him, on a suicide mission to save a small minority of people from the punishment He set up for them.

    I don’t think believing in Unicorns is much of a stretch.

  11. Also, Dinosaurs.

    Seriously.

  12. I love how there is no reply to josh. Amen brother. Religion is a scam. Way to justify doing bd things to other people

    • I’ve been studying the Bible for several decades now. It’s hard to respond to Joshua’s criticisms because they are so simplistic, but let me try:

      Unicorns, dragons and satyrs. This is an easy translational issue. I guess you’re using the King James translation of 1611. Biblical scholarship has progressed since then, to say the least. Look at any modern translation, or learn Hebrew for yourself (as I have), and those objections will disappear quickly.

      Daniel 4.10, if you notice in the first clause refers to a vision of the author, not to reality in the world. I don’t know of anyone who thinks the visions correspond directly to reality. A vision is like a dream, weird stuff can happen in dreams that defy the laws of physics.

      Exodus 21.20-21, this was certainly a far stricter law than any contemporary society held. In other words, slavery was part of every culture, and slaves had no rights whatsoever anywhere. This law was great news for slaves because it put some parameters around their treatment. Of course, there are plenty of places where the Bible condemns slavery altogether. A quick search will find these. After all, it was Christians who abolished the slave trade and slavery altogether. It is Christians who are at the forefront of fighting slavery in our world today. You’re right, these laws cannot be “undone” but now the law of God goes further and is stricter . . . the law of Jesus is love.

      Deuteronomy 22.28-29, this law requires a man to take responsibility for his sinful actions. This was written, of course, at a time when there were no police and women could not appear in court, or own a business, etc. Therefore, a woman needed to be connected to a man (her father or husband usually) for protection, safety, etc. A woman who was not a virgin was not likely to get married. So, if a man raped a young virgin, he was required to take care of her for the rest of her life. While this is not an ideal situation for sure, once a rape is committed, there is nothing ideal available anymore. Nonetheless, the man was required to provide for and protect the woman forever. That is a much better situation for her than if he were to abandon her. If you look in verse 25, it says that if she is engaged to be married to another man already, the rapist is to be put to death and she should continue and marry her fiance. All these laws were actually meant to protect and provide for the women of the society.

      I think the confusion of both the rape and slavery laws comes from a misunderstanding of the cultures in which the laws were written. Biblical scholars who are atheists rarely come to the same conclusions you do. In fact, the Bible’s laws are almost always understood to be quite progressive regarding social issues, given the historical cultures in which they were written.

      Joshua and Nen, if you really would like to criticize the Bible, I would suggest doing a little more research. There are good arguments against the Bible, but you’re not likely to convince informed people with these kinds of arguments.

      I think there are really good reasons not to trust the Bible, but these are not among them.

      As for religion being a way to justify bad things to people . . . I think all worldviews have the same issues of being used for evil. For every Christian Crusade of the Middle Ages, which slaughtered whole cities, there is an atheist dictator who did the same (Stalin, Moa Zedong, Pol Pot, etc.). I think each of us would look at the people in our own camps who committed such atrocities and call them tragic anomalies. Each worldview can claim all sorts of wonderful contributions to the world, too. I’m not sure it’s helpful to claim that religion produces evil and non-religion doesn’t (or visa versa).

      Hope this helps.

  13. How could anyone believe these days lol! The bible says that GOD IS THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER thats why. It’s not GOD who has changed ,it’s people that have changed. It’s not GODS problem, it’s yours for not believing his word. Taken in context, the bible does not contradict itself. A number of people here have grossly taken the word of GOD out of context to fit their lack of understanding A.K.A un belief. NO amount of trashing the truth with stupid unspiritual arguments will ever nullify the truth of GODS word. We are to live by GODS word period. Not the pick and choose gospel from the milktoast liberal pulpit. The scriptures are not based on half -truths. If they are then how do you know that your half if right. GOD is truth and either it is all truth or a half -truth which is a lie. It is truth.

  14. Gary, I would like to respond to you, but it seems clear to me that you did not read my post. Perhaps you are reacting to the title only . . . ? If you read the article, I think you’ll be surprised, even if you disagree.

    • I’m Jesus christ I’m the light of the world I created you from dust the onlyno command I give you is love be as shinning stars my word is clearly sufficient and it resides in the bible that I left you 2000 years ago be content my children and know your disputes in my word are just too futile for me to comprehend but when you die and come worship me in heaven it will be clear to you why I waisted no more time convincing you if then you still fail to see that I m all that is good you will be hurled down to the Pitts of hell just like Lucifer who’s only form of rebellion was Leroy thinking in his head that he could be better than me yea that’s right what’s bitches I’m the alpha and omega the beginning. And the end all knowing all powerful Im not restrained by time or anything else you know of don’t question it and don’t have pride aka great self worth because your nothing compared to me even the thought of you thinking it a possibility to be as great insults me now !! Ow do

      • Sry for my typos anything you find fucked up is just a mere translation error do to my glorified android phone that sometimes creates shit I don’t mean just like my prophets

      • Now that you have this great faith in me do to the word I have spoken to you through my phone ill need 10% of your income so I can spread the word so tell your friends and their friends so I can have more money to establish my kingdom on earth Denver don’t kill or steal from each other cuz you’ll actually be stilling from my body the church so don’t cause my body to bleed I need to funnel that money up to my christ head that which has all authority be fruitfully multiply my money spread the word and I will reward you in a place you can’t know of on earth not because it doesn’t exist but because it is so great and your not ready for it and my enemy the devil will lie to you with all kinds of bad things like that I don’t exist or I’m just a tyrant or not to go to church but remember I’m the one that died for you so that I know have the right to totally get all your love and sympathy especially seeing how no one else would want to. Hang from a tree how could you possibly resist such a great god exactly you can’t be cause that very sinfully nature of yours is extremely hopeful for a savior and obviously my death on the cross was to show you that to be my warriors you must first be willing to lay down your life for My sake thus I own you

      • In fact the only thing that won’t be tolerated is disobeidince or wanting to sit on my throne because I’m the king forever and alwayze have been and I know best how to run this bitch PS it totally kicks ass being god of coarse I won’t forfeit my positions as supreme ruler you think I’m crazy Lucifer actually had the balls to challenge me but you pussy won’t at least I hope not I mean Lucifer wound up with his own kingdom when he did it god forbid you eat the tree of life also and be anactual competitor like Lucifer that’s why I gave up making immortal angels. Like Lucifer who was perfect in wisdom and realised my love was the only thing holding him under my wing untilled he found my true love Wichita was being king then I hurled him down and we’ve never stopped fighting so made you dumb mortals then Lucifer wanting to save you from the same fate enlightened you so I made that you wouldn’t live forever so even if you figured me out you’ll just die but my word lives on forever to trap you mortals so I can exercise my dominion over you for own pride

    • That s about how ludacris religion is and people still believe it like wtf don’t you think god could and would do better why make it to where the shit is gay give us a fucking hologram bible that gives us direct footage of god I mean why be prude especially when humans are hardly competent why the secrecy why the ought right avoidance of us spiritual people just make claims to trick themselves because they are bored or not satisfied with there mortal existence and want to believe the unbelievable by doing so and believing god your rebelling on mankind and keeping these lies going omg he said fuck god how provocative he’s gunna rote in hell yea OK buddy

  15. Ah yes,how Christians love to believe in their bible.Only one problem,they all disagree and argue over every point a bible has.They look at the people outside the church and pray for them.Inside the church,they backbite,disagree and demonize those that don’t believe like they do.Atheist are not their problem,THEY are each others problem.Yes,they quote the bible with the phrase”God is not the author of confusion”….yeah right,that’s why THOUSANDS of denominations come from ONE bible.Salvation,one of the core beliefs of the Christians,is one of the most argumented subjects in their doctrine.

  16. Robert, I’m very interested. I agree completely that Christians and churches argue and backbite and disagree and demonize others, and each other.

    I suppose I have a different perspective about salvation being so hotly debated. For all the cultural and historic differences (not to mention linguistic, geographic, temporal, etc. differences), pretty much all Christians agree with several important fundamentals of salvation. All agree on the necessity of the need for humans to be saved, on the necessity of grace of God, the necessity of the cross of Jesus, the divinity and humanity of Jesus, the necessity of repentance of sins and faith in Jesus. There are certainly nuances which can be argued (and blown out of proportion), but I find it compelling that with all the potential for disagreement at fundamental levels, there is a remarkable degree of agreement.

    Your thoughts?

  17. Gilles Dagenais

    The Bible is a man made compilation of moronic contradictions which deserves nothing if not scorn and ridicule. As for the believers, whatever the Religion or denomination, considering the scientific evidence at our disposal, anybody who still believe in an omnipotent, benevolent God has an IQ of 5 while it takes 6 to bark.

  18. I think this is a wonderfully thoughtful and insightful piece of writing. You have related your own experiences to your understanding. I so sincerely wish you could go over the final hurdle and realise “God” did nothing to help with it. It was all you – the humility, the analysis, the effort to overcome your own fears. “God” didn’t even help with the Bible you so knowledgeably quote from – he just apparently “inspired” it. I so, so wish that thoughtful individuals such as yourself would be able to consider the idea that you don’t, in fact, owe “God” anything. You did it, with a lot of help from people who love you, such as your Dad. A supernatural being had nothing to do with it. I always think it’s incredible that real-life fathers always sound so much more loving than the divine kind. You have so much to offer others and the world. Take ownership of your life – it’s yours! You don’t need permission to be a good person.

  19. I was really looking forward to reading this post. Ultimately, I was utterly disappointed. I understand you are wrestling with your faith, but you set up such crude “straw man” arguments. Most of the “secular” world does not believe the Bible simply because there is no good reason to do so and it contradicts much of what we know today through scientific discovery and the differing parts of the bible itself.

    Then there are people of other religions, who ignore the bible because they feel they have enough fulfilment from their own traditions and teachings. I recognize you point about “liberal” Christianity vs “conservative” Christianity, which seems to be the purpose of your thesis, but you focus on rather facile arguments and completely ignore the glaringly obvious ones.

    The Bible constantly contradicts itself. The God of the Old Testament is evil, who rains down destruction on people in a manner that would make the most ambitious psychopath blush. You both have to square this with a loving God, who sent Himself down to earth to save us from the very sins He invented, but getting us to murder Him.

    So those of faith are left with a problem, either some of the Bible is true and some is not, which forces us to rely on humans to interpret what God really meant. Or, it is all true, which is impossible, because it contradicts itself constantly. George Orwell wrote about double think, which is another term of cognitive dissonance and the ability to hold two completely contradictory ideas in your head simultaneously. That is the true challenge of all people of faith, but particularly conservative Christians.

    How do you square the loving, all powerful, all knowing God you claim “divinely inspired” these books with the petty tyrant of the Old Testament, who murder people by the thousands, even those who are innocent like children or the unborn? How do you reconcile a “perfect” book that supports rape, murder, genocide, theft and slavery? This is the true wonder of those who are able to believe is how to square these obviously contradictory ideas in your mind? If you could explain that to me and explore that honestly and sincerely, that would be an interesting post.

  20. Pero,Christians can only explain that by carefully cherry-picking scripture.They highlight the scripture that backs their own belief and downplay those that seem to contradict.You will hear things like”out of context”, “this word can have a different meaning”, “this scripture can be translated another way”.
    Example:Mark 16:18,They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

    Bring that little verse up around a few groups.The excuses and explanations will POUR in.

  21. I AM READING THE DEAD
    SEA BOOK AND WRITING BY THE JEWISH PEOPLE , PLUS BOOKS ABOUT HOW THE WORLD BEGAN. IF YOU READ OTHER INFORMATION BESIDES THE BIBLE YOU WILL HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING. IF THE WORDS WERE CHANGED CORRECTLY, YOU WOULD SEE THE LIGHT. THE WATCHES WERE A GROUP OF GREAT KNOWLEDGE AND THEY TRAINED THE TRIBES, THE PRIEST ATE REALLY GOOD. ALSO THE GIANTS WITH 6 FINGERS CAME FROM A MIX WITH THE TRIBES.. i THINK THE GODS WERE ONLY THE PEOPLE MORE ADVANCED. YOU NEED A SIMPLE STORY FOR SIMPLE PEOPLE. WHEN IT IS POURED INTO THE HEAD OF A SMALL CHILD IT BECOMES REAL.. IF YOU QUESTION PEOPLE THEY BECOME UPSET. I DO NOT NEED TO HAVE SOMEONE TO THANK OR BLAME. WHICH IS WHY PEOPLE LOVE TO DO DUMB THINKS AND BLAME THE DEVIL. THE BASIC RULES HELP TO CONTROL PEOPLE AND THE LEADERS COLLECT THE MONEY. WE LIVE FOR TODAY NOT A AFTER LIFE. S.HILBERT. P S IT IS NOT HARD TO BE KIND WITHOUT ANY FAITH

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