Modern Christianity: Believe in a loving God in spite of the Bible
On my previous blog Martha Mihaly made the following comment:
I must agree that it would appear the root of much evil in the world seems to be the mis-interpretation of religious belief. Zealots of any kind will always be dangerous. As with anything, I suppose the conflict comes from literal interpretation/implementation of dogma.
In my early days of questioning my Christian faith, I started down the path of classing fundamentalists as “mis-interpreting” the Bible. In my view, they just did not grasp what Christianity was all about. They did not truly understand God as the loving, compassionate father in heaven who sent Jesus to correct the obvious false view the Old Testament painted of him and to demonstrate his love and compassion towards the world. They somehow believed God was as the Old Testament portrayed him.
Of course, once I opened my mind to the belief that the Bible was not the inerrant Word of God, the floodgates of inconsistencies and contradictions began to present itself. Prior to that I could so easily parrot this statement:
The Bible is 66 books written by 40 different authors over a span of 1500 years by people of varying backgrounds – shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophet, and others – containing a variety of different genres – history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few – written in 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, yet tells a consistent story without contradiction or error.
However, I began seeing inconsistencies in the storyline. I began seeing glaring contradictions. After believing the Old Testament did not accurately describe God, my next step was to believe that the early church somehow corrupted the New Testament. For example, they added Jesus being mean and nasty to the Pharisees. They added Paul’s bigotry towards women and a host of other “doctrines” that were inconsistent with my version of Christianity.
One of my big disappointments came when I sat down to attempt to pull out the “real” teachings of Jesus out of the Gospels and only came up with a single page of teachings. When I began the exercise, I fully expected to only have to drop a few verses here and there. I then began to find the verses in the Old Testament that misrepresented God. I expected to find a handful but discovered verse upon verse upon verse. Pretty soon, the entire Bible was falling apart for me.
I could no longer hold to the view that fundamentalists were misinterpreting the Bible because the overwhelming evidence was in their view of God. I came to the conclusion I was the one misinterpreting the Bible. The God of the Bible is not a kind, compassionate, loving Father in heaven. Jesus was not a peace-loving, compassionate, kind, merciful savior of the world.
For me it came to a point that the only option was to take the Bible as God’s Word or throw the whole thing out as the creation of man. I, of course, over time chose the latter.
So, for the Christians who hold to the view that God is kind and merciful in spite of the picture the Bible paints of him or that Jesus was truly came to bring peace and demonstrate God’s compassion for the world in spite of the picture the Gospels paint of him, I can relate. However, I must warn you it is a very difficult to keep that egg in the spoon as you’re running through the realities of life. I sincerely hope you have better luck than I did.
- The de-Convert