Posts tagged ‘Bible’
I came across an interesting post written by a thoughtful Christian who has moved beyond a literalist, fundamentalist mindset regarding the Bible as the inspired, revealed word of God. Here are some highlights (although you probably should read the whole post, in order to understand the context from which these bits are excerpted – the comments are worth reading too):
The question of whether the Bible is God’s word is not a new one…. There are certainly a number of things which seem “wrong” if we are to take a literal understanding….Yes, genetics has confirmed that we are all related through mitochondrial DNA – but this does not mean one person; it means one small group of people (who were located somewhere in Africa). It also assumes that humanity is hundreds of thousands of years old, which means we need to accept, at least in part, the theory of evolution….
Suddenly, we find ourselves in the position of looking at the Bible and deciding which parts are to be taken literally, which parts are to be taken allegorically, and which parts are to be understood as no longer applying to us because they have “been fulfilled in Christ.” This is a very dangerous thing to do. Once we start doing that, what difference is there between Christianity and any other man-made religion?
…the Bible has been used to say whatever man wants it to say…and so justify anything we want it to.
In Act 1 we discovered the events that lead to the chaotic and tumultuous world we now find ourselves in. We left off with our hero – Noah – who was the only righteous man alive.
Now God told Noah to build this big boat and it took him a really, really long time to build it. In fact, it took a couple hundred years. But Noah had some help because God decided to save Noah and his family – even though Noah was the only righteous one God found. Obviously Noah would not be able to reproduce by himself so God saved them all because He is merciful and for some reason likes full households and happy families more than individuals (for more information, ask James Dobson). And God saved a lot of animals. Well, he only saved two (or seven) of each kind. But you have to remember that this was before micro-evolution had really gone into full swing and so there were not a lot of species on the planet. Somehow they all fit into the boat (probably because they were babies). Then God sent the flood and killed everything except for some seeds which obviously survived, and miraculously salt-water and fresh-water fish survived in the tumult and obviously everything in Noah’s boat (affectionately called the “ark”) was safe too.
After the flood, God invented the rainbow (because refraction of light through tiny water droplets in the air to produce a prism effect did not exist before the giant canopy of water fell to the earth even though a mist used to rise from the ground to water all the plants). The rainbow symbolizes God’s promise to never again destroy the earth with a flood. In fact, as we will soon discover God has better plans when he gets upset in the future: He is going to use fire (isn’t it nice to know it won’t be water though?!)
Now you may ask why God gave the rainbow and made the promise. Well, you see…
In an effort to produce more creative writing on the de-conversion website (and stir the able minds of our readers to seriously consider their faith (or lack thereof (wow, I’m not sure a triple parenthetical is good grammar))), I hereby present to you: the gospel story in its entirety. Being complete with historically accurate facts, a fundamentalist friendly framework, tongue-in-cheek humor, and many twists of irony, this small set of condensed Biblically faith-based narratives is sure to warm your heart and give you the eternal security for which you have always longed but did not know it yet because you are blinded by Satan. For best results, enjoy with a warm cup of holy water or a wheat wafer and non-alcoholic wine (unless you suffer from frequent stomach ailments).
In the beginning God exists for an eternity. At some point he begets a son and chooses him to be the sacrifice for a world he is going to create. Then he looks ahead and sees all the people in the world who will eventually choose his human sacrifice as their salvation and elects them to that very salvation. [Or something like that. It depends on your denomination and interpretation of complicated theological topics like predestination and free will. But these probably don't affect your salvation. Well, they might, depending on whether they are true or not. Don't see a pastor about them unless they scare the hell out of you. But I diverge.]
Then God creates angels, who – though being spiritual in nature – are quite indistinguishable in features from the physical creation he is about to create. In fact, according to Paul they are often confused as gods and worshiped via little stone and wooden creations. Some of them can walk, talk, have wings (though there is no air in the spiritual realm), and they come and go from God’s throne. That is right, God (though spiritual and having not yet created the physical realm) has a throne in heaven and these angels come and go from it…
Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. I’d like to pay tribute in my Christmas sermon by listing a few of the teachings attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that frame my view of religion. If only Christians could read and live by these scriptures.
Thoughts on the judgmental nature of Religion
1 Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Thoughts on the divisiveness of Religion
2 Beware of those who come to divide. You can detect them by the way that they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.
Thoughts on the greed of religious leaders
3 Why do the teachers of religion, by their traditions, violate their commandments? …
In this article, I want to examine one of the more recognizable yet curious features of fundamentalist belief: the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. Fundamentalist Christian apologists claim that the Bible is perfect and without error – certainly a striking thing to claim of any book. And this “wow factor” is exactly what gets apologists their mileage with this maneuver. If one were to become convinced that the Christian Bible really is utterly flawless in everything it says, that would certainly be a powerful argument for the truth of a religion based on it.
Now, let me remind the reader that in this series I am assuming a naturalistic stance. I am assuming without argument here that the Bible is not actually inerrant. Instead, what I wish to look at here is two things: one, how to apologists do it? How can they possibly argue that the Bible – which on an honest first reading appears to be resplendent in contradictions and errors – actually only has “apparent contradictions”, not “real” ones? Secondly, why do they do so? What is the pull of this idea, and why is it so hard to let go of for those de-converting?…
Just a humorous bit for those of us who remember trying to bend our minds around “sola fide”.
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity had not faith alone.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works faith alone.
Acts 26:20 …..but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works have faith alone, meet for repentance.
Romans 2:6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done his faith alone.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good faith alone seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…