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Archive for July, 2022

These last few weeks I have posted why I believe it is best to assume the entire Bible is not inspired by God. I addressed several questions one might raise if arguing the Bible isn’t inspired. See here.  I know many readers may disagree. I am interested in your feedback. See my email address below. If you believe it is best to assume the Bible is inspired by God, how would you answer the below questions. I will respond to your email unless you advise otherwise:

  1. How do you prove that the Bible is inspired? I admit I cannot prove the Bible isn’t inspired
  2. I have stated what may be negative consequences if you assume the Bible is inspired by God such as provoking violence and other evils See here. What are the negative consequences if one assumes the Bible isn’t inspired?
  3. If you think the Bible is inspired by God, how can we know what is “biblical truth” since interpretation is required and we don’t all agree?
  4. If you think parts of the Bible are inspired by God, how can we determine inspired vs uninspired passages?
  5. If you believe the Bible is inspired, how is that different than if we believe God still inspires us today – such as an article, a song, a thought to take action, etc.?
MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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That is the Question

by Jim Gordon

Growing up in the church, I know we are taught to be a witness for Christ. It seems we are made to feel we have to use every opportunity to tell others about Jesus or we have not fulfilled our obligation to lead others to salvation. Sometimes, we are even told if we do not witness to people, their blood will be upon our hands.

Have you ever felt guilty because you did not say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about a particular sin? Do you feel it is your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation?

Quite frankly, I disagree with all of the above. I feel that not all of us need to be forcing the issue with those we come in contact with each day. I can remember a few instances when I met someone while shopping who seemed extremely nice and pleasant to carry on a conversation. They made me feel good and I actually thought I might have a new friend. Then, later on in the conversation I would find out they were selling Amway. Now, nothing wrong with Amway, but when I found out they were not the nice, caring people who were interested in me but only interested in recruitment, I was very disappointed.

I think it is the same with us Christians. When we use every opportunity to force a conversation about God, we are not being real. We are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and love others as ourselves. When we live our lives each day under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God, the way we act will be a witness to God’s love. There is no need to force conversations, just be genuine and care about people.

Anyone can speak words…words of condemnation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, but words themselves have no strength in themselves. It is the daily life we live allowing the love of God to show through that makes a difference. When we consistently live what we believe and say, it has more impact than thousands of words. Forcing conversations and friendships for ulterior motives just turn people off. 

We should remember that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to God. It is not our job to be judgmental, condemning and trying to prove to people that they are sinning.

God’s word says that we should live a quiet life, working with our hands and be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.

Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine, minding your business, living a peaceful life, but be ready at all times to give an answer about salvation and God’s love when someone asks. The important part is when they ask, we do not force anything upon anyone. Only when the Holy Spirit is leading the opportunity and the words, will it make an impact on the person anyway. Apart from that, just love people, be genuine and caring.

By living this lifestyle, and not forcing our views on others, the words we say will have more meaning to those who are wondering what the hope is that we have within us.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

Decades ago, I begin to be taught things about God that I just couldn’t imagine would be true of a loving God. I have no idea why I begin the journey of questioning and exploring what I was being taught. I can imagine some had no reason to doubt what authorities were teaching them, which eventually lead to leaving God or making God less a part of their life. Why follow a God you can’t respect. We can only judge God through what we understand true love to be like. I begin putting my thoughts in brief books such as:  Lies About God – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!

“Lies” is a strong word because I readily admit no one can prove what an invisible, inaudibly God is truly like. I am reacting to those who claim they know the “Truth” and don’t readily admit their interpretations and understandings of the Bible may be wrong. Most agree the only God worth believing in must be loving and perfect. Let’s have open-minded discussions what perfect love looks like. We can disagree but please don’t claim certainty according to a Book subject to interpretation. These were the main beliefs that nagged at me that I became convinced couldn’t be true of a loving God. There are many more. Question and doubt if what you hear doesn’t seem what a loving God would truly be like. You may be right!

Can God really create a place such as Hell?

Can God really condemn gays for being gay?

Can God really favor men over women for roles in church or marriage if equally qualified?

Can God really only let Christians into heaven?

Can God really be for terrorists who deny freedom of belief?

Can God really control evil and suffering?

Can God really arbitrarily answer your prayer and not others’?

Can God really be a moral hypocrite who says “do as I say not what I do” ?

Can God really be mysterious if wanting to be known?

Can God really be an angry, egomaniac?

Can God really be a hidden agenda proselytizer?

Can God really know the future if created freedom?

Can God really be a Jesus killer?

Can God really be a Bible-worshipper?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

Just to be certain, total certainty is an illusion because even if God is Truth, we still have to discern what is Truth. Certainty is not found in a Book even if infallible. Literature requires interpretation. For example, there is disagreement if God of the Bible desires preachers or priests be women or gay. Even if Jesus was God in person, His words still require interpretation. We don’t agree what He advised about Hell, divorce, etc. Many are leaving the institutional church, but not God, because of lack of open dialogue. It’s hard to be relational when you are so damn certain!

Uncertainty by God could be out of love

God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. Relationships that require more faith and trust due to the unknown may reach greater heights. Is our love in human relationships greater when we have to trust than know for certain what the future holds together? When parents push their agendas, even if in their child’s best interest, they may resent or rebel against coercion and never turn back. If God communicates in less demonstrative ways, this may allow for heartfelt choices that last. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and non-coerced choices may best lead to lasting convictions. Maybe God speaks to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

Where has certainty got us?

The stories have it that God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding. Supposed certainty in God’s name according to the Bible has been the main reason some condemn gays or oppose women entering the priesthood. Certainty has led to slavery, killing infidels, and other atrocities in God’s name. Uncertainty, not supposed certainty, about God can protect against imposing beliefs on others in God’s name. Honest, open dialogues allow continually evaluating what a loving God is like. Common moral sense isn’t the enemy!

Uncertainty doesn’t have to lead to chaos or lawlessness 

It is often said we best know God according to “biblical truths.” The truth is contrary biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here. I don’t know any reasonable God or non-God person that doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. Certain laws are just common, moral sense. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. What we do with the communication we have, then lack of communication, may be the bigger challenge. Open discussions can steer us away from demanding “supposed truths.” 

God isn’t as hidden as one may think 

A universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated may be a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. Problems begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on our understanding from an inspired Book. We all have an innate knowledge of right and wrong. What rational person doesn’t believe murder, lying, stealing, or adultery is wrong? Maybe God doesn’t have to speak to influence. A parent’s influence, not commands, often speaks louder to a child. Doesn’t God mostly speak through influencing? The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit guiding us in truth (Jn. 14:16-17; 16:13). We know the Spirit’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down. Is the Spirit influencing when we quickly confess and make amends if wronged someone? That’s just not always natural. Maybe we just have to be open to God’s influential Spirit.

God isn’t hiding an unknown future. It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future making freedom nonsensical. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God can’t tell you if the person you want to marry won’t end up betraying you or the job you take won’t end up being phased out. God joins us in an open future. God deals with uncertainty as we do. We surely have God’s blessing choosing the wisest path at the time based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations.

Uncertainty can lead to acting more loving

Being unable to declare the certainty or morality of our opinions forces us to listen and express ideas openly. Forcing beliefs doesn’t lead to long-lasting change. Starting a conversation with “I may be wrong” more likely leads to new understandings and creative solutions. Try it in relationships! Uncertainty doesn’t result in lawlessness. Who doesn’t know God hates murder, sexual abuse, stealing, adultery, even not treating others like you want to be treated? Continually evaluate the most loving approach is better than claiming certainty and being wrong. A loving God only wishes to influence us to make choices with the interest of others in mind. Uncertainty, not certainly about God, may better protect against imposing beliefs on others which is not God’s nature.

Why Does God Tolerate So Much Uncertainty?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

It seems that our world is fast becoming devoid of people who want to work together for the good of others. What is missing in our world today? The same thing that is missing in the Christian world today… love, concern and acceptance of others.

Most people and groups are more concerned about their goals and purposes and what is best for them. Many seem unwilling to compromise or work together for the good of others.

Where are the followers of Jesus and his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount? Where are those who allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, thus producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

Seems like everyone has started taking sides and creating an us versus them world. We seem to take a stand rather than try to understand the other side. We dig our heals in and would rather fight, degrade and hate rather than love one another.

Jesus said to love God and love one another. I do not think we are to judge, condemn or hate anyone. This does not mean we cannot have our personal views and opinions on things. None of us will ever see eye-to-eye on everything. The problem is when we refuse to see any other view or opinion other than ours.

Here in the United States, it seems people are getting meaner and meaning and refusing to be open-minded on various topics and events. This seems to be happening often in regard to politics. So often people of opposing political parties want to fight and be hateful to others rather than push for change through the voting process. We are fortunate to have the option to vote for people who back our views. If the majority of the people are dissatisfied with the way the government is going, they can vote for new leaders. The sad thing is that when their particular candidate or political party does not get elected, rather than regroup and get ready for the next vote, they will do anything to attack the other side, cry foul and disrespect the election progress.

Rather than continuing this sad path we are on where we are mean, exclusive and hateful, let us love God, love others and seek the good of all people rather than for just a select few.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

It is understandable why many avoid reading the Bible. It isn’t easy to relate to cultures thousands of years ago vastly different than ours. It can be concerning that even scholars, who aren’t necessarily chauvinists, interpret certain passages to teach men are the leaders of women. Women don’t need a mediator between them and God! Keep in mind that billions of people have lived and died without any knowledge of the Bible or who Jesus was. The Bible isn’t necessary to know what a good God is like, but it can be profitable as we read recordings of what God may really be like. It is okay to be skeptical if a reading or interpretation of the Bible makes no rational or relational sense what a loving God would truly be like.

We are better off without a Bible if readers don’t recognize that interpretations are fallible

Even if the Bible was inspired by God, no one can claim they know for sure the author’s intended meaning. We can’t be sure that the writers recorded inspired thoughts from God as opposed to their own perceptions of God. We cannot know for sure that Genesis 1-11 is historical facts or stories intended by the writers to convey theological truths. The reality is much of the Bible is subject to interpretations which obviously are not infallible. Human reasoning is necessary in the interpretation process. Dogmatism only divides not unites.  

We are better off without a Bible if we treat it as a Book of Rules

We all cringe or chuckle at the story when someone was looking for guidance, they opened the Bible and happened upon the verse “then he went and hung himself.” The Bible is not a book to definitively tell others what to do in their circumstances. When Jesus said turn the other cheek, He wouldn’t advise a woman to allow an abusive husband to continue to beat her. Develop a relationship with God, consult people you respect, and let God guide you in making a wise decision in your situation.

We are better off without a Bible if readers don’t guard how they discuss the Book

So many denominations and factions among those who worship the same God is evidence that the Bible is dividing than uniting. Consider one another’s opinion gracefully, as long as they don’t violate the freedom of others, to work out your own convictions with as much consistency as possible. It seems the main beliefs that the Bible speaks out against are immoral beliefs which lead to self-destruction or destruction of others. Jesus taught God seeks to empower us toward a life of doing good and shunning evil in a troubled world. Jesus came to dispel any preconceived notions about God other than God desires a relationship so to help you be the person you deep down want to be. Beliefs, which do not violate the rights of others, are between God and an individual. 

Religions having a representative book can allow different worldviews to be discussed 

All religions have some truth, but written records allow contradictions to be weighed to determine what is the more likely truth about a loving God. But we are better off without the Bible when one does not consider their interpretations possible fallible. We are better off without the Bible when our discussions lead to abusive behaviors toward one another as opposed to opportunities for reflection. We are better off without the Bible when any belief is considered sacred other than self-discovery about God to become a better person so to make a difference in the world.

Many agree that the Bible is chocked full of wisdom

It isn’t always natural to forgive others of certain sins but many partners end up being grateful of God’s influence in their life. Who thinks to talk in parables to go through the backdoor of a resistant soul? Jesus did! Parables enable us to continually think on a subject to try to understand and eventually accept positive applications in one’s life. The Bible is not a book you read once. You can read the Bible over and over and come away with fresh insights for relationships. Today, most only read the New Testament because the older testament is so confusing. With the newer testament shortly after Jesus’ death, Jesus’ message exploded and led to billions of followers.

Read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit 

Not questioning or not reading a Book with an open mind has led to sick and weak minds carrying out immoral acts contrary to common moral sense. Those not growing up in church don’t understand all the fuss. Who thinks literature subject to interpretation should be read so dogmatically? Question interpretations about God that make no moral sense. Don’t read the Bible if it discourages you from loving others like you want to loved. We may be better off without the Bible if a Book replaces our relationship with God and common moral sense. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written in the Bible about God. Reading the Bible though encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. God has drawn billions to do good and shun evil when reading and reflecting about God.

What Good Is The Bible If Not Inspired By God?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

While trimming some flowers in our backyard, I accidentally cut a new bloom that had just come out. I tried to replant the root and watered it good, but I noticed within half an hour the bloom was already starting to fade away.

This made me think of the bible verse in John 15:5, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’. Once this nice, colorful bloom was cut from the vine, it could do nothing but wither away.

As followers of Jesus, we are attached to the vine. God is our source of life. As long as we are attached to God, we will grow and mature in our love for God and for one another.

Yet, when we get separated from God (the vine), we will wither and fade in our love for God and for one another.

Notice I am not saying if we separate from the church or from the religion of Christianity, but if we separate from the life and example of Jesus. If we separate from loving God and loving our fellow human beings we will begin to wither in our walk of faith.

Religion and the church organization are man-made ways of learning about God, but they are not necessary parts of living the example of Jesus. The Spirit lives within us and we are the house of God. The Spirit is our teacher and guide and we do not need an intermediate (pastor) to teach us.

Just as the bloom needed the vine to grow, we need connection to our source, the vine who is Jesus. In this way we will continue to grow and share the love of God with others.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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