Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Word of God’ Category

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

I remember when I was young, I was in a church service just about any time the doors were open. My whole spiritual life depended on whether I was at church or not. If I did not go, I felt guilty and made sure I was there the next time.

I was always active and participated in many church activities. I felt it was my duty and responsibility to do all I could for the church. I felt that was the only way I could serve God and do what pleased Him.

After many years of being in the organized church system, my wife and I became disillusioned with the religious organization and became a part of ‘The Dones’. We no longer attend a traditional or organized church, and no longer put any hope or trust in religion.

Does this mean we no longer think it is right to be part of a church? Not at all, yet for us, we are satisfied no longer being part of it and we are happy with the decision we made to leave. Yet, that does not mean we expect everyone else to think the same way. We have several friends who are satisfied with the church system and want to continue to attend services.

In our case, after leaving the organized church we have noticed a feeling of separation between church goers and non-church goers. After all the years we spent in the organization and all the friends we made, once we left, we noticed the struggle many people have to overcome a feeling of us and them. Obviously, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and there should be love and acceptance between us no matter if we attend church or not.

If you still feel drawn to the weekly organized meeting, I do not see anything wrong with it. Although we do not believe the church system is designed as God intended, there were many good things that came out of our time being involved. If you are going to be a part of a local church, keep in mind some important facts.

When going to church, you are not going to God’s house. God does not live in buildings made by human hands, but He builds His Church from living stones, which is us.

The Bible is not to be held in the same regard as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The written word is inspired by God but written by men. All the translating men have done over the years, and men deciding which books are inspired and which are not, make it pretty clear that the bible is going to be flawed.  It is clearly stated that Jesus is the living, inerrant Word of God. The written word is a guide to lead us to Christ, but as Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39, You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me. They put the scriptures (written word) above the Living Word (Jesus).

The pastor is not God’s mouthpiece. He or she is only a brother or sister in Christ who is to walk alongside us to encourage and build one another up. We have the Holy Spirit within us who is our teacher and guide. We need no one else. It is good to hear other opinions and ideas, yet it is the Spirit that is to be our teacher and guide.

Bringing the tithe into the storehouse is not giving money to the church, and is no longer a requirement. We give from love as we determine in our heart to give. If you give at the church you attend, you are not giving to God but to support the organization and pay the bills.

Sunday is not the “Lord’s Day”. Every day is the day the Lord has made, and no particular day is more important than another.

When we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, it is not talking about an organized church meeting. It is talking about loving and accepting one another, and depending on one another. It is supporting and encouraging one another on our daily walk with God and one another. We do this in many different ways each and every day, not just on one particular day.

When you go to church, do not fall for someone telling you God is going to show up and the Spirit is going to fall on this place. God is everywhere and the Spirit fell upon mankind 2000 years ago. The Spirit of God is within us and with us all the time. He is not sitting on a throne up in heaven waiting for us. He goes with us each and every day, everywhere we go.

Realize that worship is not singing a few songs, raising your hands when the worship leader tells you to and reading a few scripture verses together. Worship is daily praising God, trusting God and letting Him be Lord of your life. To worship God in spirit and truth involves loving Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.

And do not give way to a prideful spirit, thinking you are more spiritual or a “better” Christian because you went to church. Going to a service is a choice, not a requirement and you are no better if you go, and no worse off if you do not go.

Remember, each of us are living stones and equal parts of the body. We are the Church and Jesus is the head of his body. As his Church, we are to show God’s love every day to everyone we meet. If you want to attend a local group of believers there is nothing wrong with that. Enjoy meeting with other believers, enjoy the atmosphere but remember you are the Church, you have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God lives within you. We are to go about our daily lives under the leading of the Spirit, loving God and loving others.

So, do not look down upon those who have left the organization as backsliders or who have walked away from God. Do not look at those who still attend church as stuck in a man-made institution and following doctrines and interpretations of man. Remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and each of us are loving God and doing what we feel is right and best at this point. We should be loving and accepting of one another and let the world see the love we have for one another. As it reads in John 13:35 by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

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

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

This post is longer than usual. I will be as brief as possible. I hope subtitles depicting my thought progressions will make it easier to read. 

I have written on this topic ad nauseum. See here. We can’t prove God inspired the Bible, so I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible for reasons below. It is natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. (Gregory Boyd adds a twist below). I will address below why many may argue the Bible is God’s inspired Word – concerns we then wouldn’t have an authoritative view of God. I think an inspired Bible has led to condemning others falsely, thus discouraging faith in God. An inspired Bible can also provoke violence.

Gregory Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. Boyd seems to suggest God allowed wrong views about God written to lead to seeing ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. There are hundreds of passages in the OT where God supposedly orders Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:3). Did God really approve/inspire/have anything to do with such accusations about God? Such confusion by God just doesn’t make sense.

An inspired Bible has led to condemning women and gays

It is misleading to claim we can rely on “biblical truths.” Many claim the Bible says that women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Yet it can also be defended that Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, didn’t think roles should be chosen based on gender than gifts. See here. No one can claim their biblical view of God concerning women’s roles is definitive. Similarly, scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Supposed certainty according to the Bible has led to condemning gays, though biblical scholars don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.  How dangerous can an inspired Book be? Religions defend killing homosexuals because of their assumption that every word in a Book was inspired by their God. Extremists and terrorists hide behind a Book. The biblical truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or even that biblical writers always understood God perfectly.

An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence 

I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war. Did God really inspire such thoughts? Did God really approve a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)? Not questioning supposed inspired portrayals of God has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If certain violence is good for God according to one’s interpretation or assumptions about a Book, it must be good now for humans. When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God and don’t think critically, this can lead to violence in God’s name.

An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? Are the majority of people born, who didn’t have a Bible, out of luck? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not.

Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense 

Christians say God’s spirit (aka Holy Spirit) does or can reside within you. Unless the Spirit talks to you audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions how a perfect, loving God may guide us. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. Even the Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This is why many claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective.

Can Jesus be the end-all about what God is really like?

The Bible is said to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Boyd suggests Jesus claimed in the NT that OT Scriptures were imperfect but inspired by God. Scholars do not agree on Boyd’s interpretation of those relevant passages. Interpretation realities don’t allow us to claim certainty about Jesus’ views on other matters.

Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other check is interpreted to claim Jesus never advocated violence, but the possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” Does Jesus agree violence is never desired but may be necessary sometimes? The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would teach. It can’t be avoided using common moral sense when reading the Bible.   

How can we view the Bible? 

The Bible can be viewed as God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written about God. Reading the Bible encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. Imagine if extremist had to admit God possibly didn’t inspire every word in a Book, and we had to use common moral sense to understand what a loving God is like.

How can we make Godly decisions during uncertainty?

Please stop claiming certainty in God’s name. Certain absolutes are obvious to all. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We must stop hiding behind a Book! We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Stop canceling others’ opinions! Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t always be certain how to best love, but we best come to solutions through civil and democratic means.

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

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

Believing God exists or doesn’t exist requires faith, but it seems intuitive a loving Creator would love the way we were created to love. It isn’t too presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions, our consciences. Christians may argue we should trust “biblical truths” about God, but differing interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here.  Also, we can’t prove if biblical writers always understood God perfectly.

Since we can’t know if God inspired all of the Bible, shouldn’t we be open-minded? 

The Bible is claimed to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Besides, we don’t have the original manuscripts but only copies of the supposed inspired autographs. The differing translations of the Bible we have today suggest copying and translation is far from an exact process. It wasn’t until 1946 that a popular bible translation changed the translation of the Greek word arsenokoitai from boy-molesters to homosexuals. Pretty big deal!

God hates the Bible is used to condemn women and gays 

I don’t believe God is opposed to women priests or preachers. I don’t believe God condemns gays. Biblical scholars agree with me, some don’t. See here. See here.  All literature, even if inspired, requires interpretation. Interpretation rules don’t guarantee understanding a writer’s meaning, and obviously don’t confirm the biblical writers always understood God perfectly. We avoid the slippery slope toward supposed inspired interpretations by admitting the Bible may be fallible.   

God hates the Bible is used to demonize moral, intuitive sense

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. I don’t know any reasonable human being who doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense. 

God hates the Bible is used to condone violence 

One biblical writer claims God ordered the murder of women, children, and infants in war (I Sam. 15:3). God supposedly approved a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12). Not questioning if writers always portrayed God accurately has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars throughout history. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If good for God sometimes, must be good now. 

God hates the Bible is used to make God seem more mysterious than understandable

Many argue God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. Such interpreters, who would agree humans were created in God’s image, are using their moral intuitions to imply God and human love are the same. It is certain that we don’t always know what perfect love is, but this doesn’t mean anything goes. How can one understand a God who created us to know and hate evil, if their good is sometimes evil in our eyes?  It’s crazy talk to say God can do bad but then call it good. 

God hates the Bible is used to cause people to reject God for the wrong reasons 

Many feel compelled to choose science or God because a literal Bible implies God couldn’t have used evolution in the creative process. People condemn gays, despite their moral intuitions, because God supposedly rejects same gender loving relationships according to a Book. When God is portrayed as less than perfectly loving, understandably this can lead to atheism or rejecting God. A fallible Book may actually lead to knowing God better.

God hates the Bible is used to accuse God of being controlling 

A conventional view of an all-powerful God proclaims nothing happens unless God allows it to. If God can control writers, why allow misunderstandings? If God can control evil, why is God so passive? Can God manipulate others? We would say no because love doesn’t manipulate. Controlling parents aren’t loving. God must be uncontrolling. God can’t control evil because God’s nature is love. Divine love limits divine power.

God hates the Bible is used to divide not unite 

Shouldn’t people who claim to follow Jesus’ teachings get along? It is hard to make a big impact in the world alone. A movement though can! We form thousands of different denominations rather than recognize our Bible or interpretations may be fallible. God folks refer to themselves as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, etc. Their differences often center on understandings of the Bible for guidance. We focus more on what we believe than Who we follow. This suggest to others the Bible isn’t meant for reflecting about God but arguing over God. 

Why God hopes we read the Bible 

A fallible Bible may just be the book that God wants us to have. It is not God’s nature to control the words and minds or any writer. The Bible records beginnings with God culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other documents. God just wants us to contemplate what God is really like. A Book doesn’t replace our common moral sense. God has drawn billions to do good and shun evil when talking about God. We may not always know what perfect love entails but at least we always know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly or how our Creator would love us.

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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

For those of us who grew up in the church, most understand the difference between the Old and New Testament. Yet we seem to be confused over the new testament and the new covenant.

Many of us believe the new covenant began with the book of Matthew. The fact of the matter is, there is a big difference between the New Testament of the Bible and the New Covenant.

The Old Testament talks a lot about life before Jesus came to live on earth. It contains the Old Covenant Law God made with the Jewish people. This Old Covenant continues beyond the Old Testament of the Bible and into the New Testament.

What many people are not taught is that the New Testament is not entirely the New Covenant. Jesus taught for thirty-three years under the Old Covenant Law. His sermon on the mount and the beatitudes showed the impossibility of completely keeping the old covenant law, and it showed the authority Jesus had over the law.

When Jesus died, the old covenant was fulfilled and came to an end. When Jesus arose, a new covenant began which restored fellowship between God and the human race. This new covenant was no longer based on laws and rules, but it was freely given to us through grace.

The problem now that the new covenant is in effect is that many of us want to continue to live by the old covenant law and mix it with new covenant grace. The fact is we no longer live by the old covenant law. We no longer have to worry about the 10 commandments or the 603 other laws that were given to the Jewish people. Does that mean we can now live as we please and do whatever we want? Well, we can but it is not in our best interest to do so.

We now live by love through the grace of God. When we truly love God, there are no rules or laws that we need to keep to make things better. We love God, therefore we want to do what pleases God. It is a life of freedom, not to do anything we want but freedom to love and have fellowship with God apart from any rules and regulations on how to do so.

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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 — And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

These verses clearly state that Jesus is the true, living, inerrant Word of God. It is not a book, but a living part of God.

Not to sound sacrilegious, but sometimes we followers of Christ can actually make too much of the Bible. People will hold it up and say it is the word of God and worship it more than they worship Christ. Yet it is Christ who is the true Word of God. He is the living and powerful Word and His Spirit lives within us.

In John 5:39 and 40, Jesus told the religious leaders “you study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life”. The religious leaders of the day spent so much time studying the scriptures that they missed the Living Word standing right in front of them. So often, we seem to do the very same thing.

The words written in the Bible are stories of men and women from only a certain recorded period of time. They wrote according to what they saw, what they believed, how they related to God and sometimes what they wished God would do. I also believe that many stories written were parables used to show a spiritual truth.

Over time the various translations certainly lost the original meaning due to custom change, word meaning change and even translators missing the mark on what was actually written.

This certainly does not mean we do not need to read the Bible, but we do need to keep it in its proper place. Apart from the guidance and enlightenment of the Spirit, the words of the Bible are nothing more than words in a book.

Rather than think of the trinity as the Father, Son and Holy Bible, we need to remember the Bible does not even record that it is the word of God. It certainly is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, but it is not perfect or inerrant in itself. The most important part the Bible plays is that it does lead us to the inerrant, living Word of God who is Jesus.

Jesus is who we are to look to for everything. He is the Word. He is our all in all and his Spirit lives within us as our teacher and guide.

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

Read Full Post »

by Mike Edwards

The truth is we can’t prove God somehow controlled the views of the writers to be correct about God. Some may define God’s inspiration only as motivating writers to share their experiences with God, but God didn’t necessarily control or approved all written about God. Anyway, one is either convinced God controlled the words of the Bible to accurately portray God, or the Bible is uncontrolled writings which encourages openly contemplating what a loving God is really like.

Even if you believe God inspired every word of the Bible, it is complicated.

We don’t possess the original manuscripts but only what was copied from the original. Did God’s inspiration control that process? The many translations/versions of the Bible we have today suggest copying is not an exact process. Even if we had the original autographs, interpretation is still required. Scholars who believe in the authority of Scriptures disagree what the Bible says about critical issues such as homosexuality, gender roles, divorce, Hell, etc. Interpretations are not infallible, but many don’t begin a discussion with “I may be wrong?”

What may be the main reason many believe the Bible is inspired? 

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God for sure.” This implies interpretations are infallible which of course they aren’t. We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs unless a supposed infallible Book supposedly speaks for God? We just know we ought to treat others like we want to be treated.

Uncertainty doesn’t mean anything goes. The Bible even suggests perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). We don’t always know what perfect love entails but at least we always know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly or am I loving others like our Creator loves. Clearly, Bible or no Bible, not everything goes especially if it contradicts your moral sense of a loving God.

Not questioning the Bible can lead to violence’s in God’s name.

When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God, this can lead to not questioning actions contributed to God. Does God really approved all actions contributed to God in the Bible? Not questioning if writers always portrayed God accurately has led to justifying killing infidels in the name of God. God’s supposed warlike attitudes in the Old Testament have been used to justify wars throughout history. Imagine if terrorists admitted that God possibly didn’t approve of actions they interpret as denying freedom of beliefs!

Many reject God for the wrong reasons because of claims made about God. 

An inspired Bible has led to claims about God that don’t make moral sense to many. Supposed “inspired interpretations” has led to putting men in leadership positions over women which has encouraged historical dominance on the man’s part. People condemn gays, despite their moral intuitions, because God supposedly rejects same gender loving relationships according to a Book. When God is portrayed as less than perfectly loving, understandably this can lead to atheism or rejecting God. A fallible Book may actually lead to knowing God better.

Didn’t Jesus though say the Bible was inspired?

Does John 5:45-46 claim that Jesus said believing in Jesus is believing what Moses wrote? This doesn’t confirm that Moses or any OT writer always wrote perfectly about God. Jesus seemed to correct OT laws that didn’t fully or correctly convey God’s ways (Mt 5). Some scholars suggest Jesus was simply expanding or interpreting correctly OT laws. The OT and the Bible is valuable because it gets us talking about what a loving God is really like. Regardless, we must use common moral sense because ancient literature requires interpretation.

Aren’t we better off with a fallible than infallible Bible?

A universal, inborn desire to treat others like we want to be treated is one way a Creator could communicate what is good versus evil. Choose the claim or interpretation about God that doesn’t contradict your intuitive sense of a loving God. Moral intuitions are fallible but at least they should join the party of fallible interpretations. We will disagree but civil discussions are possible. We don’t always know what perfect love is, but it is better to challenge God than not question God and be wrong. A different view of God, than claimed by many Bible folks, may be the help our world needs in loving others like we want to be loved.

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Randy Scobey

Let's have the courage to be ourselves, together

The Sons are Free

Matthew 17:26

Frozen in the Fire

Rising up through Grace

Writer Dylan Morrison

Fascinated by the Nazarene but unimpressed by religion!

Follow Your Arrow

Unashamed of who God made us to be, and unapologetic in our pursuit of God and our purpose in His kingdom

Blind Injustice

Injustices we may not be aware of

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

DB Art

Our natural world has a unique beauty to behold. I bring it to you in a perspective you've never seen before.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the Real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

She Seeks Nonfiction

A skeptic's quest for books, science, & humanism

The Wild Frontier

The search for infinite Truth and the invincible Love of an incredible God.

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

What does the word God mean to you now?

It's been a long journey - so far!

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Explore the wide spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: