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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

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

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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

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(What Exactly Does that Mean?)

by Jim Gordon

Over the past short period of time, we have heard of several “high profile christian leaders” say that they have left Christianity.

We have heard such comments from Joshua Harris, Paul Maxwell, Marty Sampson and I am sure several others.

When we hear this, many of us think that they have walked away from their faith and belief in God. Yet to rush into this way of thinking, we need to determine what exactly does the person mean by leaving Christianity.

I know first hand for my wife and I what it means, and it has nothing to do with leaving my faith or love for God.

The way I see it, Christianity is known more as a religion, just as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism or any of the many other religions out there. Christianity is a religion based on Christ but certainly not started by nor endorsed by Jesus.

When reading the gospels we read how the disciples came to know and follow Jesus. At that time they did so apart from any religion, especially Christianity since the word was not even known at that time. In Acts 11:26 people were first called Christians, which was after Jesus had returned to the Father.

Christianity, in my opinion, is generally stereotyped into people who go to church each week, they follow a particular doctrine, regularly read their bible, tithe their money to the church and often think their way is the only way. In the United States they tend to be republican, are against abortion and believe those who are LGBTQ are the worst of sinners.

When I say I have left Christianity, I mean I am walking away from this stereotyped religion. In no way have I left my faith in God or turned from following Jesus, who said to love God and love one another. This can certainly be done apart from Christianity.

So, no longer being Christian, I can honestly say I love God, follow Jesus and love people. I do not attend a church organization, I do not put trust into any particular religious doctrine, I read the bible but I do not believe it is a rule book or an inerrant document. The Spirit lives within us and the Spirit leads and guides us. Apart from the Spirit bringing to life passages written in the bible, the book itself is a document written by men about their belief and experiences with God. I do not tithe but I give to help others. I am an independent voter and fully affirm and support those who are LGBTQ. On the matter of abortion, I certainly understand a woman wanting the freedom to make choices about her body. I also understand for those who believe life begins at conception, they would have a hard time believing abortion is the right choice. I believe rather than fighting about whether abortion is right or wrong, it would be much better to come up with alternatives on how to support women no matter which decision they make ( read more here ).

There are so many views and opinions within Christianity. We will all never completely agree. Yet our commonality is in our love for God, love for Jesus and love for our fellow human beings. As John 13:34-35 reads, ‘a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’. Nothing here mentions Christianity or any religion. One does not need to follow a religion to love one another.

So, for my wife and I, we have left the religion of Christianity and are enjoying walking outside the box of religion and doctrinally controlled ideas. We are free to love, live and give as the Spirit leads us and for us, it is a much more meaningful way of walking with God.

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

Did you know biblical scholars disagree whether Hell is a literal place according to the Bible? Biblical scholars who respect the authority of Scriptures don’t agree that God condemns homosexuality or that God forbids women from being preachers or priests. See here.  See here. The truth is biblical truths are debatable! 

What might a loving God be like?

An analogy helps to discern what might be commonalities in understanding God. The Bible refers to God as our Heavenly Father/Parent. God obviously isn’t exactly like human parents for we cannot be in all places at one time, but the Bible encourages imitating or being perfect like God (Eph. 5:1; Mt. 5:48). Human and God’s perfection are surely the same. How you wished to be loved by your parents is how God loves us.

Hell or Hell No! 

Jesus used the Greek word Gehenna which is translated into our word Hell. Many, many scholars believe Gehenna is a metaphor to describe what evil can lead to here on earth, not a place in the afterlife where God acts as a sadistic torturer. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place to torture their enemies after death. God’s supposed justification of violence to be appeased has led to excusing our own violent solutions in the name of justice. People are rejecting God because Hell makes no moral sense.  Since there is doubt, shouldn’t we stop preaching Hell?

Women leaders or not?   

Most would agree it is immoral to favor one based on the color of their skin. An argument could be made that to favor men over women for particular roles is sexist or bigotry. I doubt most Christians or Muslims would deny women equality unless they believe they should in the name of God according to some Book. Women can obviously feel disrespected and confused why a supposedly loving God would choose according to gender than gifts. Putting men in leadership position over women can be conducive for abuse and other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Shouldn’t we choose the least harmful interpretation of a Book? 

Gay or straight? 

It doesn’t make moral sense why God would condemn gays when they can no more chose who they love than straights can. Ask them! Why would anyone choose to be gay based on the condemnation and bigotry they face? Parents often only condemn their gay children because of their supposed correct interpretation of a Book. We know the psychological harm done when one must hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility. Shouldn’t we choose the least harmful view? 

Which view to take?

Shouldn’t we choose views of God with fewer negative physical and psychological costs? Shouldn’t we be guided by love – how should I treat others if I was in their shoes? Err on the side that portrays God as the most loving to the human mind. It is better to question rather than claim certainty and be wrong! Can you imagine meeting God one day and God saying “why did you decide on the view that made the most loving, moral sense to you? To Hell with you!”

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

Jesus-followers in the first century had a radical impact in their world and centuries to come. They were driven by the belief according to eye witnesses that Jesus of Nazareth came back from the dead days after being horrifically crucified on the Cross. Today we must personally decide on such an event based on historical reliability. Other than this belief, it would seem their impact was due to the way they lived out Jesus’ message to love one another as they wished to be loved. I am convinced changes in at least the below beliefs thus actions by all God-followers would make a difference in Christianity’s influence!  

Bible

Even the Bible tells us the Word of God isn’t a Book but flesh in the body of Jesus (Jn. 1:1-14), whose Spirit now lives in us (Jn. 14:16-17). A supposed, inspired Bible or Quran has led to claims that we best can know God according to “biblical truths.” The term “biblical truths” is misleading because differing biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. Such views of a Book has led to much violence justified in the name of God. See here.

All agree an imperfect unloving God is not worth believing in. It’s intuitive to think a Creator would love us in the same way we wished to be loved by our parents. God’s image is surely a perfect, loving Parent! Universal moral outrage over murder, lying, stealing, etc. hint that moral knowledge isn’t hidden. We must be careful though claiming matters important to us are moral such as immigration, taxes, etc. Uncertainty not certainty about God, unless talking about beheading infidels, protects against imposing beliefs on others in God’s name. Openness encourages evaluating with others what a loving God would truly be like.

Gays 

What would you believe about God and gays if you didn’t have a Bible? It is a fair question. The majority of people born into this world didn’t possess a copy of the Bible or even heard of Jesus. I doubt a Creator would only communicate through such means. Besides, many may not be aware that biblical scholars who respect the Bible believe Scriptures don’t condemn gay monogamous relationships. See here.

Could a loving God possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? If you are a straight man, don’t you naturally have to fight not looking at naked women than men? Ask gays their battle! Who chooses to be gay when one has to hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility? Science isn’t conclusive why we have desires for the same or opposite sex, but if you think there is a .0001% possibility that science proves sexual orientation isn’t a choice, would why we judge rather than love? It’s a myth that sexual choices are always the result of some trauma or rebellion in our lives.

Women

I am not sure why any fair-minded person would think women can’t fulfill the same roles as men unless believing a Book about God teaches otherwise. I doubt Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, was a bias against women. See here. Most agree not allowing equal roles because of skin color is immoral. Choosing who should lead the company based on gender is obviously bigotry. The most qualified or gifted should surely lead the company. Why not in church? Men in authority over women whether in public or private life is conducive for domestic abuse and the other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Give me an inch and I am tempted to take a mile!

Religion exclusion

A loving God wouldn’t only let Christians into heaven when the majority of people born into this world died without knowledge of Jesus the Christ. Besides, one’s religion or rebellion against a certain religion is often based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Is God a God of chance? No human or spiritual parent brings children into the world requiring that one’s eternal destination is based on circumstances out of one’s control.

Terrorists believe you must be of a certain religion or be killed. If our Creator believed this way, why hasn’t God controlled evil here on earth by dashing to pieces those who don’t accept God’s ways? An infallible Book would not be so dangerous if extremists acknowledged literature is subject to interpretation, thus their interpretation cannot be proclaimed as “certainty” in God’s name.  It is true bad and good religion must be distinguished, but the Bible mustn’t be used to claim all must convert to Christianity to be accepted by God.

Focus on life here on earth rather than after death

Even the Bible records that when Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Loving God is loving others to the fullest. Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth. Jesus sought to save us from destructive decisions here on earth. God seeks to encourage us to pursue heavenly than worldly ways. God seeks to empower us to be the unselfish people we deep down desire to be. Jesus sought changes of the heart for the good of the world.

A focus on the present than future makes even more sense when realizing that the traditional understanding of Hell doesn’t exist. A loving God wouldn’t torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their enemies. Such a place may be only imagined because of a Book. God couldn’t be a hellish/sadistic torturer! See here.

Your image of God matters!

Our understanding of God can determine the depth of our relationship with God and how we might treat others. If God really created Hell, we may think we should emulate God in our attempts to judge and punish. If God condemns gays, we will condemn gays out of devotion to God. If we believe God thinks men have authority over women in some positions, that will filter down to your wives, daughters, and friends and stifle their gifts. Imagine what you believe a perfect God is like in your life and the lives of others you interact with. You may be right.

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

If Christians were more united or at least more open in some very important beliefs that impacts billions of lives, many may be less hesitant to reject God. Sometimes one’s understanding of a Book influences them to go against their moral intuitions. The truth is opposing biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. Remember over half the people born never had a Bible, so they had to lean into their intuitions. I will end by suggesting what we might believe about God.

Gays

Supposed certainty has led to condemning gays, though scholars who accept Scriptures as authoritative, don’t agree the Bible disapproves of same-gender loving relationships. See here.

The main non-biblical objection by straights is that it just isn’t natural. But why would anyone choose a lifestyle subject to bigotry and hostility? Straights don’t wake up one day and decide to be attracted to the opposite sex. Gays neither of the same sex.

Women

It is a big deal! Views on gender roles effects directly half of the human population. Shouldn’t the most qualified or gifted should lead the company or the church? Men in authority over women in public or private life is conducive for violence toward women. Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, is often interpreted to suggest hierarchical roles. I doubt it. See here.

Hell

Many of us were raise to love God or fear Hell as our destiny. Does a Creator not know fear doesn’t produce relationships worth having? It makes no sense why a loving God would torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies. I doubt God is a hellish, sadistic torturer according to the Bible. See here.

 Non-Christians

One’s religion or rebellion against a certain religion is often based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Is God a God of chance? I doubt a loving Creator is an excluder according to one’s religion in the afterlife. See here.

What can we believe about God?

We can’t make God in the Bible’s image. Biblical scholars and laypeople who respect the authority of Scriptures don’t agree on moral issues such as gays, women, hell, and other religions. It is only intuitive to think a Creator would believe and love others how we were seemingly created to love others. Human and God’s perfection is surely the same. How you wished to be loved by your parents is surely how God loves us. We don’t always know what perfect love entails, but it seems we ought to continually search beliefs that lead to loving others how we wished to be loved if in their shoes. It is better to question than be wrong!

 

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

It seems doubtful a Creator would communicate to their creations only through a Book, since the majority of people born into this world didn’t possess a copy of the Bible. Even the Bible suggests to look for God’s guidance through a Spirit than a Book (Jn. 14:16-17; 16:13). We can think of the Holy Spirit as God’s Spirit or Presence.

God mainly guides through influence. 

Since God isn’t visibly or audibly for most of us, God must guide through influence. We are not entirely unfamiliar with such guidance. If we were close to our parents, even if they have passed, we still are influenced by them. It could be loving on God’s part to allow human parents to guide us in the beginning, rather than a visible God who we may be overwhelmed by or unable to relate to as much. The example a parent sets, and our mental image of God, can guide though not physically present.

Our image of God is everything. 

The Bible frequently uses the analogy of God as our Heavenly Father/Parent to understand God as best we can. God obviously isn’t exactly like human parents for we cannot be in all places at one time, but an analogy helps to discern what might be commonalities. The Bible says to strive to imitate or be perfect like God (Eph. 5:1; Mt. 5:48). It is only intuitive to think a Creator would love us and others how we were seemingly created to love others. Said another way, how you wished to be loved by your parents is how God loves us. God’s image is a perfect, loving Parent!

How does God’s influence work?

We know the Spirit’s influence when we continually strive to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend despite our failures. We know the Spirit’s influence when we recognize violence begets violence and respond non-violently when able. We know the Spirit’s influence when we have wronged someone, we quickly confess and make amends. That is more supernatural than natural. The Spirit speaks like a loving parent would: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you. 

What about moral guidance?

Moral knowledge isn’t hidden. Universal moral outrage toward murder, adultery, stealing, etc. hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. There is practically universal agreement concerning the golden rule. We don’t always know what perfect love entails, but we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others as I wish to be loved or as our Creator loves us. Some matters declared moral aren’t necessarily. There are two sides in handling challenges such as immigration, taxes, climate strategies, etc. Open discussions can lead to creative solutions not chaos. 

What about future decisions?

It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. 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. We surely have God’s blessing choosing the wisest, more loving path at the time based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations. God seeks only to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Such a plan leads to true happiness in the long-run for a better world.

We don’t always have to be certain if mental impressions are the Spirit’s voice.

God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. When parents push their agendas, even if in their child’s best interests, they may resent or rebel against coercion and never turn back. If God communicates in less demonstrative ways, this may allow for heartfelt choices. Many moral decisions are clear and agreed upon. Some though declare supposed certainty often in God’s name. Civil discussions, proclaiming uncertainty not certainty, can led to new understandings.

 

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 am close to my grown kids and still living by the way, but they don’t always seek out in-person advice. But are we always knocking down doors to get in-person advice about life decisions? Lasting convictions often are best caught not taught. We all seem to value space. The road traveled of learning and reflecting in our own time, without any direct pressure, may best lead to lasting convictions. Influence, not direct communication, may often be the preferred and best megaphone. 

Does God have to be visible to influence? 

It is true God is never visibly present in our lives, but then neither are our parents when they pass away. If we were close to our parents, we still benefit from their wisdom by their influence. Could it be loving on God’s part to allow human parents to guide us in the beginning, rather than a visible God, who we may be overwhelmed by and not able to relate to as much? God’s or a parent’s presence or voice doesn’t always have to be visible or audible to be the most powerful. The example a parent sets, and our mental image of God, can be a guiding force.

God may communicate more than given credit for.

Moral knowledge isn’t hidden. Universal moral outrage over murder, lying, stealing, etc. and an inborn desire to treat others like we want to be treated hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Criminals don’t defend but deny their actions. It is only natural to think a Creator would love us in the same way we wished to be loved by our parents. God has revealed themselves. God’s image is a perfect, loving Parent!

We know that murder or adultery is wrong. What about less obvious decisions? God can’t always give us answers to life’s complications even if visibly present. Should we go through with divorce or give our partner another chance? Is our partner’s promise to change and asking for forgiveness one more time sincere or not? Many issues don’t have clear answers but involve making the wisest decision we know at the time. We or God can’t peer into the future to know how things turn out.

God, even if in person, can’t advise about future outcomes. 

It is natural to think an all-knowing, power God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. To say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future making freedom nonsensical. 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. We surely have God’s blessing choosing the wisest path at the time based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations. It turns out God, as loving parents, is uncontrolling.  

Is it God’s fault the Bible isn’t clearer?

Interpretation is still required even if God dictated the Bible. 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.   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.” Jesus had a 24-7 relationship with twelve men, yet they struggled to believe His words in person. Jesus’ influence seemed greater after He left this world.

God may speak to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. 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. God’s interference and presence might prevent a superior world from emerging as a result of limiting the moral development and improvement of free creatures to make independent choices. Finally, relationships that require more faith and trust due to the unknown may reach great heights. Is our love in relationships greater when we have to trust than know for certain what the future holds together?  

 

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

The Word of God is important to us today, just as the Word of God has always been important. The question is what actually is the Word of God?

Growing up in church, I was always taught that the bible was the perfect, inerrant word of God. People would tell me if the bible was not perfect, then how could we believe anything about God? To me, that seems to put a lot of emphasis and importance on the bible rather than on God. Remember, it is not the Father, Son and Holy Bible.

Just because a book written by many men over many, many years is not inerrant does not mean God does not exist or cannot be trusted. God is much bigger and more powerful than to be controlled by a book.

The bible was written by men who were inspired but not controlled by God. It was writings of their views, opinions and experiences learning about God, and trying to relate to and follow God. They were not over powered and used as God’s hands to write the words of the bible.

The bible, even according to the bible itself, is not the word of God. We are told in John 1:1 that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. It later says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The bible is not the word of God but it leads us to the Word of God (Jesus/God) and to our own experiences with God.

The bible is certainly worth reading, especially since it does say in 2 Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness. Inspired and directly written are two different things. I may be inspired by someone to write an article or a book, but what I write will be from my experiences, opinion and knowledge.

The bible comes to life when the Spirit illuminates what God has for us. Apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit, the bible is only man’s views and experiences with God. It is the Spirit that lives within us that teaches and brings to life the words that were written. It is the Spirit that leads us to a life with God that has purpose and meaning. And it is the Spirit that gives us strength to show the love of God to other people as we live our lives daily for him.

Read the bible, ask the Spirit to speak to you while doing so, but do not elevate the bible to a position it does not even ask for. The Word of God is alive, powerful and inerrant, but the Word of God we are talking about is Jesus, by his Spirit, living in you.

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

It’s hard to know why some believe in a God and not others. Neither is a personality flaw. I doubt a loving God plays favorites, giving special insights to some and not others.  I do know certain beliefs that lead to many leaving the institutional church. See here.  It is understandable why some interpret the God portraited by writers of the Old Testament among other things of being a misogynist and homophobe. Who blames anyone for not believing in such a God?

Let’s though debunk the myth that those who don’t believe in God are simply rebellious.

The first chapter of Romans in the Bible is used to suggest all who don’t believe in God are suppressing what they know to be true. Actually, the writer refers to those who don’t doubt but ignore God and morality to justify their evil ways. Let’s not accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch or accuse those who question the reality of an invisible God as being wicked and ignorant of their feelings. If wrong to doubt God exists, Christians sin if doubt God in tough times.

Is God really a God of chance?

John Hick acknowledges: “…in the vast majority of cases, probably 98 or 99 per cent, the religion to which anyone adheres (or against which they rebel) depends upon where they are born. When someone is born into a Christian family they are very likely to become a Christian, whether practicing or nominal; when into a Muslim family, very likely to become a Muslim; if into a Buddhist family, to become a Buddhist – and so on round the world” (Who Or What Is God, p. 73). Also, some misunderstand God because of certain claims. Is God a God of chance?  

We may not seek God because God doesn’t seem to really care. 

It isn’t easy to understand why some miracles happen and not others. Lack of healing obviously isn’t always related to lack of faith. One can speculate that prayers can only be answered if freedom isn’t thwarted in major ways. I do know our language can be harmful when claiming God’s grace saved a life in an accident. What about other lives? Such language understandably leads to unbelief. It is understandable that many question why God doesn’t prevent more evil. The argument that all evil, such as sexual abuse or murder, always leads to good isn’t true. 

What about you?

Let’s stop judging others not into God as if because of moral inferiority. We wish some God-people had less to do with God. I was taught early on there was a Creator. I was also taught many views of God that I questioned. I have no idea why I questioned rather than rebelled against the whole idea of a God.  Many care to become more the person they want to be deep down without God. You don’t have to attend church, synagogue, mosque, or even be into God to embark upon being the kind of person you wish your parents were. I can tell you I am a better husband, father, and friend than I normally would be because of the insights, encouragement, and forgiveness that I sense from my Creator. God may be exactly what you thought a perfect God is like.

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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