Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘religion’

By Mike Edwards

Religion and science share a common sin these days – claiming they certainly know the “truth.” We have an inborn sense of good and evil. Who doesn’t know rape, sexual abuse of children, murder is immoral? Most criminals don’t defend their actions; instead, they deny committing such crimes. The truth though is we don’t know the best response for the greater good on issues such as responding to a pandemic, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc. Benefits and risks exist for most issues. Religion and science are playing God (Superior) in the lives of others by claiming they know the truth and we are too stupid to decide for ourselves!

Christians must stop hiding behind supposed biblical truth 

Religious folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book as government health officials hide behind their interpretation of science. Opposing views are said to be heretical or anti-science. But even if you believe the Bible is inspired by God, the Bible requires interpretation. We don’t all agree if the Bible opposes women priests or preachers or condemns gays. See here. Scholars don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. The truth is leaders must stop being so damn certain despite what anxiety or challenges that may cause themselves or others!

Certainty may help to avoid fear but is an illusion 

Certainty rather than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. One may believe the narrative being proclaimed because unknowing can create confusion or anxiety. Disagreeing with the popular science narrative can lead to being ostracized. Disagreeing with church leadership about God’s character can lead to isolation. It doesn’t matter if those who proclaim certainty have good intentions or believe their ideas are best for society. They may be wrong! When universal agreement doesn’t exist, it should be obvious that one must be allowed to form their own opinions since uncertainty exists.

What are the consequences of avoiding uncertainty?

When only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally; control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature.  These internal forces flourish when others are not allowed to discuss or debate alternative opinions in the public arena. It should be intuitive denying diverse opinions is unloving and controlling. Most don’t except such behaviors in their personal relationships. A refusal to openly discuss or defend one’s views suggests an unhealthy dependency on “certainty.”  It isn’t science if there isn’t debate. The same goes for religious truths.  The beauty of a free democracy is that no one person or those in control get to play God.

Our Path forward

Leaders must be empowered and held accountable to be open-minded than certain. I left the institutional church due to the sin of certainty. We can try to engage with those who insist on certainty when it doesn’t exist, but in time one may need to move on. We can stop labeling those who disagree with our biblical interpretations as heretics. We can stop calling those who disagree with our views of science as conspiracists.

Imagine how different as a people we would be if religious and political folks were open to discussions for the common goal of pursing the greater good! You want to be supported to make your own decisions freely when there is uncertainty? Respect the rights of others to do the same. A voting democratic society surely is more humane and less dangerous than an authoritarian government style.

What Do Religion And Science Have In Common Unfortunately?

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

Let’s just say this right off, Jesus was not a Christian. Also, Jesus was not white, nor American, nor a Republican. 

Here in the United States, when we think of Jesus we usually think of Christianity. Actually, Christianity is just another religion that men started based on Jesus. Jesus did not come to start a religion, yet in our modern era, Christianity is thought of as a religion more than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus. 

Jesus does not belong to any particular religion, nationality or political party. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe, where they live, who they love, who they vote for or what they look like. He came to show the love of God to the human race which includes all people in every part of the world.

If we describe being Christian as a follower of the example of Jesus, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use the word Christian to describe belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine or set of rules or belonging to a particular political party, then we have totally missed what being a Christ-follower is all about. I would rather not have anything to do with the word Christian used in this sense. 

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. Jesus came to show us what God may really be like, a God of love and acceptance. A God that loves the entire world. God does not see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. God loves people, all people, every nationality, every political party, every race, every man, woman and everyone who is LGBTQ. God sees people who need and want love and acceptance. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Jesus…not Christianity. 

It is time we stop looking to organized religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to the example of Jesus and allow the Spirit to live through us to love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let the Spirit do the work of God in them as God sees fit. 

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true meaning of the word Christian, being someone who is doing the works of Jesus and following the example of Jesus by loving God and loving 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

What loving parent demands love. Forced love is an oxymoron. If you believe in not loving people like you want to be loved, good luck in life. I am convinced God only wishes for all to consider the possibility of a loving God who desires to help in our journey to become the person deep down we want to become. Loving, human parents don’t require certain beliefs from their children before hoping they will consider a closer relationship. Are we better lovers than God? 

Does God love skeptics? 

Most agree an unloving or tyrannical God isn’t worth believing in. It is only intuitive, if a Creator exist, that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. A parent obviously loves a child who finds it easier than their other children to accept them and their ways. But we don’t unlove our skeptical children. A greater pain may be when our children ignore us. Spiritual or human parents are always hoping for consideration to prove the possibility of a better relationship. 

Is believing the resurrection of Jesus and Jesus is the Son of God a non-starter? 

I am convinced Jesus’ resurrection isn’t legend but others may not. Jesus told followers He was coming back from the dead and they didn’t believe Him despite witnessing Jesus’ miracles beforehand. They only believed after seeing Jesus resurrected with their own eyes. I would like to think more of us if we witness a man or woman coming back from the grave, after killed on a cross, would be convinced of their message. But none of us lived during biblical times. 

Some can’t logically wrap their heads around Jesus being both man and God. Exactly how does that happen chromosomally? Isn’t it logically impossible to be God and not God? Some may be willing to accept that Jesus was an extraordinary man who epitomized who God was. Why can’t we begin there in discussing what teachings of Jesus seem to represent what a loving God is like? 

You don’t even have to believe the Bible or what it teaches

You certainly don’t have to believe in magical trees and talking snakes. The global flood story could describe a regional flood in hyperbolic terms to convey moral, spiritual food for thought. God doesn’t require literal belief in any event in the Bible or else! Be careful thinking you have to believe what some claim the Bible teaches. Scholars disagree what the Bible teaches about many moral issues, including if there is really a literal hell. See here.  Now if God physically appears before your very eyes, you might want to consider what They claim.

What do you lose taking a leap of faith? 

No one can prove God exist or doesn’t, but billions in the past have believe in the possibility of a Creator. They couldn’t all be lunatics. Do you want to be more in with God? I am not sure there is anything to lose in beginning a journey of faith if the desire is to live life with fewer regrets. Personally, the biggest reason for being a God-follower is the inspiration and encouragement I sense in striving to be a better human being. Give God a chance to influence you positively.

What Beliefs Does God Demand To Be “In” With 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

Here we are at the end of another year. It can be a time of sadness in some cases, but usually it is a time of excitement and anticipation for a new beginning.

The past happenings of the year are either remembered as sad occurrences or as happy memories. Either way I think they help shape us into the person we are becoming.

Each new year seems to give us a sense of renewed purpose and goals of doing better, whatever that may mean to each of us. For some it is going to the gym, others want to read more or volunteer more. Many want to get closer to God while others want to distance themselves further from religious ways.

We are all different. We all have different ideas on life yet we are so similar in many ways. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want to be happy and successful in life. We want to have a purpose and fulfill a meaning that is suited for us. My belief is we accept one another the way we are. We are not all going to agree or condone some of the actions of others, but we can still respect and treat each other kindly. We can be friends and still be as different as night and day.

No matter how hard we try, none of us have it all figured out. None of us have it all together and none of us have the right to force others to live, act or believe a certain way just because we think we are right. We are responsible for ourselves, and those of us who are Christians are to let the love of God flow out to all people no matter if they agree with us or not. We are only asked to love God and love one another.

As this is the last post of the year, I wanted to take a minute and thank each of you who take the time to read our articles. There are many different views and thoughts on life among our readers and I know not all agree with what we say…and that is OK. We do not try to force our views on others. We write about how we feel and how we see things at this period of time. Each of us has our own views and opinions and we should be able to share those views and still be accepting of others.

We also want to make sure that no matter who you are, what you believe, no matter what religion, race, sex, gender or nationality, we consider you friends and are glad you take the time to read our articles.

So, until next year, we here at Done with Religion hope each of you have a good holiday season. We are hopeful you will continue to visit our site and find encouragement, acceptance and friendship throughout the new year.

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 Michael Donahoe

Have you noticed how many people seem to only include their preferred group? They only include people who think like them, have similar interests and likes. If you think differently or have different views and opinions, people feel you should stay in your own group with like-minded people, but leave the other group alone.

We seem to find this attitude in every walk of life, but within organized religion or institutional church it seems even worse. We all should be accepting of people in general in our daily lives. Yet, we see this so often within Christianity with the wide variety of denominations and interpretations of the Bible.

When it comes to including people who we see as completely different from us, African-American, Native-American, White, LGBTQ, Atheist, Muslim, Jew and so on, we tend to want to keep each group separate. We think as believers in God we need to separate ourselves and not associate with those who see things differently. Why is it the word inclusion seems to make so many Christian people cringe?

Really, behind all the labels we put on people we are all basically the same, so why not associate and get to know people who we feel are different from us? We can learn from one another, get to know one another and find that we really are not all that different.

We see Jesus do this all the time when reading the gospels in the Bible. He did not differentiate people based on their religion, belief, lifestyle, sexuality or nationality. He did not separate himself from those who thought, believed and lived differently. He loved and accepted all people and showed them the love of God.

Obviously loving and accepting people does not mean total agreement, nor are we going to always get along in life and live happily ever after. Yet I believe it does mean treating others the same, with respect, kindness, acceptance and with the love of God through the power of the Spirit within.

Inclusion is not a bad word. It is not a bad or unholy way to live. Inclusion is about ALL of us. Inclusion is about living full lives – about learning to live together. It makes the world our classroom for a full life. Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. It is about our abilities – our gifts and how to share them. Inclusion is the way of God and the way of showing the love of God to all we meet.

***

Michael Donahoe was added as a writer as his views fit perfectly with those of Done with Religion. He also writes on Substack at https://myopinionblog.substack.com/

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

I wrote the below for my children a couple of years ago. It is much longer than my usual Posts. I am sharing here in case you can relate and maybe be encouraged that changing your views of God can be a wonderful and worthwhile journey.

What I remember growing up was being made to go to church all dressed up. We often as a family went to church three times a week – Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday. (My kids would have killed me). I hated going to church so much! Though I wasn’t close to my Dad and Mom, I do give them credit for introducing me to my Creator. They were very much traditionalists or old-fashioned and not easy to get close to.

Looking back, it is surprising I was into God as much as I was after I left home and headed to college. I am still into God to this day for whatever reason. It certainly isn’t because I am more moral than others. I just think each has their own journey with God – it is neither a sign of strength or weakness. I still haven’t figured out why some are inclined to believe there is a Creator and what some aren’t. If inclined to believe there is a Creator, I don’t know why some pursue a closer relationship with God and others don’t.

I wore my beliefs on my sleeves beginning in college. I am sure I offended a few. I felt compelled to inspire them to have a relationship with God. I assume that was partly because of what I was taught about heaven and hell growing up. It didn’t take me long to no longer believe in a literal Hell. Jesus didn’t come to earth to save us from being tortured forever. 

I graduated from college in 1980 and got married in 1982. I was born in 1957 in case wondering. The best thing that happened to me going to college, though my parents made me go or live on the streets, was meeting my wife. One reason we married was because we shared the importance of having a relationship with God. We still have that connection, though my beliefs about God have changed a lot. I can’t stop the questions in my head about what God is really like. My wife accepts more what she has been taught and I must confess – she is more like Jesus than I probably am. Okay, maybe 60-40!

We took our children to a church on Sundays when they were young. We encouraged them to attend smaller meetings within the building with people their own age, but they mostly chose to hang with their parents in the big room where adult sang and listen to preaching. We let our children when older decide whether to go to church on Sunday.

I am not sure if I went to church out of guilt all those years, but not going to church didn’t feel like a choice. The institution of church worked for me for years and continues to work for many, but people need to feel free than obligated to pursue God on their own terms. Obligatory relationships are seldom life transforming. I am convinced the Bible doesn’t mandate followers must go to a church building once a week. The “church” in the New Testament actually refers to those individuals who choose to follow Jesus. The church (individual) doesn’t go to a church. The church seeks to encourage one another. In the NT this tended to happen in homes of followers. 

We attended Church until I was around fifty or maybe sooner. My views about God begin changing shortly after graduating from college in 1980 and getting married in 1982. Attending Seminary for a year in 1981 was an important year in my life. I became exposed to different beliefs about God than what I had been taught growing up going to church. I was so impacted that professors were open to teaching and admitting different opinions existed. I will never forget being impressed that three professors at Trinity wrote a book together on the end-times. They all had different views and that was okay. In my early years I was never introduced to the possibility of different views than what being taught. I had to learn that on my own.

I can remember a pastor I respected greatly telling me a sign of leadership was being certain about what one believes and teach that to others. I know though they went to seminary and surely read biblical scholars that didn’t always agree what the Bible teaches about God. I think leadership is letting others know there are many possible views according to the Bible on a matter. One must be allowed their own journey in deciding what they believe about God, unless their God encourages beheading due to unbelief.   

The reason I eventually decided to stop going to church was because when I opened my mouth, I would offend leadership.  There was not a lot of open dialogue in the building when it came to discussing different views of God. I am not one to keep quiet when I don’t agree, but I knew it wasn’t healthy to always be divisive. I simply got tired of trying to fit in. I couldn’t pretend my beliefs weren’t changing. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t think certain beliefs being taught actually lead people away from God than toward God.

I doubt I will go back to church. I haven’t found a church that allows honest, open dialogue different from their own beliefs. They seem to assume unity requires agreement. My wife would like to find a church we both could attend, but I doubt such a church exist that we could co-exist. I still dig the woman though! I believe God simply encourages us to find others to encourage us in our spiritual journey. That doesn’t have to be on Sundays in a building.

I begin writing about my changing views about God in my twenties. That seem bizarre to me looking back because I am not a good writer and had not written much before. But I loved sitting and writing down my thoughts of what I thought God was really like contrary to what I had been taught. I suppose it was a form of communication about God that I couldn’t have with others.  Church buildings are uncomfortable talking about beliefs different than theirs. I hated that people may be tuning out God for the wrong reasons. Blogging my thoughts became my outlet.

I begin to question if Hell was real, if God condemned gays though that question came later, whether God really favored men over women for leadership roles, if the Bible really was somehow magically infallible or inspired by God though not dictated. I doubted Jesus died because God was pissed at us for sinning and we were going to Hell if not believing in Jesus as our Savior. See here for my main beliefs about God  http://what-god-may-really-be-like.com/what-i-believe/

In my twenties I weirdly wrote a 100-page paper opposing Calvinism (God chooses who goes to heaven) and no one was requiring such a paper. I wrote a lot about God’s views of women and that I didn’t believe God thought women should be submission to men any different than men should be submissive to women. It probably had something to do that I was married to a strong woman and I had two daughters that I didn’t want to be at a disadvantage to men. I sure as hell knew men weren’t smarter than women.

Eventually, a friend Tim helped me to create a website/blog around 2008. I called it https://what-god-may-really-be-like.com/ I also begin blogging at  https://donewithreligion.com/  in 2018. I named my blog as such because I wasn’t claiming I was right about God, though I feel strongly about my beliefs, but I wanted to encourage open dialogue that I never experienced being in church and still don’t to this day with friends who are into God. They grew up with beliefs about God that I have left but they haven’t. 

I am not sure why I am not lonelier concerning my spiritual journey. I am very much isolated from family and friends in my beliefs about God. Family and friends who are into God have beliefs that I felt compelled to leave beginning in my twenties. I don’t bring up God much with them because I have experienced discussing my beliefs are discouraging to them. I just don’t feel a freedom or openness to believe as I do as opposed to what they have been taught growing in the institutional church. I don’t sense the institutional church encourages individuals to develop their own beliefs as I try to encourage others to do.

Then, I have friends who simply aren’t into God all that much. They aren’t looking to have spiritual conversations, and I don’t wish to push such an agenda if they aren’t interested. I would definitely attend a group who desired having open dialogues about God, but I have not found such a group at this time. I am also open to leading such a group should such an opportunity present itself. Most those who want to have spiritual conversations attend institutional churches, and when I share my beliefs I find myself being more divisive than encouraging.

This is my spiritual journey. I am now retired for 6 years and still love reading, talking, and writing about God. I try to write a Post on both above blogs once a week. I used to write more often but once a week seems right for now. I can’t stop the questions about God popping in my head. I can only hope the questions I ask online are others’ questions and it may help them in their journey.

My Spiritual Journey These Past Six Decades

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

National polls suggest the majority of people believe there is a God. I am not wanting to be judgmental, but I sense a large part of that majority don’t necessarily pursue a daily close relationship with God. I am not saying they don’t score higher on the moral scale than me, though I typically have daily silent conversations with God. I just am convinced an ongoing relationship with God can make us a better person and nation.   

Claims made about God keep some from pursuing God 

Many of us are into God but many of us left the institutional church because claims about God’s character was contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. Why believe in a God you can’t respect. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Beliefs about God’s love that don’t match how you know you ought to love your neighbor may be amiss. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Hidden agenda in relationships keep some from pursuing God

Conversations with God followers often feels like them trying to change your beliefs. That can stifle exploration. I hate to admit I use to have an agenda with those outside the institutional church. I was taught God’s good news was saving people from Hell so they could get into Heaven. I was wrong according to Jesus. See here.   The ship may have sailed others trusting us to have open conversations. All I know to do is to focus on a life where actions speak louder than words in case others want to pursue God. 

Some don’t want to give up stuff or change

I suppose many may believe there is a God but don’t pursue because it would may require they consider changing some habits. If you know what you are doing is harming others and you don’t care, that is on you. But if struggling with habits that you know are hurting you and others, God doesn’t have a list for you to conquer before getting to know God.

Bible, church, prayer, etc.

Christians may suggest if you aren’t reading your Bible, going to church, praying daily, etc. that you can’t be close to God. Don’t buy it. If the Bible isn’t fun to read or leading to positive changes, put it on the shelf. If interested read blogs or books that get you thinking about God.  Not interested in attending the institutional church for whatever reason. Okay! See if can find relationships that share your beliefs through other means. It isn’t easy but worth a try. God doesn’t have a list of traditions to adhere to. God is willing to have a relationship on your terms.

Other reasons to not pursue God

I wrote on this topic a few months ago. See here  I suggested additional challenges to pursuing God more intently:  

  • Maybe because you can’t reconcile why God doesn’t intervene more with evil and suffering in the world
  • Maybe because of some trauma in your life
  • Maybe because God-followers as a group are poor role models

Do you want to think more about God daily? 

Find something that works for you – reading, writing, a brief prayer daily, whatever. Discover what works for you that gets you more on the path you want to be. I am a better person than I would be because of God’s influence in my life. I don’t always return anger with anger, sometimes I forgive when asked, sometimes I hold doors, or go the extra mile to be nice. Don’t believe everything others claim about God. I am convinced seeking God’s help in loving others is a life worth living.

Why Do Many Believe In God But Don’t Pursue A Close Relationship?

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 Michael Donahoe

Why is it many of us who call ourselves Christians spend more time defending our beliefs rather than enjoying time spent with others? Often, we do it not only to non-believers, but even to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We know how Jesus lived; he loved others, accepted those who the religious crowd did not like, he was kind, loving, forgiving and caring to all he came in contact. It seems the only people who he had a problem with were religious self-righteous leaders. Yet, we see many of those who claim to follow Jesus go out and argue with those who interpret the Bible differently, or who do not believe the same or live the same.

It seems to me rather than fight and argue over doctrine, interpretation and belief we would do better to love, accept and show compassion. After all, Jesus said to love God and love one another. He never said judge and condemn others or avoid those who think differently.

This certainly does not mean we have to agree with everyone, but we do not have to fight and defend our way of thinking. Many of us think we have it all figured out and our way of faith is the only way. We think we have to persuade others to come to our way of thinking or they are doomed to hell.

I am not sure any of us have it all figured out, in fact I know none of us do. We all have room to question, learn and change. I know my wife and I are doing more questioning than we ever did, and we are finding new truths as we walk in the Spirit daily.

When it comes down to it, I feel we should be open to accept others no matter what their way of thinking. People want to be loved and accepted, they want to be happy and get along with others. When we get all religious and defend our point of view, it does more harm and drives people apart more than anything.

As followers of Jesus, we should be seeking strength to accept and love everyone. No matter what they believe, what their faith or doctrine is, no matter their religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we want to see them as Jesus sees them. This type of love comes from the Spirit of God who is within us.

Naturally, people will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas of disagreement and find the commonalities we have and share the love of God together. This does not happen by condemning and bashing people nor by trying to prove we are right and they are wrong.

Love does not mean seeing eye-to-eye, it does not mean we agree or even like some of the things people do, but it does mean we look past the differences and love them as Christ loves them. Let’s look past the labels and see people who have feelings, who want love and friendship, people we can get to know, learn from, share thoughts and ideas with, and accept as fellow human beings who are created in the image of God.

***

Michael Donahoe was added as a writer as his views fit perfectly with those of Done with Religion. He also writes on Substack at https://myopinionblog.substack.com/

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

Confession – nowadays I seldom sit down and read the Bible as much as I did in past. I usually needed a commentary. God just wants a relationship whether spurred on by reading the Bible or other means. You may talk to God when exercising. You may be inspired by listening to certain music. I would like to suggest ways to make reading the Bible less complicated. The Bible is unique – the Bible remains a best seller year after year, not just the first year published. 

Interpretation challenges

Biblical scholars who respect the authoritative nature of Scriptures don’t interpret the same passage similarly. Ephesians 5 is interpreted to teach wives should be more submissive to husbands than are husbands to wives. Other scholars believe this same chapter teaches mutual submission among married folks. Many may be unaware biblical scholars who respect the Bible believe Scriptures don’t condemn gay monogamous relationships. See here.

Inspiration challenges 

We can’t prove God inspired the writings of the writers to always portray God accurately, but if God did inspire all of the Bible which version or view did God inspired: 

  • Karen Keen in Scripture, Ethics, And Same-Sex Relationships points out that a scribe added sentences to the oldest manuscript we know of on Isaiah 2: 9-11. Our current Bibles read (The italicized words added to the original): “So people will be brought low and everyone humbled— do not forgive them. Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lordand the splendor of his majesty! The eyes of the arrogant will be humble and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (p. 59, 126). Later scribes intensified God’s anger which may or may not best portray God’s true nature.
  • 28:63 says God takes pleasure in destroying. But, Ezek. 33:11 says God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. So, which view portrays God most accurately?
  • It seems throughout the OT that animal, blood sacrifices are necessary for God’s forgiveness. But later OT writers begin to write that God doesn’t like animal sacrifices but contrite hearts (Ps. 51:16-17, i.e. Jer. 7:22, Amos 5:21, Micah 6:6). Why wouldn’t writers at least say both animal sacrifice and contrite hearts are necessary? So, did Jesus die to appease God’s wrath and need for sacrifice or to convey God’s love and inspire all to follow Jesus’ example?

So, how can we best decide what God is really like? 

See here: Your Moral Intuitions Best Tell You What To Believe About God!

Reading the Bible

The Bible is complicated. The Bible came together over hundreds of years. Books are not a single document written by one author but often shorter texts collected together with possible reworking by editors. We don’t have to decide if the David and Goliath story happened as exactly as it did. You can study resources for historical analysis, or enjoy reading the story and contemplating what God may be challenging you in how to love others like you want to be loved. Relax! Not even biblical scholars can claim to have the right interpretation.

We can’t be sure of Jesus’ meaning when reading a parable. Study other resources if your like. Me personally, I am going to read the parable and seek to discern the message God intends for me in loving others. Interpretations about God’s love toward others, that don’t match how you and most know you ought to love your neighbor, may be amiss.

How Can We Make Reading The Bible Less Difficult And More Enjoyable?

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

Well-meaning people, especially politicians who represent those who believe in a God and those that don’t, say things like “we need to get back to biblical truths” as a nation.” But those who appreciate the Bible don’t all agree what the Bible claims God thinks about gays, women, destiny of unbelievers, etc. Different interpretations of the Bible are normal. We need to find a way to speak of our personal beliefs without assuming all are necessarily committed to the Bible, God, or agree what the Bible claims about God.   

Belief in God or unbelief is not an excuse for chaos

Politicians often claim or imply that our rights are given by God. Any such belief is personal not universal, or one is claiming God doesn’t desire a mutual relationship. Self-evident rights may be found in a Book or natural law, as we all have an inborn sense of good and evil. No rational being argues sexual abuse isn’t evil. We can though have healthy debates what climate policies are for the greater good. We can share our personal beliefs in God and other matters in the public arena without imposing or assuming we all agree what biblical values are.

Biblical truths are debatable

Hell is often used in religion circles to scare one into a commitment to God. Some commitment if just looking to avoid burning forever after death! Biblical scholars and laypeople don’t agree what the Bible says on Hell. Some argue unbelievers burn in Hell after death. Others believe the Bible reveals all when meeting God will become convinced their Creator is loving and desire to live for eternity with God. Circumstances here on earth may prevent such belief.

Religious folks often claim views contrary to their own views aren’t biblical. But even if you believe the Bible is inspired by God, the Bible requires interpretation. It is often said we best know God according to “biblical truths.” The truth is contrary biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. No one can claim their truth is God’s truth according to the Bible. Yes, the Bible says murder is wrong but that is an obvious truth to those that don’t have a Bible.

Insisting on biblical truths often leads to misrepresenting God

It’s logical to suggest we can’t always be certain what an invisible, inaudibly God thinks, but supposed certainty has led to justifying slavery and other atrocities. Certainty has led to condemning gays, though scholars who accept Scriptures as authoritative, don’t agree the Bible disapproves of same-gender loving, monogamous, consensual relationships. Women, though gifted, are denied entrance into the priesthood or pastorate in God’s name. Often uncertainty, not certainty about God, protects against imposing possible false beliefs about God. God surely is able to reveal their Likeness to individuals who desire a relationship.

Can We Stop Saying “Everything Happens For A Reason”!

Can We Stop Saying “Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin”!

Can We Stop Saying Our Rights As A Nation Come From 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 »

Older Posts »

Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

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: