The Bible   Leave a comment

I was thinking about writing a post criticizing a particular book of the Bible. But I realized it would be helpful to get a few things out of the way before I did that.

First, I consider myself a Christian. I believe that God actually became man, suffered, was crucified, and rose from the dead. I believe in the Trinity. I believe in heaven.

But my belief is a belief about reality. To me, the most reasonable explanation for something existing rather than nothing is God (which a completely different post entirely). And the God most likely to create everything we see is the Christian God, a God who would reach out to creation.

And that’s why I believe in Christianity. The Bible doesn’t add to that. In fact, I don’t really trust the Bible.

The God that I believe in is not the God of the Bible. Or, at least, not the God portrayed in parts of the Bible. My God would not command the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Canaanites. He wouldn’t goad Pharaoh into provoking Him just so he could show off by killing a bunch of Egyptians. He wouldn’t do about a quarter of the things talked about in the minor prophets.

I don’t buy the “fear of the Lord” thing that’s so popular in the Old Testament, especially since, “Perfect love drives out fear.” I think Revelation is best ignored by people who don’t have the background information of a Biblical studies PhD student. And I don’t like the general thrust of Philemon, which I’ll talk about in my next post.

So I don’t trust the Bible. Period. End of story. I think it is the most important document in understanding Christian history, and there are more than a few really valuable things in it, but I don’t trust it.

I know people who say they read the document as the story of a loving God gradually revealling Himself to falible people who keep getting the message wrong. And I think there’s very likely some truth to that. But the fact of the matter is, if I want to know how to approach something as a Christian, I’m going to turn to Desmond Tutu a lot faster than I turn to the Bible. 

  Still, the Bible has provided the starting point for most Christians. It infuse Christian vocabulary, shapes Christian thought, and needs to be dealt with if one is going to engage with the broader Christian community. I just think it needs to be dealt with critically.

And I’ll do that in my next post.


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