Christianity-o-meter

Can I be Christian and disagree with the Bible? Can I believe in God when the only link to his almighty plan and wisdom is a text I no longer have faith in?

I started disagreeing with the Bible pretty early on. When I first heard the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his own son I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9. The automatic leap was to wonder if God would test my parents faith with this demand and if I or my sibling might be on the receiving end of it. My dad is a preacher, so I felt my concern was valid. My parents assured me this was pretty unlikely, but I still thought it was a pretty awful thing to put- not only an innocent child- but Abraham through. 

As I got older I had to suspend disbelief pretty frequently with bible stories like Jonah and Noah and I think it was Elijah who got pulled up to heaven in a chariot. But I still felt that there was something under these “stories” that could be gleaned and learned from. I began to look at some parts of the Bible as I looked at other literature. It was a teacher about human nature, the nature of God, and faith, and how to live and be faithful despite hardships and challenges. It became more nebulous and interpretable this way, less of a historical document and more of a work literature to learn from.

However there are some things that I just flat out don’t agree with. It isn’t a question of historical accuracy, it is just saying, “No. I don’t agree.” One of the biggest is sin and homosexuality in the BIble. Basically, the Bible and I fell out over this and we have never been able to reconcile. 

It comes down to a dissolution of trust and the use of logic. I have interpreted and interpreted, and justified, and attempted to put the Bible in a culturally and historically relevant framework so much that I have constructed my own logical test for things! One question- does this “sin” hurt other people? Murder? Yes. Adultery? Yes. Theft? Yes. Jealousy? Sometimes… that one is more internal. Saying the word God? … no. not really. Being gay? Nope. Definitely not.

So. I disagree with the Bible. Regularly. Vehemently. How much of the structure of the Christian faith can wilt or be reasoned away before I am left with nothing? Luckily there is tons of structure to sift through :).

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7 thoughts on “Christianity-o-meter

  1. I truly think that the second question asked is more important, for I think that Christianity can survive without a literal reading of the Bible, but it cannot survive without a belief in a god. I think these questions are something all of us should consider.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts. There are ways to approach the Bible (or the translations that are available in English) such that LGBTQ perspectives are not wrong or sinful. It depends on interpretation; I think our translators and expositors today are simply more homophobic than the Biblical authors. Beyond that, it also depends on individual comfort levels. And when it comes to parts you “disagree with”: are they relatively insignificant stories from an ancient culture, or are they part of the primary message of love and redemption? The latter can outweigh a lot of the former.

    • I’ve always been of the opinion that if the Bible is truly divine, then it has to be 100% correct. How could a book written by God be otherwise? And if it isn’t completely correct, then either God is imperfect or it was written by human men with their own political agendas (from a historical perspective, a lot of the stories in the Bible are carbon copies from cultures that preceded it, so there’s that). Either way, after reading it I wouldn’t recommend it anyone. If people are looking for good morality tales or allegories, I always recommend Aesop’s Fables.

      • Although I agree in one sense, “your opinion” is also a very modern, Western, post-scientific approach to the “truly divine”. What you mean by “100% correct” is completely debatable. I’m assuming you mean historically accurate, which I would argue would be the least of the writer’s worries when he/she was writing most of the books/letters in the Bible. By “100% correct” I would argue that what was written was “100%” what was needed for that generation, that culture, and subsequent peoples/cultures. Most of its readers are/were neither scientists nor historians. The very fact that it is the only book to have survived thousands of years in the condition it has, and is still read by the number of people globally who read it, would seem to be testimony that it is pretty close.

      • Sure, stoning people to death and slavery were condoned things when the bible was written. But I’d be willing to bet most people would balk at those things today. So what happened? Did God get it wrong? Or is slavery really perfectly OK? “Pretty close” isn’t good enough for a book allegedly written by a perfect, omnipotent being, I’m sorry. That’s a problem in logic–it’s not scientific or historical.

        On the other hand, if the bible was written by flawed humans in a particular historical context for very human reasons, it ceases to really be divine/supernatural/etc and becomes the greatest piece of propaganda ever written.

        And I’m not really sure that I follow this logic:
        “The very fact that it is the only book to have survived thousands of years in the condition it has, and is still read by the number of people globally who read it, would seem to be testimony that it is pretty close.” So? Since when did popularity dictate the veracity of something?

  3. I think you both make good points. Honestly, you sound like the voices in my head, trying to make sense of it all. I would like to look at the Bible as suggestions and stories and a useful guiding text for Christianity. But the problem I have is that the Bible, and all religious texts, are open to interpretation. And when it is supposed be something that guides the faith and destiny of millions of people… I think I wish it was… less debatable. How can the same faith and the same Bible produce both Rob Bell and the Westboro Baptist Church? How can it be claimed by both, people who profess love, justice, and equality also be claimed by people who profess the opposite. That is the problem. Because just by reading, and knowing the historical accuracy of the book, where it comes from, and who wrote it…. you still cannot prove either of them right or wrong. But I guess that’s just religion isn’t it. It can’t be proved one way or another, really… This comment is turning into a blog.

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