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)

I write on this subject ad nauseum. In fact, years ago I named my site  What God May Really Be Like.  I used the word “may” because I didn’t want to do what frustrates me most about the institutional church. They act as if they are certain what an invisible, inaudible God is like, yet there are thousands of denominations with difference understandings of God. What one believes about God may be a main reason many don’t purse a closer a relationship with God.  See here.

The Bible can’t be the only source to know God 

The Bible can’t be an end-all. The Bible as literature has to be interpreted and many disagree claims made about God regarding moral issues – gays, women, and the destiny of people of other religions. See here. To claim the “Bible says” is frankly a little naïve.  Besides, even if we agreed on interpretation, we can’t prove God controlled the thoughts and writing of the writers of the Bible in conveying a perfect view of what God was like. But I’m grateful for the recorded history of God with the Israelites as it gets me thinking about what God is really like.

Our moral intuitions aren’t the enemy!

It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. 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. We may not always know what perfect love entails but we seem to know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved? Any God worth believing in must be a perfect. What might that perfection look like?

What relationship give us the most insight into God? 

What human relationship comes to mind when thinking of a Creator’s relationship with their creations? Is it the employer-employee relationship, the marriage partnership, or the parent-child relationship? I think the latter. Perfect love from a God or parent is surely one and the same. God’s love surely is other-directed not self-consumed. It is true we don’t all agree or know how a perfect parent responds, but a perfect parent or God surely hopes for my success, believes in me, pulls for me even when failing. Why doesn’t God make it crystal clear what God expects from us? God’s overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. The road traveled of learning and reflecting about God better may lead to lasting convictions. God may speak to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

National polls suggest the majority of people believe there is a God. Many seem to have a strong inclination that there is an afterlife after time here on earth. I’m all “in” with God for some reason, but we all have different journeys. I may be needy, scared to accept reality, etc., but how do you explain billions believing in a God. Many would admit they believe in God but don’t have a close relationship with God. I wrote possible reasons why  here .

I have a hunch God especially loves skeptics!

Most agree an unloving or tyrannical God isn’t worth believe 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 others 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 don’t desire forced love, which isn’t genuine, but hope for consideration and to prove the possibility of a better relationship. 

Don’t believe everything you hear about God? 

Many may be skeptical about God because of claims made about God which are contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. One’s understanding of the Bible may be the reasons some Christians seems unloving. But biblical scholars who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree that the God in the Bible condemns homosexuality, that God forbids women in leadership roles, or that the Bible teaches there is a literal Hell where unbelievers are tortured forever. Don’t believe everything you hear claimed about God! See here

 Do I have to believe in Jesus’ resurrection or that Jesus was both God and human? 

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 witnessing or hearing Jesus resurrected. 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 one do that 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 discussing what teachings of Jesus seem to represent what a loving God is like? 

Don’t we want the Jesus story to be true? 

Jesus didn’t use His power if really God in human form. Who doesn’t respect Jesus was willing to hang out with those despised by society and take on the snobbish religious and political leaders? Jesus, when ask what was the greatest commandment, simply said love others like you want to be loved. Try it! You might have fewer relational regrets. Jesus risked being crucified by the powerful and didn’t bother to save himself from pain on the Cross, though reported capable of miracles. Maybe Jesus wanted other to consider His message. If the biblical writers were making up stuff, you don’t report your leader was crucified, rejected by your family, and followers doubted Jesus’ claims including being God in flesh. Jesus simply was not the stuff legends were made up.

What is the risk of following God?

It’s okay to be skeptical and take a leap of faith. Faith is a part of life. We still get on an airplane, not because we know but have reason to believe it is safe. A God worth believing in only desires to help you in your journey of becoming the person deep down you want to become. 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 than I would be otherwise.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

There are so many views of what God is really like. Many picture God as this angry, judgmental God whose character demands that God is deeply offended when we sin (I hate that “sin” word). See here. The only way God can supposedly like us is to look through their Jesus-colored lens. Others picture God as graceful and loving, ready to forgive on a dime. Where do we get such views?

The Bible doesn’t always help

Both views mentioned are often claimed according to the Bible. The Bible can’t be an end-all. The Bible as literature has to be interpreted and many don’t agree on how God is portrayed in the same passage – even moral issues regarding gays, women, destiny of people of other religions, etc. To claim the “Bible says” is frankly a little naïve.  Besides, even if we agreed on interpretation, we can’t prove God controlled the thoughts and writing of the writers of the Bible, thus having a perfect view of what God was like. But I’m grateful the recorded history of God with the Israelites gets me talking about God. 

Claiming certainty doesn’t help

Many believe the Bible is only how we can know or best know God. This can lead to being dogmatic about one’s views of God. The Bible says God condemns gays. I don’t believe it does but I will except your “maybe” it does. See here.  It is better to be uncertain than wrong about God. One can’t be certain about an inaudible, invisible God. Allow open discussions what a loving God is mostly to be like.   

Why not trust our moral intuitions?

Let’s assume a God exist and created us human beings. Any God worth believing in must be a perfect, loving God. Wouldn’t such a God create us to be perfect, loving humans? Even the Bible implies such an idea: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This passage also agrees with our intuitions – we must have some clue of what true love is. We may not always know what perfect love entails but at least we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved? God’s character surely isn’t contrary to our deepest moral intuitions.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

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. 

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

Many Christians assume the Bible teaches we must forgive without any expectations. The Bible can also be used to claim repentance is required. God does not forgive the rebellious (Josh. 24:19); “… if they repent forgive them” (Lk. 17:3). The Bible wasn’t meant to be a rules book to advise what every individual should do in their circumstances. “Turn the other cheek” is not meant for a domestic victim. One is free to forgive without expectations, but you have come to the right blog if a victim and you think certain expectations are important before forgiving a person.

Doesn’t God expect genuine forgiveness before getting into Heaven?

Many defend that the Bible claims you must always forgive no matter the circumstances. But those who defend easy forgiveness would not agree God forgives without acknowledging any wrongdoing. They would suggest you can’t enter Heaven without seeking forgiveness from God. The assumption is God expects and can discern if you are being genuine in repenting. Maybe even God has certain conditions or expectations if seeking forgiveness. Aren’t we supposed to imitate God?

I am suspicious of those that “just want to move on” 

A bully or abuser who doesn’t acknowledge their behaviors and just wants to move on is suspect. I have hurt others to know how I should go about asking for forgiveness. It isn’t about my feelings but the victim’s feelings. I don’t know why some guilty folks focus on their expectations and not their victim’s. The guilty obviously know they have done something wrong if asking for forgiveness. Those refusing to wrestle with expectations communicated by victims don’t acknowledge the seriousness of their actions. The innocent decides next steps and if a future relationship is possible.

Wrongdoing must be recognized 

If one is not held accountable for their wrongdoing, might they just do it again? Quick or easy forgiveness can allow a husband’s abusive behavior to continue. When a sexual abuser doesn’t openly acknowledge their actions, will they continue to abuse others? The guilty need to stop with excuses or blaming others. Those with the same upbringing or circumstances don’t always mistreat others. The guilty must take responsibility and accept steps a victim wants taken next. 

Restitution isn’t always possible 

Bad memories can’t be erased; positive memories robbed by the guilty can’t be restored. This is why certain relationships cannot always continue.  Those that have hurt others are not in a position to insist on a future relationship. When restitution is possible, discussions are necessary unless the guilty aren’t really sorry. 

To forgive or not!

In my mind forgiveness isn’t really a discussion until the guilty acknowledge they need forgiveness. But for some forgiving despite lack of remorse can control bitterness. For others to forgive despite lack of remorse can cause feelings of further victimization and bitterness. We must stop guilting victims, according to the Bible, to forgive their violator no matter what. Those hurt must seek the mind of God what actions in relationship difficulties lead to your best interest in the long run in a world full of disappointments. You may discover God is emphatic!

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

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  https://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.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

 

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.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

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.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

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? 

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

God commanding violence in the Old Testament makes no sense in light of New Testament emphasize on non-violence. Check out I Sam. 15:3 where God says: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” Many OT passages advocate violence in God’s name.  If you don’t think this is morally shocking to many, think how you would react if you read this same command in the Koran. How do scholars justify these commands by God in a book God supposedly inspired thus seemingly approved how God is depicted?

Bible inspired view #1

Many scholars may hold on the idea that God inspired the Bible because if not inspired we can’t know then what God is truly like. Those who suggest God approved or agreed with every word declared about God defend violent passages in several ways:

  • God is God, these are special circumstances, so God at times may make commands that seem contrary to human moral intuitions. The Bible advises we should imitate God but how can we do that if God’s actions seem evil at times? Are we to imitate those actions?
  • Warfare rhetoric was common in ancient literature to induce fear and victory. But, even if God wasn’t meant to be taken literally, why would God inspire violent metaphors to specifically include women, children, infants, and animals? Even human leaders don’t use such rhetoric.

Bible inspired view #2

Some scholars suggest that God inspired/influenced the Bible, but sometimes God allowed the writers to get God wrong to contrast with Jesus’ teaching about God. But “inspired imperfection” leads to guessing what passages are true views of God and which ones are not. Even if you believe in “inspired perfection,” you still must interpret if the language is warfare rhetoric or exactly what God meant to be carried out. Using our moral intuitions in deciding what God is like and would do is unavoidable.

An uninspired view of the Bible may be a better option

I think most would assume God approved what the writers penned if God inspired or influence such a thought. God either controlled the writers’ thoughts and writings to perfectly represent God, or God did not control writers reporting their views of God even if false portrayals. Writers/editors of the Bible didn’t intentionally lie but were honest about their understandings of God at the time. This may explain violence wrongly contributed to God. I doubt God inspired any writings contributing acts of violence to God in the OT. 

Why it matters?

People read the OT and since it contradicts their intuitions of a loving God, they tune out God. Who blames them! How do you follow One you don’t respect? Also, the Bible says: “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). We know evil people are looking for an excuse for violence; good people may be trying to be obedient to God and sincerely believe their circumstances may warrant what God commanded in OT times. After all, God inspired such views. We might know God better if we assume the Bible isn’t inspired. One cannot avoid using their moral intuitions when it comes to interpretation or statements made about God in the OT. Do you have a hard time believing the OT’s God at times? I got a hunch you are right! Don’t leave your moral brain at the door!

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts. No other unrelated emails will be sent. Go to About/Using This Site tab at top of page or Menu on phones to help navigate this Site. I also blog at http://donewithreligion.com If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com  

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