Are We Better Off Without The Bible?
The Bible can be used to unite and encourage and at other times to divide and discourage. Keep in mind that billions of people have lived and died without any knowledge of the Bible or who Jesus was. The Bible isn’t necessary in life but can be profitable. If an interpretation of the Bible makes no rational or relational sense what a loving God would truly be like, it is probably wrong. Any religion that acquires rather than gives power is false. What about those who blow others up in the name of God? The majority knows in their heart a loving God respects the freedom for one to choose their own beliefs if not violating the rights of others.
We are better off without the Bible if its readers don’t recognize that interpretations are fallible. No one can claim they know for sure the author’s intended meaning. We cannot be sure that the writers recorded inspired thoughts from God as opposed to their own perceptions of God. We cannot know for sure that Genesis 1-11 is historical facts or stories intended by the writers to convey theological truths. Lack of surety is a price to be paid, but the truth is that human reasoning is necessary in the interpretation process. Dogmatism only divides not unites.
We may be better off without the Bible if its readers treat the Book as an idol to worship. When the Bible becomes the focal point we end up idolizing interpretations which may be wrong characterizations of God. We establish our own Creeds to follow as if they are God’s word. This only leads to divisiveness. The Apostle Paul warned against such divisions among followers: “I follow Paul (Baptists); another, I follow Apollos (Methodists); another, I follow Cephas (Catholics); still another I follow Christ” (I Cor. 1:12). Differences about the Bible lead away from how we can love our neighbor like we want to be loved.
We may be better off without the Bible if its readers don’t guard how they discuss the Book. So many denominations and factions among those who worship the same God are evidence that the Bible is dividing than uniting. We must consider one another’s opinion gracefully, as long as they don’t violate the freedom of others, to work out our own convictions with as much consistency as possible. The Bible was not meant to be a book of rules to divide people. Much of the Bible is clear that we can agree to disagree on the more difficult passages.
We may be better off without the Bible if the readers consider any belief sacred other than Jesus’ message. The beliefs the Bible speaks out against are immoral beliefs which lead to self-destruction or destruction of others. Jesus’ only sacred belief, other than obvious immorality, was that our Creator loves and forgives us in hopes we may be the same toward others. Jesus taught God seeks to empower us toward a life of doing good and shunning evil in a troubled world. Jesus came to dispel any preconceived notions about God other than God desires a relationship so to help you be the person you deep down want to be. Beliefs, which do not violate the rights of others, are between God and an individual.
It can be helpful for individual religions to have a representative book so that the different worldviews can be discussed in a respectful manner. All religions have some truth, but written records allow contradictions to be weighed to determine what is the more likely truth about a loving God. But, we are better off without the Bible when one does not consider their interpretations possible fallible. We are better off without the Bible when it becomes a rules book and an idol rather than a consideration for wisdom. We are better off without the Bible when our discussions lead to abusive behaviors toward one another as opposed to opportunities for reflection. We are better off without the Bible when any belief is considered sacred other than self-discovery about God to become a better person so to make a difference in the world.