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Archive for April, 2018

Questions If The Bible Isn’t Infallible Or Every Word Isn’t Inspired By God?

I have posted about the Bible ad nauseam recently. I am always trying to express a viewpoint better. Recently, I did a series of intentional, brief Posts concerning questions surrounding the issue of the Bible’s infallibility. I now intend to answer each question in a slighter longer Post after this introductory Post. The subject is important because many form views of God from the Bible. It matters whether we read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit or with blind obedience.

Since the Bible was not dictated by God, did God somehow control the understandings of the writers recorded? It would be more typical that writers could be influenced by personal and cultural factors, so they might need to grow in their understanding of God. In OT times is was sacrilegious to not speak of God as being all-powerful and controlling even through violence. Regardless, it is often not acknowledged we must read the Bible with an open spirit anyway, because literature requires interpretations which aren’t necessarily infallible.

How could we prove God provided an infallible Bible anyway?

Many who accept the Bible being infallible would not accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. It is circular logic to suggest the Bible is infallible because biblical writers claim it is infallible. Even if possible to prove infallibility, God’s freedom-giving nature doesn’t support God performing a lobotomy on OT writers. Besides, the Bible can’t be an authoritative or definitive guide of what God is like because literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible.

How can we know God if not through an infallible Book?

Moral laws such as stealing, lying, or committing adultery that reside in all of us hint of a common, human Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. We all have a sense of how we “ought” to treat our family and friends, knowing something is amiss when our actions don’t lead to loving others as we wish to be loved. God never intended we dismiss our moral consciences when reading beginnings with God in discerning what God is like and hopes for us. The Bible wouldn’t be God’s main communication anyway, because the majority born into this world never had a copy.

Why doesn’t God communicate clearly since the Bible can be misunderstood?

The fact that we experience moral outrage and can agree on laws against murder, theft, or abuse suggests a Creator’s influence. God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. Beliefs are seldom life-changing or lasting if coerced than freely chosen. Besides, supposed certainty rather than open-minded uncertainty often leads to forcing personal convictions on others in God’s name.

What are dangers in assuming a Book such as the Bible is infallible?

The possibility of an infallible Book has led down the slippery slope of supposed infallible interpretations. Possible fallible books can’t hide behind infallible interpretations. Literature always requires interpretation and we could be wrong. Moral laws are obvious. Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach, rather than forcing our opinions on others in the name of God.

Is uncertainty so bad since we can’t be sure what God is exactly like or would do?

Proclaiming certainty has led to forcing “supposed” truths onto others. Reading the Bible as an infallible, authoritative guide rather than with an open-mind motivated by love has led to justifying slavery or condemning gays in God’s name. Different opinions expressed without physical or verbal aggression can be resolved by respecting the freedom of others as God does while remaining open-minded to new understandings.

So, how can we read the Bible since it can’t be infallible?

Even if the Bible was infallible, literature is subject to interpretation anyway so we are required to read with an open-mind. God never intended a Book to take the place of a relationship with God and others. Read the Bible reflectively than for solutions to specific problems. Circumstances vary. Jesus didn’t always answer directly because the issue is our heart in solving problems. Can you imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves when facing difficulties? Why even bother to read the Bible if it can be misunderstood. As long as we read the Bible with a questioning spirt rather than blind obedience, it seems the Bible has influenced millions to live a more selfless life. Religion can do harm or much good.

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Why Can’t What Works For Marriage Work For A Nation?

Imagine if we could get people to act rational when disagreeing. If it is unreasonable for a dyad to agree on everything, we surely can’t expect citizens to always agree. The rules of relationships aren’t complicated, just hard to do because we humans struggle to be unselfish. That is a plug for a Creator who wishes to empower us to mutually act in the best interest of one another. We often treat our friends by common sense rules, but the gloves come off in married or political life.

We have to accept that disagreeing is normal.

If only someone had told me early in marriage that love didn’t mean your partner would eventually always agree with you. It seems childish now but I just wasn’t prepared for 24/7 living where differences abound. Frustration set in when I realized just how many differences there were. But, now I have a new mind-set and strategy. It was easy to lose sight that I had married Janet for her heart and looks. Just like in politics a difference of opinion isn’t wrong or disrespectful.

We have to learn to respond not react over our differences.

It isn’t always easy to accept that the best friend you married doesn’t agree and even disagrees on your solution to bring peace. The reason that you don’t have such intense conflicts with others friends is because you don’t live with them. Share finances, closets, bathrooms, children, etc., and challenges will come to your doorstep. Our first instinct is to react. But, we respond politely to our friends and it helps when others are around as witnesses. We actually let friends finish their sentences and we might even politely smile to encourage discussion. Just like in politics we owe all people the respect of listening and not overreacting.

We have to have of rules for war – I mean conflict.

Some things are tough to hear. Your partner doesn’t agree your weekend passion is always the best option when kids don’t have a structured environment. What the hell! Your partner doesn’t agree to purchases you believe are wise investments for the future. Your partner doesn’t agree how to respond to the kids and worse reacts like your parents use to. Raising voices, name-calling, etc. doesn’t get you any closer to a solution. I assume readers know physical violence is off the table in any relationship unless protecting yourself from danger. Just like in politics if we can’t be civil we best stop discussions until we get our wits together.

We have to solve our differences creatively.

Solve your differences like you do in your other relationships. Just thank God you don’t have to live with them! See what aspects of each person’s view can be incorporated into a new view on matters. Imagine what advice you would give a friend to solve a similar problem. Experiment with different solutions before deciding. Democratic nations have no excuse as we have the privilege to vote on our differences. Just like in politics compromise sometimes is necessary.

We have to accept and learn to be happily incompatible.

Laws can advise you to not speed but not require helping strangers in need. Unless you married the Devil and not your best friend in the beginning, cut them some slack. You may need some “rope” when you face difficult times. Stop criticizing and look for areas you agree on. Actions speak louder than words – stop asking “why” and ask “what” you can do to gain some positive momentum. Don’t give up easily especially when children are involved. Just like in politics relationships stop working when people don’t accept differences and engage in physical or emotional abuse.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

How Can We Read The Bible If Not Infallible?

God never intended a Book to take the place of a relationship with God and others. The Bible is not a story controlled by God. God got involved with the nation of Israel so they and we can, by reading of their journey, begin to discover what God is truly like. The Bible is not a book to be used as a proof text to defend one’s position. Read the Bible with an open-mind motivated by love. God seeks to encourage and empower us to be more the person we deep down desire to be. Don’t check your moral conscience at the door as you consider what a loving God is truly like.

Derek Flood’s book Disarming Scripture suggests we not approach Scriptures with blind obedience but faithful questioning with the aim to love others like we want to be loved. We do this anyway, even if we claim the Bible is somehow infallible, because ancient literature is subject to interpretation thus why scholars differ on what the Bible says about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, end-of-the world views, etc. Unquestioning obedience has led to justifying slavery, killing infidels, and other violence in the name of God. Faithful questioning allows us to use our moral intuitions in determining what is the more loving way. “… When this focus on correct interpretation becomes primary, and love takes a backseat, the focus is placed on ‘being right’ and ‘orthodox’ at the expense of love” (p.67).

Reading the Bible through Jesus-shaped lens isn’t always the solution. Jesus often spoke in parables which are subject to numerous understandings. Scripture is written by many authors, sometimes with opposing perspectives, each claiming to speak for God. OT laws mandated animal sacrifices in God’s name, but writers after the OT laws seemingly wrote God prefers contrite hearts over animal sacrifices (Ps. 51:16-17). Jesus questioned the OT “eye for an eye” mentality, which possibly was intended to control retaliation, by suggesting going the extra mile rather than exacting revenge. Jesus implied over time evaluating interpretations and others by the fruit they produce or don’t (Mt. 7:16).  Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually discern the most loving approach. Is it better we threaten or force our opinions on others in the name of God? Evil often results when attempting to control in the name God according to an infallible book.

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?

God isn’t hiding or why do so many know the difference from love and hate and good from evil. But, total certainty cannot always exist in a free world, whether the job you take will work out or the person you marry will not leave you. God has given us freedom and desires to empower us to make decisions based on current circumstances and future aspirations.

Biblical certainty has led to forcing “supposed” truths onto others. We cannot argue on moral grounds debatable understandings of God according to some Book. Proclaiming the Bible should be read as an authoritative guide rather than with an open-mind motivated by love has led to justifying slavery or condemning gays in God’s name. God-followers in the name of certainty has led to dogmatism rather open-mindedness and a willingness to grow in understanding.

Uncertainty isn’t necessarily chaotic. Actions violating one’s physical safety are obviously immoral. Two consenting adults choosing to enter a heterosexual or homosexual relationship are not violating anyone’s safety. Political decisions such as health care or taxes do not violate one’s physical rights. Differences in a free world can be resolved by democratic vote than resorting to violence or dogmatism in God’s name.

God not writing on the clouds every morning allows choices in our own time for genuine lasting changes. Differences that divide because God doesn’t drop “words from heaven” can be resolved by respecting the freedom of others as God does. “I may be right, I am be wrong, let’s do this journey together” are attitudes that allow people to change freely for the better. Supposed certainty doesn’t always unite. The conversation changes completely when humbleness and open-mindedness are part of the tone while treating others how you wish to be treated if in their shoes.

In This Series Of Posts:

  •  Why Assumptions About The Bible’s Infallibility Matter?
  • How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?
  • If The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?
  • Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?
  • How Can We Read The Bible?

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

If The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?

2 Timothy 3:16 is quoted to defend the Bible’s infallibility, though it is often not acknowledged our interpretations can’t be infallible: “All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” But, God-breathe is subject to wide interpretation. God-breathe doesn’t have to mean God controlled biblical writings. God can make useful writings about God coming alongside Israel climaxing in the life of Jesus  for discerning what God is really like.

Jesus said the OT pointed to His arrival (Lk. 24:27,44) rather than claiming the OT writers initially knew God perfectly. God used the nation of Israel, the Bible, and Jesus to enter our world in hopes to influence all toward living a life without regrets. The Bible was God accepting human communication means available to begin conversations about God without condemning those who unselfishly misunderstand it or never had a chance to read.

Why doesn’t God communicate more directly if the Bible can’t be infallible?

God’s invisibility can be out of uncontrolling love than cruelness. God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. Beliefs are seldom life-changing if dictated rather than freely chosen. God in person through Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results suggested if God would stop hiding. God though may communicate more than given credit for through common universal moral intuitions we all share.

In This Series Of Posts:  

  • Why Assumptions About The Bible’s Infallibility Matter?
  • How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?
  • If The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?
  • What Are Dangers In Assuming The Bible Is Infallible?
  • Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?
  • How Can We Read The Bible?

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?

This question may be nonsensical to those who didn’t grow up hearing the Bible claims to be God’s infallible or inerrant words to humankind. We can’t prove a Book is infallible by what a Book says about itself; besides, even if we had the original autographs unavoidable interpretations aren’t infallible. God though may communicate more clearly than given credit for.

We all experience moral outrage which hints of a common, human Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. We intuitively know somehow to treat family, friends, and others like we want to be treated. Also, how can God expect us to be perfect like Them (Mt. 5:48), to know good from evil, if godly and human perfection aren’t the same? In fact, those whose biblical interpretations suggest otherwise advise their explanation of God is a mystery. Actions or interpretations that don’t lead to loving your neighbor as you wish to be loved may be amiss because they are contrary to our beliefs about perfection.

So, everyone’s opinion is right if we can’t know God only through the Bible?

Moral laws such as stealing, lying, or committing adultery reside in all of us. Only extremists, who seek to control for selfish reasons, claim forced love is true love. The Bible are not legal documents to be memorized but to be interacted with to transform. The Bible was never meant to replace a personal relationship with our Creator.

In This Series Of Posts:

  •  Why Assumptions About The Bible’s Infallibility Matter?
  • How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?
  • Since The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?
  • What Are Dangers In Assuming The Bible Is Infallible?
  • Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?
  • How Can We Read The Bible?

 

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

Why Assumptions About The Bible’s Infallibility Matter?

Many assume that the biblical writers always understood God perfectly in the beginning rather than possibly growing in their understanding. Regardless, even if assumed the Bible is infallible in characterizing God, we can’t understand God perfectly according to a Book because literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible. Scholars disagree what the Bible says about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, etc. Unfortunately, many reject God because of supposed definitive portrayals of God according to the Bible.

There are two basic viewpoints about God’s role in Scriptures.

The Bible records thousands of times “The Lord says…” This isn’t verbal communications but impressions writers had about God. God either controlled the writers’ thoughts to perfectly represent God, or OT writers were influenced by surrounding cultures where it was sacrilegious to not speak of God being all-powerful and controlling. This may explain why violent warfare is contributed to God. An uncontrolling God cannot guarantee a perfect Book, but God can enter our world with the communications means available so we can grow in our understanding what God is really like.

Assumptions determine how we understand when reading God ordered killing boys and non-virgin women but sparing virgins (Num. 31:18).

Did God really expect young woman to watch their mothers, sisters, and brothers murdered by men who one day may expect marriage or sex? Did God really approve of capital punishment for rebellious children, adulterers, or those involved in witchcraft (Lev. 20)? God is said to think in war killing all the men, women, children, infants, and animals is moral (I Sam. 15:3).

If biblical writers and prophets didn’t always understand God perfectly, is there any hope for us?

We have the benefit of reading the experiences of beginnings with God as we read Scriptures. Too, biblical writers over time gain new understandings of God. Later writers after the OT laws recorded God preferred contrite hearts over animal sacrifices (Ps. 51:16-17, i.e. Jer. 7:22, Amos 5:21, Micah 6:6). Important, lasting convictions cannot be coerced but freely chosen. Many OT laws and views of God could have originated from assumptions that God was like all the other gods in OT cultures. We will discuss later how certainty about God isn’t the end-all one might think.

In This Series Of Posts:  

  • How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?
  • Since The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?
  • What Are Dangers In Assuming The Bible Is Infallible?
  • Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?
  • How Can We Read The Bible?

Click on FOLLOW at bottom right of this page to enter email address to be notified of future Posts only. 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. If you wish to discuss anything I have written, you can email me at medwar2@gmail.com

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