The Synchroblog is where bloggers write on spiritual topics – often different perspectives. This month is How Are Christians Doing Disagreeing? Links to articles will be put at end of this Post August 29
I recently wrote how a nation can handle their differences less chaotically here. Obviously, not all people are God-followers. I have written how marriages can best handle differences like a nation here. Finally, I wrote an open letter to President Trump, which I am sure he has framed on his wall, how leadership must lead here. But, Christians or God-followers surely need to set the example for handling our differences since we claim and aspire to love others as God loves!
God-followers sadly are not leading the way!
The Christian’s, God-follower’s, or religious person’s motto is to treat others like we want to be treated. It often doesn’t happen! In a Facebook group discussion when I suggested the Bible can’t be the final word about God since biblical scholars disagree on meanings of the same passages, one God-folk starts the conversation “poor lost soul.” Okay, maybe you aren’t that uncharitable, but how do you start a conversation after a statement pisses your soul off?
Over 30,000 denominations in America reeks of conflict though we all claim to worship the same God. I feel like throwing around a few tables in the temple. I want to curse and shame God-followers who can’t agree to disagree. But, I have a confession. I have a legacy of not agreeing to disagree respectfully. I claimed and still do sometimes that my raised voice, etc. is just passion but those very close to me don’t always agree.
So, what is the main reason that God-followers or Christians suck as examples?
God-followers must stop implying or claiming moral superiority because of the Bible. The Bible can’t be the definitive guide what God is like because interpretations of literature aren’t infallible. Scholars disagree what God according to the Bible thinks about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, end-of-the world views, etc. The fact that we may disagree, even if we had the original autographs, make infallibility a mute issue. Most God-followers seem to know physical and emotional violence is wrong, but they seem unaware how they come off morally superior based on their assumptions about the Bible. Let’s change!
I know, I know, we can’t know God if we don’t believe the Bible is inspired.
This is the most common attack when suggesting we need to rethink the Bible. How did over half those born into this world know God since they didn’t have a Bible? Besides, literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible. Our moral outrage hints of a common, human Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. All are opposed to murder, abuse, thievery, etc. whether you believe in God or not. But, some condemn gays or women entering the priesthood because supposedly a Book disapproves in God’s name. Yet, the Bible tells us the Word of God has never been the Bible but flesh in the body of Jesus (Jn. 1:1-14). Jesus’ Spirit now lives in us (Jn. 14:16-17), and the Spirit knows the thoughts of God (I Cor. 2: 11-16). Let’s rethink the Bible:
Uncertainty doesn’t have to lead to chaos!
It is more logical to suggest we can’t be certain what an invisible, inaudibly God thinks. Unfortunately, supposed certainty has led to justifying atrocities as slavery and early church theologians not opposing the execution of those not agreeing with their theology. God doesn’t get enough credit for communicating through our moral senses, but God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. Being unable to declare the certainty or morality of our opinions forces us to listen and express ideas openly in love. Starting a conversation with “I may be wrong” more likely leads to new understandings and creative solutions. Try it in marriage, friendships, or spiritual conversations. Let’s stop inciting others from being open to spirituality and God!
Can you imagine a world where God-folks ….
- Didn’t claim or imply moral superiority, thus looking more Jesus like
- Didn’t communicate as if their interpretations were infallible, thus forcing God on others
- Didn’t think leaders had to know-it-all when it comes to what God is really like
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Here are links from those who contributed this month. Go read them all!
What God May Really Be Like – Why Can’t Even God-Followers Get Along?
Wesley Rostoll – Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?
Jeremy Myers – Three Views on Hell (and a fourth view I hold)
Liz Dyer – Religious Freedom is NOT Freedom to Discriminate
Jordan Hathcock – Let’s Get Dirty