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Archive for November, 2021

Why We Must Argue The Bible Is Not Inspired By God!

This post is longer than usual. I will be as brief as possible. I hope subtitles depicting my thought progressions will make it easier to read, 

I have written on this topic ad nauseum. See here. We can’t prove God inspired the Bible, so I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible for reasons below. It is natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. (Gregory Boyd adds a twist below). I will address below why many may argue the Bible is God’s inspired Word – concerns we then wouldn’t have an authoritative view of God. I think an inspired Bible has led to condemning others falsely, thus discouraging faith in God. An inspired Bible can also provoke violence.

Gregory Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. Boyd seems to suggest God allowed wrong views about God written to lead to seeing ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. There are hundreds of passages in the OT where God supposedly orders Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:3). Did God really approve/inspire/have anything to do with such accusations about God? Such confusion by God just doesn’t make sense.

An inspired Bible has led to condemning women and gays

It is misleading to claim we can rely on “biblical truths.” Many claim the Bible says that women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Yet it can also be defended that Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, didn’t think roles should be chosen based on gender than gifts. See here. No one can claim their biblical view of God concerning women’s roles is definitive. Similarly, scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.

Supposed certainty according to the Bible has led to condemning gays, though biblical scholars don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here.  How dangerous can an inspired Book be? Religions defend killing homosexuals because of their assumption that every word in a Book was inspired by their God. Extremists and terrorists hide behind a Book. The biblical truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or even that biblical writers always understood God perfectly.

An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence 

I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war. Did God really inspire such thoughts? Did God really approve a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut. 25:12)? Not questioning supposed inspired portrayals of God has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If certain violence is good for God according to one’s interpretation or assumptions about a Book, it must be good now for humans. When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God and don’t think critically, this can lead to violence in God’s name.

An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!

It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? Are the majority of people born, who didn’t have a Bible, out of luck? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not.

Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense 

Christians say God’s spirit (aka Holy Spirit) does or can reside within you. Unless the Spirit talks to you audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions how a perfect, loving God may guide us. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. Even the Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This is why many claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective.

Can Jesus be the end-all about what God is really like?

The Bible is said to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Boyd suggests Jesus claimed in the NT that OT Scriptures were imperfect but inspired by God. Scholars do not agree on Boyd’s interpretation of those relevant passages. Interpretation realities don’t allow us to claim certainty about Jesus’ views on other matters.

Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other check is interpreted to claim Jesus never advocated violence, but the possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” Does Jesus agree violence is never desired but may be necessary sometimes? The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would teach. It can’t be avoided using common moral sense when reading the Bible.   

How can we view the Bible? 

The Bible can be viewed as God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written about God. Reading the Bible encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. Imagine if extremist had to admit God possibly didn’t inspire every word in a Book, and we had to use common moral sense to understand what a loving God is like.

How can we make Godly decisions during uncertainty?

Please stop claiming certainty in God’s name. Certain absolutes are obvious to all. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We must stop hiding behind a Book! We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Stop canceling others’ opinions! Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t always be certain how to best love, but we best come to solutions through civil and democratic means.

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  

Why Bother To Pray If It Doesn’t Work!

Let’s be honest. More prayers are unanswered than answered. The amount of suffering in the world suggests God doesn’t intervene a lot of the time. If miracles are simply having enough faith and praying to God, why don’t supposed miracle workers go into all the hospitals? I bet hospital folks have as much faith as those healed at their rallies. Many are rightly disheartened about God when claims about prayers don’t match up with reality.

God can’t answer many prayers

We can’t pretend God can wave a magic want and always heal in a free world. It isn’t that we didn’t pray enough with the right words and behaviors so God will answer. There are many different situations. God can’t make one’s partner willing to stop drinking. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. True love is uncontrolling. Ask adults about their parents. God’s love must be supportive.

Healing Prayers 

A lot of prayers asking for healing are obviously not answered. I doubt God is just being stingy. Are miracles really arbitrary? Conditions in our body may not always be right. Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. If God wouldn’t take away your human freedom, it may not be a stretch to say God has to account for natural freedom as well. Miracles can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. God surely intervenes by all means when circumstances will allow.

A truly loving God is doing all they can before asked

Do we really think God is waiting to help others until we ask? Prayer must be more than manipulating God to act. God may wait for our invitation for personal help to be more the person we deep down desire to be, but God is tireless in doing all they can for others and desperately seeks our help to change the world. One can always assume God’s blessing if not violating the rights of others.

How God answers a lot of prayers 

Praying can remind us to offer help. God is an omnipresent Spirit. God already knows needs before spoken. It is easier sometimes to pray for someone rather than take cooperative actions with God. This may be the most common way that God answers prayers. Rather than praying your friend’s partner stop drinking, which is harming their family, see if your friend would rather you say something to their partner. When you know two friends are in conflict, speak to the one wrongly denying any wrongdoing. God always seeks our permission to use our lives to help others.

But the Bible says….

The truth is for almost every passage on prayer, there are opposing interpretations and other passages that suggest additional perspectives. Mathew 7:7 is used to support the false prosperity gospel: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Isn’t this passage in context simply saying that if we parents give good gifts despite our imperfections, will not God as our perfect Parent always want to give good gifts? First-century readers didn’t assume this was a blank check for requests. We must balance that the Apostle Paul believed in the power of prayer, but he also expected persecution for beliefs (2 Tim. 3:12).

So, why pray?

Prayer is more than asking for things. We can also talk to God for self-examination, for sharing our concerns so to not feel along in a chaotic world. Seeking God’s influence in our lives can lead to making wiser choices. God is already doing all they can in a free world. Pretending God can simply heal without accounting for freedom makes one’s suffering worse. God is tireless in working through individual lives to change the world.

God is always listening. God has endless mercy and forgiveness so we don’t give up no matter how demoralized we may feel. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night, or we may feel that we are overburdening our friends by always going to them. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God only wants us to feel free to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. We know God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you.

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  

How Does God Bless Or Help Us?

It is often said God blesses the United States or individual situations, suggesting God’s blessings are withheld from others by God. It is important how we portray what God is really like. I am not going to do a Bible study on how God blesses others. Several viewpoints could be defended, depending on one’s interpretation of certain passages. It isn’t presumptuous though to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral intuitions. It seems intuitive a loving Creator loves the way we are created to love. How we lovingly bless others may be how a loving God would bless.

The way God blesses must be loving 

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in is a perfect, loving God. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because love doesn’t manipulate. We can talk about perfect Godly love by comparing to perfect, human love. The Bible even suggests perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

God’s blessings can’t be arbitrary

True love can’t be arbitrary or bias. Some Christian circles teach that before one is born that God elects or blesses some with eternal life after death while excluding others. Such arbitrary love is immoral. God doesn’t arbitrarily bless some with food in their bellies and not others but pulling strings behind the scenes. There are many human reasons why one might not have enough food to eat. God and humans must somehow partner together to combat starvation.

God’s blessings can’t be controlling 

We know true love can’t be controlling. Ask any adult about their parents! We hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gain. Employees can smell a controlling employer a mile away. The truth is God can’t wave a magic wand – aka as blessing some and not others – without accounting for freedom. It isn’t that you didn’t beg enough or have the right attitude. A loving God is surely always doing all they can in a free world before, during, and after our prayers. 

Doesn’t God seek to bless through influence?

God seeks to influence us to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Such a plan leads to true individual and worldly happiness in the long-run. Imagine all the regrets we save in life by being slow to anger. Imagine all the pain we spare spouses and children if we control where our eyes wander. Imagine all the friendships not destroyed by talking behind one’s back. God’s blessings can flow when we allow God’s influence in our lives to help ourselves and others. I doubt God minds sharing the credit.

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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