To non-religious spiritual pursuers and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/2018/07/elephant-in-the-church/

“In over 6,000 years of human history, how many of mankind’s basic problems have been solved by politicians? … Even God’s Law wasn’t capable of transforming the hearts of men and women. Why do we still believe that we can do better? …. Do we really need more laws? Do we need better people writing the laws? Is our problem the lack of law enforcement? …. Is the Law capable of changing us into the image of God? ….What if there was something that could reform the convict? What if there was a formula for changing people into better citizens? What if there was hope for every broken marriage? What if every addict could find hope for life beyond their daily habit? What if there was a way to create an entire society of people who loved one another, cared for one another, and went out of their way to bless everyone around them? …. wouldn’t that be better than any political solution you had ever heard of in your life?”

You get politics when you mix religion and politics!

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I doubt the Bible was inspired by God in ways we typically understand inspiration. I Samuel 15:3 says God told Israel: “Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” There are hundreds of passages like this in the Old Testament. God inspiring the Bible suggests a good God authorized or endorsed genocide when war was necessary. This renders goodness nonsensical and unknowable!

The Bible cannot be proved to be inspired is the point.

Many wouldn’t accept the Quran being inspired though it claims to be. It is circular logic to claim the Bible is inspired because biblical writers claim inspiration. 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 the definitive guide what God is like because literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible. We can’t always know what the writer didn’t say. I once wrote telling my kids to never lie, but if lying saves a life by all means lie through your teeth.

The most used bible verse to claim inspiration is 2 Tim. 3:16: “All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” God-breathe is subject to wide interpretation, thus not clarifying God’s role with the Bible. God-breathe doesn’t necessarily mean God controlled biblical writings. It could mean God uses writings to touch our heart without necessarily declaring such writings are infallible or perfect views of God.

Certainty in God isn’t always a good thing.

Insisting the Bible is inspired can lead to threatening or forcing supposed certainty on others. After all, the Supreme Being’s way is surely the path to follow! Believing such a Book exists has led to condemning gays in God’s name, though those who accept Scriptures as authoritative don’t agree the Bible disapproves of homosexuality. Certainty rather than uncertainty can lead to justifying verbal or physical violence in the name of God or morality. But, even a perfect, certain God doesn’t force beliefs which doesn’t lead to lasting changes. 

What could be God’s role with the Bible?

The Bible is recorded experiences of beginnings with God and Israel culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other documents. It seems the more we read and talk about God the more God can influence doing good and shunning evil. God surely approved of recordings so we might keep reflecting what God is really like.

Many authors who question if the Bible is infallible or admit God accommodated less than perfect understandings of God insist the Bible is God’s inspired or authoritative word. Why would God approve of such false understandings? I know pastors and professors have more skin the game than I do. I did the same when in the mental health profession. But, to say things like “events are not authoritative; the interpretation of the narrator is” keeps the focus on worshipping a Book than God and leads to dogmatic, possible false representations of God.   

We can still know God though God didn’t inspire all of the Bible.

The possibility of an infallible or inspired Book has led to forcing “supposed” truths onto others of what God is really like. A fallible Book can’t hide behind infallible interpretations. Moral laws that violate the rights of others are obvious. The majority of people born in the world have never read a Bible but have an inborn knowledge of right and wrong. A universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated hints a Creator communicates to all what is good, thus what God is like.

A fallible Bible doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t worth reading.

The Bible was written to find God not specific solutions to problems. Jesus didn’t always answer directly because the issue is our heart in solving problems. Imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves when facing difficulties! God never intended for us to check our moral conscience at the door in considering what a loving God is truly like. Read the Bible with an open-mind motivated by love. Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach in circumstances we face. Reading the Bible reflectively with a questioning spirit rather than blind obedience can continue to influence millions to live a more selfless life.

****I originally name this Post God Did Not Inspire The Bible! I was intentionally being provocative, as I wanted to communicate doubts that the Bible was inspired by God in ways we typically understand inspiration. I think the retitle I have given the Post better captures what I wish to communicate – Did God Really Inspire All Of The Bible?  I have no doubts that God sought to influence the writers of the Bible, but it is not God’s nature to control others. The biblical writers at times could have misunderstood God and God was patient in them growing in their knowledge of what God is really like.

**** For additional Posts on rethinking the Bible go here: https://what-god-may-really-be-like.com/rethinking-the-bible/

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I admit I voted for the lesser bad of two choices. I don’t often discuss politics on this spiritual blog. Our spirituality may influence our views when convinced such a vote creates the most good in the long-run. But, Christians get it wrong when thinking Jesus came to create a one-world nation as if forcing beliefs changes hearts. God only wishes to influence all to pursue good and shun evil.

We must stop imposing our morality on others.

The key to progressing as a nation comes with handling our differences with civility and lack of moral superiority. See here . Differences are normal in any relationship. Actions violating physical safety are obviously immoral. Decisions such as health care, taxes, or consenting adults entering a heterosexual or homosexual relationship are not violating anyone’s physical safety. We can have laws against murder or abuse to protect basis rights, but imposing compliance on non-moral issues makes freedom a mockery.

How we handle out differences starts at the top with leadership.

President Trump, will you please be more of a leader in this area. Obviously, you have strong views of changes this nation needs to make. You were elected over your opponent so you have more of a platform to voice those views. Sometimes I agree with your ideas; sometimes I don’t. But, we both owe each other civility when we disagree.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).

It is true a soft answer doesn’t always turn away anger. But, a soft answer provokes anger a lot less than belittling and name calling. The Bible may suggest to a nation what it advises parents. The Apostle Paul who wrote a great deal of the NT gave very little specific advice about parenting, but he did say “Parents, stop exasperating your children” (Eph. 6.:4). Translation: stop pissing your children off or giving them a reason to act out. President Trump, for the love of God, please stop belittling or name-calling!

Our nation’s uncivility isn’t all on President Trump.   

Sometimes voters get what they voted for. Many justify President Trump’s actions because “it’s about time someone rocked the boat.” There are better ways to defend your policies that you believe will advance a nation. Stand for President Trump’s policies if so inclined, but don’t stand for provocative behaviors. And evangelical Christian followers – stop imposing your beliefs on others through politics. Jesus didn’t come to establish a nation but change hearts.

Being provoke is no excuse for uncivility.

Just because someone belittles you is no reason to respond back in like fashion. After all, you condemn such behaviors from your adversary. Someone has to be the bigger person! Violence shouldn’t be necessary unless one is in physical danger. But, c’mon President Trump. You are the leader of our nation. Set the example. Be concerned that your son is going to grow up just like you in handling differences. Be concerned that those who voted for you and those that didn’t vote for you can be provoked to retaliate against verbosity with physicality.

In summary………

Please, Mr. President! For others – there are no excuses for bad behaviors. Don’t react but respond appropriately. All opinions can be expressed without verbal aggression so we can stand side by side to continuous evaluate the most loving approach. Differences must be resolved by defending one’s reasoning, respecting the freedom of opinions, and committing to growing in understanding.  Start conversations looking for areas you agree. Treat others how you wish to be treated if in their shoes. Differences don’t have to lead to chaos but can lead to creative solutions.

 

I put the word “May” in my blog name “What God May Really Be Like” to convey obviously no one can definitively say what an invisible, inaudible God is like. I write here that uncertainty isn’t all bad.  God though often gets a bad rep by many in religious circle when dogmatic in their beliefs. I call myself a God-follower because Christian has connotations I am not always proud of.

Why does it matter what we say God is really like?

Honestly, most I come in contact with don’t readily care to talk about God or what others claim about God. It is not as if I am one of those zealots that believes God is going to send others to Hell if they don’t have certain beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible. I am not sure why spirituality is more of a taboo subject than talking about one’s favorite book or movie. But, our understandings about God shape our attitudes toward God. Don’t believe everything you hear!

Can we declare we know God according to the Bible or Jesus?

It is an illusion to think we can know God definitively through the Bible. People who respect the Bible as authoritative disagree what God thinks about homosexuality, gender roles, and the afterlife to name only a few critical issues. We must stop declaring something immoral because the Bible says so. And, we can’t always agree what Jesus said. People disagree if Jesus challenging the OT “eye for eye” mentality allows or rules out just wars when evil is rampant. God would surely not have us rely on a Book, when the majority born into this work never had a copy.

Our moral intuitions may give glimpses of what God is like.

God doesn’t get enough credit for communicating. One possibility for a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. The truth is there is agreement on most moral matters such as murdering, lying, stealing, or not treating others like we want to be treated. Terrorists are wrong because they don’t want to be beheaded, raped, or denied freedom of beliefs.

I am convinced God is not a hell monger.

The Bible says nothing about the traditional understanding of the word Hell. Hell seems to be an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. Our traditional understanding of Hell is no more a translation of the Greek word Gehenna (the name of a real valley near Jerusalem) in the New Testament than Atlanta is for Chicago. Why would a loving God torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose? Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies!

I am convinced God is not a homophobe.

It makes no sense to me why God would condemn gays when they can no more choose who they love than straights can. Just ask heterosexuals or homosexuals. Some only condemn gays because they are convinced the Bible does. I have written here to please reconsider that the Bible doesn’t condemn gays. We know the psychological harm done when one must hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility. So, shouldn’t we be guided by love – how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?

I am convinced God is not a sexist.

The Bible can be understood to endorse roles according to gifts not gender. God doesn’t favor men over women in leadership roles. Best friends, in marriage or other dyad relationships, don’t require a leader. Men may assume loving leadership means making final decisions in impasses. I have never had an issue in marriage that cannot be solve creatively without one partner making all such decisions. Besides, Jesus said being first is last so maybe the husband should always defer to his wife. Appointing men as authority over women can encourage dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part, which can be conducive for domestic abuse and the other atrocities women face at the hands of men. Women don’t need male leadership in marriage; women need men who have the heart of a servant (Eph. 5:28-29).

I am convinced God is not mysteriously immoral but morally perfect humanly-speaking.

Some declare God is mysterious when their characterizations of God, supposedly according to the Bible, are incompatible with most people’s ideas of a perfect loving God. How can we know God if evil sometimes is good? Most agree One claiming to be God must be perfect. We know a lot about perfection because we have a sense of how we “ought” to treat our family and friends. One possibility for a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal External Force communicating through our moral intuitions. When the Bible challenges us to be perfect like God (Mt. 5:48), the assumption is we know what such perfection is. God’s love and perfect human love are the same.

I am convinced God is not an angry, egomaniac lover.

God’s love is the same as perfect, human, parenting, love. God’s anger is no different than a parent’s anger against immoral actions that harm their child and others. God’s desire for devotion (glory) isn’t to remind God of their greatness or we can go to Hell. Parents desire respect because they only want what we deep down desire for ourselves and others. God’s love is nourishment that leads to life transformations.

What do you imagine God is really like?

You may be right! Listen to your moral inner voice. We just seem to know what is moral or immoral in most situations. Be guided by love in treating others like you want to be treated. But, there isn’t always one solution to circumstances we face. A guilty partner may respond with gratitude for a second change or another chance may enable bad behaviors to continue. Even an all-knowing God experiences uncertainty because of an unknowable future.  God supports our gifts and passions to empower taking risks to make for a better world. God is dying to encourage us in such a journey.

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

Most agree One claiming to be God must be perfect. Some declare God is mysterious when their characterizations of God, supposedly according to the Bible, are incompatible with most people’s ideas of a perfect, loving God. It is nonsensical to use language to say God is good if good sometimes is evil. A personal External Force may communicate through our moral intuitions because of a universal expectation to treat others like we want to be treated. When the Bible challenges us to be perfect like God (Mt. 5:48), the assumption is we can understand God. God’s love and perfect human love must be the same.

https://what-god-may-really-be-like.com/what-i-believe/

 

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

The Synchroblog is where bloggers write on spiritual topics – often different perspectives. This month is How Do God-Followers Determine What Is Right Or Wrong. Links to articles posted below.  

Have you ever wished for or had a wise mentor when in a challenging decision you thought “what would they advise or do?” Don’t we wish to be the perfect friend, partner, or parent. Don’t we want our legacy to be “they always treated others like they wanted to be treated?” Most assume a Supreme Deity must be perfect if truly existing. If we could know what God is really like, wouldn’t we have the ultimate role-model in knowing morality from immorality?

The Bible can’t be the final authority on what God is like.  

It is an illusion to think we can know God definitively through the Bible. People who respect the Bible as authoritative disagree what God thinks about homosexuality, gender roles, and the afterlife to name only a few critical issues. Even if God somehow controlled the words when the writers first penned the words, when an editor(s) edited the original words, or finally when such recordings were gathered into a book to insure the Bible was infallible and perfectly represented God, literature is subject to interpretation. Interpretations cannot be infallible. The idea of an infallible Bible leads extremists to declare their interpretations are God’s, which often leads to control for personal gain. We must stop declaring something immoral because the Bible says so. 

Jesus can’t be our only authority on what God is like.

It is common in theological circles to suggest the Old Testament, with all its violence in God’s name, must be viewed through the interpretative lens of Jesus. When in doubt go with Jesus’ view. But, we can’t always agree what Jesus meant. People disagree if Jesus challenging the OT “eye for eye” mentality allows or rules out just wars when evil is rampant. The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would do. We cannot totally rely on a Book, which the majority born into this work never had a copy, concerning the most loving action in circumstances we face.

The “perfect answer” isn’t the holy grail. 

There are often no perfect answers or one solution to problems in life. What does God do when two qualified people God loves pray for the same job? A Creator who respects freedom doesn’t predetermine the future so they can magically advise what job or relationship will work out best in the long-run. Should one get a divorce? The guilty partner may respond with gratitude for a second change or another chance may enable bad behaviors to continue. God supports our gifts and passions so to empower taking risks, which may include the counsel of others, to make for a better world. Even an all-knowing God experiences uncertainty because of an unknowable future. 

Our moral intuitions and human reasoning aren’t always the devil’s tools.  

God doesn’t get enough credit for communicating. One possibility for a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated is a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. The truth is there is agreement on most moral matters. We somehow know it is wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, or not treat others like we want to be treated. Terrorists are wrong because they don’t want to be beheaded, raped, or denied freedom of beliefs.

So, how do we make right or moral decisions?

God is dying to help in your spiritual journey. Listen to your moral inner voice. Love others like you want to be loved. We just seem to know what is moral or immoral. Criminals don’t defend their murderous actions; they deny they committed such actions. Read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit not to find answers but to find God. Whenever we talk about or read about God, I am convinced God works to helps us to do good and shun evil. Consensual gay or straight relationships, different health plans or tax rates, don’t violate the physical rights of others. A willingness to not declare the certainty or morality of our opinions, unless physical rights are violated, forces us to listen which can lead to new understandings and creative solutions. Try it in relationships!

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

Authority for Believers – Soulcare Ministries

Christian Authority – Done With Religion

Who Gets To Say What Is Right Or Wrong? – What God May Really Be Like

A Surprising Source of Spiritual Authority – Glenn Hager

Is it the Bible or Jesus that is authoritative for Christians? ANSWER: Yes – Jeremy Myers

Surrendering Our Authority To Jesus – K. W. Lesley

Under Who’s Authority – Layman Seeker

authority? – Metler

The Age of the Spirit – Liz Dyer

For good reason it is hard for many to respect a God who thinks killing animals is a good thing just so people can feel better about wronging others.

Would a loving God really desire killing of animals in the Old Testament to supposedly atone for sins rather than confession and amends for harmful behaviors?

OT laws involving sacrifice may have originated from assumptions that God was like all the other gods in requiring sacrifices to be appeased. Over time OT writers seemed to understand and wrote 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). The writer of Hebrews says God did not desire or was pleased with sacrifice and offerings though offered in accordance with the law (10:8).

God out of uncontrolling love allows others to form their own views of God but hopes to influence through a relationship over time.

God didn’t approve of Israel’s desire for a King rather than looking to God for dependence, but God didn’t prevent such behavior.  I doubt concubines were God’s idea, but God didn’t threaten to burn in Hell those who had concubines. God doesn’t overthrow but works within societies for freedom is necessary for authentic, lasting change. Loving control is an oxymoron. 

If God didn’t approve of animal sacrifice, what implications does this have for how we interpret Jesus’ death on the Cross?

Why didn’t Jesus overpower His accusers if God doesn’t demand blood to be satisfied? Displays of power grab attention but then things just go back to the way they were. Jesus sought to change hearts by not responding evil with evil. God is not an enabler but simply retaliating rather than working to influence for good is a vicious cycle. The Cross wasn’t meant to change God’s attitude but our attitude. God seeks to influence us to change our unloving attitudes toward others.

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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