To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

Just to be certain, total certainty is an illusion because even if God is Truth, we still have to discern what is Truth. Certainty is not found in a Book even if infallible. Literature requires interpretation. For example, there is disagreement if God of the Bible desires preachers or priests be women or gay. Even if Jesus was God in person, His words still require interpretation. We don’t agree what He advised about Hell, divorce, etc. Many are leaving the institutional church, but not God, because of lack of open dialogue. It’s hard to be relational when you are so damn certain!

Uncertainty by God could be out of love

God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. Relationships that require more faith and trust due to the unknown may reach greater heights. Is our love in human relationships greater when we have to trust than know for certain what the future holds together? When parents push their agendas, even if in their child’s best interest, they may resent or rebel against coercion and never turn back. If God communicates in less demonstrative ways, this may allow for heartfelt choices that last. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and non-coerced choices may best lead to lasting convictions. Maybe God speaks to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

Where has certainty got us?

The stories have it that God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding. Supposed certainty in God’s name according to the Bible has been the main reason some condemn gays or oppose women entering the priesthood. Certainty has led to slavery, killing infidels, and other atrocities in God’s name. Uncertainty, not supposed certainty, about God can protect against imposing beliefs on others in God’s name. Honest, open dialogues allow continually evaluating what a loving God is like. Common moral sense isn’t the enemy!

Uncertainty doesn’t have to lead to chaos or lawlessness 

It is often said we best know God according to “biblical truths.” The truth is contrary biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here. I don’t know any reasonable God or non-God person that doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. Certain laws are just common, moral sense. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. What we do with the communication we have, then lack of communication, may be the bigger challenge. Open discussions can steer us away from demanding “supposed truths.” 

God isn’t as hidden as one may think 

A universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated may be a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions. Problems begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on our understanding from an inspired Book. We all have an innate knowledge of right and wrong. What rational person doesn’t believe murder, lying, stealing, or adultery is wrong? Maybe God doesn’t have to speak to influence. A parent’s influence, not commands, often speaks louder to a child. Doesn’t God mostly speak through influencing? The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit guiding us in truth (Jn. 14:16-17; 16:13). We know the Spirit’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down. Is the Spirit influencing when we quickly confess and make amends if wronged someone? That’s just not always natural. Maybe we just have to be open to God’s influential Spirit.

God isn’t hiding an unknown future. It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future making freedom nonsensical. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God can’t tell you if the person you want to marry won’t end up betraying you or the job you take won’t end up being phased out. God joins us in an open future. God deals with uncertainty as we do. We surely have God’s blessing choosing the wisest path at the time based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations.

Uncertainty can lead to acting more loving.

Being unable to declare the certainty or morality of our opinions forces us to listen and express ideas openly. Forcing beliefs doesn’t lead to long-lasting change. Starting a conversation with “I may be wrong” more likely leads to new understandings and creative solutions. Try it in relationships! Uncertainty doesn’t result in lawlessness. Who doesn’t know God hates murder, sexual abuse, stealing, adultery, even not treating others like you want to be treated? Continually evaluate the most loving approach is better than claiming certainty and being wrong. A loving God only wishes to influence us to make choices with the interest of others in mind. Uncertainty, not certainly about God, may better protect against imposing beliefs on others which is not God’s nature. 

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  

If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

It is understandable why many avoid reading the Bible. It isn’t easy to relate to cultures thousands of years ago vastly different than ours. It can be concerning that even scholars, who aren’t necessarily chauvinists, interpret certain passages to teach men are the leaders of women. Women don’t need a mediator between them and God! 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 to know what a good God is like, but it can be profitable as we read recordings of what God may really be like. It is okay to be skeptical if a reading or interpretation of the Bible makes no rational or relational sense what a loving God would truly be like.

We are better off without a Bible if readers don’t recognize that interpretations are fallible

Even if the Bible was inspired by God, no one can claim they know for sure the author’s intended meaning. We can’t 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. The reality is much of the Bible is subject to interpretations which obviously are not infallible. Human reasoning is necessary in the interpretation process. Dogmatism only divides not unites.  

We are better off without a Bible if we treat it as a Book of Rules

We all cringe or chuckle at the story when someone was looking for guidance, they opened the Bible and happened upon the verse “then he went and hung himself.” The Bible is not a book to definitively tell others what to do in their circumstances. When Jesus said turn the other cheek, He wouldn’t advise a woman to allow an abusive husband to continue to beat her. Develop a relationship with God, consult people you respect, and let God guide you in making a wise decision in your situation.

We are better off without a Bible if readers don’t guard how they discuss the Book

So many denominations and factions among those who worship the same God is evidence that the Bible is dividing than uniting. Consider one another’s opinion gracefully, as long as they don’t violate the freedom of others, to work out your own convictions with as much consistency as possible. It seems the main beliefs that the Bible speaks out against are immoral beliefs which lead to self-destruction or destruction of 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. 

Religions having a representative book can allow different worldviews to be discussed 

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 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.

Many agree that the Bible is chocked full of wisdom

It isn’t always natural to forgive others of certain sins but many partners end up being grateful of God’s influence in their life. Who thinks to talk in parables to go through the backdoor of a resistant soul? Jesus did! Parables enable us to continually think on a subject to try to understand and eventually accept positive applications in one’s life. The Bible is not a book you read once. You can read the Bible over and over and come away with fresh insights for relationships. Today, most only read the New Testament because the older testament is so confusing. With the newer testament shortly after Jesus’ death, Jesus’ message exploded and led to billions of followers.

Read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit. 

Not questioning or not reading a Book with an open mind has led to sick and weak minds carrying out immoral acts contrary to common moral sense. Those not growing up in church don’t understand all the fuss. Who thinks literature subject to interpretation should be read so dogmatically? Question interpretations about God that make no moral sense. Don’t read the Bible if it discourages you from loving others like you want to loved. We may be better off without the Bible if a Book replaces our relationship with God and common moral sense. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written in the Bible about God. Reading the Bible though encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. God has drawn billions to do good and shun evil when reading and reflecting about God.

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  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m no expert but one who is anxious for others to avoid my failures. I can assure you my marriage hasn’t lasted 40 years so far as of today because I am some saint. Divorce can happen and doesn’t doom one as a failure for life. Relationships aren’t that complicated, just hard. Many marriages can succeed when both partners adhere to a few essential attitudes and actions to better relate. I am going to keep this less than a five-minute read in hopes more read provoking ideas if struggling. Success isn’t an exact path. We all have a chance if strive to treat our partner like a best friend!

The Right Attitude – Accepting Differences 

Good luck finding a partner that always agree. Marriage is about living happily incompatible. There are no perfect matches. Relationships often start off well because reality hasn’t set in – sharing closets, bathrooms, in-laws, children, etc. You still have in common why you began the relationship, but now you have to work out your differences. Other friendships don’t have the 24/7 challenges. Naively, I assumed in the beginning I would be happily married 100% of the time. Now, I realize being pleased 75% of the time is a pretty good marriage. Strive to treat your partner like you want to be treated when not agreeing. Marriage isn’t agreeing but learning to disagree. 

The Right Actions – Fighting Fair 

After accepting we don’t have a right to expect everything we desire, we still have to solve such differences to live peacefully together. When handling differences in other relationships it usually is out in public with others around eyeballing your actions. In a 24/7 relationship differences can happen more in private. There is less accountability to behave. Kids, we know the rules in solving differences – keep your hands to yourself, don’t raise your voice, stop interrupting, etc. When such rules are violated, give each other permission to stop and restart when acting more civilly. Couples who say they are no longer in love have stopped treating each other in loving ways. Happy couples expect problems and solve differences in a positive manner so solutions can be discovered. 

Identify A Specific Plan And Persist 

As you strive for the right attitude and actions – develop specific steps each can take, evaluate success in a time limited fashion, and do it all over again. Keep trying until finding what works. Judge the relationship not on feelings that depend on circumstance but judge the relationship on specific actions that can bring about desired feelings.  Couples often give up too soon because they attempt a “hit and miss” approach to their problems. Couples often argue, “they have tried everything.” Develop your own list of habits such as below:

  • During conflict both ideally ask “what can I do differently” not “why can’t you”
  • Assume good will of you partner unless you married the devil
  • Focus on solutions than problems
  • Persist unless one partner is being abusive
  • Run from temptations that can set you up for failure
  • Get third party help after remaining stuck
  • Try doing what you would tell your friend if they asked for advise
  • Identify 2 or 1 thing you wish each would do differently once a day that is observable and you can acknowledge genuine appreciation when it happens
  • Focus on being the right person rather than your partner
  • Happy couples’ ratio of encouraging than criticizing is at least 6:1

Spiritual help can be invaluable in marriage

Maybe you are just a good person without any help. Personally, I need help being the best version of myself for the sake of my partner. I need to be willing to say sorry. I need to recognize I am being selfish. I need to be willing to forgive when my partner takes responsibility for their actions. Great marriages aren’t about being good enough or not as bad as other partners. The best goal of marriage or any relationship is aiming for perfection. My view of God inspires me to pursue perfection in my relationships without being paralyzed by guilt when failing. I have the “want to” to be perfect. I believe that motivation comes from God!

John and Julie Gottman, who have researched marriage relationships for years to identify important factors that lead to success, state something so true: “Every marriage has perpetual issues – conflicts based on personality differences or lifestyle differences that never go away. Common examples include how much intimacy there should be in a marriage, as well as disagreements over money and household chores. But as longtime marriage therapists, we’ve found that partners can live peacefully with perpetual issues as long as they talk about them in a open, productive way.”

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  

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

If all of the Bible isn’t inspired by God or we don’t know what writings are inspired, can we believe in Jesus of the Bible? Few disagree that Jesus was a real historical person. But the Bible reports of a man Jesus who spoke for God, backing it up with miracles and rising from the dead. Do we have good reason to think that the Bible reports accurately what He said and did? I am convinced attempting to understand Jesus’ words about God helps us to know more what God is like. Please see Gregory Boyd & Paul Eddy, Lord Or Legend, for the below assertions:

  • If Jesus was more myth than reality, why was Jesus written to be the leader He was? The Jews were hoping for and expecting a leader to crush their oppressors, yet Jesus died at the hands of the Romans. Fictional character descriptions usually exceed your expectations.
  • If you are going to make up a movement, why are the leaders described in such flawed terms? One of the twelve disciples betrayed Jesus for a few bucks. Other disciples constantly doubted Jesus while Peter (aka “Upon This Rock…) denied knowing Jesus during tough times. Legends, rather than historical characters, aren’t weak but strong, invincible, heroes.
  • Why was Jesus based on actual current history events as contrived legends are based on events once upon a time, long ago to avoid verification? It was written Jesus was born when Augustus was emperor and crucified when Pilate was governor. Jesus was referred to as James’ brother which could be confirmed at the time of writing (Gal. 1:19). Good Lord, if you are going to claim Jesus came back from the dead you don’t write being seen by 500 witnesses possible living at the time (I Cor. 15:6). Maybe Jesus did resurrect as confirmable by living, talking eyewitnesses.
  • If Jesus didn’t actually live in the first century as a human being, why did the writers record that their readers were being persecuted from the same people that crucified Jesus (I Thess. 2:13-15)? Maybe Jesus lived during the same first century as the readers.
  • Aren’t legends created to reinforce current beliefs? The Jews were very much a one-god people since Old Testaments days, unlike surrounding cultures who worshiped many gods. You don’t make up a person claiming to be God – a second God – since they don’t reinforce current beliefs. Maybe Jesus was real and the writers wished to pen accurately Jesus’ words.
  • Why would writers talked about Jesus’ disdain for rituals, unless Jesus truly spoke how certain practices made a mockery of the message of love? The Jews had many sacred traditions revered for centuries, claiming such rituals were necessary to be accepted by God.
  • When making up stuff you don’t report your leader was crucified, that your hero was rejected by their family, and followers doubted Jesus’ claims including being God in flesh, unless reporting the facts. Jesus simply was not the stuff legends were made up.

Keep in mind most biblical scholars accept that the Gospels – stories about Jesus – were written within 30-50 years of Jesus’ life. Legends do not develop within such a short time, as eyewitnesses can dispute claims made. Historical research can only suggest probabilities not certainties, but the Bible’s historical reliability far surpasses any other ancient literatures.

Don’t use possible wrong interpretations as an excuse to not pursue a relationship with God. You don’t have to believe all the things suggested about Jesus according to one’s interpretation of the Bible. Ask God to help you understand what God is truly like and how you can have a relationship. Any loving parent would salivate if a grown child made such a request. Why wouldn’t God? Consider what aspects about God you believe are true according to your understanding of what Jesus proclaims, that might inspire you in your desires to live a more loving life toward others. I can think of no greater legacy. If skeptical about God, what do you have to lose? See here.

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  

If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

It is claimed if the Bible isn’t inspired, then we can’t know God. But the Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God, because we disagree what it says for major moral issues. Making God in the Bible’s image is complicated. Universal moral outrage concerning murder, sexual abuse, etc. hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but we know we ought to love others as we want to be loved. The idea that a loving God approves of beheading people for their beliefs can only arise from the notion that a Book is inspired by God thus speaks for God.

We can best know God through our moral intuitions

It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Godly love and perfect human love are surely one and the same. What is perfect love? Every reasonable human being respects the golden rule in relationships. We were born to use our moral sense. Beliefs that don’t seemingly lead to loving your neighbor more may be amiss, because they are contrary to our moral intuitions of perfection. We just know intuitively that we were created to love one another as our Creator loves us – perfectly.

Bible-believing Christians even suggest trusting your moral intuitions

Even those who claim God is a mystery believe in judging God according to moral human intuitions. Many argue God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. (I think it’s crazy talk to say God can do bad but then call God good). Such interpreters, who would agree humans were created in God’s image, are using their moral intuitions to imply God and human love are the same.

We can make God in the image of a perfect human lover 

Most agree only a perfectly good or loving God is worth believing in. 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). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). We don’t always know what perfect love entails but we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly aka am I loving others like our Creator loves. Problems often begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on our understanding from an inspired Book. 

An analogy helps to discern what might be commonalities in understanding God. The Bible refers to God as our Heavenly Father/Parent. God is a Spirit so God obviously isn’t exactly like human parents for we cannot be in all places at one time. It is only natural to think a Creator would love us in the same way we wished to be loved by our parents. God has revealed themselves. God’s image is a perfect, loving Parent!

Don’t make God in a “male’s” image 

We don’t think of God having more of the male than female anatomy. Both male and female best describe God’s image (Genesis 1:26). God is described as a woman in childbirth (Isaiah 42:14), or “a great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors.” (Ezek 17:3) Clearly, God is neither male, female, nor an eagle in terms of gender or form.  The gods of the nations in biblical times were described as either male or female; the Jews did not speculate about the gender of God. The reason for more male references is the patriarchal cultures writers lived in.

We still must be discerning making God in Jesus’ image 

It is argued, because of the challenges understanding God and violence in the Old Testament, that Jesus is the final word in understanding God. Jesus claimed to be God and His moral legacy seems undeniable. But God-followers don’t always agree what Jesus taught because of transmission, translation, and interpretation. Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other cheek 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 even when reading the New Testament and what Jesus taught.

What is God really like according to perfect, human moral sense? 

I will list only a few beliefs that make no moral sense to me. For a full railing see here.

  • God can’t be a hellish sadist. Such pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies. The only reason to believe Hell exist is because of some book, but I doubt the traditional understanding of Hell exist in the Bible. See here.
  • God can’t be a religion excluder. A loving God wouldn’t only let Christians into heaven when the majority of people born into this world died without knowledge of Jesus the Christ. One’s religion, or rebellion against a certain religion, is often based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Is God a God of chance?
  • God can’t be a homophobe. A loving God couldn’t possibly condemn gays when they can no more choose who they are attracted to than straights can? If you are a straight man, aren’t you naturally attracted to looking at naked women than men? Ask gays their attractions! Who chooses to be gay when one has to hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility?
  • God can’t be a sexist. God wouldn’t put men in leadership position over women which has enabled dominance on the man’s part leading to atrocities women face at the hands of men. The Bible can be interpreted to restrict roles or endorse roles according to gifts not gender. Shouldn’t the most qualified or gifted, whether male or female, be appointed CEO, preacher, or priest?

 Mental images of God shape our relationship with God and how followers treat others. If God really created Hell, we may think we should emulate God in our attempts to judge and punish. Uncertainty is not always a bad thing and can lead to acting more loving. I will address the issue of uncertainty in an upcoming post. Certain laws are just common, moral sense. Live by understandings of God that you sense are true of a loving God. You may be right!

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  

If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

Since we can’t prove God inspired the Bible or not, I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible. It’s natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. But even if God did somehow magically control the thoughts and words of the writers, literature is still subject to interpretation. It is common for biblical scholars to have different interpretations of the same passages. Failure to recognize differences can lead to false accusations against God.

An inspired Bible leads down the slippery slope toward inspired interpretations

Many proclaim “The Bible teaches” without adding “according to my understanding.” When one fails to acknowledge their interpretation could be wrong, this can lead to forcing personal convictions wrongly on others in God’s name. The Bible can’t be an authoritative guide about God because we disagree what it says regarding gays, women’s roles, Hell, etc. The truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or that biblical writers always understood God perfectly. The possibility that the Bible isn’t entirely inspired by God avoids the slippery slope toward supposed inspired interpretations. A fallible Book, rather than an infallible Book, encourages evaluating the most likely view of a loving God.

An inspired Bible leads to condoning violence 

Biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war (I Sam 15:3).  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 assumed inspired by God, this can more likely lead to violence in God’s name.

An inspired Bible leads 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. It may also surprise some 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? Let’s say all agreed on an interpretation of a Book’s passage on gays. An inspired Book assumes the biblical writers always portrayed God perfectly. We don’t know that.  Religions, because of an inspired Book, have defended condemning or even killing homosexuals in God’s name.

An inspired Bible leads to the destruction of souls and families in the name of God 

Ever moral fiber in a parent’s body doesn’t wish to condemn their child for feelings they say they can no more control toward those of the same sex than heterosexuals can control their feelings toward the opposite sex. Biblical passages that condemn homosexuality are highly debatable which should lead us to listen to our moral senses. God surely supports all loving, consensual, caring relationships to avoid heart-break. Family members and friends no longer need to be broken-hearted by thinking their devotion to God requires them to reject their loved ones. Why would anyone choose to be gay based on the condemnation and bigotry they face? It just isn’t possible to be told “I love you but I hate your sin” and not feel unloved and rejected. We must be guided by love – how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?

An inspired Bible leads to rejecting God for the wrong reasons

Church-goers gain most of their understanding of God from the Bible. Many non-going church people are impacted by what others claim about God according to the Bible. Try telling people with a straight face a perfect moral God tortures forever after death for beliefs held while a short time here on earth. What many assume of a good God doesn’t always match what the Bible says! Many insist the Bible can’t support evolution. If one believes evolution is a possibility, this forces them to reject the Bible and often God goes with that. Maybe Genesis isn’t meant to be a historical or scientific rendering of creation but written to illustrate there was a Creator.

Would you naturally assume if not for your understanding of a Book:

  • God condemns gays though gays no more choose to be gay than straights choose to be straight
  • God prohibits women serving as pastors or priests though we all know many women that are a lot smarter and better leaders than a whole lot of men
  • God judges based on religion when the religion the majority adhere to depends where born

An inspired Bible leads to Christian hypocrisy 

One would think God followers wouldn’t be so judgmental. Jesus hung out with all kinds of people who didn’t share His beliefs. Jesus’ ire was saved for religious leaders mispresenting God. Christians who follow Jesus’ teaching often judge more than love one another. Why isn’t a Following who claims the importance of loving others as themselves having more of an impact on our culture? It is hard to make a big impact in the world alone. A Movement though can! But more churches are forming than uniting because of differences in interpretations and claiming certainty.

What first steps can we take to show true love?  

Extremists hide behind a supposed infallible Book. Certain absolutes should be obvious to all such as beheading people for unbelief. A God torturing many forever in Hell seems extremist to many of us. Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are biblically superior. As my beliefs were forming and changing over the decades, I wasn’t always respectful in sharing my passions. If I had it all to do over, I would have sought to understand first before being understood. This is the best way for relationships to not end up demonizing one another. Don’t assume the Bible is inspired by God. Christians acting loving toward one another could change the world.

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  

If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest

I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible – Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?  It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!

I am not going to address how the early church in the first few centuries understood what was meant by Scriptures being inspired. I think more important is to address what comes to mind today when one hears claims that the Bible was inspired by God. I am convinced when referring to the Bible as inspired, authoritative, infallible, or God-breathed, people naturally think God approves or agrees with all written in the Bible about God. Since it isn’t possible to prove that God somehow controlled all writings about God, are there good reasons to consider not all of the Bible was inspired by God?

Gregory Boyd’s twist on Inspiration

Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. I can’t carry Boyd’s water, so please read his book. The title of the Book suggests Boyd feels it’s important to hold onto that God inspired the Bible. Many assume we can’t know God if the Bible isn’t inspired. Boyd seems to suggest God somehow allowed wrong views written about God so we might better see ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. Numerous passages in the Old Testament God ordered 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 against God to better reveal Jesus? Implying God somehow inspired wrong views about God is just plain confusing. 

Can God really control the writings of any Book?

There is no evidence the Bible was dictated by God or dropped from heaven. A written recording of God’s beginnings with the Israelites culminating in the life of Jesus, regardless of inspiration, can still be valuable so we might question and contemplate what a loving God is really like. God’s freedom-giving nature doesn’t support God controlling mental impressions of the biblical writers or performing a lobotomy. If God is perfect, God can no more be controlling than manipulative.

Can we really defend the Bible is somehow inspired by God? 

The most common defense for arguing the Bible is inspired is to claim the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran or any book being inspired because it claims to be. We can’t prove God controlled the writings of the writers to always portray God accurately. It is just as likely that the Bible is uncontrolled writings that can encourage contemplating what a loving God is really like. See below concerning the claim that the Bible is “God-breathed.”

More reasons to doubt or question that God inspired the Bible

The list of contradictions may be trivial but are sizable. Did God incite David to take a census of Israel (2 Sam 24:10), or did Satan incite David (I Chron 21:1)? Moral challenges are not so trivial. Did God really inspire acts or language of genocide? I mentioned I Samuel 15:3 claims God told Israel to kill men, women, children, infants, and animals. Numerous passages in the Old Testament advocate violence in God’s name. Would a loving God really approve of such violence, or approve certain laws according to Moses to burn alive sexual offenders (Lev 20:14 21:9)? In my next essay I will suggest an inspired view of the Bible can lead to justifying violence, wrongly condemning people such as gays in God’s name, destroying family relationships, etc.

Besides, the Bible has a complicated history

We don’t have the original autographs. If we believe the Bible we hold is inspired by God, we have to logically insist God controlled the copying or editorial process in the beginning. Also, translation is hardly an exact science. Certain Greek or Hebrew words are translated as Hell over 50 times in the King James version. The NIV uses the word hell 14 times. Some translations don’t use the word hell once. The history of the canon’s development is complicated. The formation of the Old Testament was a long, slow development over centuries. Did God inspire that process? The truth is we can’t know if we have the books of the Bible God intended to convey truth, or there are other books that have been excluded to convey truth about God.

What about when the Bible records “God said”?   

Biblical writers didn’t typically claim audible God-speak. “God said” though is recorded hundreds of times in the Bible, but this may be a figure of speech expressing inner impressions about God. Such impressions could be right or wrong. Writers/editors of the Bible weren’t lying about their understandings of God. Exodus 20: 1-17 says “all these words” were spoken to Moses from God regarding the 10 commandments. The 10 commandments are repeated again in Deuteronomy 5:6-18 but with slight word variation. Shouldn’t both passages be the same verbatim?

Karen Keen in Scripture, Ethics, And Same-Sex Relationships points out that a scribe added sentences to the oldest manuscript we know of on Isaiah 2: 9-11. Our current Bibles read (The italicized words added to the original): “So people will be brought low and everyone humbled— do not forgive them. Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty! The eyes of the arrogant will be humble and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (p. 59, 126). Later scribes intensified God’s anger which may or may not best portray God’s true nature. See here for additional examples.

What about the Bible claiming to be God-breathe?

2 Tim 3:16-17 is the only time Scriptures uses the Greek word “theopneustos” which literally means God-breathed: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so the servant of God may be equipped for good works.”

  • God-breathed can also be interpreted literally as God-spirited. But the word Scripture isn’t in the original. The Greek word translated as Scripture is “graphis” or writings and isn’t referring necessarily to just the Bible as we know it. This passage can be declaring: God’s Spirit can use all writings (graphis) including Scripture, whether having right or wrong views of God, to equip us for good works.
  • Scripture “writings” in this passage could only be referring to OT writings because NT writings weren’t known. The final OT and NT canon wasn’t decided on for centuries.
  • Jesus when leaving this earth said His Spirit, not some Book, would guide us in truth (Jn 14:16-17; 16:13). Jesus even said the Scriptures didn’t contain all that Jesus said or did: “Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have enough room for the books that would be written.” (Jn 21:25).

In summary, God can speak to us through the Scriptures we have. God can also speak to us through other writings, even possible mediums such as music, so we can be equipped for good works.  I have written elsewhere how God’s Spirit may guide us.  See here.

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  

We can only speculate what happens after death, but it makes sense to explore if God gave the biblical writers special insights about the afterlife. That means talking about heaven and hell. One must admit Hell makes no moral sense – a loving God a sadistic torturer? Imperfect humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their enemies. A loving God couldn’t possibly torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. I am convinced the Bible agrees. 

The Old Testament says nothing about the traditional understanding of Hell

Adam and Eve weren’t warned of Hell if eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Noah warned of a global destructive flood, but he was silent on Hell as a consequence for behaviors here on earth. So were the OT prophets. The Hebrew word Sheol in the Old Testament, translated into the English word Hell, described a place of darkness occupied by the dead regardless of beliefs – not a torture chamber for unbelievers (Job 10:18-22). Some Bibles translate Sheol as Sheol.

What does the New Testament say about Hell?

The Greek word Gehenna is translated into the English world Hell. In ancient times children were sacrificed in fire at Gehenna, a valley outside Jerusalem. Many scholars consider Gehenna a metaphor used by Jesus to describe how an evil life leads to destruction, not a fiery place where sinners go for never-ending punishment. Also, it is odd that the main writer of the NT, the Apostle Paul, never mentioned Hell. Finally, the Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation is likely figurative, unless dragons with seven heads and ten horns really exist (Rev. 12:3).

What did Jesus say about heaven or eternal life?

The word “heaven” appears the most in the Gospel of Matthew. The Kingdom of Heaven isn’t a place to go after life on earth. Jesus sought to bring heavenly love to earth – “on earth as in heaven.” Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life. He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37) – loving God is loving your neighbor. Jesus didn’t speak on quantity of life after death but about the quality of life living here on earth – kingdom living.

How might God handle justice after death?

Punishment doesn’t bring back a victim’s robbed memories of the future due to the murder of a loved one. Real justice is understanding your victim’s pain and accepting the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every unrepented action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. We can have less concerns about justice in the future by accepting God’s influence in our life here on earth. 

What would a good God promise? 

The Bible suggests 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. Make sense if a good God exists. Isn’t such a legacy your deep-down desire? Belief in an invisible God takes faith. The advantage of a relationship with a loving God is that there is a voice outside imperfect beings – a God who inspires, forgives, encourages. I have faith that a God who can create can provide life after death.

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  

The majority of people according to polls believe in a Supreme Being or God. I am not talking about how many go to church or synagogue weekly but God being more of peoples’ daily conversation. I’m not being judgmental. I enjoy talking about God for my spiritual health but often struggle to always walk the talk. I begin blogging years ago about God, because I couldn’t find people who wanted to converse about God. We don’t often get personal with others, but aren’t conversations about God as important as family and work relationships?

Maybe because of what you think God is like

Now, many are willing to talk about God – churchgoers – but many of us left the institutional church because claims about God’s character was contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. Why believe in a God you can’t respect. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Beliefs about God’s love that don’t match how you know you ought to love your neighbor may be amiss. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Maybe because previous conversations have been “gotcha” conversions

Conversations with God followers often feels like them trying to change your beliefs. I hate to admit I use to have an agenda with those outside the church. I was taught God’s good news was saving people from Hell so they could get into Heaven. I was wrong according to Jesus. See here.   The ship may have sailed others trusting us to have open conversations. All I know to do is to focus on a life where actions speak louder than words and blog.

Maybe because God-followers make faith in God so complicated 

Many Christians insist on certain beliefs or saying a magic prayer to be a true follower. It’s said you can’t just believe there is a God; the Devil believes in a God! But the Devil was committed to opposing God. I’m not convinced the majority have such a commitment. The Bible even claims faith is what you can’t see, not a set of beliefs. (Heb 11:1) Why can’t a God follower be one who hopes/believes in a good God and seeks help being the person they deep down desire to be?

Maybe because it is said all of the Bible claims about God are true 

Scholars interpret the same passages differently – God condemns gays; God doesn’t condemn gays. We mustn’t act as if our interpretations are inspired by God. And we can’t prove the biblical writers always got God right. Don’t reject God because some claim the Bible doesn’t allow the possibility that God used evolution in the creative process. No one was there in the beginning. You don’t have to believe in Hell, that God is bias against women, that God condemns gays, etc. Don’t disregard your moral intuitions in discerning what God is like. See Rethinking The Bible

Maybe because so much evil and suffering in the world don’t mix with God

I don’t blame you thinking a God who can prevent suffering but doesn’t is no different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused. It is said “everything that happens is part of God’s plan” to supposedly protect God’s all-powerful character. We claim God is a mystery to justify God’s evil is sometimes good. Crazy talk! Controlling love is an oxymoron. God’s nature requires their love to be unselfish and uncontrolling. There may be plausible explanations as to why evils exist and God doesn’t intervene. God may only be able to intervene when there is human cooperation. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord.

Maybe because of some trauma in your life

A child sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God betrayed as our Father in Heaven. Does God really judge them? As mentioned, some are open or desperately want to believe in God but can’t get their head around why a loving God doesn’t intervene more with so much evil in the world. Does God really judge them? I wasn’t close to my parents. I can’t explain why I accepted than rebelled against their beliefs in God.

Maybe because God-followers as a group are poor role models

We are all hypocrites, but God followers should at least admit and do something about their failings. Clearly Christians don’t get along as more and more churches and denominations keep forming that creates division not unity. Christian opinions should be able to stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving way. Religious leaders fail way too often only to deny their actions and act more authoritative than loving.

Maybe taking a leap of faith is worth it

I must admit I have no idea why many have an intuitive sense of a supreme power or being and other don’t. Let’s don’t accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch or those who question the reality of an invisible God as being evil. If wrong to doubt God exists, Christians sin if doubt God in tough times. It seems a loving God should be up to your challenging God to somehow prove they are worth following. Don’t believe everything others claim about God. If inclined, find a way to include God in your life and thoughts regularly. I am convinced believing in a good God and seeking help to pursuing a godly life is not in vain.

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  

Many are inclined to believe there is a Creator, but it’s understandable why many find it hard to believe in an invisible, inaudible God or Spirit. A major obstacle may be claims made about God, often according to one’s understanding or interpretation of the Bible. It is claimed God condemns gays, God is bias against women in roles in the institutional church or other settings, and that God has created a place such as Hell where unbelievers will suffer forever after their death here on earth. It is a hard sell to suggest God’s character is contrary to our deepest moral intuitions.

The Bible can’t be the authoritative guide about God

Biblical scholars with a deep respect for Scriptures don’t interpret the Bible as opposing women priests or preachers or that God condemns gays. See here. See here.  Scholars don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. And we can’t prove God inspired thus controlled the thoughts of the writers to always portray God accurately. It is just as likely that the Bible is uncontrolled writings that encourage contemplating what a loving God is really like. See Rethinking The Bible

So how can we know what God is like? 

It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Beliefs about God’s love that don’t match how we know we ought to love our neighbor may be amiss. Even the Bible implies perfect human love and God’s love are one and the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). It isn’t too presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like though our moral consciences. Don’t believe everything you hear about God! See here.

Why would a relational God be a total mystery? 

The universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Even those who claim God is a mystery judge God according to moral human intuitions. They claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective. (Crazy talk to suggest God can do bad but then call it good). Christians speak of the Holy Spirit guiding them. Unless the Spirit talks to us audibly or visibly, we must discern the Spirit’s guidance by examining our intuitions.

How can we have a relationship with God if we can’t be certain?

God’s plan isn’t a detailed blueprint, to let us in on future secrets, but a general one to set us free to love. A free future can’t be known. God doesn’t have to speak directly about moral decisions. Some decisions are clearly immoral – murder, stealing, adultery. Many decisions aren’t clearly moral. God joins us in an unknown future to take risks to change the world.

So what? Our mental images of God can make a difference in our relationship with God and how we treat others. The more you respect your earthly parents or God, the greater their influence. God’s influence is the only way I know to explain my constant desires to be a better husband, father, and friend. I don’t fail as often as I think I might on my own. Why is God so hidden? God may communicate in less demonstrative ways to allow for non-coerced decisions that lead to lasting convictions. God may speak to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!

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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