Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Which Bible Will You Choose? We've Got 'Just The One For You' In Eden's Big Bible Sale

I've been thinking a lot about the bible recently: it's authenticity, origins, reasons for being like it is and infallibility as 'the word of God'. While that particular discussion is probably one I'm unlikely to have outside my own head, there was something about the title of this email, posted above, that made me consider how disposable the bible is in modern Christianity. "Don't like that bit of theology? Well here's another translation that puts a different spin on the words".

I was also thinking about some of Paul's writings, how they came to us and why they were written, about whether he'd be as dogmatic about things now as he was then. It also occurred to me that, once I started analysing in a less God-focussed, more intellectual fashion then all sorts of things like women in leadership seem much more reasonable - essentially the further I am from God, the more sense they make.

I've made a big jump over the last decade, from being essentially fundamentalist but wanting to know the truth to viewing things with a far less faith-driven eye and being much more questioning. Is this good? Some would say so, but it's far from ideal, having neither the assurance of knowledge, nor the reassurance of faith.


  1. I'm hesitant to begin something here, but I wonder about your assertion that finding an idea you've historically disagreed with more reasonable seemed to correspond to a less God-focussed reading of scripture. That's a pretty strong statement and *seems* to suggest that vast swaths of people who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that the Bible is authoritative but disagree with you on these things are not God-focussed in their reading of scripture. That's certainly possible, but I'm not sure that can be extrapolated from your personal experience.

    (How would you assess the level of God-focussed-ness of your reading?)

    I'm really reluctant to leave this comment. It feels argumentative. I'm not sure whether it is or isn't. :) But that comment just rubbed me the wrong way.

    But I am also rubbed the wrong way by Bible marketing, although perhaps for different reasons. So we agree there. :)

    1. Hi Marc, thanks for commenting, really.

      I'm making no judgements of other people, but as my relationship with God is decreasingly intimate and my approach to scripture more analytical, it becomes more natural to apply the values of society and experience to scripture. For example, I've always been firmly convinced that women should not normally have a place in church government from the way I read scripture at face value, but intellectually and experientially I reject that view because women are often more faithful, and are frequently the support and lifeline of the modern church. The less I see God, the more reasonable this approach becomes.

      Do I think "vast swaths of people who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that the Bible is authoritative but disagree with you on these things are not God-focussed in their reading of scripture"? We all believe lots of stuff, often imparted by those we grew up with, those we respect and those that just suit our world view in the way we hear them express 'truths'. Some of that stuff is likely true and some not - in me and in them. Are there many truths or just One? I'm not sure, but I'm looking for a truth that is absolute, rather than relative, and what I'm finding is that there's often lots of stuff that all sorts of sources say about God that, when rubber hits the road, doesn't always turn out to mean what 'men of faith' said it did.

      If your perception is that I'm not happy about things then it would be correct. What bothers me is that I perceive God to be at work less and less, and it makes me re-evaluate who God might really be and the 'promises' that some are so quick to quote and then so quick to forget they quoted them when stuff doesn't come to pass. "15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. James has it: "16 If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"

      So you might say I'm still working through stuff. This is specifically related to some things that have happened, and I am disappointed & have no peace about it. C'est la vie.


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