I implore you to enter 2013 thoughtfully and prayerfully considering:
“God’s teachings are clear about…” only works as a trump card if we believe that the bible is the inerrant, unfiltered, literal/factual word of God.
I can still be a Christian if I understand that the collection of texts we now have as the canon were written by fallible men in particular historical contexts, laden with their own limited and prejudicial world view, then later filtered by men laden with their own limited and agenda-laced world-views as the ultimate tool of power over the masses.
As I assent to the complex and problematic origins of the book we now call The Bible then I can begin to relate to the text in a deeper, more faithful & humble, complex & intelligent way that acknowledges that:
1. We humans struggle mightily to comprehend That Which Cannot Be Understood – and the bible is a perfect example of humans screwing up over and over again as they try to figure out their relationship with The Ultimate.
2. The Holy permeates far more than our limited world-views and cognitive ability can discern. No matter how smart we think we are, no matter what someone smarter than us (even if “they” are Calvin, Luther or Wesley) has told us – our view of the Infinite will always be unbelievably limited.
3. God is still speaking – through our beautiful and broken work in quiet and cacophonous ways. Sometimes through texts, sometimes through people, sometimes through tragedy and sometimes through triumph. Rarely can we understand a single syllable of what is being said.And no, to those who like to throw out the straw-man “so I guess that means we are free to write our own version of bible”
To claim that The Bible is the literal, infallible word of That Which Cannot be understood is:
A. a relatively new concept that is not consistent with historical Christianity
B. the easy way out that does not require us to think with the brains and hearts given to us by God
C. denies the movement of the Holy Spirit in the world today
D. creates of the Bible an idol above Christ
E. ignores the fact that The Bible has been redacted and re-written and re-canonized as humans have seen fit over the centuries
E. heretically claims that one can know the mind of God once and for all
Questions are holy. Certitude is specious at best.