4 thoughts about the Bible as a “human book”

Christians confess the Bible as “God’s word,” which means (among other things) that God had something to do with the production of it–though, the honest person will admit, we don’t really know nor can we adequately articulate what that “something” is, and calling it “inspiration” or “revelation” is simply assigning a milti-syllable word to that unknown process.

Be that as it may, the history of Christian theology hasn’t been at all shy about providing various models of biblical inspiration and the Bible as God’s revelation.

But the Bible was also–and this is self-evidently true–written by people, real people, with personalities, histories, questions, perceptions, worries, fears, etc.

That brings us to a struggle a lot of Christians have with the Bible: thinking of the Bible, God’s word, as a human book?

To which I would like to offer 4 points.

1. Change “as” to “is.” The Bible is a human book, meaning there is nothing in the Bible that does not fully reflect the human drama and that cannot be explained on the basis of its “humanity.”

In other words, there is nothing in the Bible to which one can point and say, “Ah, here is something that is divine and NOT human.” “As” falsely suggests distance between the Bible’s thoroughgoing humanness.

2. Though the Bible is not merely a human book, it is nevertheless a thoroughly human book. That is a paradox, a confessed by faith.

The evangelical challenge concerning scripture can be summarized as the need to work through a true synthesis where the “humanity” of scripture is truly respected.

In other words, the Bible reflects various and sundry (not one) ancient (not modern Christian) ways of thinking about God and the life of faith, and these factors need to be thoroughly integrated into any discussion of the “nature of scripture.”

3. The evangelical system has not always done a good job of pulling off his synthesis. The thoroughgoing humanness of the Bible is often doctrinally uncomfortable, and so is adjusted, ignored, or neutered to protect theological statements about the nature of scripture.

Another way of articulating the challenge: true dialogue is needed between the Bible as a means of deep spiritual formation and “taking seriously” Scripture’s thoroughgoing humanity.

Of course, just what “taking seriously” means is the money question, and too often in evangelical formulations, at the end of the day, the diverse and ancient nature of Scripture is either tolerated or tamed rather than allowed truly to inform Scripture’s role in spiritual formation.

4. I offer three interrelated models for Bible readers today for engaging the Bible with greater attention to the Bible’s own character as a means toward, rather than impediment for, spiritual formation.

A dialogical model: Taking a page from the history of Judaism and much of premodern Christianity, the Bible is a book where God is met through dialogue rather than primarily as a source of doctrinal formulations.

Reading the Bible well means being open and honest about what we see there rather than feeling doctrinally pressed to corral all parts of Scripture into a logically coherent system. The dialogical model is woven into the Bible itself, e.g., Job, Ecclesiastes, and lament Psalms, which challenge the the status quo.

A journey model: Rather than a depository of theological statements disguised as a narrative, the Bible models our spiritual journey by letting us in on the spiritual journey of the ancient Israelites and first followers of Jesus.

This model allows the theological and historical tensions and contradictions to stand as statements of faith at various stages of that journey rather than problems to be overcome in preserving a “system” or “owner’s manual” approach to Scripture. (I focus on the journey model in The Bible Tells Me So.)

An incarnational model: I continue to think that an incarnational model of Scripture provides needed theological flexibility for addressing theI&I2 realities of a Bible that is both located squarely and unambiguously located in antiquity and continues to be sacred scripture.

[This post is adapted from an earlier post from January 2014. Watch for the revised 10th anniversary edition of Inspiration and Incarnation coming out later this summer.]

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  • Kim Fabricius

    Substitute the word “Bible” with the name “Jesus” and make the appropriate lexical and syntactical adjustments and I dare say you could just about re-title this fine post as “4 thoughts about Christ as a ‘human being'”. So much conservative evangelical Christology, particularly the demotic variety, amounts to practical docetism/Apollinarianism/Eutycheanism.

    • peteenns

      Tru dat.

      • James M

        “Robed in flesh the Godhead see”, in the hymn by Charles Wesley, is unfortunate. Bible-Onlyism leads to serious errors.

  • mhelbert

    And, point 5?

  • W Kumar

    “The thoroughgoing humanness of the Bible is often doctrinally uncomfortable, and so is adjusted, ignored, or neutered to protect theological statements about the nature of scripture.”

    Dr. Enns, can you please give an example of this?

    • peteenns

      Genesis and myth. Paul and Second Temple midrash. Postexilic editing/authoring of the Pentateuch. Ancient historiography vs. modern notions of accuracy. There’s more.

      • newenglandsun

        You mention the evangelical system when you make that statement. I’m curious about other non-evangelical systems that are more ecclesiological in their interpretation of the Bible.

        • James M

          Catholic & Anglican exegesis is totally at home with the presence of myth, legend & fiction in the Bible. The Anglicans adjusted sooner than the CC.

          Isaiah 7.14 is word for word identical with a line in a poem from Ugarit – IOW, it’s “pagan”. Like so much else: the myth about the “sons of God” in Gen.6.1-4; the motif of bulls or oxen as bearers of the ark of the covenant in 2 Sam.6 & as supporters of the brazen sea in the Temple of Solomon; the “sea” itself; the myth of the fight with the sea-serpent in Isaiah 27.1 & elsewhere; the echoes of the Babylonian “poem of creation”, tablet 6, in Genesis 11.1-9; the Hebrew version of a Babylonian version of the Sumerian flood-myth, in Genesis 6.5-8.22.

          A lot of Fundamentalists castigate Catholic types of Christianity as bad because (supposedly) Babylonian – but the Bible these Fundamentalists claim to esteem so highly really does have Babylonian – & Ugaritic, and Egyptian – features in it. The Bible has a pre-history going back at least to 2000 BC – it is from one POV a summary of the religious experience of the entire Ancient Near East. It is totally human – and totally Divine.

          • newenglandsun

            HUH?!? Catholics take Isaiah 7:14 as referring to the Virginal Conception and so do many Anglicans including my own ACA. This is part of the creeds that we accept. Where it came from hardly matters as Matthew uses it in describing the Virginal Conception.

  • Aidan Clevinger

    If we’re seeing a parallel between the incarnation and inspiration, such that the Bible’s words are at once human and divine, then shouldn’t I believe in its innerancy? Jesus is the Incarnate One, and His humanity is perfect. While He hid His glory in the days of His flesh, He manifested it during His miracles, exorcisms, and Transfiguration. Now that He has risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, Jesus exercises His glory fully in and through His humanity; as a man He rolls back stones, appears in locked rooms, governs the world, rules the Church, sends the Holy Spirit; He is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, incorruptible; His flesh and blood are capable of communicating eternal life.

    If the Word made flesh is the template/model for the Scriptures, shouldn’t I see the latter as perfect, just as I see the former as perfect? If God is incarnate, not by the changing of the divinity into humanity, but by the assumption of the humanity into the Godhead, then shouldn’t I see the Scriptures as “incarnate,” not by the inclusion of human error or mistake, but by making human words the very words of God?

    • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

      I’d hesitate to make too much of the analogy. The Bible is not God come in the form of a book.

      Also, Jesus’ body had human frailties. If dust irritated his mucus membranes, he sneezed. He could be injured or killed. He got gassy. He was not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. He had a human brain, a human heart, and human chemicals coursing through his veins. He grew up learning a particular language and a particular trade in a particular culture. He also made statements that were not historically accurate – we typically call them “parables.”

      • Patrick

        Are “parables” meant to be historically accurate? I always understood them to be another way of “telling stories” in a way that connect with the audience and mostly including a climatic end.

        • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

          You’re absolutely right. They aren’t at all meant to be historically accurate. They’re meant for a different purpose altogether. This demonstrates that Jesus wasn’t “inerrant” in the technical sense that inerrantists expect the Bible to be inerrant.

      • Andrew Dowling

        Parables were not meant to convey history, but to your point, of course there is Mark 2:26.

        • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

          My point was exactly that parables were not meant to convey history. But the OP said that if the Bible were a divine/human product, he’d be forced to accept it as inerrant just as Jesus was. I just used parables as an example of how Jesus wasn’t “inerrant” in the terms of the inerrantists.

      • Aidan Clevinger

        Phil,

        I agree that Jesus’ body had human frailties. He was injured or killed, got gassy, had illnesses, etc. But that doesn’t mean He wasn’t omniscient or omnipotent, but simply that He witheld the exercise of those attributes. And He didn’t do this all the time. He suffers and dies on the cross in utter weakness; He also walked on water, raised the dead, healed the ill, and “knew what was in a man.” Christ’s self-emptying wasn’t the giving up of His divine attributes, but His setting aside their use so that He could experience the full measure of human weakness without sin.

        And of course, we also have to consider that Jesus is no longer in His humiliation. He is still very much a man now that He has risen from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God, and yet He rules the cosmos, raises the dead, governs His Church, and upholds the entire fabric of the universe as a man. To be omnipotent or omniscient does not contradict the essence of humanity – not for Christ.

        In the same way, it does not contradict the Bible’s humanity to affirm that it is inerrant. In fact, as I pointed out in my comment above, the perfection of Christ in the Incarnation and, in an analogous way, the Bible in its inspiration is kind of the *point*. Jesus took humanity, not only to redeem it from sin, but to glorify it and take it into the life of God. Just as human nature in Christ participates in the immortal life of the Trinity, so also human words in the inspiration of the Spirit participate in His perfect knowledge and power.

        • peteenns

          “But that doesn’t mean He wasn’t omniscient or omnipotent, but simply that He witheld the exercise of those attributes.”

          How do you know this, Aidan?

          • Aidan Clevinger

            In the first place, because the Scriptures consistently describe Jesus as having the capacity to exercise those attributes. He performed miracles, raised the dead (a defining characteristic of God), walked on water, etc. He did this, not only because He was enabled by His Father (John 5:18, 8:28) and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:28), but also as a manifestation of His own glory (John 2:11). Even in the days of His earthly ministry, Jesus possessed that rule over all things which He would manifest more fully in His resurrection (Luke 10:22). Moreover, Jesus also was able, when He wanted, to know all things. He discerned others’ secret thoughts (Luke 6:8, John 2:24-25). He received and affirmed His disciples’ confession of His omniscience (John 16:29-33). Despite all these, we also clearly see that Jesus had to grow in knowledge (Luke 2), was ignorant of certain things (Luke 8:45, Matthew 24:36), needed food and sustenance, and, of course, suffered and died. There is therefore a paradox between Jesus’ weakness and power, humiliation and glory. We see the answer to the paradox in Philippians 2:5-11: Jesus voluntarily humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross, and chose to take “the form of a servant.” His glory and power were concealed as a function of His humility.

            Second, Jesus is, at this moment, controlling all things in the universe at the right hand of God, and has “filled all things” (Ephesians 4). If omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence violate Christ’s humanity, then He is now no longer human. Because this is not the case – He *is* still human – it is no violation of His humanity to say that He was, even in the days of His ministry, in full possession of His divine attributes.

            Third, God does not change. While it is true that Christ “emptied Himself,” it is also true that He is the same “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus therefore did not *lose* His divine attributes in the Incarnation, but concealed them and refrained from using them for a time so that He could take up sinners’ humble place and suffer and die for them.

            Fourth, the above opinions have been the teaching of the Church nearly from the beginning. More recently the Lutheran Church has maintained this teaching, as seen in our confessional documents, which cite the Church Fathers in support of their conclusions, and in works of Lutheran Christology, such as Martin Chemnitz’s “The Two Natures in Christ.” The fact of Christ’s possession of divine attributes, even in His humanity, is a catholic teaching, and therefore shouldn’t be discarded unless we have absolutely compelling reason from the Scriptures to believe that the Church has gotten things wrong on this point. The Scriptures, far from condemning this belief, are its source.

          • peteenns

            Your proof texts are unconvincing to me, Aidan.

          • Aidan Clevinger

            I’m sorry to hear that.

          • http://thecuttingledge.com/ Phil Ledgerwood

            Moses parted the Red Sea, called down plagues on Egypt, healed the sick with a brass serpent, and brought water out of a rock. Paul and Peter both raised someone from the dead and performed other miracles, not the least of which was healing. Peter walked on water. Elijah called down fire from heaven and withheld the rain. Moses and Elijah appeared in a glorious transfiguration.

            The ability to perform supernatural acts is not evidence of divinity. It is, perhaps, evidence of the power of the Spirit working through a human being.

    • Andrew Dowling

      The only thing ‘human’ about the incarnational model you’re describing I can tell is that Jesus took upon “some” of the biological trappings of humanity temporarily.

      • Aidan Clevinger

        What did I say that’s inaccurate? Did Jesus not perform miracles, raise the dead, even raise Himself (as He states in John)? Moreover, I’m not denying that Christ took our human frailties, except of course for sin. But I am saying that, even in the midst of those frailties, Jesus displays divine attributes.

        Also, Jesus’ taking of human *frailty* is applicable only to His humiliation. After His resurrection, Christ no longer suffers, fears, has pain, requires sustenance, etc. In fact, according to both the Scriptures and the early Church, that was one of the fundamental points of the Incarnation: to take the flawed material of human nature after the Fall and to perfect it by uniting it to the perfection that is in the Son of God. He restores humanity in Himself to the immortal, incorruptible perfection enjoyed by Adam and Eve. Christ is both the model and source for what humanity is going to be in the resurrection.

  • Chris Falter

    While I think all 3 models (dialogue, journey, incarnation) are useful, I am especially intrigued by the dialogue model. If indeed the Scripture is both God-breathed and a human book, it must be a conversation between the two parties involved in its creation. And it serves as an invitation and a means for us to encounter God and continue the conversation.

  • James

    “ancient historiography versus modern notions of accuracy.” The statistical term “margin of error” comes to mind as particularly modern. Yes, claiming inerrancy is also modern, as is the opposite tenancy to make scripture so human as to find errors in it. This is not a good approach to ancient historiography. Perhaps your three models offer positive steps forward in valuing the full scope of scripture–human and divine. Professor Kevin Van Hoozer gets good mileage from the term “Theo-drama.”

    • peteenns

      “Yes, claiming inerrancy is also modern, as is the opposite tenancy to make scripture so human as to find errors in it.”

      face palm, smh, for heaven’s sake, and are you kidding me?

      • James

        The thought came to me that since “error” and it’s awkward negation “inerrant” are so laden with modern scientific notions of accuracy, reliability and therefore truth, we should look for more suitable words to describe biblical history and literature. Even terms like myth, midrash, redactor (editor), etc. need careful explanation lest they undermine the truth beauty of the text. It is hard for us to break out of our narrow frame of reference.

        • peteenns

          I am 100% on board that errant/inerrant are unfortunate non-starters when speaking of scripture.

  • Brad

    Reminds me of Barr’s discussion (In Fundamentalism) about Evangelicals and the doctrine of the humanity of Christ. Barr thinks that Evangelicals effectively deny (or seriously underplay) this doctrine in trying to uphold Christ’s divinity. The same can be said, I suppose, about Scripture.

    • peteenns

      That was a guiding thesis in my Inspiration and Incarnation.

      • AlanCK

        This problem actually goes way further back than evangelicalism. The Jesuit scholar J.A. Jungmann argued in many of his books on worship and liturgy that fear of Arianism led to the downplaying of Christ’s humanity in the Church. Consequently, over time the high priestly role of Jesus Christ in worship was replaced by the magisterium.

        It’s kind of odd to think that evangelicals just might be thinking and worshiping like medieval Catholicism. It does make sense of the offering of worship from prayers to songs to sermons that evangelicalism has developed.

        • newenglandsun

          I’m not entirely certain I would agree with J.A. Jungmann on that assessment. Christ’s humanity is very heavily emphasized (perhaps more-so?) in Western-Rite Churches (Roman, Gallican, Novus Ordo, Tridentine, English Rite Catholicism) than in Eastern-Rite Churches. As well, the magisterium is argued to be a succession of the authority of Christ given to Peter and his successors by Jesus, the high priest. The Catholic magisterium is generally argued to be a reflection of this by Catholic orthodoxy. We non-Catholics might not necessarily have a magisterium of our own but I would not state that the magisterium nullifies the high priesthood of Christ but is rather a way of reflecting the high priesthood of Christ and magnifying the body of Christ. We who don’t have a magisterium have other ways of magnifying the body of Christ as well.

          • AlanCK

            I’d be hesitant to disagree with Jungmann on any assessment of Catholic worship. He wrote the book on it (The Mass of the Roman Rite) and was an invited expert to work on Sacrosanctum Concilium for Vatican II. It is Jungmann the Catholic priest and scholar who asked the question “Where did Jesus Christ and his sole high preisthood go in medieval Catholic worship?” His answer was that the implications of the hypostatic union for worship were subordinated out of fear of Arianism. Note, his critique is not of current practice of the Rite but of praxis that led to the upheaval of the Reformation. Current practice which has, as you noted above, the emphasis of the place of Jesus Christ the man in worship has been a great restoration in Catholicism. It would also be a great thing for Evangelicalism for the implications of the hypostatic union to be lived out in worship.

          • newenglandsun

            I wasn’t talking about current Catholicism with the emphasis of Jesus’s humanity. I was talking about historic Catholicism. And I would hesitate to say VII fixed anything but possibly messed everything up. Where did the beauty of the Catholic liturgy go post-VII? There are many people who have written books on Catholic and Orthodox liturgy. Also, Sacrosanctum Concilium really doesn’t override the Tridentine Mass either as is often times suspected by the liberal “Catholics”. All it does is state that the laity are to have participation in the liturgy which has historically been the case in Catholicism but not in Protestantism where the clergy have tended to dominate the theological conversation.

            I generally tend to side with my Traditionalist Catholic friends concerning liturgical issues. I see nothing wrong with the way that the old liturgy was practiced. Sorry if I may have confused you when I was speaking about historic Catholicism as opposed to current Catholicism.

  • James M

    The Bible has been described as “the Word of God in the words of men” – IMO, an excellent summary of many complex issues.

    FWIW, I do not see that it follows from its being plenarily inspired by God, that it must be – because it cannot avoid being – totally inerrant. I do not believe in the omniscience & infallibility of Christ while He was on earth either. To be man, inspired or not, God-man or not, is to be limited and to be capable of being in error, AFAICS. What is wonderful is not that the Bible is flawless – it has several flaws – but that the flaws and sins in it can be turned to good and holy purposes by God. Joshua 10 is inspired, not because its horrendous Nazi-like brutality has the authority of God to support & bless it, but because God can make even grossly immoral chapters like that a part of His witness to Himself in the life of His People. One consequence of this is that the moral deformity in the Bible does not have the last word – Christ does. Christ saves from the bad stuff in the Bible, and makes the Bible safe for us. Left to itself, it can be very destructive. Of course that is nowhere near a balanced assessment of the whole of its action and function.

  • ravitchn

    The Reformation put the Bible in AS THE WORD OF GOD. Catholic tradition always participated in discerning God’s word. Thus early on, with Augustine’s allegorical view of the bible stories, Catholicism was much more realistic and modest about God’s participation in the bible production. The bible was written by many different Jews over many centuries and often revised, expurgated, and added to. There is no way it is the literal Word of God.

    • charlesburchfield

      w respect, so? are there ppl, places, things that you’ve exp that have set your spirit longing for something deeper than the superficial, touched you in some way to bring tears of hope & joy to your eyes? Have you ever felt that you were ment to belong to a loving, safe community that would welcome you as you are & surround you w an atmosphere of permission to heal & find your voice & your gifts? I think those things are god directly speaking to one & thus are the living word of god. The bible is only as helpful, to me, as a tool or a love poem. To my way of thinking the bible is ppl revealing in their personal & particular time & way some of the remarkable exp they’ve had w god. He is still activly involved & sharing himself w everyone everywhere even tho those things shall never be written in a book. It’s better that they be written in one’s heart I think!

  • baaron31

    “though, the honest person will admit, we don’t really know nor can we adequately articulate what that “something” is, and calling it “inspiration” or “revelation” is simply assigning a milti-syllable word to that unknown process.”

    I think that something is called “wishful thinking” . In fact if you want to be totally honest there is also no proof that there is anything connecting the bible to the Divine. Trying to find that connection in any way is a huge leap of faith.

    • peteenns

      Thanks, baaron31, but I’m not really interested in being “totally honest.” Just partially honest. 😉

      As for a “huge leap of faith,” when it comes to faith in a higher being and that being’s actions, I am utterly convinced that “proof” is a word that needs to be struck from one’s vocabulary.

      • baaron31

        I like how you describe the “journey model” of interpretation but that approach can be adapted pretty much to most fictional literature. As you well said the bible is full of “contradictions and historical tensions” and is clearly a jumbled accumulation of writings by mostly iron age shepherds in the middle east. I also agree that the word “proof” is out of place in these faith conversations. The problem seems to be that once you claim you do not need proof for the massive claims including the claim that a book is the word of god the conversation starts taking an irrational tone. Therefore i definitely concur treating the bible as a simple story book full of metaphors is the most rational way. the bible is definitely not an “owners manual” and shouldn’t be treated as so. This reasoning would definitely be problematic to believers cause if you undermine the sacredness of the bible, torah and koran and consider it as a fictional piece of literature you are also undermining the validity of these religions.

        • peteenns

          I still think that you’re working with an evidentialist/rationalist model of faith–which is only part of the story, not all of it. There is an “irrational” nature to Christian faith. We are being asked to believe some things that defy reason, are we not?

          • charlesburchfield

            yes, definatly dropped out of contact w christians when I quit sunday school.
            No reality to anything I exp there. Was just something others in my fam insisted I go thru. Same thing w grammer thru high school; not my choice to exp but others w power over me judged it would be good for me. Only when I became an adult, messed up my life pretty bad, suffered quite a lot and sought a spiritual path did god reveal himself as a very present help in time of trouble. He’s still doing it!

          • Chris Falter

            By “defy reason” I assume you mean that those things are beyond the ability of reason to grasp or prove, as opposed to being contrary to reason.

          • baaron31

            “There is an “irrational” nature to Christian faith.”
            I couldn’t agree more. I think the foundation of Christian faith is “irrational” in the way that faith requires the believer to believe without empirical proof That is, a religion’s adherents firmly hold beliefs that conflict with and cannot be confirmed by our experience of the natural world, and that appear implausible to people other than the adherents of that particular religion. For example, Hindus believe there is a monkey god who travels thousands of kilometers at a single somersault. The Jewish faith believes that a supernatural being gave a chunk of desert in the Middle East to the being’s favorite people, as their home forever. Catholics believe a woman who had not yet been fertilized by a man became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy, whose body eventually after his death was carried up to a place called heaven, often represented as being located in the sky.

            “We are being asked to believe some things that defy reason, are we not?”

            That is exactly my point but it seems people do not have any issues with that. I think being asked to believe things that defy reason is very dangerous and counterproductive. This is exactly the reason planes exploded in the WTC and countless other atrocities committed in the name of irrational beliefs in the supernatural religious fantasy.
            In this regard I tend to think that believing that a book has some kind of magical attribute is not just plain ridiculous but also dangerous. Bibles are currently being shipped to Syrian refugees to try and replace a supernatural belief with another instead of sending them food and clothes. When are religious people going to stop and think how destructive their irrational beliefs are ? When are we going to admit that just because some beliefs are emotionally satisfying we do not need to do everything in order to justify them and make them look real? Do you think that at least in the western world we are ready to totally do without superstition?

  • BT

    I became convinced a number of years ago that a redemptive/narrative/journey model offered better insights than the standard evangelical view of the bible, but I’d like to see a Part II of this blog explaining the incarnational model you have in mind.

  • wolfeevolution

    Sort of an interesting counterpoint to read this on the first day of Ramadan, when Muslims celebrate the delivery of the Qur’an to Muhammad. Thanks for the wonderful reminder of the differences between the Qur’an and the Bible. I for one am glad that we revel in the human aspects of our Bible.

  • Danny

    The words confess and profess do not mean the same thing. I confess, I am not interested in the bible. I profess that the bible is purely the invention of man.

    • charlesburchfield

      so? I confess i am not impressed w your profession.

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    Why is it that the Bible creates so many problems for itself? On slavery, commands to slaughter whole cities, female and homosexual rights. Even the first commandment, “You will not have any other gods before me,” compared with the U.S. First Amendment, “Freedom of religion.” Not to mention places in the New Testament that emphasize the need to believe without sight, or you will be eternally punished.

    • Rick

      Did the Bible create the problem, or did we?

      • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

        True, if some people had never claimed that the Bible–cover to cover, in every story and example–featured the most divinely inspired writings on earth and was, there would be little problem. I think we need to look at the finest moral wisdom from every time and culture and teach that instead of treating the Bible and Christian doctrines derived from it, as though they were necessary for “salvation.”

    • charlesburchfield

      ed, you seem caught inna trap of your own ‘rational/logical’ brilliant mind and mind worship which amounts to an addiction (you probably have your own reasons and wisdom for doing such!). drop some prejudices & assumptions abt what you’ve so far accepted as the black & white truth abt christians & christianity and turn to looking at things more intuitivly & I think you will eventually find a way to love god & others. By comming here to christian channels to post you are being given an opportunity to surround yourself w ppl, like yourself, who have had some major breakthroughs to the reality of a loving god, found hope & a way to heal & be connected to a healing community. In these times I think it’s essential to find ways to combat the stinking thinking that pulls one down into dispare & hopelessness. Keep seeking the light that lights everyone.

      • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

        Assuming I don’t love God or others? How Christian of you. I don’t deny myself the solace of prayer and/or meditation either. I am also helping my elderly parents daily. But the idea of doctrinal religion and its innumerable schisms and the innumerable questions “holy books” raise is another matter. The best theology is no theology at all, it’s simply to love.

        • charlesburchfield

          please accept my apologies! i do not wish to be catagorized as one of ‘those christians’ but sometimes I am an asshole christian f**khead!

        • Mark

          Amen to this. Jesus didn’t command us to “believe,” but to love.

          • Gza

            “Jesus didnt command us to believe…” okay

  • http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/babinski-bio.html EdwardTBabinski

    Many instances in Scripture demonstrate that they are the products of human imagination, hyperbole, and tribalist ethno-centric thinking without any sure evidence in the other direction. Where is the universally acknowledged evidence that all biblical writings were inspired by God in such a fashion that no other writings by any other humans are as specially and directly inspired?

    See for instance Exaggerations of Biblical Proportions http://apatheticagnostic.com/articles/meds3/med51/med1061.html

    The Cultural Divide Between the Ancient Near East and the Wealth of Modern Knowledge/Information — Where Do We Get Our Answers From Today? http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-cultural-divide-between-ancient.html

    See for instance that in the Bible there is divination, witchcraft, demons, along with the belief that God personally guides the constellations in their season and moves the clouds and sends the lightnings (thunder is his “voice”) and He personally sends plagues, famines, droughts, warring armies. The same Bible fails to feature scientific views ahead of its time. http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/02/in-bible-there-is-divination-witchcraft.html

    Or see all of the psychological characteristics of the “fanatic” writ large in the colossal apostle Paul: http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-apostle-paul-fanaticus-extremus-all.html
    and
    http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-apostle-paul-fanaticus-extremus-all_11.html

    Why does the Bible creates so many problems for itself? On slavery; commands to slaughter whole cities; female and homosexual rights. Or even compare the first commandment with the U.S. first amendment: “You shall not have any other gods before me,” compared with “Freedom of religion.” Not to mention places in the New Testament that emphasize the need to believe without sight, the alternative being, you are damned eternally.

    And why no more major miracle working prophets speaking and writing or clarifying God’s words these past two thousand years? Was it two thousand years between Moses and Elijah? Or between Elijah and Elisha? Or between Elisha and Jesus? No, far less time passed between those major miracle working prophets and their clarifications of God’s words. But since Jesus is has now been 2000 years and counting.

  • Rick

    Although I don’t know if I fully agree with you, I do appreciate your emphasis on the complexity of the matter.
    So often “fundamentalists” on both sides want to so simplify the topic, flatten the readings, and then declare that it is “literally” all true, or all false.