Over a decade ago, a person in formal leadership at the church I attended stated in a conversation that the Bible was not the infallible word of God.
To say I was taken aback would put it lightly. I was utterly mortified that a person of much spiritual influence would state these words. I questioned the validity of his Christianity. I thought the Bible was synonymous with God. Because I believed that the Bible was the living, breathing word of God, I perceive this individual denied God himself (‘cause God is a dude, right?).
During days 224-230 of my year of calling it quits on the Good Book, my observation of the continual scripture wars in our world reminded me of why I no longer view the Bible as the infallible word of God.
If you are truly holy you will make it one word: Theinfallibleworduvgawwwd.
I think it is awesome to transform from a pearl-clutching self-righteous Christian do-gooder, with all knowing from the Bible of what it takes to make it into the gates constructed by the very same heavenly pearls, into a person who has taken the Bible down a peg or two. Who am I kidding? We’re talking about a lot of pegs.
I got it wrong. I got this person all wrong.
It is okay.
When we are evolving spiritually, the beliefs that served us for one season of our life will not necessarily serve us in another.
It is not the end of the world to get things wrong about your beliefs. It is the beginning of a new one.
Even the notion of “getting it wrong” can benefit from a hearty dose of benevolent scrutiny.
A Human Book
The Bible is a very human book. All sacred texts are human.
It is okay.
Actually, it is amazing.
It is liberating because it expands our vision of how to think and be in this world. The construction of the Biblical text has been subjected to the social, political, and cultural influences of the writers and scribes.
Various scholars have argued that we have hundreds of thousands of variants. It does not make the Bible less useful. It makes it more accessible.
Freedom lies in how we hold these sacred books and concepts.
If you hold the Bible as the definitive Alpha and Omega of all things pertaining to life, whereby absolving you from figuring things out for yourself or with other people, then most likely you will be confined to a proscribed list of dos and don’ts to appease a psychotic God who will strike your can down punish you at any infraction.
Also, with this belief system, we never quite know what infraction will be spared or will incur the earth swallowing us whole. I liken it to God playing heavenly Russian roulette when punishing us for sins.
In other words, it is scary out here for die-hard Bible thumpers because according the Bible, God can make you die a hard and miserable death over any kind of infraction.
You can drop dead after telling a lie (See the Book of Acts). Honesty is paramount in my life. Yet, I would not have someone drop dead over it. Sheesh.
Such stories, for those who take the Bible literally and as a Divine-automatically written work, lend toward the fear and control that’s heavily pronounced in much of contemporary Christianity.
On the other hand, by humanizing the Bible, we do not need to hold our breath, wondering if we might make it to heaven or if our salvation is still in-tact because we paid our light bill instead of tithing last month.
We are able to understand God as loving and just, not petty and punitive. And it inspires us to work out how to love and be just in a diverse world.
The Bible is useful and powerful, along with the multitudes of books written.
This Thing Called Life
Because the Bible is human, it does not contain all truth.
The Bible does not contain all of what God had done and will do. We, the people of this earth, are very much part of how things turn out here.
The Bible can give insights. It does not have all of the answers for an ever changing world. Figuring out this thing called life is up to us.
There are only so many ways we can try to spin the Bible to get out of the slavery endorsement conundrum.
It is a human book. The same book used to promote freedom and equity across races is the same one used to do the opposite.
The same book used to denounce LGBTQIA is the same one used to support.
What a magical text! You can almost make it what you want it to be.
You can pick out a passage, wave the book around, and abracadabra. It transforms into the truth, Honey!
Thus, we have a proliferation of Christian church denominations around the world. We have not agreed on this sacred book.
I would like to think that God is a clear communicator.
The challenge lies not with God needing to return to college to take Communications 101. It lies in people having an understanding that humans wrote the Bible. God did not write it like a dear diary to the universe.
Closing: Divine Inspiration
After years of cherry picking scriptures to annihilate my enemies prove a dogma central to my faith, my reddened fingers became worn.
I have been healed of Biblical carpal tunnel syndrome.
All of us have the power and ability to receive inspired words from God.
Inspired words are not necessarily direct words. I am ever inspired by God and learn daily lessons available to me from simply going about my business.
Various art, media, and industry furnish evidence of Divine inspiration.
Most of all, you are the evidence, too.