Geezer

Faith apparently doesn't require the Bible

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I was a Christian because I believed the Bible was essentially true. I accepted the Bible, primarily the Gospels, contained exaggerations, embellishments, and hyperbole but I accepted the basic story survived intact for all practical purposes. The essentials were there. Jesus was a real person, he was crucified, and he rose from the dead. As long as that much was true and accurately recorded that was enough to sustain my faith. 

 

I could maintain my faith and still accept that most of Genesis was myth or total exaggerations. I think early in my life I probably believed God created the world in six days but with the passing of the years I put that story in the myth column too. As the years chugged by doubt began to creep into my beliefs. Then one morning in Sunday School doubt turned to disbelief. The lesson was in Acts and it was about Ananias Sapphira. That story had bothered me for years because the punishment for their "sin" was completely unjust. 

 

This particular Sunday morning when the teacher got to where they were executed by God for withholding a portion of the money they received for selling the land and not telling anyone it hit me. That event never happened. This story was made up to scare people into being blindly obedient. Well then, if that isn't true what else in the Bible isn't true. I wasn't even aware, at that time, there was anything called the historical critical approach to the Bible but I soon discovered it. And when I found out about that I found out about Bart Ehrman. I read Jesus Interrupted and my faith just melted away. When I read his book I realized the entire Bible is just a collection of ancient myths and fictional stories with fictional characters. 

 

I realized I wasn't much different from any other Christian when it came to having faith. Everyone's faith is dependent on something and in most every case that something is the Bible...or so I thought. I just assumed a relatively accurate and truthful Bible would be essential for every believer to have and maintain their faith. Some recent experiences have convinced me that isn't necessarily true.

 

I've been active on a fundamentalists web site for a year or more. My focus has been on presenting evidence that the Bible isn't literally true or historically accurate. I endeavored to show them with evidence that the Bible is In fact nothing more than a collection of myths and fictional stories. I admit that I was shocked to discovered many of them already knew that, and several were familiar with Bart Ehrman and other similar historical scholars, their books, and findings,.........and that information had no effect on their faith. They accepted the bible is neither historically or literally true and that didn't matter to them, ......they were still believers. 

 

Many of those believers seemingly depend heavily on favorable apologetic interpretations to maintain their faith. N.T. Wright appears to be a particular favorite for many. I think their logic runs somewhere along this line. God used myth, metaphor, and parable to convey his hidden message. Then he endowed certain selected servants with the Spiritual gift of discernment. Certain gifted servants, like N.T. Wright, have been granted the ability to unravel God's coded messages to mankind. I'm guessing Jesus was just part of the ruse to hide the true message. The true message is that God simply desires a covenant relationship with mankind. Trusting God and being obedient is all that is required by individuals to enter into and maintain that covenant relationship with God. 

 

Some also apparently believe heaven and hell are not real places. Heaven is simply being in the presence of God and hell is being excluded from God's presence. Those that are excluded from God's presence will simply be annihilated after death, there will be no eternal punishment.

 

Discovering all of that has just proven to me that people that want to believe in God  and have religion in their life will find a way. :notworthy::jesus:

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39 minutes ago, Geezer said:

I admit that I was shocked to discovered many of them already knew that, and several were familiar with Bart Ehrman and other similar historical scholars, their books, and findings,.........and that information had no effect on their faith.

 

Well then.

I guess I can stop day-dreaming about handing Mrs. MOHO a shiny new kindle with those works pre-loaded and her having some sort of epiphany.

 

The more I'm hearing/reading of attempts to talk sense into fundy fams the more motivated I am to just shit-can the entire concept.

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I'm with you MOHO. In this case you really can't even lead the horse to the water, much less make him drink it. 

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6 hours ago, Geezer said:

God used myth, metaphor, and parable to convey his hidden message. Then he endowed certain selected servants with the Spiritual gift of discernment. Certain gifted servants, like N.T. Wright, have been granted the ability to unravel God's coded messages to mankind. I'm guessing Jesus was just part of the ruse to hide the true message. The true message is that God simply desires a covenant relationship with mankind. Trusting God and being obedient is all that is required by individuals to enter into and maintain that covenant relationship with God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow sounds exactly like something my husband would say. He thinks he's one of those selected servants with gifts of discernment. Crazy thought process. How do you ever get through to them?

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9 hours ago, Mothernature said:

Wow sounds exactly like something my husband would say. He thinks he's one of those selected servants with gifts of discernment. Crazy thought process. How do you ever get through to them?

 

Unfortunately, I don't think you can in most cases. It seems you might just have to accept that is who they are. 

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On ‎12‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 4:59 PM, Geezer said:

 

Many of those believers seemingly depend heavily on favorable apologetic interpretations to maintain their faith. N.T. Wright appears to be a particular favorite for many. I think their logic runs somewhere along this line. God used myth, metaphor, and parable to convey his hidden message. Then he endowed certain selected servants with the Spiritual gift of discernment. Certain gifted servants, like N.T. Wright, have been granted the ability to unravel God's coded messages to mankind. I'm guessing Jesus was just part of the ruse to hide the true message. The true message is that God simply desires a covenant relationship with mankind. Trusting God and being obedient is all that is required by individuals to enter into and maintain that covenant relationship with God. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geezer, I'm curious if the believers you interact with consider people from religions outside of Judaism and traditional Christianity as servants of God?  I am not familiar with N.T. Wright but figure he is Christian.  For example, do they also see Buddha, Mohammed, Nanak, Sayyed Shirazi, Sai Baba, Joseph Smith, etc. as servants with spiritual gifts?  Or is that they only see someone as a servant if that servant's message is consistent with their Christian theology?

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10 hours ago, readyforchange said:

 

Geezer, I'm curious if the believers you interact with consider people from religions outside of Judaism and traditional Christianity as servants of God?  I am not familiar with N.T. Wright but figure he is Christian.  For example, do they also see Buddha, Mohammed, Nanak, Sayyed Shirazi, Sai Baba, Joseph Smith, etc. as servants with spiritual gifts?  Or is that they only see someone as a servant if that servant's message is consistent with their Christian theology?

 

All religious people look to those that agree with their theology & beliefs. 

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Not quite, Geezer, old bean.  I'm no atheist, know of no-one who takes quite the same viewpoint as me and couldn't care less whether anyone else thinks I'm right, wrong, mad or stupid.

In the end, the problem isn't so much one's own beliefs as to deity or otherwise, but the single belief that there is only one right answer with which everyone else must concur.

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