Rethinking Christianity

Bible Inerrancy and the Loss of Faith

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have heard some atheists refer to the bible as the “atheist maker”, meaning that the bible falls short of what they consider would have been written by an all-knowing, all-powerful god. For some the stories of the OT which offend modern moral sensibilities and the obvious contradictions in gospels told in the NT, are causes to reject the bible as the evidence of an existing God. Some Christians deconvert with the conclusion that the bible is not the holy book it has been purported to be and adopt an all-or-nothing mindset with regard to spirituality. They seem to hold onto the concept that the Christian god would be the only one true god. So the reasoning seems to be since the bible is a crock, there is no Christian god, therefore there is no God.

Many atheists were former Christians. There are several accounts of former evangelical preachers and fundamentalists converting to atheism. Not surprising for people who have been deeply entrenched in the authoritative practices and rituals of an uncompromising religion because once the cracks begin to appear in the faith structure it completely shatters from its rigidity. Or perhaps they are just pissed off at being duped for all those years. Either way, faith fails, atheistic thought prevails.

Christianity is not what I was taught to believe that it was. But despite the discovery of biblical fallacies and pagan myths bracing the structure of this religion, I am not inclined just yet to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I personally hold the opinion that someone can remain Christian by following the teachings of Christ and accepting the bible for what it is.

I consider the bible as a record of human history. It describes the accounts of human survival and the lives of people who sought the face of God and how they applied their beliefs to their existence as a struggling human species. It tells the stories of people who lived through tragedies, atrocities and continued to prosper using their beliefs in God as an instrument of will.  But foremost for me, the bible is a chronicle of man’s desire to know and understand God. Each story told can teach us about ourselves and the person that we can choose or not choose to be. It can teach us about our abilities and inabilities to interact with others, and reveal the ugliness and beauty found in the human soul. It can teach us about optimism and perseverance, as well as consequences for hatred, anger, envy and injustice. It can teach us about our search for spiritual meaning in our lives and our capacity to create evil. It can demonstrate how to fall in grace and rise from the ashes. It can remain to be what it has always been, a book of inspiration for determining our life’s journey and a cause for hope in times of despair.

The biblical gospels tell the stories of how Jesus, within his belief of his heavenly father, strived to live a life of love, compassion and the ethical regard for others when acts of hatred, brutalities and misfortunate flourished all around him. A Christian should be a follower of Christ. The bible may not be the infallible word of God, but its account of histories, poems and allegories leads to understanding the way, the truth and the light in the story of Christ. In that alone, the bible serves its purpose for the Christian faith. It need not do anything more.

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12 thoughts on “Bible Inerrancy and the Loss of Faith

  1. It’s really good to come across someone who DIDN’T “throw the baby out with bath water.” So many people ARE all or nothing. And, hey, if it works for them — great! Unfortunately, I see a lot of people who neither works for.

  2. I struggled with the all or nothing mentality for a long time as well, going from being raised catholic to believing that christianity had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I am happy to say that over the past couple years I have begun allowing myself to reincorporate biblical concepts back into my personal truth, but I have left behind the all or nothing attitude. This still causes me to butt heads with a lot of christians who still embrace the philosophy that “[Jesus is] the way, the truth, and the light, and no man cometh unto the father except by [him]”, because I refuse to give up on eastern mysticism, new age spirituality, and paganism, which they see as “of the devil”. But I don’t hold their views or actions against the man himself, who I now understand to be a pretty good guy who knew what he was talking about with regard to this whole spirituality, peace, and love shtick.

    • We seem to have a similar background and be at a similar place in searching spirituality. My family are all fundamental christians with some catholic on my father’s side. Neither of which accept that there is any other way than what they have been taught to believe. I often tell them that I don’t disagree that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, but I interpret it very differently than they do because I see that scripture speaking to the rebirth of the inner spirit with Jesus as an example of how the spirit becomes superior in the physical realm. I leave them to their own journey. Thanks for reading and commenting, it is a nice discovery finding someone with a similar point of view.

      • It is a nice discovery for me as well. And I like your interpretation. It gives me food for contemplation, as does the rest of your blog that I’ve read so far.

  3. Who is the one who choses what is a message of Jesus and what is not a message of Jesus? Does it come down to each person choosing for them self what they believe is his message?

    The other question I have is, what is wrong with the experience we have in the physical realm? Do we always need to be striving for something outside of ourselves? Can’t the physical realm be a part of the experience we’re meant to have? The idea of wanting to escape the physical (or be reborn) sounds like a nicer version of the typical Christian version of us having sinned and fallen short of some ideal God had for us. If that’s the case, then it feels like another attempt by man to fix what he thinks is wrong with himself and not just accepting himself for who he is and where he is. Being in the moment (including the physical side) seems a lot more freeing than trying to be reborn as if there was something wrong with the way I was born in the first place.

    • Since I think religion is dogma and dogma to be the rules and rituals of man based on the kinship of personal preferences and perspectives, my answer would be that each of us should interpret the message of Jesus on our own and forego the opinions of others. I have never met anyone who follows the message of “love thy neighbor” unconditionally without adding to it all of their personal preferences, which most of the time are directives indoctrinated by the church they attend.

      I consider the physical realm as part of the experience that we’re meant to have. I don’t think we are “reborn” as defined by Christian theology. I think that we awaken spiritually to the knowledge that the intuitive longing that we struggle to cope with is the result of not understanding that we are a part of the whole or the one consciousness of God. I personally don’t accept the idea of sin as most Christians believe it to be. Sin is to miss the mark. The mark is to not love. All the vices claimed as sin are derived from the unwillingness to live in harmony and peace with others. And expanding on personal preferences each denomination has taken verses and words and created additional proclaimed sins. Sin is not inherited, it is chosen through our decisions in our physical existence. If we choose not to live in harmony with others we create our own version of hell and live miserable lives. We never reach the apex of peace or joy unspeakable because we fail to fulfill the intuitive longing that the soul strives to achieve.

      • If it’s an experience we were not meant to have, who put us here? Why go into this experience if it wasn’t for us. Did billions of parts of god decide to go and become physical to rebel or something?

      • I have asked the same questions. Here is something that I found interesting and compelling to contemplate:
        http://www.scribd.com/doc/7016235/Edgar-Cayce-The-Origin-and-Destiny-of-Man-p2448-Creation

        The questions you ask are on point with the answer Cayce gives in his spiritual reading and maybe are not mere happenstance. It is also interesting to me that in the gnostic gospels Jesus speaks of spiritual adultery as the only sin which compares to this explanation of origin and destiny.

      • Because in the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not. There needed to be something “other” so that we could recognize the truth for what it is and know it experientially. Even if this “other” is only an illusion that we create for ourselves. At least that’s my understanding of “the spiritual theory of relativity”.

  4. Nicely thought out and well poised. I too, like you didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. It seems to me that the ancient spiritual texts of all peoples have merit, whether one is a proponent of the specific organized religion or not.

    Contemporary American Christianity is a very interesting entitiy, so much of what is believed is based on tradition rather than being biblical. While I don’t claim the bible to be supreme, I vouch that some wisdom does rest in its pages.

    Thanks for the good read.

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