Yes, it’s slow going reading through the Bible. I’m almost regretting reading through both versions of the book, but not because I’m being challenged, but rather I’m getting more frustrated.
I’d tried to study the Bible before, at least half a dozen times. I didn’t really have good questions to ask a pastor or anything when I was that young, so they remained questions in my head.
Now, I’m sure some people who are religious will probably assume I’ve read The God Delusion by now (since I tend to read anything). But I will clear the air and say I really haven’t. I’ve heard of it, but don’t know much about it, other than how much it’s changed some people’s lives. I’m all about learning what I can on my own before I were to tackle a book like that.
Actually, the first person who gave me permission to question the Bible was Bart D. Ehrman. I spent a summer researching the Bible and found some of his works on the history of the Bible. I figured it would help answer some questions I’d had as far as how to understand it.
Let’s just say those niggling feelings I had in Sunday school were largely exposed in some of his books. I haven’t read them all, but I’m collecting them and going to be in the next couple of years.
I bring this up because there were two huge things that bothered me, even after I’d been baptized at 8, about the Bible. The first was “why is it called the King James Version? If it’s the truth, then can the truth have versions?”
This is where somebody could cut in with “alternative facts” now being a thing…. I’ll wait.
Anyway, the other big one was reading that so much was left out of the Bible, and how different ecumenical councils chose what books would go into it.
Wait a minute–so the basis of one of the biggest religions in the world is a HEAVILY EDITED TEXT? And if it came about in these councils, that would mean the book touted as “The Truth” is essentially Truth by Consensus.
Truth by human beings in positions of power.
Truth by human beings who were (mostly) literate while the majority of the western world was not, and so how the hell would they know the difference?
Truth arrived at long before widespread literacy, the Age of Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, medical breakthroughs, the Internet.
Those two facts concerned me the most, and made it very difficult for me to believe in the Bible, even though I consider(ed) myself a Christian. But I admit, I hadn’t had a chance to thoroughly read it. I think just knowing those things made it hard to try.
I’m trying to rectify that, because as someone trained to look at things through a historical lens, I am well aware how influential the Bible was for so much of Western history.
That said, since we’ve been going off a human-created, heavily edited book as the Truth, I can’t understand how this is still considered the Truth as handed down by God.
I mean, truth by consensus is not truth itself… it’s convenient and is like a parent who says “because I said so” after being asked too many questions by a kid.
And for those who claim things like “climate change” and the consensus on that could be called “truth by consensus”, there’s one huge difference between scientific consensus and Biblical consensus: you can test science and get better, more complete answers. That’s what I love about science. The Bible boils down to “because it says so,” more than anything.
At least, that’s been my experience with church, family, etc.
I just can’t understand how someone can hold such a book and declare it the absolute truth when every day we learn more about the world we live on and the universe we are a part of. I get maybe if they’re a person of faith–and I admit never really understanding what that meant–that perhaps the Bible holds something for them.
In this case, I mean people who believe in the Genesis story literally, the Noah’s flood account as absolute truth, flat-earthers, etc. I don’t understand how someone can see pictures of the Earth from space and dismiss them, and insist the world is flat.
I don’t understand how someone can claim people lived to be 900 years old (and how would they know that?), but not blink when anthropologists discover remains that tell us the life expectancy of early humans and humanoids was far less than 100.
I am aware there are people out there who have believed these things, and when confronted with scientific facts will acknowledge the facts. I’m talking about those who are still trying to jam a square peg into a round hole, and calling their methods scientific.
I can’t understand why anything new that’s not part of the Bible (or won’t support it) must be thrown out as useless and false, even if we can see the proof before our own eyes. It’s strange how transparent it is when you see someone looking at the answer they want and working backwards to find the question that vindicates them.
That’s not science. That’s the opposite of science. At best it’s a form of alchemy.
This mindset just baffles me.
On the other hand, I’m positive that there’s someone out there right now going “I don’t get these (atheists/scientists/whoever) who keep trying to disprove the Bible. Don’t they know it’s the truth? Can’t they see it? I don’t understand how they can dismiss the word of God.”
And so on and so forth.
I can understand the point of view of those who look at the world, but still cling to faith. Things can be tough everywhere and we need something to hold on to at times.
But I can’t understand the pride that some have in being deliberately ignorant and not at all curious. When you haven’t been exposed to modern facts and findings, that’s one thing. When you have and you shrug it off like “fake news,” then that’s disheartening.
I’m not a psychologist, and this is only going to get more roundabout the further I go. Does anybody have an idea as to how some people can dismiss modern facts in favor of the Bible without question? How some can’t or refuse to look at the world around us beyond the book and learn from the real world?