The Bible

This is a blog about the Bible. One of my purposes here is to show its value as a constant companion. It is a guide to relationship with Christ. It is not inerrant, it is certainly inconsistent, and no-one follows it all, but it has stories and ideas which can transform life. It can be misused. Do not imagine that I do not take it seriously, but my interpretation can be 180° different from the conservatives‘. Perhaps if we worshipped together, our disagreements would be less divisive.

The culmination of the Bible is Jesus, a megalomaniac weirdo who shocks respectable people. Before Jesus, there were rules to live by, to please God, but Jesus abrogates those rules. He came to bring not peace, but a sword. He challenges us: “Who do you say that I am?” He calls us to perfection we can never attain, and forgives us for each failure. This motivates us to get better. He challenges our negativity, and calls us to care for the poor. Jesus abrogated the Law of the Old Testament. Where Paul calls gluttony a sin, Jesus has other priorities. Jesus calls us to follow him, to leave our family and everything for his sake. Krishnamurti helped me towards understanding that. Jesus was God, but a God who learned and changed his mind. He brings Good News, but Christians disagree about what that is.

He appears to condemn people to eternal punishment, though some argue otherwise, but I believe in universal salvation.The God of Wrath becomes the God of Mercy. For the conservative, the only response to people in Hell is quiet satisfaction. But perfect love drives out all fear. Belief in Hell distorts Christianity.

Jesus appears outside the Bible: some of those stories are valuable too, though not, I think, Gnostic ones.

Two millennia of theology have layered meaning on the Bible, even in Reformed churches: with Easter, it is best not to cling to one interpretation. The gifts of the Spirit include that of Prophecy: there is continuing revelation.

Imagining the Bible is inerrant leads to the idiocy of Young Earth Creationism. This doctrine harms the church by driving people from it, and motivating some rationalists to attack it. But even in the 19th century, Christians realised that faith complements scientific knowledge, rather than opposing it: religion is not a hypothesis. There is no such thing as Creation Science. Here is a guide to some of the idiocies of CreationWiki. Some Christians take an inordinate interest in the End Times and the Antichrist, but Christianity is about living well, here, now. I find rational argument inimical to Christianity– which only increases the value of faith.

I write a lot about equal marriage. Jesus would approve. Some Conservatives see homosexuality as the most important issue for the church: I agree.

Jesus tells stories: the labourers in the vineyard, the Good Samaritan. Some of his illustrations are like a stand-up comedian’s. He calls all of us Children of God.

15 thoughts on “The Bible

  1. Wow, you’ve put a lot of work into this post. I don’t think the Bible is useless, it’s an interesting historical text with imaginative characters and thought-provoking ideas. It’s difficult to find answers in it, although it’s easy for Christians of any opinion to find passages to back up their point of view. I expect that why it’s proved so popular across cultures and time.

    I still don’t know what the 0.00000 at the bottom of your posts is.

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    • I don’t see the 0.00000, or anything there unless I change it. Now, on this post, it should say “Bethlehem” above “Share this”. On my “edit post” screen, after “add media, add poll, add contact form” it says 0.000etc, and I have changed it for this post to Bethlehem as it said Jerusalem Israel rather than Jerusalem Occupied Territories, Palestine, West Bank etc. Have a look. It does not seem to be anything for a viewer to click on, just something to get the attention of a search engine.

      I did the post because on WordPress’s Be a Better Blogger posts they go on and on about leading people to your older content, so giving them more page views and more advertising revenue. I don’t think they work, my “Trans Blog” page gets few hits, but I thought I would try. Now, when a post is tagged “Bible” a link to this post comes up.

      You have read most of the links, but do you think it would tempt you to read further? Unless you thought me absolutely wonderful and were desperate to read my wonderful thoughts on The Bible; or, alternatively, were really, really bored….

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      • Yes, it says Bethlehem now. I wonder why it was 0.0000 before, and why it’s been showing up as the number on so many of your posts.

        I wondered if this was an exercise for you, to link so many of your posts together. I hovered over some of them and recognised the titles, although obviously couldn’t remember what they were about exactly. You’re right that few people would have the time to check so many out, but it’s useful because anyone who’s interested can find out more. How many were clicked on?

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      • Sadly, I’d have to say so, Clare. When I studied the characters of the people who put the NT together, and ultimately all 66 books, I was very disheartened.

        And thank you. I have lurked here from time to time tried to be on my best behavior. I don’t want to offend you. I can sometimes get triggers when I see people promoting the bible. Research shows that the bible is the main reason why women haven’t fully been emancipated.

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          • Thank you Clair. I’m glad to know I haven’t offended. I really like you. I just wished that the positive messages were in a totally different book, much like what Thomas Jefferson did. He cut out all the bad stuff from the bible and had his own bible. That was brilliant. Why can’t we do that rather than trying to sugarcoat all the negative, antisocial stuff? To me, you can never reclaim terms like “nigger” and “whore” and clean it up. It will always hold negative energy. That’s how I see the bible. It has caused enormous suffering and death throughout history.

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  2. Well, now, this caught me somewhat off guard. I’m not at all convinced in the efficacy of the bible; I am probably more convinced by the efficacy of Marcus Aurelius, albeit he was something of a party-pooper. I think men and women have found and expressed wisdom throughout the ages … but it’s not in one place or one collection of weird stories.

    What’s with St. Paul anyway? Personally, I think that fall from his horse did more than give him a vision!

    In any event, I applaud your work here and your scholarly depth of appreciation for the bible. Could you write on equally good using the Bhagavad Gita? It’s also in translation.

    Hmm.

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    • To what purpose, then, am I now using my soul? In every case ask yourself this question and examine yourself: what have I now in this part which men call the governing part, and whose soul have I at present? A child’s, a boy’s, a woman’s, a despot’s, a dumb animal’s, a dangerous beast’s?

      Meditations V.11. Indeed, a barrel of laughs.

      I have on Kindle an edited version of the Mahabharata, but am now reading Krishnamurti and planning my next Krishnamurti post. The Ahmadis are interesting- like Bahai, another new Muslim prophet from the 19th century.

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  3. As you know, Claire, I am generally more blunt than those that tippy-toe around religious issues.
    The bible is utter crap, has no value other than an historical oddity and has been used , as a collection or separate texts ( before canonization), to oppress people across the globe.

    It is revered by people who are largely ignorant of its content and composition and the historical process of its composition.
    As a life guide, it is worse than useless in almost every facet.

    As a scientific reference it is a joke and as a ‘go to’ for morality and ethics it is disgusting.

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