Well, Raul, we're sorry to try to engage with the Bible. We know we should accept its claims and commands--however contradictory or problematic--unquestioningly as faithful Mormons and Muslims do their writings and prophets. But given this failing of ours, how would you, Raul, understand and apply the book of Numbers? In particular, how do you feel or what do you think of Moses' command to keep the virgins but kill the rest? Or what about God's command to kill the stick-gatherer on Sabbath? Posted by: glennspring 30 September 2009 at 6:21
Glennspring, I feel uncomfortable with the cases you mention: "Moses' command to keep the virgins but kill the rest? Or what about God's command to kill the stick-gatherer on Sabbath?" I feel as uncomfortable with them as I do with the incidents of September 11, 2001, and the Holocaust. I choose, however, to continue to believe in the God of the Bible as I’m more comfortable with living my live with him—warts and all—than without him. Perhaps the agnostic’s path is more honest, but I am not, nor can I ever be, a member of that club. Life with a slightly mysterious God is better than one without him. Thanks for taking the time to comment.Posted by: Raul Batista (not verified) 30 September 2009 at 8:06
Thanks, Raul. But I don't think most of the people here, certainly not I, would suggest we abandon the God of the Bible or its essential narratives. That is, I don't think anyone here is an agnostic. Maybe our doubts seem a bit much for some people. But at least for some of us, we can come to know God better through a process of challenging and engaging with the texts. Like you, I recognize the "warts and all" of scripture, but continue to accept what I think are the essential truths of its stories and people. I think I might actually relate to the Bible more precisely because of them. Anyway, through the Bible we can continue to engage with God and with each other. Those of us here may do that a bit differently than others, but our reliance on the Biblical record continues to be central. Posted by: glennspring 30 September 2009 at 9:18
Are you attempting to claim that the Bible is NOT "full of so much apparent error, fable, good old fashioned myth, and horrible tales of incest, rape, pillage and nationalistic crusades"? If so, I suggest you try to read it again with unbiased eyes...Posted by: Jag (not verified) 01 October 2009 at 3:28
Jag, hello. Some unpleasant material is in the Bible, but why dwell on it and make it one's crusade. That unpleasant task already has many adherents in the "God is dead or never was" movement. People of faith--if they wish to convince others that they should become people of faith, as well--need to focus on the nuggets the Old Testament has to offer. "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and strength" are just two gems that need to be rescued from the mire of horrible tales of incest, rape, pillage and nationalistic crusades.
When I read about the man who was stoned for breaking the Sabbath I'm saddened, but I'm grateful we no longer carry on that tradition, otherwise I myself--and other Sabbath keepers--would have been done for ages ago.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. It is much appreciated.Posted by: Raul Batista (not verified) 01 October 2009 at 4:24
Thank you for your view.
It's not really about dwelling on the unpleasant materials in the Bible. It's about finding why it's there. It's about the search for the truth. Because such material certainly proves that the Bible is neither inerrant nor infallible. Quite the opposite in fact. And only once we acknowledge that can we liberate God from the human imperfection of the Bible's human authors. The only alternative you have is to pick and choose what you like in the Bible and discard what you don't, which does not appear to me to be an honest attitude and smells of censorship.
I never suggest we abandon God. I merely suggest that we re-discover God for our own generation, that we do not freeze God in outdated human concepts, and that we do not treat the Bible as if it had fallen from heaven.Posted by: Jag (not verified) 02 October 2009 at 3:18