Archives for July 2012

Do Christians Really Read Their Bibles? Really?

On: Monday, July 16, 2012

Drawing by The Naked Pastor

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."
Richard Dawkins

I recently read the book "Why I Believed:Reflections of a Former Missionary" by Kenneth W. Daniels and was taken back by the authors reasoning for his deconversion from Christianity. The reason for his deconversion was not just one thing but years of questioning through observation. As he says in his book;

    "My own journey away from Christianity began within as I reflected on the contradictory elements in the Bible, and on the conflict between fundamentalist Christianity and my observations of the real world. It was only after my doubts began that I undertook to read materials written from a skeptical perspective, and I quickly became struck by the magnitude of the evidence corroborating my initial doubts. Doubt cannot be imposed from the outside; it must begin from within."

 Wow! Contradictory elements? Conflicts? How can this be true? My pastors all told me that the Bible was inerrant and flawless. Why would a Christian missionary come to such conclusions? As I read on, I was amazed at how he came to such conclusions. Those conclusions led me down a path of questioning my long held notion of the Bible. Of course my Christian friends would find that damning or yet worse, blasphemy. But for me it was a personal course I needed to take. I figured that at worse there would be a few misunderstood passages or even some small translation problems. What I come to find out is there are many problems in both the Old & New Testaments.

Kenneth goes on to say;

    "Those who cannot allow their views to be subject to revision by data or arguments they may not have yet considered live in a separate world from mine."

  I have often wondered why I did not receive more teachings on the history or the authors of the books of the Bible. I was told that they were not important and there was no need to worry.  Over the years as a Christian, I was taught that the Bible was the Word of God and everything in it was truth. No questions asked.

 My questions are important so why not ask those questions? After all, it is my life at stake & my future is on the line. If my eternity lies in the understanding of this book, I would need to make sure that what it said was irrefutable fact. In order for me to understand the, I would need to read books written by some critical scholars by Agnostic, Deists and Atheists. To understand the arguments against the inerrancy Bible, I needed to do this a little at a time so I could understand the reasoning and proof. Books that have helped me look at this subject more closely have been the following;

"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins
"The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture" by Darrel Ray
"Did Jesus Exist?; Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth" by Bart Ehrman

 I was amazed at my Christian friends reaction to my questioning. You would have thought I was out to convince everyone that the Bible was a lie and that we were all going to hell. Why is it that if you believe that the Bible is not errant, you are required to prove it yet if you believe it is inerrant, no proof is necessary? Shouldn't this be the other way around? Shouldn't we all be skeptical and not easily swayed to believe? Why should I be judged on my skepticism? We ask more questions when buying a house or a new car than we do of the Bible. Know wonder we are so divided in our "beliefs".

 My question to you is this, why do you believe the Bible is inerrant? For me, I am still skeptical.

"Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books, for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen." - Maimonides