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Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 6: The Bible as the Word of God

07/15/10

Permalink 10:53:00 pm, by Norgaard Norgaard Email , 719 words   English (US)
Categories: Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian

Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 6: The Bible as the Word of God

Do you ever wonder why there are so many denominations of Christianity? There are hundreds of different conceptions of what is means to be Christian and the followers of any of of these are so often quite certain that their doctrine and dogma is correct. There are the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. Followers of any one of the denominations can point to specific Biblical passages to justify their religious doctrine and dogma.

There is wide disagreement across the many denominations regarding the meaning of Bible verses. There are several reasons for this. The Bible was written thousands of years ago, originally in Hebrew and Greek, and the translation into English is often difficult. Much of it was also written poetically and in vague symbolic language so there are very many ways of interpreting any passage. Also, the Bible is very large and this allows the faithful to pick certain passages out and emphasize their interpreted meaning as a guiding force while ignoring the rest. Even within any denomination, there is much debate amongst the faithful regarding exactly what specific Bible verses mean and which are more important than others. This debate has in the past led to sharp divisions within denominations and to the formation of new denominations, each with their own way of reading the Bible and with their own favorite passages and interpretations.

Over the centuries there has been an enormous amount of debate and open conflict over the meaning of the Bible, and this continues to this day. There may be a wide variety of ways of interpreting the Bible and of practicing Christianity, but nearly all Christians do seem to agree that the Bible is the word of God. Not all Christians believe that the Bible is infallibly true, but many do believe this. And those who take a more moderate position that the Bible has some flaws still believe that the word of God can be found within the Bible if one looks carefully enough. Those who don't believe that the word of God can be found in the Bible in any form are probably not Christians.

The root of the problem of Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Christianity is the underlying assumption that the Bible is to any extent the word of God. This belief cannot be justified by anything close to strong, reliable evidence. We can have strong and reliable evidence from historical records that the Bible is a collection of writings that originated over several centuries and each of which were written by humans. The evidence strongly suggests that each book was written by humans who were flawed, as we all are, and who had some specific motive in mind when they wrote it. In many cases this motive was political and cultural, including the majority of Old Testament writings whose purpose appears to have been to promote social cohesion among the tribes of Israel.

Some parts of the Bible can be historically verified, but even then they often only half-truths. There are a lot of stories in the Bible that are supernatural and thus can not be seen as reliable. These stories almost certainly were made up. There are many other stories that report on events that are physically possible, but these events are of no relevance to our lives outside of historical speculation. If one is interested in historical records, then it makes sense to put just as much emphasis on the self-histories compiled by other groups of ancient times that were enemies of the Israelites, the people who wrote the Old Testament.

As a Christian Deist, I know that God does not reveal Itself through written texts that must be believed by people through nothing other than blind faith. I have come to realize God through observation and reason, and I no longer have a need for the Bible as anything other than an interesting yet only partially reliable historical record. I know that the word of God will not be written in plain text in a book because it is written into the reality in which we are living.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Is faith virtuous, or is it harmful? Let your voice be heard in the forum.
You can also email the me at brandon@enlightenedworldview.com

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