Or the even bigger lie that God will curse
the person who does not believe men who claim to be God's chosen mouthpieces.
Arthur, first let me just state that you misrepresentwhat is said in
the Bible. People who go to hell, according to the Bible, go there because they REJECT God willingly, not that
they are tested in the grammar of the written word and that God also states that He desires NO man to go to hell as it was
created for the angels. With this understanding as given though the biblical record, are you now suggesting that you
can speak on behalf of the angels and declare that they were not cast out of their first estate?
From the beginning I have made the proposition that a change in attitude
and behavior is necessary in order for Christianity to maintain a strong and positive influence in the world. Though not in
agreement with Bishop Spong who stated that "Christianity must change or die," I am in harmony with his understanding that
literalist Christians may very well literalize themselves into inconsequential roles, or worse, becoming the cause of highly
negative consequential events.
Your paragraph above illustrates the disagreement in that we do not share
the same perspective of the Bible. Basing one's opinions by citing what the Bible says rather than what one has learned through
daily interaction with what the Bible contains as one experiences life are two different things.
A preacher who labors based on an innerant Bible ends up, as Watts wrote,
attempting to "tell God what to do and the people how to behave." For a long time the second part of that phrase had more
impact than the first. However, attempting to tell God what to do because the Bible is inerrant reveals itself more and more
as faulty doctrine.
Part of perception, as you and others who've disagreed with my opinions have
pointed out to me, is that the interpretation of what we perceive is primarily driven by what we expect to see, i.e. our own
internal assumptions. The assumption that the Bible is inerrant then drives the expectations one has as to what God does or
will say, what God actually wills, and what God deems as important.
The logic of this is inescapable. If God were to somehow make known a concept
not found in the Bible (and I'm not talking about a concept contrary to something in the Bible, but, for example a
concept more apropos to 21st century living), how would a culture totally based on an inerrant Bible be ever able to accept
"Dogmatic" for me consists of rigidity and inflexibility. I am dogmatic when
it comes to my perception of the Bible as something more than a law book limited to its literal statements. I am dogmatic
when it comes to viewing the Bible as but one of many powerful means of achieving on-going communion with God.
A church full of Bibles is not a stable full of animals all wearing one harness.
It is a place where each person has an individual relationship via his or her personal scripture with the source of the scripture.
Otherwise we reduce the Bible to a course in Religion 101, denying ourselves the advanced knowledge to be gained through experientially
living religion 201, 301, 401, 100001 and more.
Why would we deliberately remain in shallow water where only splashing is
allowed when we can venture into deeper waters, learn to swim and discover the ocean?
What is true is that all religions contradict each other. In the end,
all we have are religions that some claim yes to a thing, and others claim no to a thing, and so on and so forth. God cannot
be and then not be. He either is, or He is not. Therefore some religions have to be in error and false.
Only in an either/or world defined in black and white terms by an inerrant
Bible and specific assumptions that cannot be proven. In this circumstance the human mind - where the Holy Spirit is truly
sensed and experienced - remains tragically closed.
From the Bible over 400 times does Jesus equate himself as God and over
800 times it is claimed that His passion is the justifying act for the atoning sacrifice that God required.
And in an inerrant Bible one cannot read God Himself explaining why that
atoning sacrifice is needed and in that specific way. That's a strange circumstance because it leaves the believers in an
inerrant Bible in a position of having to trust those who discriminantly chose, compiled, organized and ordered the writings
that became scripture.
It leaves Protestants having to assume that at least in regards to the Bible,
Catholic forefathers were totally righteousness and pious and knew precisely the mind and will of God - and left that knowledge
intact and untouched over the resulting centuries at the same time their need for survival and security compelled them to
totally dishonest actions: the selling of forgiveness, the creation of crusades and inquisitions.
Belief in an inerrant Bible totally hangs on whether or not one is willing
to accept that despite all other corruptions, those early Roman priests and scribes were faithfully copying and including
EVERYTHING the earliest Christians knew and recorded about Jesus and God.
If one is willing to accept the above, then why could those Roman Fathers
not formally agree and declare that Jesus was God until they voted on it 200+ years after Jesus resurrected?
Only those who propagate such are those who only want to reinvent their
own personal God, yet doing so with no authority.
A curious statement.
Whether one admits it or not, one's relationship with God is totally and
entirely personal. What authority might be needed before such a relationship is established?
It sounds in some way like signing up with an Internet provider. Until an
agreement is reached and value is exchanged, the provider does not permit and actually refuses access to the world wide web
and all contained therein. I seriously doubt that a personal relationship with God is conditional and needs outside authority.
You may deny what the bible says all day if you want and that is your
right, but to claim the Bible does not state a thing is not truth and it is this that makes you out to be just another man
claiming what you think.
Are we not all men and women claiming what we think?
We should and must claim what we think. We should be willing to own up to
that which we think. We should honestly try to live up to that which we think - especially if we are willing to tell God what
to do and people how to behave.
God has not asked your opinion, nor mine as we can only react to what
is given to us through His chosen men.
That is another "old sectarian notion" that requires a Monarchical God rather
than a loving Father in order for the notion to be valid. The idea that God delegates "authority" and dispenses different
doses of wisdom to each individual does not correspond with a God who is no respecter of persons and who causes the rain to
fall on the just and the unjust.
Again the old lie that God will talk to a priest before God will talk to
Or the bigger lie that some sort of worthiness status must be achieved before
one can receive the Word personally.
Or the even bigger lie that God will curse the person who does not believe
men who claim to be God's chosen mouthpieces.
a patriarchal God who talks only through male prophets;
a God who chooses and favors one man over another - worse, one people over
All of those old sectarian notions support a construct that never existed
and endless words and sermons pleading its existence will not change that.
As I have written before, The New Christianity remains the oldest Christianity
- the on-going living practice of what Jesus actually taught and patterned. That, for 21st Century Christians - with
all one's heart, might, mind and strength - is to love and trust God as the Father of Compassion and forgetting about an imagined
Giver of Laws who must be blindly and inerrantly followed.