Thursday, June 21, 2007

So I figured out this afternoon that the reason why I'm having such a hard time getting started on this is that I don't want to argue about inerrancy (the belief that the Bible is "inerrant," without error). Since that is the lynchpin of the conservative Christian mindset, it seemed like the place to start. But every time I start lining up my ideas, I hear knives being sharpened in the background-- people girding up to do battle with my meager little arguments. I don't have anything to say that will change the mind of someone who is already convinced. So I just don't want to do it.

And of course I don't have to. So I'm not going to. Whole books have been written on this topic and you can read them if you want. (Try Bart Ehrman and Timothy Paul Jones, who take opposite sides, for a start). I'm just going to chime in with my little bit of experience, the thing that turned the tide for me once I started questioning.

So imagine me, about 23 or 24 years old, still more Evangelical Christian than not, but questioning and thinking and questioning and thinking. And it occurred to me that I had never had the experience of God requiring someone or something to be perfect before God could use it. My experience had always been (and still is, although I would use a different vocabulary to describe it now) that God works through imperfect human beings, messed-up situations, and so on. Moses, David, Peter-- they all had many moments of highly imperfect human-ness. So why would God's scriptures be any different? Why would God cause human beings to supernaturally create an absolutely perfect book, when that isn't the way God has done anything else? Why wouldn't God have scriptures that were messy, vibrant, open to interpretation, a bit confusing, somewhat chaotic-- just like the rest of the world that God created? (again, remember this is me 20 years ago, not the way I would phrase it now).

And that was the grain of sand that tipped the scales for me. You could argue, of course, as Paul does in several of his letters, that Jesus was perfect. But even if you accept that, Jesus didn't write the Bible. Several dozen regular people did. So there it is and I'm moving on, after having been stuck on this topic for weeks trying to figure out how to say it. I know that's not going to convince anyone, so no drive-bys, please. I know it's not an airtight argument. It's just what was helpful to me.

And Happy Summer Solstice to all, by the way...........

Aunt BeaN

p.s. sorry about some of the awkward wording in there, but I was trying to avoid using the male pronoun for God. Even at that stage when I was still mostly Evangelical, that would have been important to me, which I suppose would be the main reason I was only "mostly" Evangelical.

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