To start with, I’m sure this entry may ignite anger in some, cause distress in some, seem blasphemous to some, and appear arrogant to some. If any of these occur in you, you need to question whatever it is that this rubs up against and causes irritation to. If you are a Christian and you do not question your faith, your Bible and your religion, you are a useless witness.
Now, read and expect to become a bit irritated. Making you think and question yourself is exactly why I write.
When I was a kid, I wanted to know, “Where did I come from? Where did all of this stuff come from?” Science and astronomy immediately revealed that they would be where I would most likely find an answer to this question. They did provide an answer, eventually.
Today, I’ve been a Christian for at least 40 years. Yeah, quite a while. I signed on in 1974. I was 20 years old. I did my best to become brainwashed, but I failed. I suck at it and I suck at trying to brainwash others. Good deal for that.
Now, if you search “universe” at the Wikipedia site it shows you a nice oval shaped colorful representation. Go ahead, take a look. I’ll wait here. There is quite a bit to read.
Now, Google ‘universe.’ Here’s an image that it will take you to. There is a lot that pops up, but, it’s much more than I can take in.
Anyway, I know quite a few Christians that baffle me. They know what ‘God’ thinks and wants. Yeah, the entity that created everything in the photo at the link I posted. They know what He thinks. Damn. That’s some special connectivity. They actually know the entity that did all of that. They know and talk to whomever created the universe.
How do I know they know and talk to that entity? They tell me, constantly. Daily, they tell me. They tell me, “Well, ‘God’ knows what you are doing. He knows what you think, what you say, whom you love, whom you hate.” Really, whom I hate? I don’t hate anyone, but, whatever.
So, these people know ‘God.’ They talk to ‘Him.’ ‘He’ tells them what ‘He’ wants them to do. One of those things must be to shame people by throwing scripture at them. I’m not buying it. The Bible and their religion is not a vending machine for shaming others. They like to think so, but it’s wasted on me. I never lose sight of the door. I use it without hesitation.
They tell me this ‘God’ is a loving, compassionate, caring entity. I’m certain ‘He’ is, however, if they know ‘Him’ and what ‘He’ wants, why are they treating everyone so badly? It makes no sense at all. If they are acting as ‘He’ would ask them to, I think they are mistaking ‘Him’ for Pol Pot. Maybe they actually don’t speak ‘Godese’ as well as they think they do, or actually, they don’t speak ‘Godese’ at all. They think that because they encounter opposition that they are doing the right thing. That’s a bit screwy, eh? If it were the ‘right thing,’ don’t they think it would be embraced? Apparently not. That’s some screwy thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I know quite a few Christians who are really nice people. They have no desire at all to shame people, nor to make them bow before them to be spiritually bitch slapped.
When you say to me “You know, ‘God’ says yada, yada, yada” you had better know what you are saying, because I am going to doubt and question/challenge every word you say immediately following ‘says.’ I can’t even for a second believe that you talk to ‘God.’ I will never believe it. I will accept that you may possibly be in touch with the spirit of Christ, but ‘God?’ No, not going to happen. This universe is rather big.
OK, so you think that I am implying that “‘God’ just doesn’t care.” That idea can’t be further from what I am saying. Of course, you may also be thinking “Why the hell are you agonizing over something that does not exist?” If you have proof of ‘God,’ or proof of no ‘God,’ I’m all ears. Bring it. Otherwise, leave a comment in the comment section below.
What I actually am doing is questioning the veracity you have in assuming you can equal ‘God’s’ ability, by telling me what you THINK ‘He’ thinks. You don’t know, you never will know. Have you ever created a universe? If ‘God’ created this one, you will need to start training for when this universe falls back into itself and we will need someone to create a new one. You will then be eligible to step up to the ‘create a universe’ machine.
So, what’s my beef?
I’m glad you asked.
If you consider telling me what an entity that has never been proven to exist, as well as never having been proven to not exist, tells you what to do or tells you to tell others what to do, you really need to provide some serious credentials.
From my seat, I can say what I believe is the right thing to do, which you will probably not listen to even though it sounds right, but you want to remain in the image of “Knowing what ‘God’ thinks.” I’m not buying it. I mean, really. Think about that. I just can’t wrap my head around knowing what ‘God’ thinks.
“But ‘God’s’ Word says…..” There you go again. Do you know how many versions of the Holy Bible there have been? Think about the term, “The King James Version.” See that word ‘version.’ Yes, one of many.
As a matter of fact, significant versions of the English Christian Bible include the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Authorized King James Version, the English Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the New King James Version, the New International Version, and the English Standard Version, and many more. When you say you believe ‘God’s’ Word and know what it says, then you know what one of these or many of these, or even a version not listed here says. All of these I have listed are ‘modern’ translations. The first printed version appeared in 1455. That is 200 years before the precious King James version. So, no one could even quote ‘God’ before then. They could say what they thought ‘God’ thought, but they couldn’t quote Him. They couldn’t even ‘cherry pick’ yet. Seems suspicious, no? The first fully printed version appeared on 22 October 1455. Of course, as one would deduce, The Gutenberg Bible had a profound effect on the history of the printed book. Textually, it also had an influence on future editions of the Bible. Considering quoting those earlier versions, you would have to be able to read Greek as the Gutenberg Bible was printed in Greek, translated from Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. Also, if you think ‘God’ said only what someone wrote down, maybe ‘He’ needs a bigger vocabulary.
So, when you tell me you “believe in the Bible,” think about what you are saying. I believe in it as well. I believe all books that I can see and touch actually exist. However, I do not believe it is the first account of ‘God’s’ Word. Wouldn’t that actually be silly? Even for a Christian, of which I am one.
So, please think about what you say, what you do and how you treat others, certainly when you are acting on ‘God’s’ word. Please refrain from trying to formulate a theistic justification for your activities that absolutely are harmful to people. Reduce your range of damage to just inside of your own head. If you think homosexuality is wrong, ask yourself when the day was that you knew you were heterosexual. Remember how much you agonized over making the decision to move from asexuality to your choice? Here’s a hint. You didn’t make a choice. If you think you did make a choice, you can go find ‘God’s’ throne now. Please leave the rest of us to our ‘sins.’ You are way too important to waste your time on this conversation.
Here’s the point. The words that are written in the Bible, are at best, an approximation of ‘God’s’ word. At the very least, it’s a guidebook on how to not be nasty to people. At least the new testament is. Many who toss old testament scripture around, attempting to shame others, do not understand that those words were written for ancient tribes that no longer exist, if they ever did exist. When you throw a scripture at me, you need to throw the entire Bible at me. You also need to make sure you are not in violation of anything that is written in it. You are no better than those you look down your nose to. It is not a reference book for shaming others, as many believe it is meant to be used. It is not a spiritual or fundamentalist dictionary or encyclopedia. I see it as a personal guide, not a weapon. YMMV.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Long ago, as a kid (remember I said ‘at least 40 years,’) I was a zealous, non thinking Christian as well. I thought I knew what ‘God’ was thinking. Honestly, that stage didn’t last all that long. It seemed rather self serving very quickly. I can’t hang along those lines too well. I question everything. I may not always find answers, but when I do, it isn’t always certain that the answers I find will be understood by me, but I don’t give up on looking or doing my best to comprehend what I may find, or what I hope to find. I do hope to find what I do not understand, then do my best to absorb facts and definitions.
I had a conversation with someone online a while ago. They were bent on pounding me and others with the Bible. One of those situations where every response they made was a copy/paste scripture passage. No informal thinking on their part. No thinking “outside of the box.” Most important, at the very start, they ASSUMED that I was no Christian. That judgmental thing was foisted upon me immediately. Here is the last bit I posted to them. It was refused.
“I could tell you you are wrong, however, I already know you won’t hear it. Just as 99% of the Christians I know, they never question their faith, the Bible or “God.” They read a Bible passage once and whatever comes into their head is what they go with. They defend that impression for the rest of their lives.
“I saw an interview with a fundamentalist Christian on television not long ago (a program centered on Ken Ham and the Creation Museum) where the person being interviewed said “…..if the Bible told me 2 + 2 = 5, I would believe it.”
Facepalm. Yes, the man said that. Then I would look for information proving or disproving that answer.
“Leigha, your interpretation of a book that has been rewritten so many times it has been distorted into something that no longer represents what was originally written, is a cookie cutter interpretation I have seen so many times before. Again, obviously, you question nothing, but find that using the Bible as a reference book quite easily accomplished. Honestly, if you tear a scripture or two out and throw them at me as you have just done, you do an injustice to the entire tome. “See, right here. You’re a sinner. You are going to hell.” Wow, how many times I have seen a fundamentalist Christian do such a thing without questioning themselves or seeing how judgmental they are being.
“If you really want to mount a statement, step away from the words in a book. Think for yourself. Since you cast scripture at me, taken as snippets from a larger story, it would only be logical to assume that that is how you apply those scriptures to your own life. “When needed, add water, shake and apply. Rinse and repeat.” That is certainly not how any ‘all seeing, all knowing’ entity would hope that you understand ‘Him.’
“I will choose to do what I think any good person would do, including Jesus, and that is to treat all people with respect, love, compassion, integrity, and acceptance. I care not to make an assessment of someone before I decide if they are on ‘God’s’ side or not. It makes no difference to me if they are on ‘God’s’ side. They are human? That is all that I need. Respect is the next consideration in order for the day. Whether they are religious or not is of no import.
“As I close here, I am certain that you will view this post in a negative light. You will find fault, feel attacked and have the need to stop what you are doing and fling more scripture. You see, once long ago, I was like you, then I sat down with a pastor and he told me that I was extremely idealistic. He explained to me how I saw everything in a perfect light that just did not exist. I looked at my life, and he was dead on the money. I asked him how I could change myself. He said, “You know that Jesus didn’t own a Bible, correct? They weren’t around yet.” I said, “Yes.” He told me to stop holding a book up to everyone that wasn’t around when the man that I wanted to be like was living. He told me to stop straining and filtering people through the Bible, think for myself, but to do the right thing. I was floored. First by hearing a pastor give me such simple and adequate advice, and secondly, by how much this had changed my life.
“Today, I am 60 years old, I’ll be 61 in January, 2015. I couldn’t be happier with my Christian walk if I tried. I no longer, and haven’t for at least 30 years, push everyone I meet into the Bible to see if they come out of the other end OK or not. Treating people with respect is much more important to me. Notice that I said ‘people.’ Not “These or those” people.
“Leigha, if you don’t see that you are bullying others in ‘God’s’ name, I feel bad for you. I will absolutely pray that Jesus replace your candle with one that burns in His light.
“Have a great day. I won’t respond to this thread again.”
Yeah, that’s what happened, and what I went through as a kid. I have held on to that little lesson since then. Pastor Naomi Harvey. A wonderful, spiritual woman. I’ve been through tough times and good times, but I have always treated others fairly, regardless of their life activities. Treating people respectfully without having to remember to do so is the key and purpose. It should be applied as easily and spontaneously as smiling or shaking hands.
As I close this entry, I want to say that I hope I inspired you to think, to question, to reevaluate your purpose, and certainly to shift your priorities. We can all do with a shake up and a resettling now and then. If not, then you are perfect and do, indeed, talk to ‘God.’ You need to go set up a lunch meeting with ‘Him’ and find out what is next on ‘His’ agenda for you. Please stay away from my party, we’re doing fine. However, I’ll grill you a burger if you want to just sit and shoot the breeze. Know this, I’m not going to tell you what ‘God’ thinks or wants you to do. I don’t rudely interrupt others’ conversations.
Would you like a beer with your burger? Chips and dip, maybe?
Thanks for looking and God bless,