Good morning – and thank you for your interest (and stamina)! Okay – last time was why atheists and Christians in the same sentence …
The “big deal” for me in this phrase “inerrant and infallible” is very simple. It adds nothing but takes away so much.
Whether or not the bible IS inerrant and/or infallible IS a matter only of belief. It is NOT a matter of fact. If you believe the bible is – then that is fine. And if you believe the bible isn’t – that is also fine.
I believe both.
I believe it is The Word of God, and I don’t believe it is factually/historically accurate in every sentence and word. I do believe there is a “supreme being”, and I don’t believe “He” must be called by the catalogue of names we bestow and assign. I do believe that God is love: unconditional and eternal love. I do believe we are all capable of the same right now. I don’t believe “God” can be captured as we like to think He can be captured. And I do think the bible is important. And I do believe we can find God in the bible. But I also believe we have to “mess with the bible” just as we have seen Jesus mess with the bible.
Just for a very different reason.
Because every day I journey through time and space – even when it seems like a “slow day”. And we each take this daily journey alone and with others. We add companions to our lives. We seek community as we journey. But we crave more than companionship. We crave the unconditional love of another. And when we find each other – we will let them down (and they us) from time to time. Every relationship hitches/unhitches the “un” to/from “conditional” over time.
Apart from one.
So if you need the bible to be “inerrant and infallible” that is your choice. But if that insistence is needed by you FROM others … Doesn’t “THAT” become an obstacle to finding the only relationship that can ever be unconditional? With someone who will never demand we do this or that (to earn their love), never get cross and smite us (for not doing what is good for us, right for us, desirable for us, healthy for us …)
And then this …
Why do we dismiss those who are grounded, balanced, in touch with themselves, connected to their life and living, connected to their loved ones … content with who they are what they are … All because they disagree with us over the bible? Have you not noticed how they seem able to withstand “whatever life throws at them” … take things in their stride … make the best of anything and everything … how they draw others to their inner light … how they are “an inspiration” … ?
I believe they are already what you and I desire. I believe they are what my God invites me to be. And with or without a bible – I believe each to be closer to my God than I am right now. I believe they are “unconditional love” much more than I am right now.
So why do we dismiss those who have found all that without “the bible”? Why do we attempt to take all that away from them (rather than learn from them)? Why do we need them conform to the way “we” conform (and which still seems to keep us from the God we seek)? How many “atheists” do WE keep from God?
And what might God have to say today – right now (if He was still around) … ?
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’ The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you. “ Luke 17:1-6
This Unconditional God of Love and His timing … sense of humour … absence of any trace of nastiness … ! These verses were assigned years ago. That is how the lectionary works – it lays down daily readings years in advance.
And yet right here and right now – He speaks THESE words to me TODAY. That, for me, IS the Living Bible, IS The Word of God, is alive and loving right now.
But did God say these precise words? Did Luke get them down right? Did Luke put a “spin” on the context? Has Luke embroidered these words for his own agenda? Did Luke actually write these words? Did Jesus ACTUALLY say these words 2000+ years ago (and has the inerrancy and infallibility survived the machinations of interpreters and revisionists and printers ever since …)?
I doubt it.
And it seems to me that if you need your God to be that historically, factually, scientifically and inerrantly correct … Where does “faith” come into this … And why is there fear in your relationship with this God you love (that you wish others to love – that you wish to “bring to the Lord”)?
And yet “we” happily nod along to this at the same time: “By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended, with complete confidence in Your Loving care.”
Why would an atheist ever feel free – ever feel welcome?
I am not sure that I do a lot of the time.
We are getting close to something you may wish to stick around for … See you next time I hope!