Proof vs. Faith: Biblical Discussion redux

Again I direct your attention to the blog entry: http://blog.celticbear.com/archives/000053.html . Good discussion. Aeron (cool name, by the way,) makes some very good points and well stated as well. I appreciate discussions (OK, it’s almost a debate really, but a really friendly one) with educated, intelligent people who show respect. =)

Anyway, something that was brought up earlier just struck me again this morning in that fuzzy realm between sleep and “Daddy, wake up!” The statement Jesus makes “I AM” which translates basically from Hebrew/Aramaic to “I am God”. Here in one gospel he says he is God incarnate, yet in a couple other gospels he’s in the Garden of Gesthemine (sp) praying TO God, asking Him to “take this cup from me”. He knows what’s going to happen, has doubt and fear and asks God to not allow him to be sacrificed. Now, if he were God incarnate, why would he pray to himself and ask a favor?

And that points up my original…point I was originally trying to make. The Bible doesn’t necessarily make sense, is not logical, contains contradictions and fallacies, and inaccuracies. BUT WAIT! Before you scoff at this point, a point in which any good atheist and haughty pagan would continue with “…and thus there is no God” or somesuch, allow me to say it does not prove anything! And that’s the point!

What would happen to God’s greatest gift to humanity: Free will (OK, one could argue the greatest give is the capability to love, or the sacrifice of Jesus, but just go with me here,) what would happen if there were undeniable proof in the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus? Undeniable to EVERYBODY not just the faithful or those who want to believe? What purpose would that serve? What would happen to faith, to spirituality? To the fatalism and free will?

To take a more structured, logical point of view: The Bible is not false, the expectations we have of it our false!
We’re making the mistake of looking at the Bible from a 20th/21st century mindset where most Americans at least have heard of the scientific method, are expected to look at things as 1+1=2, and that everything must have a reason and make sense. This is a VERY new concept. I would say as new as the idea of public education, circa 1860-ish. For the last 12,000 years of recorded human civilization up until 100-200 years ago, the idea of accurate recording of historical events objectively wasn’t even a consideration. (With some exceptions, granted, like recording of births or Egyptian record keeping of harvests. What I mean is not the recording of daily numbers like that but of grand events and the stories of occurrences and people’s lives.) The authors of the Bible’s New Testament wrote “gospels”, not “factual accounts” but “stories” of Jesus. Their intent was NOT to deceive or tell lies!! (No, The Church starting around 300AD on until Vatican II would do that just fine, thank you.) But to tell people the “good news” to the masses, and write down the foundation of this growing Jewish sect.

We in the modern ages think everything must be accurate, and anything written down must be “true”. Isn’t it ironic that we demand that the written foundation of our “faith” must contain “accurate proof”??

An example of how new a concept this is can be seen in the Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages. No, these aren’t who-dunnits. Mystery Plays were little plays performed during religious holidays that depicted some event from the Bible. The examples we have of Mystery Plays show a great amount of anachronism. Of merging 1st century AD with circa 12th century AD. References to places and times and people of those times alongside people from the Bible, and the like. And it wasn’t done for comedic effect, it was because to the people of the Middle Ages, the time of the Bible and the exactitude wasn’t a concern. They believed in the immediacy of the Bible within their lives and didn’t care that it all took place 11 centuries earlier. They didn’t pour over the text looking for contradictions and biases, they simply accepted. (Of course, The Church also demanded that the ordinary person could only experience the text through the priests and weren’t ALLOWED to own a Bible, but the point remains.)

Look, I don’t want to sound harsh, but let’s accept it: The Bible is not historically accurate. It says the universe was created in 6 days only 16,000 years ago or something like that, if you count back the genealogy. We KNOW that the universe was created in a Big Bang some 10 billion years ago. We KNOW dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago. We KNOW modern man evolved from cro-magnons (although we know that we aren’t descendant from Neanderthal.) We KNOW that the ark of Noah could not have repopulated the earth. etc etc.

Now as a faithful person you can do two things: either keep arguing against it and trying to come up with crazy theories that hold no water to try to prove the Bible as historically and scientifically accurate, or, accept the inaccuracies and Not Care.
What?! Not care?! How can you say that?! Seriously. Is your (and I mean the general “you”, not anyone specific *g*) if your faith so weak and so superficial that you rely on the futile and energy consuming task of proving the Bible to be without error? Can’t your faith be based on, wait for it…faith?! On your heart, on your gut, on what God speaks to you, and not what some handful of human men wrote down on paper thousands of years ago? This is the same text that if we are to believe and follow all of it literally, we need to do things like stone people, abort children conceived in adultery, treat women as stock and property, sacrifice animals (this is all Old Test’ stuffy, by the way.)
Or, do we just accept it and say “Yes, why thank you for pointing it out that the Bible is not scientifically accurate, and you know what? I don’t care. (Big sincere smile.) I Believe not because of a mouldy book but because God is in my heart.” Imagine what the reaction of an atheist or a haughty pagan would be to that? How can you argue against faith? If you hold your beliefs solely or even mostly to the Bible, you will be in for a lifetime of arguments, debate, trying to prove you’re right and the other person’s wrong. Is that really what you want to base your faith around? Is that the example you want to set for others? Is that how you think a faithful person should behave?

Isn’t it more faithful to be certain of what’s in your heart and what your spirit tells you, and just smile and shrug when some blowhard tries to tell you the Bible is “wrong”?

Some people, people likely who can’t grasp the concept of being both skeptical and faithful, are shaking their heads. “He starts out by saying he doesn’t believe in the Bible, but he believes in God, he doesn’t believe in Salvation, but he believes in The Spirit…” (sound of head exploding.) Maybe I need to just follow my own advice and smile and shrug. =)

2 thoughts on “Proof vs. Faith: Biblical Discussion redux”

  1. Liam,

    Good Sunday Morning to you. As usual, I enjoy reading your blog. This latest posting has some excellent questions and comments.

    I would like to respond to your one comment about Jesus at one point saying “I am God” and at another point praying to his Father in Heaven.

    Again, I encourage you (and your readers) to read the book of Romans. In one short book, Paul literally summarizes the full message of the Bible.

    Jesus is at the same time TRUE GOD and TRUE MAN. I’m jumping into a big theological area here, but at the very least we must understand that we probably cannot truly understand the capabilities and powers of God. The Bible teaches that God is a Trinity… God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Three distinct persons, One God. It cannot be explained, and yet the Bible teaches it.

    Ahh, it always comes back to this point, now doesn’t it. Again, I will not further debate you on the accuracy of the Bible.

    Faith is the evidence of things unseen. I admit that the Bible can appear as foolishness, because when viewed from the perspective of this world any discussion of the supernatural will appear that way. My theories hold water. Most who say the Bible is innacurate have not read it. Have you? At least read Romans. Just take thirty minutes of your life and read the Book of Romans. http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?language=english&version=NIV&passage=Romans

    However, understand that at the very least the Bible is a “rumor of another world”.

    Do take care… gotta run!
    Aeron

  2. Liam,

    Good Sunday Morning to you. As usual, I enjoy reading your blog. This latest posting has some excellent questions and comments.

    I would like to respond to your one comment about Jesus at one point saying “I am God” and at another point praying to his Father in Heaven.

    Again, I encourage you (and your readers) to read the book of Romans. In one short book, Paul literally summarizes the full message of the Bible.

    Jesus is at the same time TRUE GOD and TRUE MAN. I’m jumping into a big theological area here, but at the very least we must understand that we probably cannot truly understand the capabilities and powers of God. The Bible teaches that God is a Trinity… God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Three distinct persons, One God. It cannot be explained, and yet the Bible teaches it.

    Ahh, it always comes back to this point, now doesn’t it. Again, I will not further debate you on the accuracy of the Bible.

    Faith is the evidence of things unseen. I admit that the Bible can appear as foolishness, because when viewed from the perspective of this world any discussion of the supernatural will appear that way. My theories hold water. Most who say the Bible is innacurate have not read it. Have you? At least read Romans. Just take thirty minutes of your life and read the Book of Romans. http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?language=english&version=NIV&passage=Romans

    However, understand that at the very least the Bible is a “rumor of another world”.

    Do take care… gotta run!
    Aeron

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