Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The poor Bible has been abused more often than it has been translated.

This question was posed on an internet search engine. “Why must atheists spell "God" with a small "g"? Answer: “I think it's a form of disrespect....it's to show disrespect.”

Those who view God so small that only they can know the Divinity demonstrate an even greater disrespect when they use the upper case “G”!

Is God really as small as they say? They argue for a god so small it could inspire only one book, theirs. Is God so small to have been revealed exclusively to THEM in a simple way only they understand? Is their god so small as to be understood exclusively through their interpretation of a strict reading of the Bible? Is God really so small to have been unable to design a world where species evolve and genes determine individual characteristics such as sexuality? How small can they make their god?
Their spiritual ancestors used the same scriptural idolatry to make the earth larger than the God who created it and the sun around which the earth revolved, branding Copernicus a heretic and burying him in an unmarked grave for 500 years. Their Bible thumping ancestors used the Good Book to justify slavery. "The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example,” preached Rev. R. Furman, 18th Century Baptist Minister, South Carolina.
Some still use it as did their predecessors to support the marginalization of women. All of our ancestors used it to legitimize the theft of land from Native peoples. The poor Bible has been abused more often than it has been translated.
In his Wyoming Tribune-Eagle response to me, Rev. Robert Norris says churches believing what he does are full on Sunday mornings. He may be right. But I never thought the Nielsen ratings were a particularly good way to determine what my children should watch on television. Faith is about challenging our worst instincts not finding scripture to justify them. Challenging people to think makes faith hard, complex, even confusing. A simple message that assures folks they came to the right place to hear an easy to understand message may create a crowd for the church, but not a future.
“After we’ve wrestled with the meaning of scripture on an issue, and come to an understanding that challenges our current beliefs or practices we have a couple of options.  We can either:  (1) change our ways of thinking and living. That’s called repentance.  Or (2) reframe the text to mean something that fits into our current beliefs and lifestyle without requiring anything of us.
That’s called idolatry.” (http://richarddahlstrom.com)

A faith built simply on the shifting sands of using a search engine to find just the right verse to sustain an otherwise weak argument is no different than the children of Israel building the Golden Calf when they felt abandoned by Moses. God warned us against any form of idolatry in the 10 Commandments. Jesus resisted the idolatry of scripture throughout his ministry. Jesus role modeled the sanctity of questioning those who would use scripture as a means of building walls and dividing people from a God of love.
It is a theology that reduces God to a mere shadow of the Divinity who created the Universe, ordained the diversity of the earth and revealed purpose through the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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