So far in this series covering the misconceptions of the religion of Christianity I have spoken about the meaning of being a Christian and about what God is. I sat for a long time thinking about what is the next logical conversation to start in this series.
This is probably the most difficult blog for me to write. While it’s not my intent to offend, I know that some may take offense. I write this with sincere love and appreciation for all who will read this. My intent is that those willing will be freed from the chains that bind them, that you will come to know the truth and be made free.
I really feel that a lot of people are trapped by the idea they have of what the Bible is. Much religious rhetoric and bondage has come from believing that the Bible is THE word of God. Believing this causes many, including myself at one time, to take what the Bible says at face value, never really delving any deeper into what wisdom is really contained in this collection of 66 books. So in this post I will share my thoughts about what the Bible is. And if this causes any reader discomfort, or makes you angry, then this is for you. My hope is that this will cause you to think and grow beyond the fundamental teachings of religiosity.
I remember sitting in Bible study each week, listening in earnest to what was being shared by my pastor. I wanted to know more and continue to grow in my understanding and faith. I wanted to get as much of “the word” as I could get and, as the Bible advises, get an understanding. I was in my early 20’s at the time. I remember someone saying, and it could have been my pastor, that in order to really understand what was going on in scripture I needed to also be aware of the time it was written, the people it was written to, etc. So I got all sorts of Bible reference books to help me understand the mindset of that time so I could shift into the perspective of those to whom the message had first been delivered. When this happened, I could hear what was being taught at Bible study and, by the following Sunday, already know much of what the pastor was going to speak about as he continued the series of teachings.
One thing that often bugged me was the notion that a non-physical, non-corporeal entity had already expressed its word and that word was encapsulated in a collection of 66 books. Not to mention that Spirit doesn’t have a mouth and vocal chords. Spirit speaks, if it can be called that, by intent and desire, not by words. Words are formulated in the minds of men and translates that intent into something that can be more readily understood.
The next thing I had to consider was that some of the time periods discussed, like creation, happened before anything was written down. In fact, let’s take the creation story for example, there were only 2 human beings present but Moses is attributed as the writer of Genesis (some scholars are asserting otherwise now) and Moses was born years after the creation of the earth.
And if Moses could write words dictated to him by a spirit identified as Jehovah, why is A Course in Miracles vilified and denounced as evil as she shared words she believed came from an inner voice identified as Jesus? (Maybe this will be a later conversation)
Then in taking the time to look at some of the history of the compilation of the Bible and wondering why some other books written at around the same time in history were not chosen. I also wondered why 18 years of Jesus’s life aren’t spoken of. I mean if someone could write about how the earth was created who wasn’t present, surely someone could have had a conversation with Jesus, when he was alive, and found out what he did with himself during those years.
I also considered that it is taught that God himself wrote the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone and gave them to Moses, yet everything else in the Bible was written by human beings. I would figure that God could write for itself what was necessary for humanity if it chose to. And anything that humans write, even that which is inspired by the Divine, is written from the perspective and point of view of the writer. So that which was inspired by Spirit was filtered through the mind of man before it was written down in a format that could be disseminated. Much of this information was in the hands of, and compiled by, priests and scholars and shared orally with the population.
Let us not forget that a group of men were gathered to decide which books would be contained in the Bible. This counsel was called together by Constantine in around 325 CE to discuss and decide, among other things, the establishment of a single volume that could unify the separate factions of Christianity at the time under one rule. While touted as the first Christian Emperor, he wasn’t baptized into the religion until he was on his deathbed.
The biggest reason that I don’t accept the Bible as the word of God is because the Word of God is supposed to be Living. Living means growing, expanding, becoming more, going deeper, getting richer, etc. and the Bible, as it stands, is a complete compilation. It, as a work, doesn’t expand as time moves forward. The Bible, as well as many who preach it, are stuck in time. Stuck in an ideology that constricts life when, as Jesus said, we are meant to experience abundant life. And not an abundant afterlife, and abundant life NOW.
While I do not deny the wisdom contained in the teachings that are in the Bible, I cannot honestly or logically continue to hold the position that this is the word of God. And I can learn from the teachings but will not base my life on this compilation of books. Much of our internal struggle with the idea of God, Christ and how we should live is because we have trusted our lives to the book and not to the Spirit that inspired each of the writers of the book.
Being a Living Word, each of us have the capability of being the expression of The Word. Religion is really each individuals personal road to understanding the Spirit and Life within them. And as you consciously embark on this journey, how you live becomes the Word of God. And each person adds to this. Life grows and deeper and deeper truths are revealed and each person brings another piece of the puzzle. YOU ARE THE WORD. Just as the authors of the books in the Bible received inspiration from Spirit that they translated into words, you too receive impressions, insights, revelations that resonate within you and have to find words, based on your life experience, socialization, and personal perspective, to share that insight with others. What makes your insight any less special, anointed and worthy of note as any who are canonized in the Bible?
As a history book, there is a lot we can learn from the recorded experiences of those whose lives are chronicled in the Bible. We also do well to realize that there are other books not included in the canonized Bible that were written at the same time that also have much to reveal to us. Looking at the Bible as a history book we also realize how much we can learn from all of the lessons in history that are not included in the Bible, including our own experiences.
As a book of wisdom, the Bible and other sacred texts, are indispensable reference books. When a person takes the time to understand the historical contexts, perceptions of people at the time and the writing style of the authors, etc. we will gain invaluable and timeless insight into who we are, why we are here and how to overcome the struggles and challenges of our day. At the root of all these challenges are a common thread, our thoughts. The Bible is a collection of books that relate an underlying message that all things are possible if we would believe. Jesus is quoted as saying it outright. But stories of those who trained their minds to be focused on and trust the unseen forces of the Universe referred to as Jehovah and the things they were able to experience and accomplish.
Instead of making this book a cornerstone of a stagnant belief system, it should be the catalyst for a new and deeper understanding of the Truth and Wisdom of the Universe. It should be the inspiration for us to dig deeper within ourselves to realize that we are gods as it says about us. The Bible, and other sacred texts, should be the starting point for new inspired writings and teachings that can then be added to this compilation. These “basic instructions” should be inspiring us to seek out the intermediate and advanced instructions that would allow us to create heaven on earth.
What would it mean to you to admit that, while an important work, are not directives and edicts from “God”? How would your ideas about God and religion change? How would your ideas of who you are change?
|DULANI S. MOORE|
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