Alas, my 'session' with the PBGs didn't help me much. My thoughts kept coming back to my conversation with my blog friend, Ron. It did seem to confirm the importance of faith in all of this. I also got the feeling that I am being a bit stubborn and that I really need to ground my decisions with additional Bible reading.
That can't be a bad thing.
I have some quick things to say about Ron's latest (and last? I think not!) post.
- I did not mean to imply that I didn't believe in God or that God didn't create the universe. On the other hand, I don't think that God created the earth in 6 literal days. I see this creation story as a metaphor only. Ron won't like that, but that is tough.
- I did not mean to imply that I think the Bible is false, just that it isn't infallible.
- I only tried to take the Bible out of the conversation regarding faith because I wanted to hear what Ron felt about faith, not what was written in the Bible. He has quoted the Bible enough and I wanted to get past that to what he felt. More on this later in this post
- I don't want to argue about evolution either. We have differing opinions about it; enough said.
Based on your (presumed by me) assumptions about me, Ron, you have lumped me in with other Bible haters. Ron, I am surprised by you. I would have thought it was apparent to you that I am ready to read the Bible with you and see what I could get from it. I am just not ready to see it as a tautology. I am not ready to accept a 10,000 year old earth because the Bible is from God and God doesn't lie. As you know, the Bible is a valuable repository of useful social guidelines. I even accept that the Prophets were influenced by a direct connection to God in some way I can't fathom. Just because I can't fathom that process does not mean it isn't possible. On the other hand, have you read the description of Ezekial's vision? It sound like he was tripping out on magic mushrooms! I am positive there is a metaphoric meaning to this vision, but I don't know what it is.
You spoke at length of conscience. I wasn't clear on what you were getting at, however. Were you trying to imply that conscience and soul are somehow linked or words for the same thing? Surely a soul is more than just a persons conscience? Anyway, the difference between our positions seems to be that you see conscience as a trait or fundamental and I see it as a set of learned behaviors. I see it as a learned behavior. There certainly seem to be people who never developed a conscience due to improper upbringing. I see conscience as a creation of society that is transmitted to an individual. It is a fabric of rules that allow us to co-exist without falling into anarchy. It is taught to a child by his/her parents to assure their survival and procreation in society. Having said that, I have no intention of our discussion wandering into the realm of Social Darwinism. Let us press on.
...when you start to question one part of scripture, the whole things starts to unravel pretty quickly.
If it was my intention to discredit the Bible, unraveling it would be my goal. That, however, is not my purpose. My point is that making allowance for poetic license, imagery, metaphor or other elements of story telling doesn't diminish the power of the content of the Bible, but is certainly changes what you believe the document is telling you.
If you find a quote in the bible that says that women are property and you believe the Bible is Gods final (unchanging) word, and you believe that God must be followed at all cost, then By God, women shouldn't be allowed to vote (among other things). I can see why Bible literalists are tying themselves in knots trying to get everyone to see that the 'progress' we have made in so many equality issues have being a denial of Gods Holy Word.
But we have been around that merry-go-round before too. I am running low on bullets too.
Yet there is no great appeal for you to accept that grace, because you don't want to be motivated by fear. Solomon reminds us repeatedly, that "fear is the beginning of wisdom", and Heb 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Tim, God means business when it comes to sin. You don't want to be motivated by fear, but you should be. We all should. We should tremble at the thought of standing before a Holy God. Even if there is only a chance of it being true, you should tremble at the thought. No, it's not pretty. But that is where wisdom, and repentance begin. Faith will follow - God will reveal himself to you as you take those small steps of faith. But you must humble yourself first.
I realize there is a chance that it is true. I am not ready to swallow the pill whole. I am an analyzer. I pick things apart to see how they work. For me, the pieces just don't fit together. I think that Ron is saying here that he attains faith through his fear of God. I have come a long way into faith. My entry into faith has not been through fear but through purpose. Through action. I strive for community, to become a part of a grand whole. I want to be the hands of God, to act on His behalf. It is my belief that a God who loves me would not want me to quake in fear. A God who is all powerful would not set up a system were only the fearful would survive. That kind of creation makes no sense to me. I don't believe in a God who will punish my bad behavior with eternal suffering. That does not seem all powerful to me. Fear is a base human emotion. Love is a complex set of emotions and actions that defies attempts to describe it.
God is love.
God is NOT fear.