Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Reasonable Doubt

Several years ago the question came to me, where did the bible come from?

I was attending a bible school at the time, where you would think a clear answer would be available, but alas, only vague explanations were given and quite frankly I didn't want to jeopardize my tuition by pressing the matter. You know how these Christians are, very defensive about their holy book.

But it's never left me alone. I mean, who was the guy who said it first "this book is the infallible word of God." Joseph Smith said that about the book of mormon, but apparently that's what makes him a fruit (I've noticed that the church's definition of a cult is also, coincidentally, the definition of a church) but I digress...... who said it first, and why should we believe him? Once one generation of christians believed it, the next inherited the belief, and the next after that.....

These days, if you suggest to a baptist that the bible is not the magical inerrant spellbook that he believes it to be, you're likely to have a fight on your hands. But how many of these people actually know where the bible came from? And why do they cling to the myth of infallibility?

I think most of them don't have a clue. I hold the leaders responsible. They're supposed to know these things, they're supposed to educate us. More and more lately I get the feeling I've been misled, that information has been kept from me in order to keep me in the fold. I am learning so many things lately which, had I learned them earlier, would have changed the course of my spiritual progression.

For example, no one suggested to me that the complications of translation, coupled with the number of times it has been translated, make it extremely unlikely that the current text of the bible is consistent with the original. Nobody told me about all the scripture that has been left out of the bible. Nobody told me that there were many gospels floating around at the time that matthew, mark, luke and john where chosen for their relatively easy to understand narrative and popularity with the masses.

So I'm left feeling like the victim of a conspiracy. The clergy can't be trusted.

I was taught that as a christian it is impossible to lose my salvation. I have fire insurance, if you will. So I'm sure no one will mind if I separate myself from my indoctrination. I've been driven out by a reasonable doubt.

3 Comments:

Blogger Andrea said...

As a recovering fundalmentalist Christian I too struggle with the same issues. Keep asking the questions and searching. I am and my mind is opening up a bit each day.

May 09, 2006 9:25 PM  
Blogger Rev. Troy said...

It is one of those very strange things that I discovered when I was trying to be ecumenical with mainline denominations some years ago--that the clergy training programs of the mainline denominations cover a great deal of textual criticism and history. However, the clergy members and divinity students I spoke with all said that they couldn't talk about these things with their congregations. The local power structure in many denominations is not the clergy, but the established congregation.

While I don't give them a break on their ethics, it goes to show that entrenched beliefs point to entrenched power. It is entrenched power that make the choice of willing ignorance, constantly. When seminarians were excited to see that I had a book of Gnosticism, and even more excited to find out that I was a Gnostic, because they could finally talk about Gnostic texts with someone, that is a sad state. I wonder how many closet rational mystic Gnostic clergy there are preaching the same old same old.

Just thought that might be of interest. The theory of Memes is something that I have found useful in trying to understand what all the believing is about.

It is a long process that all of us seeking liberation are involved in.

May 09, 2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous ursa smaller said...

rev. troy, thank you, your comment about the clergy is definitely helpful to me. I appreciate your perspective.

Andrea, lets be friends ;)

May 09, 2006 10:03 PM  

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