If you never know where to go when you have problems with some of the things you read in the Bible, just come to Progress Planet. Of the thousand or so verses in the Bible related to nonsensical violence, and the many other verses promoting slavery, rape, genocide, human sacrifice, racism, and other objectionable things, I find a lot to write about.
Pull up a chair. I’m Eliza Wood.
We’re not supposed to question the Bible, right? That’s precisely what makes it so much fun to talk about.
I guess every modern movement with any real momentum needs a phenomenon, so the one I’ll try out first is “disambiguation.” Over the years I’ve noticed that people have started figuring out that the Bible has a lot of verses they don’t teach in Jewish or Christian Sunday school. In a country with a 99% literacy rate, some people actually do pick up their Bibles and read them. Simultaneously there are huge numbers leaving the church, and the synagogue, too. If my suspicion is correct, there is a connection.
There are those who might tell you that all the words in the Bible are true and authentic words of God. That notion is about a hundred years old.
Before that, religions (including all the denominations) considered the Bible as a collection of ancient stories from which people could draw some good lessons.
The idea that the words in the Bible are either too profound or confusing to be understood is just plain wrong. The Bible is not beyond reproach. I’ll help break it down for you.
For a while I found it repulsive that rape victims in a modern court of law have to swear in on a Bible that actually promotes rape.
That’s what prompted me to action.
So what I like to call disambiguation is the process of people unveiling the underlying doctrine of whatever faith system they belong to. They check to see if it is consistent with their personal brand. Today people wear, own, and talk about the brands they think best boosts their self concept and public image, right down to their iPhone cover and lip gloss. And there really is no more snowing ordinary people—the Internet and instant chat have removed many layers of personal distance from the truth. Have people figured out that some of the Bible represents what they think is good and yet there is some stuff in there they are not too sure of?
You know what happens if a person has an unresolved concern about religion? Nothing. That is, the person does absolutely nothing. Will not go to services, will not sign up to support outreach, might not even pray. The person goes into religious lost and found. And stays there. Actually, the person has a lot of company there and most likely never returns to the ranks of the faithful.
Is that you? You are in good company.
I’m glad you found your way to Progress Planet. Even if you never liked religion to begin with, even if you’re unwavering in your own beliefs, or by now have decided that I am completely wrong, welcome. Whether you believe in no one or nothing or all things and everyone, you belong right here.
Because disambiguation of the Bible presents a problem. A huge problem. A global problem. And oddly enough, one that unifies all of Christianity and Judaism as well.
We all have a Bible that says stuff we don’t like.
And what to do about it? Let me introduce my next phenomenon, “balkism.” This is when one says enough is enough. Loud like a chicken. Over the next several years I’ll be trying to get people of all denominations in Christianity and Judaism to balk openly and proudly about the parts of the Bible that are controversial and problematic in civil society.
Many denominations have adopted different scriptures over the centuries. Many people find it surprising to open one Bible and see different books than they are used to seeing, but many versions exist. Some nineteen revisions exist as well, let alone translations. Some churches find certain books essential and others less important.
Martin Luther in his careful reading of the Bible really disliked certain books, especially Esther, and he flat out rejected the book of Revelation. Bet you didn’t know that.
In my own read of the Bible, which has taken about thirty years, I don’t find any of the books themselves altogether worth removing or including; there are nuggets of wisdom in most, although I did see Martin Luther’s point about Revelation. That is just some freaky stuff. Instead I found problems with certain verses. Problems I couldn’t live with.
My book, Crisis of Faith, is a suspense novel about how the Bible can motivate some people to do amazingly great things, yet inspire others to do incredible harm.
In reading the novel, one of the most surprising things readers find, is just how many instances there are of things that good people today of all faiths find deplorable.
How will this ever change?
Until the book comes out, please visit often. I will post a refreshing perspective on religion as it relates to almost everything.