Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meaning of Life, Part 48

It's a bit of a flimflam on the part of pastors, Bible teachers, and true believers when they urge us to "obey the Bible"--by which they mean trying to do what the Bible says. Although many claim to try, they are never able to succeed! Here is why. The Bible is an ancient book describing the origins, history, and faiths of two different antiquated religions, both of which are, in turn, quite different from their modern counterparts. I am not saying the Bible is without value, or that nothing can be learned from these antique religions. There are many valuable lessons for moderns to take from the ancient Judeo-Christian traditions that comprise the Bible, but directions from God on how life should be lived in the modern world are not among them....

....There are ways of reading the Bible other than as a collection of divine mandates. For example, the Bible addresses human issues with which modern society still struggles: guilt, fear of death, moral failure (what the Bible calls "sin"), acceptance (that is, "forgiveness"), wholeness (that is, "salvation"), life's purpose, etc. But one must pierce through the literal words to come to grips with the existential substance of the concepts. In the light of history their questions are frequently more helpful than their answers.
--Charles W. Hedrick, "Obeying the Bible is a Bad Idea" The Fourth R, March-April 2010