Genesis 3 is a pivotal text for much of Christian theology. The notion of a sinful fallen human nature, may not factor in much throughout the Old Testament but it is foundational to many of the beliefs developed in the New Testament. But as often happens when it comes to the Bible, what we hear from the preacher and what we read in the New Testament is a cleaned up version of the somewhat convoluted story we find in Genesis 3. Instead of moving through this text in a linear fashion, we will set the stage, take a look at its characters, and then do a wrap-up. Let’s dive in.Continue Reading
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“To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born…” Thus spake David Copperfield, the hero of Charles Dickens’ book of the same name. He goes on to report the day and hour of his birth, noting that this was passed on to him: “as I have been informed and believe”. He was present at his birth, but suffered that peculiar fate of all infants: he could not remember it. He had to have someone else tell him how things proceeded.Continue Reading
Have you ever felt like your preacher wasn’t giving you the whole story with the Bible? Perhaps certain details which seemed important in the text were being glossed over, or perhaps what looked like potentially serious issues were addressed with unsatisfactory explanations. Maybe you are just curious what the Bible looks like through the eyes of someone who used to believe it, was committed to it, preached it, then turned from it. If any of this matches you, this series is for you.
Through the Bible with the Atheist will be a regular series taking a look at passages “from Genesi to Revelations,” as Big Dan the Bible Salesman likes to say. Along the way, I will address some of the common Christian interpretations and why they often amount to convenient, self-serving distortions of the text and why some of the classic means of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics and exegesis) are often little more than ways to wrap justification around making the Bible say whatever you wanted it to say.
In the end, Christianity is one of the most relative of the world’s belief systems. Despite their claim to absolute authority through the revealed Word of God, Christians have no way to resolve long-standing disagreements. Quite often, what you believe about God (which religion you claim) amounts to which part of the world gave birth to you. In a similar way, what you believe about the Bible often depends on which social circle has captured your attention. Interpretations are numerous. Each group claims The Truth. The Bible contradicts itself often enough to give room for each group to raise a legitimate claim. Christians continue to debate the same issues that have held their attention for two thousand years.
As a reminder about myself, I was raised in a Christian home, attended a very conservative, deeply theological church, did the usual wandering a bit during college before “surrendering to ministry”, went on to Bible college then seminary for a Master’s of Divinity, finished up my degree and went on to pastor for a few years with a focus on theological, exegetical preaching. Toward the end of 2013 I realized it was all a sham. I left the ministry, took a job outside the church, and have been blogging what I learned along the way. This series is a continuation of that journey, with a look at why I should have realized years ago that the Bible is simply not a book to be trusted.
More to come!Continue Reading