Rethinking The Bible — Is The Bible Really Inspired By God?
By Mike Edwards
If Post too long, read the bold subtitle sections of interest
I post often about the Bible. I have written a short Booklet: Rethinking The Bible — Is The Bible Really Inspired By God? It is natural to assume if God inspired the Bible, God approved all written in the Bible. We must question if the all of the Bible is inspired by God. Claims made about God according to an inspired Bible has keep many from having more of a relationship with God. God may be more like the God you expect!
Since we can’t prove God inspired the Bible or not, I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible. It’s natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. But even if God did somehow magically control the thoughts and words of the writers, literature is still subject to interpretation. It is common for biblical scholars to have different interpretations of the same passages. Failure to recognize differences can lead to false accusations against God.
An inspired Bible leads down the slippery slope toward inspired interpretations
Many proclaim “The Bible teaches” without adding “according to my understanding.” When one fails to acknowledge their interpretation could be wrong, this can lead to forcing personal convictions wrongly on others in God’s name. The Bible can’t be an authoritative guide about God because we disagree what it says regarding gays, women’s roles, Hell, etc. The truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or that biblical writers always understood God perfectly. The possibility that the Bible isn’t entirely inspired by God avoids the slippery slope toward supposed inspired interpretations. A fallible Book, rather than an infallible Book, encourages evaluating the most likely view of a loving God.
An inspired Bible leads to condoning violence
I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war (I Sam 15:3). Did God really inspire such thoughts? Did God really approve a wife’s hand being cut off when grabbing another man’s genitals (Deut 25:12)? Not questioning supposed inspired portrayals of God has led to killing infidels in the name of God and justifying wars. Extremists may argue that we should seek to imitate a perfect, loving God. If certain violence is good for God according to one’s interpretation or assumptions about a Book, it must be good now for humans. When you regard the Bible as the revealed Word of God and assumed inspired by God, this can more likely lead to violence in God’s name.
An inspired Bible leads to condemning women and gays
It is misleading to claim we can rely on “biblical truths.” Many claim the Bible says that women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching. Yet it can also be defended that Paul, a main writer of the New Testament, didn’t think roles should be chosen based on gender than gifts. See here. No one can claim their biblical view of God concerning women’s roles is definitive. It may also surprise some scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.
Supposed certainty according to the Bible has led to condemning gays, though biblical scholars don’t agree the Bible condemns same-gender loving relationships. See here. How dangerous can an inspired Book be? Let’s say all agreed on an interpretation of a Book’s passage on gays. An inspired Book assumes the biblical writers always portrayed God perfectly. We don’t know that. Religions, because of an inspired Book, have defended condemning or even killing homosexuals in God’s name.
An inspired Bible leads to the destruction of souls and families in the name of God
Ever moral fiber in a parent’s body doesn’t wish to condemn their child for feelings they say they can no more control toward those of the same sex than heterosexuals can control their feelings toward the opposite sex. Biblical passages that condemn homosexuality are highly debatable which should lead us to listen to our moral senses. God surely supports all loving, consensual, caring relationships to avoid heart-break. Family members and friends no longer need to be broken-hearted by thinking their devotion to God requires them to reject their loved ones. Why would anyone choose to be gay based on the condemnation and bigotry they face? It just isn’t possible to be told “I love you but I hate your sin” and not feel unloved and rejected. We must be guided by love — how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?
An inspired Bible leads to rejecting God for the wrong reasons
Church-goers gain most of their understanding of God from the Bible. Many non-going church people are impacted by what others claim about God according to the Bible. Try telling people with a straight face a perfect moral God tortures forever after death for beliefs held while a short time here on earth. What many assume of a good God doesn’t always match what the Bible says! Many insist the Bible can’t support evolution. If one believes evolution is a possibility, this forces them to reject the Bible and often God goes with that. Maybe Genesis isn’t meant to be a historical or scientific rendering of creation but written to illustrate there was a Creator.
Would you naturally assume if not for your understanding of a Book:
- God condemns gays though gays no more choose to be gay than straights choose to be straight
- God prohibits women serving as pastors or priests though we all know many women that are a lot smarter and better leaders than a whole lot of men
- God judges based on religion when the religion the majority adhere to depends where born
An inspired Bible leads to Christian hypocrisy
One would think God followers wouldn’t be so judgmental. Jesus hung out with all kinds of people who didn’t share His beliefs. Jesus’ ire was saved for religious leaders mispresenting God. Christians who follow Jesus’ teaching often judge more than love one another. Why isn’t a Following who claims the importance of loving others as themselves having more of an impact on our culture? It is hard to make a big impact in the world alone. A Movement though can! But more churches are forming than uniting because of differences in interpretations and claiming certainty.
What first steps can we take to show true love?
Extremists hide behind a supposed infallible Book. Certain absolutes should be obvious to all such as beheading people for unbelief. A God torturing many forever in Hell seems extremist to many of us. Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are biblically superior. As my beliefs were forming and changing over the decades, I wasn’t always respectful in sharing my passions. If I had it all to do over, I would have sought to understand first before being understood. This is the best way for relationships to not end up demonizing one another. Don’t assume the Bible is inspired by God. Christians acting loving toward one another could change the world.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org