By Mike Edwards
It is hard for many to wrap their brain around that a Supreme Being exists. Others are inclined to believe there is a Creator. I am convinced the Bible is a main reason many don’t have more of a relationship with a Creator they believe in. I wrote here other reasons people don’t pursue a closer relationship with the God they believe in. Many wouldn’t hold certain beliefs about God unless claimed true by authority figures — according to the Bible. Answers to questions according to the Bible, contrary to our moral intuitions of a loving God, may be the problem!
The Bible, Gays, and Hell
I believe there are two main beliefs claimed about God because of the Bible that drive others away from God. Many may be unaware biblical scholars who respect the Bible don’t believe Scriptures condemn gay monogamous relationships. See here. It doesn’t make moral sense why God would condemn gays when they can no more chose who they love than straights can. Ask them! Why would anyone choose to be gay based on the condemnation and bigotry they face?
One would only imagine a loving God creating a literal Hell because of one’s interpretation of a Book. A loving God wouldn’t torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place for their worst enemies. Hitler tortured millions of Jews; God is said to torture billions forever. A moral God can’t be a hellish, sadistic, torturer! We can’t prove God controlled the thoughts of writers to always portray God accurately, but scholars don’t even agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. See here.
The Bible, talking snakes, and evolution
No one was there in the beginning. You don’t have to believe in magical trees and talking snakes. Those could be a literary device to discuss a relationship between God and humans. Many insist on a literal interpretation of Genesis, that Adam was a literal than representative of the first human. I can believe God did or didn’t use evolution in the creative process — humans evolved over time into a more complex form. See https://biologos.org/
The Bible and God’s violence rationalized
Many notice passages like I Sam. 15:3 where God orders: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” If you don’t think this is morally shocking, how would you react if reading this same command in the Koran? God is said to order killing boys and non-virgin women but sparing virgins (Num. 31:18). Did God really expect young woman to watch their mothers, sisters, and brothers murdered by men who one day may expect marriage or sex? Biblical scholars are rightly questioning if the authors always depicted what God is truly like.
So, what is God really like?
Faith in God or what God is truly like isn’t much different than faith in general. We still get on an airplane, not because we know but have reason to believe it is safe. We can’t always be certain. Surely a loving Creator would love the way we were created to love. Somehow, I know what a true friend or perfect God must be like. A God worth believing in surely desires to inspire and encourage you to become the person deep down you want to become. Choose biblical interpretations and understandings of God that make moral sense, regardless of what others claim the Bible teaches. I have decided a journey of faith with such a God is worth living.
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