Why We Must Argue The Bible Is Not Inspired By God!
By Mike Edwards
This post is longer than usual. I will be as brief as possible. I hope subtitles depicting my thought progressions will make it easier to read.
I have written on this topic ad nauseum. See here. We can’t prove God inspired the Bible, so I believe it is best to assume God didn’t inspire all of the Bible for reasons below. It is natural to assume God’s inspiration means God’s approval. (Gregory Boyd adds a twist below). I will address below why many may argue the Bible is God’s inspired Word — concerns we then wouldn’t have an authoritative view of God. I think an inspired Bible has led to condemning others falsely, thus discouraging faith in God. An inspired Bible can also provoke violence.
Gregory Boyd wrote a book about the Bible Inspired Imperfection. Boyd seems to suggest God allowed wrong views about God written to lead to seeing ultimate perfection in the person of Christ at the Cross. There are hundreds of passages in the OT where God supposedly orders Israel to commit atrocities (“Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (I Sam. 15:3). Did God really approve/inspire/have anything to do with such accusations about God? Such confusion by God just doesn’t make sense.
An inspired Bible has led 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. Similarly, 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? Religions defend killing homosexuals because of their assumption that every word in a Book was inspired by their God. Extremists and terrorists hide behind a Book. The biblical truth is we can’t prove our interpretations are correct or even that biblical writers always understood God perfectly.
An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence
I mentioned that biblical writers claim God ordered certain atrocities in war. 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 don’t think critically, this can lead to violence in God’s name.
An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!
It is suggested if the Bible isn’t inspired, “then you can’t know God.” Were Old Testament folks out of luck since there was no Bible? Are the majority of people born, who didn’t have a Bible, out of luck? We aren’t totally clueless! Universal moral outrage hints of a Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. Who doesn’t know a good God hates beheading people because they don’t share your beliefs? Only a supposed infallible Book claiming to speak for God would suggest such a moral atrocity. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not.
Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense
Christians say God’s spirit (aka Holy Spirit) does or can reside within you. Unless the Spirit talks to you audibly or visibly, we can only discern the Spirit’s voice by examining our intuitions how a perfect, loving God may guide us. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless about perfect love. Even the Bible implies we can understand God’s love because perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This is why many claim God is a mystery because their interpretation of Scriptures suggest God appears evil from a human perspective.
Can Jesus be the end-all about what God is really like?
The Bible is said to be inspired because the biblical writers made such a claim. Such logic would not lead those same people to accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. Boyd suggests Jesus claimed in the NT that OT Scriptures were imperfect but inspired by God. Scholars do not agree on Boyd’s interpretation of those relevant passages. Interpretation realities don’t allow us to claim certainty about Jesus’ views on other matters.
Many disagree what Jesus taught about divorce which impacts millions of marriages. Turning the other check is interpreted to claim Jesus never advocated violence, but the possible literal translation of Mt. 5:39 is “do not resist by evil means.” Does Jesus agree violence is never desired but may be necessary sometimes? The NT is no different than reading the OT since we could be wrong what Jesus would teach. It can’t be avoided using common moral sense when reading the Bible.
How can we view the Bible?
The Bible can be viewed as God’s story beginning with Israel and culminating with the life of Jesus that we don’t possess in any other document. God didn’t necessarily inspire or approve of everything written about God. Reading the Bible encourages questioning and contemplating what a loving God is really like. Imagine if extremist had to admit God possibly didn’t inspire every word in a Book, and we had to use common moral sense to understand what a loving God is like.
How can we make Godly decisions during uncertainty?
Please stop claiming certainty in God’s name. Certain absolutes are obvious to all. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We must stop hiding behind a Book! We can’t declare certain immigration laws in stone. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Stop canceling others’ opinions! Begin conversations looking for how you agree. Stop claiming your views are morally or biblically superior. We can’t always be certain how to best love, but we best come to solutions through civil and democratic means.
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