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Who Wrote the Bible?

May 3, 2014

 

What would you do if you actually knew something for real, but outwardly, what’s generally associated to it, looked fake? This is the dilemma, a cognitive dissonance, that many Christians struggle with. There may be something real at the core of their religious experience but, around it, there is too much that appears “fabricated”.

So, what is the real essence of Christianity? Tradition, Scripture, an idea, a philosophical proposition, a theological one, a social construct or an experience of the divine? Is faith a humble submission to religious creeds and dogmas, a rational understanding of its theology, a relationship, a journey, or an appeal to a greater power in a quest for final answers?

Take the Bible, for example, there are some things that definitely work and are “tried and proven”. Yet others are just the opposite, and you wish they weren’t there. Must we take it all as “word of God” or is there a different way to look at it? Some say there is no wiggle room, that you either take it all as inerrant, or you might as well forget it all. But is it so? Must it be all or nothing at all? How can we choose between fundamentalism and atheism, especially when they look so suspiciously similar?

Thankfully, there is another view, and many have found it. Bible scholars and theologians have long known about the human aspects and literary devices of the Bible. That’s why hardly any of them are “Bible-Thumping” fundamentalists. They see the book entirely differently than the average believer. Why? Because the way in which it is commonly perceived is a fairly late invention, one which the original authors never imagined.

The idea that doubting any part of the Bible, eventually leads to a complete loss of faith in it, is ludicrous. It’s a form of religious bullying that says “you either believe as we say or you are no Christian”. The irony is that such tactics are used by those who know the least, and who foster a superstitious-like adoration of the book, as if it were a literary icon, an idol.

They fear that too much enquiry would unsettle the “simple faith” of their followers, and they are right, it would. That “simple faith”, a tenuous mixture of popular beliefs and superstitions, is what keeps everyone there and pays their salary.

But can God be hurt by enquiries and new discoveries, be they scientific, archaeological, historical or from textual analysis? Only a fake god can be destroyed by truth, and deserves it. Knowledge of a true God, instead, is enhanced by whatever truth you give it. Both, scientist and believer, stand in awe at this.

It is also true, however, that what’s touted in the media as a new discovery, is often speculative, exaggerated or even a hoax. That’s why we must never take things at face value, but must look deeper. “Judge not by appearance”

The same can be said about the Bible and a lot has been published on it, though not all of it reliable. While some mocks Christianity to advance other creeds, some is definitely worthwhile. It’s best, in all cases, to use a little critique and follow it up with personal research, to “see if these things be so”.

This video is an example of what I mean. The scholar starts from his personal quest, as a believer, then brings up a number of facts, indulges in some personal speculations and attempts a conclusion. While he does make some valid points, some things remain hanging, but that’s not bad. Even the Gospel writers shied away from being too specific. Their aim? To make the reader think and ask for himself, for unless there is a question “what sort of man is this?”, there can be no answer.

This will not help a blind type of faith, that must keep its eyes closed, but I believe that true faith can afford to open them. To truly know, however, one must not only see, but also try, and that would have been my conclusion.

 

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From → Bible, resources

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