I came upon a snippet in an essay I was rereading this week…for the umpteenth time,The Voice of the Good Shepherd on the God Quest website. I highly recommend the essay…and all the other writings on the website.
This article deals with the “two voices” running throughout scripture' (mainly the Old Testament) where in one passage God gives meticulous instructions about the who, what, when and where concerning sacrifice and in another passage God asks incredulously….WHO told you to do that?
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand?
There are numerous….hundreds….of places where the Bible contradicts itself. God bashers delight in these contradictions. This “proves” to them that the Bible is nothing but a collection of hogwash.
If taken at face value, the Old Testament God is pyscho to the nth degree….and detestable, as voiced by Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason.
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."
The Bible is written to the spiritual man (a head nod to Keith, who first taught me this concept) but the problem is that in this realm, our understanding is tainted by our carnality. And we twist and adapt and interpret the words of scripture to fit our beliefs.
It’s a cliché, and oft repeated, but you truly can prove anything from the Bible. And volumes have been written propping up bullshit theologies using the words of scripture as the basis.
The snippet, I came upon in this insightful essay…..
Choose your contradiction.
Because in fact, we all do. We focus on the verses that prop up our (bullshit?) theologies and ignore, or explain away or trivialize the verses that do not conform to our beliefs.
WE. ALL. DO. IT.
That’s because the veil has not been completely rent…and our spiritual understanding is sometimes contaminated by our carnal thinking.
My personal benchmark for interpreting scripture is to filter everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation through the image of the invisible God who has been revealed to us by Jesus.
My friend annie…her filter is “God is Light. God is Love. And in Him there is no darkness.”
We all have our filters. We all have our blinders. We all choose our contradictions. Choose carefully. Choose prayerfully.