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Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - Workin' Mama - 09-19-2017

To provide some context for what I'm about to discuss, we've recently been attending a contemporary evangelical church. They are super laid back compared to any IFB or even SBC church I've ever been to; they do a lot to serve the community and do not practice heavy-handed evangelism techniques.

A few months ago, the sermon was on so-called "Doubting Thomas." It was a huge encouragement to me, because it emphasized Jesus' compassion and acceptance of Thomas, doubts and all. It also validated the asking of tough questions, and emphasized that as human beings, it is common for believers to experience doubt. It was a huge relief to me. I was like, "Hey, I don't have to question my salvation just because there's parts of the Bible that I have difficulty with."

Recently, they started a new sermon series, something about "Foundations," emphasizing the first 11 chapters of Genesis and touching somewhat on apologetics. I've been experiencing a lot of mental turmoil during these sermons. It's not that I'm upset or stressed the by the topics being discussed, it's that my thoughts are all tangled up like a mess of yarn, and I'm not sure what I believe anymore about a lot of things. It's not that I'm ignorant, either; I'm just re-evaluating many of my long held beliefs. I've heard all the arguments on multiple sides. I'm well schooled in both creationism and evolutionary biology (I studied biochemistry in college and my father was an atheist who studied biology). I'm also somewhat schooled in things like textual criticism, as well as the fundamentalist viewpoint  on an absolute, literal interpretation of scripture.

The first sermon in the series was on accepting the Bible as absolute truth. The speaker went through various arguments, including the fact that the Bible is a historical document and there are many ancient copies that have been found -- how there are only 4 early copies of Aristotle's work and yet no one doubts that Aristotle existed, and there are many more than 4 ancient copies of scripture. With this point, I agree. I believe in a historical David, a historical Moses, a historical Abraham, etc.

So far, so good. But now we are making a leap. While I believe in a historical Aristotle, and that Aristotle lived and wrote whatever he wrote, that doesn't mean that I have to believe everything Aristotle wrote to be true. In the same way, just because I believe in a historical Moses and that he wrote and/or compiled large portions of the Old Testament, that doesn't mean I agree with everything Moses said (such as abstaining from shellfish and stoning homosexuals and stoning victims of incest along with their abusers), nor does it prove that God spoke to him or that he wrote down God's message correctly.

(I feel like I'm being really sacrilegious right now, just suggesting that a person could doubt the books of Moses, but hey, this is SFL and we can raise the tough questions, right? Glances over shoulder looking for lightening bolts.)

So, the next point in the sermon was even more problematic for me. He talked about a current trend of people just accepting the parts of the Bible about Jesus, such as the four gospels, but dismissing other parts of the Bible, such as the first 11 chapters of Genesis. He pointed out that Jesus frequently quoted from the Old Testament scriptures, and made references of Adam and Eve and Noah. He said that some people believe in "spot inspiration" -- that only certain spots of the Bible are inspired, and that people who believe this arrogantly believe that they are "inspired to spot the spots" (in other words, people think they can determine which parts of the Bible to accept and which to dismiss). He pointed out that Jesus honored the law and the prophets, and stated that we cannot honor Jesus and reject the law and the prophets.

In response to this point, I had several thoughts:
a) Jesus did quote from and honor the law and the prophets, yet he sometimes did things quite differently. The most obvious thing that comes to mind is how he defended the woman caught in adultery in John ch. 8, in direct contradiction to the Mosaic law, which said she should have been executed. He also let his disciples eat with unwashed hands, healed on the Sabbath, and fraternized with tax collectors and sinners.
b) Jesus' followers later determined that Gentile coverts did not have to live by the Mosaic law; they didn't even have to keep all of the ten commandments (weren't told they had to keep the Sabbath).
c) Jesus' overall lifestyle and message demonstrate that he valued human rights and human dignity, including the rights and dignity of the most vulnerable members of society. While portions of the Old Testament honor human rights (for example, the Jeremiah condemns those who oppressed the poor), other portions of the OT (particularly portions of the law a Moses) seem to trample human rights, particularly the rights of women and children and other vulnerable individuals.

During our mid-week small group meeting, no one brought up the really tough questions. I didn't either, due to peer pressure and being a recovering fundy. Undecided

Yesterday was the second sermon in the series.  He made a very good point -- that science, by definition, is not capable of either proving or disproving the existence of God. With this I agree. He also made the point that the Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God, but rather assumes the existence of God, and focuses on describing God's relationship with humankind. With this I also agree.

But there was also more about how we can't change scripture to fit our current cultural beliefs. More about how Christians must accept all of scripture. Again, the emphasis was on the first 11 chapters of Genesis.  And again, my thoughts are jumbled. I actually don't have a lot of difficulty with the first 11 chapters of Genesis, and I don't have difficulty believing in miracles (I'm not trying to start a debate on this topic, just stating my position).

Where I do have difficulty is the Mosaic law.

Why the Mosaic law in particular? I'm not talking about the ten commandments; I'm talking about chapter after chapter of laws throughout Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy (you know you're a true fundy when we can spell Deuteronomy without looking it up Smile ). Also the early chapters of Joshua. These chapters are full of human rights abuses. A single woman who is raped being forced to marry her attacker. A married or engaged woman who is raped being executed if she didn't scream loud enough (many people are too scared to even scream in these situations). Women being captured in battle and forced to be wives and concubines to their captors. Polygamy. Slavery. Executing homosexual males. Conquering entire cities and killing every man, woman, child, and animal. Particularly disturbing is the story of Aiken (spelling?), the man in the book of Joshua who stole and hid forbidden items from the city of Jericho. The story says that some of the other Isrealites were killed in battle as God's judgment for Aiken's sins. When Aiken is discovered, not only he, but his entire family is executed, including his sons and daughters. All of this is portrayed as righteousness.

Some would argue that when the Bible describes people doing bad things (sometimes even in God's name), we should not assume that God approves of those things. For example, the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah does not necessarily mean that God approves of polygamy; perhaps it is to show us the negative consequences of polygamy and favoritism. The story of David and Bethsheba does not mean that God embraces adultery and murder, but rather shows how a king used his position of power to commit great evil.

But we can't use that line of thinking as we look at the human rights abuses in the Mosaic law. The Law was supposed to represent God's perfect standard of righteousness. It's not about what humans did wrong, it's about what humans are supposed to do, and how humans are supposed to treat each other.

So, assuming the existence of God who interacted in some way with a historical Moses, I've come to this list of possible conclusions when I look at the apparent human rights abuses in the Mosaic law:

a. I'm a peon who doesn't understand the ways of God. It is me who is wrong, not God or his words.
b. God is a cruel tyrant, who is more cruel and uncaring than most of us.
c. God had grown more patient and understanding of human frailty by the time Jeremiah came along, and certainly by the time Jesus lived on on earth.
d. God only gave Moses certain parts of the Law, such as the ten commandments and other key passages, and:
    1. (either) Moses came up with the rest himself, or misunderstood God, or borrowed from other sources (such as Egyptian law or whatever the cultural beliefs were at the time).
    2. (or) the rabbinical scribes came back later and added extra laws, perhaps based on their own traditions and/or borrowing from other sources, such as Babylonian laws.

Which leads to another question regarding how we interpret ANY part of the Bible:

Is the Bible directly and objectively God's words, or is it more of a historical account of people's subjective experiences with God?

I'm a little nervous to hit "post" because I've been very transparent here, and laid out some of my deepest doubts and most nagging questions. Yet I would like to hear what others think about these things.

I would also be very interested, if anyone knows how modern Judaism addresses these questions, as it sometimes seems to have a better grasp on issues like equality, justice, and ethics than modern Christianity.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - The Inimitable Lady Semp - 09-19-2017

I believe it is impossible for a human to accept without question or doubt everything that another person believes in.

I have a friend who is very Catholic, worked in her parish in charge of CCD, and very much believes in the major tenets of Catholicism. However, she leans towards feminism, does not attend Mass every day, practiced birth control, believes that abortion isn't bad, etc. She considers herself Catholic in spite of her disagreements with the church. The Pope probably doesn't.

I think you can be religious without accepting everything. After all, what the preacher is spouting is ONLY MAN'S OPINION. That's what he thinks. You don't go along with everything a friend thinks, do you? Why buy everything wholesale this guy spouts?

Personally, I'd much rather bask in the light of people who claim religion but back off parts of it so that they may be kind, loving, helpful people instead of dogmatic fools who are impossibly rigid. Life is seldom black and white. I've found it to be far more than a mere two score and ten range of gray.

This preacher sounds dangerous. Not that I attend church anymore, but if I heard that nonsense from a pulpit I'd walk out and not return.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - SpurgeonGeneral - 09-19-2017

After completing this post, I came back to the top to preface it all with this.  This was way longer than I intended.  For anyone reading this, please read the third paragraph (which starts with "I have used this analogy in the past...") if you don't wish to read the whole thing.

I, personally, believe the Bible to be completely accurate and true.  I don't believe man(kind) always (or perhaps even often) interprets it correctly.  I am not a Catholic (yet), but I am finding when I compare Catholic interpretations and explanations of passages of scripture, they seem more accurate to me than the Protestant explanation of the same.  It seems the Protestant explanation of things often has to retract itself when approached with specific situations with statements such as "well, in that case, scripture "x" applies instead of scripture "y", if that makes sense.

I really wanted to respond to the one part of your post where you asked, "Is the Bible directly and objectively God's words..."  According to the words Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:12, no.  I think that's where many, many folks get tripped up (especially Protestants and especially more conservative Protestants).  We've all heard the phrase "If the Bible says it, I believe it!!".  That is a fine statement, but a strong comprehension of what the Bible is actually saying is needed.

I have used this analogy in the past.  Scripture, aka the Bible, is inspired by God.  Francis Scott Key was inspired by the battle of Fort McHenry to write the Star-Spangled Banner.  The battle itself didn't pen the words.  Key didn't even write actual quotes of the men involved in the battle.  The scripture that is most often used (by Protestants) to defend the authority of scripture is 2 Timothy 3:16, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God..."  It was (is) inspired by God, not dictated by God.

For the record, I am not attempting to diminish the authority of scripture.  I am, however, attempting to establish the importance of it being explained correctly.  The apostle James said "not many of you should become teachers".  It seems now-a-days that's the "go-to" default if you want to "do the Lord's work", become a pastor, missionary, bible professor, etc.  I think (and this is my personal opinion) there are WAAAAAAY to many [spiritual] teachers, which leads to, by default, many holding the position that have no business, authority, ability or [actual] calling to do so.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - myotch - 09-19-2017

I don't think the laws for the ancient Hebrews should necessarily make sense. We have the gift of grace regarding the law, we live under a different agreement, a different covenant, a different way in which we come to God.

I was once a Marine. In that time, not only did I live under the same laws as all citizens, I was also subject to the UCMJ. Now that I am just a citizen, the UCMJ doesn't apply to me and doesn't make sense to me vis-a-vis my Constitutional rights which I have not signed away in a contractual (covenental) agreement. I now have the freedom of speech to protest the Commander in Chief. I have the right to assemble in a political rally. I have a right to keep a gun under my bed if I so choose.

There may be a necessity for military laws - to promote good order, even good morale - but whether or not I recognize the necessity makes no bearing on my rights and priveleges I have as a citizen. But looking at the Old Law does help me to respect my status as a gentile believer, an adopted child.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - Workin' Mama - 09-20-2017

Thank you everyone for your responses.

Semp, I really appreciate the story about your friend who goes about her life as a devout Catholic while disagreeing with the church on several matters of conscience.  It sounds like she is not bound by black-and-white thinking.  As far as I've come in my journey away from fundamentalism, seeking a more rational and compassionate way to practice the Christian faith, there are still pitfalls of black-and-white thinking lurking in my mind.  

My inner conflict is this: There are parts of the Bible that I don't and can't accept at face value. In fact, I find certain portions of the Bible highly objectionable because of the horrific human rights abuses (polygamy, slavery, rape, the execution of individuals who committed nonviolent "crimes"). Yet I have this nagging fear that perhaps, because I don't trust scripture as I once did, maybe that means I am no longer a Christian, or wasn't a Christian to begin with, or am on a slippery slope to no longer being a Christian. In my heart, I know these fears are not true. I have trusted Jesus as my savior, and I have not recanted.  I know that God is bigger than my doubts and fears; the fact that I find certain portions of the scripture (such as the Law of Moses) objectionable does not make me a non-Christian or even a bad Christian.

Regarding the preacher at my current church, I do NOT accept everything he says at face value, nor do I attempt to. He is a fallible human who is on a journey like the rest of us (actually a recovering former fundy himself); sometimes he says things that are very encouraging and inspiring (like the message on Thomas, and a series he did awhile ago on the life of Jesus, emphasizing Jesus' compassion and acceptance towards people). Other times he says things that I disagree with, but always provides food for thought. My husband and I have had some good discussions with him about Christianity, fundamentalism, and human rights. He has also stated that Christians shouldn't be afraid to ask tough questions. Perhaps I should not have brought him or his recent sermons into the discussion at all, as I would probably still be having the same inner conflict had I never set foot in that particular church. The recent sermons about the authority of scripture were just a springboard for me to articulate what's been bugging me for months. And just to clarify, I've never heard him discuss the contents of the Mosaic law in detail, nor does he promote the idea that Christians should live by it. It's just that every time he mentions the authority of scripture, my mind immediately sys, "But what about ____ that Moses said? How could a good God have ever condoned ____?" Since escaping fundamentalism, my BS thermostat is highly sensitive, and I tend to over-analyze the contents of every sermon I hear, sometimes inserting or projecting my own conflicts into the message.

Spurgeon, I like your analogy about "inspiration" and the man who wrote the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. And just because scripture is "inspired" and "profitable," as 2 Tim. 3:16 says, does not mean we have to take every verse at face value. I think it is enough the say that the Bible is "true" without saying that it is "literally true."

The following analogy might be considered irreverent, but we read a lot of children's stories at my house  Big Grin  . Think about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Nobody is saying that the events in this story literally happened, but it carries a lot of truth. Lock your doors when you go out, so that curious strangers won't go snooping around your house. Find a happy medium in life -- avoid the oatmeal that is too hot or too cold. And most of all, don't trespass, and especially don't go to sleep while you are trespassing, or your might get scared out of your skin by a bunch of grumpy bears!

Also, I totally agree with your quote from James, about "not many should be teachers."

Myotech, your analogy about the UCMJ versus the laws that govern ordinary citizens makes sense, when it comes to perhaps 80-90% of the Mosaic law. If God wanted to tell the ancient Hebrews not to eat shellfish or pork, or that they had to tithe 10% of the herbs from their gardens, or that they had to observe certain religious holidays, I don't have a problem with that. So what? And if God wanted to tell the ancient Hebrews not to steal, murder, cheat, or covet, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, those are all good things -- principals that helped lay the foundation for our modern understanding of ethics.

No one that I know of, not even the most extreme fundamentalists, is promoting the idea that Christians should live under the Mosaic law. Yet the conservative Protestant understanding of the Mosaic law is that it was authored by the same good, loving God who created the earth and later came and lived among us and died on the cross to save the world. The purpose of the Law was supposedly to teach humankind about right and wrong -- to show us that we cannot measure up to God's standard of righteousness, so that we would understand our need for a savior. According to this teaching, the Bible is internally consistent throughout. God creates humans, we rebel, he gives us the Law to teach us about righteousness, we fail miserably in our attempt to keep the law, so God in his mercy sends his son to save us. Under the new covenant, we no longer have to live under a law of such painstaking detail, but we still must live by its basic principals, such as loving God and loving our neighbors. God is good and righteous all along.

My problem is when you look at the Mosaic law in detail. How could the loving, just God portrayed in the four gospels and many other scriptures, condone the execution of homosexuals and certain rape victims and followers of other religions, while allowing things like polygamy, slavery, and the rape and forced marriage of women captured in battle? So what if these laws were for a different time, place, culture, and covenant than what we are living in today? Human rights are still human rights.

My conclusion is that either:
a). I know absolutely nothing about morality and ethics,
b). God is an cruel tyrant,
c). God used to be a cruel tyrant but has grown more patient and merciful,
d). the people who penned those scriptures did not understand the heart of God, or
e). we gloss over the horrific human rights abuses condoned by the Mosaic law and pretend they are not there.

Let's look at each of these.
a). While my understanding of morality and ethics is very limited by my human frailty and finiteness, it is based on studying the life and teachings of Jesus, and my attempt to practice compassion and empathy towards others in my daily life.
b). If God is an cruel tyrant, what is the use of Christianity? Why spend eternity with him?
c). I find this choice disturbing on several levels. God is supposed to be unchanging, and even if he has changed, that would still make him a cruel tyrant at some point in the past.
d). This choice is the most palatable to me at the time being, although it goes against much is what I have believed my whole life. To no longer view the Bible the way I used to makes me wonder if I'm a bad Christian, but it seems like the best option.
e). Sorry, but I can't bury my head in the sand or try to explain these things away any longer.

Maybe I'm being dogmatic. Maybe there are other explanations that I haven't even thought of.

Thanks for reading my late-night ramblings to the end, and again, I would love to hear your opinions. SFL is one of the few safe places I have to discuss these things.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - myotch - 09-20-2017

Our understanding of human rights is not an objective exercise. It is still subjective.

We arrived at the basics - freedom of speech, religion, lawful assembly, self-protection through a more objective lense of the Enlightenment, but we are still debating to what degree do these rights exist.

Slavery and LGBTQ issues are still not universally accepted morality - perhaps up to half the population of the earth doesn't live under gay-friendly authority. Slavery in various forms exist unchallenged in regions of at least two continents. In America, the average person works almost 5 months a year for the governments.

I read a book about the Mossad assassinating the '72 Olympic terrorists. One tells the story of Biblical character killing off all of Israel's enemies. The man goes to God and exclaims "I have killed off the enemies of your Children!" God responds "Why would you do that, Were they not my children, too!"

I love that story. It's so Jewish. Take passages out of the Bible, try to make sense of it. Wring out every word, every shade of meaning. Maybe even come to a different conclusion than where the Bible narrative takes you. Israel means to wrestle with God. Ever hear two old Hasids debate the Bible? It is fascinating, and often makes Christian debates seem trifling and trivial. Yet, these guys remain faithful, succumb to the inevitability of Tradition.

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - captain_solo - 09-20-2017

I like that approach Myotch.   

I've had several conversations with former fundies (some here even) where it becomes evident that they cannot separate the Bible itself from their own embedded presuppositions about the Bible.  By that I mean that people they trusted, pastors or parents usually, drove some highly flawed and troubling interpretations of the Bible deep into their psyche, and for them to "accept" the Bible is to justify all the wrong that was perpetrated in its name.  I have spent years peeling the fundy cultural lenses off my eyes when reading the Bible and I still keep finding them.  Its a process, and it starts with being willing to give up your right to be right, I don't know is the answer way more than I'm comfortable with.   I pray that all of you will be able to recover from those spiritual abuses over time and see the Bible as something other than a cudgel.

Bottom line, the OT narratives are hard to understand, and they are even harder to integrate into a systematic understanding of God's character.  Personally, I tend to think that some of the stories and some of the justifications used by characters in the OT may be an accurate depiction of what they believed or even a fabrication on their part to justify behavior by claiming God commanded it or implying that he was happy about it, but they may not be a completely objective perspective on God's mind itself.   I recognize that for most fundies and many evangelicals that is a slippery slope and yes it means I get to decide which parts get integrated into my systematic theology I suppose, but I at least hold that out as a possible explanation, and its more intellectually palatable than the pat answer "God's ways are higher..."  I believe in the accuracy of the text and I believe that it is inspired and inerrant and all of that, I just think we don't know enough about it to actually be certain of exactly why specific things are there and how to interpret and integrate them.  We are so far removed from the cultural setting that it can cloud our understanding since we are blinded by how things are now.  Anyone who has a conversation with me about these things, usually over coffee or beer, will find I'm much more drawn to the philosophical underpinnings of my belief system and how they form the structure that my faith interlocks with than I am interested in arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin so to speak.   It frustrates many of my fundy or formerly fundy friends because I don't care about their petty issues of music style or church polity, or who my church should be willing to work with in community service, or what to do about people who are divorced or what have you, but it frees others from the need to have everything explained and placed in neat little boxes.   

The more experience and wisdom a person has, the less certain they will be about all but a few things.  I'm really trying to work toward that in my own life, its freeing once you allow 'I don't know' to be an acceptable answer even after deep investigation of an issue, and it also allows you to be much more compassionate and have better conversations with people because you aren't just looking for areas where they need to be corrected in their theology and calling that discipleship.  

One of my current passages that I am keeping in the front of my mind.   

I Timothy 1:3-7

"When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.  Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.  But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.  They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently."

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - Dr. Jezebel - 09-20-2017

I'll simply say that one can be Christian while balancing the view that Scripture is inspired, but not inerrant. Wink

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - Campmeeting Liberal - 09-21-2017

Hi, Workin' Mama,
I feel your struggle! I listen to and read after a guy named Greg Boyd, who pastors a non-denominational church. You should check out his church's podcast--Woodland Hills Church. He just wrote a book (2 Volume work) on this very issue called "Crucifixion of the Warrior God". In this book, Boyd argues that God accommodates with man and in fact takes on their sin very much like Christ did on the cross even in the Old Testament. So, for example, God never wanted Israel to battle with the Canaanites (in fact there is a verse to the contrary) but because of the hardness of the people he accommodated their sin in order to be in relationship with them. [Other examples: God never wanted them to have a king, but they got one; He never wanted them to have a temple, but they got one; He never wanted sacrifices, but they burned them anyway]. So the Old Testament is God "stooping" to man's level to try to have relationship with them and even allowing Himself to be seen in a very cold, evil way in order to accommodate for relationship.

My explanation is nowhere near as clear as Boyd's, but check it out.

Also, check out another podcast entitled "Exploring My Strange Bible". There are three episodes that deal with how the Bible came to be (how it was written and canonized). Very interesting.

Also, think about this (And this is very Jewish, I believe): God wants us to wrestle with things that are contrary to Him. For example, God never wanted Abraham to offer up Isaac; God wanted him to wrestle with the idea--He wanted to prove that He was not like other gods that demanded child sacrifices. So, I believe, when something we read in the Bible doesn't sit well with our spirit (should I capitalize here?) then we should wrestle with it. If we see a verse that seems to excuse violence something inside us should send red flags because Jesus condemned all violence.

Also, the Bible was written by many, many different authors for a variety of purposes and within a variety of genres. Genesis (especially chapter 1) has poetry and metaphorical language. It was never written down with the intent of being read as a history textbook. Literally, Genesis chapter one in Hebrew is a poem. Science does not have to be done away with in order to read Genesis and believe God is creator (although the whole literal idea of the Earth being 6-10,000 years old falls short). The text is not trying to tell us how old the earth is, so why do we try to make it do that? Also, the authors wrote according to their knowledge of science and how the earth works and that doesn't make it less inspired. It just means God uses human beings who don't know everything. For example, the ancients believed that the earth was flat and sat upon huge pillars. If the gods were angered they would shake the pillars and the earth would shake (how the ancients described earthquakes--rather beautiful if you think about it). David in the Psalms says something similar about the pillars of the earth being shaken. This does not mean that the Bible is now void and worthless because David believed the earth stood on pillars. It just means that God spoke through and to a man that didn't have the same knowledge we do today.

Ultimately, everything comes down to Jesus. What do you do with Jesus? Whether you accept Genesis (or any other book of the Bible for that matter) as literal or metaphorical or whatever, the ultimate question is "who was Jesus?". I believe Jesus was perfect love. I believe there has never been a more fully human being than him. And I believe Jesus is eternal God who became a man to dwell among us and live with us and suffer with us to prove that he loves us and wants a relationship with us.

Anyway, hope some of this helps. We all struggle, especially those of us from a IFB background. But stay focused on Jesus and his grace and love!!

Grace and Peace

RE: Doubting the Bible (can't swallow the Mosaic law) - rtgmath - 09-21-2017

Workin' Mama, it sounds like you are thinking straight, mostly. But I hate to tell you this, you are still in a Fundamentalist Church. If you wish to recover from fundamentalism, it won't be there!

I could write volumes about what you have said and the topics discussed. The only thing I will say is this. The Gospel is that Christ died, was buried, and rose again. We confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. The promise is that, thus, we are saved.

Paul puts a curse on those who would add to the Gospel. That includes obeying the Law. That also includes believing that the Scriptures are literally true or that Inspiration is equivalent to Inerrant. There is no such thing as inerrancy, not while there is language! As they pressure you to "believe" exactly what they tell you, and attempt to tie belief in their interpretation of Genesis to your eternal salvation, they are doing exactly what Paul called a curse for. They are adding to the Gospel.

My advice? Get out. Leave. Run for your life. Fundamentalism is cruel. No matter how much you love fundamentalists, they will not truly love you back. They will hurt you for not believing and for not obeying them. They will deny you a mind of your own.

I know. I am still locked into relationships with people I love who are fundamentalist. While they barely tolerate my questions and doubts and differences, should I ever express them I am in a world of hurt. At least I do not attend a fundamentalist church any longer, and will never go back. But their love for me is always conditional.

There are ways to read the Scripture as Metaphor. There are ways to understand that what is written about God is not the way God really is, but how people perceived God as they justified their own behavior (while condemning others). Inspiration is NOT inerrancy. That doctrine is a modern heresy.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope you find your way out.