one book two attitudes

one book two attitudes

As we can see from these two fellas, their minds are predisposed to thinking a certain way, and the bible supports their contradictory attitudes.

Our minds form a worldview at a very young age. Then it finds the appropriate information that agrees with this worldview. This in turn confirms and solidifies the worldview, which then endorses and promotes the information with which it agrees.

It is a vicious circle that is very difficult to escape.


25 Replies to “one book two attitudes”

  1. It is indeed a vicious circle however a circle that can be broken. I broke it myself, on my knees, realizing I had become a hater.

  2. Being raised in a fundamentalist home should carry a Heavenly Health warning!

    Yet many of us have still managed to run stright bang into Divine Love blocking our prodigal escape route.

  3. I read the Bible and sometimes I love people.

    I don’t generally love them as I love myself (as the Bible say I ought).

    And I often hate people, as well.

    Funny how we won’t do what the Bible tells us to do.

    In fact, I never met anyone, let alone a Christian, who loves God and their neighbor as themself.

    Maybe we really do need a Savior.

  4. When I read the bible, I just get confused. Every time I try to read it I find another contradiction. I always wonder how folks can take the bible so literally…and I sometimes wish I could too.

  5. it all depends on what lenses you use when reading the bible. you can find anything you need in the bible. just twist one scripture here and pluck another one out of its context and voila! you’ve got yourself a new world view!

  6. What if you start out wanting to love everyone (as hard as it is sometimes) and reading the bible makes you hate in a way you never did before? To see so many people venerate as sacred a text so violent and misogynistic making you lose some sympathy for your fellow humankind?

  7. The Word of God is infallible and inerrant. The problem is we are not perfect – we are not infallible and we are not inerrant. Whenever we attempt to gather our foundational sacred writings, we find that there is no unanimity in what writings are to be included. A short incomplete list of biblical canons would include: Luther, King James, Vulgate, Greek, Slavonic/Russian, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Armenian. Each sacred writing is supported by multiple source documents written in ancient versions of Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Which source documents are to be used? Do we use text from a single source document or from multiple documents? Just choosing the literal text is a process fraught with the full range of human behavior at its worst: sharp personal disagreement, vindictive attacks, ecclesiastical schism, and war – all this, before any attempt to translate the sacred writings into a contemporary language.

    After determining what is the text of our Bible, once we have chosen what the Bible says, then we are ready to determine what the biblical text means. Again and always, whenever we attempt to discern the word and will of God, we are limited by our imperfection. Whatever understanding we have of our Bible is unavoidably imperfect, imprecise, and incomplete. Quoting the Bible does not make us perfect – it does not make us infallible and inerrant – quoting the Bible does not make us God. Quoting the Bible does not mean we are speaking as God or for God. Quoting the Bible does not grant infallibility or inerrancy to our use or interpretation of the Bible. Quoting the Bible does not bestow upon us sole control or sole authority over how the Bible is used or interpreted. Quoting the Bible does not make our voice or message superior to or more authoritative than any other voice or message. Quoting the Bible grants us neither superiority nor authority over any person or group. Because we are imperfect and fallible and constantly making errors in judgment and perception, there is no universal single authoritative use or interpretation of the Bible.

    With these limitations in mind, here is our understanding of the Word of God and our contribution to the conversation. Part of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Word of God is the way it calls us to go beyond where we were and to be more than what we are. An overarching message and purpose of the biblical scripture is to call us: from death to life, from hate to love, from war to peace, from condemnation to grace, from vengeful destruction to restorative justice, from greed to generous compassion, from exclusion to protective hospitality, from isolation to community. An integral part of the infallibility and inerrancy of the Word of God is the way it calls us and leads us and teaches us to be the family of God – living here and now as children of a God of unrestrained love and unconditional grace gathered as a community of justice and compassion who are living lives of generosity, hospitality, and service.

  8. Doug, you mentioned the various different cannons of Scripture…which one do you use? Because by using a single one of them you are stating that a particular portion of what has been considered Scripture by at least one portion of Christ’s Church isn’t infallible or inerrant. Do you acknowledge and believe the prophecy contained within 2 Esdras (4 Ezra) for example, do you know the arguments before the king in 1 Esdras (3 Ezra), or the wisdom written by Jesus Ben Sira in Ecclesiasticus?

  9. The Wrong Way to Read the Bible
    Two opposite errors exist in approaching the Bible. One is not to read it. The other is to know it so well that you miss Jesus. Jesus pointed out this error: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).
    Are you surprised to believe this error exists? We constantly talk about reading and studying the Bible as an unqualified good. But clearly, the way we read the Bible is just as important as reading it.
    Missing Jesus
    So how can you know if you might be reading the Bible, looking for life, but missing Jesus completely? Here are a few clues:
    • You read the Bible to reinforce what you believe, not challenge what you believe.
    • You imagine yourself as the type of person who believes the things you read about.
    • You think the things you read are especially applicable for people you know, but not for you.
    • You imagine yourself as the hero of the story, not the person or people who are unbelieving. You frequently ask in your heart, “How could these people be so unbelieving?” For instance, when you read the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert you might say, “How could those Israelites grumble about food and drink when they just saw God part the Red Sea?” But you are completely blind to how you grumble at work or home when you’re afraid of losing something.
    • You love the attention garnered from your knowledge of the Bible, but give little thought to how you have applied what you have read.
    Maybe the Bible should come with a warning label: “Beware: reading this book incorrectly will make you twice as fit for hell as when you began.”
    Don’t miss Jesus. Go to him and find life.
    Matthew 23:15 (New International Version)
    15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

  10. Christine & Beth & Simon,

    Since early childhood, my spiritual text has been the protestant canon. That is just the way it has been for me. It has always been a presence and language and metaphor in my life. Because of its constancy in my life, I am very comfortable and conversant with it.

    Two understandings changed my view of this text: 1) That the Jewish usage of the Hebrew Bible was to provoke questions and discussion and layered complex understandings, not to provide singular absolute answers, and 2) one thread running through the text is a call for us to grow and move beyond the understanding and wisdom of our faith ancestors. Integral to this thread is the understanding that the stories illustrate behavior that EITHER we are to emulate in spirit, if not practice, OR behavior that we are to avoid.

    Then it becomes a continuous process of discernment by not so much looking at the text as trying to see the Word of God through the text. The Word of God imbues this text, stands behind this text, is foundational for this text – but the text itself is not the Word of God – our vocabulary and grammar and connotations and contexts are woefully inadequate for the task of accurately and completely communicating the Word of God. Neither I in my discernment nor the text in its expression are infallibie and inerrant. And yet, still I search.

    To date, here is what I have discerned:

    The Good News has 3 inseparable messages:
    1) The universal accessibility of the personal and persistent unrestrained love and unconditional grace of God; and
    2) The feeding quenching clothing healing visiting welcoming compassion and the reparative rehabilitating restorative justice of the Community; and
    3) The inclusive hospitality and joyous generosity and healthy service of the Individual.

    Hear that with a tentative voice and a sense of incompleteness.

    At some point, one comes to the realization that the Word of God has multiple expressions and can be discerned through other sources. For one example; based soley on the PBS program about Buddha, I am assuming that Buddhist writings would be useful. Another example would be various discussions and contributions found in this NP community.

    It seems that my current state of discernment is in the right direction. I am still looking for a better discernment – more loving, more inclusive, more timeless – more in line, more in tune, more in time, more in step – a higher syncronicity with the infallibile and inerrant Word of God.

    The Word of God is not about faith or belief, neither theology nor philosophy, and it most certainly is not oriented or focused on the future or a post-mortal existence. The Word of God is about life here and now – how well we live with ourselves and with others and with all creation.

    You are invited to contribute to the breadth and depth and richness of this conversation with your discovery and discernment and understanding of the Word of God.

  11. @Doug, thanks for that explanation. I’d like to see more of that type of analysis and honesty with who read what is considered to be the Word of God.
    @Christine and @Beth, please chill. It’s evident in his explanation that his idea of the Word of God is the bible, and his frustration with it is in the politics of it’s interpretation. By sarcastically asking the obvious, please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as though you were waiting him to say that so you could tear apart his belief that the bible is the Word of God, since it seems to contradict itself at some points, that no one can verify that God himself wrote it, and other arguments commonly used by people who doubt the bible.

    My point is this: even if you don’t buy it, does it matter what form the Word of God is? I applaud him for that reflection because of the message he sent with just now instead of dissecting him for his usage of the Bible. Personally, I don’t even believe or agree with specifically everything in the book. But I do use it for reference in my own spiritual quests, as well as the Qur’an and many other “holy” books. If I told this to a devout Christian or Muslim, due to the evangelical nature of religion, they would most likely quickly get into an argument on disputing which form of the Word is the true Word (interestingly enough, the Qur’an mentions the Bible as an incomplete version of the scripture, meaning that it is still scripture). Or I could tell an anti-religious yet good-natured individual that I found righteousness with religion. The reaction would still all be the same, it would turn into a debate on what form of truth (if we could agree that there is some truth) is the right form of truth, whether it is based in the name of Jesus, Allah and Muhammed, or Reason and Logic. If all three can agree that living righteously comes down to trying to be a good person (however that may be interpreted), what is the point of discerning black from white when there are shades of gray?

    In my own experiences, I try to lean towards message over the messenger, without throwing out the ideas of the latter completely. Yet I still realize that the messenger is complimentary to the message, so I let both elements naturally balance each other out. Religion is religion today, and tomorrow it will continue to be religion. The same goes with the lack of religion. Since they both exist, why do they try to consume one another?

  12. It’s relationship to protestant canon and what it is not… but still, you have not tried to say what the term “Word of God” actually means, what you think it is. Where you look for it, yes, but how you know it when you find it, your criteria for judging your discernment, no.

    But I’m not sure I expected a clear answer.

  13. Christine:

    “The Word of God is about life here and now – how well we live with ourselves and with others and with all creation.”

    What is life at its best? Answer that question and you will have your criteria. Live it and you will be an expression of the Word of God.

  14. The Word of God is God’s living communication to His creation. The term is used in the Bible of Christ, and it is used of the gospel as preached by the early church before a canon of scripture existed, and it’s used of prophecies received at a particular time for particular people to a particular prophet.

    How it ever came to be a synonym for the written Bible I shall never know, but much angst has come of that.

  15. Doug: So, I’m guessing Nomos is wrong when he suggests tou think it’s the just a properly interpreted bible? 🙂 I wasn’t, btw, waiting to tear apart the idea that the bible is the “Word of God”.

    That last bit is closer to what I was looking for: The “Word of God” is the life at its best?

    My reason for asking is that “Word of God” is such an ambigous term used in so many different ways. Without a definition, I can’t actually tell what you are saying at all. I don’t think it’s helpful to evoke that term (perhaps for its emotional power) when what you mean can be more easily described by not resorting to highly-disputed “in-house” terminology.

    Karl here has given a definition. It’s communication. “Living communication” doesn’t have a clear meaning either… communication itself being alive doesn’t make sense at face value – we’re still on “in-house” terms, but it’s clearer. He goes on to explain it is living in the sense of being actively preached or prophecied. So, I at least know what he means.

    You want to weigh-in on Karl’s definition?

  16. Karl, I clicked on your link to get your background and lo and behold I already follow your blog!

    I agree with you, btw. The term “word of God” (with or without the divinity-bestowing capital “W”) is from the bible and in the bible it is used to describe the communications of God to and for His people. ANY such instance of that communication, not one permamnent set, and certainly not a written text. (And not a way of living, either…)

    I like the jist of Doug’s sentiments, but a certain honestly about and acknowledgement of terminology and where it comes from and how it has been (mis)used would go a long way in preventing further angst.

  17. Hey Nomos,

    When I posted the comment immediately after yours, yours wasn’t showing up yet. Only reading it as I’m posting this set of comments.

    First, please chill. Really. Just people having a friendly, non-heated discussion. Also, please stop calling things “evident” as if that clarifies genuine misunderstandings. I didn’t read Doug’s comment as meaning that – almost the opposite in fact.

    I’d also appreciate if you would not assume that my completely sincere questions are snide, sarcastic bait-traps. It’s not polite.

  18. Just want to be clear that I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic either. I liked Doug’s initial description of the word of God but truly did wonder where he finds that. (I don’t find that from my reading of the bible).

    Thank you Christine for clarifying your position with Nomos – mine is the same.

    And thank you Doug for your last line of, “What is life at its best? Answer that question and you will have your criteria. Live it and you will be an expression of the Word of God.” I like that.

    Karl – I really like your description of a living communication as God’s word and will have to check out your blog.

    Thanks all.

  19. After reading the Westminster Confession, I could understand why so many Evangelicals seem to fall into the error of bibliolatry. There seems to be an identification of the Written Word of God (Bible) with the Living Word of God (Jesus the Christ) in the Confession.

    There also seems to be little recognition of the importance subjective interpretation plays in understanding the meaning of Scripture. Ronald (Hard) Knox, a Catholic apologetist once said, “Protestants have a Pope in their belly.”

    Having grown up “unchuched” many of my interpretations of Scripture do not conform to ecclesiastical norms. I have often heard it preached that the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, was proof of his total obedience to God. Abraham passed the Divine test. Knowing that the sacrifice of one’s children to the gods was a common practice in Abraham’s time, I wonder if the sacrifice was not more Abraham’s idea than God’s and God’s substitution of the lamb was not to give Abraham a more acceptable way of expressing his committment. Later in Scripture God declares that S/He has no need of our formal sacrifices and that what God “requires of us” is to “do justice and walk humbly with our God.”

    I believe that the Bible shows us not only who God is; but who we are and who tend to think God is, which is often just a projection of our own strengths and wealnesses, virtues and faults.

    We seem to be idol-makers by nature, instinctively turning means into ends. Mostly in Liturgical/High Churches, but also in low churches, there is a tendency to confuse the Pilgrim Church on earth with the Kingdom of God– ecclesiolatry. Of course, the common idol that we all share is the Imperial Self, what mental health professionals call narcissism or ego.

    The typical moralist sees grace as a means to fulfill a commandment. He puts the commandment in the first place and sees the difference of Old and New Testaments in the observance of the Decalogue. In the Old Testament they did not have the grace to keep the commandments; now in the New Testament they have sufficient grace if they use all the means, the sacraments, and so on. This is an anthropocentric, moralistic approach which makes the grace of Christ and finally Christ Himself only the means for the law, for the commandments . But primacy is not the law, the commandments “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not”; the primacy is our Lord, who in his grace, his tremendous love, comes to encounter us.
    –Bernard Haering, C.Ss.R., Redemptorist Moral Theologian

    “Core moral concepts, such as freedom, conscience, obedience, and fidelity, can have very different meanings and importance. These
    differing meanings depend on if our concern is with conformity, fulfilling norms, and subordination, or instead if our focus is
    radical thinking infused with the spirit of God blowing as it wills and marked by grown-up, freely affirmed responsibility.”
    –Bernard Haering, The Virtues of an Authentic Life (1997), p. 53.

  20. Scriptures are a window through which we can glimpse something of the Divine Light that fleshed itself in Yeshua the Nazarene.

    My simple and mystical take on such a angels on a pin head problem.

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