Now see, this isn’t about me picking apart the bible — this is me trying to understand the questions that I have had throughout my entire life as a Christian. These questions have never gone away for me, and I want to find answers. I’m very keen on informed faith, and I’m keen on an intelligent Christian practice that really gets to know the word of God in order to understand what is believed. I want to know exactly what it is that I am saying I believe. For me, this isn’t about hardening my heart — I’m open to more questions and more answers. For me this is about learning more about the faith I supposedly subscribe to and going in deeper and learning more.
If you read more of my posts, you’ll know about my history with the church and why I’m so aware of the damage that can be done when people don’t understand the word of God. I’ll add The Case for Christ to my reading list.
The real question I have about your point about protection is this, what constitutes the word of God and Christianity? I’ve been listening to some great podcasts on Spotify: The Theology Program. From this, they identify that part of Christian practice isn’t based on the word of God alone, but through interactions with the holy spirit, interpretations of our feelings and beliefs. Now if our Christianity isn’t just based on the bible alone and there’s so much more that is involved in our relationship with God, how can we be sure we’ve got the right parts? Does it even matter? How do the books that are regularly being discovered (e.g. Gospel of St Thomas, Gospel of Mary Magdelene). How do these things fit into our faith? Do they? What is the difference between the bible we have now and similar texts written at the same time?
Recently I’ve been reading a translation of the Bible — the Jamaican New Testament. Through reading this, I realise that many of our questions around faith, interpretations of the exact meanings through word choice are slightly invalidated because of the radical difference between translations. How do you separate God’s work from the work of an academic who translated a text with their own understanding?
It’s so important to know what to believe and get to the core of those messages so that we do know what we believe and when we are challenged, we can come up with good, strong answers.
I will freely admit that this pursuit is coming from a place of my own questions and I am prepared for certain outcomes. I may discover at the end of this that I don’t agree with a lot of what the Bible says, or I may find myself going into seminary. For me, it’s a journey that I have to go on, because I am passionate about people getting this kind of close, personal, intelligent access to God. I’m not keen on the idea that God is mysterious, some kind of great being that we can never fully and truly know. The latter part of that is true, but I think that ever since the new testament God is personal and we can get to know him. But we have to do our part. Lots of Christianity today has fallen into being religious as opposed to a live, exciting journey with God.
These questions are part of mine.