You’re right. I made an assumption. I apologize if I offended.

No offense taken, just clarifying.

I’m guessing that the Bible is not the source for your beliefs in God? Or that it plays a minimal role?

Well, I was raised a Methodist, and have been Catholic at various points in my adult life. I minored in comparative religion in college a couple of decades ago, a “comparison” that included everything from Christianity to Islam to Buddhism to Wicca to Haitian Vodou. So while I am well-versed (haha) in the Bible, I would have to say that you are right that the Bible is not the source, or at least not the sole source, of my beliefs about God.

I suggest that’s true on some level for most Christians, as well. The largest group of Christians on earth are Roman Catholics (1.2 billion). The Catholic Church teaches that Christianity is built on a “three legged stool” of Scripture, Sacred Tradition (what the Church has taught since Apostolic times that is not in the Bible), and the teaching of the Magisterium, which is roughly the Popes and Bishops interpreting the first two legs of the stool in light of present day issues. So for the largest number of Christians in the world, the Bible is demonstrably not the sole source of belief in or about God.

Among Protestants, there are many, many, many denominations (some say up to 30,000, but that number is debatable). Here’s a fair listing from Wikipedia. While for most Protestants the Bible is seen as the sole source of reliable information about God, all those denominations came into existence because they do not agree on how the Bible should be interpreted. Some preach fire and brimstone. Some teach God is Love. Both of those images of God are, indeed, in the Bible. Different groups focus on different things.

This divisiveness is not exclusive to Christianity. Pretty much all religions are factionalized this way. I think that’s just the human condition. The reality of God is too big to be contained in human conceptualizations. My opinion is that everybody probably gets some things right, while nobody likely gets everything right.

It certainly sounds like the church you were raised in taught a troubling and abusive interpretation of Scripture. But be aware that not all Christians believe what that church taught. The theological distance between a General Baptist and a Unitarian Universalist, for example, is vast, but they’re both Christians.

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