One More Thing Christians Say But Shouldn’t
I’ve been inspired to write this by a recent article on Medium by Christian Piatt, in which he identified ten things he thought Christians shouldn’t say. Here I’m going to add one of my own.
Piatt’s reasoning for rejecting two statements (“Everything happens for a reason” and “Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?”) are that they cannot be found in the Bible. He is presumably implying that if they were, then it would be ok to say them. I have to disagree. My suggestion is that Christians should stop saying “The Bible is the (inerrant) Word of God”.
It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Are we meant to take it literally? If so, how was this achieved? Was it via a process of automatic writing, or what is commonly called channeling? I’ve never heard a Christian say anything like that, although the vague statement that the scriptures were ‘divinely inspired’, thus not literally written by God, suggests something along those lines.
It should be obvious to anyone that the texts were written by human beings from within their belief-system, limited in their understanding, and fallible, albeit sincere. The most likely explanation for the claim that such texts are the word of God is that Church leaders down the ages have used it in order to assert and retain their authority. It is also a useful tool to indoctrinate young children, to ensure the continuation of the faith.
It is acknowledged that the original texts have been subjected at various times to editing, in order to conform with a later writer’s theology. Which version is the word of God? And why did a later writer find fault with the original word of God?
I won’t go into details, but it’s worth noting that anyone familiar with biblical scholarship of the last hundred years will be aware of various contradictions, inconsistencies, problems within the texts. Could God really be that fallible?
Is there any reason to think that the Bible is more divinely inspired than the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Corpus Hermeticum, or other similar ancient texts, all of which many Westerners in modern times find more spiritually inspiring than the Bible?
Do Christians think that the Koran (Qur’ān) is the inerrant word of God? Probably not, even though it is claimed that the message was delivered by the angel Gabriel on God’s behalf. Why should we think anything different of the Bible? Is it not more reasonable to think that all religions claim their own sacred text as ultimate truth, and that we should therefore be suspicious of such claims?
Let’s accept the Bible for what it is, a highly significant religious text which has much to teach us, and which has fascinated and inspired many people down the ages. Claiming that it is the literal Word of God merely opens Christianity to ridicule.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics, and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here).