Contradictions in the Good Book

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As a family, we have many friends that come from different religious backgrounds, or aren’t religious at all. Because we’re very open about our faith, and because we often try to encourage people to come to church with us, we often get into religious discussions/debates with people who don’t share our faith.

The first thing that I want to say is that the Christian community has become entirely too insular – as a group, we’re too willing to stick to ourselves and live in our own little echo chamber. In my eyes, this is a huge mistake. Christianity at its core is a missionary religion – it is the duty of each Christian to try and spread the word of God. To be able to do this, we must always work at being open to those who don’t share our beliefs. If we don’t talk to them, and if we don’t explain why we believe what we believe, what hope do we have of ever convincing anyone?

When discussing faith with people of different backgrounds, one of the most common objections I hear is that the Bible is full of contradictions. So today, in this blog post, I will try and outline how I respond to this assertion that the Bible contradicts itself.

The first thing I often say in response to this challenge is “You’re completely right”. Let’s face it – the Bible is indeed full of contradictions. It’s undeniable. One just needs to look at this page to see that this is the case.

Then I go on to explain why this is the case. The first thing that I point out is that the Bible was written by men. That’s right – I’m not someone who believes that the Bible was written by God. The Bible was written by men, who tried to record the best wisdom of the time, as they understood it. Even if the Bible was written by God, through the years, it will have been translated so many times, into so many different languages, that what we read in English today probably doesn’t come close to resembling the original documents.

I then go on to say that even if the Bible weren’t full of contradictions, different people would still read it differently. There are many people (that I consider ignorant) who read ‘homosexuality is an abomination’ in the Bible and use that as an excuse to justify bigotry. They forget that Jesus was always the one who was willing to embrace sinners when nobody else would. It was Jesus who said ‘Let the one without sin cast the first stone’. It was Jesus who said that we should ‘turn the other cheek’, and indeed it was Jesus who set the example that we should try our best to love everybody – regardless of what sinful thing they’re doing, to the point where Jesus loved even the cruel men who crucified him. The current bigotry towards homosexuals is not in keeping with the examples Jesus has set.

Anyways, the point is – the Bible is essentially just a book of words. People read it how they will, and ten people will interpret it ten different ways. The best thing a christian can do is try to follow the examples set by Jesus himself – to love everyone, to not judge people, to embrace sinners (because we’re all sinners), and to improve the world through love – not hate. Anyone who lives by these maxims can consider themselves a good christian, regardless of what the bible says about specific behaviors. People who point to specific sections of the bible to justify their behavior are missing the forest for the trees. It’s not about the letter of the law – it’s about the spirit of the law, and the best way to follow the spirit of God’s law is to try and follow the example of the Jesus himself.

My point is – yes, the Bible is full of contradictions, but I believe to some extent, God did this on purpose. It’s a reminder that the Bible is fallible, and the most important thing about being a Christian is not what it says in a 2000 year old book – instead, the key to being a true Christian is to act as Christ would. The contradictions don’t weaken Christianity – they strengthen it, because they suggest that the religion is not build on rigidity, but rather on fluidity, with love as the central premise.

Welcome

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Welcome to our brand new site!

New Age to Grace is a blog about religion, faith, and god. We’ll use this blog as a platform to discuss the Bible, to share ideas about religion and Christ, and to just talk about faith in general. We’ll also talk about things that are going on in our lives – the challenges we face, the people we meet. The experiences we have in church. The books we’re reading. Basically, everything and anything is on the table on this blog, but we will try and relate everything back to the big man upstairs. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘God works in mysterious ways’. This is often said to people when bad things happen in life – but it’s equally true with the mundane. The wonder we feel when we watch a sunset; the joy we feel when we see parents playing with their kids in a playground; the melancholy that comes to us on a cold, dreary winter day – all of these experiences can help strengthen the connection to our lord and savior, if we only stopped to think about them a bit.

To start off with, we’re just going to introduce ourselves briefly. We won’t give away any personal details, but we’ll give you an outline of where we’re coming from so that you can get to know us a bit better. We’re a family of four, all devout Christians and churchgoers. Our family consists of the parents (happily married for 30 years now), one son, and one daughter, ages 19 and 14 respectively. Right now, the person writing is the Dad of the family, but this blog will serve as a vehicle for anybody in the family to write about pretty much anything they want. Other than our shared faith, each member of the family is actually quite different – I work in construction, and my wife works as a caterer. Our daughter is still in school obviously, and our son just started college, but he also works as a freelance web designer on the side (this blog was actually his idea – he keeps saying that ‘everybody should know how to use the internet’, and me and my wife think he’s using this blog as a way to train our computing abilities).

We live in the great state of California. While we’re all Christians, we’re probably not what you would call ‘typical’ Christians. We take our faith very seriously, and because we take it seriously, we question everything. We don’t accept the words of men as the word of god – and what that means is that when someone like Newt Gingrich talks about ‘Family Values’, we’re automatically skeptical. Basically, we interpret religion and god very differently than what is typical in this country, and when public figures tell us that we should think or feel a certain way just because we’re Christians, we immediately question it.

So, that’s a little bit of our background and our thoughts on faith. And that’s all I’m going to write for this first post.

Until next time, I leave you with this:

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”