I have checked out the blog about the unfortunate/unintended side-effects of the doctrine of inspiration. It is well written and well thought out, and mainly sits well with me in its observation about the side-effects of believing that all 66 books of the Protestant canon are completely inspired by God in their very words; namely the mistaken idea that the bible is “inerrant” (or “free from contradictions”) and the view that “every verse is equal”.
From my understanding, the bible is far from inerrant – according to studies by Bart Erhmann and other bible scholars, there are indeed many inconsistencies and contradictions in the bible. Also, there are views that the ideas expressed in the bible were borrowed from pagan traditions, such as the messianic stories (based on Horus, Orisis, Mithra, etc), the sacrificial system, the ten commandments (adapted from the Egyptian book of the dead), and so on.
According to the book “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts“, King Josiah who lived in the 7th century BC was said to hire writers to invent many of the stories in the old testament and “the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah.”
Secondly, not every verse is equal because many verses in the old testament are no longer applicable today, as the blog author pointed out, comparing Jesus’ words about loving one’s enemies and Moses’ law about returning an eye for an eye. I agree that “the believers in Old Testament times did not understand the Father.” I have also shared my realisation in my blog some time ago.
Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” All the old testament folks had never seen the Father. They saw mostly a mirror image of their duality manifesting in terms of good and evil, light and dark, but not a unified image of God who doesn’t dwell in duality but in unity – in tune with Himself.
Hence, Jesus came to renew people’s minds, so that our thoughts flow in tune with God’s thoughts once more. This is the rhythm I believe Rob Bell was referring to in his video “Rhythm“.
When people begin to see themselves as whole and complete, made in God’s image, they recover their true identity, and they become integrated in every way. “By Him (Jesus), all things are held together (or are integrated).”
The old testament folks dwelt in duality, and out of their disintegrated and distorted image of God and of themselves, they ended up doing cruel things, like genocide, etc, all in the name of “God”.
So, if we were to approach the bible today, perhaps the best way is to see it as a collection of man’s writings about God, and read it in context (time reference and audience relevance) and with an understanding of its allegorical nature, and filter it through the lens of Jesus, as noted by the blog author and some of the commenters in the blog.
- “IS THE BIBLE INERRANT? | IS GOD VIOLENT?” Joshua Tongol (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)