Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Is it Real or is it Memorex?

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The pastor paced back and forth across the platform extolling the merits of studying scripture.  “This is the life saving Word of God.  How can you not want to study it?  How can you not want to know it like the back of your hand?  This is the only way to know the Living God.  This is His means to speak to us today.  He does not speak audibly.  Scripture is the only means to salvation.  You need not look anywhere else.”  Having grown gravely serious he goes on, “To become a counterfeit expert he must study the genuine article.  To learn to detect a counterfeit an expert is not allowed to look at anything else but the original.  The expert knows the original so well that counterfeits are easily and automatically detected. This is the way it should be with God’s word.  We shouldn’t study anything else and we should know it so well that when anything false is presented we know it immediately.”

This is the way most pastors in fundamentalism present the Bible.  Now I know why.  If you begin to look outside of scripture there are way too many questions.  And though they sound confident they have the answers, they really don’t. It’s easier to dissuade the believer from even learning that there are questions.  Nobody knows who really wrote the gospels.  There are only a handful of books that it is fairly certain Paul penned himself.  The creation story, the Tower of Babel, the flood account cannot be scientifically nor historically proven as accurate.

Wouldn’t it be better for leaders to be up front and honest about these things?  Wouldn’t there be less of this apostasy if people were more comfortable asking their questions, instead of being presented with confident answers only to find out the answer isn’t truthful?  I’ll admit it:  I have trust issues.  It’s been drilled into me since I can remember that the Bible is one hundred percent unquestionably true and accurate in it’s every detail from the creation account to The Revelation.  I not only distrust pastors and teachers, but the very Bible itself.  Will I ever be able to trust it again?

There are scholars who say something different on nearly every doctrinal issue.  They differ widely on heaven and hell, bodily resurrection, virgin birth, baptism, communion, the trinity, and salvation itself.  These are widely learned scholars who all claim to be Christians.  Each one claiming to have the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  If they cannot come to a consensus, if they cannot agree on these things then how is the average person supposed to know what is true and what is right?  Brilliant minds disagree on the very fundamentals of Christianity.  Which one is right?  How will I know?

I’ve studied quite a bit of scripture.  I thought I had studied enough to know if something was a counterfeit.  And in all honesty had I never looked at anything else outside of scripture I would have gone on in my belief.  Though I’m not at all certain that what I believed was even real.     

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9 thoughts on “Is it Real or is it Memorex?

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

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  2. Well, and here you have the basic problem – what Bruce refers to as the matter of faith. (It can only be seen as a problem if you don't have faith.)With the physical world, you can devise tests and compare results. When you're talking about the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator, the propositions and assertions are fundamentally un-testable. So either you believe in them, or you don't.I myself consider the simple matter of "I have no good reason to believe in them" to be sufficient (or more) justification for my lack of faith. After all, there are a great many things that I could believe in if I simply had faith. But if we restrict ourselves to what seems to actually affect the world around us, there isn't much there – and science is a far better measure of what works.

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  3. D'ma, I've compiled a list of all the things I really don;t want to have to believe in, partly in response to interweb threads on the discussion of "essentials"http://virtuphill.blogspot.com/2011/04/do-i-really-have-to-believe-all-this.htmlFor me it's not about establishing what I should believe, but realising what I find it really hard to believe…

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  4. @Michael Mock,That's where I'm having difficulty. I used to have that faith, and now it seems to have just vanished, poof. Just like that. It's become extremely difficult to believe in the unseen. Is God there and I just can't see him? Or is the reason I can't see him because he's just not there? Chicken/egg?======================================================@phil,Thanks for commenting and welcome! I love your list. And I agree with most if not all of it. I'll have a somewhat similar post of what all my doubt boils down to probably tomorrow.

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  5. D'Ma,I am sorry you had to be so disillusioned. It is painful and devastating to loose your community. Fortunately the truth is out there if you want to find it.Who has the truth? Darn good question. From what I understand it will be a combination of internal understanding and external validation (your relationship with God and your fellow man).Something I shared with http://evangelicaliberal.wordpress.com/ WRT the journey is an observation made by a friend of mine many years ago when we went crazy in the 60's and then matured into the 80's. He said, "we didn't learn anything going crazy, we learned it coming back."See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pilgrim%27s_Regress for another description of the process.David

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  6. David,Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting. I do have a question regarding part of your comment, though. You said: "Who has the truth? Darn good question. From what I understand it will be a combination of internal understanding and external validation (your relationship with God and your fellow man)."My question is this: Do you think truth is relative? Might my truth be different than your truth?

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  7. "Wouldn't it be better for leaders to be up front and honest about these things? Wouldn't there be less of this apostasy if people were more comfortable asking their questions, instead of being presented with confident answers only to find out the answer isn't truthful?"ABSOLUTELY! A healthy faith is one that confronts modernity, but fundamentalism is afraid to do so.

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  8. "Wouldn't it be better for leaders to be up front and honest about these things? Wouldn't there be less of this apostasy if people were more comfortable asking their questions, instead of being presented with confident answers only to find out the answer isn't truthful?"ABSOLUTELY! A healthy faith is one that confronts modernity, but fundamentalism is afraid to do so.

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  9. D'ma, I've compiled a list of all the things I really don;t want to have to believe in, partly in response to interweb threads on the discussion of "essentials"http://virtuphill.blogspot.com/2011/04/do-i-really-have-to-believe-all-this.htmlFor me it's not about establishing what I should believe, but realising what I find it really hard to believe…

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