I write again on this subject because I was recently reminded of just how widespread the confusion is. In order to claim that one is a Christian, there is first and foremost a choice to be made. I say: "a choice" because the only other alternative is to NOT claim that one is a Christian.
So what are these two choices? The first is to claim that the basis for one's belief: i.e The Bible, is open to interpretation, and therefore is just a loose guide for belief. This, to me, is a cop-out, and akin to making the choice that I did: Deism.
The second choice is essentially Fundamentalism. Although the term carries an often unwelcome connotation, it is, in fact, the term for one who believes that the Bible is the Word of God, and is therefore authoritative on all matters.
This is important to the discussion because of much of the content of the Bible. But if you have followed my reasoning for very long, you will be familiar with my primary concern with the Bible, and all revelation; how could you possibly know whether any person who claims a word from God is telling the truth or not. In other words, how do you know those are or were actually God's words?
Fundamentalism requires that one must accept all of the Bible as the words of God. But my contention today is that if there could ever be found even one contradiction or record of an event that could be questioned for accuracy, the whole house of cards comes down. And that is easily done.
Let us throw out the fact that we have no record of what the original writers (let alone story-tellers) actually recorded; there is no historical connection between the words we have in our Bibles today and what was supposedly written by the "original" authors, or the players in the dramas they describe.
Is there even one instance where what has been recorded and passed-down over the centuries can be shown to be in any way inaccurate? The answer is a very simple and resounding YES!
I give you: Dr. Richard Carrier. In this article, he outlines in incredible detail one of the most egregious tall tales in history. The mere fact that two, contemporaneous authors, telling the same story for the same purpose, could screw it up so badly. In a nutshell, they tell the story of the birth of Jesus. But they put this event in two different decades, begging the question of how two men, both supposedly inspired by God to write the story of God's salvation gift to mankind, could not get their stories straight.
If you are glutton for information overload, be my guest, read the whole article. But suffice it to say that historical accuracy is lacking in this story, and really in the whole Bible. That scholars, as well as, well-meaning Christian teachers at all levels, have the gall to argue that these mistakes are meaningless, outlines the insidious nature of belief.
However, if you are wont to believe that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally and is only a loose guide for life, then I wonder why one would need it in the first place? Would we not be better off to be free from any obligation to a book or books? If we are forced to apply reason to whatever mythology we favor, what good is that mythology?
This raises the question of morality within a religious context, since we cannot trust the book on which that morality is based. The only way to accept what we observe as actions that are clearly not moral or just in light of modern standards, is by saying that the book is authoritative and that as the word of God it is both inspired and inerrant. According to the above, it is neither one.
That leaves us with reason- God's greatest gift to mankind. Without it, mankind falls prey to any and all superstition that other men can invent. History is rife with it. Millions have been enslaved by it.
The alternative is Deism. Deism relies on no revelation and boasts of no priest or authorities who demand obedience to their teachings. Deism admits that if a God could speak to us, that each of us would receive only what pertains to ourselves. The Bible proves that there could never be a universal truth or law, since all has changed in multiple ways, many times in its history.
God is not the author of confusion, as the Bible claims; and yet the Bible is a book of confusion, evidenced by the fact that there are thousands of interpretations of its claims.
If there were only this inconsistency to consider, it would be enough to abandon a book in favor of our God-given reason and Deism- the belief in God that needs no unsubstantiated mythos to give purpose and sense to our lives and universe.