The Holy Bible, depending upon whom you ask, is either the literal word of God, a well-meaning but poorly written attempt at a morality play or something a group of scam artists developed to fleece ignorant peasants out of the what little treasure they had. Adding to the arguments and confusion surrounding the Bible is the fact within the options mentioned above are numerous hybrid points of view.
For example, some Christians may believe the New Testament is holy, but the Old Testament is a horror story. On the other hand, some atheists will claim the entire Bible, and all other “inspired” or religious works are myths. Then again, others may acknowledge some moral or philosophical value to the books.
Yes, the battle over the Bible has been raging for centuries. Is it true, is it fiction? Is it a tool to control the easily influenced, is it a morality manual for how one should live? Whatever one believes about the Bible, one point of view should raise the hackles of believers, skeptics, and atheists alike.
Understandably, the thought that one could believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God is offputting to atheists and skeptics. The idea that anyone could have any significant knowledge of the Holy Bible and believe it is God-breathed is ridiculous to them. In the opinion of many, there are so many mistakes, conflicts, clearly fictional stories the book cannot be taken seriously. Believers, on the other hand, find it hard to fathom the inability of nonbelievers to see the Truth in the “Good Book.” [i]
If, as I am suggesting, these two ends of the belief spectrum regarding the Bible are understandable and rational, where is this piece going? It is attempting to point out the danger of at least one belief system near the middle of the Judeo-Christian bell curve. In between those who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God and those who think the idea of a creator god is ignorant if not laughable lie a plethora of other views. As noted above, one of those views should concern believers and naysayers alike.
Spiritual inerrancy is one of those terms most take for granted. We may not know precisely what someone means, but when the question of inerrancy comes up, it seems to be an excellent way to avoid saying the Bible is wrong. Some who use the term admit they use it as a way to avoid confrontation over what many see as biblical inaccuracies or conflicts. Others use it as a way to attack those who consider literal inerrancy a reality. They will claim believing the Bible, even in its original form, is the actual word of God prevents believers from seeing the higher spiritual truths within Scripture.
If that last sentence does not send chills up a believer’s spine, he or she may need to go pray about it for a while. What those individuals are saying is essentially what humanists and others push through their belief systems and traditions. Humans, in one way or another, can create or find a way of existence surpassing what the Bible teaches, and makes God unnecessary. Even those using the term may not realize that is the truth of their beliefs, but that is the reality of what they espouse.
Oh! I can almost hear the cries of hypocrisy, blasphemy, bigotry, and ignorance coming from those who read this and feel I am letting my mouth, okay my keyboard, overload my backside. How can he say such a thing? We are not denying God! We are merely rejecting the belief that the Bible is the definitive, inerrant word of God! It is so limiting, and God wants so much more for us. The idea of inerrancy is keeping poor immature Christians from realizing how much they can achieve by looking beyond the typeface.
To be clear, they may be right. I may be the false teacher or prophet in the room. I may be the one listening to the whispers of the serpent telling me to think for myself. I may be, but consider what else I have to say before condemning me to be stoned.
If the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, what does that mean? Does it mean we can pick and chose which parts we believe? Does it mean we must doubt anything in the Bible that does not seem to be provable or supported by empirical data? Does it mean our morality is dependent on the whim of the current culture, as many seem to believe today? It would seem that is the case when one reads and hears some of the things people in the spiritual inerrancy camp say.
If the Bible is not the true word of God at some level, what is it? Which stories are to be believed? Is the God of the Old Testament the God of the New Testament? If the Red Sea was not parted, Jonah was not swallowed, and the great flood was an overflowing creek, do we really need to fear and worship God? Which brings us to the final thought.
The Bible is the saga of God’s plan for mankind. From the Garden of Eden to the Second Coming, the Bible tells the story of God’s desire to create and nurture humanity. Yes, there are parts of it we cannot understand. Did it really only take God 144 hours to create the universe, including Adam and Eve? Or, was that a man’s attempt to explain the inexplicable when an eternal Creator inspired the man to share the story? The what ifs could go on for many pages, but I hope I’ve made that point. Here is the rest of the story.
The Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22:21 tells the story of man’s salvation and ultimate destiny. If the Bible is only a tall tale written to provide some moral or spiritual compass for those willing to dig into it, then Jesus the Christ is a figment of someone’s imagination. If that is the case, the atheists, worse the nihilists, are correct, and life is essentially meaningless. Find the higher spiritual purpose in that!
[i] An informal name for the Bible, not to be confused with the humanist bible, The Good Book.