I don’t think you’re nuts. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of your posts, and I happen to think you are a very sweet lady, with a lot of good to share. If you believe God is looking after you, then good for you. I, for one, certainly hope He is. :-)
Yes, you are making sense actually. I think I get where you are coming from – in essence, you seem to be saying that you believe that God has done whatever he had to do in the past, even though that sometimes may seem terrible to us. Your faith in God’s goodness means you trust him, trust him to do the right thing. Rather than concern yourself too much with the rightness of his actions from our perspective, you are focused on his rightness as a person. At least, that’s what I think you mean.
I don’t think your view is simplistic at all. You are right – there is a degree of a leap of faith required even in some aspects of science. And you are right, in the end, we will always find some annoying person who tells us that our views are wrong, and proceeds to argue with us! :-)
Thanks for your responses, I’m really enjoying talking to you. I see what you mean about the Bible not being a science book, since 2Tim 3:16 makes reference to it being inspired and beneficial for teaching, but I do think it is a stretch to imagine that the writers of it, and orthodox believers down the centuries since, have ever considered it anything other than God’s Inspired Word (TM). That seems a view taken in the face of ever-increasing doubt about the Bible’s reliability.
It is here that the real conundrum comes. I appreciate your position, but it does seem , to me at least, to be slightly lacking (please don’t take that as an insult, it isn’t meant that way). Take this point – “I do indeed view it to be a book that was written by inspired men and edited and compliated by other Men, some inspired and some simply doing their jobs.”
Some of these inspired writers have made demonstrable mistakes. In some, it is a simple question of lack of understanding of population growth, in others, such as Joshua's destruction of the city of Ai, it is historical mistakes. In some, there are prophecies which have not been fulfilled, in others it is prophecies that are clearly taken out of context. How does a believer like yourself account for the mistakes that these inspired men have made? Does God make these kind of errors?
Accepting that it is inspired, that means that the accounts of God’s behaviour are correct. So how does a follower of Jesus like yourself come to terms with fact that YHWH says:
Those who leave my religion should be killed
Those who commit X/Y/Z should be burned/stoned/cut off
Entire cities should be razed, all the inhabitants slaughtered
Cities far away should have all the men killed, and you may take the women for your wives if you wish
Caananites may be taken for “forced labour”, even though Israel complained about being “forced labourers” in Egypt
And so on, and so forth. When you look at the person you follow, the kind Jesus, how do you maintain your faith in God, who ordered atrocities, who seems to act like Big Brother in 1984, who gives no real free will, and has committed vile episodes of abhorrent violence? If a man committed these acts today, even in war, we would call him a war criminal. Why is it ok for God to get away with it? Isn’t God even more morally accountable?
Which of course, leads me to this point – if, as some believers say, God didn’t command these activities – how do you know that?
You are right of course, each person ends up interpreting the Bible to suit himself. But that doesn’t mean it is right, or healthy, surely? If the Bible claims it is all inspired, I can’t see what possible justification the Bible gives for believers to pick and choose which bits they like? They have to take it at face value, and weigh up it’s claims against the evidence of Biblical scholars and archaeology, surely?
I would love to believe that God has granted unconditional love. But it seems to me he hasn’t. As far as I know, his forgiveness and love extends only to those who “repent” and “exercise faith”. In other words, it is conditional. It is similar to the “free will” God gave to Adam in the garden – “you have free will, in that you can choose to obey every order I give, and live; or you can choose to say, ‘no, I would like to do my own thing’, and then you will die.” Is that really free will?
I’d just like to echo what Wobble, LeavingWT, and Clarity said. It’s great that we can have these kinds of discussions, that we can debate and question, in an open, friendly atmosphere. It’s fantastic to experience. I know JWN sometimes gets a bad rap, in the sense that sometimes people feel the atmosphere gets sniping etc. And I can understand why it gets that way, because strong opinions are involved – and I actually think it is important that people sometimes express their frustrations with each other. But I’m glad that we can debate, and disagree, without having to necessarily scream at one another. So, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of you posters on this thread, for reasoned, honest, thought provoking discussion. Viva JWN!