i have been thinking about your questions all day wondering how to respond. so i guess i will just answer your questions as honestly as i can..... i don't want to be preachy - been there, done that. but you did ask and so this is where im at.
for me it is not a matter of still believing the bible, because for 26 years (or so) i had shelved the bible completely. i thought it was just too confusing or i was just too stupid to make any sense of it. events over the last couple of years caused me to reach for it in desperation and i began to open my mind to it really for the first time i think. my faith had really been totally shipwrecked and i was godless, and for all intents and purposes "hopeless". so....at one point not too long ago i began to search again, and tried to the best of my ability to begin reading without looking through the lens of the wts. what i discovered as i read and prayed was a loving Savior, Eternal Father, who wants to put His arms around each one of us, if only we will allow Him. salvation by grace, a free gift for ANYone who will receive it. nothing we can do to earn it, just take it. just believe.
yes i had moved away - about as far away as you can get in various ungodly behaviors and practices...im not sure if you caught it on another thread, but i was led into "the new age" pretty deeply, owning my own bookstore, running psychic fairs, exploring all kinds of beliefs and practices, attending wiccan circles, etc. my experiences with the new age were thoroughly disillusioning and i soon discovered that they had no real answers, just ideas that would produce some illusory and usually very temporary comfort for some....and not surprisingly, as in so many things of this world, was largely about power and making money for a select few.
i now have come to believe again that the bible is indeed inspired, though the message of it is not what the wts taught. it is really ALL about the Savior and his love for us. what convinces me is that it was written over l600 years by 40 people in 3 languages, covering many many subjects and details, but the theme is consistent: the redemption of humankind by the Christ. hundreds of OT prophecies were fulfilled in the Christ - to me it does not make sense that this was just coincidence. the apostles and early christians gladly went to their deaths defending the resurrection of the Lord. it does not make sense to me that they would have done this willingly without reason, considering, especially that someone like paul was a former persecuter of christians...
do i want to debate.... well not really, i would be willing to defend as much as i possibly can but i do now consider myself to be a spiritual babe, just beginning to learn to "walk" again. i would just urge everyone to make this same search...., you might be really surprised at what you would find. and i would be inclined to point towards others on this forum who are much more eloquent and versed than i am.
i do affirm what goofy said, that the whole obligation is summed up in Love, and God is Love.
my love to you, rayzorblade. you are very special to me.