How the Bible contradicts itself and why it’s not a problem.

The graph of biblical contradictions

Growing up under fundamentalism, I spent a lot of time defending the Bible. After all, I loved the Bible–Old and New Testament. Still do. It has been my life manual, my source of wisdom, and (most recently) a divine source of comfort. Nothing else quite sets my heart at peace like reading and meditating upon the scriptures.

Unfortunately, I was taught to read the scriptures only one way–according to the narrow doctrine of my church. In that view, the Bible had only one message, and that message was crystal clear to everyone who wasn’t blinded, in some way, by the world and its sinful liberalism. According to my church, the Bible contained absolutely nothing contradictory; it all lined up perfectly from beginning to end and could be explained in absolute terms.

So imagine my shock when people outside my faith tradition began pointing out ideas and messages in the Bible that actually were contradictory. Imagine further my surprise when I began discovering some of these conflicts on my own. For instance: Continue reading

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Should faith make you happy?

Image from franthony.com

“I’m not sure why you keep holding onto your faith. It doesn’t seem to make you happy.”

My head snapped up in shock. “Really?”

“Yes. Really.”

This conversation occurred a few months ago with someone close to me. After meditating on it a while, I came to an interesting conclusion: He was right. My faith doesn’t make me happy. And, honestly, I don’t think it’s supposed to. Continue reading

A Way of Looking at God

Imagine for a moment that you are an artist–a very talented artist capable of extraordinary work. One day, you decide to sit down and draw a detailed self portrait. Something like this:

By artist Paul Cadden, featured at gencept.com.

Yes, this was done with pencils.

Now imagine that you had a way of bringing this portrait to life. Not just in an animated sense, but in the conscious, independent thought and free will sort. Wouldn’t that be incredible?

Certainly it would. However, you’d soon discover slight obstacles to your creation’s understanding of you, the creator. You exist in three dimensions: length, width, and depth. Because your body was made in 3D, it is capable of processing information in 3D as well. But the living image you created is in 2D. As such, she can only process information in two dimensions. So some things you can see and hear, she can’t. Some places you go, she is unable to follow. In fact, there’s a whole dimension of you, the creator, that she is unable to grasp–it is hidden from her. In fact, there are only one or two angles from which she is able to see you at all. Even if you occupied the same room 24/7, you’d remain invisible to her most of the time.

So how would your creation seek to understand you? Continue reading

What’s Different About Jesus?

He looks disturbingly like Rick Grimes.

I’ve been a Christian for nearly all of my life. I was raised in church and quite literally cut my teeth on a pew. So for many years, I never questioned my decision to follow Jesus. I was completely immersed in Christianity; I never knew anything else.

But a time came when I learned about other religions and had to work out why I had chosen Christ. Today, I’m going to share my discoveries on the matter. Now, if you were to google “what’s different about Jesus,” you’d find several articles referencing Jesus’ divinity and resurrection in the scriptures–which is all well and good, but it lacks a certain…compulsion. I’ll be taking a more practical approach. Continue reading

What it Means to be Christian (Part 2): Love

In my last post with this title, I addressed the matter of faith in Christ’s divinity and redemption as a requisite for being a disciple of Christ. Today, I’m going to talk about the second defining characteristic of a Christian: love.

The Greatest Commandment

It never ceases to amaze me that many so-called ‘prominent Christians’ express so little regard for what the Bible calls the greatest fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13). Yes, even greater than faith. That’s because love sums up every Old Testament commandment: Continue reading