Thursday, March 16, 2023

Mental Gymnastics

It's all mental gymnastics is really what it is - the "experts" (be they academics or pastors or just some guy you met on the street who intimidates you into believing he knows the Bible better than you do) tell you that the Bible wasn't written the way that you think it was written, so you can't trust anything you think you read, but at the same time, they use what the Bible they claim is flawed says about God to defend their position on the flawed nature of the Bible. It's...exhausting. 

And it's supposed to be. 

See, if they can convince you that you don't know what you're reading and that you need help, then they can step in and offer that help and become the voice of authority for you. It doesn't have to be sound; it only has to sound convincing. And as we've seen already this week, a lot of it does...on the surface. (If you dig even a slight little bit, all of the ground starts to crumble pretty easily.)  

They'll tell you that you can't trust Genesis for any meaningful explanation of the origins of the world because Genesis was written much later than Adam, and even later than Moses. In fact, they say, Genesis didn't come around until after the exile in Babylon (which is another biblical story they use to anchor the dates for their argument, so is the biblical story of the exile accurate? should we use it as meaningful history?) and when it did, it was so much like Babylon's stories of their origins that it would be laughable to think that Genesis is meaningful at all. It's not God creating the world; it's a people justifying their own existence. 

Then, in case that ruffles too many of your feathers, they will draw on the Genesis narrative that says that God created this world by hand and then walked among it with us to say that it is exactly like God to use a human means like a largely-copied origin story to make His people feel special right when they need it most. 

Then, because you don't know what to take literally and what makes you an idiot any more, they are more than willing to step in with more of their academic "discoveries" about the Bible to help you sort out what is real and what is not. They may even tangle a web for you about how there can absolutely be claims made that God inspired the Bible, but it was still written by human hands in certain times and in certain places, so inspired by God or not, the Bible as we know it is a human document. 

And from here, well, we can say just about anything and make it sound authoritative. 

Anything, that is, except that the Bible is God's own story inspired by God's own hand and timeless for God's own people. 

Once they've got you tangled in their web, almost anything goes...except faith. If you simply profess the kind of faith that has held onto the Scriptures for thousands of years (going back even before Jesus, of course, because even He was aware of the value of what we now call the Old Testament), then you're naive or foolish or an idiot. You're one of "those" religious fanatics who is wholly incapable of examining your beliefs. Your faith is really "blind." 

So you end up either lost or stupid and in desperate need of someone to save you from yourself, which is where these types shine. They step in with their own explanations and interpretations and tell you what you're supposed to believe so as to relieve you from your shame and free you from feeling lost or stupid (or both). 

It doesn't have to be this hard. It's not supposed to be this hard. In God's eyes, it's not so difficult. 

Tomorrow, we'll look at the simple answer to all of this. Then, on Monday, we'll drop a bombshell on this whole charade.  

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