Monday, 19 May 2014
Do you find that the things you were taught as a child about God and life have come into conflict with what you are being taught in school and college?
You are not alone.
But there is an answer.
Progressive Christianity, which is based on up to date Biblical scholarship, offers a way of reconciling what the Bible teaches with modern scientific facts.
The Bible was not written by God.
The Bible was written by human beings over a long period of time and in a number of historical and cultural contexts.
This method of reading the Bible gives us leeway to harmonize religious beliefs with science.
Not everything that is written in the Bible is absolute fact.
Because the Bible was written by human beings in response to God it contains errors which are due to human assumptions.
For example when God reveals His name to Moses - "'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,'" Exodus 34:6,7a (NRSV)
There is added on the end - "'yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children, and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.'" Exodus 34:7b (NRSV)
The last was added onto the holy name of God because the writer of Exodus 34 could not transcend his worldly ideas of natural justice.
This passage is refuted in Ezekiel 18.
This is not an example of God changing His mind, it is an example of human beings' understanding of God evolving over time.
The writer of Ezekiel 18 had a clearer understanding of God than the writer of Exodus 34.
Likewise the myth of Adam and Eve was created to explain why men toil and women suffer in child birth. The idea that humankind is fallen from a state of perfection in the past is in conflict with the scientific facts about how the universe and humanity evolved.
To read this as a myth rather than literal history gives us leeway to accept the scientific facts about creation and still believe in God.
So there is an answer.
Progressive Christianity provides that answer.
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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