Lately I've been deciding to take Christianity more seriously, but not completely from the perspective of some scripture. I feel at a loss because so many people wish to just cling on to the Bible like it's the only thing God ever has and ever will try to use to communicate with us, like He isn't talking to us now and aware that times are changing as we advance forward.
I also feel like there are some things that God just wouldn't actually say or command. I focus more on what I feel from Him and what I discover versus trying to look at Bibles that are mistranslated and tampered with. I've seen many religious organizations that seem to try and deny that the Bible has been at the hands of past Popes for centuries.
Something feels off to me when I read some scripture, and it leaves me in a state of conflict. I want to follow this religion, but some of the things I can just never imagine God saying. Many of Jesus' teachings are beautiful examples of what I think the religion is really about, but there are other things from other parts in the Bible that just don't feel like they've actually been what God wants.
In history class we've learned to identify how some of these things may have been inspired by the time period, and because of that, I have made connections to the things in the Bible and the time period they were written in. I also know of Popes who have manipulated many into doing his bidding by twisting the Will of God and even some parts of the Bible. I guess the entire basis of this question is: Why are some things saying one thing, and then another?
And the tale of Adam and Eve, why is it that women are blamed for the entire thing, when Adam denied responsibility for his actions and blamed it all on Eve? Why are women seen as morally weak, when Adam was not forced or tricked into eating the apple, and then made Eve look like the bad one?
By the by, I refer to myself as a Christian Witch. I believe that with all the interpretations that are in the Bible and possible to make, that such a thing is possible. I was just wondering your thoughts.
A little clarity. I have many theories, many ideas I've never had before I started talking with God more, and I just ... I can't make sense of some things, and sometimes when I read pieces of scripture (I Corinthians 14:34-35 and such like that) I just get this feeling that's twisted. It isn't hatred or bitterness, but more that something is generally just wrong.
Thank you for your question. I'm glad you are willing to consider answers. Let us be honest, there are so many beliefs and religions in the world that it can be hard to tell which religion has the truth while all other are false.
What Is Truth?
A man called Pilate asked a question to Jesus about the truth, “Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”" (John 18:36-38).
Pilate was a politician. He understood because of society's changing desires (worldly truth) a ruler's view of “right” and “wrong” would change. It reminds me of today’s politicians. They change their beliefs to get votes. Pilate knew that people's view of right and wrong changed with time. That is why he says to Jesus, “What is truth?”.
In America less than 100 years ago, people had a moral understanding that sex outside of marriage (fornication) and homosexuality were something that was not even spoken of because it was consider very evil. Now with a changing in society we see pregnant kids (teen moms TV shows, shows that promote sex, etc). Society not only endorses such behavior but tells our own children to follow after these lifestyles. It is a complete turn in the American belief system. What was once consider evil and shameful is now glorified as good and endorsed by the majority.
Take Hitler for an example. He and other men convinced an entire nation, and a few other nations, to murder people and start wars with other countries for an evil cause. Yet if Nazi’s would have won the war, their morals would rule the majority of the world right now. That would be worldly truth. Worldly truth changes with time. This is what you are living by right now.
The question Pilate asked was is there such a thing as “absolute truth” or “unchanging truth?” Pilate did not believe there was an absolute truth.
Finding the Truth
Jesus' simple answer is “yes.” God is that absolute truth. So the next question is how does one find out that truth.
Jesus said he bears witness to the truth and it is the truth that makes us free from the sinful life and the truth of the world. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). It is God’s Word that is truth, the Bible (John 17:17).
God did speak directly to some people, others he gave dreams, revelations, talking in other languages, healing, curing diseases, destroyed cities with fire, sent many prophets into the world, and at last He sent His only begotten Son as a final testimony and to bring back the relationship between mankind and God. By doing that he brought the truth of God to mankind, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
The Church, which is God’s spiritual kingdom on earth, helps bring the message that Jesus delivered to the world. "In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10-11). The church “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).
Why Doesn't God Verbally Talk to Us Now?
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
You are right! God did not just speak through the Bible. He did speak in various ways before and while the Bible was being written. But as verses stated “in these last days spoken to us by his Son." God’s final words were given through Jesus Christ (and his apostles and prophets of that time).
The Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through God’s prophets (men and women whom God did speak to in some way, shape or form), but since God’s whole will for mankind has been written down there is no more need for God to speak to us verbally. We see the point driven home by Jude, ”Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). God has delivered everything we need to know, not partial not 3/4 but it has all been delivered once and for all. “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Peter 1:3-4).
Since all things pertaining to life and godliness are to be found in His word, we always look to God’s word for answers. When someone asks question for example: about sex before marriage, why is church ran a certain way, or why do I need a Savior,
I point them to what God says.
“If anyone speaks, [let him speak] as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, [let him do it] as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:11).
Is The World Changing or Moving Forward?
You are right that God is aware of everything, but I disagree that the world is changing and moving forward. Throughout history we see everything repeat itself as King Solomon said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).
Humanity might be more technological advanced, but it’s still in the same state as it was for thousands of years before: murder, greed, wars, poverty, lust, stealing, lying, adultery, hatred, anger, greed, broken families, homosexuality, orphans, genocide, rape, incest, idolatry, etc. The list could be endless.
Nothing is new under the sun (watch the news). Sin still has its hold on the world just as strong, if not stronger now that man thinks himself wiser and better than God or to the extent of atheists believe in no God at all because we are more “advanced.” “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good” (Psalm 53:1).
Has the Bible been altered?
It is easy to make a claim, but it is harder to prove it. Your statement that the Bible was changed by some pope has all the markings of an empty assertion because it lacks critical details: Which pope? When was it done? How did they get a hold of all the ancient manuscripts and go back in time to alter them?
What people don't realize is the number of ancient manuscripts we have of the Bible and how far back many of them date. See: "I think you are insulting God to believe everything written down in the Bible." It is not possible for someone to have altered the text and retained all the ancient copies.
Is the Bible contradictory?
You said, “I guess the entire basis of this question is: Why are some things saying one thing, and then another?”
Is the contradictions really in the Bible, or are the contradictions between what you think the Bible should say and what it actually says? You actually indicate that it is the later. You did not give any evidence of internal contradictions, you only listed out things that you personally disagreed with.
Please notice the words you say,
- “I feel at a loss”,
- “feel like there are some things that God just wouldn't actually say or command”,
- “I focus more on what I feel from Him and what I discover versus trying to look at Bibles”,
- “something feels off to me when I read some scripture and it leaves me in a state of conflict”,
- “I want to follow this religion, but some of the things I can just never imagine God saying, ... I can't make sense of some things, and sometimes when I read pieces of scripture”
Everything you said were from feelings: what you want and what you think. Nothing is from what God has actually said. When you did cite a Scripture you did not like it.
Feelings can lie or betray you, "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). A lot of evil has been done in this world because it felt right to the wicked person. We all know feelings are not always correct or a lot of the time they actually turn us in the wrong direction.
When we put trust in ourselves we always fail, but when we trust in God we will not fall and He will guide us. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7). In the end if we follow our feelings, it will lead to spiritual death. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
God is not swayed by people's wants and desires
Some things in the Bible might bring you into a state of conflict! That is good! You are starting to realize you are not the one who make the rules! You envision God on your terms and according to your ways. But you realize God is not what you want Him to be so you say Bible cannot be real because it doesn't agree with your feelings.
God created the entire universe. It would be prideful to think you or I would know what exactly God's will is, especially if we base it off of our feelings.
Part of that conflict you have is that God condemns certain practices that you are doing or think is acceptable, such as witchcraft. It is condemned throughout the whole Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Isaiah 8:19; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 9:20; 21:8; 22:15). People who came to know God actually burnt their books on witchcraft: “And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:18-20). One cannot be a Christian and also call themselves a witch. God condemns the idea to serve false gods (I Peter 4:3) or to serve Him in a manner which He did not ordain (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; I Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:7-10; Revelations 22:19). Just because someone calls themselves a Christian it does not make it so. Part of being a Christian is following God’s commandments, not just the ones we prefer but all which God has said. “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (II John 6). "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).
Is God sexist?
You claim all the blame is on Eve, but it is not that way in the Bible. Adam, Eve, and Satan all suffered the consequences of their sins. “So the LORD God said to the serpent:…To the woman He said:… Then to Adam He said,…”(Genesis 3:14,16-17). Each person received punishment for what he had done. Woman were to bear children already (Genesis 1:28) just now it would be painful. Man was to work (Genesis 2:15) now it became burdensome, hard work. If anything Adam is more often mentioned as guilty because he was the leader of his family and he failed. He should have stopped Eve and rebuked her when she offered the fruit instead of giving in. God then puts the blame on him for letting the sin happen, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’” (Genesis 3:17).
I cannot find a scripture stating woman are all considered morally weak. As for I Corinthians 14:34-35, Paul points that it is God who has said this. “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (I Corinthians 14:34-38).
Paul points back to why God gave this order of authority, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.” (I Corinthians 11:7-12). In the beginning God made woman as helper to man, “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him ... And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:18, 23-24).
God had made man as the authority over woman because she is his helper, but this does not make woman less valuable than man. We just have different roles to play in which God has ordained. A man has authority, especially when he is married, by leading by example (not being a dictator), and protecting his family.
The same idea is given about God the Father and God the Son (Jesus). Both are considered equal as God. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God" (Philippians 2:5-6), yet in authority they are not equal. "If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30). Even when Jesus was about to be taken and crucified he prayed that the Father's will be done and not his. “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:41-42).
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit all have parts to play. They are all equal as being the one true God, but each has a role to play and God the Father has authority over all. With men and woman, pertaining to salvation we are all equals. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
Yet within the church we have different roles. “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”…… Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (I Corinthians 12:21,27-31).
It is just like work. Your boss has higher authority than you, but that doesn't make you less of a person.
A Choice to Make!
You can either work with God or work against Him. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matthew 12:30). Making up your own path will not succeed in making your life better in this world and it will not lead you to a heavenly home. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ... Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).
When you edit the Bible based on your own feelings and desires, then you are not following God. You are following yourself.