I understand where Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians are coming from when it comes to their belief about the Bible. It is liberal Christians I have a hard time understanding. While I certainly wish every Evangelical would become a liberal, that doesn’t mean I think the liberal Christian belief system is rational and logical. In fact, I find liberal beliefs quite confusing and often contradictory. As I have often said, liberal religious beliefs are like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.
Every Christian sect believes that Jesus Christ is God. Every Christian sect believes that Jesus became a human, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead three days later. Every Christian sect believes that Jesus, while on earth, was God in the human flesh. He came to earth to become the atonement for humankind’s sin. He was buried and rose again from the dead three days later securing life everlasting for all who will follow him. Every Christian sect believes that Jesus ascended to heaven and some day will return to earth again to usher in his eternal kingdom.
Most sects would also say they believe Jesus was born of a virgin, healed the sick, and raised the dead. The bottom line is this…….Jesus was a supernatural being who came to earth to do a supernatural work. From start to finish, Jesus’s life was anything but ordinary human.
Where do we find the story the Jesus? The Bible. This story is found nowhere else. Surely we all would agree that Jesus Christ is the alpha and omega of the Christian religion and all that every Christian sect knows about Jesus comes from the Bible. Without the Bible there would be no discussion going on about the historicity of Jesus.
On what basis do Christian sects believe what the Bible says about Jesus? Is the Bible just another work of literature? That’s what liberal Christians would have us believe. The Bible is just another work of literature and should be treated like any other text from antiquity.
If this is so then why have doctrinal statements or for that matter have churches at all? If the Bible is just an old book then why invest so much time and money in believing and living out its story? Quite frankly Harry Potter would be a much more interesting God and I suspect children would LOVE going to the First Church of Harry.
At this point……liberals start stammering and steaming….
You see, the Bible really is MORE than just another work of literature. Every Christian sect believes that the Bible is revelatory, that God, through the text of the Bible speaks to humanity. We can fuss and fight over words like inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility but the fact remains ALL Christians give the Bible weight and authority that they give no other text. Without an authoritative text there is no Jesus and without Jesus there is no such thing as Christianity.
We can argue endlessly about the various critical methods and hermeneutics but sooner or later every Christian must say, THIS I BELIEVE. And when they do this they are saying, I believe the Bible, to some degree or another, to be true/factual/correct.
Liberals and Evangelicals alike continue to shed beliefs like lovers and their clothes on a hot, steamy summer night. Science continues to challenge and attack Christian beliefs and Christians back up and retrench. The Christian Church has gone from a doctrinal sumo wrestler to a wasting away anorexic model. Doctrine after doctrine is abandoned or reinterpreted and it seems only Jesus is safe from discard. And even with Jesus, we now have liberals who are quite willing to jettison the virgin birth, Jesus’s bodily resurrection from the dead, and his bodily ascension back to heaven. At the rate they are going the only thing left will be Jesus’s image on a piece of toast.
Atheism is not Christianity’s biggest problem. Atheism will not bring the Christian house down. Christians will do that all on their own. When people realize that NOTHING matters they will conclude that NOTHING matters and they will stop attending church and stop giving their money. The beast will die a slow, agonizing death, a death brought on by their unwillingness to have beliefs that matter.
Currently, there is a battle raging over the historicity of Jesus. Christianity finds a strange champion in Bart Ehrman. He has done much to hasten the death of Christianity, yet here he is, defending their man. I suspect any day now there will be a liberal theologian or pastor somewhere that will say, “Well, we don’t really need to believe Jesus was real to be a Christian.” Game over.
As an atheist, I think Christianity is false. I reject any, and all, claims made by the various Christian sects. I don’t think Jesus was anything that the Bible says he was. While I believe Jesus the man was a real historical figure, I reject any supernatural claim made for Jesus. At best, the Bible is an admixture of fact and error and it is almost impossible to tell one from the other. That said, I have great respect for people who have beliefs they are willing to stand up for and defend. There is something about a person’s willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter the cost….I admire such boldness, such conviction.
I know someone will be sure to suggest that I still think like a fundamentalist. Believe what you will. While I am most certainly not a fundamentalist, I do admire people who have courage and conviction. I respect people who believe something enough that they are willing to give their lives to it.