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The Bible is Not a Fairytale, Every Word is True, and God Cares About the Little People

erin davis

Erin Davis, a writer for the Lies Young Women Believe website, recently wrote one of the most astounding, delusional, and absurd blog posts I have ever read. Filled with assertions based on THE BIBLE SAYS, Davis’ post reflects how deeply and thoroughly Evangelicalism can negatively affect one’s ability to reason and think.

According to Davis:

The Bible Is Not a Fairy Tale

With giants (1 Sam. 17), strange creatures (Job 40:15), angels (Ps. 91:11), demons (Mark 5), and a God who is mysteriously three in one, sometimes the Bible reads like a children’s fairy tale or Hollywood screenplay. But it isn’t. It’s a history book of events that actually happened to real people. More than that, it’s a book about a very real God.

Every Word of God Proves True

Proverbs 30:5 makes this bold promise:

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

An easy way to prove the truth found in Scripture is through the genealogies. Let me show you what I mean.

Isaiah 11:1 declares this promise, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”

There isn’t a person on the planet that God doesn’t love and care about.

That promise wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans without the genealogy found in Matthew 1:1–17 and again in Luke 3:23–38. This list starts with Abraham and ends with the birth of Christ. Smack dab in the middle we find this gem:

And Jesse the father of David the king (Matt. 1:6).

The branch Isaiah wrote about was Jesus. His words were written 800 years before Christ was born! If we skipped this genealogy, we would miss the wonder of seeing this prophecy fulfilled.

God Cares About the Little People

Ever hear of Mahalalel, Hezron, or Abijah? Probably not, but God has. He made sure their names were listed among the genealogies found in Genesis 5 and Matthew 1. Every single human since Adam has three things in common:

We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).

We are loved by God (Jer. 31:3).

We were designed to be with God for eternity (Eccl. 3:11).

There isn’t a person on the planet that God doesn’t love and care about. The genealogies read like lists of His favorite people.

God  Is Faithful.

Here’s a question I love to ask Christians who are older than me:

“Tell me about that time God let you down.”

I’ve been asking that question for years, almost every chance I get to hang out with people with a gray hair or two. I’ve never met a single person with an answer. Instead they all gush about God’s faithfulness, telling me how time and time again He has shown up in their lives.

Evidently, Davis has not studied the history of the Christian Bible, nor has she read anything about the various textual contradictions and errors found in the Biblical text. I suspect that Davis grew up in and is still a part of a religious tradition that asserts the Bible is a God-given and God-written, inspired, inerrant, and infallible text. Whether the Bible is inspired is a metaphysical claim beyond the scope of rational inquiry, but assertions that the Bible is inerrant and infallible are evidentiary claims that can be investigated. Anyone who has honestly and openly looked at the text of the Bible cannot conclude the it is an inerrant text.

Well Bruce, I have studied this issue and I still believe the Bible is inerrant. To that I say, bullshit. If someone follows the evidence wherever it leads, he or she must conclude that inerrancy cannot be sustained on rational grounds. When people claim that the Bible is inerrant, I always ask them if they have read any of Bart Ehrman’s books. Most often, the answer I receive is no. For the handful of people who say yes, my response is this: you are letting your presuppositions keep you from seeing things as they are. Biblical scholars of every stripe have concluded that the Bible has textual errors and contractions; that the Bible is internally inconsistent. It is impossible for someone to read Bart Ehrman’s books and still hang on to the belief that the Bible is inerrant.

Davis believes the Bible is “true” because the Bible says it is. This is circular logic, a common problem in Evangelical Christianity. Countless people are Christians, all the while believing the Bible is fallible and errant. They recognize that the Bible is human-written book that points the way to God, not a divine rulebook or blueprint for life. These Christians readily admit that some of what the Bible says is not true, is outdated, or inapplicable for today. While I have problems with how they come to these conclusions, I do find that this view is more intellectually honest than parroting that the Bible is inerrant.

The key to reaching Evangelicals is to get them to see that the Bible is not what they claim it is. Until Evangelicals are willing to consider that they might be wrong; that the Bible might contain errors and contradictions, there’s not much anyone can do to reach them.

Davis states that God cares about the little people. She bases this statement on the fact that numerous unknown people are mentioned in the Bible and, since God wrote the Bible, this is proof that God cares about everyone. Davis sincerely believes that God loves and cares for everyone. She believes this because the Bible says so. Again, eyes-wide-open honesty does not bear out Davis’ claim. Look around. What do you see? Do you see overwhelming evidence for the belief that God loves and cares for everyone? Of course not. At best, we see a God who is indifferent to the plight of his creation. He steps in from time to time and help Nana find her car keys, but when it comes to big-ticket issues such as war, violence, sexual assault, starvation, oppression, and Donald Trump, the Christian God is AWOL.

Davis desperately needs to believe that God loves and cares about her. I understand WHY she believes as he does. God loving and caring for Christians is the glue that holds Christianity together. No matter what happens in their lives, Evangelicals believe that God is looking out for them and that “all things work together for good.” This thinking directly conflicts with reality — shit happens, life can suck, and all credit and criticism belong to humans. God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is a fictitious middleman who keeps Evangelicals from seeing life as it is. That’s the beauty of religion. It gives people meaning and purpose, promising life after death. (Please read The Life-Changing Power of the Mythical Jesus and Never Underestimate the Power of Jesus) Believing such delusions allows Evangelicals to evade the harshness of human existence. Sadly, many people believe that it is better to believe a lie if it gives them peace and happiness. I don’t fault people who follow this path as long as they keep it to themselves. However, when they drag such nonsense into the public square and de-legitimize the lives of everyone who believes differently, I’m going to challenge, on rational grounds, their beliefs.

Davis concludes her post by saying that God (not any God, only the Evangelical God) is ALWAYS faithful. When Evangelicals talk about the faithfulness of God they mean that God always does what he says he will. If God says he will do ______________then he always does. Think of all the promises God supposedly made in the Bible. Has God infallibly kept every promise? Of course not. Any cursory examination of the lives of Christians reveals that God is NOT faithful, that he routinely fails to pay child support. When challenged on the God-is-Faithful claim, Evangelicals often respond that just because God hasn’t come through yet, doesn’t mean he won’t come through in the future. Ah yes, God will, someday, likely not today, come through. He’s God and he ALWAYS comes through.

One tool used by religionists is the promise of future rewards. According to Evangelicals, God promises believers life after death. This life after death will be one of no pain, suffering, or death. There is no proof for this claim other than THE BIBLE SAYS, but this is enough for millions and millions of people to lead them to believe that a room in Heaven awaits them after they die. So it is with claims that God is faithful. It may not, right now, seem that God is doing what he said he will, but as sure as the sun rises in the morning, God will infallibly do what he promised.

Evangelicals are much like a woman married to an abusive man. Her husband makes promises to love her more, not verbally assault her, or lay another hand on her, but never comes through.  The wife stays with her man because she believes that he will, in the future, do what he promised. Fortunately, many women realize that their abusers will never change, and they file for divorce. Children often have parents who are much like the faithful God, making promises they cannot or never intend to fulfill. So it for many of us who have left Christianity. We finally came to a place that promises were not enough. We wanted action. We wanted God to act as he said he would in the Bible. We wanted our prayers answered and needs met.  Our pastors told us to hang on, to keep believing, because God will, in time, come through. And if he doesn’t, he will certainly come through in the life to come. Such offloading of promise fulfillment to a future date no longer worked. We wanted a God who was, in the here and now, alive, present, and actively working in our lives.

Many former believers have said: sorry God, no more empty promises. Show yourself, and if you can’t — because you don’t exist —  or won’t — because you are indifferent or don’t care — don’t expect us to live in the hope that you will, after death, fulfill your promises. One of the many reasons people deconvert is because they wake up one day and realize that what they believe is a lie; that their beliefs are based on irrational presuppositions; that God is nowhere to be found.

Several years ago, my wife and I made a detailed inventory of our past prayers. We were avid, daily, fervent prayers. We prayed tens of thousands of prayers in our lifetimes. Yet, after carefully examining our prayers, we concluded that 99.9% of our prayers went unanswered, and most of those that were could be ascribed to human instrumentation. We were left with a handful of unexplained events, and we concluded that these were not enough to justify us continuing to believe in the Christian God.

Nothing I’ve written here will likely convince heads-in-cement Evangelicals that their houses are built on faulty foundations. Certainty of belief, anchored in the notion that the Bible is an inerrant, infallible text, shuts Evangelicals off from reason. I know such a claim offends them, but I have yet to meet an Evangelical zealot who was willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads. In the minds of Evangelicals, they already have the truth. Blind to evidence to the contrary, they refuse to hear any voice but their own (a voice they often think is God’s). Unable to rationalize challenges to their beliefs, Evangelicals retreat to the safe confines of faith. Once secure, they chuck proof texts at their interlocutors, reminding these uncircumcised, unwashed Philistines that God will soon show them his mighty power by eternally torturing them in the Lake of Fire.

11 Comments

  1. Avatar
    JR

    THe old people she asks tell her god is always faithful because that is what they want to believe. And you can always find some silver lining to attribute to god’s faithfulness: ‘my husband and career died unexpectedly but my friend has taken good care of me – a real blessing, god is faithful!’

    Or ‘my 1 year old keeps us up crying 6 nights out of 7 but last night he slept through – wow god is faithful.’

  2. Avatar
    Melody

    “Here’s a question I love to ask Christians who are older than me:

    “Tell me about that time God let you down.”

    I’ve been asking that question for years, almost every chance I get to hang out with people with a gray hair or two. I’ve never met a single person with an answer. Instead they all gush about God’s faithfulness, telling me how time and time again He has shown up in their lives.”

    Posing the question already shows you’re most likely not really interested in the answer and they are old and well-trained enough to know they can’t be open about such things as Christians anyway, so, of course, they will gush over God’s goodness. If you aks the question flat out like that – and you are a kind of preachy person to begin with – they will know you expect the expected answer and not the real and actual one.

    Just how I see it. I learnt that many Christians don’t really want to engage into the more nasty stuff, like God letting you down… And I’ve also been guilty of doing that to others, when I was too fragile myself. When people asked the nasty questions and I had just succesfully put them down for the time being in myself, I could respond pretty harshly too.

    So I do understand where it comes from but to me it sounds like this thing the right is coining right now: virtue signalling. They use it to rage against political correctness – or what they see as political correctness – but I sort of get the idea because it’s what Christians do all the time. Sort of bidding in this holier than thou competition and so when the question is: when did God let you down? The answers are virtue-signalling towards each other: see me be the best at being the best Christian.

  3. Avatar
    anotherami

    I long ago figured out that God is not some all-powerful genie-in-a-bottle. As someone who still has faith, I can’t count the number of times my prayers went unanswered, or, as one preacher put it, “He said no.” These days, I’m not sure what I believe in and pray to can even be personified; at least not as I understand “person”. It may just be a “Force of goodness and help” of some sort. I still tend to personify, out of habit, but I know at least that part of my faith is most likely a convenient illusion.

    The nature of my prayers has changed too. Now, they are most often of the “lifting someone up” variety, though at times they are some variety of “I have no solution to this problem and no idea what to do next. Please help me find the way forward, without losing _______.” Mostly, it’s financial stuff, like finding the money to keep the lights on or enough food for my son and I until the first of the month. I’m not asking for a miracle, per se, just the chance of work for my son or chicken quarters to go on sale again @ 10#/$3.90. Those prayers are answered with a consistency that baffles me, even though the means is perfectly common and 100% human in origin. It also makes me feel ashamed that my “little prayers” are answered while another mother’s are not and much of the world suffers. It is an aspect of my faith that troubles me deeply and I have yet to reconcile it, despite over 40 years of trying.

    I am grateful for this blog, and the commenters, and the challenge it presents to me. A faith that cannot withstand challenge isn’t one worth having. One by-product is that I am increasingly grateful that the faith I first learned was not the fundamentalist/evangelical variety that is the focus here. I see it as twisted and sick at best. I honestly feel that atheism is a far healthier and yes, even holy, choice than that toxic garbage.

  4. Avatar
    Neil

    Yesterday I attended the funeral of a little boy not yet turned 2, who died of the cancer he’d suffered from since he was 9 months old. His young parents are friends of mine. They showed their son such tremendous love during his illness, ensuring he received the best medical care possible.

    Where was God? Nowhere; he showed no interest in this particular ‘little person’; no concern and no compassion for him or his parents. We know of course that that’s because he doesn’t exist. This didn’t stop Christians, like Davis, from spouting their drivel about how marvellous and caring and loving God is. Really? A God who allows a baby to have cancer and to die after fourteen months of invasive treatment is an empty, worthless concept.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      An all-powerful who figures that his only child will be tortured and die on the Cross is quite a bizarre bingo too, a real treat.
      Very sorry for yours and your friends’ loss, Neil. When parents like your friends bear up and endure/live that kind of love in loss, it is so astounding, so real-real and human! How heartbreaking can it get; two years old.

    • Avatar
      anotherami

      My deepest condolences to your friends, Neil. My heart weeps for such things too and I do not pretend that a 2-year old, in anyway way, “deserves” such a thing because of “sin”. That is complete rubbish. No one deserves to get cancer, let alone a child. And I cannot answer your question, “Where was God?” The state of things often make me angry and leave me wondering too, “Where is God in all this?” I have no answers and the easy platitudes of traditional faith ring empty and hollow, not holy.

      My faith has always been evolving and now is in a period of immense confusion. Perhaps it is dying; I do not know. I just try to get through one day at a time and this blog is an important part of those days. It shows me that compassion is a very human trait shared by the commenters here and most certainly by Bruce. And this world needs all the compassion we can muster.

    • Avatar
      JR

      We don’t see the big picture
      God is working through that situation
      The child has gone to a better place
      Jesus is weeping with you

      All answers that just don’t cut it anymore.

      Terribly sorry for you and the family going through that. Thoughts are with you.

  5. Avatar
    TLC

    “Tell me about the time God let you down.”

    Well, honey, I could write a book on that. Too much to put in a blog comment.

    Tell you what: visit some atheist blogs (like this one) or some on the spiritual abuse survivors network. Go with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Read all the heartbreaking stories. Imagine being abused spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually like some of these people have. And then maybe you’ll understand how God has let us down.

    Or imagine having a panic attack on a 35-minute drive home after an unexpected sermon about spiritual warfare and intercessory prayer. Yeah, that happened to me last week. Had to run out of a meeting to escape just so I could keep breathing and I wouldn’t throw up. Still so surprised that I responded that way.

    But if you can’t read with an open mind and willingness to learn, don’t even go there. We’ve had enough of your self-righteous, condescending snobbery. We come to people like Bruce to learn and to heal. We don’t need you inflicting even more wounds.

    • Avatar
      Brian

      Greetings TLC, The good news is that your bullshit radar is somatically sound! When you are poisoned through your ears, your body goes into full-tilt reaction! That is what happens when one is actually in their natural body and not completely buried in bullshit. I lived many many years before my body was my own and wanted to vomit out the lies of evangelicalism. I preyed over myself (the sinner’s prayer) and ripped off my fingernails and obsessed over SIN.
      What a glory to be able to run, to use your legs to save yourself! It is along this path to freedom that we find we can feel other things again too, like righteous anger over being the fool listening to religious crap spewed, making our knees bleed in fruitless efforts to say sorry to Jesus for having killed him.
      Panic attacks are a horrible experience and I have not suffered one for many years now…. but they are the body taking a stand against shallow hatred that is sold as love, black and white thinking that is sold as God-given, shame and blame that comes with a dirtly little smile. They are a collective wave of built-up pain that overwhelms all the denial and gushes forth, free. I wish you much peace in your feelings, TLC, much calm in the knowledge that your body is your own, that you are free to feel, to say ‘No’, to say ‘Yes’ as you please.
      I get so sick of the kind smile telling me I will burn forever.

      • Avatar
        anotherami

        I second your comment that panic attacks can be “the body taking a stand against shallow hatred that is sold as love, black and white thinking that is sold as God-given, shame and blame that comes with a dirtly little smile.” Minus the “God-given”, this describes my emotionally/psychologically abusive ex perfectly (my ex was non-religious). After I left him, the panic attacks ceased almost entirely.

  6. Avatar
    Neil

    Thank you to those of you who wrote kind, gentle words about my friends’ loss. They are far more meaningful than those posted on the ‘Lies Young Women Believe’ blog (quite an ironic name!) after I put a briefer comment on it about the baby’s cancer. These were like those which JR lists and were really only intent on preserving God’s reputation – he really does care, they said, even if he has a funny way of showing it.

    If I had any vestige of faith left, recent terrible events would have cured me of it once and for all.

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