Axver (axver) wrote,

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More of that theological pondering.

So, I'm finally continuing the theological pondering that I began a month ago. Wow, has it really been that long? University seems to speed up time.

I find myself being pulled in two competing and mutually exclusive directions. The first direction is that God exists: this provides a convenient and good explanation for the creation of matter and the person of Jesus. The second direction is that God does not exist: I'm still waiting to be presented with a shred of physical evidence in favour of God, and the whole matter of brutal violence leads me to wonder how God could possibly exist, or whether he just is a cosmic sadist. There's a difference between letting your child learn about prickles the hard way and learning about being hit by a car at 100km/h the hard way. Too many of the arguments to justify evil within a Christian framework reek of being cop-outs to me: "it was the Fall" (well then, stand back up you lazy bastard; stop passing the buck to a mythological serpent), "it's a test" (gassing six million Jews isn't a frigging "test"!), "it's the power of Satan" (have you READ your Bible?), and so on.

Now, I was going to make the transition to my next point more cohesive than this, but "have you READ your Bible?" leads me straight there. I seriously do have to wonder if people bother to read their Bibles or not. What I have noticed amongst some people who have made an effort to read the Old Testament is how horrified they become by some of its contents. Now, it's one thing for a historical record to note instances of rape, murder, genocide, and other wanton violence; it's quite another to actually sanctify the violence and purport that it is in God's name! Need I point to the massacre of the Canaanites, supposedly in the name of God? I cannot accept that the Bible is inerrant, let alone infallible. Passages such as Numbers 1:1-3, Judges 1, and Deuteronomy 20 are, to put it simply, reprehensible. Is this really God's message to the world, or is it - at least in part - embellished by ancient elites seeking to justify their actions and power through assertions of divine commands and blessings?

I could go on at length about my problems with certain passages of the Bible, but I won't. Instead, I would like to address another matter. I am often told of how complex the Bible is and that we can't expect to fully understand it because God is perfect and infinite while we are imperfect and finite, and so on and so forth. Now, I can appreciate that this may apply to God himself, and that a limited, finite mind will be unable to completely grasp that which is limitless and infinite. However, that does not apply to the Bible. It is a limited, finite book, and what's more, IT WAS WRITTEN FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. It was not written to be incomprehensible. Its target audience is the human race, and is supposed to be God's authoritative message to us about how to live our lives and what he offers and requires. It was written for humans, by humans, and any attempts to use the "it is divine and beyond human understanding" reeks of both a cop-out and idolatry of the Bible.

Speaking of being written for human consumption, you'd think that, if God wishes to communicate with his creation, he would ensure accurate Bibles exist in all the languages of the world. Why on earth would he want this mess of translations? What does the huge array of English translations of the Bible prove? That God can't even adequately render his word in the English language? That he doesn't have the power to issue his message in the dominant language of our age? Or is he just so lazy that he issued the Bible in the languages spoken by those he selected to write it, and left the rest of us to try to translate it on our own, hoping that we'd get it right? He's clearly not all too concerned about his message, is he? He couldn't even be bothered preserving the original manuscripts for accuracy and verifiability.

I feel like I am in such a theological crisis. I no longer know what to believe: Christian arguments seem so empty and hollow and I cannot seem to find someone from a Christian perspective with explanations that satisfy me, and I think my core problems (especially with regards to lack of proof) translate to other religions too, but I do not at all wish to be an atheist as that presents me with even more broad philosophical problems. I honestly want to remain a Christian, but not at the expense of intellectual integrity and honesty. I do not demand proof, per se; I am well aware of the perspectives, worldviews, and biases that shape any account. What I seek is the most plausible explanation: for example, that I will eat tomorrow is the more plausible conclusion than that I will not eat, or looking into the past, although I cannot definitively prove that the woman I call my mother gave birth to me, I consider that to be the most plausible explanation based upon documentary evidence and witness accounts. I would like to see someone demonstrate that the existence of God is more plausible than the non-existence of God. I really would.
Tags: atheism, belief, christianity, doubt, existence, faith, god, religion, theology
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