Edit 4/2/21 14:07p: thank you to all for the thoughtful and helpful responses! I have reached my maximum 20 replies that a new member can make per day, so I’ll have to save further discussion for tomorrow
TLDR: Please help reconcile my newfound non-literal understanding of the Bible with the need for a non-biased Bible
I’m a physician, and have been an evangelical Christian for many years. More recently, I stopped ignoring the intersection of science and faith, which of course lead to a non-literal interpretation of the Bible. I love Tim Mackie’s in-depth teachings and have listened to all of his “Exploring My Strange Bible” episodes, as well as most of the Bible Project Podcast episodes. I’ve also been reading from Ryken’s Literary Study Bible, some stuff by John Walton and by NT Wright, and taking in the wonderful discussions here on Biologos.
I used to view the Bible as ‘security camera footage’ (as Mackie playfully puts it); evidence to support my faith in God; God’s literal specific words ‘breathed out’ (dictated) in Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek to human authors. If miraculous interventions were performed by God as documented in Biblical stories (raising the dead, turning back the sun, creating everything ‘ex nihilo’), then WOW, that is good evidence to support a faith that God exists -and that He is involved in our personal lives.
Recently, though, I’ve become reluctantly convinced by the above references that the Bible was carefully crafted by humans rather than dictated to them by God; planned and written over years, not given to them in a transcendental experience; full of speculation rather than supernaturally-given insight into God’s Heavenly realm (which, again, has been torn down to earth…); that these authors rearranged timelines, cherry-picked events which suited their agenda/biases, or even made up imaginary scenarios rather than representing the facts as accurately as possible. So, for example, Job 1:6-12 didn’t actually happen; rather it was a literary tool to set up a theological argument. Likewise, Revelation was not a unique transcendent experience documented hours later by a blown-away human instrument; it was a literary masterpiece deliberately produced over years using the then-common genre of apocalyptic writing. I get it: the goal of these humans was to convince their reader of their own beliefs, whereas I just want historical/factual data to make my own conclusions about.
To me, it now seems that to have faith in God actually means to have faith in these ancient, superstitious, and deeply biased humans -and we all know that humans are willing to go to any length (lies, coersion, torture, genocide) to convince others of their own beliefs. So why are their musings more believable than their contemporary ANE religions? Or far eastern religions? Or scientology?? (ok, I needed a little laugh)
A book written/dictated by an omnicient & loving God? Sure, I believe(d?) that! An anthology of speculations from people without any more insight than I have? I don’t think I can -or would want to- believe that…but this breaks my heart! So please, please tell me why this DOESN’T shake your faith, so that perhaps that rationale will help me get through this. Thank you for reading and for kind responses. #feelingfragile