I had a great question come from a reader yesterday:
“If you are all about love and freedom I really can’t see why you have ‘left Christianity’. The heart of Christianity is love and freedom, peace and joy that is truly exhilarating — so hearing this makes no sense.”
And while I will respond more in-depth privately to this reader, I want to respond to it publicly because it’s a great lead-in to my topic today.
I wrestled for a long time with whether to remain in Christianity or not, since I do consider myself a follower of Jesus in many ways. But in my research and time earnestly seeking God, letting go of all previous limits, I discovered that while there are many reasons I am excited to move beyond this label of Christianity,
the main reason I’ve left is the fact that
I no longer look to the Bible as my main source of truth.
And this is where I part ways with most Christians.
So what led me to let go of the Bible?
My disconnect with the Bible started in college when I was still very much a devout, Bible-believing Christian.
As part of my degree in Biblical Studies, I took a course on the Canonization of the Bible.
In this course I learned all the historical details of how the books of the Bible were actually chosen to become this book that much of the world stakes their lives on as absolute truth.
This course shook me to the core.
As a child, when I brought my many doubts about how we could know for sure that the Bible was truth – the answer was always that the Holy Spirit had guided the canonization process, and therefore we can trust that the words in the Bible are God’s direct words.
That was a good enough answer, and I believed it.
Until that course.
In this class I learned of the various books that were disputed on, and voted on, and deliberately left out of the Bible – the disagreements, the actual, gritty, human process. I learned that these decision-makers were normal men – people with passion and fear, doubts and pain, people just like you and me, making huge determinations about what would be called ‘absolute truth’ for centuries.
It just didn’t sit right with me, and it caused HUGE doubts about what I had always been told – even though it would be over a decade before I would be courageous enough to consider letting the Bible go as my ultimate source for truth.
This is a huge topic, but ultimately what I want to share with you today is what I think Jesus would tell us:
that he did not write the Bible, and it’s time to let go of our tight, fear-based grip and dependency on it.
If Christianity is all about following Jesus and his incredible example of love, why are we hanging onto a book that:
1) Wasn’t written by Jesus – there is no account of him writing anything down on paper. EVER.
2) Wasn’t written until 40 years after his death. The first account of his life in the Gospel of Mark was not written until 4 decades later – the other accounts were much later than that. That’s longer than I’ve been alive. Think of storytelling and how much can be lost or changed throughout even a WEEK’s time of retelling a story.
3) Can be interpreted so many different ways, because it’s ink on a page. The same Bible has been used throughout history to justify good and evil, murder and peace, hate and love, as well as so many vastly different Christian denominations that think their way is the only true Christian way. Slavery in the U.S. alone is a perfect example:
The same Bible was used to justify and promote the cause of slavery in the South, and likewise to promote freedom from slavery in the North.
How can we possibly stake our lives on a book that is completely powerless except in the power WE give to it? Ultimately, the readers of the Bible are the ones deciding what they see and believe and what they don’t.
If the book is infallible and perfect, how can it be the source of both good and evil actions by those reading it?
If you have ears to hear this, I know it’s scary. When I took the leap to start thinking outside of the Bible as my main source of truth, I was FREAKED OUT. Letting go of a grid that you’ve held onto so tightly and that so many people believe is THE TRUTH, takes a lot of guts.
But I’m telling you from my personal experience, that since letting go of the Bible, I have been catapulted into more LOVE, more freedom, more understanding, more closeness with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, than I EVER experienced while I was still living in fear-based belief in the Bible.
My Norwegian friend from college, Joe, left me a comment on yesterday’s blog:
“This article was like reading what Satan himself says. ‘I want to be like the most high.’ The lie Satan always has promised since the garden. ‘If you eat of the tree you will be like God.’ Well the lie keeps coming in new forms it seems like. Don’t be fooled by the ‘Jesus’ in this ‘story’.”
I’m glad Joe brought up this early, monumental story in the Bible – it shows perfectly the fear-based thinking that permeates so much of the book. The very first account of God’s interaction with humans in the Garden of Eden is full of FEAR and withholding.
You can’t eat of this one tree – if you do you’ll be cursed forever.
This is not the voice of my Father, the Creator, the Source of Love who I have come to know and trust.
God doesn’t punish us for being curious about our identity.
When you are courageous enough to let go of the Bible as absolute truth,
you will find the solid rock, the most firm foundation,
the greatest Peace and Love you’ve ever imagined,
right inside your heart,
where it’s always been.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that God is LOVE.
In Love, there is nothing to fear.
Will you take the leap with me?