Blogging as a spiritual experience

Deutsche Version: Das Bloggen als spirituelle Erfahrung .

 

I have begun to blog several months ago after I realized it would be good to write down some of the numerous thoughts which go though my mind. Despite their tentative and evolving nature I have the hope they can be useful to other people dealing and struggling with similar issues.

I am deeply disturbed by the fact that legitimate debates and discussions between Christians and atheists are degenerating into rhetorical tricks, name-calling and emotional bullying.

Since I began blogging and commenting I’ve been confronted with very hostile people from both extremes of the political and religious spectrum (needless to say that their enmity was sometimes due to mistakes I did).

I have progressively realized that this represents a wonderful opportunity for me to follow one of Jesus hardest comments, namely loving one’s enemies like oneself.

 

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I haven’t real enemies in my real life and I almost never encounter people showing any kind of hostility against me. Things look really different on the Internet where many folks can allow themselves to be aggressive, disdainful and hateful without having to fear any personal consequence, being protected by the veil of anonymity.

This is where the temptation comes in to respond to this by using the same means. As Christians, it is vital to ask oneself, at that moment how one can love the other person in spite of her behavior, that is how to search her good despite all the anger one might feel inside.

Rebuking and using irony might sometimes be in order but NEVER with the goal to break her.

All this Internet experiences show me I have a lot of progresses to achieve in many respects. But this can be a marvelous way to become more and more loving and compassionate.

And as the apostle Paul would say, if I possess the best arguments of the world but don’t have love, I am nothing.

 

 

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On the Inspiration of the Bible and other Books

 Deutsche Version: Von der Interpretation der Bibel und anderer Bücher.

The Bible as a solid anchor?

Fundamentalists and more generally Evangelicals believe that if God exists and is interested in human affairs, He will give us an inerrant Bible where His nature is revealed in a consistent and trustworthy manner.

We are living in a very uncertain world and I am well aware that such a faith can bring a great comfort to quite a few people who have the feeling to have found an unshakable anchor.

The Bible as a strong anchor in a deep ocean.
The Bible, firm anchor of our faith?

But when clever and intellectually honest persons are confronted with undeniable Biblical contradictions, and above else with places where God is portrayed as  being an unjust tyrant, they will most often throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater and become resentful opponents of Christianity.

Such deconversion experiences often stem from the binary way their brain has been programmed to consider the Biblical Canon: as a young pastor told me recently, if one begins to doubt the truth of details in the Old Testament, everything is called into question and it becomes impossible to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

They fail to consider the possibility there are many other ways to read, understand and see the Bible.

I personally read the books accepted within the Biblical Canon in the same way I read books from all Christian authors between 300 A.C. and our 21cst century, that is as the description of human experiences with and thoughts about God.

When I read the testimonies of other Christians, I will certainly consider what they write as fallible humans words about God, but I am quite open they might have received profound insights about God and how to lead one’s life. I would be also quite open to the possibility that God acted in miraculous ways among them and that they encountered hostile spiritual entities.

And as I explained with the example of the life of Martin Luther  even if people do egregious things and teach mistaken (and even blasphemous) things about God, I have no problem believing they have genuine experiences with Him.

To take a concrete example, I read the books of the apostle Paul in the same way  I read books from C.S. Lewis: I believe that both were exemplary Christians, great defenders of the faith and extraordinary men, and the presence of logical, empirical and theological errors in their writings does not prevent me at all from appreciating all the right things they figured out.

But if we don’t believe that the books within the Biblical Canon are more inspired than books outside it, how can we make the difference between right and wrong beliefs about God?

While I cannot speak for all progressive Christians, I believe that we should base our theology on the fact that God has to be perfect in order for Him to be God. Even if human beings are fallible creatures, they are quite able to recognize perfection and to find out what is morally right and wrong as Saint Paul explained in the first chapters of the letter to the Romans.

Actually, as I will argue in a future post, the apostle Paul (or at the very least the author of the Acts of the Apostles)  believed and taught that Pagan authors thinking about Zeus can get quite a few things about God right.

The apostle Paul, preaching and debating with Greek philosophers.
Apostle Paul at the Areopagus

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