Sunday, December 18, 2011

Banned Questions VI

The final installment of my responses to some of the questions in Banned Question about the Bible by Christian Piatt. I know this hasn’t been my most exciting blog series, but it gave me a chance to comment on some new areas. The stack of books I’m getting for Christmas should prove to be more interesting.

Why would an all-knowing God begin the process of creation knowing that it would be corrupted by evil and lead to so much heartache?

Joshua Einshon tells a story of hearing the answer to this question in 9th grade. I can understand why the answer worked for him at that young age, but not as an adult. The answer is “free-will”. That is, God could have made a bunch of “wind up dolls”, but he didn’t. This answer is quite a bit more sick if you realize that this also means that God created us in a way that leaves us unsure if we should choose Him. It just leads you right back to the original question. Joshua restates the choice, saying it is between being loving to each other or not, which is really irrelevant to God’s existence. We do have that choice and that would seem to me to make the case that there is no God and we have to figure this out for ourselves.

This question contains within it a few theological questions that anyone who believes that they believe should consider. Is God all-knowing? What is time to God? Did he know the consequences of his creation? Why would he do it if knew it would turn out as it has? If He could give us more information to make an informed choice about Him, why wouldn’t He? What purpose could be served by leaving that choice up to His creation?

Why are there so many completely different interpretations?
This question goes unanswered in my opinion. I suppose because the obvious answer is that people throughout history have used the Bible to mean whatever it serves them to mean. The Bible does not provide answers that can be tested, or provide logical explanations. It chronicles a history of changing norms. Interpretations change depending on your knowledge of the author or the time of the writing. Leaving out some of that context, or making some up can easily alter what the text seems to mean.

This quote is typical, “The result of these multiple interpretations of passages is precisely why there is so much division among Christians and Jews – all of whom base their faith on the same text.” It is a logical fallacy, in that it states the reason as the explanation. It is similar to saying, “Ronald Reagan was the great communicator because he gave great speeches.”

Why are (or were) the Jewish people God’s chosen people? Why not someone else? Are Christians now God’s chosen people?
This is just a silly question and I only comment on it for comic relief. The Bible or any religion is about justifying yourself and your friends as the chosen ones. I’ll give Brandon Gilvin a little credit for having a discussion of the changing theism throughout the Bible, from Elohim to YHWH and the eventual switch to monotheism. But the more humorous statement comes from Christian Piatt,
“It’s no real surprise that those who wrote these scriptures down also are the ones chosen by God in the stories. The fact that men wrote the texts down probably had a similar effect in placing males at the top of the social pyramid.”

There is nothing in the surrounding text that gave me the sense that this was tongue-in-cheek. I know it doesn’t help, but the only response I have to this is, “Ya think!!?”

1 comment:

  1. I've been finding your "Banned Questions" series quite interesting, although I haven't commented on any of it. Thank you, though, for an informative series!