Saturday, December 8, 2018

Wrestling with Religious Texts

THAT, I’ve done all of my life!

#1 As a young sincerely intense Baptist fundamentalist, ages 8 to about 11ish

#2 As a questioning, doubting ethically focused teen, ages 14-18

#3 As a skeptical, cast-a-about searcher, social peace and rights activist ages 19-27

#4 As a quasi-evangelical liberal Baptist/Quaker/Anabaptist leader, ages 28-37

#5 As a disheartened, confused, questioning, despairing seeker/leader, ages 39-44

#6 As a seeking, despairing, stand-the-faith-ground-against-creedal-C. father full of honest doubt but trying to the heart to raise his kids right, good, and correct, ages 45-47

#7 As a disillusioned, despairing idealist Quaker/Anabaptist/generic who tries to hang on against all the theological, philosophical, ethical defeaters, ages 48—61

#8 As a skeptical, disillusioned, realistic, hope-seeking, orphaned ex-Christian, yet still deep moral realist Process-theist, ages 62-72

In ALL of those phases of my life, I’ve wrestled with the Bible, the Old Testament (Jewish Bible) and the Christian New Testament.

The earliest encounter/doubt-creator/troubling text was when I was 11 and in Sunday School one morning at Adams Baptist Church, and our teacher told us (and read to us) that God had sent bears to maul Elisha for making fun of him.
2nd Kings 2:23-25

Very upset from a moral standpoint, I spouted out that God would NEVER do such an immoral, unjust act!

SO here we go, wrestling with those thousands of texts in the Bible that have been the basis of horrific acts, amazing causes of human flourishing, puzzling confusion, and baffling defenses.

Side Note:
All of this article is true and as accurate and historically factual as I can make it, HOWEVER, one also needs to realize that for most of my life, I’ve always been able to step outside of my limited self and worldview, have been overwhelmed by honest doubt, at least since encountering severe critical doubt at about 16, largely because of the trapdoor-to-abyss of Augustinian-Calvinistic-creedal Christian horror lectured to us dedicated teens by that Christian youth leader to us at a Bible study. And the worst of that, the leader claiming to us that God will sometimes command us to do what is immoral! And he proceeded to prove this with texts from the Old Testament. And then told me directly that I ought to go and kill for God.

And then later the wide-shock of secular university-education including atheism and so many other contrary philosophies, worldviews, especially Existentialism and Absurdism and other life-stances that at 18, I became so aware that I as a rather average intellect, finite human may be wrong.
AND THUS, I have said, repeatedly out loud to others in print or vocally, or silently to myself, that “on Thursday’s I am an existentialist.”;_)

NOW, let us explicate, study, reflect, and chew the cud of the Bible.

To be continued—

In the LIGHT,
Daniel Wilcox

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