I Am


My blog has been attracting conversations from some very kind people.

People who believe, and people who don’t. People who see good in God, and people who don’t. People who seemingly have nothing in common except kindness.

It seems a fringe conversation.  Because once Atheists and Christians begin to converse it’s anybody’s guess who will be saved or de-converted.

There are also (believers’ side) verses which say you preach the Good News and your listeners either accept it or reject it. That if they reject it, you shake the dust off your feet and move on. Which means I will not debate with you, I will not argue with you, I will simply state my belief in the fact of God Jesus Spirit and the bible – and then “shake you off the soles of my shoes” if you don’t agree to be saved.

There is also observable evidence (non-believer’s side) which says that “belief” of a believer is not belief. It is “faith based belief”. That proper “belief” is based upon observable evidence, and there is no observable evidence for “this belief” – that “faith based belief” by definition cannot be observed as evidence. So the “belief” will never be observable and cannot be called “belief” (which is observable).

It is usually a courtroom.  But not this time.  Which has opened my eyes to a few things.

Because I have been in court a few times. And “truth” is not the prize – winning is the prize. Because I have seen facts suppressed and distorted. I have seen a judge spot something no one else had – and unable to do more than invite the side with the goodies (that only the judge could see) to add something further and (because the other side couldn’t see it either) we won that one.

A courtroom is not about justice. It is about winning. One side will win and the other will not.

In my job I have learned to “expect” that we will end up in court.  Which means that even before the get-go “stuff” has to be right.  And at each stage of the relationship stuff has to be right. As the relationship moves to delivery and payment stuff has to be right.  I do sound like a right jobs-worth to the sales team (who fly by headlines and as little detail as they can get away with). My job requires doing it right because “a sale is not a sale until paid for”.  We call that credit control and cash collection.

But I have also learned that “doing it right” needs more than just good paperwork.  We all need to know the parameters within which we are agreeing. And if we do, then love is part of “doing it right”.

Did you know that there are only a very small minority of people who live for the kill (of another). Most of us want to be kind. It’s just we need a safe place in which to be safe.   That is my observable evidence.

In my job I say sorry if we messed up. I have found almost no one wants “compensation”. I have found we all want to be heard.  So when we do it right we can be “human”.  It makes people smile.  It connects.  And that – for me – is part of “doing it right”.

Observable evidence?  We have need to resort to a courtroom very rarely. I think maybe the last time was … maybe 3-4 years ago … ?

Which is why this recent blog conversation has taught me loads.

I am now content to agree that the bible is not an accurate factual record of “how it was” (Old or New). And I am safe in the relationship I have with one I call Lord (because that is the bible and that is my upbringing). And I am safe with those of other faiths and religions because I am safe using the language you are safe with.  And I am safe with those of no faith and no religion and their language. I am safe with youngsters who swear and stink of weed.  With whom we never talk about God unless first asked.  We all do that.  We all believe that “that” is doing it right.  Waiting to be asked.  And listening.  Always.

Except in this oddity …

It is when I say to my believing colleagues that I am now far happier not defending the bible as I was taught to …  That is when I feel an outsider.

Why is that?

.

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16 thoughts on “I Am

  1. Paul, Paul…don’t you know that you’re supposed to be ready to give a defense for the Bible that’s in you?
    …And if we don’t win the argument, how will our ego get saved? 🙂

    • Actually, Mel, if you can’t defend it, you either do not understand it well enough or you know it is a lie and will be not be drawn on it in case it challenges your faith … and that’s the scary part, isn’t it?
      It must be for you also, surely?

        • In my experience this is the case.
          And this is one of the reasons quite a number who begin seminary do not finish it, so I have heard. You might be in a better position to verify this?
          Is there any truth to the statement?

          it would seem that studying the bible honestly should bring everyone to this conclusion.
          It is also one of the reasons the Clergy project was set up, to help those whose integrity would not allow them to live the lie.
          There is absolutely no way, for example, you can possibly defend the resurrection or the empty tomb,without resorting to ingrained faith and a certain amount of theological gymnastics.

          And that you are truly unable to make an honest defense is is one of the reasons for your somewhat snide remark, is it not?

          • My remark is in response to your hopefulness that you can evangelize the faithful to your atheology by winning the argument based on your evidence.

            If I had no faith whatsoever and decided that I can only believe what can be figured out in my head…if I thought the Bible was supposed to be inherent, scientifically and historically perfect and the writers were omniscient…if my relationship with God was based on forensic science and archeology…and that the truth is based on winning the argument…then maybe I would worry about defending the Bible. But it’s none of those things. So…don’t you wish…

            • It has nothing to do with winning the argument. That was done a long, long time ago. Surely even you realise this?

              Let’s be perfectly honest with each other here, without the bible you would have no basis for your faith and likely no religion.
              That you still refer to this erroneous compilation suggests willful ignorance at best, and because you are a preacher, blatant dishonesty at worst.

              This has nothing to do with point scoring , Mel, but everything to do with truth, something you seem to be struggling with.

            • And…don’t you wish that were true. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to unravel all your biased truthisms and certitudes here. Believe what you want. Frankly, you sound a lot like a Fundamentalist to me.

            • I guess I should be used to your sarcasm by now.
              Bias?
              What bias?
              You can’t bias truth …

              But as you have a shameful habit of hedging maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly who is the one guilty of bias, Mel?

              You can corrupt the truth all you want; Eusebius was a past master apparently, but this won’t stop your ship leaking.
              And this is why honest clergy once they realise what they have been doing, turn to organisations such as the Clergy Project.

              These people are honest and fully understand truth, and it does not lie in religion.

            • You can’t bias truth? Whatever…I will hold back on my sarcasm on that one.

              Whatever we can observe we bias by simply observing it. One thing that was found bankrupt in early higher criticism was the idea that someone can have an unbiased, disinterested position on anythin. We now know that to be false.

              Again, believe whatever you want. I’m sure those clergy are sincere. We all usually are sincere in what we believe or not believe.

            • Yes, that was funny, even by my standards.
              How the ”can’t” crept in is a mystery.
              I probably had two separate thoughts in my had at once. Bit like your religious compartmentalism, yes?

              Facts and truth stand independent of our own views and bias.
              This is why, for example, that no matter how hard one wants to believe in a Global Biblical Flood the fact is …it didn’t happen.

              The same thing applies to Adam and Eve and the Exodus.
              So, if we dismantle the entire foundation of your theology, story by story, then what on earth is there left for you to base a belief in the character , Jesus of Nazareth?

              Honestly, I am deadly serious when I ask this:
              What is the basis of your belief if we can demonstrate the foundation to be simply historical fiction?

          • Albert Mohler might find our existence embarrassing. But we call it reality. Our eyes have been opened to the evidence, and now we move forward together in the real world.

            I especially like that line at the end of the article.
            🙂

    • Mel, it is a concern that keeps me awake at night. Have I done enough to earn my salvation? Have I saved enough souls to be awarded a pass to heaven? Have I closed the sale as I have been told I must? And I have I kept clear of all those who don’t agree with me? Being saved comes with so many requirements!

  2. It is when I say to my believing colleagues that I am now far happier not defending the bible as I was taught to … That is when I feel an outsider.

    Because you have just acknowledged the bible is, by and large, unworthy of trust

    • Trust in what Ark? Whose definition of what to trust in? Not having to defend an agenda is my point here. But does that means the bible has no value … ? I am not sure I said that.

      • Little or no trust in its historical accuracy.
        No trust in its scientific claims or clams of biology, or pretty much any ”ology” for that matter.
        It is in fact, a pretty shitty story book all round and has been used to harm more than help.
        Has the bible any value?
        As what? A moral guide? Er … nope! None…. and remember if you disagree you must then justify the baggage that accompanies all the so-called morality.

        As a manual for truth. LOL! Yeah, riiiight.

        As a guide to better, healthier. living? That is a joke of course,
        In fact, if one were to use the bible as a guide to life , slavery would still be intact, in some quarters and many people could claim the moral high ground based on their interpretation of the bible. Oh .. that already happened didn’t it?
        Stoning adulterers would be allowed.
        Oh, wait a mopment they do this in certain Islamic countries don’t they and they got their Koran by plagiarizing the Bible, right? Unless of course you truly believe Gabriel whispered in Mohammed’s lughole
        And stoning kids that were ”bad’ might also be allowed… as it is okayed by Yahweh in the bible.

        We could cheerfully say ”Stuff it” as far as medicine goes as we all know prayer works …. Jesus said so, remember?

        Or we could be kind like Mother Theresa was and with all the money she received to alleviate poverty just how many modern high tech hospitals did she help build while following in the grubby footsteps of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth …er where? Yes… precisely.

        So… all in all, with the exception of discovering a few ancient tribes … the Hittites come to mind …. mentioned in the OT then practically speaking, absolutely sod all value at all.

        Maybe you think differently?
        I’d be interested in your take.

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