The more I see of social media Christianity … of biblical correctness … of religious adherence … it is always the ongoing debate and re-interpretation of sacred texts – less “What would Jesus do?” and more “What does God really mean?”
Very early in my career as a Christian I was taught that the bible would support any opinion or belief I could come up with (even though it was the infallible Word of God spoken just to me – along with everyone else). Over the years as I watch any who profess any sacred text to be “their God” I see the same: “What does (my God) really mean by this?”
(and – of course – we need those suitably qualified in religion to provide the answers)
As I have come away from my taught obsession with the bible and the daily study addiction, I have become aware that religion expects and honours those who are also addicted to their sacred text – those who make it a lifetime’s work to uncover more and more truths within – those who see ever more clearly (even a little) through this darkened window – those who perhaps-maybe-if-I-am-blessed eventually know (with absolute certainty) what this sacred text really says – what God REALLY meant.
Those who are correct.
One small problem with that I have found.
We – these god-fearing-god-trusting-god-following-believers – will not (and never have) agree on what is that absolute truth. In over 2000 years we have demonstrated that we never have and never will.
And more and more I wonder why “we” are addicted to division rather than to love. Why we are addicted to being correct rather than loving. Why we are addicted to demeaning and controlling rather than empowering and liberating. But never see it that way ourselves – even though we see it so very clearly in those who believe differently to us.
Love you, love me, and love something bigger that is greater than each. Every sacred text has this at its heart. Which – obviously – must be wrapped up in academia and complexity and hidden from the eyes of mere mortals (especially the unchurched).
But we believers read our sacred texts and frown at the hidden meanings and oblique references. We believers read of the biblical religious elite and entitled and count ourselves blessed that we are not like them. We believers look at other religious beliefs and institutions and count ourselves blessed that ours is the One True God.
As we believers look to our own religious elite and entitled for the answers to what God really meant.
Love you, love me, and love something bigger that is greater than each. Every sacred text has this at its heart.
But that is not enough for us.
We also need to teach them exactly what it means. How the bigger part is of inclusivity and love – but which kind of love? Because “love” is never enough – we must learn how to love correctly – biblically correctly. And that is beyond all of us (cue “sin” always waiting in the wings) – we were all born disabled by sin – which means we can’t love like Him (even though we are told we can and will) – which means that The Great Commission (that some scholars say was added afterwards) is never about love but is always about control.
You believe what I teach you and you can be saved – once you believe then you must behave as I teach you – once you behave as I teach you then you must become qualified to teach others the same – then you must go out and convert those who believe differently – God says (or more to the point as I say because I qualified in God).
Which – from my biblical and religious learning – is why love became a hinderance. Why we still are addicted to the academia – the taught “four” (or whatever your preferred number) kinds of love. Why we need all that study and complexity and correctness. Why we need sin.
And why those who say “Fuck all that stuff – just love you, love me, and love something bigger that is greater than each” very quickly become another “them”.
Not on the same page as us – ignoring pages and pages of sacred text complexity – needing to understand how we do things around here – needing to walk (i.e. listen to us) before they try to run (i.e. tell us that love is the answer) – and who should volunteer like us (obviously starting from the bottom as we had to) – who should join a committee like us (but obviously as a silent worker as we did) – who would tithe like us if they really meant it – who would in fact become like us if they try hard enough!
How many “thems” does it take to be biblically correct?
Love you, love me, and love something bigger that is greater than each.
And now I am not confused anymore. I don’t need the bible anymore. I don’t need my taught addiction anymore. I can stop looking for God in the homeless – and I can stop looking for sin – can live (and love) without that taught impairment.
And I can stop trying to make you believe in anything at all.
For love is not a belief. Love is or is not. Love is I am or I am not. No sacred text needed. No complexity needed. No correctness needed. Even no them or us needed. All of it wrapped up in just two words:
How cool is that?