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Monday, May 13, 2024

Growth Leaves a Trail of Destruction

 It is ironic. Often to learn something new, an old idea has to go. Often, maybe always, we leave a trail of shards of previous understanding lying on our path.

I think of Paul saying when a child, I thought as a child. Our Santa Claus, Easter bunny, fairytale childish ideas lay strewn behind us. 

Human knowledge has mountains of discarded shards. No longer is Mt. Olympus home to the gods. No longer is the earth the center of the universe.  No longer do witches cause crop failures. No longer a zillion things.

Yet, here we stand, often refusing to learn in order to protect whatever idea we hold dear. 

I long ago had the flash of realization that the the immense intelligence that created the universes, who imbued me with a bit of that intelligence, would not be upset at me for using it. Indeed, if God even could be upset, it would be more likely for not using that intelligence.

I get confounded by those educated people, for example, who insist the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Even without scholarly study, it is obvious that the Bible is full of contradictions. Theology is also a bundle of contradictions. Knowing this does not mean throwing the whole thing out is the only option, but just in case it is the only option, pretend there are none and attack anyone who points them out.

Okay, just a couple of examples. Genesis 1 & 2 are very different creation stories. Theology says Adam and Eve are the first two peop!e. So who were the people Cain went to in order to find his wife?  Genesis 1 repeatedly says that God declared every speck of creation good. Augustine, in the 5th century CE made up original sin, which has tortured people ever since. Compare what is written in Acts about Paul and what Paul says about himself. Compare what the Gospels and Paul say about when Jesus became the son of God also about his birth. Did you know they are very different? I could go on with countless examples, but you can find them on your own. 

For me, the Bible is still full of inspiration, guidance, and sacredness. It tells me a faith story written over centuries. It shows me relationship to God in various times and places. It reminds me how central God is for humans to come to know and follow. It reminds me how intimately we live and breathe in the divine and can be guided and inspired directly. 

Perhaps the flaws are perfect, for they require us to think and get engaged with our spirituality at deeper levels, as we strive to learn what the ancient people were trying to say. 

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