In my last post, I discussed my spiritual journey relative to waking up from the delusion of Biblical inerrancy. Unfortunately, many of the folks who have walked that same path end up rejecting both God and the Bible. So why didn't that happen to me? This post is my attempt to explain to my readers why I'm not a Bible hating atheist.
In the previous post, I explained how the evidence of my own life finally broke the spell. My life experiences simply did not comport with the belief that Scripture was error free, and that realization allowed me to look at the other available evidence with clearer eyes. Having freed myself from that delusion, it was natural for me to question whether the Bible had any value at all in the light of what I now understood about those writings. Moreover, if the basis for my previous faith could be shown to be faulty, then how could I be sure that the God who was the object of those writings even existed?
I could talk about the scientific, historical and philosophical justifications for my continued admiration and reliance on Scripture. I could also discuss the factual basis for my continued belief in God (which I have done on numerous occasions within the context of this blog), but I would still be skirting the real reasons why my spiritual faith did not disappear altogether. For me, once again, the most important evidence for a continued belief in God and the Bible was the evidence of my own life - my own experiences.
I simply could not dismiss the feeling of awe that I had always felt when I looked into the night sky, and that I had experienced every time I saw a tree or wild flower. I could not shake the feelings of inspiration and comfort that I had derived from Scripture over the years. I could not ignore the fact that I had faced an unseen, evil presence as a young man and had been so physically and emotionally shaken by the experience that I had chosen to share it with only a handful of individuals throughout the course of my entire lifetime. I could not deny that my family and I had been miraculously saved from serious injury or death when an F-3 tornado had passed within one hundred feet of the mobile home we were living in at the time (especially in light of the fact that the neighbors on all four sides of us experienced catastrophic destruction from the storm). I could not dismiss the experience of that warm, tingling, almost electrical feeling that both me and my family had experienced when our church had gathered around us, laid hands on us and asked God to protect and sustain us as I went into the Army before the First Gulf War.
Hence, just as the experience of living with my own sexual orientation had allowed me to escape from the delusion of Biblical inerrancy, my other life experiences prevented me from throwing the baby out with the bath water. In short, those experiences provided the objective background for my studies of both God and the Bible. They helped me to understand that I didn't have to accept or reject the entire package that had been presented for my consumption. Those experiences enabled me to understand that it wasn't ALL OR NOTHING when it came to God and the Bible. And it wasn't a matter of picking and choosing - It was more like: Does this or that belief comport with all of the available evidence?
Moreover, this line of reasoning/thinking has left me with a kind of peace that I never had before all of this happened. I don't feel the need to convert anyone to my way of thinking - I really don't have any evangelical zeal. I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm no longer threatened by other people's ideas or things that seem to contradict what I believe. Indeed, I now view those things as opportunities to learn and grow as a person. Like all people, I simply want to be accepted and understood; and, if I can help others on their unique journey, I am very glad to do so (especially when I consider all of the blessings and help which I've received along the way). What do you think?