However this is my entry, not my Dad's. I feel its important to clarify that. I will also say some of it I know he does believe in as well. This has been my journey though he has influenced much.
This entry is written primarily for non-believers, ex-believers, believers who struggle with what they believe. If you are a Christian much of what I say will challenge the very core of what you have been taught. If you are unable or unwilling to keep an open mind this is not for you. If you feel like I am being irreverent, or worse, I fear you don't truly understand God's desire for us to know him personally. To walk and talk in the garden with him. That it's about love and judgement is his alone.
While I am on the subject, throwing bible verses as a base for your argument will be fruitless. That will become clear later. I also acknowledge I may be flat out wrong in part, or all. I will find out one day. I'm not saying I am right, I'm simply asking you to open your mind and your spirit. If you are a Christian the holy spirit will help you find the truth.
Ok, now lets look at the main question I pose.
What if God never was angry?
I think this changes my entire outlook on Christianity. What if God never was angry? Man, that would really strike at the core of the base tenet that Jesus died on the cross to save our sins.
When we sin, how are we sinning against God?
I don't believe we are. I believe when we sin we sin against ourselves, others, family and friends. How do we sin against God? Don't start throwing out Bible Verses here. I want you to think for yourself. The bible verse thing will become clear soon. When you gamble your paycheck away...are you really hurting God? No, your hurting yourself...your family. Did God create the 400% interest payday loan place you go to? No. You pay the consequence, not God. To me, this also helps explain how their could be a Hitler or others throughout history. It's not solely "free will" (It is mostly) it's also that we are sinning against fellow man.
Before I go any farther let me blow your mind because its a base of every argument I'll make and the ones I have started on.
Is the Bible, in its entirety, the absolute word of God. Infallible.
Nope. (Exit Christian readers)
I have been to maybe 30 churches in my life, ranging from the Mennonites (Who may in part agree with me) to the Southern Baptists. This is the base of religion. If we allow others to dissect the bible then where would it end? What about those not trained to interrupt the bible? So...here we go.
I believe the bible is basically comprised of the 4 Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are the stories of living with Jesus, observing him. The author's are purely objectively reporting what Jesus did and preached. In some ways you could argue Jesus wrote the 4 gospels to give us some slightly different perspectives.
The rest are written by man. Man is fallible. The bible is fallible. If A=B and B=C then A = C.
I discard the Old Testament. You almost have to if you believe God is not an angry God. The Old Testament focuses on an angry God, a vengeful God. (Really?)
So Michael, you said it's both...how can that be? I believe God had his hand all over the new testament. I believe he spoke to Paul and others and the words they wrote ring true of the God I believe in. But Paul wrote the words....let me explain and there is a name for this I can't recall...
As humans we constantly interrupt our surroundings. We read body language, unspoken words. We form in our mind an impression, often one we settle on as absolute truth...and we can be wrong. We may pray on these things, we may be wise. God may speak to us. The word may flow. It's still written by man and subject to many subjective things. You can not dispute that fact unless you think God wrote the scriptures and Fed Ex'd them to the prophets.
You approach someone you are interested in and they move away from you. Your first thought "They don't like me" That may or may not be true. Later, if you write that as a story your recalling your impression.
So if you throw things Man wrote at me as some sort of "proof" your wasting your time. Look within and decide what you believe.
Is the Atonement theory correct?
In Christian theology Atonement is defined as
the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.
I never once questioned this. We were sinners. God was mad at us so to "teach us we were bad" he sent his only son to "save the world"
To think God needed to know us better and we needed an advocate to the very God that loves and created us? Or worse a belief that God somehow didn't already know us and love us. It's simply not true.
My goodness what an arrogant thought. I'm here to tell you Christianity is wrong here. Dead wrong.
God created us in his image. Paul acknowledges that God knows we are sinners. So stories like Adam eating the apple very well may be true and very well may be Man trying to explain God. He knows us. Jesus came for us to know him. To reveal the Father to us, not the other way around. Jesus didn't come to save us from God's wrath because I don't think God is capable of anger or wrath. I think he died so God could show us how much he loves us. I think Jesus came to explain God to us. His death was the ultimate gift of love.
So Michael, what do you believe?
I believe God is love. I believe his greatest desires are for us to love him with all our heart and each other as well. I believe he desires a personal relationship with each of us.
I believe religion has morphed so much over the 1000's of years that it's become more from man and not as much from God. I believe there are far too many people in the world that judge more than they love.
I believe some of religion is literally to keep people in line. I don't believe Jesus believes a collection plate should be passed around. Rather people should give what they can afford and he says your riches in heaven will be greater than on earth. Churches that claim one or a few people are the ultimate authority is something Jesus warns of. Whether that church is a cult that is a base belief of a cult. Ultimate authority rests with Jesus and God and since I believe ultimately that God desires us to love him and be with him that refutes some of Christianity's base beliefs. I do believe in elders and understand the need for not having a chaotic environment but pastors and other servants are here to serve and teach. Leadership is a quality not learned through studies or man's ordaining, necessarily.
The absolute thing I believe is Jesus gave us his only son so that we may not perish. But I believe he did this for us to know him and the depth of his love for us...it was a sacrifice, not necessarily for Jesus to pay our price in the way we think. That's both Man explaining God and if you believe God's desire was for us to understand him then thinking Jesus died for our sins I disagree...but he did die for us.
I'm not sure God can be an angry God. It goes against everything Jesus teaches us and says about his father. I believe more in the words recorded by the apostles (live so to speak) than I do the writings.
I believe in the holy spirit. I believe that ultimately that is a conduit to help God's desire to have a 1:1 relationship.
I believe in kindness. Love for one another. Attention to the poor and marginalized. I believe our true happiness comes from within. Have I achieved these things? Hardly. When I do I know my father in heaven smiles. My own spiritual life fluctuates between warfare and deep love.
I believe Jesus commands us to love God with all our hearts and each other. I think that creates good deeds versus good deeds somehow creating the love.
I think the God wants us to know him. Through nature and song for me. Quiet time. He sent us his son to show us his love for us the ultimate sign of love. He didn't have to sacrifice his son to somehow "scare or guilt" us into believing. Don't tell me that those that believe haven't occasionally felt guilty that Jesus HAD to die for THEIR sins.
John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I don't see anything about sin. Or an intermediary. I see that he loved us. He gave us his only son, not to crucify...to learn who God is. He simply asks that you believe that
I hope I have at least made you think. These aren't answers but more questions with what I have grown to believe. I think if you believe in Christ and that he loves us and created us your 90% of the way there. I think its ok to seek guidance from wise people. Just always trust your spirit if its in tune with God you'll know whats true and isn't.
What do you believe?