This past week I heard a young man who had been a Pastor in Louisiana, give his testimony. He had studied the Bible very carefully, and had come to the discovery that there are untenable contradictions in the Bible. Because he is an honest man, he forthrightly proclaimed that he had lost is faith and is now an Atheist. In his small town in LA, this brings rejection, insults and abuse. He is now a pariah. How sad. His new Atheist friends have been kind to him, and have reassured him.
He had learned some things that all mainline Protestant ministers know: different historians writing on the same subject and at different times are often contradictory, just as some books in the library contradict others. So it is in the Bible. The Bible as the “Word of God” means that a divine message can be found in it.
He had not learned some things that religion is about meanings, values, relationships, conduct, and faith (meaning “trust” more that “belief.”) He had not learned that at the Heart of it all is Mystery, Holy Mystery. Science presents far better tools for understanding physics, astronomy, biology, paleontology, etc. But nothing in science contradicts liberal religion.
As seeking, learning, growing Christians we must always remain humble about what we know. Often today’s “truth” is disproven and replaced tomorrow by a more accurate understanding. At one point in my life, I taught science. Science heightened my appreciation of our universe, and the mystery and wonder at the heart of it.
In the Christian scriptures, we read “God is love: God is spirit,” God can be seen and felt in others. We learn that keys to happiness in life are in our internal lives and in our relationships with each other. Be in an attitude of thankfulness and appreciation as much as is possible. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Respect others. Respect your own body and mind. Hold on to the resoluteness of Jesus. Live so that your death will be a door to a new dimension. (Scriptures call it “the resurrection.”)
Rabbi Jesus promised abundant living to all those who enter in the kind of relationship He had with God (the eternal source of life and light.) Abundant living is not all about “getting all you can and canning all you get.” Abundant living is about appreciation of everything and everyone in your life. It is about escaping worry by working at solving whatever problem causes the worry. It is about generosity and giving. It is about faith in yourself and faith in others. It is about laughing a lot. It is about playing hard, praying with reverence, singing and dancing, and “listening for the still, small voice within!”