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In my bio for boldcupofcoffee I wrote that I am a "pro-life liberal", but what does that even mean?
I’m not liberal in the truest sense of the word but I use the term because I am more liberal than most Christians that I know. I don't prescribe to the whole ideology but I do find myself shifting to the left on a number of topics.
In part one I explained how I had come to accept marriage equality, what's next on my way down the slope?
Why I Trust the Bible even though I don't 'believe' parts of it
"Snakes don't speak, you don't actually believe that do you?" I don't remember how I answered that question then but I now know how I should have.
My faith doesn't depend on a literal interpretation of a collection of books that humans have been involved in writing, editing, translating and canonizing. This idea frightens many Christians and, to be honest, I can sympathize. Humans have an innate bias towards certainty and nothing gives us more than following the commands of a literal, inerrant book. Questioning that ideology makes us rightly uncomfortable.
There was a point in time when I believed that God's inspiration created a situation in which He literally dictated the Bible to the writers. I thought that my faith demanded such a view, but, questions ultimately arose. Questions that undermine the historical authenticity of the scriptures or call into question the morality of God.
Some people seem to be able to reconcile these problems, but I can't. I became confused by the vengeful God I found in the old testament and I questioned the dubious ethics in which he operated. No amount of fancy words from an apologist could change the fact that God is recorded as requiring the genocide of entire tribes, or ordering rapists to marry their victims, etc.
Beyond that, I wondered about the age of the earth, the fossil record, natural selection, none of which seem to be supported by a literal interpretation of scripture but is supported by natural revelation.
Of course God could have created everything in six literal days. But that means that God also created the universe with the appearance of age and created the fossil record in such a way as to fool us (to separate the wheat from the chaff?). Is it such a terrible idea that the story of creation as told by ancient people through oral tradition contains some poetic and figurative language? Would those people understand God if he had explained exactly how he created the world? Would we even understand it now?
This may upset conservative evangelicals but the Bible is a pretty terrible science textbook and I can't bring myself to view it as such. That's okay, though, I believe it was meant for so much more than simply conveying scientific facts.
So, what am I to do? Discard my faith in a God that revealed himself to me because the Bible doesn't answer my questions? Should I pretend to agree with conservative interpretations even though it doesn't make sense to me? Should I just pretend to agree with something that I don't agree with? Is that all that faith is? Is Peter Boghossian right when he says "faith is pretending to know things you don't know". For some, that may be the case, but I can't authentically go down that road.
I believe that some miraculous events might have happened but my faith doesn't rest on whether they actually did. My faith doesn't require a global flood or a speaking donkey. On the contrary, my faith would be shaken if I had to admit that God killed innocent children in Egypt and yet is supposed to be all loving. If my faith rested solely on my confidence in the conservative Bible then I would be an atheist, but, I met God, so I am not willing to abandon my faith altogether.
Does this make me liberal? Maybe. If my reluctance to stake my faith on events that don't seem reasonable means I am liberal then that means I'm liberal. I think (hope) God will forgive me.
Make sure to check out Part 1: Marriage Equality and Part 3: Abortion
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