I remember a time in my life when any suggestion that the bible is not anything but the 100% authentic Word of God would elicit an anger response bordering on rage. Now that I find myself more and more on the receiving end of that anger I have tried to understand what lies at the root of it.
I believe that it comes down to the interpretation of the fall as described in Genesis. I have discussed this in detail in an earlier post called, “Sin, understanding the fall”, so I won’t bore you with the details again. There are two basic schools of thought regarding the fall.
The first, to which I used to belong, believes that mankind is somehow deficient at its core. We are sinful by our very nature and our salvation is dependent on our understanding of, our mental agreement with the supposed act of human sacrifice of the man Jesus Christ to atone for this inherent deficiency. If we then intellectually agree with the “work” of Jesus the Holy Spirit can begin to fix this inherent default. This thinking is the basis for such well known Christian statements as “just a sinner saved by grace”.
It is very important to note that the emphasis is on the mind. You must believe that you are sinful, that you deserve God’s judgement, that you can only be saved by Jesus. Christian reasoning based on the bible and embraced by the mind is the foundation for your salvation.
The problem with this, according to the second school of thought, is that it is through the mind that sin entered. It was the intellectual rejection of God’s position that we are inherently divine, that we have the very same nature as God, that led to the creation of the ego. All the brokenness that we see in the world is the result of us living out of our ego or false, mind created self that believe that we are separate from God.
So, the process of salvation becomes a transformation of the ego and not the restoration of the divine self. Can you see the deception? The ego is not brought into submission to the spiritual core but remains the false source of salvation. All that is required is for the ego to embrace a new set of paradigms and rules and it is back to business as usual with just the language and dress code changing, sometimes not even that.
This means that the new ego identity feels very insecure when the infallibility of scripture is brought into question. The intellectual “truths of the Word of God” is the basis of the new ego identity. The ego does not need nor want God to be real unless it is to affirm its own position/understanding of scripture. God is thereby limited to look, sound and act only in accordance with the ego’s intellectual understanding of the bible.
To end where I started, a comment on beliefnett stated that the religious are unable to see “God for the bible”. The reason is simple, for them the bible is God. The religious ego cannot allow it to be anything else.