We Cannot Ignore the Old Testament

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I dislike religious platitudes. They are excuses that attempt to protect God’s image or rationalise his actions. If God is God, then we must accept him for who he says he is, even when the narrative is disturbing.

The issue is, many times our understanding of God, is shaped by human writing and historical records. Take the Old Testament, for instance.

If we were to approach the Old Testament with intellectual honesty, we cannot ignore that it presents the following impressions of God (to name a few):

1. He kills.
2. He endorses slavery.
3. ‎He rubber stamps gender inequality.
4. ‎He demands mass genocide.
5. ‎He permits cruelty to animals.
6. ‎He promotes racism and tribalism.
7. ‎He bets with people’s lives and their family members’ lives.

(Leviticus 25:44, Leviticus 27:3-7, 1 Samuel 15, the Book of Job and Jeremiah 25 are a few choice references.)

It stands to reason therefore, that one or more of the following must be true of the Old Testament’s representation of God:

1. The Old Testament is literal and God, not being bound by human morality, can do what he likes.
2. ‎The Bible was written by humans and presents the history of Abraham, in particular. It captures human proclivities, cultural provincialisms and political realities.
3. ‎Some of the actions attributed to God, were perpetrated by humans who used God’s name as an excuse.
4. ‎God exists in parallel universes. There are many “versions” of God. The God of the Old and New Testaments are two co-existing personalities.
5. ‎The Old Testament account of the “terrible” God is real. However, we can access “grace” and escape noxious god-like realities via a new covenant forged by the blood of Jesus.

I am at a point in my faith where I no longer sweep troubling realities under the carpet. Instead, I interrogate them. I am ruminating on the Old Testament. I’m also debating the appropriateness of the current structure of Christian churches.

One thing I am fairly certain of, is God’s love for humanity. My mind remains open, as I struggle with the Bible’s seeming inconsistencies and the church’s inefficiencies.

I’m not sure there will ever be complete certainty in my life or faith. Maybe that’s where trust comes in. The real question for me, is whether I can trust God. And if I trust him, whether I am willing to follow him, while I wrestle with my questions.

Can I trust God? Am I willing to follow him, while I wrestle with life's questions? Click To Tweet Religious platitudes are an attempt to protect God's image and rationalise his actions. Click To Tweet Many times our understanding of God, is shaped by human writing and historical records. Click To Tweet

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