I recently read a post on CNN’s belief blog by John Blake. CNN certainly isn’t my main source for truth, but it’s interesting to see faith from different eyes, so I read the blog occasionally. I didn’t agree with everything, but the post was actually pretty good.
In case you haven’t read it, Blake talks about the dangers of speaking what I call “Christianese.” Some Christians have developed our own language that’s akin to a secret fraternity handshake, you speak a secret language to show that you’re in. We do it by talking about “naming it and claiming it” or asking a stranger if he’s been “washed in the blood” – talk about scaring a visitor away from your church. Ultimately it’s dangerous because “when Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people.”
What concerned me wasn’t the post itself. After all, it was pretty good. My concern was the video at the top of the post by Kirby Ferguson. It took things to the next level. In fact, the video was horrible. It pointed out that we misunderstand much of the Bible itself (for the record, I couldn’t agree more that most people don’t understand the Bible). However, Ferguson seemed to believe that the biggest misunderstanding of the Bible is to believe it. I mean, do you really want to believe the Bible? If you do, you have to believe that God parted the Red Sea, Jesus walked on water and Jonah survived in the belly of a great fish for three days. After all, the word “believe” in the Bible really means to “belove” as in “hold dear.” So don’t stress, you don’t really have to believe the Bible … you can just love it.
For a second I got nervous. Do I really want to believe this? Am I just being gullible? Is it intellectually responsible to place everything I hope for in the God of the Bible? Did I sign up for the wrong job? The wrong faith? I mean, those stories are pretty unbelievable. Maybe there really is more freedom in believing that the Bible is more of an allegory that points us to God. Believing that the Bible is God’s revealed truth of Himself is a leap. As you can see, it was a very disconcerting second.
Then I remembered something very important. Believing the Bible is where freedom truly is. Is it really freedom to believe in a God who is incapable of parting the Red Sea, walking on water or (more importantly) resurrecting from the dead? Of course it’s unbelievable … that’s the point. If God was confined to doing only what we could easily believe, He would cease to be God. The qualities that makes Him hard to believe are the same ones that verify His divinity.
Furthermore, how can you love a book that you can’t believe? That’s far harder to believe than a God who can do the impossible. If God can’t even write a decent autobiography I have no interest in Him at all. Obviously, I can’t go into all the reasons I believe the Bible is true and is God’s written revelation of himself in this post. There will be plenty of time for that later, but please don’t give up on the Bible because it’s hard to believe. If it wasn’t hard to believe, there would be less to capture your attention. Instead, use it to encourage you to believe in a God who is far greater than you are. A God who is all powerful, all knowing and who can’t be held down by death!