Unanswered Biblical Questions and A bit of my Religious History

A bit of history…

I was brought up in a ‘Protestant’ home under the denomination of Christianity known as the Church of the Nazarene. It is a bit of a bridge between Baptist and Pentecostal denominations.

The religion followed a strict social adherence to morality including avoiding secular influences that are/were considered ‘immoral’. Women were told to dress as such with long hair and modest clothing to promote a gender appropriate appearance. Men were told to have short hair and dress according to that which fits within the same parameters. Women were never ministers. Women were meant to support their husbands. Divorce is considered to be an abomination in god’s eyes. A divorced woman in a morally restrictive church is treated like a pariah. There are countless cases of women who have murdered their abusive husbands to be free of them because they fear hell and the social backlash from their churches. Given these women are not sane, but the impact of the pressures of their religion was so strong that they felt they had to kill their husbands to be free of them…Murder was more acceptable than divorce to these women. Church attendance was required every Sunday morning and evening as well as Wednesday nights. I had Sunday school every morning and participated in Bible quizzing every Wednesday night. There were competitions. I was quite good. I made it to State competitions regularly. I know the Bible.

As an adult I explored many denominations of Christianity (Pentecostal, Baptists, Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly of God, and a few more) and came to Catholicism. It’s a beautiful faith full of hope and ritual. It too, though is quite restrictive. I don’t fit in any of these denominations. I stepped outside of church and read on my own. I read Jewish texts, Muslim texts, the Nag Hammadi, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Bhagavad Gita, took college courses on the origin of religion, learned about Buddism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Voodoo, Santeria, African Orishas, early creation stories that predate the Bible…Needless to say, I am well read.

I regularly find myself  in situations involving both atheists and theists. Both are fervent in their non-beliefs/beliefs. I can appreciate that. I don’t claim to be an atheist…nor do I really categorize myself as a full on theist. I am in a gray area. I don’t know what I am right now and I am fine with that for the time being.

Let’s get to the thick of it…

Why, if I believe in ‘god’ in some sort of fashion (not a old chap in the sky per se judging everyone and being a dick) don’t I categorize myself as a theist…because I do not believe in what theists believe. I am different. I do not fit in any traditional theist ideology…I have far too many unanswered questions. For the sake of brevity I’ll stick to some of the Biblical ones.

Being an intelligent and inquisitive child forced to learn everything there is to know about the Bible (I’ve read 3 versions, thanks), I had many questions…More so even as an adult…no one to this day can answer any of them…

1. Biblical passage of study one Sunday School morning : 1 Corinthians 11:3-15 Basically, it’s wrong for guys to have long hair and women to have short hair. My question: If it is wrong for men to have long hair, then why did god give Samson strength in the form of a sin? Sunday School Teacher: Yeah, we’ll get to that next week… Never happened

2. Sodom and Gomorrah: Lot knows that these are two angels from god. Angels that are going to destroy cities. WHY was it necessary for him to offer up his daughters to be raped by strange men in the city square? They didn’t even ask for his daughters…

3. After reading “The Gospel according to Thomas” in the Nag Hammadi, I had a conversation with a priest: My question: Why wasn’t Thomas’ account of the gospel not considered or added to the Catholic Bible once it was found? Priest: Well, it’s not a divine work. Me: What? Priest: We don’t believe it was inspired by god. Okay, the disciple Thomas who actually walked with Christ tells his story and it’s not inspired by god? Really? The meat of the writing discusses how buildings are irrelevant to faith (basically bashing organized religion) and that you yourself are god’s vessel…not church…hmmm

4. With the unearthing of information regarding the fact that Mary Magdalene was NOT a prostitute but a business woman, why hasn’t the Bible been changed back to it’s original state? Many texts are gone due to the destruction of King James. Additionally, we still live in a male dominated society in regards to faith and religion…no one in any denomination will admit to this…However, I did hear a sermon once with a Catholic Priest who addressed the Mary Magdalene issue and actually CORRECTED the Bible in his homily…props to him for that.

5. The Bible has been altered so much, why do people take it literally? No one in any denomination is willing to accept the fact that the Bible has been skewed. I will say that my experience in the Catholic faith has been that the Bible is more of a guideline and not to be taken literally.

6. Prophets: The Bible is riddled with them. How is a prophet decided? How does one become a prophet? <= No legitimate answer for that one as well… As far as being a prophet, I’d REALLY like to be one! That’d be nice. Can that be arranged? :~P

To me the Bible is AT BEST an idiot’s guide to morality and god…it CAN NOT be taken literally. It condones slavery and beating your kids.

So no…I am not a true Christian, I don’t fit anywhere. I can’t prove/disprove the existence of god. I am in the gray area. I do know that the ridiculousness involved in the circumstances surrounding  just these few questions are enough to make me realize that I don’t belong in church. No one can answer my questions. A pat on the head is not enough for me. I’m tired of being pushed aside or scolded for questioning god…god…if he/she exists gave me a brain for a reason. I fully intend on using it. So should you, my dear theists.

Thanks for checking out  my blog…Hope I didn’t bore you to death!

-Mel

On a side note: As far as the stance on the Bible and homosexuality I recommend this article What the Bible says and doesn’t say

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