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Journey of an Inquisitive Christian

It is up to us individually to question everything we are told, everything we read and even those things we see and feel. We must always consider the source of our information, and what were those sources are influenced and motivated by.

When we read the Bible, we must consider the author, the author’s sources and the author’s sources’ sources. What were these people’s motivations and influences? In what context were they written, and what did the author’s original words and sentences mean to him.

We must consider various theological and historical perspectives of translations and adaptations through the passage of time, how and why we interpret these passages in the way we do, and are there alternative interpretations which may be more accurate to the intentions of the writer, or to the way God may intend us to be inspired by these words today.

This process of questioning isn’t easy. It not only takes a lot of time. It can involve a roller coaster of emotions. It can cause conflict within yourself, as you question the roots of how you understand the world. It can cause conflict within social groups, even between you and family members. For me it was all these things. And so here, in hope of easing the pain of anyone else that might be facing the same dilemma, I offer my story:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here

Please excuse the quality of my writing – these were written between 2007-2008 and my writing skills have improved a lot in more recent years…


From a diary in 2000 Click here

This is a script copied from a piece of paper I found that considering what it talks about I date it back to some time in 2000. It provides an interesting insight into just how much a person’s mind can change in a matter of 10 years…

My Thunderbolt Moment Click here

This is an account of my journey that might be more coherent check out this one I wrote as an appendix to my masters thesis which was entitled An Ethical Dilemma: Childhood Conversion in Christian Fundamentalism.

Link to a PBS documentary Click here

This documentary presents what seems to be a non-biased scholarly exploration of early Christianity – I particularly recommend the first few chapters of Part Two which looks at the writers of the gospels, their sources and their motives.

Over to you…

Being a Christian seems comes down to two key things:

1. Loving “God” – which means loving the universe, our planet, all life

2. Loving “your Neighbours” – loving everyone around you.

That is the WAY Jesus envisaged. That is the TRUTH Jesus preached. That is the LIFE Jesus exemplified. Without showing and receiving love for each other and for our world there’s no way to know “God” and understand our place within It.

This is not supernatural, not elitist, and not discriminatory; it is completely natural, allows for constant questioning, and the only hell it refers to is the hell-on-earth that results from not loving each other and not loving our planet.

That concludes my journey so far. I wish you all the best in your religious journeys, and if you care to share some of it with me – I’d love to about it!



Christianity has played a significant and dynamic role in my life. I was born into a Christian family and had a strong “Christian faith” until I was 20-years old and learned about the Crusades, the Inquisition, the pagan traditions it copied and the political powers that edited and produced the Holy Bible I had cherished and trusted so much.

This was a confronting moment. Traumatic to say the least – my entire world-view fell apart. I felt betrayed. I felt lost. Very soon after this I left Australia to see the world.

Although I had rejected the religion I continued to feel a relationship, a strong connection, with the divine magic behind life – which I continued to personify as “God”. When I returned to Australia I struggled to relate to my family and friends, who continued to see the world through the Christian lens. If I talked about other cultures, religions and the possibility of pre-historic civilisations, it was like talking to a blank wall – as if anything outside the reality the Bible paints, was a reality that could not be seen, heard or contemplated.

I found myself in a unique position. I completely understood how they were feeling – I had felt that before. I understood what they were thinking – I had thought that way before. And I was still open to what they were saying. I doubted I would ever return to being an exclusivist Christian – believing my truth is the ONLY truth and that everyone else was going to hell – but my heart was open to revisit Christianity. I wanted to evaluate it from a critical intellectual big picture perspective. It seemed that everyone in the world was trying to convince me to believe what they believe. From militant Atheists trying to convince me there is no God through to militant Christians trying to convince me their God was different from everyone else’s. Was evolution a fact, or a theory? Everyone was convinced one way or the other, but what was the evidence for each perspective?

I felt I owed it to my Dad to give the beliefs he so passionately follows one last really good try – investigate the “facts” and critically analyse whether they stood up to the “facts” that surrounded them. “SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE” I screamed out to the world.

Time is the greatest barrier to searching for our own answers to our questions. We lead busy lives and we can’t learn and do everything we want to – so we just accept what other people tell us, and move on. But moving in with my Opa I had been given this gift: the gift of time. Time to seek answers. I wanted to share this gift with others. So I made a decision: I would document all my questions and all the answers. I had no agenda – I didn’t want to convince anyone of anything – all I wanted was to distinguish what was true from what was false.

Never in my life have I ever stopped praying. Even at the point in my life where I was completely skeptical about God and had deemed my prayer an ignorant practice of indoctrinated fools – I continued to pray. It made me feel good. It comforted me. And it seemed more than coincidence that my prayers SO often were answered.

I prayed to God that “He” would direct my search: bring me the books, the websites, the people, that “He” wanted me to talk to. Something deep inside me told me this was my mission – that God had placed me in this unique position for a reason, and that “He” wanted me to undertake this search and document everything in an unbiased, non-misleading, completely honest way.

I wondered about God’s plan for my life. As an ugly schoolgirl with braces, pimples, glasses, a puppy-dog fringe and fundamentalist Christian beliefs, I clearly remember standing there in my room and saying to God:

“Please make me a model. Then I will do anything you want. Imagine if I was famous and beautiful, just imagine what we could do together – how many people we could bring to you. God my life is yours to do with what you please. But PLEASE make me a model.”

God had fulfilled his end of the deal and now it was my turn. Achieving my modeling dreams did change my life – mainly because it made me realise that absolutely ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. As you have probably noticed by reading any of my writings this realisation and motto has remained with me throughout my life.

‘There are some things you just can’t know.’ ‘If you could actually prove something then everyone would believe – it all comes down to faith.’ ‘I wish you would hurry up and finish searching – you just never know when you might die – I worry about where you will end up.’ ‘Does it really matter?’

I appreciated my family’s loving concern for my eternal life but I can’t abandon my quest for real answers, my quest for TRUTH. It is important. If there is an eternal life then I want to be there but I don’t want to dedicate my entire life to something that is man’s creation not Gods. Questioning is a scary idea – not only because of what might happen in the interim, but I think also because of the fear we might discover an answer we don’t wish to discover. There is also an accumulated fear embedded in the history of Christianity, where questioners were declared ‘heretics’ and expelled from the congregation, or worse. At least now I was able to question without having my head chopped off.

I know I will never learn everything there is to know, or have all my questions answered, but I also knew I could get nearer to the truth than where I was. If I was going to have faith, it was not going to be a blind faith, it was going to be a defined faith, with awareness of which writers, politicians and theologians I was putting my trust in. I needed to get serious.

Beginning my search I was faced with information overload, with one question leading to ten and every website or book directing me to myriad more perspectives. I did the Alpha course and asked questions there. I did John Dickson’s Simply Christianity course with a very knowledgeable family friend, developed more questions and contemplated the varying answers. Returning to university I made friends with theologians, religious professors and philosophers.

After now two and a half years of searching and reflecting, I reduced this mass of questions and answers to two questions:

1. Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

2. Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here


A scrap of paper from 2000

It was the year 2000, my first year out of school and first year of university. I would have been 17 or 18 years old.

My strength at this time came from my strong faith in God.

I went to church on Sunday nights, taught children’s Sunday school on Sunday mornings. Friday nights were youth group at church and once a week on the evening i went to a bible study group at someone from the church’s house. On top of all of this I had daily private times where I would read the bible or a biblical book and I would pray. I was told how I should live my life. I also did my best to obey all the commandments and teachings from the bible, including giving about 10% of the money I earned. I believed and obeyed everything I was told.

A scrap of paper I found and dated to sometime in 2000 reads:

“I love my Mum and I love my Dad. I love my sisters as well as my relatives and every one of my friends. I love God. God loves me. God loves every person so much that he sent his son to suffer, living hell after dying on a cross, just so that I may live eternally. this is the key to becoming a Christian, accepting God’s grace, through faith, so that when I die I know that I will live eternally in heaven.

This gives me feelings of peace as it shows that the eighty so years on earth, in perspective are so small and eternity so long, that we must always remember what is important is to love God and love others.

God loves me and has blessed me a thousand billion times and with my life I want to strive to please him.

I thank God every day for my blessings, for everyone that I know, for the fact that I can know them, love them and I thank him so much that they love me in return. I have said this to God every morning when I wake up for as long as I can remember and I will always as nothing can change this.

When I die I wish that everyone that knows me can know how much I love them and how much God loves them.

I hope that through my death, others can come to know Christ. If I could die tomorrow and my friends would come to know the love of God, I would without a second thought. When i die I hope everyone can rejoice over the life I lived and thank God for my life, as I do.

Everyone should rejoice in knowing that I will be eternally living with my God and will be waiting for them to join me.

What I want out of life

1. To please God and do his will. he has a plan for my life and he knows the best way (He created me so he must know!)

I know that without God I can achieve nothing, so why try to control my life without him? All it leads to is dissatisfaction. Look at Mariah Carey, for example, you would think she would be satisfied as she has everything materialistically you could ask for: money, guys, fame, talent… yet she tried to kill herself. She was unsatisfied. Materialism can only satisfy you to a point. There will always be a huge hole without God. Thus I wish to follow him and let Him do what he can. i trust that he has a plan and will lead me to a satisfying life.

2. Friends and family

I hope that my friends and family can be happy, healthy and also live satisfying lives on all levels. Especially that they will come to know God.

3. Materialistically and selfishly

I’d like what everyone wants: money, fame, love, nice house etc! No seriously… I want a job that I enjoy – working with great people and being able to support myself with a good income. I want to meet a guy, love him with all my heart and marry and have a happy marriage with God in the centre. We will live in a nice house, possibly with a couple of kids (eventually), have great holidays etc. Our kids will grow up to be also strong Christians. I will put my family before”

It finishes there and I can’t find the next page.

In fact, this is the only piece of writing that I have from this time in my life. It does a good job in summarising my mind at that time. I read this and I smile, laugh at the Mariah Carey commend, then cringe and feel my stomach turn. My innocent mind: pure, kind and loving – but so naive, indoctrinated and, excuse my language, fucked up.

This year brings tears to my eyes to think about – I gave every part of myself to everyone around me, and everyone around me took and took, like vampires on their prey. Noone realised the pain they put me through. At the time, not even I was aware.

To read about my journey from the very conformist fundamentalist Christian worldview above, into the questioning Christian / spiritually Buddhist / peace-loving Atheist I might classify myself today, check out:

My Thunderbolt Moment Click Here

And for Christians who haven’t had the time to question, I documented my questions, answers and my contemplation of the contradictions, which you can read here:

Further Reading:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here


My Thunderbolt Moment

Written as an appendix to my masters thesis “An Ethical Dilemma: Childhood Conversion in Christian Fundamentalism” in June 2009.

My ‘Thunderbolt’ Moment

This brief account of my personal case is provided to make known the perspective from which this paper was written, to demonstrate how some of the concepts discussed in this discourse apply in practice, and to help correct the misconception that a rejection of fundamentalism is a rejection of God.

The mind-explosion I have experienced is hard to describe. It was not until I began the academic research for this paper that I realised my Christian beliefs and those of my friends and family were classified as “fundamentalist.” I had still thought these beliefs were that of the average Christian, and that my school, being a “non-denominational” school, must have been one of the more open and accepting schools. I was very surprised as my investigations revealed that my school was part of a recent “new independent Christian school movement” that arrived with the Dutch in the 1950s, particularly given that my mother was one of those immigrants. I was even more surprised to learn that our fundamental beliefs were part of a movement that began in the 20th century, and of the change in definition of faith. As I learned I shared my discoveries with my family and friends, which has challenged them to question too. Looking back I can see myself experiencing each of Fowler’s Stages of Faith, up to Stage 5 anyway!

As I mentioned in the introduction, for the first 20 years of my life I was a passionate evangelical Christian. I was born into a Christian family (who are wonderful and I love very much) with Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I was christened at birth, and I “asked God into my heart” every time the Sunday school teacher said aloud “the prayer” at the Sydney Anglican Sunday school of my childhood. At 4 years old I began my schooling at Covenant Christian School (CCS), a new independent Christian school mentioned in chapter 6, where I spent the next 13 years of my life. During my childhood I experienced the Intuitive-Projective stage of faith, with the lasting fear of hell’s eternal damnation a feeling that, although I do not believe hell is a real place, is still a fear deeply buried in my subconscious. It pops up on occasion when some Christians I am close to worry that I could end up in hell’s fires if I do not “return to my faith in Jesus”. During my years at CCS I moved on to a Mythic-Literal faith, my entire concept of Christianity based on a one-dimensional interpretation of the Bible and the fundamentalist narrative that my teachers, my parents and my church shared.

During my first two years at university I moved onto the Synthetic-Conventional stage. I lived what I thought was a typical Christian life: daily “private-times” where I would read a chapter of a Christian book and pray. I would go to a “Bible study” group on Wednesday nights, church “youth group” at a Baptist church on Friday nights. I taught Sunday school on Sunday mornings, and attended the evening service on Sunday nights. By my own choice I was baptised and “confirmed” at 19 years old. I had completely dedicated my life to God and believed it was through Jesus I could have this relationship. I openly shared my faith with new friends, who were always a little shocked when I told them about my commitment. I had a coherent orientation in my outlook to life and I felt secure in my Christian identity. I was not afraid of stating what I believed. In my mind life seemed clear although, as Fowler points out, at this stage I had not yet stepped outside the paradigm to reflect on it and I was unaware that I even had it. Although I had not stepped outside the Christian paradigm, I was always interested in learning about other people’s beliefs: if someone was not a Christian I wanted to know why. Yet I struggled to get any answers from my new non-Christian friends at university. They just “didn’t believe Christianity was the truth” but they had no real reason for this choice. They did not want to think about it. The church’s explanation that these “non-believers” wanted to live by their own rules rather than God’s rules (in other words they reject God because they want to have sex, drink alcohol and not go to church) seemed to make sense in my fundamentalist mind. But what I couldn’t understand was how people could care so much about such fickle desires and ruling their own lives for the short 80 years or so we have on earth. This did not compare to the ever-lasting life Christianity had on offer from my point of view.

The transition point for me was like Fowler suggests, caused by ‘a serious clash or contradiction between valued authority sources’. It came in the form of a boyfriend’s father, who had been brought up Catholic and had spent much time in his youth researching the facts and the frauds of religion. It was at this time, at the age of 20, that I first learned about the Crusades and the Inquisition, about Pagan nature of Easter and Christmas, and I realised for the first time that the whole world does not base concept of time on Jesus’ birth (BC/AD), but that other civilisations have their own measurements of history. This ‘thunderbolt moment’ transitioned me into an Individuative-Reflective stage of faith. Following an emotional battle, with everything I based my life seemingly falling apart, I abandoned religion and escaped from the narrow-minded world that surrounded me in Sydney. I travelled and lived overseas for three years, exposing myself to the world-views people in Thailand, Japan and all over Europe.

Although I had rejected Christianity, I had not rejected “God”. Prayer was deeply embedded in my mental processes and whether it was my own deluded mind or was truly a connection with ‘God,’ I could see my prayers being answered, and I felt the comfort and security of a fatherly omni-present force protecting me and guiding me in my daily life. For the first time in my life I began to claim my own identity, with my own boundaries and connections with the divine. On return to Sydney I was once again surrounded by fundamentalism and now feeling at an emotional-distance from it, I decided to do some research for myself. My 92 year old Opa had a fall, I moved in as his carer and was rewarded with the most valuable thing in the world: time. I taught myself the things I had missed out on in my education: the theory of evolution, and a big perspective of the history of humanity in comparison to the history of the universe. I tried to comprehend how humans had evolved so rapidly in such a short space of time. I was slowly becoming more and more reflective, increasing my capacity for critical reflection and dealing with the images still with me from my fundamentalist past. At first I was studying by reading library books, watching documentaries and overloading my Internet browser with hundreds of links. I discovered a new love of learning and soon arrived back at university, but unlike my first degree (in Business), this time I was studying Arts. I wanted to know about the world, about history, about philosophy, psychology, politics and other religions. I chose to study in the interdisciplinary field of Peace and Conflict Studies, which allowed me to pursue such knowledge and piece together the missing pieces of the puzzle in my mind. The very nature of Peace and Conflict Studies, initiated a further transition, now into a Conjunctive faith. Simultaneous to learning about philosophies of peace, and the relationship between religion and war, I was continuing to research and document the history and theology of Christianity. My purpose in this search was driven by a desire to share my knowledge and the freedom of thought, with my younger sisters and cousins, who had also attended CCS and I saw as earlier versions of myself still stuck at stage 2 and stage 3. They had not been exposed to the wider perspectives I had been exposed to through my ex-boyfriend, my travels and my research. Through my inner voice God was leading me to do this research, and faithfully I followed.

I particularly focussed my search on the evidence that supports the two fundamental exegeses: the divinity of Jesus and the holy inerrant Word of God. I considered the “Jesus: liar, lunatic or lord” argument, which presents three mutually exclusive options for who Jesus was, and concludes that unless you are going to call Jesus a liar or a lunatic, then you had better call him Lord.[1] I discovered there were many alternative scenarios which this argument leaves out. I considered the possibility that Jesus was a great teacher whose story, following his death, grew more dramatic as it was transmitted over time. This proposition seemed a whole lot more likely to me than a physical ascension into the heavens above. Where would he go? Heaven, if it is anywhere, is not above us among the stars and other planets! I may have believed this idea had I still thought the earth was flat, however things have changed since the time of Jesus. Discovering that the supernatural elements such as the virgin birth and resurrection were also elements of pagan religions, gives credence to the alternative view that Jesus was a great teacher but not divine. It seemed that these elements of pagan myth were added to the story to fit in the context of Roman pagan religion. The fact that Christmas and Easter were pagan traditions adopted by Christianity,[2] made it seem highly likely that the stories of Jesus are contextually shaped.[3]

Similarly, the Bible is justified as the inerrant “Word of God” simply because the church makes this claim. The church gives no consideration to the inadequacy of such an internal circular logic, or to the fact that the verses used support this claim were written before the the books of the Canon had been selected.[4] Similarly no mention is that Paul and other New Testament authors did not even infer that their writings were being divinely inspired.[5] I looked for errors in the Bible, and I found they were numerous. From inevitable translation errors that come from the fact that Ancient Hebrew did not contain punctuation[6] to discrepancies over event details,[7] all of which were soon “harmonized” away in my discussions with Christians; either with far-fetched explanations, or with the backup harmonization “you just have to have faith”.[8] In my Christian education the willingness of the early Christians to die for their beliefs was glorified, and yet there was no mention of the Inquisitional killing of anyone who would not believe.[9] The Christian narrative was taught just as Spong states, as if it ‘dropped out of heaven in a fully developed form’.[10] There was no mention of the controversial theological debates that moulded it along the way. The research for this paper was the crux of my journey, and it is my hope that along with providing insights for academic readers, that it may provide some points for self-reflection for fundamentalists and that it may help assist them on the emotionally challenging process of questioning one’s faith and beliefs.

Transitioning from a Literal faith to a Conjunctive faith is not an easy process. Taking responsibility for one’s own faith, and ensuring it is a faith that you have chosen for yourself rather than a consequence of your upbringing, is a worthwhile pursuit. It gives generous rewards both during the process and at the end when you feel your relationship with God deepen in understanding and integrity. Breaking from institutionalised intermediaries, you move from a world that appears black and white to unveil an exciting reality of a God and Universe of many colours and many forms with whom you may live your life in accordance with “His” will, which in a strange way is entirely connected to your own will. It is my understanding that God is not a separate super-human consciousness, sitting up in the clouds with a magic wand. Instead “He” is an all-encompassing presence that we humans personify in order to comprehend and communicate with. However “He” is not a he, “He” is the powerful presence behind life, encompassing the tiniest quantum molecule inside a single grain of sand, and extending out to the most faraway planets in galaxies trillions of light years away. “He” is in the air, in the water, in our food, and in our mind. An omni-presence that allows “Him” to know everything, to know how many hairs are on our heads, and to know each and every one of our thoughts. I believe it is through this knowing of our thoughts, that prayers are answered. Our thoughts are transmitted and in themselves have consequences. “Ask and you will receive, knock and the door will open.” I have realised you can talk to God in your mind, and listen to “Him” through the many ways “He” communicates, not only through historical Holy Books, but through nature, through other humans, through your deepest intuitions, through art, books, music – through everything.

I have noticed in my life that by asking God and listening to “Him”, your past, present and future self combine in a way that allows your will to align with God’s will. It seems that the most unlikely desires, if they will lead to a positive result in the long run for the collective conscious of life, may be fulfilled if only you ask. I think that the most satisfying thing you can do in your life is find your purpose and live it out. Ask how you can provide the most benefit for the most people. Listen to your intuition as this is God communicating with you. Understand your place in the universe and your unique role in fulfilling God’s purpose: to create. God created us and is continuing to create. We are still evolving and this process will never stop. Why does God do this? So that He can know Himself. We have God inside us and we are made in His image. We are God’s expression of himself. As we express ourselves, we express God. How do we love God? By loving all people. Loving our planet. Being grateful for all we have. By having faith, listening to the God’s communication, following His signs and our deepest intuitions, and thereby living out our individual and collective roles in the universe. Fulfilling our potential.

When Jesus said ‘I’ve not come to call the righteous but to call sinners to repent,’ He was calling for an improvement of behaviour. By following His example we will see a change in the hearts and minds of people, that will lead to a state of peace within individual conscious and collective conscious. Jesus was a teacher, a healer and eventually executed for his ideas and for the radical stands he stood against the religious leaders and status quo, against the structural violence of his world 2000-years ago, the cultural-societal prescribed path that he faced, and leading a revolution of heart and mind. It is now in the 21st century, that it is our turn to follow Jesus, and do the same.

But how do we do this? Our identity is caught up in our religion. We don’t know who we are without it. How would we define ourselves? How would we decipher what is right from what is wrong without the Bible as our guidebook? We share with our friends and family a wonderful blanket of security. We are warm, comfortable, and happy to think that our place in the afterlife is assured. Questioning this brings a fear of the future, and the uncertainty it holds. We feel we have no time to research these matters for ourselves, and we do not feel the need. We are satisfied with the simple explanation our church provides us of good versus evil, it makes sense and the outside world seems so confusing. Most of all we confront our fear of punishment, punishment for questioning, eternal punishment in hell’s fires should the fundamentalism be right, and the new path we choose for ourselves be wrong. What will happen to me after I die? These fears will soon be met with God’s love and assurance once again.

For the last 6000-years, humankind has become more conscious of our consciousness, ever since we, in mythological terms, “ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge.” As a side effect we have seen ourselves become more separate from other life forms and from God. However, this does not need to be the case. Our expanded consciousness is an amazing gift that allows us to express God in new ways. However we can expand our consciousness, express ourselves as creative individuals, and remain aware of the underlying connectedness of all life. When we disconnect from God, either through disfigurations of religion or by abandoning religion altogether, our separateness makes us feel alone and afraid, of what will happen to our consciousness when our human bodies die. But we are not separate from our environment or from each other. Our existence is interconnected. We cannot survive without our air, food, water and relationships. Plants transform our carbon to oxygen and provide us our food. God can be seen in every process, every cell, every animal, and inside us. Our existence is not comprised of the separateness we feel in our human defined identities, the separate consciousness of ‘me,’ but our existence is interdependent on everything. We are together, there is no ‘me’ there is only ‘us’.

The separate conscious we experience is a temporary illusion, allowing God to express his creativity and experience different realities. One day we will return to God, we will no longer separate, no longer experiencing the highs and lows – we will return to blissful peace of oneness. This is a place that we can meditate into, experiencing a temporary reuniting with God. This is what Buddhists find as they are enlightened. Even atheists must imagine the feeling of death, when our separate consciousness ceases to be conscious. We are returning to the state we were in before we were conscious – a return to nothing and a return to everything. Realise your connectedness, realise that you are not separate from God now nor will you ever be – then you can never feel alone. If you can see yourself in all things, you understand that death is not death, for you can never die. Even when our planet dies, we will continue to exist, beginning the wonderful evolutionary creative process once again in some alternate universe in some alternate time.

There is much to explore and learn and it is overwhelming at first. But we soon realise that we are all in this together, manifesting our individual and collective purposes in life and so the questioning and evaluation process becomes easy. Family and friends will see the joys of experiencing the deeper levels of reality you are experiencing. There is no need to fear anything – instead focus your mind and emotions on love. On loving God and loving others, for in the synchronicity of life, God, other humans and the Universe, are all you.

My faith today is stronger than ever. ‘How?’ asks my Dad, ‘Based upon what?’ My faith and understanding of God is not based on an authoritatively prescribed absolute, so there is no stock-standard simplistic answer as my Dad is able to place on the “historical evidence” as presented in the Christian Bible. My faith is based on deductions drawn from my own analytical evaluation of all the knowledge I have been exposed to and all the experiences I have had. As I am exposed to new knowledge and more experiences, the basis for my faith grows stronger and closer to the Truth, which I believe is a universal objective, even if humans will never fully discover it. This includes deductions drawn from what I see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel; from my current understanding of language, history, science, religion, spirituality; and from the growing personal experiences I have with the unknown force driving the unfolding creation and evolution of our universe. I don’t claim that all these philosophies I describe are the one and only truth! They are simply the evolving results of my journey of faith.

I have gone from the very narrow perspective of my fundamentalist upbringing, blocking out much of the world in fear of loosing my assured place in heaven to a perspective that sees the unknown and embraces it, that rejoices over the uncertainty of life, and enjoys the ongoing process which learning allows for developing a deeper understanding of the purpose of my life in His continuous process of creation. I now have a closer relationship and much deeper understanding of God than could ever have been possible in the fundamentalist paradigm of my past. To take responsibility for your own mind and soul is scary at first, but then it is liberating. Your mind and soul are free to think for yourself.

While we can never know what new discoveries lay just outside our present knowledge, we can appreciate what we do know and enjoy the process of seeking to know more. When you have a question I recommend that you research it and draw your own conclusions, so that you are actively pursuing a deeper understanding of Truth, a deeper understanding of the Universe that God has created and which you and “He” are still continuing to create. Whether or not we ever achieve our goal of understanding the Truth is not important. When we realise that all people in all cultures and in all religions, are connected, and that we all seek this same common goal, we realise that joining together we can create a most wonderful synergy: sharing knowledge, sharing experiences, and sharing our understanding of the divine powers at play. Then we can, together, work for the common good of every form of life in our Universe. Continuing as part of God’s creative process, expressing “Him” in new ways, maximising our individual and collective creative potentials, advancing the collective conscious of the Universe to higher levels of understanding and spirituality. We are all a wondrous part of this exciting process and incredibly, if we set our sights on Shalom, the Kingdom of God, Peace on Earth, it will come. All we have to do is ask.

[1] The ‘Trilemma’ argument first put forth by C.S.Lewis, but as restated for Christian youth by Josh McDowell, More Than a Carpenter(New York: Tyndale House Publishers, 1977, 2004).

[2] Christmas was on the winter equinox (25th December in those days) – was a celebration of the birth of the sun-god. Easter was on the spring equinox – for thousands of years had been a celebration of the death and resurrection of Ishtar, the goddess of new-life.

[3] See Spong, A New Christianity for a New World. On page titled: Jesus.

[4] For example, 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed”. See the opening of each Bible book.

[5] For example, Luke makes it particular clear he is attempting to put together a cohesive historical account of what people are talking about; he is clearly not claiming to be writing words inspired by God. See: Luke 1:1-4.

[6] Gerald L. Schroeder, The Hidden Face of God : How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth (New York ; London: Free Press, 2001).

[7] For example, the conflicting genealogies of Matthew and Luke identify different fathers for Joseph’s father (Jesus’ grandfather).

Another example, is that each of the gospels state that Mary Magdalene visited Jesus tomb with a different person (Mathew states she was with one other woman while Mark states she was with two, Luke states three, and John states she went alone).

[8] For example the Joseph’s father might be harmonized by stating that ‘Joseph’s father might have changed his name sometime during his life from Jacob to Heli’.

Similarly the discrepancy between the women at the tomb can be harmonized by stating that ‘Mary Magdalene could have made one trip to the tomb alone. She could have followed this up with repetitive returns to the city and trips with various combinations of other women’ – this is ‘a very improbable story, but one that allows the Bible to be free of error.’

See: B. A. Robinson, ‘Harmonizing Apparent Conflicts & Errors in the Bible’.  (Ontario: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, April 2009). <>.

[9] Popular readings among fundamentalist youth include: Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (New York: Word Publishing, 1992). and Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Michigan: Zondervan, 1988). These books provide one-sided arguments that were very convincing to me while my mind was looking inside the Christian paradigm. Once I learned how to critically analyse and was able to think through these arguments for myself, I realised just how biased the facts presented are, and how mislead the format of the argument is.

For a liberal Christian opinion see: John Shelby Spong, The Sins of Scripture : Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love (Pymble, N.S.W.: HarperCollins, 2005).

[10] Spong, A New Christianity for a New World. On page titled: Jesus. op. cit.


Further Reading

This is a short book that I wrote in 2007-8, documenting my questions, the answers I found and thought processes involved in weighing up different factors involved in dedicating oneself to Christianity:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here

Concluding thoughts…

About the Bible

It seems to me that the fundamental facts about when, where and by whom the books of the Bible are written, are hushed over, not even talked about, problems are avoided or minimised, leaving ambiguities that mislead the reader and convey a false idea of reality. How can I believe anything they tell me? If God inspired the words, then wouldn’t He have inspired all the correct details? If the Bible is God’s word, wouldn’t he have ensured that translations his people base their lives on, are without error? Then, why are there contradictions? Did God just change his mind about what is right and wrong? What is the point in having a book of rules and instructions that is so open for different interpretations? All these questions makes me think that the Bible contains error and cannot be regarded as 100% full proof evidence of anything. I believe it’s best to treat the Bible like any other historical or non-fiction book, keeping in mind the author, their motivations and situation and the knowledge available to them.

In biblical times people thought the sky was held up by two mountains, and had no idea how far east and west that land extended. Far from their contemplation are facts we know now like the earth being round, revolved around the sun and not the other way round, and that the sun was just one of millions of stars in one of millions of galaxies. These people did not consider people living in lands as far away as Southern Africa, East Asia, the Americas or Australia. They did not know, probably wouldn’t care at all, that these foreign peoples had their own religions, experiences with spirituality and transcendence, their own relationship with “God.” How is one race’s “God” different from another race’s “God”? Only in the way each group has constructed their image of this almighty, incomprehensible power, which was based on their consciousness and experience at the time. Each race had various “prophets” or leaders, who had a deep intuition as to what would be good for their people. These leaders created the rules and often claimed they came from a transcendent God, which, if you believe God is inside us all, this is true. To increase people’s obedience to the rules, they described rewards and punishments akin to their sense of justice at the time.

About Jesus

After much consideration I have come to the conclusion that these are not mutually exclusive options. Jesus was both the son of God, and the son of Man, in the same way that you and I are sons and daughters of God too. Jesus contained God inside him, just as we contain God inside us. Jesus was an expression of God in the same way that you and I are expressions of God too.

In my mind, I accept Jesus as being born of Mary and Joseph, and the doctrine of the Virgin was most likely added to encourage pagan adoption of the new religion. Similarly Jesus did not rise from the dead in physical form, but it seems more likely that the resurrection passages were written allegorically and also taken form pagan religions.

I imagine Jesus was an enlightened spiritual leader and social activist, motivated to make a difference in his world: to help people be happier and experience peace on earth both within themselves and with their neighbours. It would seem more likely that Roman soldiers executed Jesus as they saw his nationalistic freedom fighting as a threat, than caring about the wishes of some Jews who saw him as blasphemous. When Jesus died on the cross, I think it makes sense that he died only in the physical sense, and similar to the presence I feel of my dead grandfather and dead Oma, Jesus’ disciples probably felt Jesus’ spirit with them. They decided not to give up on Jesus’ vision of a socially just world, of non-violence and human rights for the Jews – a realisation that provided them a purpose for their lives, and how they could play out a what in turn can be seen to be a significant role in the evolution of man and civilisation. Hence they set out to continue Jesus’ mission and spread his ‘good news.’

My summary of concluding thoughts

  1. The Bible is NOT inerrant. It was written, edited and translated by humans, and contains errors and additions throughout.
  2. The internal claim for inerrancy was made in before a canon even existed!
  3. The writers of the Bible use folklore, myth, allegory, and Jewish midrash, to convey MEANING, not literal historical event.
  4. NO, God did not cater for this in advance in order for you to have a complete book of His revelation in your hand to read, just so you can read it without needing to put in effort to learn history and language. God gave you a choice: to think or not-to-think – that is the question. If you do not think, instead accepting other’s authoritative rulings, what difference are you to a robot, a programmed computer?
  5. Interpreting the bible as literal is a lazy, ungodly attitude, as is accepting everything your church leaders say, just because it is the common interpretation of your denomination’s theology at the present time. A literal interpretation is a MIS-interpretation. Conformity is not a sign of faith.
  6. The world was NOT created in 6, 24 hour time periods.
    1. This story is a creation myth; a way of explaining the world that the developing human conscious found itself.
    2. The tree of knowledge is the beginning of consciousness, becoming aware of our human condition.
    3. The story has multiple authors and editors immediately evident if you read it – each story is repeated twice, and has been edited together.
  7. This means the genealogies in the Bible are NOT literal.
    1. The bible specifies a genealogy between Jesus and Adam adds up to a maximum of 8000 years.
    2. Fossils are discovered underneath mountains – life that existed before the millions of years it took to geologically form the land mass, dinosaur fossils carbon date to be 60 million years old, the stars in our sky take millions of light years for us to even see them, and we see proof of our expanding universe every on our TV static.
    3. If the Aborigines have a 30000 year history there is NO WAY POSSIBLE that they can be descendants of Adam.
    4. These genealogies therefore must be recorded for more-than-literal reasons. Possibly their purpose is to imply Jesus’ connection with the bible and kings – a meaning that tells us a lot more than what the literal one does.
  8. Hence the Bible is a reflection of one civilisation’s spiritual journey with the sacred, at different points in time.
  9. There is NO cosmic battle between God and the Devil. Why would a God that is all powerful, require a cosmic battle in a literal sense? No, this narrative is symbolic.
  10. Jesus says he is “the way, the truth and the life.” This means we must follow his example. That is the way to know God, and the way to live in His Kingdom – Jesus is referring to a state of peace on earth NOW, not another realm where you go when you die.
  11. Jesus says the most important thing is to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus never asks to be worshiped himself.
  12. The theology of the cross was one person’s interpretation of the Bible, 1000 years after Jesus, and 1000 years before today. Theologians debated it, many rejected it, and in the end _ decided to implement it.
  13. Similarly, the theology of Original Sin. You are NOT born evil. As a baby you are perfect. You are born out of a complete connectedness with the universe and with God.
  14. No idols on earth – this includes idolising the Jesus and the Bible.
  15. Son of God = sons of gods; that is, in biblical times, when the bible was written, there was no such thing as capital letters! This is an addition made by Christian theologians throughout history.
  16. Protestant beliefs have only been around for 500 years,
  17. “Faith” has not always meant a rejection of reason, the battle between natural science and supernatural religions – until the Enlightenment faith referred to a state of mind and heart, of trust in God. Trust that His Will will be revealed to you, so you can lead the life He wants you to live.
  18. Jesus was NOT born from a virgin – this element was added whether intentionally for mythological significance or to increase acceptance by pagan gentiles to whom beliefs in virgin births was a typical characteristic of all the gods, or a result of exaggerations over the years of oral tradition.
  19. Jesus did NOT rise from the dead physically, after three days rotting in a tomb; again this is a pagan concept added in the gap between Jesus’ death and the writing of the gospels.
  20. He did NOT ascend in a bodily form up into heaven – if he did, he would be blown up by the earth’s atmosphere, and where would he go?
  21. Mythos is the way people thought … Mythos has been wiped from our conscious, and so it is difficult for us to understand
  22. All religions ultimately agree on principles that will enhance your experience of life on earth: Love your neighbour as yourself and Love “God” – the magic energy behind life
  23. The God of the Bible, in fact, is not irreconcilable with science. Our literal interpretation is, but when interpreted in its historical context, suddenly it all makes sense!
  24. God and science go hand in hand, like two sides of a coin. God is the ‘what’, the meaning, the purpose, the motivation; and Evolution is the ‘how’, the method, the physical manifestation of God’s energy.
  25. Creation has not finished. We are now the creators with God.
  26. The purpose of life is to express God – so go forth, love, live, learn, grow and create!

About Faith and God

Does a caterpillar know what it’s future holds as it builds it’s cacoon?

The term God in Hebrew simply means “I am” or “I will be what I will be.” That is, us as a people unfolding our destiny. p289 (Maddox) Us humans can only think within constructions of what we have ever seen, heard and experienced. Hence we construct our image of God in our own image. Throughout history we have personified this power in attempt to comprehend it. Some personified it as aspects of environmental nature like the sun, or as representations of aspects of human nature like greed or love. The Israelites personified this power as the most powerful thing they knew, the king. The imagery in the Bible describes God as the most powerful king, sitting on a throne in a golden luxurious castle, in a city of peace.

People of every culture and time have sought to please this power, so that they may be blessed with food and water, victories at war, sunshine for their crops, and life after death. In earlier times, people thought they must give sacrifices (animal or human) to please this power. Enlightened leaders like Jesus and Buddha realised that this wasn’t necessary. More beneficial to society would be a doctrine on non-violence. Loving each other, even those who do use wrong, will bring about heaven on earth. Heaven and Hell are also images constructed in our earliest consciousness, at a time the only explanation for the sun’s movements was that it was being carried across the sky by angels. Heaven in the sky, amongst the beauty of the stars and the beloved warmth of the sun. Volcanic fires from beneath the earth, brought death and destruction thus explained as creations of an evil God from below.

I think Jesus still lives on today. Not as a person sitting beside his father in the clouds, but in the same spiritual presence we will return into when we die. It seems unlikely that we will keep our separate presence when we die. Our memories and personality is contingent to our consciousness in a particular moment in time, it is not possible to take anything from earth with us when we die, and many of us would not even want to. Instead I imagine that when we die we reconnect in our entirety with the omni-presence of God living on through every person, animal, plant and cell in the universe. To me ‘God’ is everything including you and me. This means I am a Panentheist. Pan = everything, en = in, Theos = God. Everything in God. Are not all religions somewhat Panentheist? This makes sense to me. It is consistent with science, physics, history, other religions, and even with atheists. It seems more biblical than a belief in a supernatural separate God as it emphasises transcendence and God’s presence. It means that we never die, but are even now living out a moment of our eternal life. The most incredible thing about this design is that we are given the choice to live out our present moment in a state of heaven or a state of hell. Individually and collectively this is our choice, and a choice we must make in every moment of every day.

Even Atheists do not deny a great power behind our being, a Great Unknown energy that motivates cells to split, life to live, to evolve and to create. The different between Atheists and Theists seems to come down to whether one wishes to personify this power, or leave it as an abstract collage of mathematical formula and quantum hypothesis. When it comes down to it the circular nature of the Cosmological argument – that something can’t come from nothing, and hence something must have already existed, but where did that something come from – highlights the fact that there will always be some things we can not know.

There exists a connection between all matter in ways we still cannot comprehend, and for this unknown power to be presented as omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (always present) power, does make sense. In English the personification of this power we name ‘God’. In Hebrew it’s ‘Jehovah’, in Arabic? it’s ‘Allah’ in Japanese it’s Kami, in Spanish it’s Dios and in Indian it’s Deva. Sometimes I think this energy should be named something more descriptively appropriate like many New Age religions and Spirituality movements tend to do, like say The Void Potential or the Fatherly Oneness… The name of this power does not really matter but what I think we must recognise is the common goal of all humans is to have a connection with this power so that we might live out our purpose in the continuing evolution and creation of our world.

Finding fulfillment in our lives

When it comes down to it, what do we all want? “To be happy.” And what does this mean to us? We want to feel peace inside, and be surrounded by peaceful people in a peaceful world. Ultimately this is what all the wise teachers throughout the times have tried to help us get one step closer to this state.

We each hold a significant potential to leave this world in a better place than we arrived. We have been lucky enough to be born into a human body with a human mind – with potentials beyond what we presently realise and imagine. Every day we wake, we breathe, we think and we move, and we can make of that day whatever we wish. We can live for the short pleasures, or the longer-term satisfactions, or a bit of both. Fulfilment is most potent when we are connected with God, when we listen to His signs, when hear His voice inside us, and when we have faith that that voice is guiding you in the way that will most benefit you and the world.

The realisation that nothing lasts forever is another confronting idea, but once you accept it, it is one that frees you from fear. Think about it. Money could be worth nothing tomorrow – our currency could crash and all your hard-earned savings become worthless. Your house could burn down and your home insurance company may fold. You may be left with a big fat nothing. Your wife or husband could pick-up their bags and leave with the kids. Every day we get older, and our appearance perishes. We walk on the streets and drive our cars – constantly at risk of some kind of accident that may kill us, or in many ways worse would be to be left in a deformed state that would burden the people we love. I don’t say these things to increase your fear, but in order to let go of that fear. We crave security yet can never achieve it. Life is in a constant state of transience, it never stops for a break. We can fear the unknown or we can embrace it.

The only certainty in life is death. Hence death is a concept we must not fear, but should embrace, the returning to God and to the oneness of all that is.

Loving our Neighbours

There is a long history of Christians killing Muslims going back to the Spanish Inquisition, where heretics were tortured to death under the justification that it is better to save their soul by torture, then let them live. This killing continues in recent times in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. In the process of colonialism, the West saw their culture as superior and forced people to convert to our culture including converting to our religion in order to be saved. Bringing them ‘out of darkness and into the light’ meant to enculturate them into our civilisation – alternatives were seen as barbaric and primitive. Much of our conception of salvation has to do with making our culture the dominant one.

We can even see the battle cry in War on Terror – for ‘freedom and democracy’ is a belief that our culture is superior. The way to ensure our security is to make everyone think like us. Religion gets tied up in that battle. We do not own god. We cannot fight battles stating that He is on our side. Religion, culture and politics are intertwined so in order to find a peaceful political situation we can start by finding a peaceful religious one.

If we really love our neighbours, we will not judge them, nor condemn, or think of ourselves as better than them. True love is not compatible with a claim to own a single path to God and to be the only religion with access to the Truth. With this attitude, religion will always be divisive force for humanity. Instead we must be empathetic toward each other and desire to learn from other’s connection with God, rather than try to impose our connection on them. We must be honest to ourselves, recognising the unavoidable fact that whichever religion we prescribe, it is but a consequence of our life’s experience that brought us to that acceptance of truth: whether it be the religion of our parents, our partner, our friend, or some inner voice that called you into some particular church. It was not separate from the ethnicity, nationality and culture that you were born into.

Technology has brought people from all over the world together and now we have the opportunity to unite as one species- the most intelligent, creative and powerful species on this planet. We can learn from each other’s experiences with the indescribable spiritual power, and we can re-interpret all we know of it in a way that is relevant to the society we desire today.


It’s very confusing when there are so many religious beliefs that surround us, especially when those with faith, exalt their own beliefs and denounce the beliefs of others. This confusion is not new, over two thousand years ago when people faced similar circumstances, the Buddha gave them some advice, which I think is good advice for us today:

Do not accept anything on mere hearsay (ie thinking that we have not heard for a long time)

Do not accept anything by mere tradition (ie thinking that it has thus been handed down: through many generations)

Do not accept anything on account of rumours (ie believing what others say without investigation)

Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures

Do not accept anything by mere inference

Do not accept anything by merely considering the appearances

Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your preconceived notions

Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable (ie should be accepted)

Do not accept anything linking that the ascetic is respected; by us (and therefore it is right to accept his word)

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept and abide by it.

Kalama Sutta, p 3 (Silva, 1994)

Be honest about the gaps in your knowledge

Lack of expertise should not disqualify anyone from participation in important debates, provided that one is honest about the gaps in one’s knowledge. Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous concept of “known unknowns” is helpful here. We cannot know everything, but we can – if we are humble enough – estimate more or less accurately the dimensions of our ignorance.

Rejecting or finding meaning in context?


Do the above findings lead me reject all I have ever learned, seen and felt of God, the value of the Bible and the Christian religion? At first I did reject Christianity- I felt betrayed, like it was all a bunch of lies and that I didn’t know what I could trust. But as I learned more about evolution theory, I saw a mysterious force that seemed to be driving it. As I travelled I continued to talk to ‘God’ and feel ‘His’ comfort. I realised:

  1. The bible still has worth – it provides a historical foundation of the relationship between Jews and the divine, a base from which we can build upon
  2. Jesus’ messages were of peace on earth: love our neighbours and love god
  3. Everything must always be read in its context
  4. We should explore each other’s histories
  5. We should try to learn from each other’s relationship and experiences with the divine
  6. We should join forces together to decifer the facts, frauds and faiths, and to decide on which morals apply today, that will help our world move toward a more peaceful state.
  7. What is God? ‘God’ is the name we humans (well those who speak English) have given to a personification of the powerful energy behind all that exists. Atheists have simply chosen not to personify this power, and instead leave it as an abstract energy. No one can deny an energy behind life, an energy that creates our and animal’s deep desire to live. Debating the existence of ‘God’ is largely an issue of semantics.
  8. Other religions also have worth
  9. Our non-religious history, scientific discoveries and philosophical thinkers, also help us get closer to our ultimate universally shared goal: truth.
  10. The utmost most important thing for you to do is think for yourself
  11. We are not separate from our environment or from each other. Our existence is interconnected. We cannot survive without our air, food, water and relationships. Plants transform our carbon to oxygen and provide us our food. God can be seen in every process, every cell, every animal, and inside us. Our existence is not comprised of the separateness we feel in our human defined identities, the separate consciousness of ‘me,’ but our existence is interdependent on everything – we are together, there is no me there is only us. The separateness you experience is a temporary illusion, allowing God to express his creativity and experience different realities. One day we will return to God, we will no longer separate, no longer experiencing the highs and lows – we will return to blissful peace of oneness. This is a place that we can meditate into, experiencing a temporary reuniting with God. This is what Buddhists find as they are enlightened. This is what atheists too believe will be felt when a separate consciousness ceases to be conscious – the return to the state we were in before we were conscious – a return to nothing, a return to everything.
  12. The most satisfying thing you can do in your life is find your purpose and live it out. Ask how you can provide the most benefit for the most people. Listen to your intuition; this is God communicating with you. Understand your place in the universe and your unique role in fulfilling God’s purpose: to create. God created us and is continuing to create. We are still evolving and this process will never stop. Why does God do this? So that He can know Himself. We have God inside us and we are made in His image. We are God’s expression of himself. As we express ourselves, we express God. Have faith – that by following the signs you will fulfil the purpose of your present lifetime
  13. How do we love God? Love beauty. Love all people. Love our planet. Be grateful for all you have. Have faith, listen to your intuition and follow the signs that come from the interconnectedness of all life. Live out your role in the universe. Fulfil your potential.


Is peace possible? I guess that depends on what you think is peace? What does a peaceful world look like? Once we have a vision, it won’t be long before it becomes reality. So yes, I believe peace is possible, and it’s up to us to create it.

If we were to look critically at our religion, identify facts, faiths and frauds, we can set an example for other religions to do the same. By not claiming ownership of absolute truth, others will not feel so unease about disclaiming theirs. Diminishing the arrogance and elitism that comes with a belief that we are the only ones going to heaven, acceptance and tolerance will increase and resentment and enmity decrease. It starts with us and our own personal realm of influence. By changing ourselves, a momentum will begin whereby others follow.

Penn wrote in 1684, ‘Governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good, and government cannot be bad. If it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be ever so good, they will endeavour to warp and spoil it to their tune.’ (Ferguson 1978 p113)

If we change, our governments will change and our world will change. Conflict may always exist yet violence need not. Violence against others and ourselves, both in thought and in action, is no good for anyone. World peace is not an abstract unachievable dream stated at beauty pageants. Peace is possible, and it starts with you.

Eccl. 3:1-8

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Let us move forward in love, questioning, analysing and thinking for ourselves – it is time for peace!

ONE FINAL FOLLOW-UP NOTE as at October 2009

All of the above was written around 2007 and at the moment I don’t have time to give it it’s deserved attention to editing and making sure everything in it is sources and makes sense. I think it’s important to keep all understands as tentative to the discovery of new information and since this time my understanding of a physical resurrection has now changed. That is, if Jesus’ spirit appeared to the disciples as the Bible says, even fundamentalist Christians if they really think about it do not believe it to be a fully physical resurrection. The Bible says Jesus appeared and disappeared seemingly walking through walls and vanishing into nothing. It also says the disciples did not recognise him at first – this would infer he was not resurrected into his rotting body-corpse. After watching John Polkinghorne on I realised that a spiritual resurrection on a quantum physics type of level could have been a little bit physical as well. There are so many unknowns so I guess with an open mind we can continue a ongoing conversation on the never-ending pursuit to get a better understanding of the unattainable truth.


In case you want to go back & read some parts again:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here


For further reading still, check out some developing thoughts on Who, or what is “God”??? Click here

What does this mean for my life today?

What does it mean to have “faith”?

The definition ‘faith’ has changed

‘Faith’ would have been much easier 200 years ago before evolution theory was thought up. Why would God ask us to have ‘faith’ in a story that contradicts the geological and historical evidences? When I think about God, in His ultimate wisdom and power, I wonder why He would at one single point in history, in one single place, incarnate as a human and state that believe in a single narrative of His death and resurrection as the only way for humans to have a relationship with Him. And if this was, for some strange reasons we can’t understand, what God decided to do, then why would he allow human investigation into the evidence contradict this narrative? Why would He then request that humans ignore all the evidence and have ‘faith in Jesus’? Is this really what having ‘faith’ is about? Does it make sense that humans in 10,000 years time, would still have to learn and believe in the supernatural resurrection of a man from 12,000 years before them?

What is faith?

Prior to the Enlightenment, the truth of Christianity was not questioned, but was accepted by all as given fact. Christianity provided a meta-narrative that gave people understanding of the bigger picture and meaning of life. Presented as fact to the whole population, “belief” was not a concept that took “faith,” belief in Jesus and the Christian creeds, were taken for granted. In 1543  the Copernican of the earth revolving around the sun replaced the Ptolemaic view of earth at the centre of the universe, where the stars, moon and sun revolved around it. And everything changed.

Borg explains that in these times, “faith” referred to “trust in God,” that is, not being anxious, taking comfort in knowledge that God loves you and will keep you safe. Jesus said “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” And “Do not be anxious… you of little faith.”

Our Christian images have been filtered through primitive minds of a group of people inspired by God. At this time, they lived in a world completely different to the one we live today. A world of kingdoms led by kings. A world of mystery and superstition, a world of unknowns. Reliant on the natural world, with no idea how it worked. Not enough rain was a matter of life and death. The devil lived below them, controlling the frightening volcanic fire that could burst up from the earth’s crust and kill off full civilizations in a matter of seconds. God and his angels above, making sure to carry the sun across the sky every day, provide rain from the clouds for their crops, and transform into the most spectacular artwork for them to admire at night.

We no longer live under powerful kings, we know the earth is not flat, we understand the earth’s tectonic plates, how mountains are created, where the lava comes from and how clouds operate. The sun does not revolve around us, but us around it. We know what is beyond the sky is not heaven, but is a universe full of galaxies like the one we are a small part of. Does this take away from the mystery of God? No. Does it take away from the divine inspirations of our ancestors? No. What it does do is motivate us to re-evaluate our interpretations of these god-inspired words.

My interpretation of Faith

Faith is a commitment to God, connecting with him on a personal level so that you might allow His will to manifest in your life. His will IS your will. He is both inside you and outside you. That connectedness transcends any temporary desire your mind may begin to pursue. Hence we must get intouch with God, through our awareness and openness, and trusting that His will is your will too. By allowing yourself to swim with the tide rather than against it, you will not tire, but will get much further and have a much more prosperous, happy and fulfilling life. Faith means loving God, hence loving God’s creations. This includes loving yourself, loving others, loving nature.

Why would salvation be based on a formula?

I was taught that I must accept Jesus as Lord, his physical death and resurrection as his sacrifice in order for my sins to be forgiven so that I might be saved. Only those that know and believe this story will go to heaven. By how does this exclusivity fit with a loving God who created the world? Is this really what the Bible teaches? No!

According to theologian John Williams, the message in the New Testament is that any person whose heart is inclined to God is saved and that God has no favourites. God is for everyone. So why would God make salvation exclusive to a privileged group of people who by their education or culture are able to hear about Jesus, whereas the majority of the people in the world NEVER have the opportunity to hear? And why would salvation be dependent on the articulation of a formula? The Christian message is one of transformation and reconciliation, and a new creation in our inner being by the work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is always the work of the Spirit. It can never be the work of any person. So to keep consistent with the God of the Bible, it can be deduced that salvation must be universally available. The Spirit must be present and effective in all cultures and all religions. Salvation must involve a positive response by each and every person, to the work of the spirit in their life, no matter what external form that may take.

The position of Christian is not one of privileged salvation, but one of privileged knowledge. This knowledge can be shared in a loving way with other people who want to hear it. In the same way, God want us to listen to the views of others, so we can learn more about Him through the ways He has communicated and inspired them.  Together a synthesis, an expanded knowledge of God, and experience as to the way God works in people’s lives. Neither a Christian nor any other religious person has the power to save somebody, and hence they should never see another person as a potential convert. All you would be doing is converting a person to a dogma with a set of rituals. To imagine that you are the possessor of salvation is idolatry because you’ve put yourself in the place of God. Salvation is God’s property not yours. Are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Atheists all equally saved as Christians? Yes, of course. Acknowledging this means our attitude toward people with other views will change. Starting with respect their another’s faith ripples out to respect for them as people.

What happened to people alive before Jesus?

One question which I have found very very difficult to reconcile with the Christian narrative is the conundrum faced when it comes to where all the millions of people that existed before Jesus, went when they died.

How can people be condemned for being born into other religions?

If the narrative of Christianity is true, that you must believe Jesus died for your sins in order to go to heaven, then all the people that lived more than two thousand years ago went to hell. But does that make sense? Why would God decide to send all the Ancient Egyptians, who dedicated so much of their time to wanting to please the God of the world that they dedicated most of their life on earth to building pyramids that they hoped would help provide them a pleasant after-life? The Sumerians, the first humans creative and smart enough to create a written language, were blessed with this intellect yet also condemned to hell? Because they did not know Jesus? How about ancient cultures of far-away lands, unknown to Bible writers, such as the Australian Aborigines, ancient Asians, native Americans… each dedicating much time and effort in hope of having a relationship with the Almighty Power of the universe – did they all go to hell too?

This seems ridiculous. Surely no matter what time and place on our planet we are born, our creator would love us unconditionally? Surely people striving for a relationship with ‘God,’ who record the revelations they receive in their own holy books, aren’t all wrong just because we are right? I think we must be pretty darn arrogant and ignorant if we truly think we are the only group people God loves enough to provide us the ‘knowledge’ of the one and only true path to him in a way that we find comprehensible and believable. The God of such a narrative would not only appear to be racist – ‘choosing’ one group of people and rejecting the rest of the peoples and animals He created; but to me He would also be quite unjust – condemning people’s ‘sins’ that come often from no choice of their own but from a consequence of their upbringing and life experiences.

God in man’s image – jealous and insecure

Another amusing point is comes from the observation of humans. I have noticed that the most attention-seeking individuals, who appear the most arrogant, have a deep desire for other’s approval and praise, and are the most insecure of all of us. Seeing as God of the Christian Bible portrays Himself as jealous, demanding no other idols before Him, His name not to be taken in vain, and other similar seemingly superficial immature requests, I truly question whether it is likely that the creator of such an incredible universe would really be so insecure?

It really doesn’t make much sense…

Why would a God help us discover the concept of Evolution, which makes an extraordinary amount of sense, along with helping us discover archaeology and various dating techniques, which all generally support a very big history of evolution; yet in contrast promise only to bless us with a heavenly afterlife if we are willing to forget reason and believe in a story seemingly spread by political figures for political reasons, unsupported by history and science, for general purposes of controlling masses of people? Why would He do this? It really doesn’t make sense.

Changing faces of God and His definitions of sin

At the start of the Bible we read about an angry God, Jehovah, who commits genocides of societies that are not his ‘chosen’ people, he kills his followers for trivial reasons such as Lot’s wife for looking the wrong way, he wipes out all of humanity except for Noah and his family with one huge flood. Jesus then presents God as Abba, a father, a God of justice, who love humanity and wants a close personal relationship with each of use through prayer. Revelations presents a once again vengeful God. Changing definition of sin in the Bible

From birth we are in a state of reward and punishment. Obey and be rewarded, disobey and be punished. This focuses on an external set of rules being imposed on us. The God of the Bible is treated in such an immature moral grounding. We also learn what is good for us through trial and error – when we get hurt we adapt our behaviour the next time. When we do something and it feels good, we are inclined to repeat that behaviour. We tend to accept our society’s definition of right and wrong, as God’s definition of such. In the twenty-first century hitting children with the stick as they Bible recommends, has been outlawed as the negative consequences of this behaviour both on the child and on society have been proven. We can only act within our limited knowledge, evaluating the impact of our actions on others and on ourselves, and making better decisions from there. Morality cannot be dictated- it must be found from within. In our generation, unlike in biblical times, ‘good’ need not be done in order to please a higher being, but may be done out of the pure motivation: love. Out of love for ourselves, for our neighbours and for our planet.

Heaven and the “Kingdom of God”

The concept of Heaven and Hell changes throughout the Bible. Ancient Hebrew Scriptures in the Old Testament describe the dead as leading a shadowy existence in a great cavern under the earth called Sheol, where everyone went whether they led a good or evil life on earth. This is similar to Pagan cultures at the time. After the Greek Invasion, Greek Pagan ideas about resurrection and eternal rewards for people who had followed the Law and been kind to others. Evil people would be punished.

Paul on the other hand writes of a heaven for those who had been saved by trusting and believing in Christ’s resurrection. He never talks about hell and seems to believe that unbelievers would simply perish and no longer exist. “The wages of sin are death”. The Synoptic gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke described Jesus as telling of a glorious eternal rest in heaven for those who are kind to the poor, and a Hell of eternal punishment: fire, worms and thirst, for those who were not. John describes Heaven is a reward for those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and does not mention Hell.

Scholars think that when Jesus talks about the kingdom of god, that he is referring to himself as a way of living, living a state in god’s presence. The kingdom of god is god’s presence with humanity. Jesus didn’t use the word ‘kingdom’ – obviously he couldn’t seeing as he didn’t speak English. The original word recorded in the Bible was the Greek word ‘basileia.’ Jesus spoke Aramaic not Greek, and the word he probably actually said is ‘malkuth’, a word with meaning close to the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’  Malkuth basically means a condition of state of peace and harmony. So, god’s kingdom is us and the world being in a state of harmony in god’s presence. When you hear the church speak of the Kingdom of God, and they use it to refer to the church. It most definitily is not. The church is an institution. The Kingdom of God is a condition of humanity in the world and if you belief Jesus’ teaching, it’s a condition that can be experienced now. (Note for further reading google “The kingdom of God” Secombe)

Creation and life’s purpose

A loving God will allow his creation a degree of freedom to find its own way hence the very nature of a God of creation must be evolutionary. Only evolution allows for infinite creativity, and for intelligent beings within creation, to have any influence as to how things evolve. One spontaneous creation, fixed for all time, is deterministic, allows for no human freedom, and is the work of a deterministic god. Creation is contingent within boundaries and allows for interactions in the environment and a multiplicity of potential evolutionary paths. God may well know the perfect evolutionary path for creation to follow but God, out of love, has given enough freedom for the creation to find a way which is not necessarily God’s perfect way however within the structure of creation, there are boundaries that will ensure that creation does not self destruct and will whatever path it takes reach an endpoint that is God’s plan. This is known as “Process Theology.” At the human level, it is obvious that life is contingent and that the behaviour of each and every human can influence the course of history, can influence the environment of the planet, and can potentially effect the life of each and every person. This is the freedom that God has allowed humanity and the world, and the way for humanity to ensure that world history evolves in the optimum way, is to work in partnership with god. In a deterministic creationist world, there is no need for any partnership between God and Humanity. Do you believe god is relational, and humans can have a relationship with him? What is the purpose, if they do not have a power to influence? How will people learn and discover, if God does not allow us to make mistakes and to suffer, and to discover how to resolve our problems and obtain a productive and creative society? Evolution is the creative mark a loving God.

The true nature of relationship between God and Humanity

To believe that humans are made in the likeness/image of God is to believe that humans are able to have a personal living relationship with god, as we are a reflection of the nature of god. One of the most important aspects of this relationship is human creativity, reflecting the infinite creativity of God. This human creativity is obvious in our world in scientific endeavour, in the arts, in human inventiveness, ingenuity, and indeed in the ability of the human intellect to understand the very nature of the universe. God has willed for humans to have this capability and to a degree to be co-creators with God. All for the universe is continually evolving, and human consciousness continues to evolve to higher levels of understanding and the journey of discovery has no end. Humans reflect the nature of God mostly when they live in loving supportive relationships with each other. Indeed the very development of human nature, and the richness of human nature, is dependent on human relationships. Every time we alienate another person, we diminish our own humanity. Every time we embrace another person, we enrich our humanity. The enrichment of human society requires difference and diversity and for each of us to experience diverse cultures, and develop diverse understandings, dialogue and sharing of experiences – all an essential part of human development. This understanding of humanity and human community is a direct reflection of the communal nature of the Christian God. The ultimate purpose then, of humanity, is to be co-creators with God in the evolution of the universe.

Jesus died for our sins

Do you really think God, a power so incredible he can create the universe, is going to worry about your mistakes? Do you think he expects more from you than what you are able to give and do? You think because you stole a candy bar when you are a child, He wants to punish you just because you don’t tell Him you are sorry? Don’t you think God would be bigger than that? Don’t you think he would forgive without question, without even a thought? Don’t you think a God of love, simply wants for us whatever we want for us?

John explained to me,

“The doctrine of the cross is also very confused. Many Christians believe that Jesus was punished on the cross by God, in the place of humanity. But this is not even biblical. There are many metaphors to explain the cross, but the central doctrine is that Jesus reconciled humanity with God, not the other way around, ie not reconciled God with humanity, because God didn’t need to be reconciled. Humanity has a problem not God. If many Christians don’t get this central doctrine, how many other misunderstandings do they have? Jesus is dying to appease God’s wrath  – the idea that God is dying to save us from God, is completely illogical.”

When Jesus is worshiped as God, is this idolatry?


Sex and Guilt

I have seen Christianity cause harm to many lives, particularly when it comes to the issue of sex outside of marriage. Many Christians get married young so they can have sex, and from that point on have remained in a very unhappy marriage for half if not all of their lifetime, hurting children they produce in this dogmatic process. I’ve seen young people repress their sexuality, rejecting potentially wonderful relationships with non-Christians and finding themselves old lonely virgins. I hear and read of cases within the church where this repression morphs into the horrific events like sexual abuse of young boys or rape of daughters, not to mention the devastating consequences of the banning of condoms on the AIDS epidemic. Sex is treated as an evil temptation that is a sin against God, rather than the acceptance of sex as a natural desire we have to love and be loved, and express this with ultimate closeness.

I have not altogether avoided such harm although grateful to escape it to the most extent. I did struggle with sex issues when I was an evangelical and inlove with my boyfriend. Yet reading the Bible for myself, rather than accepting the Church’s teachings as authoritative, I realized the Bible never specified sex between two people who love each other, as being a sin. Sex is a subject that all of us must learn not to repress, but to control and enjoy as the ultimate expression of love for another person.

God is Love

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

If God is love, ‘He’ will not keep record of wrongs, he will not seek praise and will not envy whatever we dedicate our life to. Jesus’ taught his followers that the way to find the kingdom of God, ie of finding peace on earth, is to love God and love others. Loving God and loving others is not about declaring my description of God as right, and other’s description as wrong. Loving God and loving others is about embracing the wonderful mysterious power behind life that we call God, connecting with this force, listening to that inner voice, following the signs that will guide you toward fulfilling your life’s potential. It is in these two universal teachings that we can continue Jesus’ movement toward a true state of peace that begins in you and from there will radiate throughout our planet and universe.

Further Reading:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here

Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?”

Son of God = son of god

What’s the difference between “Son of God” and “son of god”? Actually in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) and ancient Greek, the orignal language that the New Testament was written, capital letters were never used  – so there is NO DIFFERENCE!

Son or Servant?

The King James Version reads, “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

The New King James Version reads, “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you away from his iniquities.”

Which is the correct translation? This is a pretty huge mistake. There’s a pretty big difference between claiming to be God’s servant, and his Son. Could Jesus have claimed to be the SERVANT, not the SON, of God? Is the Aramaic word for this the same, or is this a confused interpreter or what? How easy would it have been for the original interpreters to have tailored their interpretation to fit their purposes?

Son of Man?

Jesus tended to call himself the Son of Man not the Son of God anyway…

We are all Sons and Daughters of God

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.’

Jesus calls Adam a son of God in Luke 3:38, “the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”

Romans 9:26, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said of them ‘you are not my people’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Matthew 5:44-45 “But I tell you: Love your enemies[a] and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Psalm 82:6 “I said, ‘You are ‘gods’; you are all sons of the Most High.’”

Genesis 6:1-3  “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with (or remain in) man forever, for he is mortal (or corrupt); his days will be a hundred and twenty years.””

The disciples enthusiasm as evidence or support for a social revolution?

My Dad’s main argument for the evidence of the truth of Christianity, is the disciples. The disciples were weak followers. After their leader had died, they lost all hope. They were sad and depressed. What then caused such a change so that they might go out, profess Jesus resurrection? They believed so strongly that they would die for it. Paul, … were all martyred for their belief.

Paul was converted on his way travelling from Jerusalem to Damascus, by a voice and vision of Jesus. What else could have caused such a change? It must have been a true vision of Jesus or else why would he do it?

Let’s consider the options:

1. Jesus was not dead, a disciple nursed him to health. He appeared slowly to different disciples.

2. He was dead. One or more disciples stole the body.

3. Jesus appearance to them:

Did they imagine it?

Have a visit from his ghost/spirit?

Share a vision?

Maybe the idea of Jesus eating, was more of a little thing that the disciples added to make their story more believable (so that they weren’t thought of as crazy) The vision may have been a ghost / spirit, like a seance or something of the like…

An impostor: At first they did not recognise him – why not? Is it possible that it was because it wasn’t really him?

From the disciples point of view:

1. A new leader, had a revelation and inspired them with new vision to continue their ministry. They may have believed it would be for the good of mankind. They didn’t want to go back to their old way of life.

2. Another follower of Jesus conspired to create the resurrection story, stole the body and appeared to them like a magician/illusionist can do. The disciples thus believed the story and set out to spread the word with conviction.

3. It was true: Jesus was dead. Then he was resurrected. He appeared maybe in the garden to some women, maybe… he walked through walls to appear to the disciples even though they could touch the holes in his hands and eventually he physically shot up into the sky towards the sun.

It is possible that it was Jesus and one disciple planned to create a new religion all along. Maybe they staged everything. It is a possibility. If Jesus wasn’t dead, he could have appeared to many, then escaped to Egypt or some far away place. Alternatively if he was dead, the co-conspiring disciple could have stolen the body, organised himself or someone else to impersonated him as to excite them that the resurrection came true. Why did some disciples doubt him? The few men that were close to him didn’t even think he was going to rise from the dead…

Pagan Religions – who is the copycat?


Virgin-born Saviours who died and rose again

This is a list of religions before Christianity who had virgin-born saviors who were sons of their gods, who lived, preached, performed miracles, rose from death and ascended into heaven:

  • Chrishna – Hindu
  • Osiris – Ancient Egypt – The worship of Osiris continued for over 6000 years. During that time millions of Egyptians believed that the had risen from the dead. In contrast, Christianity is less than 2000 years old and the resurrection of Christ is rejected today by ? .
  • Aesculapius – Ancient Greece – Adonis – Syrians at the time of Jesus (One of the gods that Paul continually scolded the Jews for going back to)
  • 386AD St Jerome says “Over Bethlehem (in the year 386 after Christ) the grove of Tammuz, that is of Adonis, was casting its shadow and in the grotto where formerly the infant anointed cried, the lover of Venus was being mourned””


The Babylonians and other Pagan cultures believed that the earth was flat with mountains around the edges holding up the rigid dome of the sky and that the sun, moon, planets and stars were pushed by angels along the underside of the dome (kind of like the Truman show) The Tower of Babel story where people try to build a tower to reach God, is an example of this type of belief.


Nelson’s search on Easter reveals:

“Easter was originally a pagan festival honoring Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of light and spring. At the time of the vernal equinox (the day in the spring when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length), sacrifices were offered in her honor. As early as the eighth century, the word was used to designate the annual Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ.”

This is what is says about Ishtar:

“The ancient Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar symbolized Mother Earth in the natural cycles of fertility on earth. Ishtar was the daughter of Sin, the moon god… Ishtar has been identified with the Phoenician Astarte, the Semitic Ashtoreth, and the Sumerian Inanna. Strong similarities also exist between Ishtar and the Egyptian Isis, the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus.”

Ok, so I don’t have to worry that someone is making up this ‘Ishtar’ character in order to turn people away from Christianity. This is information written by Christians!

“Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.”Ezekiel 8:14 NIV

The notes of the NIV study Bible say “The only Biblical reference to this Babylonian fertility god. The women of Jerusalem were bewailing his dying, which they felt caused the annual wilting of vegetation.”

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says regarding this verse: “Tammuz, later linked to Adonis and Aphrodite by name, was a god of fertility and rain … In the seasonal mythological cycle, he died early in the fall when vegetation withered. His revival, by the wailing of Ishtar, was marked by the buds of spring and the fertility of the land. Such renewal was encouraged and celebrated by licentious fertility festivals … The women would have been lamenting Tammuz’s death. They perhaps were also following the ritual of Ishtar, wailing for the revival of Tammuz” (Vol. VI, 1986, pp. 783-784).

Does the Bible mention ‘Easter’?

The word Easter appears once in the King James Version of the Bible, in Acts 12:4, where it is a mistranslation. Reputable scholars and reference works point out that the word Easter in this verse comes from the Greek word pascha, meaning Passover. Modern translations correctly translate this word “Passover.”


“You shouldn’t write ‘Xmas’ as it takes the “Christ out of Christmas.” I often thought that people today have lost focus on what is important. They put all their attention on commercial things such as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Easter eggs and exchanging gifts, loosing the real meaning of Christmas – Christ’s birth; and of Easter – his ultimate sacrifice – he died for YOU, then rose again – just as you will rise and have eternal life.

Slight problem I have just discovered, how can we put the “Christ back into Christmas”, if it wasn’t even there to begin with?

The bubble hurts as it bursts, but but just as children discover the truth about santa, as adults we do need to know the truth behind our traditions. The ‘real’ meaning of Christmas is not Christ. Christmas did not start out a Christian celebration. Christ wasn’t born on or even close to the 25th of December. This date was adopted by Christians in order to ease the conversion of Pagans. The ‘real’ meaning of these celebrations goes back far further than 2000 years – all the way back to Ancient Egypt. This date was the shortest date of the year, the winter solice, and since from this day, the sun would be in the sky for a longer time, it was considered the worship of the Sun god Ra.

How do we know Christ wasn’t born in December?

Firstly, the shepherds. Luke 2:7-8 tells us shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds were not in the fields during December. Secondly, the census. Luke 2:1-4 tells us that Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census. Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition.

If you are reading this in disbelief, check out the Catholic Encyclopedia, which states that The Sol Invictus festival has a “strong claim on the responsibility” for the date of Christmas.

Christmas outlawed

Did you know that Christmas was outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies in the 17th Century because of its unbiblical and pagan origins? I wonder how we managed to forget something so important. Why haven’t I been taught the truth behind something I have celebrated every year for the last 25 years?

Wise men, kings, shepherds and astrology

Three wise men? Three kings? Why did shepherds follow a star? What does this mean?

Did three wise men travel to see Jesus? The Bible doesn’t say. There could have been more. We are told only that they gave Jesus three kinds of gifts: “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1, 11). Did the wise men, as nativity scenes often depict, arrive to find Jesus in a makeshift shelter–a manger–because there was “no room in the inn”? (Luke 2:7). Not really. By the time the wise men arrived, apparently some time after Christ’s birth, Joseph’s family was residing in a house (verse 11). Did the writers of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) consider Jesus’ birth to be one of the most significant events for Christians to acknowledge or celebrate? Mark and John do not even mention the event.

Virgin Birth

Paul didn’t know Mary was a virgin – if he did wouldn’t he have mentioned it? Alexander the Great – His mother told him that Zeus was his father, that she had slept with him in the hills. The Hebrew word for ‘Virgin’ also meant “young woman”. Matthew 1:20 says the news of Jesus’ impending birth was first told to Joseph in a dream. Yet Luke 1:28 describes the news coming first to Mary, by an angel. I know my Christian response would be to say that both events would have happened, but why does Matthew fail to mention Mary’s experience with the angel, and Luke omit Joseph’s dream? And why did Mary seemingly forget these incredible circumstances of her son’s birth? That is, later in the gospels she tells her other children to go and get Jesus who is acting like a lunatic, and bring him home…

I think I would have a different perception of my son if had I been visited by angels and been a pregnant virgin…

Supernatural additions – theological debates and decisions

“Most Christians seem to assume that the details of their faith system dropped out of heaven in a fully developed form. The creeds began as baptismal formulas in the 3rd century and did not receive the shape we now recognize until the 4th century. Doctrines like the Trinity and Incarnation were still being formed in the 5th century.

Moving closer to the life of Jesus, scholars now suggest that miracles were added to the Jesus story only in the 7th and 8th decades of the Christian era. The Virgin birth and the suggestion that resurrection meant physical resuscitation are products of the 9th decade, and the account of Jesus’ ascension enters the tradition only in the 10th decade. Perhaps the biggest gap in our knowledge of Jesus, however, occurs in those years between 30 C.E. when Jesus’ earthly life came to an end and 70 C.E. when gospels began to achieve written form. Today, by lining up the gospels in chronological order with Mark first (ca. 70 C.E.), then Matthew (ca. 80 C.E.), Luke (ca 90 C.E.) and finally John (ca 100 C.E.), we can see how the miraculous was heightened; the details become more graphic and supernatural activity more pronounced. If the story could grow as dramatically as it did from 70-100 C.E., is it not reasonable to assume that it also grew from 30-70 C.E.? Yet with no written sources, entering that time of oral transmission is a problem.”


Further Reading:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here

Discussing the contradictions

Jesus’ Genealogies Contradict

The genealogies recorded in Matthew and Luke are totally different!

Matthew 1:16 “16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Luke 3:23 “23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,”

Who was Joseph’s father?

Matthew Luke
Isaac son of Abraham Isaac son of Abraham
Jacob Jacob
Judah – Tamar Judah – Tamar
Perez – Zerah Perez – Zerah
Hezron Hezron
Ram Ram
Amminadab Amminadab
Nahshon Nahshon
Salmon – Rehab Salmon – Rehab
Boaz     – Ruth Boaz     – Ruth
Obed Obed
Jesse Jesse
David (King) – Uriah David (King)
Solomon Nathan
Rehoboam Mattatha
Abijah Menna
Asa Melea
Jehoshaphat Eliakim
Jehoram Jonam
Uzziah Joseph
Jotham Simeon
Ahaz Levi
Hezekiah Matthat
Manasseh Jorim
Amon Eliezer
Josiah Joshua
Jeconiah (& brothers) Er
Matthew (cont.) Luke (cont.)
Shealtiel Elmadam
Zerubbabel Cosam
Abiud Addi
Eliakim Melki
Azor Neri
Zadok Shealtiel
Akim Zerubbabel
Eliud Rhesa
Eleazar Joanan
Matthan Joda
Jacob Josech
Joseph husband of Mary Semein
Jesus Mattathias
Jesus (“or so it was thought”)

There are two responses Christians have provided me to this seemingly obvious error.

(a) Matthew’s genealogy is that of Joseph; Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary

(b) Both Matthew and Luke give the genealogy of Joseph, but one is through the natural lineage and the other through the legal lineage. The Jewish law required a man to take into his household the childless widow of a brother and to raise up children to continue the name of the brother. Joseph is said to be the son of Jacob, but legally the son of Heli, who had died childless. Heli and Jacob were stepbrothers with the same mother but different fathers, the two genealogies give the lines of different families, but uniting in David.

Are there contradictions between gospel accounts?

What were Jesus’ last words?

Matthew 27:46 “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”

Mark 15:37 Just a loud cry

Luke 23:46 “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”

John 19:30 “It is finished”


Who was the first to visit the tomb?

Matthew 28:1 1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Luke 24:10 – 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

John 20:1 – 1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

1 Corinthians 15:5 – 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”


That seems a bit strange…

Was there a mass resurrection of holy people?

NIV Matthew 27:51- 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

If there was such a mass resurrection, surely it would have been recorded by others – Christian and non-Christian alike? Yet no mention of this ANYWHERE. Not Luke, John, Mark or Paul to mention it in their writings. Doesn’t it seem weird that only one of the gospels wrote about such a miraculous event? Is it possible that Jesus rose from the dead in the same way as these Holy people probably did, not in physical form – our spirit returning to our rotten corpse, but raising to life in a spiritual form?

Who wrote the bible?

Moses could not have written Genesis-Deuteronomy

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – the first five books of the Bible- are known as the ‘Five books of Moses’, the ‘Torah’ (Hebrew word for ‘instruction’). Moses is commonly attributed as the author of these books – that after leading the Israelites out of Egypt he hiked to the top of a mountain and asked for God’s direction. He came down from the mountain with the beginning of Christianity – the story of creation, and a list of laws for this new society to follow.

For a straight up practical example of how we know for sure that Moses didn’t write these books, pickup your Bible and glance over Genesis 1:1- 2:4a and then Genesis 2:4b-4:26. They are the two sources, two writers, overlapping their accounts of creation. Check out the story of the flood in Chapter 7 & 8 – almost every second paragraph repeats itself – the two sources weave so closely. This continues throughout these early books, with different narrator’s descriptions being presented side by side. One author most certainly did not write this book, and definitely not an infallible God. I don’t know how I didn’t realize this before.

Here is a simple example, although I suggest checking it out in your Bible for yourself. Chapter 7 verse 2 “Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird” by a few verses later in verse 7 “Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground…” Was it two or seven of each clean animal and bird on the boat?

Genesis contains: Two creation stories in Genesis. Two descriptions of the Abrahamic covenant. Two stories of the naming of Isaac. Two instances where Abraham deceived a king by introducing his wife Sarah as his sister. Two stories of Jacob traveling to Mesopotamia Two stories of a revelation at Beth-el to Jacob. Two accounts of God changing Jacob’s name to Israel Two instances where Moses extracted water from two different rocks at two different locations called Meribah.

Also, funny that Moses’ death, burial and mourning are recorded in Deuteronomy 34:5-9 – unless he foresaw his own death, I don’t see how he could have written this part. Apparently our English translations make the distinction between writers less obvious, but in other languages, different authors can be identified by the way God is referred to as ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Elohim’, and through their writing styles. In my appendix you can seen a table setting out specific examples of how these writers were intertwined in the first few books of Genesis. I think this is important for any Christian to know – who wrote the books that they base their life upon.


And yet Jesus believed Moses was the author


Luke 24:44…I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true.

John 1:17For the law was given through Moses…

John 5:46But if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me because he wrote about me. And since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?


Why didn’t Jesus know that Moses was not the writer? If Jesus was God then wouldn’t He know that? If Moses is not the author, then does the Bible appear to be in error? Does this mean we are not sure about which parts of the Bible we can and can not trust? If Moses is not the author, then, who was? What were their intentions? Were they all inspired by God? Could some details have been exaggerated throughout their oral tradition?

Who was Cain’s wife?

Gen 4:16-17: “So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, [f] east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.

Where is this land of Nod? Does this not infer people existed outside the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve weren’t the only people God created? How can the creation story be literal then?

Missing books?

referred to inside the Bible

The Book of Jasher (fully translated as the Book of the Upright or the Book of the Just) is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18

Joshua 10:13 reads,

“So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.” I’m going to continue because this is so interesting – verse 14 continues, “There as never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” (NIV Bible)

The Book of Jashar is not in the bible.

The notes section of study Bibles

NIV Study Bible is a great source of information. The Introduction to each book, and the notes sections of each page, explain so much about the unknowns, omissions and contradictions. It’s great that the Bible has been published with such honesty, but why is it that most Christians are unaware of what these notes say? Why, when I quote things I learnt in these notes, do I get faces of disapproval, and shamed into feeling like a heretic? IT’S IN THE BIBLE. Check out Luke 9:55-56; John 5:3; Acts 24:6, 1 Corintians 8:36-38 and Mark 16:9-20.

How is it that as Christians, we often avoid the extra effort of reading the notes sections, as if it is too tiresome and academic, and irrelevant. How can interpretations taught at church suffice our thirst for knowledge about the most important thing in life? We are supposed to have a PERSONAL relationship with God, don’t you think this is worth a bit of time and effort? Don’t you think we need to learn as much as we can, think about it for ourselves and speak with God ourselves, rather than blindly accepting someone else’s thoughts? What would Jesus want us to do? Also, if some verses are taken as symbolic, and some God’s word, and literal – who decides???

Age of earth according to the Bible

Genealogies in the Bible, not only cover the lineage between Abraham and Jesus, but also between Adam and Abraham. Along with the lifespan of each person. Hence if we are to believe the Bible is the Word of God, and without error, you would think we MUST believe the calculated age of the earth would be correct. Let’s explore this further.

In 1654 – James Ussher published a work called Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti (“Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world”) that calculated creation occurred on the night before 23 October 4004BC – a great knowledge of ancient history, including the rise of the Persians, Greeks and Romans as well as strong expertise in biblical languages and in- depth knowledge of the Bible itself.

In Genesis Chapters 4,5,11,21 and 25, precise genealological data including the length of time each person lived and the father’s age at birth of his son – thus it is easy to calculate the dates of birth and death in relation to creation of Adam, demonstrating that Abraham was born 1948 years after Adam.

Date of birth Length of life Date of Death
















































































Maurice Bucaille 1979 The Bible, The Qur’an and Science (translated from French by Alastar D Pannell)

What about all the evidence of the Aborigines arriving in Australia 30,000 years ago??? And other scientific findings about the earth being millions of years old? Dinosaurs reigning for millions of years – how could this all fit together?

The age of Earth combined with the flood = IMPOSSIBLE BEYOND DOUBT:

  1. Adam was the first man
  2. Genealogy from Adam, to Abraham covers 1948 years
  3. Genealogy between Abraham and Jesus covers between 40 and 54 generations
  4. If we overestimate and say that each person along this lineage lived 100 years, then this is a maximum of 5400 years
  5. We know Jesus lived 2000 years ago
  6. 1948+5400+2000 = 9000. If we believe the Bible at all, then we must believe that people have not been around longer than 9000 years. Is there any evidence of humans living earlier than 7000 BC? How conclusive is this evidence?

How does this reconcile with the 30,000 year + history of the Australian aborigines? And the dinosaurs who lived 60 million years ago? Ancient remains of campfires, pottery and hundreds of objects, are said to be reliably carbon dated at 30,000 BCE or earlier… Sorry this does not compute.

Still, Christians bring up their children (myself included), with the belief that the world was created around 4,000 BC, approximately 6000 years ago rather than the 4.5 billion years that most history books teach – an estimation coming from the dating of rocks using potassium-argon and other radiometric dating systems.

It was interesting to discover a massive debate that has been going on for some time between two groups: the Creationists and the Evolutionists. It is a very scientific debate, and I felt in-over-my head, each group speaks with such conviction that I swayed between beliefs of whoever is talking. How can I ever know what to believe, when even professionals in their field argue about such major topics? Speaking with intellectuals and professionals I discovered Creationism has little respect around the world, in academic and scientific communities, and even in most religious groups including mainstream Christianity. More info on both sides of the debate check out The creationist debate: the encounter between the Bible and the historical mind – by Arthur McCalla on google books.

What makes more sense?

1. That God selected ONE species to be his “chosen” species, abandoning all His other creations to nothingness.
2. That God values all of his creations. The idea that humans are the only creations with souls, is a narrative created by humans not God.

What makes more sense?

1. That God selected ONE group of people to be His “chosen people, to help them conquer other groups of people (as long as they obeyed Him) and to punish all other people in the world who strive to discover Him and His will.
2. That this group of people crowned themselves God’s chosen people, and that in times where these people won battles they believed it was because of their obedience to God, while in times of trouble their scapegoat was to disobedience to God.

What makes more sense?

1. That the world was created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago, by a God who is an entity separate from the world, that watches the world from afar. And yet is omnipotent, omnipresent and omni?
2. That some component of the universe has always existed, and this has be personified as God. That the universe is, like the breath of God, currently expanding, and one day it will compress back to a single quantum atom at which time the process of expansion will start again. The process of creation, destruction and recreation never ends, hence presenting the beautiful process and nature of “God”. A never-ending process of yin and yang, good and evil, diametrical opposites that allow us, (and God) to know the other.

What makes more sense?

1. That carbon and other dating methods are inaccurate by millions/billions of years, that evolution is incorrect, and that the 30,000-year history of the aborigines is a complete fabrication.
2. That the biblical account of Genesis is, like many other (very similar) creation stories about human beings that lived between 5-2000 years ago, a mythological symbolic account that explained the origins of life in a non-literal sense.

What makes more sense?

1. That God selected one point in time, that is, 2000 years ago, to impregnate a human woman to bare His one son, who is also an incarnation of Himself, in order to save humanity and provide an opportunity for people born lucky enough to hear this story, to have a relationship with Him. That this path to heaven does not come through how people live their lives, but they come from His “grace” that allows “anyone who believes in Him” – and the biblically narratated account of His divine Son dying on a cross and physically rising again for my, or your, sin, can have a relationship with God and go to heaven when they die.
2. That God would love ALL the human (and non-human) beings He created and continues and will always continue to create over billions and zillions of years – before our universe’s beginning, and after it will end. That each group of people, through myriad circumstances, have developed a unique relationship with “Him” (referring to a personification of what is not human nor of any gender), discovering different aspects of the macrocosmic, omnipotent, omnipresent entity to which we are all a part of.

What makes more sense?

1. That all the Mayans and Incas in South America, the Aborigines in Australia, the Chinese, Japanese, Indians – all the people that were born into other cultures and see the world through a different lens that they have been brought up in, people who believe they have a relashionship with God – are actually wrong and are worshiping false gods, and hence will go to hell unless they repent and abandon the beliefs of their ancestors, and believe in the Christian God and Jesus Christ His son.


2. That none of these religions have discovered the whole of who (or what) “God” is?

Is it possible that by exploring each tradition in it’s historical context, alongside the ongoing scientific and astronomical discoveries, that we can together continue to uncover more about the nature of the powers driving the universe?


Further Reading:

Chapter 1 – Introduction Click here

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here

Is the Bible the “Word of God”?

The Bible – ‘Word of God’ or words of man?

Every word of God is flawless” Proverbs 30:5-6

the words of the LORD are flawless” Psalms 12:6

“How do you know the Bible is the Word of God?”.

“Because God tells us so”.

“But how did He tell you?” I ask.

“In the Bible,”

“But how do you know what it says in the Bible is right?” I ask.

“Because it’s the Word of God.”

“But…um…how do you know that?” I ask again…

This is an endless and tiresome circular conversation I have had numerous times with family and friends. I wanted to know WHO in the Bible tells us that? WHO wrote those words? But at they didn’t know. In one instance during this conversation, and my motivations for asking these questions were attacked, as if I was doing the work of the devil. I ended up in tears in the middle of the restaurant. Later on I did receive an apology, I guess it hit home just how defensive they had become in response to an innocent, logical question. Although these Christians are intelligent, logically minded people, for some reason when it comes to their faith, logic is left behind. The problem starts in the early child Bible songs. “Jesus loves me yes I know, cause the Bible tells me so.” The Bible is treated as completely authoritative and anything it is supposed to be taken as literally true. That’s all any Christian needs to know. Now I have my doubts. Muslims also believe their holy book, the Qur’an, is inerrant. They believe it was dictated to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel, the same angel that appeared to Mary. If every religion believes their Holy Book is the inerrant Word of God, can they all be true? According to Christian beliefs, no – their Bible is the only True Word of God, all of the others are lying. But is an internal claim for inerrancy enough? If each religion teaches different messages, then only one can be inerrant right?… Which one? Or are none? Time for more research…

Who in the Bible says it is the word of God? First, the writer of 2 Timothy. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. This is the verse most often quoted and is the verse my step-mom was referring to. It states that all of the Scriptures are “theopneustos” in the original Greek, which means “breathed out by God.” Some conservative Christians believe 2 Timothy was written by Paul, around 64CE, from his chains in a cold dungeon but most theologians believe it was written around 100 to 150 CE by an unknown author.

Secondly, the writer of 2 Peter. “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21. Conservative Christians believe 2 Peter was written by Peter around 67CE. Most liberal theologians attribute Peter to an unknown author around 125- 150 CE.

Both these verses were written centuries before the gospels had been written and long before the canon of the New Testament was actually selected! These verses were hence not referring to their own words, or to the gospels, of which over 40 were later written, they were referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. Some Christians argue they these words were pre-destining the God-inspired selection of New Testament books that would occur a hundred years into the future but no-where in the Bible does it say that. Justifications, or ‘harmonizations’, seem to me pretty far-out desperate attempts to defend something by any means possible.

Conflicts and contradictions

Harmonising the Bible

When it comes to the Christian response to challenging questions, I have noticed a pattern in the way my friends or family, and the way I used to, respond to any conflicting passage presented with. On the religious tolerance website, I discovered that there is actually a name for this response pattern – it’s called ‘harmonization.’ This seems to be major categories:

  1. a careful selection of symbolic/literal interpretation
  2. a different language translation of a particular word or sentence, from original Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic into English
  3. deciphering a teaching as for universal purposes or specific to a particular time
  4. saying that a partial description of an event, does not make it not a false description
  5. a far-fetched yet conceivable explanation
  6. attributing a conflict to being our human interpretation getting confused with God’s true meaning which He may not have chosen to share with us yet
  7. if all else fails – it all comes down to the f word – FAITH. Although we can’t explain the conflict now, God must have had a reason, we need to put our faith in Him

If a conflict can be harmonized by them, yet is not convincing enough to the person questioning, Christians they will say that the Bible can only be understood by those chosen by God – those that have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them to help them with comprehension. Paul writes, “14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Are these methods of harmonising conflicts sufficient? How does it sit in your mind, a defensive justification of an absolute truth? Is this what God would want us to do? Or would He want us to question further and seek to get closer to Him through increasing our understanding of His creations?

Many different interpretations

Different interpretations on issues from creation to rituals, to moral issues like abortion, homosexuality, death penalty, the ten commandments, and spanking children, have led to most of the church splits. There are now more than 1500 different Christian faith groups, each believe they are the ‘true’ church, that they have the correct interpretation and that everyone else has it wrong.

Relative or absolute truth?

Was the Bible written as an absolute truth or a relative truth? Does it refer to all locations and all time, or specifically to the people it was written for at the time? In my experience, the church seems to pick some parts that they say are absolute truths, such as not having sex before you are married, yet they believe that the Sabbath was truth just for the people in the old days.

Does the Bible’s ambiguity make inerrancy a meaningless concept anyway?

Considering the diversity in beliefs among Christian faith groups today, it would appear that the Bible is ambiguous and that it is not possible to be certain of at least some of its key teachings. If it is not possible to be certain of the Bible’s meaning, then isn’t it meaningless to assert that the Bible in itself is free of error. Does it really matter if one interpretation is true if we can’t determine which one?

A summary of a fundamentalist perspective – the bible is inerrant, authoritative and literal

Fundamentalist Christians believe the Bible is inerrant, that is, it contains no error. They believe this because the Bible says the scriptures are “God breathed” and since God is perfect He would not make mistakes. God would not breathe anything false, untrue or misleading. Also, Jesus is the Son of God, and at the same time He is God. Since Jesus is God, what He says must be true and so seeing as Jesus said the Scriptures are the Word of God, it must be so. Fundamentalists believe modern versions of the Bible are reliable translations and too can be considered the word of God. For this to happen without the translator’s biases in word selection, this process too must have been God-inspired. They believe that aside from the poetry, parables and figurative speaking, the rest of the Bible should be interpreted literally. For example, that earth was created in six 24 hour days; that a flood destroyed all humans and animals and left Noah and his family and the animals on the boat to repopulate the world. After the flood God created the rainbow as a symbol of his promise, (supposedly rainbows did not exist before this time). Jonah was really in the belly of a whale for three days. And so on. These Christians believe that in selecting the canon the leaders of the Church at the time must have been lead by God in their selection of the correct four gospels from the 40 in circulation, and which letters and other writings would be included, and the knowledge from God that the rest of the writings were heresy.

Fundamentalists believe the Bible is infallible, that the reader can trust it and won’t be deceived by it; authoritative, that it defines what we believe, how we should act and dictates our moral and ethical values; that it reflects the will of God for humanity; and that no conflict truly exists within the Bible, critics that say there are, are themselves committing errors in their analysis. The Bible is hence defended as accurate on all topics including history, theology, morality, creation and science. It is seen to be internally consistent since God doesn’t change, God’s message should be consistent, flowing over the many centuries the Bible was written – through from Genesis to Revelation; and also that the authors identities are correctly identified by the book name. That is, the ‘Pentateuch’ (the first five books from Genesis to Deuteronomy) were written by Moses, Isaiah was written by Isaiah, Matthew was written by Matthew, an apostle of Jesus; Mark was written by Mark, a disciple of Simon Peter, who was an apostle; Luke was written by Luke, who was a disciple of Paul; John was written by John, who was an apostle. But were they? If we have faith in the bible, what are we actually putting our faith in?

Let’s pause here and consider who exactly, as Christians believing the Bible is the “word of God”, must put our trust in. For starters, we must put some trust in Peter and Paul, or the other unknown authors, depending on the theologian/historian you believe, who stated the Bible was “God-breathed”. We must trust that those men, whoever they were, were inspired by God in their writing, and that they did not have any ulterior motives, like to justify their own words as being from God. We must trust that we have a correct understanding of these words – trusting the theologians who have extrapolated the interpretations our church has taught us.

More than meets the eye

Do you ever wonder whether the God of such an amazing universe, would be so exclusive, cutting himself off from most of humanity, choosing one group of people, and providing them the One Way to Salvation? Maybe there’s more to it then what they told us at Sunday school.

Non-Fundamentalist Bible as errant, historical & mythological

Non-Fundamentalist Christians see the Bible as a historical document, and accept that because humans wrote the Bible, and humans make mistakes, the Bible does contain error. The writers had limited historical knowledge about the past events they were writing about so the accuracy of their writing was dependent on the accuracy of the oral history they had been told, and the accuracy of any other resources that they based their writings on. There are errors in their reporting, some people in the Bible may have been more legends that may never have lived, some events may never have happened, some may have put words in the mouth of Jesus that he did not say.

The selecting of books for the New Testament Canon occurred in the 4th century from over 40 gospels, hundreds of epistles (letters), many infancy stories and many books of revelation. They were chosen on basis of their conformity with orthodox Christian beliefs of that time, and on the closeness to their association with an Apostle. Church leaders who selected the books were often mistaken in their understanding of who had written the books. Non-conforming books were suppressed and sometimes lost forever, yet they contained much valuable material about primitive Christian movement. Some of the books attributed to Paul were written by unknown authors many decades after Paul’s death. Some biblical passages are religious propaganda and forged passages have been added by unknown authors since the original texts were written.

Jesus spoke Aramaic, the New Testament was written in Greek and our translations are from Greek into English – leaving room for accidental and intentional errors in copying the Bible and in its translations between languages. They believe Bible passages have to be interpreted according to beliefs of the writers and times & the culture they lived in, which may or may not be valid today. Modern Bible versions are reasonably accurate translations of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek although they reflect belief systems of the translators and the sponsoring religious institution. Older translations like the KJV are less reliable because their translators had a lesser understanding of Hebrew and access to fewer manuscripts. Studying the books of the Bible in chronological order of their writers, allow us to see how particular beliefs such as the virgin birth, developed over time. This order can be found in Appendix 1.

In this view, the Bible is not seen as directly inspired by God. It is seen as having been influenced by other ancient religions including Canaanite, Persian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and other Pagan religions. The laws of the books in the Pentateuch were laws representing beliefs of the writer, not of God, and hence have been influenced by the writer’s own personal spiritual beliefs about God’s nature, His expectations, location, attributes, purpose of humanity etc. as well as their life experiences and understanding.

These Christians believe we should base our values on reason, observation and experience. These Christians admit some of the passages violate the will of God including the restricting roles of women, murder of religious and sexual minorities, and they do not protest against scientific findings of the physical, social and medical sciences that show that parts of the Bible are not accurate e.g. creation, mental illness caused by demons, structure of the universe, creation of rainbows, origin of languages etc.

The Bible evaluated to be internally inconsistent as from Genesis to Revelations, we can observe the evolution of religious beliefs over changing times. It recognises that most of the books are by unknown authors, the first five books attributed to Moses (1450 BCE) are believed to have been written by four anonymous authors referred to as J,E,P and D. (see p _ for more details) They accept that Isaiah is was written by more than one writer; Daniel was written four centuries after his death but another unknown author. Some believe Daniel was a mythical character. The Gospel of Mark, ends abruptly at Mark 16:8 and has had endings added, some Bibles include both endings. Are these later editions also inerrant? or have they been manipulations by believers to make the message more consistent or to fit their belief systems? Some entire books of the Bible were written many decades or even centuries after the apparent author died. e.g. Epistles (letters) such as 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 2 Thessalonians and Titus, are said toe be written by Paul although they were composed 35-85 years after Paul’s death.

Another view is of ‘limited inerrancy’, the perspective that the Bible is free from error on moral, spiritual and religious truths such as the deity of Christ and an individual’s route to salvation, but historical, geographical and scientific topics like origins, cosmos, the Earth, place names, some events etc, are of little consequence and are not necessary free of error.

Conflicting opinions on ways to interpret the Bible has caused the evolution of over 1000 different denominations of Christianity that exist today. Some Christians believe that the Old Testament is no longer relevant, and that the New Testament, Jesus’ teachings, replace the rules of the Old Testament. These discrepancies continue to generate divisions and conflicts within denominations over church policies regarding homosexuals, the way to salvation, women being ordained as clergy etc.

The Christians I know base their life on their English translations, taking every word as God’s word, and quoting Paul’s statement saying it is ‘God breathed’. They say to me, “Don’t you think that the powerful creator of our universe would be able to inspire the Bible writers, and then monitor each of the people involved in the publication process from 30CE till now – to ensure that the Bible we have in our hands today, is still his word?” Unfortunately human nature is to change things to make them fit our personal beliefs, and with this many people involved in the process over the last 2000 years, can we trust anything we read in the Bible?

Probably out of all my realisations, the discovery of errors in my God-breathed Bible, one was the most difficult to deal with. Eventually I realised this did not demolish the entire point; sure it changed the meaning, and also meant I had to do more thinking for myself than my previous blissful acceptance of everything that came out of it; yet the messages were now real – and give me a tough reality over a blissful ignorance any day.

Is biblical literalism a form of idolatry?

“Biblical literalism is idolatry. If you accept that the Bible is literally the word of God, and every word is exactly the word that God has spoken, then you have turned the Bible into an idol. Yet Christian leaders such as Peter Jensen of Sydney Anglicans state many times that the only way to meet with the Holy Spirit, is to meet with the Bible. The Holy Spirit has been made captive to the act of reading. Apparently the spirit is not active in life, and is not able to work in people’s lives in different ways. By turning the Bible into an idol, when the Bible speaks to the reader, the reader has assumed the position of speaking and thinking for god. So an interpretation of the Bible as God’s authoritative and incontestable word for me is an abomination. The Bible is a rich source of human experience and people’s attempt to understand their life, and God, in their context. The stories have been enriched by oral tradition over centuries, and embellished to enhance their understanding to different peoples in different places at different times. The final version recorded is but one of many variations of the story. And is the edited version of the writer at the time. They contained human wisdom, experience, moral lessons, mistakes – all which must be considered when we read them today.”

Reading the bible in context

The Bible is seen by majority of biblical scholars as: historical – written for the people at the time of the writing; metaphorical – “more-than-literal” – can gain more by looking for meaning rather than dwelling on whether or not it happened and sacramental – a vehicle for god’s spirit to communicate with you. Christian life is seen as: relational – why would God only make himself known to one civilization at one point in history? And transformational – not about meeting requirements to get into heaven, but about a relationship with God that transforms the life you live now.(Borg, 2003)

As Christians, we are told that God is all-powerful, and thus he has created the Bible in order to give us this particular message. He wants us to understand Him, and His purpose for our lives on earth, and for the relationship with him that we will have after our life on this earth ends. As this is His desire, we can be sure that He has given us this manual, that he has ensured that the writers, editors, canon designers, copiers, publishers and distributors, were all lead by Him, so that you may have His word in your hands. In believing this, are we not claiming to know the mind of God? To KNOW that this is his will, for us to have this book, is a pretty huge assumption to make, and based on what? What are we basing this assumption on? On a feeling? On that deep down knowing that this is God’s true will? We know that God did this, because God wanted to.

Evolving paradigms

Humanity has undergone a dramatic transformation this last two thousand years. Consider the worldview of people living in Jesus’ time: a time where the nature of our world as flat or round was probably not even a thought they pondered. Knowledge of what lay beyond the horizon came from the few travelers and traders that connected lands and people with unknown borders. All people knew was the culture, language and the lifestyle they had been born into. Majority of people lived in poverty-stricken conditions under rule of a powerful king or emperor. Slavery was acceptable and women suppressed. The seemingly super-natural movements of the weather and occurrences of disease were attributed to a supernatural power, personified as ‘God.’ Out of these times came the writings and teachings we read in the Bible.

Over the following 1500 years, people remained a consequence of their times and ruler. The church gained an increasing role in conjunction with the emperor, and people were forced to believe their teachings, with the alternative persecution, excommunication and possible death. Most of the population was illiterate, and the Bible lay in the hands of the Church, who prescribed their own interpretations for the people. The Bible accepted as the authoritative inerrant Word of God, and the world was accepted as having come into being on _ in 4004 BC, as calculated by Bishop Ussher following the Bible’s numbers and genealogies. This was the Dark Ages, the time where the Crusades and Inquisition took place.

In the last five hundred years, explorers like Columbus sailed across the seas and proved the world to be round not flat and subsequently Kepler and Galileo destroyed ideas of angels carrying stars and the sun across a sky held up by mountains separating the heavens and earth. The church found themselves confronted by a myriad of new questions: why was the Bible wrong about earth’s cosmology? Who were these strange people, and what did it mean that they had their religious connections with God?

Knowledge transferred generation to generation compounds exponentially, with one discovery leading to another and to another. Scientists discovered the earth’s geological processes, like the creation and erosion of mountains, were extremely slow, and hence concluded the earth must be much older than 6000 years. Dynamics behind volcanoes, lightning and other natural phenomenon were understood, and it was no longer necessary to see these as supernatural actions of God or the Devil.

Yet the church was still source of wealth and control, and as empires sought gold and power, the facade of ‘saving souls’ was used to seize land from native peoples, and the adoption of Christianity was forced upon many people throughout our world. Still as scientific discovery continued, the challenge for the church to answer questions became more and more difficult. In the nineteenth century the Bible’s condoning of slavery was rejected and humanity rose to higher levels of morality. People questioned how the Bible could uncriticisingly condone such unethical behaviour. A mistrust in the Bible and its relevance for the day, spread throughout society.

Midrash and premodern minds

“Midrash is the Jewish way of saying that everything to be venerated in the present must somehow be connected with a sacred moment in the past…It is the means whereby the experience of the present can be affirmed and asserted as true inside the symbols of yesterday.” Bishop Sprong gives an example of Midrash way parting of waters in a sea or river, reoccurs throughout the Bible: Firstly in Exodus when the Hebrews cross the Red or Reed sea to escape the Egyptian army, secondly in Joshua when they carry the ark across the Jordan River, and third in 1 Kings when Elijah and Elisha cross the Jordan River just before and just after Elijah was taken in a fiery chariot pulled by fiery horses up to heaven. According to a Midrash interpretation, the purpose of the parting of the Red/Reed Sea was to show the Israelites that God was on their side and that Moses could call on him for protection. The purpose of the second, third and fourth stories was to show that God continued to work through his chosen prophets in later times. They also show that the history of Israel is continuous, containing repetitive themes that link back to earlier events. Some other examples are the guiding stars involved in the births of Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Jesus; the local rulers ordering that Jewish babies be killed, placing both Moses and Jesus at risk; the feeding of 100 men by Elisha and Jesus’ feeding of 5000 men plus women and children; both Elijah and Jesus bringing dead people back to life and the ascension of both Elijah and Jesus towards heaven. Since all but one of the New Testament authors were of Jewish background, I guess is is reasonable to assume that midrash would be involved in their writing styles.

Near the end of the first century CE, conflict between early Christians and mainline Judaism started to build up, as Paul and his followers were evangelizing the Gentiles (non-Jews), thus what was originally a sect within the Jewish tradition, became more and more non-Jewish and eventually anti- Jewish. Gentile Christians would have been unaware of the Midrash tradition, and with their antagonistic attitude toward Jews, it makes sense that they began to interpret the Christian Scriptures literally.


People who believe the same think about their religion and holy books, we judge to be wrong, and us right. Our God is right, theirs is fake, and we feel we are right to assume our Bible is the one that God had his hand on, from the first letter that was written, right up until the point where your eyes read it. But you know what happens when we assume? We make an ass out of u and me. I’m starting to think that this is a bit much to ask and that maybe we can’t make such a grand assumption. Maybe God has ways we can’t understand. Maybe He wanted us to use our minds to analyse all the words He inspired, all around the world. Maybe He wants us to search for Him, not expect His mind on a platter.

It was interesting to me to learn that the idea of Bible infallibility only appeared in the 1600s. (Borg, 2003) A literal interpretation, that is, the belief that everything in the Bible actually happened, seems to me in hindsight to take away from the messages Christianity has to offer. This method it misses the true meaning writers intended, misinterpreting words by taking them out of the language, historical context and writing techniques that were used. That’s not to say that the holy spirit couldn’t still have worked through the Bible in this way, but now that resources for correct interpretations are available, we have the opportunity to get-to-know God on deeper levels, and increase our understanding of Him, and our understanding of the relationship our ancestors had with Him.

Christianity, Islam and Judaism – share father Abraham

I was initially quite surprised to learn of the connection between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All three religions are classified as Abrahamic – as they all share Abraham as a common ancestor. They all place value on the Old Testament, with a few other books and various interpretations of key factors since then.

Jesus was a Jew so I guess when you think about it, Jews are actually closer decedents to Jesus than I as a gentile will ever be. Jews were also the ‘chosen people’ of the more than half the books in our Bible, so it’s interesting to wonder why Jews do not believe in Jesus. John?

Islam is an offshoot of Christianity not so dissimilar to the way Protestantism was an offshoot from Catholicism. Both Muslims and Protestants began as a rejection of the mainstream teachings of the day, (Islam some 1500 years ago, and Protestantism some 500 years ago) and both interpret the Old Testament alongside a series of new books, with a committed claim in their books and interpretation, being the only and absolute true. The main difference other than time, between Islam and Protestantism, is the acceptance of the divinity of Jesus: that Jesus was the God of the heavens incarnated as a human, born by a virgin who died and lay dead for three days before rising back to life. These crucial differences are elements we shall explore in detail shortly.

Many atrocities have been committed in God’s name

The First Crusade was in 1095 Pope Urban II asked all Christians to join a war against the Turks, telling them that fighting the war would repay God for their sins. The armies marched to Jerusalem, attacking several cities on their way. They killed many people and in 1099 they won the battle for Jerusalem. A main cause of the crusade was the desperate need for land and retaking Jerusalem gave them both their Holy Land and land to live on. Not only the crusades, but maybe even worse was the 30 years war in Europe between Catholics and Protestants, the church supporting the Nazi regime, apartheid in South Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, the genocide in Bosnia, the war in Iraq. It just goes on and on. The Principal of a theologian college told the students that all Christians needed to come to terms with the evil done by the church throughout its history, and still being done today. Most Christians do not want to hear this truth, but as he explained, the church is a human institution and shows all the weakness of being human, even worse because the church thinks it has God’s authority, and repeatedly abuses this claimed authority.

Politics, power and the spread of Christianity

312AD Emperor Constantine – The birth of the Christian Empire. A major turning point in Christian history came in the early 4th century AD, when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. It was in October 312AD that Constantine, the son of Constantius, made a mysterious decision for men to wear a Christian symbol ‘Chi- Ro’ on their shields (a symbol made from the first two Greek letters of the word Christ). Constantine won the battle and attributes this success to the Christian god. He hoped Christianity would be the uniting force of his empire and declares Christianity a legal religion, favours the Christians- providing funds to churches and restoring their confiscated property. Christianity becomes a faith for the masses; and the start of Monasticism.

Historical vs literal / autocratic interpretations

Why are we as Christians brought up to interpret the Bible as literal? I attribute this to the fact that the Reformation occurred simultaneous to the invention of the printing press, landing the Bible in the hands of uneducated non-Jews. The early Protestants would have been unfamiliar with Jewish traditions such as ‘midrash’ and symbolism that the writers of the Bible wrote in. Not to mention the fact that the Bible had passed through 1500 years of translations, manipulations and theological interpretations for various political purposes. In claiming back individual agency from the Catholic hierarchy, the solution to pursue the Bible’s fundamentals, the inerrant word of God, a simple and strong platform for the individual to read and interpret the Bible for themselves. Now, 500 years later, despite the accessibility of education and opportunity for Protestants now to read and interpret the Bible in light of each author’s time, their writing style and intended meaning, I wonder why we still continue to read it as if we are uneducated masses?

Faith without certainty

The biggest point for Christianity is that it is here. It survived the last 2000 years, and now has spread so far as many as the stars. God told Abraham he would have descendants as numerous as the stars. Now look at the population of our world, and the number that believe Abraham is their father.

Every religion requires a leap of faith. This is a list of the faiths that every Christian must partake:

i. To accept that the Bible is the “word of God”:

The people who chose the books did not have their own motives. These are the same people who adopted pagan customs over the Jewish customs that Jesus observed. Can we really trust them?

The people who wrote the books did not have any ulterior motives. We don’t even know who wrote most of the books. Many books are written by numerous authors, edited by others, and translated through translated versions, into a book that today I find impossible to call ‘inerronous’. If it contains some error, then how do we know what is error and what is not?

ii. To accept that Jesus died and rose again

That the Roman soliders knew the difference between dead and unconscious or nearly dead, that they did check he was dead before taking him down

That no-one stole Jesus’ body

iii. To accept the teachings of the New Testament

a. Credibility of Jesus

Trusting that Jesus was telling the truth about himself, not deluded or deceived into thinking he was something he wasn’t. We must trust that Mary and Joseph didn’t bring him up to believe something that was false. That Mary didn’t make it all up in attempt to hide an affair, or make it all up in order to turn her son into the next ruler and saviour of the Jews.

b. Trust in Paul

We accept that Paul didn’t have his own agenda, grasping a chance for fame & social restructure. We have to accept that Paul’s vision of Jesus was real, and not a hallucination manifested as response to his own guilt and regret for harm he caused to many lives. We have to accept that God was leading this man from this point onwards, inspiring his words, even though he never claimed this to be. We have to accept that the changes Paul made to the beliefs, in order to make them acceptable to Gentiles, eg allowing them to eat pork and not be circumcised, were decisions inspired by God.

c. Trust in other disciples and early church leaders

We have to Peter and James were followers of Jesus for the right reasons, and

d. Marketers of the religion

e. Production of the Bible

To accept that what we have in our hands in English, is true to original teachings

f. Political/religious leaders in 200-500 AD

Constantine – stopped the persecution

Theodisis – made it the national religion

iv. Old testament

That Moses was not creating this religion as an explanation of the group’s origins as more of a story of inspiratio

v. Interpretations

That we have the correct interpretation of what the words in the Bible are meant to mean, and that we are taking out of them the purpose the writer, and God, wants us to take from them.


Further Reading:

Chapter 2 – Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Click here

Chapter 3 – Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God?” Click here

Chapter 4 – Discussing the contradictions Click here

Chapter 5 – What does this mean for my life today? Click here

Chapter 6 – My conclusions Click here