Disillusioned but I love the Christians who are part of my life

Michael Murphy

 

The claims of fundamentalist's and orthodox theologies; are based on untenable propositions. The first proposition I want to talk about is the infallibility of the Bible.

Acts 1: 8-12

8 But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.  9 And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. 11 Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day's journey.

Luke 24: 47-51

47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

49 "The promise of my Father"... that is, the Holy Ghost, whom Christ had promised that his Father and he would send, John 14. 26, and 17. 7.

51 And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them, and was carried up to heaven. 52 And they adoring went back into Jerusalem with great joy.

You only need one contradiction to disprove the idea of infallibility. The preceding passages demonstrate such a contradiction.

I have heard it said and I have said it myself that the discrepancies are not a problem because they don't undermine the message as a whole.

However, the claim of infallibility has to do with Inspiration. In other words God infused knowledge infallibly, into the minds of the writers of Scripture. There is the claim that word for word, the Bible is accurate. Then due to the glaring discrepancies in the Bible the Fundies have had to qualify it by saying that the Bible is infallible in the original languages, not the translations; which is a major intellectual jump to nowhere; in that there are no extant original documents. Conclusion: We just trust these Doctors of Theology, because they say it is so.

Of course not only are the Scriptures lacking continuity, in fact; the interpretations of said Scriptures are many and varied. So one preacher is pitted against another, one church against another, one Christian against another with no end in sight.

Where does that leave me? I can only speak for myself.

I have experienced many powerful answers to prayer. I cannot ignore it, I cannot forget it; I have to process through it. I don't know what category these experiences belong in. But I have simplified the main goal of my life; that goal is to be compassionate, however that plays out.

For me the teachings of Jesus and the Jewish Scriptures on Compassion, challenge me to be a better person. I have experienced the joy of judging people by first putting myself in their shoes. I try to live by the maxim, that everyone is trying to do their best to be a good person. Oh I have experienced evil, oh yeah, but in the evil, I have found wounded souls; who do not know how to be, how to speak, how to live, without fear and anger. I try to bring healing and peace to these souls.

My daughter was 12 when she was assaulted in my home by an invasion of several Black youth. It was horrific; thankfully neither my son nor I were there because someone would have probably been killed. Her nose was broken; she was bruised all over as she had been kicked all over, mercilessly as they circled her curled up body on the floor, all the while she was pleading for mercy. I will never forget her phone call to me at church. It was a Sunday. I answered the Church phone and Kris is crying, "they beat me up Daddy." I said nothing to my wife or anyone, I ran to my motorcycle and raced home. I will I ever forget seeing her all battered and bruised and bleeding in the fetal position, on the living room chair, all alone, reaching to me crying, "Daddy." You can imagine the chaos that followed as my son and I went hunting for people we knew nothing of. They had just been in the neighborhood for a few hours that day. I cannot explain the degree of rage, mixed with helplessness that I felt at that moment. It still moves me deeply, I dare not think on it too much. ... ...

We did not know the offenders and the police said that if we did know them they could only charge one of them with trespassing and that was about it. Needless to say I was enraged.

To make a long story short: I was a visiting preacher at the local county jail; and on one occasion I talked about forgiveness and told the story of my daughter. I was broken inside and I was not sure if I was really in forgiveness mode; but after the talk the inmates came up to shake my hand and one of them grabbed my hand and attempted to pull me aside, which I resisted. He then said to me, " That was me that attacked your daughter." He told me later that he expected me to punch him; I hugged him; boy was it hard.

It turns out his father was a Black Panther and was into the occult. He himself was taught to hate white people. I asked him on a subsequent visit if he thought he could forgive the white in me; and he said, "If you could forgive what I did to you, I can forgive you. We cried. I prayed for him. He actually tried to participate in the chapel services. He raised his hand to speak one night and all he could say was, " I ..I... I'm here" Someone else said, " amen." He just had so much pain inside. He was trying to believe that anyone could actually love him, and especially God. I was unable to keep up with him, and later he was let out of jail. Not too long after, at a friends house, for no reason he shot a young man in the stomach as the young man sat on a couch. The young man died and the shooter is in for hard time... ..hard time.

It still pains me to see the effect on my daughter's emotions; she is 28 now; but the pain of that experience has not left her, and it has not left me.

I am still greatly offended by evil, e.g. Child molestation, murder, etc. etc. but life is not as simple as I once thought it was. I cannot allow myself to let evil destroy my peace. I have spent most of my life as a Firefighter/Paramedic and a Pastor of an Inner City Church. I have been to more funerals than I care to count; and I have seen it all and I still cannot get my mind around murder; it makes no sense to me: but I also know that I can only 'be.' I cannot change the world, or people. I can love them however; and that takes grace and I don't know where it comes from; except to say that I value compassion, therefore it is a permanent part of who I am.

As for the Bible and infallibility; it is a moot point for me. There are bigger issues.

 

Michael Murphy

 

 

Brian Worley     July 04, 2009    Ex-minister.org     All rights reserved!

 


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