Discerning Human Taint In Holy Books
©2022 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com
As an agnostic, I’ll admit that The Bible “may” be — at least, obliquely — inspired by the Supreme Being, whom I unreservedly refer to as “God.” I also refer to God as a He, since there is no Mrs. God, and the God I envision is not a stone, nor an inanimate essence, but a personality. In the English language it is NOT appropriate to call a sentient being, an “it,” so, “He,” (capitalization intended) IT WILL BE. If this were Mandarin, “it,” 她 (tā) applies to both sentient and inanimate objects. So, God’s pronoun…would be “it,” but, this is English.
Here’s my point: I was an atheist during my 30s. I had very little morality. I was ambitious. I wasn’t above cheating in both business and marriage. I was out to “get mine.” Then I came into a so-called “Christian” church which über-fundamentally interpreted the Bible as a whole: Everything was required (except animal sacrifices): The High Holy days, the dietary restrictions against non-ungulates and seafood, and circumcision on precisely the 8th day. The “interpreters” (I won’t dignify them by calling them “ministry”) also insisted that the Garden of Eden story was true and that the billions of years of rock-strata proving evolution were something created by Satan to contradict the Bible. The Bible in question was the King James Version, and only that version.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how I was miraculously “converted” into that mess. Long story short: the lure of being part of an “elite” who knew the future based on Bible Prophecy. It was a timed-release of relating current news to old prophesies and using reverse-logic; the details aren’t important.
Once again, getting back to my point: Even with all that “error” of interpretation, when the cult collapsed, 25 years later, I came out a changed person. I came out with a strong sense of personal responsibility to try to do right. My previous narcissistic self is now anathema to me. (Although, some of it remains in me, I certainly don’t justify it nor exculpate it.) In a word, I gained a heart. And it wasn’t “Jesus,” either. The cult down-played “Jesus.” There was zero talk about “grace.” My gradual “epiphany,” during that quarter-century trip to hell and back —even though the Bible was used as a hammer — is the reason I’m ready to admit that it (and maybe other “holy books,” as well) may be the result of being obliquely inspired by God, during deep meditations, in humanity’s un-ending quest to make sense out of the mystery of our own existence.
So, here’s the problem: to the degree that those “holy books,” are used to justify building “religious empires,” they are NOT serving the God I envision. Further, they are all tainted by the hand of the human.
But, on the other hand, if we flatly reject them, we deprive ourselves of some of the world’s great literature, fully brimming with potential solutions to our continual philosophical quandaries. Those golden nuggets of potential inspiration from a caring, higher intelligence makes studying them a worthwhile pursuit. And let’s not forget, culling out man’s taint in the text: exposing the attempts to justify religious empires, is also worthwhile.
Clarity in thinking about the Bible and the world’s other “holy books” could be the compromise that might lead to World Peace.