Ask an average churchgoer what the Bible is. The most probable answer? The word of God.
Except for very few denominations, they will also claim Bible as the final authority. Almost all will say either you obey God or you end up in hell where you will be tortured forever. In the same breath, they say with a straight face that God is love.
That’s where all people with a sound mind, including atheists, beg to differ. A God of love and eternal torture in hell do not fit. Period.
The other irony I find is that religion pushes dogma that outside the clergy (priests, pastors, etc.) we, the sheeple, are too dumb to get a grip on what the Bible says or means. But the Bible clearly states that Spirit of God teaches every believer, leading him/her into all truth. The same Spirit is to be a guide, counsellor and comforter. Approach any pastor of any denomination with this and you will see if he is of a religion opposing the Bible or if he simply admits that’s the case and encourages you to read, understand and apply the Bible for yourself. In religion, if you disagree, expect repression, intimidation or excommunication. Leaders in religion may claim they need to protect structure (whatever that means) and doctrines (dogmas), but the bottom line is always control and/or manipulation. Fake unity replaces unity in unwavering love. Hypocrisy rules. Dissent is not tolerated.
You may not know, but biblically, followers of Jesus are a kingdom of priests, all of them, not just a few “chosen” — all are living stones. Religion puts you into their straightjacket of doctrines, sprinkles you or dips you in the water, tells you to sit in the pew, warns you to pay your taxes and to pay them — or else. Sound minds are suppressed, and fear and intimidation are in place, with many pulling manmade (invented), useless religious carts. Religious leaders love to be called pastors just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ time loved to be called rabbi.
For those with rightful prejudices against the Bible and Christians, let me encourage you with the words of Jesus at Matthew 7:7, which in essence promises that when you ask, seek or knock, you will receive, find and the door of God’s truth (and more) will be opened to you. Take Jesus at his word, and challenge him — either he is the truth, the way and the life or he is as fake as religion that stole his word, perverted his ways and led many astray.
As for me, the Bible is the book of explanation — how it started, what went wrong and how it will end, plus where and how fallen humanity (myself included) fit in.
Dear reader, would you like to be part of religion with their fake Jesus or would you prefer to be one living stone of biblical Jesus?
Vladimir Certik believes that thinking outside the box and engaging fellow citizens may bring simple solutions to complex problems. The West Creston resident can be reached at 250-402-0055.