These are my thoughts at the present moment of time. I reserve the right to correct these musings if at any time I realize I am wrong. I am a spiritual being created by The Divine, having a human experience, and that human element is flawed and prone to error so please forgive me if what I say to you is heresy.
I am a Christian and a believer in exile. I am in exile from the church, the religion and the majority of my community because of what I believe. This belief may shock you, believer and Atheist alike.
I do not believe "The Holy Bible" is the inerrant word of God -
Please don't get me wrong. I do not reject the Bible. I do believe there is gold within the texts and with understanding, insight and context you can find God and absolute truth there. And if you ask, God will speak to you through it. I have experienced this and I know it to be true. But still, this Fundamentalist tenet of the Christian faith where one must believe that The Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of God and therefore is the absolute truth and authority on how to think and behave, is one of the main reasons why so many brothers and sisters around the world are in exile. We believe in Yeshua (Jesus) but not the Bible or the authority of the church.
How can this be?
Well, what we know today as ...The Holy Book... is a collection of somewhat harmonious texts, books, letters and other writings.. Bible actually means "collection of books" or "Library". In fact there are 66 of these "books". Out of these 66, it is commonly thought that 40 or so authors penned them all. The Old testament contains 39 writings, written by 32 different authors between 1600 BC and 443 BC - The New testament contains 27 writings by eight different authors between 50 AD and 90 AD. Over the next milllenia and a half a few attempts to combine various texts in to one collection occurred and by 1611 AD the public started to slowly gain access to "The Holy Bible - The King James Authoritative Version"
Now, some of the dates are an approximate and there has been a lot of academic debate regarding when each book was written and how many authors there actually were.
For example... Genesis it is claimed, was penned by Moses. But upon closer inspection, it would seem that Genesis was possibly written by four different authors. Deuteronomy was also attributed to Moses but we know he couldn't have finished it as it describes his death and burial. And some of Paul's letters appear to not have been written by him either. Seven of them are considered genuine while six are in question.
Those few examples just ramped 40 authors up to a possible 50 and there could be dozens more. What I know is a lot of people contributed to the Bible. A lot of different types of people living at different times from each other. It is a very human collection of books. All of the authors were just like you and me, unique creations of The Divine. Spiritual beings having a very human experience and some of them started writing this human struggle down.
Some of it was not pretty.
Yet in one way it was. It was all beautiful and divine. It is a reflection of who we are, who we were and who we will be. It is a reflection of what we are capable of, the good and the bad. It is a reflection of our constant search for the peace in knowing God's love. And this reflection is not limited to The Bible.
The authors of the bible were human, and they were magnificent and fallible, like I am and like you are. And they wrote these books to explain and document their struggle, they wrote these books about their understanding of God and their relationship with God.
Translation, translation, translation
One absolutely vital aspect to my understanding of these texts is to understand what words actually mean what. The Old Testament writers spoke numerous languages (Babylonian, Greek, Egyptian, Akkadian and Aramaic to name a few) depending on what era they were living in and linked with where they were. But they also kept their own language and writing, Hebrew. This was due to a foreign people living in a foreign land and when you are in another country you obviously have to learn the language to communicate and over generations some are more fluent in the language of where they live as opposed to where they come from. These Jewish authors wrote their original books in Hebrew. From 350 BC to 150 BC much of what we know as The Old Testament was translated into Greek. This is known as The Septuagint, "Translation of the Seventy" named after the 70 Jewish scholars who originally started to translate the first five books of Moses in 350 BC.
In the time of Yeshua of Nazareth, Palestine was occupied by the Roman Empire. The Jewish people in Palestine spoke Aramaic as their first language since their release from Babylon and Greek as their second, while Hebrew was still used in religious ceremony and among the Jewish elite. The Romans would generally speak Greek but all legal matters were written in Latin.
So what we need to understand here is that Yeshua and his followers mainly spoke Aramaic, some knew Hebrew as their second language and some knew Greek. But most importantly Yeshua spoke Aramaic to all his followers and at all of his public appearances mainly because that is what everybody else could understand. We don't know if these disciples wrote down anything Yeshua said in Aramaic, I would suggest an obvious yes but what we are clear of is the Gospels that would become The New Testament were at some point in the very early 2nd century written down in Greek. Nobody knows the source documents that these were copied from, but common consensus among scholars is that one existed.
In 382 AD these books started to be translated into Latin. From Latin the next significant translations were over 1,000 years later into the German and then English. And now from the English we have Bibles translated into every other language even Klingon...
With all that in mind...
Let me give you one example of why due to the many translations over so many years, we now have a convoluted version of God's word that we can not take literally. This was one of my first revelations to understanding the truth and so I want to share it with you.
It's not a talking snake!
We all know the story... Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden and God tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil. One day Eve's on her lonesome and up walks a talking snake... - wait, what? A walking, talking snake? - Yes, a talking snake... and this talking snake deceives Eve into eating the one thing she's not supposed to eat. God then punishes the snake to "forever crawl on it's belly".
I'm not trying to make a joke here, I just understand how ridiculous this can sound to some people. And it kind of does sound ridiculous but the thing is, this snake isn't a snake. It's a N*CH*SH (say it like this: Nuh-Cash). Which can be translated from Hebrew to English as "SERPENT" however, it also means "SHINING ONE" and "DIVINER". Which to me, that sounds a lot more like Lucifer. An entity, something a lot more capable of walking and talking and deceiving rather than a snake which makes it sound like a fairy tale.
Serpent - Lucifer was Head of the Seraphim, a serpentine type angel. There's much discussion about what type Lucifer himself was as the Bible itself varies on that answer. One thing we know is he was the Archangel of the highest order of Angels and the highest order of Angels are the Seraphim.
Shining One - It's all in the name! Lucifer is Latin for "Light Bearer" or "Shining One". He can appear as an Angel of Light. He stood in the direct glory of God and would shine as the Seraphim do.
Diviner - This is a real interesting one. A Diviner is one who practices the arts of Divination, something that is explicitly banned by God. And I truly believe that, don't mess with it. Why I think this is an important term to not leave out is because when the other angels fell and came to earth, they taught us these arts. And who is their leader now? Lucifer.
Of course, it's common knowledge to Christians that the snake in the Garden of Eden is the devil, yet most of you think he took the form of a snake when that really doesn't need to be the case. Know what that word means and it will open up a wealth of understanding in the Bible. I want you to understand God seriously and not turn away because of this kind of simplistic and offensive statement I was once at the end of...
"What? You believe in a talking snake?! Stupid Christian...". Yeah, cheers mate.
What I've laid out for you are just a few of the reasons why I believe what I believe and why I feel these understandings bring me closer to God yet further away from my brethren. I am open to debate any of these points to anyone (leave a comment or add me on facebook/twitter). I have a ton of more examples and God willing, I'll get round to posting a few more articles on this subject but for now... Much love and many blessings!