Thursday, June 21, 2012

Food For Thought

The history of theology (Christian or otherwise) is the history of people desperately trying to fit the way things actually are into the way their holy books say they should be.  (Think of the billions of words written in tens of thousands of books on religion "explaining" pain and suffering in the light of God's purported goodness.)  So some people do what Mom [Edith Schaeffer] did: spend a lot of time making excuses for The-God-Of-The-Bible.  Others contrive their theology to make it seem more enlightened than it is: Roman Catholic medieval dogma is rechristened as "Natural Law," Creationism is rebaptized as "Intelligent Design," Islam calls the oppression of women the "protection of women," and so forth.

There is another choice: To admit that the best of any religious tradition depends on the choices its adherents make on how to live despite what their holy books "say," not because of them.  "But where would that leave me?" my former self would have asked.  "I'd be adrift in an ocean of uncertainty."  Yes, and perhaps that's the only honest place to be.  Another name for uncertainty is humility.  No one ever blew up a mosque, church, or abortion clinic after yelling, "I could be wrong."
-Frank Schaeffer, Sex, Mom & God

At the very least, those of us who believe that the Bible is something more than just another book need to be willing to admit that we (and every other Christian who has ever lived) pick and choose which parts of the Bible to emphasize and which to downplay (or even ignore) when formulating our theology.  And that, therefore, we could be wrong about a great many things even if we're right about the Bible's unique significance.


TheMan said...

Agree 100% ;-)

Unknown said...

Thanks for quoting my book and for the grace of your response. Would we could all take a page from your tone. Best, Frank Schaeffer

Eugene said...


Thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciate your books, even on the occasions when we disagree (which are fewer than otherwise), and look forward to reading the next one.