Ponderings with Doug – May 27, 2016

 

DougFUMC

Doug De Graffenried – First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches, Louisiana

How do you know what you believe?

The scientific answer is that you have a confirmation bias. You have decided what you believe and you don’t accept any information that contradicts that which you believe. In church life our confirmation bias causes us to point to the Bible. All of our Christian beliefs come from the Bible. Right?

Here are some things we believe and practice that are not in the Bible.

The Bible never says, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Scripture never says, “God will not give us more than we can handle.” Nor does scripture teach, “Everything happens for a reason.” One preacher said, “A sinner can repent but stupid is eternal.” I was thinking about all those things that happened after the phrase, “Hey Bubba watch this!”

Advent and Lent are not found in the Bible. There is no evidence that Jesus was born in the winter. Actually the church “stole” Christmas from the Romans, I’ll let you Google that. Wise men and shepherds don’t show up at the same time. There could have been dozens of wise men, do you know why we only picture three?

Why do we worship on Sunday rather than Saturday?

There is no overwhelming evidence that Jesus was poor. There is also no evidence he was a carpenter that comes from the inaccurate translation of the Greek word “tekton.”

There is no prohibition against saying four letter words. Although preachers are cursed at times that we can’t curse at times. I like to have laypeople play golf with me, that way I can call on them for “ventilation language.”

Most of what you believe about heaven, hell, the devil and angels comes not from scripture but from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Have you found the passage that says the devil has horns?

When you die, you don’t become an angel. There is also no evidence that angels have wings. You can’t find halos in the Bible.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” is not in the Bible.

The first ministers of the church were not ordained, they were laypersons.

God call us to be “our brother’s keeper.” Read the passage in Genesis, it was asked as a question by a human not stated by God.

The apple in the Garden of Eden is not there. The bible mentions fruit. It became an apple because of some confusion with the Latin words for “evil” and “apple” which look and sound similar.

Jesus uttering the word, “grace.”

Discipleship has been mishandled in translation and usage. The Greek word is slanted more toward “student.” Think about that, Jesus calls us to be life-long students. Notice how some groups have militarized the concept by focusing more on discipline than learning.

There is no prohibition against gambling. The Hebrews would determine the will of God by “casting lots,” which is basically shooting dice.

I hope are you reaching for your Bible.

Do you know why we celebrate Memorial Day? You might be surprised by that too.

Keep thinking, studying and growing in your beliefs!