"There are a thousand hacking at the
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Consistency, thou art a jewel.
One of the virtues that humans hold dear is the one of consistency or coherence in thinking.
Should we not be CONSISTENT in our theology? If God is good, is love, shouldn't we have a theology that is consistent with that? Partially because it lets the Bible override the message and demonstration of Jesus, Christianity amalgamates its belief about God with a vision of love on the one hand, where his "love and mercy endures for ever", and then turns around and paints a picture of him turning loose upon us a purely evil super-being, and ultimately doling out the most macabre, most horrible punishment that we can imagine, an eternal punishment that no reasonable man of good will, capable of mercy and compassion, would inflict on ANYBODY. This has the effect of inducing fear, the opposite of worship. How can this be valid?
If Jesus was the revelation of God, shouldn't we expect that he was an adequate or perfect one? Where does Jesus mention that he gave only a partial or inadequate picture or revealing of God? Look at John 17:25,26.
"O reasonable Father, the world understood you not, but I understood you, and these knew that you sent me. I have made known to them your character, and I will further make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I unified with them."
Where does Jesus mention that we should fear God? Isn't he in unity with the Father? What did he ever do or say that engendered fear in his followers? Even after ministering to them for a few years during his public life and when they didn't see who he really was, didn't listen, many times didn't understand what he was talking about, didn't care enough to even ask valid and pertinent questions, when they exasperated him with their spiritual blindness, didn't he still take pains to protect them during his arrest and trial process? Even when he knew that one would betray him, one would deny knowing him, and that all would flee in terror and abandon him! It should be abundantly clear that they loved him and had no fear of him. Are we, the sons of God, made to live in fear? This is not only odious but ridiculous on the face of it!
We would be shockingly remiss if we didn't understand that the Gospel of John was written in Aramaic, then translated into Koine Greek, copied and copied, and then translated into English with SOME loss of clarity as the result. Even if Jesus in his statements gave no room for our volition to be involved, the Gospel writer perfectly remembered and perfectly repeated his words, and the scribes perfectly made their copies−none of these are a given−it should also be manifestly clear that our volition and critical thinking needs to be involved in developing a consistent theology or picture of God based upon the witness writings that we have. One example we can look at is in John 9:1-3,
And passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Not that this man sinned or his parents, instead that the result of God might be demonstrated with him."
This is an example of where just a LITTLE volition or choice is called for. We COULD hear Jesus implying that the man and his parents were sinless, but because this is not consistent with many other statements we should NOT! We COULD hear Jesus implying that God deliberately caused him to be born blind, but we should NOT! This would make the picture of God incongruous in the extreme, would make him out to be quixotic and perverse in using us this way. Consistency demands that we hear him merely shifting the issue away from the foolish question to the present opportunity for God to be glorified in the literal and symbolic miracle of healing this blind man.
Doesn't consistency require that we abandon the mythological paradigm of God based on ancient scripture, and build our theology upon what has been revealed in public to eyewitnesses and affirmed with miracles, a seamlessly good character, a life of appealing service, and the stupendous events of a whole nation aware of a crucifixion, and a RESURRECTION? Doesn't reason demand that we hold ANY writer's feet to the fire as to consistency, and throw out that which isn't?
Of course, the purpose of this site is to lay out the best, most consistent picture of God that can be justified.