Sunday, October 16, 2016

On Moody Bible Institute: A Boot Camp

On Bible Boot Camp:

I can relate to this MBI Boot Camp. I spent four years in a charismatic church in Vancouver, BC, taught by the arch fundamentalists using ‘Accelerated Christian Education’ curriculum, and my senior year was spent at Prairie High School, part of Prairie Bible Institute. I also memorized bible verses using King James Version. Even today, some forty years later, I can recall biblical verses and the passion for the truth has not been extinguished. Unlike you, Bart, the Exalted One, I have no luck in seminaries. My own pious folks talked me out of going to bible college, and later on seminary. But in my spare time, I was thoroughly indoctrinated by the teachings of ‘Complete Works of Francis A Schaeffer.” and other apologists of the faith. It is only years later, after I have come to the conclusion that my faith is an elaborated construct, something that may not be real or true. But for years, I resisted the liberals and their teachings about the bible. Reading your books for commoners like myself helps me to get out of this intellectual prison. Your book on suffering really helps to nail it, for me, it is personal why I finally reject this fundamentalist faith. I have lived to witness absurdities in the churches, of drunken pastors, lesbians who did not practice what they preached, abuses of all sorts, but that did not touch me. You’d must be familiar with the comments we are exhorted to ‘look to Jesus and not to men.” They thus give a pass to all sorts of absurdities in the faith. But a personal thing happened while I struggle with my faith. It was in the marrying my wife I gradually came to see how absurd I was and that my childhood faith is no longer sufficient or real to live in this world. That personal experience, not intellectual doubt, helps me to come out gradually. I am still pretty much the same person, same fundamentalist today. I don’t smoke, drink or dance. I am uncomfortable to swear, and my life style is the same old boring self. But I am a new person today, reading and re-reading your works. I don’s always understand, but I keep on seeking the truth that is in us and in the world. In my being, the teachings found in the gospels are sacred to me, and I try to live a life according to it. For others, it makes no sense, they would perhaps ask why don’t you just throw the whole thing out, and live a carnal life. I cannot, for I esteem these teachings for so many years, it has defined me. But with these discussions, I see that my understanding of the bible and my childhood faith is based on a construct that is no longer. So I now learn to treat LGBT people humanely and kindly, that I no longer ‘evangelize’ for it has no more meaning for me. I also stopped attending church, for I find it difficult to say the Nicene Creed ( like you did).
Would I recommend the Bible Boot camp? I am not sure, but I am equally uncomfortable with an age that is more materialistic, and actively lead an epicurean life. I think, living a life of virtues, for in that, is my reward. I still believe in God, but I would rephrase God as Gott. (the good). A life patterns after goodness, is the best way I can describe my faith today, and that mystic Jesus still puzzles me. So I read and re-read your writings and others. If you have someone on the self-destructive pathway, and there is no answer, use fundamentalist faith, for that maybe the “hatch” (small escaping opening) of this terrible world, for which he maybe able to escape. For someone that has no moral structures, no stable family life or relationship, maybe suicidal, or hateful, what is the harm to teach him that “God is love” and to love others? And it maybe useful to scare him that God is holy and he is all but fire and will burn up sinners in the end. That was how they taught and invented this story to perhaps stop sociopaths of their days. And in the days such as ours, this is why they have so many of them flocking to their churches for clear and back and white answers. You will always have a few percent in the population to do this. This is why religion cannot be exterminated even in a godless society such as the Russians or ours.
There, that is my take on it. Thank you, Bart Ehrman of God, for helping such a sinner as I. 🙂

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