Between Conflicts of Religion

"reading between the lines"

(attempting to find a way among human mentalities of religion, which disagree with, and/or ignore, each other)

     Bart Ehrman's 2009 book, Jesus Interrupted, comments on the general popular ignorance, around churches, of things that have long been known, "far and wide", about problems with the "inerrancy" of the Christian scriptures (building on the material in his previous books, including Misquoting Jesus, which points out what a mess of changes there are in the many thousand hand-copied manuscripts of the New Testament, in Greek, Latin, etc).
     One subject which profoundly concerns claims of Biblical inerrancy (which I've never noticed, in any of Ehrman's writings) is: don't things like the presence of Heidelberg Man in Africa and Europe, half a million years ago, also add a footnote to the Bible? (Luke and Matthew have Jesus endorsing the Noah story.)
     In Raymond Moody's book Reunions, he dealt with the subject of "fundamentalism", pointing out that, in addition to fundamentalist religion, there also appears to be lots of fundamentalist atheism.
     One might ask how fundamentalist atheists deal with (or, refuse to deal with) things like the Marian apparitions at Zeitoun, Egypt (seen by millions of people, photographed extensively, and accompanied by miraculous healings or incense smoke), or the videos of weeping statues at Medugorje, Herzegovina (same page, linked above)?
     Maybe, we can find some de-conflicting among these things, by trying to deal with statements made by some folks who claim to have been "to the other side", and returned to tell of it.
     On March 17, 2009, I met with Howard Storm, at his UCC church in Covington, Ohio. I said, in the course of the conversation, that Adam and Eve were not the first humans -- with which statement he agreed (but, pointed out that some other religions' creation myths were much further than is Genesis from what we now know about the Big Bang, etc). I also asked him if he had made the statement I thought I had read, "God doesn't give a fig about theology", and he said that he had stated that.
     Maybe, we can glean something from what he claims, in his book, that they told him:
     ... in its Chapter 9, Reality, he asked them, "Which is the best religion?"; they replied, "The religion that brings you closest to God." He asked, "But which one is that?"; they replied, "There are good people in bad religions and there are bad people in good religions. It is not so important which religion, but what individuals do with the religion they have been given. Religions are a vehicle to take you to a destination. The purpose of religion is to help you have a personal relationship with God ...
     "God abhors the misuse of religion that creates divisiveness between people, that justifies violence, that promotes pride in self-righteousness. God is far greater than any religion." (
     Or, from Raymond Moody's 1988 book The Light beyond:
     'A lot of people I know are going to be surprised when they find out that the Lord isn't interested in theology. He seems to find some of it amusing, as a matter of fact, because he wasn't interested at all in anything about my denomination. He wanted to know what was in my heart, not my head.'" ...
     "A good example of this is an elderly woman in New Hampshire who had an NDE after a cardiac arrest. She had been a very religious and doctrine-abiding Lutheran since she was a child. But after the NDE, she loosened up and became a more joyous person. When members of her family asked her to account for the change in her personality, she said simply that she understood God after her episode and realized that He didn't care about church doctrine at all." (
     Between (in time) Ehrman's two books above, he wrote a book called God's Problem, which seems to imply that there could be no loving God who would allow suffering in the world.
     Counter to this argument: Leaving the bounds of nihilism and relativism within which state-tenured (and many other) academics seem to like to stay, from what near-death experiencers have said or written, I glean only three promises from God, about human life: (1) hardship; (2) pain; and (3) "I am always with you" (that God will take care of their purposes, with us).


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