Should Christians think for themselves?
The Bible says: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 ESV.
This has always meant to me that entering the Kingdom of Heaven, presupposes that the Bible is 100% accurate and that children should believe what grown-ups tell them. After all it was with adults that Jesus was talking to, and he was telling them to believe like children?
Now my earliest memory was that of my grandmother reading and telling me this. She, who was a Sunday school teacher, matriarch and ruler of the house, with strict Calvinistic principles and me being the first grandchild in the family.
As time went on I came to realise that whatever the Bible is, by modern definition it cannot be classified as a history book, a science handbook or even a very well written book on [social] anthropology. So accuse me of cherry picking if you want, but I keep being amazed though, at the moral maturity, (for want of a better expression), expressed in the Gospels with specific reference to the Sermon on the Mount.
So far so good, but then the catch..... Surely children are inquisitive? They ask questions? The do not always believe grown-ups? They see things differently from adults?
So does this give me the right to ask if Jesus was really born of a woman who has never in her life had intercourse? I have wrestled with this for a long time, as surely this was a miracle as well, even if not called so? Was Jesus actually a ‘documented’ case of parthenogenesis? And the miracle was that he was a male?
Is this “dangerous” thinking for a Christian? Should it make me shirk debating about stem cell research and when is a foetus actually not just dividing cells anymore? Is it unchristian to contemplate that abiogenesis might be fact?
Why is it so important to prove that evolution is not happening, nor ever did take place? When the Big Bang theory does actually have a beauty/neatness/logic? of its own, and taking into consideration the mere specks we are in the universe, should I not sometimes yearn to meet alien life?
Would an almighty God, in the Christian context, really even bother with running the lives of his disciples, making a quark live longer, (or shorter), creating a universe or inspiring a Mozart, making a butterfly come live out of its cocoon or the death of one of Atilla the Hun’s victims?
So if I can write and think about these things, does that make me a bad Christian or not one at all? Perhaps this is the anguish of some other Christians out there?
What it comes down to perhaps, is not so much the factual correctness of the Bible, nor the correct or incorrect interpretation of the Revelation, but common human decency and tolerance for each other. Perhaps finding common ground where none was before.
But then again, children can be pretty cruel at times.......