A note I wrote to capture the thoughts, but probably will not send:
If you feel it is important to live a life of biblical christianity, then it should be important for you to examine what the bible says. And if that is important, it should also be important to examine what the bible is; how it came to be written, who wrote it, why it was written. When you accuse me of elitism in this, and ask what I think of people who are not able to do that, study the bible critically and analytically, what about faith like a child, etc., I completely agree that not everyone can do that. But think, not everyone can study Greek and Hebrew either, not everyone can study John Calvin’s Institutes, or even read Pilgrim’s Progress in its unabridged forms. Yes, we all have different abilities. And we depend on others to do this work for us to the extent that we can’t. But to the extent that we can, in something important to how we live our lives, it is important to study it as well as we can, at least to a degree commensurate with how important it is and how able we are to pursue that knowledge (time, education, etc.).
Do conservative christians believe you should not examine the bible? Of course not. But I would venture to say that many feel you should not examine the bible unless you are finding it to be authentic and true. Or maybe it is that they welcome it being examined because they know it is true, and you will find that as well. And that if you don’t, it is because you are wrong. So it is OK to examine it, but only if you reach the same conclusion they do. I guess that is what having certainty in your religion means. And maybe people are entitled to have certainly about things if they want to, even if it is misguided. But it can be a terrible way to go about understanding the world we live in, and to understand ourselves, and even to understand God.
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