“The story in my mind is nothing but a hope; the text of the story is the tool I created in order to try to make that hope a reality. The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hope and fears.” -Orson Scott Card
This quote was taken from an introduction to one of my favorite books of all time: Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card was talking about the different lessons people have learned from reading Ender’s Game; whether religious, political, or even different ideas of military strategy. Card is trying to say that all of these interpretation of the book’s purpose are correct. Every interpretation is true because it is true to the person reading it. While this is a little on the extreme side, this idea of truth could be applied to how people think about the Bible. What makes the Bible true is not what is written in the Bible. It is not how it was translated through the years. It is not even the original ideals that went into writing down the things included. What makes the Bible true are the things that God reveals through it to the individual reading it. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things in the Bible, that if interpreted wrong, can lead to some really wrong theology, and to some really wrong ideas about who, and what God is. However, if understood that every person who reads the Bible is going to take something unique from each story; we can begin to have less of a problem with denominational differences.
When we realize that God reveals different truths through the same passage, we begin to be more accepting of different ideas. When become more accepting of different ideas, it becomes easier to show love, and accept; most of all it opens doors for more fruitful, and educated debates about Scripture. I think this ideal leads into a deeper thinking about the things that we call “absolutes”. Questioning the things you believe, to a certain extent, can be extremely beneficial to deepening, and strengthening your convictions. Hearing a different idea about a passage of scripture can cause you to do some research to find out why you have a different understanding, and can make you figure out where that comes from, and which one of the two opinions is actual truth. There are truths, as I already mentioned; in the Bible that are absolute, and cannot be argued. However, having someone question the truth you cling to, can strengthen your grip in the end.
Some of the hardest faith-based argument I’ve ever had have been with very firm atheists. It is pitiful that, more often than not, a common atheist know more about the Bible than the common Christian. How, as Christians, can we defend our faith when the attacker has more information than we do? If you were the ruler of some castle, and the invading army knew more about your castle than you do, how likely is it that you would win the battle? People need to question things, understand why they believe things are true. Let God reveal new things, different things; in passages of Scripture we’ve never even though twice about believing. People need to understand that the reason the Bible has been significant for so long is that its truths are continually applying to new people, and continually changing.
I can almost guarantee that, if you went back in time about 200 years, verses like 2 Corinthians 5.17 would have meant something completely different than it means to us now. Its scary to hear someone speak differently about passages that are so basic for us to believe. But, why shouldn’t they? Every person has different experiences, different natural tendencies, different thought processes; and this causes different revelations. It is not something that we need to argue about. It is something we need to accept, appreciate, and rejoice in. It gives us the chance to sharpen our sword, to get a more accurate and pointed blade. It gives us opportunities to understand things in ways we would never have imagined before. It gives us more sidom.