Uv Book Group - Why Trust The Bible By Amy Orr-ewing

Posted at 06:50am on 4th March 2009

The Library at The Grand is such a comfortable venue, and so conducive to feeling comfortable in every sense of the word. Seventeen of us met on this occasion and a lively discussion followed. We all agreed it was a most enjoyable evening, with everyone making a valuable contribution. This time the questions were compiled by Pippa, and were as follows.

Why trust the Bible? by Amy Orr-Ewing

Discussion questions for UV Book Group

Starter questions

  1. Amy asks “Why is the world’s best-selling book rubbished by so many?” (p11)
  2. Why don’t most Christians in the UK treasure the Bible like Chinese Christians (p11)?
  3. Do you ever discuss the Bible with your friends? What do they think God is like?
  4. Why do you think people, especially the younger generation, have so little Bible knowledge today? Does it bother you?

Questions on individual chapters followed. The group agreed that following the September 11th attacks, people appear to be afraid of fundamentalism and think it is dangerous to believe what holy books say.

The author stated that, “As a society we are now sceptical of any form of certainty” and that, therefore, “a person with any kind of certainty or conviction is an anomaly.” Many of us said that we had found this to be true in our experience.

When it came to the question of the Bible’s integrity compared to other ancient writings, it was agreed that the body of evidence was overwhelming. The fact that the texts came from so many different sources, eras and cultures, yet with so unified an approach, only added to its certainty and veracity.

As if it needed any further proof, the Bible was shown to have originated from a body of 24,000 texts. By comparison, manuscripts verifying the existence of, say, Julius Caesar, amount to only 10. Yet no one doubts that he lived and breathed! Which makes it all the more extraordinary when people question the reality of Jesus’ life.

The question as to whether the Bible is sexist threw up some interesting arguments. But everyone agreed that the Bible, in fact, is full of anecdotal material and commendations of women – despite the fact that even to mention a woman would have been counter-cultural. The conclusion, we all agreed, was that cultural influences and the church, itself, may be sexist, but the Bible could never be accused of being so.

The Christian’s response to war, it was agreed, could never be anything but revulsion. Nevertheless, a case was made for the defence, by an individual, of his family and property (no one would stand back and take a conscientious objection to defending his child from being stabbed, for instance). By extension, this must include the defence of a stranger whose life or limb was threatened. And thus a case for war may be made in certain circumstances – DESPITE – the general disgust and loathing in which it must be held.

Discussion on the subject of homosexuality concluded the evening. It was agreed that “fornication” – whether homosexual or heterosexual – was what the Bible cites as being undesirable, and “Hating the sin but loving the sinner” was the over-riding response from both the author and the book group. Although the cultural mores of Jesus’ time showed the practice to be accepted among some individuals as a dalliance, it was never seen as a life-choice in the way that marriage was perceived. It was felt that in today’s climate, a negative approach was perceived, by a vociferous minority, to be homophobic. There was a consensus of revulsion, however, when it came to what could only be seen as predatory advances by homosexuals on the young and the vulnerable.

Contact me if you have comments to make, or message me on Twitter. We meet in April to discuss The Shack. Plenty there to feed one’s thoughts and imagination! See you then.

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