Thanks for your comment, David!
Several things are going on here. First off is perspective. I read your article, and you come from a deep fundamentalist background and church culture. Some great authors shape your fundamentalist beliefs of the Bible and theology, and you write from those views within the fundamentalist bubble to a fundamentalist audience. I glanced at several other articles on your Medium page, and you hold some solid, well-balanced views. Good job.
Secondly, I’ve had to loosen my grip on some of my staunch fundamentalist views over the past few years based on my deconstructionist discoveries (which I did not seek out, btw. It was a sneak attack). We cling to so many theological ideas that we can’t be dogmatic on, nor should we be compelled to defend them. Most essential doctrines have value but more in defining and categorizing what we believe after we are saved. They won’t initially save us.
Still, in practice, we are splitting theological hairs among ourselves and giving ourselves kudos for doing so. Theology quickly digresses into a form of intellectual legalism if we aren’t careful.
Thirdly, “love” is king and leads to the furtherance of life, which is God’s primary objective for us— that we live! The entire Bible narrative points primarily to eternal life. The church institution, a perfect literal Bible, the style of worship, heaven and hell, and the juxtaposition of the Trinity, for example, all take a backseat to God’s love for us and His desire that we know and follow him. And for what it’s worth, the threat of God’s love is a much better motivator than being threatened by eternal punishment in hell (by our loving father?).
Fourthly, the church institution carries a lot of horrific baggage. The greatest minds in atheism usually point out these tragedies as one of their reasons to deny God. They perceive God as a narcissistic, petty God that behaves badly towards everyone because of what they [the atheists] have seen or experienced in church; clergy moral failures that make headlines, pastor blogs where they overshare, Twitter and Youtube stupidity, etc. The fundamentalist church (lumped in with the other Christian expressions) does a poor job of defending itself. I could go on.
I’ll end with this. Know your audience, David.
You are an expert at fundamentalism and speak the language, so keep writing for them. They need you. Not everyone is ready to travel my path, or Dan’s, or anyone else's. I cater to a different audience, but in the end, we share the same hope; that others will find God through Jesus.
I’m still coming to terms with how to define my beliefs exactly. I know who I am, however. I’m God’s kid. I just see more cracks in the evangelical/fundamentalist foundation than you do, but I still feel Christian and identify as such. And for what it’s worth, deconstructionism should never be feared but instead embraced. No one goes to hell because they have unanswered questions or undefined theology. If a person is truly looking for answers, God will answer them. God knows who his kids are, and He won’t let us go. Period.
Here’s what I empirically know. I know I exist, and I did not create myself or the universe I exist within. That alone points me to a creator, who I believe did. If that creator is my maker, then He is my only hope, and I will lay down my life for Him if necessary. I get what Jesus represents. My deconstructionist journey has led me to this place, and I can attest I am a more committed Christian than those who are afraid to test their faith. If that’s not enough for God, then what can I say? I guess I am doomed. Hehe… JK
But I have WAY more grace towards people than I ever used to, which enables me to connect with them in the ways I do. And, incidentally, I have way more grace for myself now that I know God isn’t trying to catch me in my sins at every turn so he can punish me. Instead, I know He loves me as a good father should, even when I make mistakes. I’m now free to be who He created me to be and that’s exciting.
I hope that sheds some light. We all have our roles and playgrounds to play on.