I guess I feel compeled to codify something a bit.  Very unlike me, I know.  When it comes to someone who is genuinely interested in the free exchange of ideas, I love conversation.  Unfortunately, I typically don’t have to care whether or not someone understands me because I rarely find myself in dialogue with somone who likes the questions more than the answers.  Most of the time when someone asks me to explain something it’s because I’m a target.  You’ve experienced that, too, I’m sure.  I used to engage in that kind of thing; heck, I used to feed on it!  Now I prefer to back out of situations where the person would rather debate.  Debate has its place, but not in the intelligent world where people are sincerely seeking and on the same side.  If your ideas stand, they don’t need tactics or volume or body language.  All you need is a mind — and the ability to communicate maturely what’s in it.  On a forum such as this one, however, I can’t be sure who is reading and I don’t want anyone to anchor their atheism in my words — that anchor won’t hold.  I believe that there is a God — one God.

The following is from an e-mail study group to which I am proud to be a party.  In it, and with them, I felt like I had to restate my issue.  To give you a little background, I proposed that the God of the OT could be different from the God in the NT.  The response was that of Jewish defense so I had to reiterate my point.  Often I fail in communication so it was by no means their fault.  Here is what follows, and, as always, please feel free to respond:

My primary concern is that I haven’t moved to a place that allows me to form theology. Sounds strange, doesn’t it?!

I used to have one. It was faulty and embarrassing. Actually, several have come and gone with the most recent one to vacate my premises leaving around 2006-07. I might have one now and not really know it, but I’m not sure how possible that even is.

Yes, the Jewish culture has a long, lustrous timeline filled with everything from abundance to captivity to war to tragedy to opulence [yes, I know I already said abundance, making opulence redundant, but the send button was quicker than my brain when I originally wrote the e-mail]. I don’t want to gush over them, though, because I don’t want to sound like the semi-racist who brags that “some of my best friends are black”–oh, yeah, well name ’em.

I do need to qualify my question from last week. I’m not saying anything bad about Jews by contemplating a two-god bible. I’m simply saying that the worldview of a captive Jew as he is being deported from Jerusalem in 597 BCE could easily inflate God’s powers and characteristics. If everything in the OT is literal and 100% true, then we may be dealing with a different God or an immature perception (both of which pose problems for those who look to the Bible as a sole source of information about God). I find I am more comfortable, in terms of logic, if the OT is more of a window through which we may take a look into the psychological needs that having a God met for them.

That being said, the real exhumed issue for me now is that of whether or not I can/should have/espouse a theology again. It’s a big deal because I don’t yet know on what I can base one.

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So what do you think?  And while I understand that religion can be a deeply personal topic for many people, I’d like to read responses that take a sound, historical-critical approach.  Not to say that all responses aren’t welcome; it’s just that I’m looking for some pretty specific things.

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