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           It has always struck me as deeply hurtful when Christians prove too strict to be faithful, those who believe so ardently and stringently in one aspect of religion such as the Bible, and lose their faith in the process. Sometimes the ability to see with open minds proves harder to find than expected. Many times simplicity is the best solution.

           Recently, a very active church I have attended  was struck with a crisis. One of the pastors gave a sermon entitled: “Is The Bible True,” a very direct statement indeed. The truth behind the message was not to discredit the Bible at all, but rather point to different ways to interpret its valuable meanings and life lessons. The message focused on allowing people to step back from the complexity, specifics and details within the Biblical stories, and instead take a naive, child-like perspective to view ideas they may have been missing. Why not consider the possibility that some of the Bible’s teachings are simply metaphors, scribed by the priests to present a much greater, deeper truth? This question did not seem to go over well with many of the so called “Christians” at the church.

           After many actually had the nerve to walk out during the service, others heckled and chastized the pastor on the church’s website as well as in person. I could not help but ask myself: would a true Christian turn his back to a different view? Would a true Christian directly attack a pastor on a personal level because of a message? Would a true Christian keep their mind shut and instead turn a blind eye and distant themselves? None of the “hurt” people of the incident did anything that was in my mind “Christian,” or even close to what Jesus himself would have done.  People who had attended the church for years suddenly vanished, heart stricken by the message that they thought “dismissed” the Bible, or somehow made it seem less important. From my perspective, the exact opposite was true.

            Religion is different for every being, every nation; every living breathing person on Earth. It is an expression of faith, hope and the ability to live life with virtue and spiritual satisfaction; sometimes it is easy to get caught up in one word. Just because Jonah wasn’t actually swallowed by a giant fish does not take away even the smallest ounce of power the Bible presents. Maybe Jesus was married and had kids, he was human to, that does not take away from the fact that he lived his life helping others, preached love, and exuded virtue. The key is to go beyond the literal translation and have a faith so strong, so pure and so real that it becomes you are able to go beyond a simple text and into a deeper, truer, prsitine meaning of understanding, with real life meaning.

           Maybe Jonah did get swallowed by a giant fish, who knows, but it does not retract from an individual’s relationship with God, in any way shape or form. Seeing something from multiple perspectives can only enhance one’s understanding, not make it flounder. The meanings hidden behind the scripture’s teachings strike deeper into a person’s soul than anything else; and sometimes complexity can blind us from seeing them.

            After the crisis had boiled down, attendence rates were obviously lower than expected. The pastor who gave the sermon took an extended leave of absence for a couple weeks before teaching again. I sent him a letter shortly after explaining exactly what I have said in this article. It sickens me to see people be so hurtful, so hypocritical and so narrow-minded as to turn on God and criticize because they refuse to see something in a different light. Faith is what you make it, and what matters most is not how you approach the details of religion, but what you get out of the simple truths it has to offer.

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