Christianity is not the problem. The Bible is.

Despite the Church of England receiving so much criticism in recent months, the issue of the Bible's relevance to the modern world is yet to be addressed

Share
Related Topics

With the recent uproar about the vote against female bishops and the Church of England’s opposition to gay marriage, it looks as if the Christian Church is in a frightening position. I do not have a problem with the Church of England. I happen to think Christianity, and religion in general, is something that should be celebrated and cherished.

For example, the Christian teaching of true charity (giving time and love to people in need, not just throwing money at causes) is something that is incredibly important in modern society. Christianity is not the issue. The Bible is.

I’m a self-proclaimed theology geek and so, naturally, I was excited by the debate surrounding Christianity during the vote for female bishops and gay marriage. ‘Could this be the start of a new denomination’ I thought ‘Will I see another reform?!’ but I have been disappointed that the issue of the relevance of Christianity in the contemporary world had not been addressed, despite it receiving so much criticism in recent months. I can’t help thinking that some of the Bible’s teachings are irrelevant to modern day life and I feel that it is time for Christianity to move on, and that Christians should accept the Bible as a product of its time.

To a degree this is already the case. For example Leviticus outlines that people should not ‘wear clothing woven of two kinds of material’ or eat shellfish, and I’m almost certain that most Christians do not accept these restrictions. Christians could concentrate on concepts such as charity, love, kindness, forgiveness, monotheistic worship and use the Bible just as a guideline for morality, where it can still be applied to modern life. If Christians accepted the Bible as a product of its time there would be no more animosity and hate directed at the Church because of their controversial beliefs that contradict our progressive society.

When I wrote to The Archbishop of Canterbury about my concern of the Bible’s application to contemporary life, Reverend Helen Dawes’ reply outlined that there is a question mark over whether there is a binary choice between being true to the Bible and being true to contemporary experience and that ‘whilst many Christians would like to challenge what they find in the bible, they would not necessarily leave Christian teachings behind’. I do not have Christian faith; it is easy for me to challenge what I find in the bible. But for believers to challenge what the Bible has to say is a different matter. The recent consensus showed a 13 per cent decrease in Christians in the UK, Surely this is an indication that people are struggling to understand how the Bible can still make sense in our ever changing society.

Of course, I am not the only one to question the Bible’s purpose; David Strauss was a German theologian and writer who questioned traditional Christianity and saw the Bible as a book among many books. Strauss recognised the Bible as a piece of literature, a piece of ‘human fiction’, which is an interesting observation. I do not deny the trueness of the Bible, and I understand that the Bible provides invaluable support and guidance for many Christians and non-Christians, but I wonder why parts of the Bible that are not accepted by Christians to be God’s word still have so much authority.

In Christian Discourse: Some Logical Explorations Ian Ramsey outlines how the Bible must be read ‘intelligently’ to find meaning. I see this as a problem for the universality of the Bible. Someone with a good education would have no problem reading the Bible ‘intelligently’, but how do uneducated people find this hidden meaning for themselves? If, like Ramsey says, the Bible is something to be analysed, then who is using the Bible correctly?

It upsets me when Christianity is attacked for its lack of compassion with certain issues such as abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality. I think Christianity can progress by accepting that the Bible is a piece of History, taking from it what is still relevant (for example equality, treatment of the poor and elderly) and perhaps this could be the start of a modern, understanding religion that more people can believe in.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little