Admit it, some of the Bible is hard to believe. Talking animals, people living to be hundreds of years old and then building giant boats, clouds of fire, seas parting, armies defeated by people singing worship songs, virgins giving birth, a man living for 3 days in the stomach of a giant fish–you know, stuff like that. Admit it, some of it is hard to believe. The craziest thing is that it is provocative for me to say so. I think that’s a serious problem. Let me explain what I mean.
The fact that it is provocative for a Christian to say something like “Some of the Bible is hard to believe” indicates that the majority of Christians think there is an obligation to maintain the opposite–that everything in the Bible is easy to believe. I think that is a serious problem for at least two reasons.
As a Christian, if I insist that everything in the Bible is easy to believe, I immediately appear to be either A). completely out of my mind, or B). Existing on some unattainable, super-spiritual level. In both cases, the problem is that it makes Christians into something that “normal” people cannot relate to. The first (appearing out of our minds) has to do mainly with the way non-believers see us. Now, before you start chastising me for “caring what people think,” or telling me that “the World is supposed to think we are crazy,” please just try to understand what I am driving at. Because I’m not saying something controversial. If a non-Christian were to come up to you and say “Some of that stuff in the Bible just seems crazy, isn’t it ever hard for you to believe?” and your response is “Nah man, it’s all easy to believe, makes perfect sense to me, you just gotta believe,” you have instantly made yourself a complete alien to that person. At that point, the invitation to follow Christ sounds, to them, a lot like, “Abandon all reason, embrace fairy tales, and allow yourself to be brainwashed until you believe stuff that no rational person could ever believe.”
Likewise with the second (unattainable super-spiritualism), I would argue that deep down inside, the vast majority of people in the Church really do find some of the things in the Bible difficult to believe. Now, that immediately causes a problem of cognitive dissonance. That is, the disconnect between the reality that deep down they find some things in the bible difficult to believe, and the feeling that they must maintain the unspoken standard of either never saying so, or publicly having to say that it’s easy to believe…