Yes, my belief has been influenced by Jewish thinking. It was a 4 hour message from Ray Vander Laan, “The Bible from Jesus’ Culture Perspective 2000 Years Ago”, that really opened my eyes.
The Bible was written (primarily) by Jews and to those familiar with Judaism. We do not really understand their mindset and perspective. We approach the Bible from a western (Greek) mindset and with our modern assumptions. And when we try to approach the Bible from those glasses, things look skewed. So, fundamentally, the issue is not really the Bible, but our own paradigm that we approach in reading the Bible that makes it look “incorrect”.
We’ve discussed one assumption already – that the Bible needs to be perfect. It appears to me the majority of the attacks on the Bible is that it is not perfect. However, this assumption of perfection is from Greek philosophy, not Hebrew philosophy. This standard of perfection also did not exist in the minds of the writers or the recipients (most of them anyway). And the degree of precision that we expect today certainly did not exist during the time of the authors. Dictionaries didn’t exist, they didn’t have access to vast amounts of information at their fingertips, masses did not have college degrees, they did not take high school classes on how to cite sources correctly. I even doubt people had a ruler in their homes.
eternal torture and so on are pretty much the most evil things in human history and human imagination
I do think this perspective is another major barrier to accepting the Bible. There’s a lot to unpack in this, but can dive deeper in this later.
in my case these major problems eventually led to my loss of ‘faith.’
You’re certainly not alone. Another person that has influenced me to think about this topic was Bart Ehrman. He is an eloquent and very intelligent person that was once a devout Christian. There are probably only a handful of people who know the Bible more than him. But now he is an atheist because he could not square up the Bible with the doctrine of inerrancy. And my personal conviction is it is the latter that is flawed, rather than the former. Unfortunately, this doctrine is so embedded into society that even atheists assume it is true.
That’s why I think it’s important to emphasize the fact that even many biblical authors themselves pointed to something better than the written word
No doubt about it. And this is another mentality that has crept into Christianity – that the Bible itself is God. It is not something to be worshipped. It is a pointer to God, not God itself. The Bible is a book about God written by regular people. And it is subject to the same limitations, flaws, imperfections like all other books.
However, it can still be trustworthy, authoritative, and our ultimate guide in understanding God and Jesus.