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Why I Can’t Trust The Bible

Hi Pascal!

Thank you for an exciting 6 AM breakfast! I always feel like our time in person is too short. 🙂 I’d like to continue my attempt to explain why I can’t suspend judgment about the Bible. I’m still sleep-deprived (so no promises on how this will come out) but let me start with an analogy.

Let’s imagine two people – we’ll call them Russell and Pascal 🙂 – who are each similar to us both in character and in how they think but neither of them have evaluated any theological claims yet. It seems that you feel like one of them thinks in a little more binary manner and is more skeptical than the other, and I’m probably naturally more skeptical of that conclusion :). So here’s the hypothetical situation. Let’s imagine that as adults (who already have their basic modes of processing the world in tact) they’re each given a book that describes a God. The book might be the Bible, or it might be some other religious book. For this thought experiment we can’t know what book it is (we’re behind a “veil of ignorance”). What we want to do is to reach one of the following conclusions about what we think they should do:

  1. completely trust the book’s description
  2. reject at least some portion(s) of the book.

We don’t know anything about the book other than the following. It contains some supernatural claims which can’t be tested but which do have an impact on what they will believe, how they will live their life, and what they will live for. It also contains some claims which command that they love the God with all their heart and worship him faithfully. Finally, it promises great rewards if they believe in the key tenants of the book and great punishments if they do not.

We’d love to learn more about the specific claims but this is all we have to start with. One thing our alter-selves would probably like to do is see if the God described accords or conflicts with reality in any significant ways. Since they are like us, they agree that Truth is Truth, 1 = 1, and if there is a true God, he will likely not make nature the “Devil’s workshop” (playing tricks to confuse us by creating one set of logic for our minds to reason with for making sense of reality while simultaneously requiring that we find confidence and coherence in breaking through to a second conflicting logic in order to be saved).

Before committing to love and follow this God faithfully, our hypothetical-selves would probably evaluate the claims made in their book to see if they accord with reality. Errors they find may have a simple explanation if they could understand the meaning the author’s intended. Upon examination they find a large number of errors, a few which remain unresolvable in any logical context and appear to be unambiguous contradictions. If they’ve committed to belief before realizing these issues, it may be different, but Russell and Pascal are each skeptical and trying to be objective. They’ll want to know if the book paints a logically coherent concept or even logically possible concept of “God” before either of them become emotionally invested in the belief and devotion to that God.

Here are some of the claims they see – and they are without specific details in order to help us focus on the logic rather than motivated reasoning due to how we feel about the claims. To serve this purpose we’ll use the term “quality X” which possesses the following characteristics. “Quality X” is well defined in the book so there is very little room for ambiguity in its meaning. The book also makes it clear that the God’s nature never changes, thus timing is not a factor in the claims.

Claim 1: This God possesses quality X

Claim 2: This God does not possess quality X

This appears to be a contradiction. If we agree that timing and ambiguity about the meaning of quality X are not factors, then it is a contradiction. As we know, the law of noncontradiction states that both claims cannot be true in the same sense at the same time since they are mutually exclusive.

Given the background information that claims 1 and 2 are said to be held in the same sense at the same time, then according to the principle of noncontradiction:

If we accept one of the claims as true, the other claim cannot be logically true while preserving the principle of noncontradiction. Therefore we must either reject the principle of noncontradiction or reject at least some portion of the book (conclusion 2 above). This dichotomy holds whether or not we attempt to “reserve judgment” on either claim. If we accept one of them, the other must be rejected or we must choose to give up logic in order to preserve our belief in the infallibility of the book.

If we accept neither claim, we are accepting conclusion 2 above by rejecting at least some portion of the book.

If we accept both claims as true, or possibly true by reserving judgment, then we can completely trust the book’s description (“claim 1 above”), but we are doing so in violation of the fundamental laws of logic in the form of the principle of noncontradiction. That conclusion would necessitate the further conclusion that belief in this God is in conflict with the laws of science – which is in opposition to “Truth is Truth” and “God is not trying to deceive us.” Claims about God’s deceptive actions are also in conflict with claims about his character, but that’s another issue.

When someone sees an unambiguous contradiction and decides to “suspend judgment,” I understand. The faith encourages that. However, it seems that suspending judgment about one end of a contradiction is still a judgment whether or not we face it. It does not get someone out of the logical problem. In a contradiction, either we accept that both claims are true and thus reject logic, or we reject at least one of them and thus distrust a portion of the set of both claims (thus my diagram this morning). Reserving judgment sounds like sticking my head in the sand and refusing to look at either conclusion. I can and do reserve judgment for the vast majority of what appear to be Bible contradictions, because most do have a potential explanation in some context (which we aren’t always privy to). However, most of those are distractions because people tend to assume that doubters are always talking about them instead of the meatier issues that remain unresolved and seem unresolvable. Distractions do add up though, and even without direct contradictions the number of smaller errors seem vast enough to force me to distrust that the Bible is infallible and wholly inspired by a perfect being.

If this book does seem to contain unambiguous contradictions, I don’t think we’d advise Russell and Pascal to reject logic. We might advise them to distrust portions of the book, but they’d probably be in a better place to judge it than we are – having not grown up with it. Some of the unambiguous and contradictory claims about God’s character from our own Bible (replacing quality X with “evil”, for example) have caused many facing the issue to conclude “I don’t know, but I trust.” I want to explain why I can’t choose that answer. I can’t “just trust” that the claims are all accurate because I cannot bring myself to believe that a God who exists possesses qualities that are not just logically incoherent, but are actually logically impossible in our current reality. I don’t think that means such a God could not exist (not actually impossible). I just think it means I shouldn’t try to persuade myself to abandon logic in favor of belief in such a God. God can be beyond logic, but it’s less likely that He is in direct conflict with the logic he made than it is that the claims someone made about him are mistaken.

We can’t talk honestly about contradictions without making sure there’s no wiggle room in the meanings, and some people disagree there which enables them to suspend judgment. If there is wiggle room, I just can’t see it right now. If I could, I’d give the Bible the benefit of the doubt. The only hypotheticals I can come up with to keep God’s actions entirely not-evil (according to the Bible) involve Him being controlled by other God-like forces in His higher reality in order to justify his actions in ours. But that would still leave many deceptions of purpose in the Bible. It’s just not likely. Understand that I’m definitely not saying, “God is evil.” I am saying that the Bible’s claims about God’s character are inconsistent. Therefore, I can’t fully trust that the set of all claims accurately reflect a God that exists.

Why do we suspend judgment about the Bible so often and not the Quran? A sufficient explanation may be that we were taught to love, trust, and believe in that God-concept with heart, soul, mind, and strength before we learned about contradictions, logic, our own reasoning failures and biases (The Problem), etc. Once we’re in love with God-concept-Y and believe that everything rests on our ability to maintain our belief despite evidence it becomes very difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of our alter-selves in this thought experiment – even one meant to help us evaluate the claims afresh without the prior emotional commitment. For the longest time I could not bring myself to admit that I distrusted the Bible for fear that my solid ground would reveal itself as a landslide to oblivion.

My aim is absolutely not to convince you. I want to explain “my way of thinking” that led to my doubt. Do I agree with you? Yes! I feel uneasy when I hear “I suspend judgment but I trust the entire Bible is infallible or trustworthy, useful, etc.,” because if there is really an unambiguous contradiction in this reality, I can’t find a way to believe that those things can all be true without rejecting our basic principles of logic. However, if you and J (CC) find that it resonates more with you to believe that some version of God described in the Bible exists – one who performed many similar actions and possesses similar qualities, intents, desires for us – if that connects with you and you can believe it, I support and envy you. Such belief pulls at me from an incoherent ephemeral place. Perhaps it will solidify someday. If you think that the Bible is logically consistent throughout, if only we can find a way to choose to trust it – I can’t get there. We’re just in a different place. 🙂

Gentleness and respect,
–Russell

18 comments

  1. We are confronted with two claims by Jesus, 1) That he is one with the Father and 2) That there is some information (the timing of the Day of the Lord) that only the Father is privy to. This results in some of the most remarkable logical gyrations, to the point where the Catholic Church both affirms Christ’s omniscience in his divinity, but denies it for his humanity, all while somehow avoiding or ignoring the heresy of Nestorianism, which pits Christ’s humanity against his divinity. Because the one thing the Church can never admit is that the gospels teach theological error.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very well said Russell.

    Often in discussions between Christians and Atheists the Christians are asked ‘what would it take for you to question your faith’ and the atheists are asked ‘what would it take for you to believe’.

    These are good questions. Often people on both sides suggest they are so certain of their position that nothing would cause them to change their position. I find such responses disappointing.

    In my case I would be interested to understand why God allowed us to have the Bible we now have? Why did God leave us with a document that has so many challenges within its pages? I find answers that suggest there are no such issues not particularly helpful.

    I suppose the closest I have come to hearing a coherent answer to this puzzle is from the likes of Peter Enns:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2015/03/3-reasons-human-jesus-is-important/

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I understand everything you’re saying. And I think I agree with how you’ve set this up. I just might be at the head of a different path than the one you’re taking—and that’s okay. Right now, I am most comfortable with rejecting some portion of the Bible (rather than rejecting the law of non-contradiction or rejecting the idea of the Christian God altogether). I haven’t heard Pascal say the same about rejecting a part of scripture—so even though he and I often think similarly, I’m not sure we agree.

    While I reject at least some portions of scripture, I don’t completely reject the idea of the Christian God. You don’t either, although you haven’t found enough evidence to believe that it’s likely. I haven’t found it, but I place less weight on evidence—more on my personal experience. I will never again be an “evangelical” Christian—I realize I don’t have a leg to stand on.

    I see the Bible as written by humans. That doesn’t have to mean it wasn’t inspired by a real God (although I won’t try to convince you that it was, because I don’t have good enough reasons for someone who hasn’t shared my experiences). It was written by humans, in the same way my journals through the years are written by a human. Flawed in their representation and understanding of God? Oh yes. Useful for my children and future generations? I hope so.

    On reserving judgment…I see it less as sticking my head in the sand and more as lacking full confidence in my own interpretation and understanding of scripture. Humility isn’t my strongest trait, and I’m really trying to exercise it here—I don’t see judgment reserved as ignorance chosen.

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    1. Hello beautiful,

      Could the Bible both be written by humans with all their flaws and still be inspired by a real God – you know I’m completely okay with that idea. 🙂

      I didn’t mean to imply that anyone is or was sticking their head in the sand except me – it’s just how I later felt about my own previous failure to take the logic to its conclusion (in my opinion). Judgment reserved is definitely not ignorance chosen, and I definitely want to stick to the path of humility about the possible logic and reasons that might exist in a supernatural reality. I also want to balance that statement with an explanation for why I can’t bring myself to accept that we shouldn’t evaluate claims made in this reality with logic used in this reality. 🙂

      Love you!
      –Russell

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello again magnanimous J,

        I wanted to add for the sake of other readers that the point of the hypothetical was to remove ourselves from the investment of needing this book to be true for emotional reasons so we don’t commit motivated reasoning which causes us to accept what we already believe in spite of contrary data. Part of the “givens” in the hypothetical included that case that some of the contradictions truly were unambiguous. In such a hypothetical we must recognize there’s a point that logic can take us, and if our desire forces us to push past it we’re doing so against logical reason (I think that part was clear to you but I didn’t write it well so some may have missed it).

        Put another way, if we can find wiggle room to introduce sufficient ambiguity in meaning between two contradicting claims (in any context, biblical or otherwise), then judgement reserved is absolutely not ignorance chosen (and I don’t believe you think I was suggesting otherwise :)).

        On the other hand, if we evaluate two contradicting claims (possibly after putting them in a hypothetical to removing our emotional investment) and find there is not enough wiggle room between them for reasonable ambiguity, then our humility in reserving judgment is coming at the cost of the soundness of our logic.

        The point I wanted to clarify here is that I think it’s fine if we want to do that (we each do it regularly in many areas of life) but we should all recognize and admit what we’re doing (it would be nice, for example, if we resist claiming that it’s illogical not to fully trust the Bible – as you agree :))… though it could honestly be that I’m the only one who readily deferred judgment to preserve infallibility in spite of there being very little room for ambiguity in contradictions I saw, and everyone else is being sound… in which case this whole post is pretty pointless… yes, I know this isn’t grammatically correct and it should be more like 15 sentences. :))

        Haha,
        Gentleness and respect,
        –Russell

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        1. Magnanimous?! Come on, I’m not that uptight about the sentence count, and I did merely suggest it—I never demanded it. That said, the above comment was quite annoying to read thanks to creative punctuation.

          Still, I get what you’re saying and have one clarifying point of my own. I’m not sure that I can commit to seeing two claims as absolutely contradictory (without any “wiggle room”) when the two claims are about something beyond the laws of the world I know. I can always find ambiguity. I can always reserve judgment—without requiring a collapse of logical reasoning.

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          1. Excellent clarification!

            I completely agree with the first part – I cannot commit to seeing two claims as absolutely contradictory unless they are about mathematics, logic, or in a hypothetical where the “absoluteness” is a “given” for the thought experience (I only did that so we can see if we agree on what options should logically follow if there were an absolute contradiction).

            When two people claim conflicting things there can always be some possibility that they meant different things (that’s why a logical contradiction requires the claims be at the same time and in the same “sense”), but there’s a continuum of evidence and mounting claims often reach a point where the evidence provided lets us be reasonably sure that we understand their meaning (the “sense”) – and that we should reasonably conclude that it’s a contradiction (though not with absolute certainty so I’ll call it “reasonably unambiguous contradiction” from now on). 🙂

            Now for the second part and where it sounds like we might indeed be at the head of different paths: 1) I’m not bringing to mind of any biblical claims that are made using logic beyond this reality (maybe I’m misunderstand what you mean or you can provide an example?), and 2) I only know how to judge whether things are in according with the logic of this reality.

            I too, can always find some ambiguity about what authors might have meant, but once I understood motivated reasoning and considered how it might be weighting the scales of my reasoning as I evaluated different claims (biblical and non-biblical), I realized that I was holding so strongly to the concept of biblical infallibility (or to trust that God was as I thought he was) that I was requiring an unreasonably high threshold of certainty before I could let myself consider that the ambiguity often wasn’t significant enough to matter in any other context.

            We know that religions around the world use psychological techniques like requiring “faith” (e.g. Proverbs 3:5, Jer 11:3, Romans 14:23, James 1:6-8, John 20:27, Deut 6:5, Gal 3:6-9, Luke 12:8-9, etc.), offering “rewards,” threatening great “punishments,” commanding us to “love God” and to trust in the holy scripture because its author is perfect, etc. – and together these tactics lead to motivated reasoning (which is a natural human tendency that can be successfully exploited to compel believers of any faith to “defer judgment” and “trust” when the logical claims of their holy books don’t work out).

            I’m definitely not saying this is the case for you, Pascal, or anyone else, but for me, when I realized that I was as susceptible to motivated reasoning as my brothers and sisters in ISIS, etc., I felt stripped of my ability to consistently employ logic correctly when assessing biblical issues – which is why I now choose to say that I distrust portions of the Bible rather than deferring judgment in areas that are, to the unmotivated observer, reasonably unambiguous contradictions (but I think you agree with all this and you’re just focusing on the “laws outside the world I know” part, which I don’t get yet).

            I’m so jealous that you got to go to the movie with her! 🙂
            –Russell

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            1. An example of a Biblical claim that pertains to something beyond what I can logically know: “In the beginning God…”

              I do distrust portions of the Bible. I haven’t completely given up on its God.

              Motivated reasoning? Guilty as charged. But I also know (and I know you do too) that desire to believe does not necessarily have to be inversely correlated with truth.

              I think we understand each other. But I don’t know that we’re going to come to a complete agreement tonight—no matter how long your comments get.

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              1. Okay, we just talked about this in person and cleared it up. 🙂 I love being able to do that! We agree on everything because the logical difficulties (and consequences) of “suspending judgment on reasonably unambiguous contradictions” only apply if we’re doing so to preserve biblical infallibility, which we aren’t. So we’re in total agreement.

                I can’t wait for our Cinderella date tomorrow!

                Liked by 1 person

  4. How very Rawls-ian of you… :0)

    I’m really glad I did not try to read this last night. I’m not sure I completely follow it right now. (Which is not to say it isn’t well-written; my mind’s analytical powers are outstripped by most any well-reasoned argument.) But I do very much like what CC said in her comment: “I don’t see judgment reserved as ignorance chosen.” I agree; in fact, I tend to think the exact opposite. Ignorance, to me, is accepting the judgments of others without weighing the evidence for ourselves, and that pretty much describes the first three decades of my life.

    I like your point about our estimation of OUR “holy book” over against anyone else’s: I’ve often wondered about that, especially since the elements of the Quran we point to as questionable (divinely-mandated violence, for example) are very much present in the Bible. Which makes me wonder why our divinely-mandated violence is more acceptable than Allah’s. Or the fact that the Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of Jesus are so very similar in so many ways. Why is the mysticism of Christ so much more acceptable than the mysticism of Krishna? Why is the former an acknowledgment of God, but the latter a rejection of God? For that matter, other than the names and details, how is Krishna any different from God, conceptually speaking?

    This is why I tend to embrace the “imperfect source” model: as far as I’m concerned, every piece of “holy writ” in history is inspired, but not by “God” necessarily. By a shared human desire for understanding and self-transcendence. Maybe this comes from a pre-existent creator deity (although if it does, I think it’s much more likely to be one such deity viewed from a number of finite perspectives than a proprietary deity accessible only to a select few). Maybe it stems from the natural striving of a former glob of goo to evolve beyond the limitations of chronology that hound us all. We’ve come this far; why not stretch farther, seek greater meaning? Either way, it is a human attempt to understand something incomprehensible, like Oppenheimer at Alamogordo: we have to address the indescribable in metaphysical terms, because we have no words to describe it. But it is a shared human experience, and it stands to reason that the metaphysical terms we use will share many points of reference. I may describe a transcendent experience in different terms than the woman standing next to me, but a listener will likely be able to see we’re describing the same thing.

    The biggest problem with the way people approach the Bible is this: we believe that if we find any truth in the Bible, we’re bound to accept it all. Why? Because we believe it to be THE WORD OF GOD. (Don’t know how to type an echo…) So, again: the “imperfect source” model: there is truth, useful truth, in the Bible, and there are misapprehensions, dangerous and harmful ones, as well, in the Bible. Our job is not willy-nilly to accept everything without judgment, but to decide for ourselves which is which.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks!

      I don’t see judgment reserved as ignorance chosen.

      — J’s (CC’s) line was excellent and I think we all agree with her very quotable remark in general. It’s like the mantra of weak agnostic weak atheists and anyone close to that point of view. I only think deferring judgment can be illogical under very specific, narrow conditions — you can probably imagine some. 🙂

      Ignorance … is accepting the judgments of others without weighing the evidence for ourselves… “

      Very well said — and I feel as you do about much of my earlier life (and I have an eery feeling that I’ll feel the same about my present life in a few decades). Your entire comment was very well written and harmonized well with my recent thoughts. You, J, Pascal and a few others have a gift for beautifully expressing the narrative of our lives rather than simply droning on about the facts (as I tend to), and we all value you for it!

      I’m so glad we’re friends!
      —Russell

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      1. A) Droning is underrated. At the risk of siccing CC on myself (and to paraphrase Martin Luther), drone boldly, my friend! :o)

        B) Also glad we’re friends!

        C) I feel like there needs to be a “C”; but I got nothin…so…dealing myself out…

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  5. Hello Russell,

    Thank you for this elaboration. Appreciation also to those who commented. I suppose suspense of judgment and ignorance for me is this: I’ve suspended judgment on how to interpret passages that impugn the character of God. I don’t feel qualified to judge his character. Ignorance is a requirement when invoking a supernatural being transcending reality as I know it. I don’t know how the symphony ends when I’ve only lived the first four bars. I acknowledge the horror of the Old Testament account of Israel’s conquest. I also study secular wars throughout history, even recent history, and see no difference in woman’s inhumanity to woman. (That is one attempt at gender language equanimity that fails: violence seems to be primarily in the domain of man). I do not know if God working through fragile humanity allows violence rather than compels it. So there is judgment reserved. I do not judge God evil.

    Does it bother me to consider reality beyond what I live in? No more than science fiction stirs rather than constrains your imagination and creativity. There are parts of my neurochemistry and history that can see a solution beyond my brief walk in life. Are they just the status epilepticus of the temporal lobes? Perhaps. I don’t think so, but perhaps. Oliver Sacks questions whether the genesis of such thoughts invalidates the conclusions.

    I do appreciate your device of the hypothetical, but more so appreciate your acknowledgement in the comments that I likely do not think that way. You created a conversation between Russell and Russell. I view life and reality as a narrative. I view God as a person and one that I don’t completely understand. That view compels me rather than repels me. Further – – I feel understood by this God. Anyone who doesn’t accept ignorance as part of the life of the mind rather than equating it with faith just hasn’t studied enough. Tolerance for ambiguity is a requirement for those who study. So yes – – ignorance, and some strands not to be resolved in this life. How then can I live?

    I would accept wisdom from the Gita if it addressed this point, but I have not yet read the Gita. I would accept wisdom from the Quran on this point, but I have not yet read the Quran.

    1 Corinthians 8:2-3 says this:
    “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”

    Perhaps faith is too charged a word for our discussions. It seems to imply a disengaging of logic. I don’t use the word faith to describe the reconciliation of my doubts when I consider the balance of what I can and can not know about a God who allows horror on the earth. I use the word trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Warning: not a Subway line comment.

      I love that you included 1 Corinthians 8:2-3 in this—I’ve said to you before that perhaps it is better to be known than to know.

      You also said this: “Anyone who doesn’t accept ignorance as part of the life of the mind rather than equating it with faith just hasn’t studied enough. Tolerance for ambiguity is a requirement for those who study. So yes – – ignorance, and some strands not to be resolved in this life.”

      Are you implying here that Russell does not tolerate ambiguity, or even that he hasn’t studied enough? I know I’m an outsider in this conversation between the two of you and that I’m not there at breakfast—but my gut reaction (without knowing the full background that led to Russell’s post and without knowing your intentions here) is to defend my husband. I admit that my threshold for jumping to his defense is quite low, and I don’t think he has ever actually needed that. At the same time, I don’t think it bothers him. I’m like his chihuahua that thinks she’s his guard dog—he probably just smiles and rolls his eyes when I start barking at innocent passersby.

      So I’ll bark. He has studied more than anyone I’ve ever personally known. He studies in the shower; he studies at the gym; he studies when he drives; he studies for two out of three meals every day. He studies many topics—this one, advanced physics, and childhood development seem to be his favorites. He does tolerate ambiguity when he finds it, and he finds it often. When he finds it, he does reserve judgment. Where he does not find ambiguity, he makes a judgment—that has led him to reject at least part of scripture. If unknowable claim A contradicts unknowable claim B, he reserves judgment on each individual claim. Claim A may be true (we may not know in this life); claim B may be true (we may not know in this life)—he reserves judgment. If the two are mutually exclusive, there is one judgment he can make—even with unknowable claims: They cannot both be true. If they are both made in the same book, he rejects at least part of that book. That is not a failure to meet a scholarly requirement for tolerance of ambiguity.

      His way of thinking (“binary,” as you call it, or not) is very reasonable, and I identify strongly with it. At the same time, I am more comfortable with hopeful belief in some version of the Christian God when I don’t have the answers. I can say “I’m not sure that it’s true, but I’m not sure that it’s wrong—so I’ll love Jesus as well as I can while I wait.” He says “I’m not sure that it’s wrong, but I’m not sure that it’s true—so I’ll study and seek evidence with an open mind while I wait.” I’m probably the more flawed one here—but it’s typical of me to love, even when my love is undeserved or risky or costly. It is typical of him to exercise wisdom in watchful waiting and careful calculations. He tames my recklessness. I throw variables into his equations. We’re perfect for each other.

      Please don’t see Russell’s way of thinking as an impasse—if you do, this whole conversation will stop sooner than we want it to. The more you write to each other, the more I see that you simply still don’t understand each other—and that kind of understanding is not impossible just because two people think differently. It takes time. I’m in this weird position of being somewhat of a hybrid of the two of you who understands both of you, although incompletely. I think you could both try harder, and I think you’ll both get better at this with time. We’re not in a hurry.

      Perhaps Russell counts threads and misses the tapestry. Perhaps you are standing so far back from a beautiful tapestry that you can’t see misplaced threads that may threaten to unravel the entire structure. Perhaps I’m somewhere in the middle, and perhaps we all have it wrong. You feel like God knows you and understands you. Russell doesn’t perceive that for himself—so model that for him the way you model Jesus through fellowship at a table and the way you demonstrate the character of God by being slow to anger (even after frustrating conversations) and abounding in steadfast love. You still lack understanding of my husband. To be known is better than to know—can you give him that gift?

      I’m glad we’re seeing you on Friday. I know your breakfasts have been a little more tense than normal the past two times, but I do think the face-to-face conversations are helpful as we seek understanding. In the mean time, read this again—I think it holds a valuable key to understanding Russell.

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      1. My response is delayed as there has been much to process. Dinner has come and gone. Breakfast occurs in an hour. Now that I have benefited from your defense I will reciprocate. You are not a Chihuahua. You, my friend, are a Labrador.

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        1. Pascal, I like this so much better than your verbally-offered two-word response at dinner last Friday. Thank you. I am faithful to my husband in marriage, faithful to you and others in friendship (although I fail often). Faithful in faith? I’m working on it—hopefully faithful in seeking. I hope to be known more by my faithfulness than by my bark.

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  6. Russell you have mentioned in a couple resent post that most seeming contradictions you are willing to suspend judgement on but that there are like 10 that you cannot. Would you be willing to share which contradictions those are? I just looked up the bibviz website you linked and it honestly looks daunting on where to start. Thought your 10 might give me a good place to start.

    Seth

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