Is God Bipolar?

Bo Byron is the singer and songwriting force behind the funk and soul band Slum Lord Byron.  Joe Hubris is thrilled to publish this essay on his ideas about Christianity, faith and spirituality.

By Bo Byron

The Bible is a beautiful, poetic work of literature.  Much inspiration, wisdom and truth can be found within it.  However, if one's personal views are shaped by fear, from which all hostility, jealousy and prejudice arise, some passages can be interpreted to support those beliefs and agendas.  If a man shoots at a wall every day for a month and then, afterward, draws a target around the bullet holes, he looks like a better marksman than he actually is.

Disregarding some evidence and focusing only on that which supports one’s predetermined conclusion is not at all scientific, but it is, unfortunately, all too human.  This leads to ridiculous and often tragic contradictions.  There are clergymen who preach Jesus' words of love and tolerance in one sermon and hatred and intolerance towards the LGBT community in another.  There are anti semitic Christians whose own God was a Jew.

They forget the words, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap”.  That sounds like Karma to me.  I am spiritual rather than religious.  My experience has been that if I am positive in my dealings with others I usually receive that back from them. When I am negative, the reverse is true.

There are those who believe that the Bible should be taken literally.  They count the begats in the Old Testament and determine that the Earth is only a few thousand years old ignoring all the scientific evidence to the contrary.  Consider this:  Since it's authorship, the Bible has been translated and re-translated into numerous languages including Greek, Hebrew, German, and Old English.  There are words that we still use today which had completely different meanings in Old English alone.  

Prior to the invention of the printing press, the Bible was copied by monks by hand.  There are are differences in the bibles from that period because some monks would omit sections they disagreed with and inserted their own.  So, like a game of Whisper Down the Lane, some things ended up being lost in translation.

The evolution debate also baffles me.  Christians are willing to concede that God created other natural forces--such as gravity.  Maybe God created evolution.  It makes sense from a Theological standpoint.  Christianity centers on faith; faith in the intangible. If God blinked his creations into existence, there would be no fossil record.  And, we would unequivocally know, that we had spontaneously appeared on the planet.  What need would there be for faith?

Some believers are in positions of power. These people believe that when the world ends they will ascend to Heaven and those who believe differently will be tormented for eternity in Hell.  Jesus himself said: "The kingdom of Heaven is within you"  (Luke 17:21).

To me, this speaks more of enlightenment, self-actualization and serenity than any cosmic waiting game.  Sartre said that "Hell is the impossibility of reason".  In fact, dealing with rigidity, unreasonableness and irrationality can be quite hellish.  However, I believe that Hell is the inner turmoil of being consumed and tormented by irrational fears--not by fire and brimstone.

There is truth in all religion.  Enlightenment may be the goal, but it is sometimes obscured by dogma, ritual, and fear tactics.  It is difficult for me to reconcile the wrathful God of the Old Testament with the peaceful Christ of the New.

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