How do I say this? Every belief system has human involvement and humans are imperfect and have egos that get in the way of really relating the truth about God and what you believe about him. Each document that was ever written to convey any truth about belief has the stamp of the person who wrote it imbedded in the script. This is also true about the Bible and the people who translated it and decided what would considered canon. Unfortunately, the English language is a poor substitute for the original languages that the Bible was written in. There are few words that can describe shades and depths of meaning to give a true picture of what God was trying to say through the original authors. What I can say is that each person that believes that the Bible is the Word of God is directed by His Holy Spirit, so that person can learn what they need to live a godly and fulfilling life; and, be comforted by knowing that God loves them, provided a way to forgive sin thoroughly, and that there is life after death.
I believe that there was an original sin brought into the world by a naive trusting person being deceived by ultimate evil. I also believe that Jesus came to earth and paid for that sin and all conscious and unconscious sin for all humanity for all time past, present, and future. I believe that original sin was paid for in full 2000 years ago and does not exist today. What exists today is conscious and unconscious sin. This is also paid for, but it is our duty to honor that sacrifice to live in love and peace with everyone around us, and to care for the damage that our kind has done to God’s creation. I believe that each person has to come to a real and personal relationship with the Creator and Jesus to accept the gifts of life and the responsibility to honor that life and to hold it sacred.
I believe that our world is broken and that this brokenness has been brought about by people with a real strong sense of self entitlement, greed, pride, and lack of love. I believe that in America we have walked away from what our founders set out to do – create a nation where people can worship God in any way they choose, and to base our way of life in good morals, and caring for each other. More and more we have children who do not hold to belief in any higher power God or otherwise, who treat others as if they don’t matter and are just a way to the end they want. They have no respect for anyone not even themselves. We see this in their actions, dress, and lack of work ethic.
How do we change this? First, we must address ourselves and do what we need to do to live as an example to others specifically our families. We change one person, one family, one neighborhood, one community, one state, one country at a time until we have a world of peace. Do I have hope that this will ever become a true reality – not without people committed to love and accept everyone they meet.
Mark 12:28ff describes the bottom line for believers well:
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Summation – Love God, Love People. I would add Love the Planet.