Religious Spoiler Alert: If you’re confused by the difference between belief and knowledge perhaps you’d best come back next week.
I believe my Mother and Father are sitting up in Heaven looking down on me. I don’t really think they are but I believe it to be so because I was taught from an early age that good people go to Heaven and my Mother and Father were indisputably good people. Even bad people go to Heaven if they believe in Jesus because everybody who believes in Jesus is forgiven. On the other hand, I know that if my Mother and Father are sitting up in Heaven they aren’t smiling down on me because my belief system has undergone some radical modifications since I was a child.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God because I was taught to so believe. On the other hand, I happen to know the Bible is the work of ordinary men whose intentions were not always altruistic. In fact, in 325 CE the Roman Emperor Constantine convened a meeting of his Department Heads to draw up what amounted to a business plan for the Holy Roman Church along with a Mission Statement. You see, they weren’t all on the same page when it came to doctrine. Simple matters such as who is this guy named Jesus of Nazareth, was he actually a blood relative of God, and when should we celebrate Easter? You’d a thought if God really wrote the Bible he would have clarified these points three hundred years earlier.
Nor was Christianity the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire until 313 CE. It was actually illegal to be a Christian before that. So if you were a True Believer way back then you were a Dead Believer. As to the notion that the Bible was cast in stone entirely by God Himself, heck, the boys at the top couldn’t even agree on what books to include in the Bible until the fifth century! The Book of Revelations that contains all those dire warnings about the end of the world barely made the cut and came in under the wire just as the polls were closing. Kinda makes one think we might have a few more centuries on this rickety orb before old what’s his name blows the trumpet. Oh, that would be Gabriel. The ubiquitous Angel. More later.