I can now say that I’ve been officially baptized in the lake of pastor Jay Bakker with his new book: Faith, Doubt, and Other Lines I’ve Crossed—And have sprung out of the water with a not-so-new view of God, the Bible and Christianity. (Unless you are a conservative evangelical Christian, then you will probably think that this book and it’s views are heretical.) But before you get the torches, let me explain…
For hundreds of years now, biblical scholars have known that the Bible is full of errors, contradictions, variants and forgeries. But if this is true, then what shall a Christian do? Throw away the bible and their faith completely? Or do they reevaluate everything they thought they knew about God and the Bible and rediscover a faith that is all about love, grace and doubt? Yes, doubt. As Jay Bakker puts it: Doubt is essential to having faith and while certainty is what most Christians claim they have, that kind of faith can lead to arrogance and can be harmful towards our fellow humans. With doubt comes a chance to really search for the “Unknown God” and to never stop seeking the truth.
I really enjoyed the refreshing tone of Jay’s writing style, which was honest, unapologetic and at times conversational—as if Jay was simply having a discussion with a friend at a local pub. (Side note: Jay is the pastor of Revolution Church in Brooklyn, NY; where they meet each week at a local bar: Pete’s Candy Store) Even if you disagree with Jay on his theological views or even if you’re Agnostic or Atheist—the underlining themes in this book will resonate with all of us: Love and Grace. These two attributes can bring people together and create a bridge of understanding and compassion.
While Jay Bakker’s book really resonated with me, I couldn’t help but ask these questions countless times when reading this book: Why do you still believe in God? Why not just be a humanist? Is it necessary to believe in this God in order to be compassionate, help the poor, feed the hungry and relieve suffering in the world? Of course not. But has Jay stripped away Orthodox Christianity to the point that all you’re left with is hoping that God exists? Hoping there is an afterlife. Hoping that there is a meaning to life. Even if Jay is just hoping that all of these things are true, we can know two things are for certain in this life: Death and taxes.