If you want to ignore parts of the Bible you can. That takes the fun out of it. Scholars for over a 1000 years have put alot of effort into figuring out which books are authentic and from God. The rest is up to you. Trust whichever scholars you want, believe whatever your heart tells you to. Be a lot sceptical.
How do you know if a book is from God? http://www.gotquestions.org/canon-Bible.html
This site says it's been pretty much set for the last 1,600 years. Still, why are there books that are not in there? The Gospel of Judas is very interesting, and shines a lot of light on things. It makes a lot of logical sense, but says things that people don't want to believe- that Judas was chosen by God for the sacred task of giving Jesus up for sacrifice.
But if you ask the right questions, you'll find some interesting answers.
When I was a kid and first realized that not all Pastors and Christians agreed on issues like Baptism, worship, tithes, Catholic doctrine, authority of the Bible etc. I started with a foundation: "I'm going to believe this Bible is true until someone proves it otherwise."
30 years later i'm still convinced its true. And I've read 1000s of claims against the Bible. I've also looked into every contradiction I could get my hands on. I heard both sides of the stories (and sometimes I've heard 10 different sides of the stories). Its most fun when all the atheist scholars can't agree on what opinion is fact - and they start fighting each other.
I like how you say how the atheist scholars can't agree- what about the 30,000+ denominations of Christian? Are you a Bible literalist? Do you believe the world was created 6,000 years ago? Was Noah's Ark real? Are we saved by grace, faith, or works?
If there's a God he'll give you the info to put the truth together. If there's not? then it'll play itself out in the puzzle pieces. I believe the quest for truth about the Bible is way more freaky than most people could possibly recognise. Anyway...
I studied the Bible extensively on my own for years. I keep it by my computer for discussions like this. It's easier for me to pull it out, find the scripture I want rather than do an internet search sometimes. My Bible is well-worn and underlined in many places. But now, instead of the truth getting clearer (which it never did), it just gets more and more cloudy.
I believe there are NO contradictions in the Bible. I think God made it a little strange at times. It would be boring if he didn't.
Hate to upset everyone and their boring view of God but; I don't think he wants everyone to easily find the truth, say the magic words and go to heaven. The Bible is tricky enough to allow an evil heart to run its full course. Its fun watching atheists and Muslim's and other false religions stumble all over this book. Its what keeps me a Christian. And i'm not that smart...
Just cause something isn't simple to understand - does not make it wrong.
If there were no Biblical contradictions, this sub-forum would not exist. And please, do tell me, at what *exact* point are we saved? The Bible isn't really clear about that.
Women in the Bible.
Women are equal in many areas. Even more equal in some. But God would appreciate it if women would let men be incharge in church. It seems to smooth out a few issues. You can't have two cooks in the kitchen. Someone needs to be incharge. And God would appreciate women being submissive in this area of Worship and teaching. Men have to be submissive in some areas too. Is it really that much to ask? And if they do happen to teach or lead worship: is it the end of the world? NO. Doesn't mean they go straight to hell. Its just a request from God. ITs a deeper issue - but thats the gist of it.
How does a man being in charge of a church "smooth out things?" I used to go to USC, and the pastor at the church there is female. Didn't have any problems there. When I was in the church/cult, sometimes this situation would happen- Woman converts on a trip, goes home and there is no male in her area from the same church (and they were *quite* picky about it only being *their* church) to teach. How was she supposed to convert men? She couldn't teach them- does that mean they shouldn't be saved?
Or this one- I went to high school with 3 other girls from the church. For a while it was just the 3 of us, and we were happy. Then, a guy joins the church from our school. He is the "youngest" Christian of us all, and since he was male he had to lead us. He was not comfortable in his position, since it was unfair. He "fell away" shortly after, unable to stand the pressure of having to teach women who knew a lot more about the Bible than he did.
And as for "not having two cooks in a kitchen?" I guess you have never even been to a McDonald's, where everything is of course prepared by the one cook in the kitchen. That's why it takes 3 hours to get your food. It's not like an assembly line where there are many cooks, flipping burgers, making fries, toasting buns, and putting it all together.
In a relationship, someone does not need to be "in charge." Geo and I are equals. In any major issue, we decide together what to do. What apartment complex to live in, how to deal with the car, jobs, etc. For minor issues, we trust each other to do what's best. I don't "submit" to him, and he doesn't "submit" to me. We talk things out and deal with it like adults.