The Bible Tells Us What, Delivered by James Brewer, Date Unknown

“The Bible is a very, very heavy book. So much weight is given to it, so much is loaded unto it. On it is based the authority and existence of the Protestant Church, and the authority of an individual’s Christian faith. It was the Christian Church, in its self-serving way, which put together the Bible and declared it the word of God. The Bible’s authority comes from the Church. The Church’s authority comes from the Bible. With this interlocking, circular arrangement of authority the Bible became more than a book, but a holy symbol. To question its authority is to question the foundation of the Christian Church and faith. For those who do question, as we Unitarian Universalists, this can be the obstacle in the way of truly understanding the Bible.

Another obstacle to understanding is that the Bible is seen by many as a magical answer book. A quote from the Bible, because it comes from the Bible, is supposed to establish the truth of a statement or an idea – no matter if it is inaccurate or nonsensical. That is the view of the president. He said in 1984, “Within the covers of that single book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today, if we only read and believe.” This is also what I have seen advertised in bookstores and displays selling the Bible: it has all the answers to all the concerns and questions.

To be sure, the Bible has answers, all kinds of answers – some repulsive, some degrading, some disgusting, as well as some that are challenging and uplifting. The Bible as a whole contains words and ideas that are largely contradictory. You can choose what you want for your answer to support your position. People and churches have been doing that for a very long, long time.”

James Brewer, The Bible Tells Us What?, Box 2 Folder 4, Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville Collection, Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina Asheville Special Collections, Asheville, NC.