My Reawakening:For most of my 70+ years of attending Presbyterian (PCUSA) Churches and Bible studies, 60 years of which were in Conservative/Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches, I've struggled with some of the hard questions. Especially shice my education and career were in the sciences.
PCUSA is generally a liberal/progressive denomination, but there are/were many conservative/evangelical churches, including the 2 churches I attended, which are part pf PCUSA which is largest Presbyterian denomination.
Both of the churches I spent most of my life at have left PC USA and joined more conservative Presbyterian denominations over same-sex marriage and other social issues.
See PC USA Issues
With a technical education in the sciences I was uncomfortable with many of the teachings.
I always had trouble with why the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) description of Jesus were written so late, Mark, the earliest was written around 70 AD, 40 years after Jesus had died.
Life expectancy then was about 35 years.
My 1985 New Revised Standard Study bible says that Matthew and John were disciples, although Matthew was questionable.
Life expectancy then was about 35 years, so it was unlikely.
Research in the last 20 years show that neither to authors of the books of Matthew and John were disciples. All the paranormal things (virgin birth, resurrection of the body, ...) in the Bible didn't fit with the science I knew.
I had stopped going regularly, but when I had a child I thought he should get some religious education so started going to Church after dropping him off to Sunday School.
After my passed away at the age of 49 I started going to Bible Studies, mostly for the social connection and to try to understand the church-going friends I had. I was a political moderate and got along with friends on both sides of the political spectrum through the 20th century.
I became a trustee and Deacon. I was involved in service projects, building a church in Honduras, house cleanup in Mississippi after Katrina , House clean up after hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey shore and others.
Many if not most of my friends in these churches, well educated mostly business leaders, held beliefs where wrong, anti-climate change, anti-evolution, anti LGBT, ...
I pointed out that these beliefs were telling educated people that "You have to believe things that are not true to be Christian" and turning them away, when the mission of the church was to spread the "good news".
After the Liberty Corner Church left PCUSA for a more conservative Presbyterian Denomination, half of my Deacon class left to join a more progressive Presbyterian Church, I stayed for a year until I moved to Davis California and joined the Davis Community Church, where my parents were married.
DCC is primarily a place for community where "We seek to honor people’s unique spiritual journeys. We recognize power dynamics and painful histories that call us to reflect critically on our theologies and spiritual practices toward creating a more accessible, inclusive, and courageous community growing in God’s ever-expanding love."
In my mid 70s the lenten book study in my new church in Davis CA read "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith", Marcus J. Borg, 1995. which discussed the scholarly research which has been going on for over a century.
I realized there were many biblical scholars who were struggling with some of the same issues I wsas having.
Many of the things I learned
paranormal events (Virgin birth, resurrection of the body, walking on water ...) are now de-bunked.
It was a breath of fresh air.
The consensus was that Jesus was real, a good Jew, but did not think he was the Messiah or the son of God. He was a spiritual person, very intelligent, an excellent communicator, and challenged much of the Jewish ledership.
See Historical Jesus
"One of the great tragedies of our time is this impression that has been created that science and religion have to be at war." - Francis CollinsAll evangelical Christians I know reject evolution as being incompatible with the bible. Most also reject Climate Change.
He wrote "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief", 2006
I think evangelicalism has a particular problem right now. I mean, they're the people who argued, many of whom leaders argued, that character counts during the Bill Clinton years, and now character apparently doesn't count at all.
In a Washington Post Opinion column "Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn't?" Sept 1, 2022 .
Gerson goes into detail about the inconsistency between Jesus and the conservative political movement.
He uses the story of Lazarus resurrection in John 11:1 to talk about grief not the meaning of the resurrection itself.
He says many English translations say that Jesus was “deeply moved and troubled” at the tomb of Lazarus, the original Greek word "embrimáomai" actually means that he expressed “furious indignation.”
It was the day after the 3rd birthday of my Grandson and triggered in me a new way of interpreting resurrection.