Only Bible Scholars Need Apply
I think that it's a pretty common claim from the believer side that if you read the Bible with an open mind and open heart you will see the truth. In my case, I have read the Bible a lot and have studied various interpretations and theories as to its origins and purpose. And I come to the same conclusion over and over: it's a fascinating tome, but divine inspiration doesn't seem too likely. So I guess they are right, I have seen the truth.
But here's the thing, while I think I know more and have thought more than the average bear about the Bible, I have no delusions that I've done anything but scratch the surface. Further more, people who don't know much about a topic are *really* bad at guessing how little they know about a topic. I could easily be this person now. In fact I have *no* doubt that in 10 years if I continue reading the Bible and the history of the Bible and interpretations of the Bible and so on I will no doubt look back at my current beliefs and just shake my head in wonder at how little I knew back then. At that point I might have the same belief I have now that the Bible is largely fiction or perhaps I will have gone 180 and realize that it is a perfect book whose contradictions are only apparent and that it is truly the best guide to living ever printed. 20 years ago I never would have even considered that I would have the beliefs that I have now, so stranger things have happened.
So in my above scenario if I don't keep working on this for the next 10 years I might miss out on the greatest truth of all. Or I might just waste 10 years coming to the same conclusion I've already reached, just with more facts to back it up.
While lots of folks seem to find their way to god naturally and with minimal scholarship, I don't seem to be wired that way. So barring having magic belief dust sprinkled on me the only way I can see me ever becoming a believer is to study more and just see where that takes me.
Since I've had to work at it so hard I think it would only be fair for there to be a minimal competency test at heaven's gate. I mean if you chose god and jesus but in reality it was just a lucky guess, it seems like you should be disqualified. I know no one is worthy, etc, etc, but surely some guy who just guesses the right answer shouldn't get any credit.
It's only fair.