Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Biblical Buffet: An Atheistic Understanding Of Conservative Christians

...perhaps the Bible isn't a great moral compass after all.
Sadly, the Bible is filled with instructions we now find shocking and repulsive, far too numerous to list here. Don't look to the New Testament for help. Jesus makes it clear that he came to fulfill the old laws, not destroy them (Matthew 5:17).

The hypocrisy of conservative Christians is astonishing. They take a salad bar approach toward the Bible. They pick out the bits they like, considering them to be ultimate truths that are undeniable (i.e. sodomy prohibitions), while simultaneously ignoring or "reinterpreting" the passages considered disturbing.

A quote attributed to Jesus in Matthew 19:24 is a personal favorite. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Despite the clarity of that passage many conservative Christians relentlessly push for tax cuts that benefit the richest Americans, while largely ignoring the poorest families. Wealthy religious conservatives, like Bush and his ilk, must really like the camel's chances.

John Bice goes on to address such passages of scripture as those that deal with disobedient children and stoning them as well as how women should be silent and contrasts those passages with the "Back to the Bible" mentality he says is a passion for conservative Christians. His main point is that if Christians are going to be bigots concerning homosexuality and the like, Christians need to be consistent in that Jesus did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill it. So, why do Christians interpret away the "harder" teachings of the Bible while adhering to homosexuality being wrong, promiscuity being wrong, living together outside of wedlock, etc., etc.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think that Mr. Bice has painted a fair picture of the teachings of scripture?
-Do you find his arguments cherry picked and out of context, or does he make a good argument for the antiquity of scripture's moral compass?
-Should this be a line of argument the atheist should embrace against Christianity at large?
-If you are a Christian, how would you answer Mr. Bice?
-How should the Bible be understood concerning such passages as those brought up in the article?

1 comment:

Laz said...

Asking a blind man to perform double-bypass surgery would be fairer than asking this fellow to tell us about Scripture.