A friend of mine had a truly disturbing and horrifying conversation with an “ Evangelical believer” . . .
My friend was speaking to a strict Calvinist and a theonomist (Oversimplified: someone who believes the ills of society would be fixed, God’s blessing “released,” if civic society simply conformed to the laws of the “Bible,” especially the Decalogue). The topic of abortion came up. The individual said:
“I think every woman who gets an abortion should be executed,” and proceeded to quote scripture from the Pentateuch to justify his statement.
My friend pointed out how that was a very flawed argument and was a horrible proof text. The individual then said:
“I measure my standard by what God says.” [The spiritual smugness and superiority palpably hanging off the statement in my opinion].
My friend then wrote [brilliantly in my opinion] the following response:
“[No], You measure it by what the modern English translation interpreted by a renaissance Frenchman of an ancient near eastern language that hadn’t been in use for nearly 1,500 years when he did it says. CONTEXT MATTERS. “The Bible says so + zero context = nonsense.”
A few points:
- Charismatic believers are not the only ones who believe nonsense based on what they think God has “said.” Charismatics base their madness on what they think God has said to them inside their heads. Fundamentalists and Evangelicals base their madness on what they think God has said to them through the Bible.
- It is truly painful that the gospel that should make followers more fully human according to the pattern we see in Jesus Christ ends up dehumanizing us. Of course, that is what religion will always do, especially religion based in violence. It is an abiding ache in my soul that for all our alleged “Bible knowledge” after 1,500 years of Protestantism, that we are less human. For all our alleged fidelity to the scriptures, we have missed the point entirely. We are so “biblically informed,” literally surrounded, drowning in,”Bible information in every shape and form, on every hand, yet and so utterly relationally and socially dysfunctional. It is the fruit of an abortive, cerebral, nontransformative gospel which in reality, is no gospel at all.
- This type of mindset, while perhaps extreme to some, is not out of the spectrum of the evangelical right that wants access to the corridors of political power. I pray to God that day never comes for people like the person who made this comment, and other types of similar ignorance. I PERSONALLY know fundamentalist/evangelicals who think and teach women should not get an education, that they should not go to college, and that they should not have jobs having to do with any facet of authority (police, judges, etc.). This is allegedly because women should stay at home and have babies and should never have authority over a man, in any arena of life. I know some who believe women should be denied the vote because that would be giving women jurisdictional authority over men in society. I am not kidding about this, and these are not isolated perspectives in evangelical fundamentalism. My own daughters were subjected to some of this nonsense (which we resisted at the time). The supposed “father/apostle” of a group were were with at one time would not write a letter of recommendation for my sexually pure, intelligent, good student daughter to go to college. because “the Bible says,” women should stay at home and bear children. Yes . . . that stuff is still out there. Alive and well.
- People often wonder why I harp on things like context and culture in my Facebook posts and blogs. They don’t see the need for it. Well, I would argue that those folks aren’t exposed to the levels of idiocy on a regular basis that I am. I am exposed to nonsense like this on a regular basis. This is not an isolated case. It is symptomatic, emblematic of what is common in today’s evangelical Christianity, so-called.
- Some say: “But Steve, you should be more “positive,” after all, stupidity will always be with us.” Yes, and that makes my point. As long as this kind of idiocy and stupidity that distorts the scriptures and slanders my Lord, and compounds them both with smug self-righteousness and the veneer of biblical fidelity, exists and is perpetuated, I will continue to be “negative.” There are enough people out there preaching a vacuous and vapid feel-good, positive message. You can find them all over your TV channel lineup, ad nauseum. If that’s what you want, don’t bother reading anything I post. If it is “too negative” to constantly speak out against this sort of madness, I will continue to be “negative” as long as God gives me breath, so help me God.
If a doctor prescribed medication without proper diagnosis, that doctor would go to jail. Insistence on being “only positive” is like asking a doctor to ignore cancer. It is not “negative” to point out cancer. Only people in denial about the presence of cancer would consider focusing on it “too negative.” It is hard to be “positive” when the person in denial of their disease doesn’t value the cure. They would not recognize being “positive” because they don’t think they need a cure. Therefore, any diagnosis is “negative.”
Take your liberty to unsubscribe from this blog, or “de-friend” me on Facebook if you think I am “too negative,” because I will not stop.
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