If you read comments online, you’ve undoubtedly seen this scenario: Someone is upset about some behavior or other. They hammer out their comment declaring that such-and-such is PROHIBITED BY THE BIBLE!!! Almost immediately someone else retorts so is wearing polyester and eating shell fish.
You’ll hear some people claim that it was Biblical Christians who invented hospitals, championed abolition, elevated women’s position in society. Others will argue that it was so-called Biblical Christians who used the Bible to uphold slavery in America, or to keep women from getting the right to vote. The weird truth? Both are kind of right.
I still feel that anxious cringe whenever some crazy on TV starts quoting scripture to justify his teenage wives, or his white supremacy, or war in the middle east. But more and more, it’s not just the crazies. Apparently reasonable people on both sides of every cultural debate in our country all use the Bible to bolster their arguments. Why? They want to draw in Christian support. They want to appeal to a source of authority. They want to be taken seriously by people who take the Bible seriously.
But if you’re paying attention, you start to hear all these people quoting the Bible, and they’re disagreeing with each other. How can it be that both pacifists and just-war people can quote the same scriptures? Some people quote the Bible suggesting that the government needs to help poor people. Others quote the Bible saying that the government should stay out of it.
There comes a point when a reasonable person would not be blamed for throwing their hands up in the air and dismissing the whole thing. I mean, if anyone can make the Bible mean anything they want, then what possible good could it do as a source of guidance?
That is a fair question.
This week we tackle one more reason why good people struggle to read the Bible: How to read the Bible when it seems like anyone can make it say anything. Are we just left with selective reading? Doesn’t that open us up to picking and choosing? Is there anything left of the Bible that’s authoritative at all?
Join us on Saturday for this discussion.
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