Atheist Botched Biblical Exegesis: Example #4,974

Atheist “BeeryUSA”:

My story is pretty simple. I escaped from Christianity when I read the Bible, cover to cover, and realized it was all a load of complete nonsense. And I actually got pretty far through it before it hit me (partly because I was already at the point where I had realized the Old Testament was just myth). In fact, I recall the precise passage that I was reading when I realized that Jesus was actually a xenophobic nationalist #$%#*&@ and therefore could not be any kind of god I could worship:

Matthew 15:24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

So this psycho Jesus refuses to treat a woman’s daughter simply because she was a Canaanite. All of a sudden, my desire to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt melted away and, with my new-found skepticism, it didn’t take long from there for all the rest of it to unravel.

[in the combox of the post, A Conversation About Deconversion, And Why People Share Their Stories]

I replied:

Then it unraveled based on an initial lie, because you have completely butchered the interpretation of this incident. First of all, being sent to Israel doesn’t also mean that He would ignore all non-Israelis. This is untrue. The woman at the well was a Samaritan. He told the story about the good Samaritan who helped the guy who had been beaten, and concluded that he was a better neighbor than a Jew who didn’t do these things. He healed the Roman centurion’s servant, and commended his faith as better than most Jews.

Now you come along and tell us that Jesus supposedly “refuses to treat a woman’s daughter simply because she was a Canaanite.”

This is patent nonsense. If you had read the whole context of the passage you cite you would have seen that:

Matthew 15:22-28 (RSV) And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.”
[23] But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.”
[24] He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
[25] But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
[26] And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
[27] She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
[28] Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

You say He refused to treat her daughter at all. The Bible says that He healed her (and highly commended her mother for her faith).

Big dif! Yet this is what you chose (a completely mistaken reading) as your basis to reject Jesus. At least you could have based it on something He actually did or said, rather than a lie.

And this is “Beery”‘s mind-boggling, blasphemous response (which is its own refutation):

LOL! Yes, of course, I must be misinterpreting, or taking things out of context (rolleyes). The idea that I have “butchered” the story of the Canaanite woman is a lie. The story of the Canaanite woman is perfectly plain in it’s meaning – Jesus wanted to just ignore her. He only helped her after his followers asked him to [incorrect. they wanted Him to ” send her away.”], and after she redoubled her efforts. Until that point, Jesus was being a complete &%#$@ [the text merely says that He did not yet answer], and if she had just gone away at that point, he would have been perfectly content to keep being a complete &%#$@ to Canaanites. The story makes it perfectly clear that more is required of Canaanites if Jesus is going to be willing to help them. This is xenophobia, and considering that he was supposed to be a healer, it shows what an unethical piece of #@%& Jesus was.

Also, the Good Samaritan is about as nasty a story as anything else in the Bible. Jesus tells this story as if it’s amazing that a Samaritan would help anyone. [not in the slightest. The point was that good people of any race are one’s neighbors] Both of these stories show how intolerant and xenophobic Jesus is.

Shame on you for defending such a nasty and vicious character, and shame on you for lying to support such a horrible religion!

If I weren’t familiar with this sort of ultra-typical “angry atheist” rhetoric and “biblical exegesis” I would have concluded that this was certainly a joke, or self-parody: that it couldn’t possibly be serious But sadly, this level of “exegesis” regularly occurs among the sub-group of “anti-theist” atheists, and so it appears that he was indeed dead-serious.

All we can do is pray, in the face of this sort of mindless level of hostility and irrational closed-mindedness.

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(originally on Facebook: 7-23-17; expanded on 7-3-18)

Photo credit: “Frustration”, by Tanya Little (7-8-10) [Wikimedia Commons /  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license]

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