Just which Bible are you reading?

I’m not the only one to point out that the Bible can be used to support very, very different things. Even Barack Obama has made this point:

In case you’re having trouble reading that, here you go:

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith. Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount — a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?

This is what I mean when I say that the Bible is such a diverse – and even contradictory – book that it can be used to support, well, just about anything, from patriarchy to feminism, from hellfire to universalism. It all depends on how you interpret it, which verses you emphasize, etc.

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