anyone can use the bible for anything

anyone can use the bible for anything October 29, 2013
bible as sanction cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“Bible as Sanction” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

The bible as sanction.

  1. It can be used to support(sanction) our ideas, words and actions.
  2. It can be used to oppose(sanction) our ideas, words and actions.

It is our hermeneutic that rules.

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  • Shawn Spjut

    David so sad…so true. Lately I’ve come to believe that the greatest arrogance within the ‘Christian’ community is the ‘inerrancy’ of Scripture…AKA Our own deception that leads us to believe that how we have interpreted it is the only interpretation there is. And thus our right to ‘sanction’ our actions/inactions accordingly.

  • So true.
    Huge difference between follow the bible and following Jesus.
    Although people still manage to come up with their own version of Jesus unfortunately.

  • Nicely done.

  • ThomasAllynWilson

    Nothing more to than that. I don’t remember where I first read it, but as someone once said “Theology is not the study of God – its the study of another human’s ideas about God.”

  • Michael Raburn

    Love it. I just posted today about how our understanding of the Bible can render us deaf to the voice of Jesus:

  • I think it can never be enough pointed out that books within the Bible are not more inspired than books outside it:

    The Bible should not be considered as a infaillible book giving us information about everything but as a collection of human experiences and relections about God, in the same way one views the Christian books having been written since 300 AC.

  • doctorchrysallis

    The Bible (diverse scripture writers, taken as a whole) doesn’t point to itself, but rather points beyond. And even Jesus didn’t point to himself, but rather pointed beyond– to the reality for which we have a range of metaphors, such as Beloved Community, Shalom, Reign of God. Sadly, many people genuflect before the Bible, virtually approaching it as a golden calf and, in an ironic twist, end up engaging in a form of idol worship which scripture itself condemns.

  • I don’t use the Bible to support anything I do, but I have lots of folks in my life who try to use it to oppose me and my family.

    I have seen as many atheists use the Bible as their “support” as I have surgeons use Kent’s Materia Medica for support. 😉

    Of course this kind of comment invites counter comments like this:

    – Atheism is a religion too and Atheists use their misunderstandings of the Bible as support to attack Christianity.

    But we all know the problem with that argument. If you put the Mahabharata there in this picture or the Qur’an there and accurately put in those who use it as a “sanction” for their mis-actions would you include “atheists” — No, because we opt out of using ancient supposed revelations. I looked real carefully and don’t see a “Progressive Christian” there or a “Cartoonist” or a “Charismatic” — way more obvious than “atheist”.

    Keep us out. Holy Scripture support is exactly not our game. Trying to minimizing that important criticism by our inclusion I see as misunderstanding what Atheism is not.

  • Al Cruise

    The Bible shows that people back then were just as good as people today when it comes to creative writing. Taking personal experiences, seeing social injustice, wondering about the meaning of life and what happens after death and writing about it with villains and hero’s and moral conclusions as per their specific cultures. Not much much different than today’s cultures, with it’s different religious doctrines, and beliefs. Each one vying to be present itself as the real truth, condemning the other to eternal damnation, ie MacArthur v/s Driscoll who condemns everyone who does not attend Mars Hill. The beat goes on.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Human thoughts and rules, human book. To use scripture that is intended to inspire and explain as a means to sanction is to misuse it.

  • Caryn LeMur

    Sabio: I have an atheist friend that uses the Bible to sanction his views… but not in the ‘holy scripture’ sense, but rather via literary criticism. There is also a view of historical criticism used by atheists against the Bible being deemed Holy Scripture – after all, the canon excluded historical books that were accepted until the council denounced those books.

    I offer that you read the cartoon too narrowly. The great strength of my atheist friend is that he is extremely conversant about the verses within the Bible.

  • Caryn,

    I anticipated that response. If the cartoon is going to be meaningful, it is critifizing how people use the Bible to justify (or Sanction) their positions. If you stretch it like you have here, EVERYONE fits. Then you make the cartoon meaningless. That was my point about doing the same with every book under the sun.

  • Gary

    Very well done and poignant David. It would be an interesting exercise to look through the position characters and see how many of them can be used to describe me, and then see if I have used the bible in the past to justify/buffer my beliefs as “correct”. Of course there is much wisdom in the bible that we can learn from which is not a bad thing. But I don’t take it to mean you were implying that is not the case. I think each of us who do or have ever called the bible “holy” will be stung a little (and so we should be) by this.

    For the record…I count at least 13 of these views I have in the past used scripture to justify. Many of them I no longer adhere to…some I still do…and still others are new beliefs which have replaced the old. And even in the new views which are contradictory and have replaced some of the old views…I still have no trouble finding biblical support for them. Thank goodness I no longer consider “biblical support” a requirement. What a dizzying game that was.

  • shramana

    It should also not be privileged above the texts of other religions, whether of the Hindu traditions, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Sikhism, and so on, some of which even reject the existence of the kind of God claimed in Abrahamic religions. Jain religious texts offer some of the earliest refutations of an omnipotent, monotheistic God responsible for the creation or governance of the world. There’s no reason to elevate the thoughts and experiences of certain groups in the ancient Middle East above those of philosophers and sages in ancient India or China.

  • Actually, I’m going to argue on my blog that Paul (or at the very least Luke) thought that a Pagan poet got God right, even though he was writing about Zeus.

    2013/10/30 Disqus

  • shramana

    Yes, I’ve often heard that line of argument from Christians. That non-Christian religions have merit to the extent that they affirm dogmas of the Christian religion and its claims as to the nature of its deity. And what of the essential philosophical teachings of non-Christian religions which fundamentally conflict with, challenge, or refute the claims of the Christian religion? One simply dismisses or ignores them, of course, for the Bible is to be privileged above the texts of other religious traditions. It’s a very convenient argument, one I find too easy.

  • JosephBrown660

    Please substantiate your claim about Driscoll. I have studied him extensively and have never heard him make such a claim.

  • “I’ve studied him extensively.”

    Creepy as the saints who watch you in the bath.

  • Al Cruise

    “God hates you” ……. Mark Driscoll

  • Jon Fermin

    1500 years before the idea of “sola scriptura” was invented. approximately 40 years before the new testament was recorded to paper. there was a Church who’s founder proclaimed the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. A church which was perfectly ok with passing down it’s traditions both in writing and by word of mouth. these same people are the very individuals who set the cannon of the old testament before the Jews did, and wrote and compiled the new. the apostles who formed this work also taught personally it’s earliest exegetes, their writings in turn, preserved for posterity. Many of them died as martyrs to preserve this knowledge, and in turn inspired others to take up the work they had begun.

    if one wanted to know what teachings and insights into the meanings of scripture, one need not look only into the book itself, but the church which bore it into the world, protected it, and to this day still exists in keeping with Christ’s own prophesy. Indeed it is not merely human, it could not be, it’s first pope was a coward, it has been the home of scandals and the messiest of human affairs. but it is also the home of the most ennobling art. of the most selfless of saints. where this same pope who ran from the cross of Christ, took upon one himself willingly in the end. this church still exists today. though weak in it’s own share of human failings, it is fortunately not an institution that is entirely human, it could not have survived for so long as such, rather it is graced. this grace has preserved the integrity and meaning of it’s scriptures by the Holy Spirit. and this grace is provided that Christ’s power is made perfect in it’s weakness.

    when one goes to ask how we should interpret the bible, perhaps it is best to consider those who put it together, not merely as abstracts of long ago, but people of a church, which still lives today.