Slavery and the Creation of a Counterfeit ‘Biblical Civilization’ in America: 1619-1865

Venus

The King James Version of the Bible was completed in 1611. The first African slaves were imported into Jamestown in 1619. “Biblical” Christianity and the idea of “biblical civilization” grew up alongside slavery. The latter shaped the former, and the two things have been inextricably intertwined ever since. [Read more...]

‘Interpretive pluralism’ doesn’t require tolerance as long as you’re willing to accuse everyone else of wicked intent

One page of People Who Are Right, plus 431 pages of People Who Are Wrong.

But when it comes to the moral implications of interpretive pluralism, Richard Beck and Chaplain Mike are in the minority within evangelicalism. The more common, dominant “moral implication” derived from the fact of interpretive pluralism is this: Some people must be right and everyone else must be wrong. Therefore, don’t be wrong. [Read more...]

Learning how not to read

Umbridge

I’m still grateful to this very bad English teacher for that assignment and for the lesson it taught me. She helped me learn how not to read. And not just how not to read poetry, but how not to read parables and prophecies and sermons and stories. As the very worst of my many fundamentalist teachers, in other words, she helped me to unlearn one of the worst things I had been taught by many other less-awful fundie teachers. She helped me to learn how not to read the Bible. [Read more...]

The Bible is clearly ambiguous, but not that kind of ambiguous

KJV

The problem is not that the Bible is lacking in clear, definitive, categorical statements. The problem is that the Bible offers too many of them and they do not all agree. [Read more...]

The Bible used to get a lot of things wrong

"You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you ..."

If those early Southern Baptists were wrong about slavery, then they were wrong about the Bible — wrong about how to read the Bible. They were wrong about slavery because they were wrong about how to read the Bible. Contemporary white evangelicals want to retain the same approach to reading the Bible, but not the same conclusions about slavery. That doesn’t work. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (12.13.14)

Randi Harper on online abuse; Chris Rock on the whiteness of Hollywood; Damaris Zehner on the “perspicuity of scripture;” Mark Fallon confirms that “Dick Cheney was lying about torture;” and David Brin on “Abortion and the ‘Jesus Effect.’” [Read more...]

Ignorant Christians need to STFU about ‘the poor you will always have with you’ until they can be bothered to understand what Jesus actually said

I took this picture in Bethany in 1990, not far from Martha and Mary's house. (Or, at least, not far from where Constantine's mom thought Martha and Mary lived.)

“Do not show ill will toward the needy and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.” Rick Perry didn’t mean to quote that passage from the Jubilee laws in Deuteronomy, but like far too many ignorant Christians, that’s just what he did. [Read more...]

Evangelical biblicism is a new(ish) thing

IllWind

The first-century disciples at Pentecost and in the generations that followed were not Bible Christians in anything like the way contemporary white evangelicals think of that term. They couldn’t have been for the very simple reason that the Bible did not yet exist. … I’m not talking about theology, but about technology. The Bible is a book. And in New Testament times, books hadn’t been invented yet. [Read more...]


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