Disrespecting Scripture

Disrespecting Scripture March 30, 2017

Those who most loudly and adamantly proclaim

When sharing a recent post on Facebook, I prefaced it with the words above, and thought it might be worth sharing them as a meme. I had young-earth creationists particularly in mind when I said this, but I think it applies more broadly.

Those who most loudly and adamantly proclaim themselves the defenders the Bible, are typically the ones who treat it with the least respect when you look at the details of what they believe and do.

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  • Peter

    Good quotation but you’re missing the word “of” after “defenders.”

  • John MacDonald

    Mythicists are the same way = everything is typology, or “forced” to fit in with typology. And really, if you suspect typology in a pericope, there is no real way to argue there is no historical core.

  • Herro

    If you chose the pictures with the quote, then I would like to know why you chose the hell-fire preacher. Why choose that picture? :l

    • It seems a good example of a person who thinks he is simply proclaiming the Bible, and yet seems to have missed a substantial part of the attitude and characteristics that the New Testament says a Christian ought to have.

      • John MacDonald

        It’s interesting that an apocalyptic prophet like Jesus would have such developed social-ethical teaching. Maybe the threats about the end of the world were just incentives to encourage people to get right with God and each other.

        How’s that for “Disrespecting Scripture” lol ?

      • Herro

        And what substantial parts are they missing?

        I mean, in the gospels Jesus condemns whole cities to hell and calls his opponents hell-bound vipers. Paul wasn’t either nice when he was speaking about the fate of the wicked. The banner of the picture seems rather tame in comparison.

        • It sounds like you focus in on the same passages, and ignore the same passages, that placard-holding street preachers do!

          • Herro

            And what type of passages do they (and apparently me too) ignore?

          • All the stuff about love, kindness, and humility, as well as the things which indicate that the proclamations of judgment were mostly aimed either at religious people who engaged in precisely this sort of condemnation of others, or who engaged in exploitation of the poor. Just to mention a few.

          • Herro

            Well. I assume that hell-preachers like the one in the picture would say that since Jesus (and Paul for that matter) spoke like that, then condemning people to hell isn’t contrary to the stuff about “love, kindness, and humility”.

          • Of course – every viewpoint has something it says in response to criticisms. But we haven’t even discussed whether “hell” is what they spoke of, and if so whether it meant to them what it means on the placard.

          • Herro

            >”Of course – every viewpoint has something it says in response to criticisms.”

            Yes. And I think that their response is valid. All those “be nice” passages are written by people who seemingly thought it was OK to threaten people with hell-fire.

            >”But we haven’t even discussed whether “hell” is what they spoke of, and
            if so whether it meant to them what it means on the placard.”

            And you imagine that they have a radically different view of hell than the NT authors?

            I think that hell-preachers are much closer to the New testament writers than most “progressive Christians”.

          • I am not sure that all New Testament had a radically different view of hell than the New Testament authors. But there are definite differences, and the only question is just how pronounced those differences are. For instance, does the image of a separation of “sheep and goats” based on how one treated the vulnerable and marginalized sound like the same thing as a placard-holding street preacher to you? I doubt it does. And today’s street preachers envisage eternal torment, something that ancient Judaism did not envisage, and so most likely neither did most of the New Testament authors.

            And so again, I think that you have been engaging in the same selective reading and interpretation that the street preachers do.

          • Herro

            >”For instance, does the image of a separation of “sheep and goats” based on how one treated the vulnerable and marginalized sound like the same thing as a placard-holding street preacher to you? I doubt it does. ”

            It actually does.

            But it’s more like when Jesus was condemning the Pharisees to hell-fire or even better, when he was condeming whole cities to hell for not accepting his message.

            >”And today’s street preachers envisage eternal torment, something that ancient Judaism did not envisage, and so most likely neither did most of the New Testament authors.”

            Some of the NT writers clearly thought of hell as a place of eternal torment (e.g. Revelation, and I would also add to that Matthew).

            And we have ancient Jews advocating eternal torment. e.g. in the book of Judith 16:17 we have people crying in pain forever becuse of the fire and worms in their flesh.

            Sure the NT authors might have different view on the eternality of Hell, but I’m not sure why eternal hell-preachers are more disrespectufl than e.g. Christians who deny any kind of hell.

            Maybe you should rather use a picture of someone like Rowan Williams if disagreeing with the NT is the criteria used. :l

          • Well, as I said, there are some who may have envisaged not just the punishment being forever (annihilation), but pain being forever. There were a range of views in ancient Judaism, and it needs to be determined which authors held which views. Some, such as Paul, talk about the ultimate reconciliation of all things to God. And even Revelation has the doors of the city always open.

            Punishment in ancient Judaism, including early Christianity, was for those who persecute the people of God and who mistreat the poor and vulnerable. I have yet to hear a street preacher who is condemning people for those same reasons. But in ancient times as today, different people have different experiences.

          • Herro

            Ok. So some of the NT writings (like Jesus in Mt) talk about eternal torment. Are these hell-preachers being more disrespectful to the Bible than Christians who deny hell in general?

            I think that you chose that picture not because these guys are more disrespectufl to the Bible, but because they’re a popular target for liberal Christians.

            >”Punishment in ancient Judaism, including early Christianity, was for those who persecute the people of God and who mistreat the poor and vulnerable.”

            And apparently also the cities of Bethsaeda and Khorazim! Everybody living there must have been really mean to the poor. And looking at a woman with a lustful eye will earn you a place in hell.

            I think it’s clear that in early Christianity you had a little wider net for those who would end up in hell. Trying to limit it like you do is might be called “disrespecting scripture”.

          • The cities – citadels might be a better term – were of course the locations where the exploitative elite were based.

            You are free to think that desiring to commit adultery with someone else’s spouse is perfectly acceptable, but in a context in which adultery was punishable by death, mentioning it as part of a broader emphasis on addressing not just actions but underlying attitudes scarcely seems unreasonable, or the kind of thing that a modern street preacher would emphasize.

          • I would also add that liberal Christians respect the Bible by recognizing, on the one hand, that it contains lofty principles that we should allow ourselves to be challenged by, while on the other hand, it is a compilation, a conversation with a range of views. Pretending that one is merely repeating what the Bible says about “hell,” and ignoring the fact that 2/3 of the Bible does not even think there is an afterlife of any sort, do not seem like respect for the Bible to me. It is selective respect for selective passages understood in a particular way.