It is Better to Live with Questions than Give Bad Answers

It is Better to Live with Questions than Give Bad Answers November 15, 2018

On Facebook, Laura Robinson shared a blog post by Alisa Childers from the Gospel Coalition website that offered yet another of its characteristic attacks on more mainstream forms of Christianity. In this one, they focus on what they perceive as similar points made by atheists and progressive Christians (not noticing that we made them first and the atheists borrowed them from us). Here is what Robinson wrote in her critique of the piece by Childers:

Okay, I want to talk about this article because I think this article wants to talk about me. The idea is that “progressive” Christians have dangerous beliefs that make them pretty similar to atheists, and need to be reigned in before their progressive Christianity develops into atheism, much in the way that HIV develops into AIDS, apparently.

According to the article, “progressive” or doubting Christians might have the problematic beliefs that the Bible assumes the existence of slavery and polygamy and is written by people. They might struggle with how a loving God could allow so much evil to happen in the world unchecked. Finally, they might have a culturally adaptable ethic.

I’m going to leave aside the fact that it would be hard to think of a religious group with more flexible and relative ethics than American evangelical Christians. (In 2011, 30 percent of evangelicals said an immoral person could still be a successful political leader. That number rose to 72 percent when Trump arrived. Being ethically relative isn’t a trait of progressive Christians, it’s a defining trait of evangelicals.) I’m particularly interested in the first two “problems” with progressive Christians — namely, questions about the Bible and questions about the problem of evil. The author says that the solution to the problematic beliefs of progressive Christians is to “provide a safe place for people to ask tough questions and process their doubts.”

My question is, where are you going to find a safe space to process your doubts in the presence of people who want you to learn to stop acknowledging self-evident true things about the Bible as part of your faith journey? The Bible DOES assume the existence of slavery and polygamy. It IS written by people. And there is no easy answer for why terrible things happen in the world. The work of being a Christian in the face of these things is learning how to be faithful in spite of these difficult truths — not writing off these truths as though acknowledging facts that are plainly in front of your face is a sign that you’ve gone rogue and needs to be brought to heel.

I’ve long been frustrated by the tendency of evangelical Christians to assume that it’s better to answer questions badly and falsely than to not answer them at all. This is where you start. When Christians tell you that they’re confused with how the Bible seems okay with slavery and polygamy, don’t tell them not to worry and that 2+2=5 after all. 2+2=4, and the work of Christianity is learning how to deal with 4.

I think you’ll agree that Robinson should start blogging and sharing her perspective with a wider audience. Robinson also adds in a comment:

The frustrating news for folks all over the Christian spectrum is that we have been handed down a canon that might be for us, but isn’t to us or from us. We’ve got a book that has its origins in a culture very unlike our own, and this takes a lot of wrestling and theological reflection to understand. So I don’t think an LGBTQ-affirming Christians has just cut those sections of the Bible out — I think they’ve done a lot of theological reflection and prayer on the way that marriage is portrayed in different canonical texts and have come to the conclusion that there’s room in Christina theology for two men to marry each other. Likewise, I don’t think that evangelical Christianity came to reject slavery and polygamy by editing out verses of Scripture that CLEARLY support both of those institutions, but by careful reflection on how the story of Jesus and the Gospel is incompatible with these ideas — even though they are permitted in Scripture. All Christians have to deal with the tensions and moral problems in scripture, and the difference between conservative and liberal Christians is that they come to different conclusions about how to do this.

I’ve addressed before the way conservative Christians attempt to preserve the same approach to scripture that was used to justify slavery, while at the same time trying to distance themselves from it. It doesn’t work – at least, not unless you assume what they need to prove, namely that that is the correct view, the only correct view, the one that God wants people to adopt. But they get there simply by assuming that their view is eternal truth, and not a backwards shift along a trajectory that had been aimed in a progressive direction.

On a similar note, Henry Neufeld posted on the inconsistency of many Christians’ hermeneutic across the spectrum. He writes,

I often use two texts from Leviticus in teaching about hermeneutics to lay audiences. The are:

  • “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
  • “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you, you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34, NRSV)

The results are often interesting with current American audiences. I’ve been using these two verses for years and I have seen no real change, other than differences based on the demographics of the audience I use it on. There will be people who are willing to accept both, but there are only a few of those. There are many who want Leviticus 18:22 to be applicable but not Leviticus 19:33-34, and those who want 19:33-34 to be applicable but not 18:22. Those who have thought through that application and provided a hermeneutic that can be consistently applied to texts are few and far between.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Timothy Weston

    What is your view on Christian apologetics?

    • It can obviously be done poorly, and the term has pretty much become synonymous with that sort of thing in our time. But it is obviously absolutely possible to make a meaningful and appropriate defense of one’s viewpoint, assuming one is committed to reasoning, being reflective, and listening to what others have to say.

      • “Listening to what others have to say…” I’d like to underline that. Too many defenses of Christian faith defend against things that are not being said.

      • TinnyWhistler

        My problem with Christian apologetics has always (from childhood!) been the very frequent assumption that a particular argument or way of thinking about the faith IS or MUST BE universally compelling.

        Most of my exposure to apologetics has been Sunday School or youth event “How to Defend the Faith” lectures and workshops, often followed by splitting into small groups to practice. There was NEVER any discussion about the possibility that different people may find different arguments compelling, much less how or why. As a pretty analytical kid, I found that frustrating since I could easily come up with plausible rebuttals that weren’t acknowledged. I wasn’t confrontational enough to really bring them up though. There certainly wasn’t any real discussion from a non-Christian point of view and I think the most I ever got on that front was “People harden their hearts and can’t be reasoned with”

        The entire topic was treated with a sort of “You need to be able to defend your faith, here’s a list of arguments, pick a few and go forth!” air that drove me nuts!

        I’ve admittedly found the entire topic frustrating enough that I haven’t done anything close to exhaustive “extracurricular” reading: I read some of Strobel’s work years ago and that’s about it. He’s long been presented (at least to me) as being not necessarily definitive but at least a good, solid example of Proper Apologetics which just drives me batty.

        • davidreilly7

          Pardon my intrusion, this popped up on my Disqus feed, so just chiming in.

          I am an ex evangelical Christian, now atheist. I have a Masters in Theological Studies from an evangelical seminary (90’s)

          The elephant in the room is the problem of eternal hell. “Free will” and the “hiddenness of God” are nonsensical excuses.

          Carl Sagan said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. I like to say “Extraordinary claims that make extraordinary demands require extraordinary evidence”.

          Strange how God had no problem demonstrating himself to Gideon in his fleece experiment or his power in Elijah’s fire, but now he fails to show up in randomized double blind intercessory prayer experiments.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Stranger still is the atheist who resorts to citing the scripture.

          • davidreilly7

            Why is that strange? I was an evangelical Christian for 17 years, have a Masters in Theological Studies.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Even though you were an evangelical as of yet there has never been any evangelical who is a Christian and no holder of a Masters in Theological Studies has ever been a Christian either.

          • davidreilly7

            Well it would be silly of me, now as an atheist, to debate whether I was a “True Christian” with you. But your statement is a good example of what I call the Problem of Silence.

            Curious though, what branch of Christianity are you? Catholic? Orthodox? Lutheran? Or simply a “know it all, I have the correct hermeneutics and everyone else is wrong guy” on the internet?

          • Theodore A. Jones

            What branch of contemporary Christianity am I? None.

          • davidreilly7

            So a Lone Ranger Christian: “I’m the only one who has the correct interpretation of Scripture and everyone else is wrong”.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            I am not the author of Rom. 2:13 am I?

          • davidreilly7

            Theodore I’m not debating scripture with you. You can do that with Christians.

            But I will say this, the fact that you guys can’t agree on salvific doctrines and each believes that they hold the truth, are led by the Holy Spirit, correctly interpret the scripture and that the others are wrong, is powerful evidence that either God is a lousy communicator, or it’s all man made.

        • Lark62

          One of the Patheos NonReligious bloggers reported attending a two weeks apologetics conference. When other attendees found out he os an atheist, they consciously avoided engaging him. One would have thought they would like to try out what they were learning, but no.

        • Theodore A. Jones

          “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

          • TinnyWhistler

            Nifty. This seems to be your favorite verse. Could you please help me understand why you chose this verse in particular to use to respond to me? I’m having a hard time figuring out your intent.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Rom. 2:13 is a direct refutation by Paul of the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

          • TinnyWhistler

            Ok, cool. Was there a part of my comment that seemed to be advocating one way or the other re: Biblical defense of subsitutionary atonement?

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Do you wanna really defeat the soteriological assumption of contemporary “Christianity”? If so you only need to post Rom. 2:13, if you have the nuts to do so.

          • TinnyWhistler

            Theodore, I don’t actually care about setting about proving your personal interpretation of Scripture.

            Just “posting” Bible verses doesn’t do any more to argue your position on soteriology than giving someone a printout of the “Romans Road” will convince them to be a Christian. Without providing any context and without making some effort to relate that context to their current beliefs, it’s just irrelevant and useless.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            I am not the author of Rom. 2:13 and neither have I in this case posted an interpretation of why Paul wrote Rom. 2:13. And the “Romans Road” you’ve cited is a direct refutation of the soteriological paradigm Rom. 2:13 states.

          • TinnyWhistler

            “I am not the author of Rom. 2:13 ”
            Never said you were.

            “neither have I in this case posted an interpretation of why Paul wrote Rom. 2:13”
            Not what I said. I said “interpretation of Scripture” which is not the same thing as “interpretation of why Paul wrote something”

            ” And the “Romans Road” you’ve cited is a direct refutation of the soteriological paradigm Rom. 2:13 states.”
            Don’t care. Just used it as an example of a tool I’d been given for conversion to point out that flinging Bible verses at people without context doesn’t actually tell them anything.
            Case in point: I had to specifically ask why you posted the bit from Romans and I’m still frankly confused regarding why you chose to comment at all.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            Figure it out for yourself or remain confused.

          • TinnyWhistler

            K, sounds like you’re not actually interested in effective communication? I’ll stop trying to avoid misinterpreting you.

    • Theodore A. Jones

      Contemporary “Christian” apologetics? Nonsense.

      • MorningDew Reynolds

        I LIKE your style brother!

  • Why do I get the feeling that “provide a safe place for people to ask tough questions and process their doubts” means “be ready to give the stock answers to these questions, but don’t yell?”

    • Has that been your experience? It isn’t mine where I am currently a member, I’m happy to say.

      • I’m very glad to hear that!

        No, it hasn’t been my personal experience, but I’m also extremely careful about whom I speak with on these things and rarely/never within institutional confines like a Sunday School class.

        I do have the experiences of others who have tried to share their doubts or hard questions and have not had very positive experiences. I have also experienced the… I don’t know what to call it… phenomenon of evangelicals believing these doubts are easily quelled and these questions easily answered by their doctrinal framework.

        I might just be too cynical, but that last bit is especially what I see underlying Childers’ original article. When it talks about how progressive Christianity can share beliefs with atheism, one of the points is, “They may have an unresolved answer to the Problem of Evil.” This strongly implies the author, and by implication Christians who do not share beliefs with atheists, have a resolved answer to the Problem of Evil. And so on.

        At the end of that article, the author points out that the numbers of true Christians are in decline, and in response to that, we need to “provide a safe place…” etc. She probably recognizes that hostile responses to these doubts and questions drive people away, and this is a luxury evangelicalism can no longer afford, and she hopes other evangelicals take this to heart. And I hope that happens.

        At the same time, the “process their doubts” links to an article called “Learn How (Not) to Doubt,” which is actually a very good article encouraging Christians to doubt well, but ultimately portrays doubts as things that should be temporary. I think maybe the issue isn’t so much how an evangelical community initially responds to hard questions or doubts as the response that comes from a protracted period of someone not accepting the evangelical answers.

        • TinnyWhistler

          “evangelicals believing these doubts are easily quelled and these questions easily answered by their doctrinal framework.”
          Colloquially known as the “Sunday School Answer”

          College was the first place I actually heard the idea that “It’s impossible to definitively prove some of this stuff one way or the other” articulated out loud by someone other than myself.

        • You may be right, Phil, although from what I have read that Robinson has written elsewhere, I wouldn’t have had that impression. But that may be precisely because, if one is steeped in or surrounded by Evangelicals, one both refrains from saying certain things and makes certain assumptions about key words. On the other hand, I too sometimes link to things that I think may be helpful to people who need to process what I am writing about when coming from a different perspective from my own, or even just because they are tangentially related. I’m sure you could find some links embedded in my posts that would give you a very different perspective on my views than if you just base your judgment on things I write!

  • Al Cruise

    I think these views are coming out of self preservation and tribalism. 13 years ago or so when TGC was on the rise these issues didn’t matter much to them. Today it is a different matter. Maybe they see their influence waning.

    • The Antagonizer

      Exactly. Jews are the most tribal. Why does Israel have DNA testing for citizenship? Or is that an anti-Semitic question from a White Gentiles point of view?

      • Al Cruise

        The TGC plants its flag in Christianity, Jews do not. Christianity is based on Jesus, he taught non tribalism.

  • SamTrenholme

    My issue with Childers’ article, besides the fact it is needlessly long, is that it is very typical of a certain type of Evangelical belief: Write a polemic criticizing any world view or belief which is not “orthodox”. So one can see, from these Evangelicals, polemics criticizing Mormons, polemics criticizing Jehovah Witnesses, polemics criticizing Muslims, polemics criticizing “Evolutionists”, and so on. This belief system seems to want to put anyone and everyone who believes differently from them in to a box; people with different beliefs for these kinds of Evangelicals are somehow lesser people.

    To me, that’s a very disturbing and non-Christian view of the world; it encourages “you’re right and I am wrong” kinds of arguments instead of the kind of dialog where the love of God can truly be shared.

  • Markus R

    Certain issues will always trouble is because of our nature. First, we are sinful—every aspect of our being was affected by the fall of Adam. Second, we possess the mind of a creature, not the mind of God.

    That said, God has spoken through his Word and there is a gracious persicuity if the Bible. God has mad clear to us truths that we can understand.

    Slavery. Yes, God’s law permits certain types, to include indentured servitude. Chattel slavery is prohibited because God forbids manstealing. We have no need to be ashamed about this issue.

    The discussion of the problem of evil is not as easy one for us because we, ouserlves are wicked and cannot fully grasp the holiness of God. But the Bible teaches that God has only killed one innocent man—his sin, Jesus Christ.

    • On the contrary, the Old Testament not only justified slavery, the stealing of humans, etc., it even claimed that if after you terribly beat your slaves, if they survive a couple of days, you arent held responsible for their death because the slaves are your “property”!

      • Kendall Fields

        Nope the Old Testament stated you could not force people into slavery otherwise you would be executed also establishing the time of death of an individual is to see if the “slave” died because of the master’s beating or because of something else.

        • That is simply not true. Please read the many passages where many humans were forced into slavery. And these slaves as property could be passed onto one’s descendants!
          Clear Example:
          Leviticus 25:44 “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. 45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. 46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever.
          You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves.”

          See how clear the text is! Humans could force many people into slavery and keep them to hand down tot their sons!

          But no human is EVER the property of another human.

          Read Exodus 21:21 which claims a human being is another human being’s property. “…but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”
          Owning another human is inherently evil.

          And it is never right for any human to beat another almost to death!

          • Kendall Fields

            Did it say they were to force them into slavery? No it says to buy them which often deals with the person’s debts. Did Bible say it is okay for them to beat someone to near death? No but it is establishing whether the attack caused permanent damage or not. If it caused permanent damage, the person who caused it will be punished. And many people stayed as slaves for the rest of their lives because of the support they got. They say they are their “property” because they own the person’s work and are technically underneath them. But killing them and causing permanent damage will result in death and as steep fine respectively. Don’t try to quote scripture if you don’t understand it.

          • I do understand Scripture, have read and studied all of the Bible many times, and taught the Bible for many years, and was for a while a Baptist youth minister. I was involved at a Baptist church where one of the 20 top Bible scholars was a member, etc.

            I’m also a retired English teacher. Look at your statement. You wrote that “They say they are their “property” because they own the person’s work…”

            That isn’t what slavery meant in the ancient world, nor in the many centuries up to the 19th century.

            The term “property” meant that the slave was owned completely by the owner, not just the slave’s “work.”

          • Kendall Fields

            Sure you have but anyone can say I did this and I did that. Tell me if they were truly the master’s property then why would they punish him for killing or maiming them? You abandoned the faith and are trying to lead others from the faith as well.

          • Nope, I’m an English teacher, as well as a student of Scripture and a lay historian.

            The Old Testament passages define what is permitted and not permitted in slavery for Hebrews. They clearly support the institution of slavery itself.

            I suggest that you check out any scholarly books on the history of slavery.

            Even in the New Testament, slavery isn’t declared to be inherently evil, like it is.

          • Kendall Fields

            Nope it only supported slavery that dealt with people selling themselves into slavery. Why do you think they said that whoever kidnaps a person is to be executed? Also in the New Testament Paul states that slave traders are one of the most deplorable people. For the Israelites even when it came down to foreigners murder and maiming “slaves” could cost you your life.

          • A human shouldn’t “sell” himself. That is contrary to the inherent worth of every human. A human isn’t an object. Only objects ought to be sold.

            It is totally wrong that Hebrews could own foreign slaves permanently.

          • Kendall Fields

            So would you rather people go hungry and try to rob others or give them a solution that at least helps them for the most part. You say human shouldn’t sell himself yet people did. However for the Israelites despite foreign slaves being opposed to them they still treated them like human beings contrary to other countries.

          • swbarnes2

            You really, sincerely believe that between slavery, and paying someone an honest wage, and you know, not being allowed to beat them to death, and allowing them to leave whenever they wish, the more moral answer is slavery?

            You don’t have to answer, because it’s clear that your answer has to be “yes, slavery is better than fair work for fair pay” because that’s what the Bible says.

          • Kendall Fields

            So tell me if they don’t have family to help them when they leave what then? Would you be willing to allow them to stay in your house? Also if you beat them to death then you will be executed a far bigger difference compared to slavery around throughout history where you could beat them to death and you wouldn’t be punished.

          • swbarnes2

            You didn’t read a thing I wrote, because your Christian morality prevents you from accepting that “pay a person a fair wage for their work” is a workable solution, because the Bible doesn’t insist on that standard.

            Would you be willing to allow them to stay in your house?

            If I wanted their labor, I would pay them a fair wage for it. And I wouldn’t beat them, and I wouldn’t prevent them from leaving whenever they wished. But this answer is clearly beyond your moral comprehension, because it is way beyond what the bible lays out as an acceptable away of treating people.

            And no, the Bible is quite clear, if you beat a slave to death, you do not get executed if you can make it look like it took a few days for them to die.

          • Kendall Fields

            You can’t make it look it took them a few days to die. It said that if they recovered after a short period of time you would be find but if you caused them grievous bodily harm you would have to let the go and give them just compensation otherwise you will lose your life. And no I said that it is better to have be your “slave” to let them just wander around aimlessly and there is always a chance some one would free them. You said you would pay them but I am not talking about giving them work I mean you have to keep them in your house all the time and bmmake sure to keep track of what they do. The Bible never said you couldn’t pay them but you have to let them stay at your home and provide them food. I know you Atheist don’t have much a heart to understand somethings are better thand an alternative. You say you wouldn’t beat them but that is w

          • Doing evil that some good might come about is never right! Enslaving others to ”help’ them is the worst form of wrong.

          • Kendall Fields

            It is far cry from being evil but it is not right as well. But it is better to have the Israelite system than a no wage because you could be freed of your debts and any chance of you getting maimed or killed because of your “master” will come back to hurt them either in the form of them having to compensate and release you from your servantry or they will be executed for murdering you.

          • Kendall Fields

            You say you wouldn’t beat them but that is why the law is in place to make sure those do beat them and cause them grievous injury or death get punished. And tell me what would you if they didn’t want to leave?

          • HematitePersuasion

            Repulsive. One does not help the homeless, or mentally ill, or frankly ANYONE by chaining them up and denying them freedom.

          • Kendall Fields

            People sold themselves into slavery. In Israel if you kidnapped someone and tried to make them a slave then you would be executed.

          • Kendall Fields

            Try to actually read scripture than to use it for wrong purposes.

          • HematitePersuasion

            Although I agree that Judeo-Christian scriptures affirm the morality of slavery, I think that says more about the moral inadequacy of that scripture. Debt peonage is every bit as unjust and abusive as kidnapping someone and selling them. Perhaps more so, since it apparently passes the moral filters of self-identifying Christians.

          • Kendall Fields

            There is a difference between slavery as part of debt and slavery as property. North American Slavery allowed people to treat them like they were animals and slaves could be killed and wounded with no care in the world. With the Israelites, the text shows that still have to be treated like people and you could not go around kidnapping people. The New Testament even discusses about slave traders being one of the worst people in the world. The Bible drew a line for a system that we no longer need not did we ever never but the Israelite version was far better compared to what other cultures did.

          • Lark62

            Gaslighting won’t win you any converts. It will simply reinforce the dishonesty of certain types of christians.

          • Kendall Fields

            Yes and your lying isn’t convince Christians to leave the faith. It will show what kind of person you are.

          • Lark62

            Read your book.

          • Kendall Fields

            I have read the Bible but have you other than ripping verses out to try and attack Christians?

          • Kendall Fields

            Also don’t try to quote one verse to me read the whole passage and not one part of it.

          • All that the remainder of the Leviticus text says is that the Hebrews couldn’t own other Hebrews permanently.
            39“If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: 40he shall be with you as a hired worker and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. 41Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return to the possession of his fathers. 42For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. 43 You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God. 44As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. 45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. 46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.”
            ESV

            It does clearly say that other humans may be owned permanently and given to one’s descendants.

            Please read the many other passages in the Old Testament.

            The Bible very clearly doesn’t claim that slavery is inherently wrong. On the contrary, the Law of God supports the enslavement of others.

            Check out the other passages as well.

          • Kendall Fields

            Nope the Bible is saying that the foreigners are to be essentially the field workers meaning they are to handle the harder tasks. People sold themselves into slavery but you could not kidnap someone and make them a slave. You could also not maim or kill them otherwise you would have to pay a steep fine or be executed. They were given to their descendants to be cared for and they could also be redeemed from their bonds of being servants by their family members or friends. The Bible supports the slavery that deals with people selling themselves to pay off debts but you must treat that person with respect. Compare that with North American slavery where the slaves were treated like animals and kept in unclean conditions and the masters could do whatever they wanted to them. Anyone can quote scripture but you don’t know what it fully means. The Bible makes a clear definition on how to treat someone regardless of their position in society.

          • You wrote “The Bible supports the slavery that deals with people selling themselves to pay off debts but you must treat that person with respect.”

            That isn’t true. Read the passage again: “46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever.”

            The enslavement of others and giving them to your sons ISN’T the case of humans being “essentially field workers.”

            Read the plain text.

          • Kendall Fields

            They may be given as inheritance but they still being treated like people their work belonged to them and the person can still be freed from their bondage by friends and family. But what is worse keeping them in your household where they would not be beaten or given grievous bodily harmed or letting them wander around with no one to help them. It says you may hold them forever because what if the person doesn’t have any family left. Are you going to let them wander around potentially acting as a danger to the people?

          • HematitePersuasion

            I fear the horse is dead.

            Mr (?) Fields appears to be unable to accept that Judeo-Christian scriptures might be immoral, and is therefore determined to interpret them, their intent, and their application in what he (?) can pretend is morally acceptable. You will not break through this cognitive dissonance; it is all that separates him (?) from an eternity of damnation and hellfire.

            For my part, I hold that Judeo-Christian scriptures inspiring this kind of warped and evil ideology in those who truly wish to be moral is yet another of its many, many crimes.

          • Chari McCauley

            Everything except for the hand written stones were written by HUMANS, usually to justify breaking the ten written IN STONE.

          • Lark62

            Do you know that the commands that the bible identifies as “the Ten Commandments” are quite different from the ones christians keep trying to plant on government property?

            Read Exodus 34. This is the only list identified as “the ten commandments.”

            Note verses 19 and 20. Ask yourself “what is God’s command if the firstborn is a daughter?”

            19 The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

            And make sure to obey the 10th commandment –

            “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

          • Chari McCauley

            Do you know that the commands that the bible identifies as “the Ten Commandments” are quite different from the ones christians keep trying to plant on government property?

            And, they WILL be held accountable.

            Do you have a problem with don’t lie, don’t even think about stealing and don’t betray each other? They include both fathers and mothers.

            All The Lord did was say put yourselves into the skin of the people getting hurt. I interpret the first one, which Father’s Son repeated to mean; if you have any questions about the nine instructions, ask The Father Who wants His children to be happy and successful. The jealous folks are the ones who do not want that; they want to be RULERS, they want Father’s children to be their slaves.

          • Lark62

            1. Did you read Ex 34? What do you think of the “real” 10 commandments?

            2. There is nothing either set that requires, suggests or even hints that any person should “put yourselves into the skin of the people getting hurt.”

            3. Think about what the bible actually teaches. The bible, including the 10 commandments, is fairly useless as a guide to morality.
            – There is nothing that prohibits sex without consent, marital rape ir raping one’s slaves (the few passages that mention rape are specific to “betrothed” girls or require that compensation be paid to the father).
            – There is nothing that prohibits child abuse.
            – There is nothing that prohibits owning human beings as property.
            – There is nothing that prohibits child marriage.
            Etc.

            Before you come back with vague commands like “love each other” remember there are plenty of people who claimed owning slaves is kind and beating your children is loving.

            Find passages stated with the same clarity as the ban on tattoos on any of those topics.

            People say over and over, ad nauseum, how great the 10 Commandments are. They say the bible is the perfect guide to morality. Check it out for yourself.

          • Lark62

            Read my response below, then compare either set of commandments to this:

            – One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
            – The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
            – One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
            – The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
            – Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
            – People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
            – Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

          • Theodore A. Jones

            It was a completely unrighteous act to murder Jesus Christ by crucifixion too.

        • Lark62

          Read your book. Indentured servitude was for other Hebrews. Chattal slavery for life, children born into slavery and inheritance of slaves with other property had God’s approval as long as the slave wasn’t “one of us.”

          The worst form of apologetics is gaslighting – lying about what your book clearly says.

          • Kendall Fields

            If it was chattel slavery, then tell me why did it prohibit kidnapping, why did God say to treat foreigners among you well, and punished those who killed or severely hurt the slaves? I read the Bible but the text also said for them to not treat foreigners as inferior. Your lying about trying to say that God is evil.

          • Lark62

            Congrats. You’ve finally noticed that the bible supports both sides of lots of questions.

          • Kendall Fields

            Nope. The Bible shows that your lies are indeed just that: lies.

      • Chari McCauley

        The people in The Old Testament…the same ones Father is unhappy with, and gives His reasons in Jeremiah? The Father approved of no such thing!

        He didn’t spend 40 years getting people…who even complained…out of slavery to another, because His children should be used like a barn animal, which He also complains about, in Jeremiah. He doesn’t like us abusing the animals, either. He doesn’t like our festivals which kill living trees, we abuse the land. It’s ALL listed. The making good things appear bad, and bad things appear good (the con artists) the talking behind each others back,…it’s all there in Jeremiah.

        They abused every gift He has placed here…as do we, now; and, thought they should hoard that which He gave to all.

    • Nick G

      there is a gracious persicuity if the Bible. God has mad clear to us

      He certainly gets mad pretty often in the Bible, and then frequently persicuits people! But I suppose all the babies drowned in the flood must have done something pretty vile to deserve it.

      • Kendall Fields

        And you say that God was unjustified in destroying the world because?

      • Lark62

        What about all those fetuses!?

    • Theodore A. Jones

      “God has only killed one innocent man”!? When you take a dump what comes out?

    • Chari McCauley

      Where in the ten commandments, hand written by Father, or in His Son’s two commandments are slavery or skin color, or religion, or; those commandments simply say don’t betray and hurt each other. The rest were the people trying to justify breaking the first ten in the first place. And, His Son did NOT change one thing about those ten, in fact He extended them to include thinking about doing those things that would hurt another. For instance, viewing your “best friend’s” wife with lustful eyes is considered a betrayal.

      First, SHE is one of Father’s daughters, not a pin-up girl; second she is married to the “best” friend you would never betray.

  • OffCenter Larry

    Almost 40 years ago I used to listen to your show every day. Too bad you took a right turn. You still have some good ideas … but Leviticus? Really?

  • The Antagonizer

    Exodus 21: God condones slavery.

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  • Triggerman1976

    By “mainstream” I have to assume that you mean heretical and apostate.

    If we take the two verses from Leviticus as examples, we have two different things being compared: a sexual sin that is directly opposed to a creation mandate and a requirement of justice. It’s false to assume that there is any dichotomy between the two in acceptance, because the difference lies in application, with the former reflecting sin against self as an image bearer, and the latter a sin against another image bearer.

    If that’s an example of teaching a sound hermeneutical principle, I would hate to see one that is considered to be bad.

    • If the mainstream of Christianity historically and today seems heretical and apostate to you, I can only suggest that you have missed the richness and beauty of what Christianity is, has been, and can be. This is quite common among those who prefer something narrower and more dogmatically-focused than the way of Jesus, and the condemnation of most of humankind as well as most Christians as “heretical and apostate” while defining themselves as the faithful remnant is par for the course among those with such a stance.

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  • John Purssey

    We don’t follow the Levitical casuistic Law. nor does much of Rabbinic Judaism.

    The Ten Commandments (and we have three different versions) are better seen as principles to live by or expectations that God places on us.

    In any case The Beatitudes (choose your version) are a better guide to living for Christians. The legalistic way, that Paul admits has failed, is used by those Christians who want to Lord it over others, in direct opposition to Jesus’ statement that the greatest must be servants of all. Those Christians have failed to understand costly grace and do not understand that legalism cannot save them.