The majority of Christians don’t follow the Bible that closely. This is demonstrated by the fact that you are not out stoning people to death as I type this (at least, I hope you aren’t). So my question is: How do you call yourselves good Christians? It is my understanding that the Bible is Christianity’s only real tether (that isn’t the word I want but I can’t think of a better one) to your God, so how can you still be good believers if you don’t follow the book literally?
And since you don’t follow every rule set forth in the Bible, how do you choose? If the Bible is divinely inspired, surely you aren’t allowed to pick and choose which verses are the most convenient for you to obey? Who gets to make that decision? What makes some rules wrong and others okay? How can you justify all of the horrible things that the Bible condones? Common answers I have heard include “you have to look at those verses in their context” or “those don’t really apply to life anymore.” My response is: If some verses are no longer applicable because they are out of context, then how do you know which ones are still fine? If some of the book only makes sense in the context of the Bronze Age, then isn’t it reasonable to assume that none of the book is relevant anymore? And why wouldn’t God make sure that his wisdom and the rules his people are meant to live by would remain applicable forever? What is the point in dictating rules that aren’t going to matter in 2000 years?
Many Christians have accepted that the Bible cannot be taken literally. I guess my question is: The Bible clearly can’t be trusted as a historical authority and it is full of advocations for horrible things. How can you still call it a moral authority?
Note: I know that 95% of the time, I am an ass when it comes to religion. This, however, is part of the other 5%. I am genuinely curious to know your justifications.
I think it’s a matter of, like with most things in life, finding what’s true for you. What feels right for you.
The best Christians I know (and I mean actual honest-to-Jesus I-really-do-go-to-church-at-least-once-a-week Christians) are all about that basic moral code of Just Don’t Be A Dick; don’t steal, don’t murder, try not to lie. Just don’t hurt people. But if you have trouble, if you don’t measure up, God is full of forgiveness as long as you ask for it and recognize that what you did was wrong.
The reason I get so defensive about Christians and religion is that the only TRUE believers I know, these people who go to church, etc, are genuinely wonderful people who take Jesus’s teachings and do good by them. One of my best friends, Lindsay, is a Catholic half-Jew who prayed the Rosary every day in study hall, sang at our church, participated in a Catholic youth group, loves her gay uncle and his husband, was a groomsman at my wedding, is one of the most positive, kind people I have ever met.
My father-in-law goes to church every day of the week. EVERY. DAY. He’s constantly participating in church programs. I’m married to his son and living in his house.
I know there are people who take the Bible and the church and use them as weapons of hate. But there’s people who don’t. There’s people who do get the good out of religion. And saying that all religion should be abolished because there are people who use it for hate is, to me, like saying the Internet should be taken down for the same reason. (I’m being a little hyperbolic in my comparsion, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.)
Anyway, that’s how I feel.
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