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Monopoly on Truth

While I have talked about this topic before in my column turned blog post titled “Will the Real Christians Please Stand Up,” It seems that I have to go into a little bit more detail here. Every Christian (I can’t think of one exception) that I talk to seems to claim to have the monopoly on how to interpret God’s divine message. That in and of itself is not the problem, I claim to have the monopoly of understanding on many issues. The difference here is that so many Christians have so many different and even opposing interpretations of the God’s divine message.

Obviously it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that all these Christians can’t be correct in their understanding. So how do we figure out whose interpretation is correct and whose interpretation is inaccurate? Well that is the problem. There is good reason to support almost all of the claims that various Christians make. The Bible is so open-ended and contradictory that it has become a spiritual Rorschach Test.

The Bible has become a mirror in a sense. If someone is a good person who believes in people and in compassion than they focus on the parts of the Bible in which Jesus talks about turning the other cheek and are completely oblivious to the parts of the Bible where Jesus talks about cutting out an eye or chopping of a hand if those parts of your body “cause you to sin.” If someone is a hateful person, they focus on homosexuality being an abomination, but ignore the parts where God talks about other more positive aspects of the Bible.

The fact is that there is far more cruelty and bad morality in the Bible than there is positive moral values. But most people aren’t evil enough to really treat women as property in today’s modern society. No one today focuses on the parts of the Bible which advocate stoning non-believers, adulterers, non-virgins on their wedding night, and divorcees. No one in today’s modern materialistic society is willing to give away all of their money and possessions the way Jesus commands.

Christians all pick and choose which Bible verses they already agree with and then use those Bible verses to justify their actions whether those actions are positive or negative. That’s fine though. I have no problem with picking and choosing. I pick and choose which moral lessons I choose to follow from many different philosophy books. The problem is that the philosophy books that I pick and choose from weren’t alleged to have been written by the perfect Creator of the Universe.

Now that I have pointed out some of the parts of the Bible that no one follows, I am bond to get comments claiming that I don’t understand the “True” meaning of those parts of the Bible or that I am not taking those verses in their “True” context. Again, every Christian claims to have the monopoly on what the “Truth” is in regards to the Bible and its “True” meaning. You see, when the Bible says slavery is okay, it doesn’t really mean that slavery is okay. If you change the meaning of the word slavery to mean something else or if you change okay to mean morally wrong, than it all makes perfect sense.

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  • http://superconcepts.poweressence.com/ Maxwell Jennings

    This is why I claim to Christians that convenience believers – and most are – will be going to their biblical hell if it exists. According to the base belief, ignoring or rejecting any part of that text is grounds for being a sinner/blasphemer.

  • brad…byronsabird

    Truth can not be selected for convenience. Truth is not partial to good or evil. Truth exists with or without god, but god can not exist without Truth.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      “god cannot exist without Truth?” What the fuck does that even mean?

    • http://superconcepts.poweressence.com/ Maxwell Jennings

      What is true for you may not be true for other people. This is an issue of reality and not subjective interpretations. Convenience believers select what they want and ignore the rest.

  • Dennis N

    Perhaps someone has already done this, but someone should go through the Bible and count up the moral statements vs. the immoral ones, so that we can produce a ratio of how moral or immoral the Bible is, in a general sense. While some statements may get haggled over, I don’t think it would affect the overall ratio much.

  • Tomkinson

    I really don’t understand Staks the deliberate obtuseness with which you approach Christianity.

    Yes one of the things I ask of believers (and I do debate them often) that say to me “well that part of the bible is metaphorical, but this part is literally true” and I say well what methodology do you use to separate metaphor/translation/allegory/imperfect transcritption/TRUTH etc. and I get few reasonable answers.

    But this is not confined to Christianity by any means, not only is it present in most other religions it exists in modern philosophy as well.

    You say you “I pick and choose which moral lessons I choose to follow from many different philosophy books.” GREAT! But how do you know exactly what those lessons are? Many profound thinkers are not exactly literalists with lessons easily applicable to everyday life, be it Kantian categorical imperatives or Millian utilitarianism. You’ve NO idea how the authors of those theories would react to many of the moral questions that confront us today.

    And on the BIGGER questions you’ve even more trouble. Get 10 Wittgenstein scholars in a room and you’ll get 10 possibly contradictory views about what the essence of his philosophies (he seemed to have at least 3, but even that is debated) was.

    You just view the low-hanging fruit over the Christian’s head as if it were the sword of Damocles.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Tomkinson, with Philosophy, it matters less what the author’s intent was and more what we take away from it. With the Bible, one can’t say that because the author is alleged to be God.

      Whittgenstein is a particular favorite of mine. He was also human and over time his views on things changed dramatically. God is… well God and his views can’t change. Again you are missing the problem and are simply disagreeing to be disagreeable. You just like to whine a lot even when you should know better.

  • Dennis N

    I’m somewhat confused on Tomkinson’s point, so correct me if I’m wrong. You are saying that humanists and Christians both pick and choose their morality? I would have to agree with you on that point. However, we do not point to one book and proclaim it to easily have all the answers; if only you read it, it will be so clear.

    • Tomkinson

      No what I was writing about was in response to “Christians have so many different and even opposing interpretations of the God’s divine message” which is a problem for Staks. It is a reasonable problem but once again he’s singling out Christianity when the same problem exists in philosophy which he extols.

      Staks writes “with Philosophy, it matters less what the author’s intent was and more what we take away from it”, agreed but both the intent of the author and what we take away from it can differ widely and even be contradictory. Recall that Popper got a lot of shit when he declared Plato the source of totalitarianism.

      In a nutshell the problem of contradictory/differing hermeneutics is in no way unique to Christianity or religion as Staks implies.

      • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

        I stand by that statement and if you don’t see the difference that I don’t know what to tell you. But I never “implied” that contradictory interpretations was unique to Christianity, just that it only matters with regard to religion because as I stated before, religion claims divine authorship.

        Personally, I can understand where Popper is coming from with that statement, but I don’t share that view necessarily.

  • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

    It is human to be biased in our own perceptions of the world. We all pick and choose what we feel is right and wrong. But, if you found a humanist that was against civil rights for gays and you asked them why they felt that way…they might explain Their point of view, however, if you asked a christian who was against civil rights for gays why they felt that way they would point to a book to justify their own biased opinion, giving their bias the weight of a god…and it would seem that in America that weight means a great deal. More than it should…

  • Linda

    Jesus Christ said to love God with all the heart and the soul and mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself and you have FULFILLED the law.
    So why you’re off on these things you blog about is anyone’s guess.