Biblical Interpretation Goes Mainstream

Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the Bible is that a single verse can be translated in hundreds of ways. Indeed there are over 450 translations of the English Bible alone… that’s 450 ways to word the same phrase. Then your favorite pastor, preacher, bishop, priest, rabbi, etc. will come along and tell you what he or she feels it means. With this is mind, it can be said with utmost certainty that there is no absolute truth in religion, it’s just a matter of perspective. There isn’t a way to actually prove anything in a faith based practice since it’s exactly that… faith based. Some take it to the point of often stating “it says in the bible that you shouldn’t (insert potential sin here)” and that alone has to suffice for everyone in the room. A single sentence, plucked out of the middle of scripture without regard for context, carries enough weight to determine everyone else is absolutely wrong, and are subsequently doomed to hell. As it was once made clear to me… “the bible says the dead know nothing of the living..” when I wondered as a teenager if my relatives were proud of me in heaven. Indeed, Ecclesiastes 9:5 does seem to state that fact, however it was actually being used to describe a particular perspective and not to be taken in the literal sense. I didn’t offer a rebuttal… heaven help anyone who ever disagreed with a bible verse quoted by a Southern Baptist holding a glass of sweet tea, while sitting on a plastic covered sofa cushion. It’s just not done.

Modern Christians read the words of Christ, but they do not translate into action or behavior.

It’s come to my awareness as of late, that the religious practice of interpreting ancient scripture and discerning its meaning to believers, is bleeding into the mainstream with things that aren’t very biblical at all. Christian conservatives, whom are already quite excellent in finding what they need from scripture to conveniently justify everything from hatred to the slaughter of endangered species, have adapted this technique quite well for use in the 21st century. Quite literally, even the most direct and clearest worded of statements, both written and verbal, are being argued as a matter of perspective instead of a matter of fact. The same kind of argument you’d expect to see when a rabbi, priest and a nun walk into a bar is now occurring everywhere within our legal and political system, and it’s extremely dangerous. The truth we all once knew, words spoken out of a person’s mouth or on a written document, is now easily dismissed and argued as if debating events in the Book Of Revelation. Accountability has been thrown out the window, and perspective or intentional avoidance of fact is now the norm. Hey if Pastor Glenn can do it, why can’t we?

“…heaven help anyone who ever disagreed with a bible verse quoted by a Southern Baptist holding a glass of sweet tea, while sitting on a plastic covered sofa cushion. “

A legal document was released recently, and within it, the conclusions of a two year investigation were revealed for all to see. Of course I’m talking about the now infamous Mueller Report. I can say very confidently, that I’m very happy our President didn’t knowingly collude with Russians to change the outcome of the election. That would have been really bad for all of us. And if you’re going to investigate a former President for lying about a blowjob, then you should probably investigate one that raised some major flags. Yet the contents of this report are being debated even when information is presented in clear and easy to read language. I’ve started reading the report myself, and let me say it’s much easier than reading scripture… there is nothing to debate when words speak for themselves. While the President might not have colluded with the Russians, he did some pretty ugly things to try and stop the investigation from happening. He also didn’t have a problem in using illegally obtained information for his own purposes…not illegal, but seriously not ethical. I’ve watched on television where someone is defending the President and clearly misrepresenting the words of the report, as if they could be translated in any other way. I can’t help but comparing this to the same way conservatives reference Jesus in one sentence and pick up the first stone in the next. The unconditional love and acceptance of Christ is the least thing being demonstrated by modern Christians. They don’t seem to read with any degree of comprehension the very bible they use as a weapon… just like this very clearly worded report. The truth isn’t convenient for them, so they’ll just twist it like they do anything else in scripture.

I posted on FaceBook the other day that there’s a huge problem with fact, perspective and opinion because people don’t seem to know the difference anymore. Arguably Christian conservatives are raised from a young age to believe they’re right and everyone is else wrong. The Earth isn’t three billion years old because God created it in seven days almost three thousand years ago. Of course that makes science inherently evil because it disagrees with scripture. It must be the work of the devil, so that means so is climate change and anything else science dishes out…. unless advanced medical care is necessary. Then everyone believes in science but of course credit goes to Jesus when the person recovers. This kind of thinking is seriously corrupting the way people rationalize in the real world. Truth has become extinct, and turned into something completely relative… and something worse, adaptable for personal gain.

Social media only enforces and strengthens this behavior, giving anyone with any kind of idea instant access to thousands of others that believe your idea and agree with it…regardless of actual fact or truth. Someone literally told me the other day I had to respect the views of flat Earthers because it was their belief. Okay so that’s dangerous folks, when facts and beliefs are being tossed around as if they are interchangeable. They are not. Facts are real and people are wrong when they disagree with a fact. Plain and simple. And this is really important because facts are connected to our view of what’s right and wrong… when society allows us to twist that around so easily, there’s no point in having any sort of legal system. Then there’s those that admit error in baseless claims, but point at someone else that did the same thing because somehow that makes it okay. Didn’t we get past that in… I don’t know like the third grade? What part of growing up and experiencing “but susy did it too!’ did people not understand?

If we can’t get our shit together as a nation, we’re in some deep trouble. If people can’t separate the kind of thinking you do at church versus the kind of thinking it takes to participate in a global community and run a country, we’re seriously fucked. Fact, perspective and opinion are completely different components within our awareness of real events. Lack of critical thinking… especially when completely intentional, has never led a country to greatness.

We were supposed to learn that in school too.

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