July 5, 2012

The Bible's Morality

The more one reads from the scriptures, the more it becomes apparent that a great deal of it should not be taken as useful, or even moral.  For example, the premise that God would select a chosen people and make enemies of everyone outside that group should make any moral person shudder.  Can we really find joy in the vengeance of the Psalmist as it is written in 137:8-9?
O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.  Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
The New Testament, too, is not without fault and Paul is especially problematic.  To me, Paul never really became converted to the gospel.  Rather, he took what was most abhorrent from the Old Testament and amplified it, telling the Galatians, for example: "I would they were even cut off which trouble you."  In doing so, he encourages men to emasculate themselves to achieve the aims of heaven.  But this is not all.  In Ephesians he tells slaves to obey their masters, thereby giving tacit approval for this barbaric institution.

If we were to accept every tenant of the Old Testament, we would be spending all our time executing people for crimes that are inconsistent with even the eye-for-an-eye admonition of Moses.  Here is a short list of offenses that deserve death:
  • Stubbornness and overeating--Deut 21:18-21
  • Cursing--Lev 24:13-14
  • Disobeying the Sabbath--Exod 35:2
  • Touching pigskin--Lev 11:7-8
Apparently God doesn't like football!  With regard to these and other flaws in scripture, the theologian, John Shelby Spong, says:  
I am now convinced that institutionalized Christianity has become so consumed by its quest for power and authority--most of which is rooted in the excessive claims for the Bible--that the authentic voice of God can no longer be heard within it...  The constant attack of right-wing voices on Christian scholarship is a clear tip-off that they cannot face reality.  When people cannot deal with the message, the ancient and still regularly practiced tactic is to shoot the messenger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What "authentic voice of god"? In all of this enormous complex...call it creation if you want...people who claim their perspective on the whole is "the authentic voice of god" are ignorant and incompetent; or misled; or equally often, charlatans, demagogues, intellectual frauds, and bullshitters. That includes people who rely on the bible as a privileged source. That's what I see.

I'm glad to see you're still writing and exposing your thinking to potentially critical feedback. Best wishes!