Friday, December 20, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

File Under: Biblically Speaking

Source: Free Domain Radio, Copyright (c) 2013 Stefan Molyneux

Philosophers should teach philosophy, economists should teach economics, astrophysicists should teach astrophysics, and theologians should teach theology: to each their own intellectual lane. I grow weary of atheists pretending to be theologians, or worse, trying to ensnare Christians with a limited understanding of the Bible. The only people these persons dupe are people who know even less about the Bible than they do.

Fruit of the False Premise

First, Phil Robert's paraphrased a passage from the Christian-Greek Scriptures (The New Testament), not the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures (The Old Testament). Linking Robertson's statement to Leviticus is patently dishonest, ignorant, or recklessly negligent, because the context of the quote reveals exactly what book of the Bible his paraphrase came from:
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases CORINTHIANS: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
I can assure anyone – Corinthians DOES NOT instruct anyone to put anyone else to death for their sins:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV

Is Christianity Indifferentiable from Judaism?

The oblique reference to Matthew 5:17, completely misinterprets Jesus' meaning, which is simply that he was the Messiah, here to fulfill the prophecy by establishing a new covenant with Israel (see: Jeremiah 31:31-32). The religious leaders accused Jesus of being a seditious heretic, who sought to lead the people astray with his blasphemous teachings. He assured the gathered crowd that he was not there to insight rebellion or religious anarchy. There was prophecy yet to be fulfilled, so his presence was not a release from the moral strictures of the Old Testament. Indeed, Jesus spent the rest of Matthew 5 reaffirming and bolstering the Ten Commandments. However, in further fulfillment of Jeremiah, Jesus later told his apostles that the way to a close personal relationship with God (and the new promise of everlasting life) was now by repentance of sins, acceptance of Jesus coming sacrifice, and works born of faith. No longer did Christians have to offer up sacrifices and put sinners to death – Jesus was THE sacrifice to end all sacrifices. He “bought” all of their sin, and took it up himself. Therefore, faithful Christians could look forward to the inheritance of God's kingdom, whereas unrepentant sinners were to expect eternal damnation.

Is the Bible "Hate Speech?"

Phil Robertson did not “accurately” quote the Scripture he had in mind, and he made no reference to Leviticus. The Bible does not advocate nor mandate the hatred of, harassment, or persecution of any sinner. In fact, when Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul and ceased killing Christians, he did not turn around and begin executing Jews and gentiles. Rather, he attempted to convert everyone, and he left non-believers and unrepentant sinners to their own devices. By contrast, Ancient Israel was a Theocracy and the law stated that individuals guilty of certain crimes (“sins”) were to be executed after they were found guilty. Modern support of homosexuality as a life choice and opposition of the death penalty does not make the laws of that ancient civilization “hate speech,” nor does it make the command to execute lawbreakers “murder.” Especially, considering modern adherents of Christianity have no doctrine endorsing those abandoned laws. Moreover, modern perspectives do not negate the countless parables, fables, common sense principles, and object lessons found in the Old Testament.

Does God Contradict Himself?

Christians do believe the Bible is the divine word of God, and his word was given in two distinct Testaments, ultimately for two distinct people. The ancient Israelites repeatedly broke God's commandments, then tortured and killed his Son, the Messiah. Therefore, God ended the covenant with the Israelites (the one mandating the death of gays), and created a new covenant with all of humankind – sans stoning.
True Christians DO accept God's command to abstain from homosexuality, and they DO accept God's command to no longer execute homosexuals for their sin. There is no contradiction.

The Big Non Sequitur

Phil Robertson was (is?) an independent contractor of a private, secular entertainment organization. Priests are employees of churches – private, religious organizations. Whereas the firing of Phil Robertson for denigrating his client's customers makes perfect sense, retribution for priests teaching the Bible in churches does not. The only people who have a problem with what the church teaches are people who are not members of the church. A&E does not believe (or want to have the appearance of believing) their homosexual viewers are the same as practitioners of bestiality and terrorists, or that black Americans were happy as sharecroppers during Jim Crow. Therefore, they fired Phil Robertson. It is NOT the religious segment of society that is trying to paint Robertson as a hatemonger (or the Bible and God vicariously through him) – that clamor is probably coming from the atheist and liberal crowd. Religious persons appear to be just fine with Robertson practicing his First Amendment right to free speech and free religious exercise, inaccurate and coarse though it may be.

For the Record

I think at this point we all know and accept that Christians do not stone sinners, but sinners will not inherit the kingdom of God if they do not stop sinning. Some people will try to construe that as meaning Christians are to accept everyone and everything without discrimination. So, let's go ahead and set the record straight on what the Bible DOES say about how Christians should deal with people who do not follow God's law:

“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”” – 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NIV
There you have it.

This video is not the deeply thought out and well-researched, scholarly excellence I am accustomed to from this channel. This comes off as less “what they aren't telling you,” and more like an impotent, half-baked attempt to skewer theists for their beliefs on the end of a blunted spear that completely misses the mark. Whether you believe the doctrine of your intellectual enemy or not, you should at least know and understand it
BEFORE you criticize it. I am sorely disappointed.

"Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum from "Spirit in the Sky" released 1969 on Reprise