No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings
BIBLICAL LITERALISM AND INERRANCY
Another common thread I see on forums for spiritual recovery sites (or ones by ex Christians, liberal Christians, etc), is a rejection of
1. Biblical literalism
2. Biblical inerrancy
This is all so much intellectual dishonesty in another form it makes me want to throw up.
I spent years studying about the history of the Bible, Bible translation, and so forth.
I came away realizing that the Bible is inerrant and yes, we can trust the copies we have today; the Bible is not filled with historic blunders and mistakes, and all the other tripe atheists like to claim.
It is not entirely accurate for critics to paint the Bible as a purely man-made document, that contains mistakes because it was copied and re-copied numerous times over the centuries.
While there is an aspect of truth to that description, the end conclusion, or how that description, impacts the NIV or NASB Bible version you have sitting on your coffee table right now, is not how critics of the Bible paint it.
Atheists and ex-Christians who are critical of the Bible are disingenuous and duplicitous in how they paint some of their arguments against the Bible, and they should be ashamed for it, as some of them claim to be truth lovers.
Not too long ago, an ex-Christian woman at another site was declaring that Christians cannot “trust” the Bible because the originals (called the Autographa) do not exist.
Oh please! I pointed out to her that is not so: as far as the New Testament is concerned, scholars have many thousands of copies of the Autographa (some dating within decades of the originals), and by use of lower textual criticism, they can reconstruct the READINGS of the Autographa.
It is not necessary to have “the biblical originals” themselves to know what they said, as she was dishonestly arguing (but she later accused me of being dishonest!).
I pointed this FACT out to her (about it not being necessary to have the autographa to know what the autographa said), where upon she shot back the falsity that one cannot trust the translations anyway because they are done by “conservatives.”
Oh, but she is willing to grant liberal scholars or liberal theologians the title of un-biased, as though they do not have an ax to grind against the Bible and dating its documents and so forth?
Because the liberal scholars do in fact start out their examinations of the Bible from an anti- Christian bias.
The woman with whom I was corresponding on this matter doesn’t seem to understand that the practice of lower textual criticism is a science – a liberal who uses that methodology would come to the same conclusion as the conservative who uses it.
So here we have an example of one type of ex-Christian I am talking about:
This woman claims she was a Christian at one time, now fancies herself atheist or agnostic (and some kind of expert on the Bible), but who now spews inaccurate or untrue things about the Bible, because she disdains all of Christianity in general.
My view: Do not lie about the Bible’s history, accuracy, and textual evidence just because “Preacher Fred” at your old church was a big meanie to you X years ago (or insert whatever other emotional baggage you carry against Christians that now colors all your other views about the faith and Bible here) – please!
Give me a freaking break.
I am genuinely compassionate towards people who have been hurt by churches, but not to the point I cover for their dishonesty about how they discuss church history, the biblical documents, etc.
Because some of these folks claim to have been hurt by Christians in general, or a particular denomination, or what have you, they feel fine now rejecting biblical literalism and inerrancy.
While I myself am struggling with the Bible and what it means for Christians today, and when and how much does the Old Testament apply for Christians and so forth, I am at least honest about how I’m handling it.
I don’t just chuck it all out the window or treat the Bible like “silly putty” that I can shape and mould how I want (I do seriously wonder about the “be yoked” teaching, which I have written of in the past).
I don’t sit about saying, “It’s all allegory, so I can make it say whatever I want.”
I do think some Christians use the Bible as a weapon to beat people down with, which is wrong.
Some Christians place holding proper doctrine above people, and that is wrong, too.
I’ve seen some Christians sort of talk down sola scriptura because some Christians have “turned the Bible into an idol” or make the Bible “into the 4th member of the Trinity.”
And that is true – some Christians do in fact do that, especially KJV Only IFBs.
My position is that some of these things need to be held in tension.
It is in fact important to treat people in love and with love and kindness, but not at the expense of sound doctrine.
For example, it is not intellectually honest, appropriate, doctrinally sound, or being true to the Bible to sit there and deny the Bible condemns pre-marital, hetero sex acts, or that homosexuality is sinful, all because teaching such biblical views might “hurt the feelings” of someone practicing either behavior.
By the way, I take issue with the current liberal or post evangelical habit of insisting this is not so. Jesus Christ may have treated people with compassion, but he did not excuse their sin.
In the past several years, however, I am seeing more post-evangelical, liberal Christians, etc, deny that “hate the sin but love the sinner” is a biblical concept – but I do believe it is in fact a biblical concept.
For example, this post at Internet Monk, whose blog owners identify as “post evangelical”, which is normally a fine blog, there was this disappointment:
(Link): Why “Hate the Sin/Love the Sinner” Doesn’t Work
Well, the ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’ has always worked for me.
I have not cut people out of my life or treated them like garbage just because they engaged in an un-biblical life style, or because they held an opinion on some topic I did not agree with.
I’m confounded to think of a single instance in the New Testament where Jesus not only showed compassion on a sinner but also said,
- “Hey, I am peachy and fine with your sin! I love your sin as much as I love you, so keep it up with the fornication, murdering, homosexuality and stealing!”
Can’t think of a single example.
Sometimes there can indeed be legitimate disputes over what the Bible really meant and how current believers are interpreting the Bible on some point or another, but I don’t see Jesus watering down sin to make sinners feel more loved and accepted or less excluded.
And let’s face it, some of the things Jesus was correcting were not God’s rules to start with, but man’s.
God was never opposed to people helping people on the Sabbath, but the Pharisees had twisted the Sabbath day rule to mean just that.
Jesus corrected the Pharisees on how they had twisted the original command, Jesus did not condemn the rule itself.
I am also tired of biblical literalism being trashed.
People on these sites constantly mock or insult the concept of biblical literalism.
The book says what it says. There are of course, figures of speech in the Bible, poetry, and hyperbole, but there are obviously large portions which are meant to be taken literally.
Your only alternative to that truth is to lie and say most, or all, the Bible is mythical, a fable, fairy tale, or allegorical, and then proceed to make it say whatever you want it to say.
While some literalists can be guilty of this practice as well, at least they are open to correction by pointing out other Bible verses, since they believe it can and should be taken literally. You have a manner of debating with them, a way to debate and correct them.
One cannot say the same thing about the “I hate biblical literalism” group.
I don’t even know why such self professing Christians bother staying Christians, I really do not. They have made up a God and Jesus and Bible of their own making.
If you feel the Bible is all a big allegory, you might as well make Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat” tome your primary book of spirituality, and live your life by that instead. Why even appeal to the Bible for anything?
But please stop it with the whole attitude of, “*snicker snicker*, those Bible literalists are a bunch of idiots and simpletons, they actually take the Bible at face value, ha ha, what maroons!” mockery.
It only makes you look just as pretentious and condescending as the militant atheists I mentioned previously.
FEELINGS, NOTHING MORE THAN FEEeeeeeLINGS – CODEPENDENCY IN CHRISTIAN CIRCLES
When it comes to sin, Jesus’ attitude seemed more to be,
- “I really hate sin and have to pay the high price of dying for the world’s sins, but I am willing to forgive you if you repent of the sin.”
Jesus was not all,
- “Whee! I love you and am fine with your sin, and won’t bring up that I hate sin when I’m around you, because I want to spare your ego, delicate self esteem, and your
I want us to have a warm -n- fuzzy relationship, which we cannot do if I insist on calling out sin as being sin and as something I am not okay with. Here, have another hug, I think you are swell as you are, sins and all.”
Your liberal Christians, post evangelicals, spiritual abuse recovery sites, etc, want Christians to stop calling out sin as sin, because condemning sin might hurt someone’s feelings.
I’m normally all about being sensitive to people’s feelings, to an extent.
I don’t like having my feelings hurt.
I don’t go out of my way to be a jerk and stomp on people’s feelings, but I totally do not get this wacko, hyper sensitive view being bandied about on some sites and blogs that Christians ought to deny that the Bible condemns ‘X’ as being a sin, because those doing ‘X’ might get hurt feelings or feel offended or guilty.
What is this odd obsession with people’s feelings, and not hurting them?
One reason I reject this sort of thinking about “not hurting people’s feelings” is because it is one manifestation of codependency.
It is a form of cowardice. People refuse to speak the truth because it might “offend” or “hurt” someone.
The Bible condemns codependency -this hesitancy and reluctance to stomp on people’s feelings, if necessary, or as a consequence of speaking truth- and sometimes refers to it as “the fear of man.”
God tells you repeatedly in the Bible you will NOT be popular if you live for him.
Other people will in fact hate you, get angry, and yes, get their ‘feelings hurt’ if you point out their behavior is sinful.
God repeatedly told His prophets in the Old Testament to fear Him, rather than fear what men would do to them, and all for speaking his prophecies, which did not go over well (a lot of prophets were stoned to death by angry crowds who did not like hearing God say via his prophets, “You are in sin, and I will send punishment on you, since you refuse to repent”).
I recognize this, because I spent years being codependent. I was trained by a Christian codependent mother to think being a scaredy-cat doormat who refuses to ever hurt someone’s feelings was what proper Christian women did.
I refused to call out people on their lousy, mean-spirited behavior when they were abusive to me, all because I was taught by my well meaning, yet in error, codependent mother that other people’s feelings were all-important.
We were to put feelings on a pedestal, they were an idol.
I was supposed to go through life letting others use and abuse me, stifle all protest and anger, because it might hurt the bully’s feelings to be corrected or get some much needed push back.
When you tip-toe around other people’s sensitivities, even those who have been deeply wounded by a previous church or Christian, you do them no favor in coddling them where you refuse to be absolutely honest about things, like about the Bible teaching that hetero pre marital sex is sinful, homosexuality is sinful, etc.
It’s not being loving or kind to treat other people’s feelings with kid gloves, not when doing so means you are not being level with them, or when you are more concerned with hurting their widdle, delicate feelings than in proclaiming what God says in the Bible.
You don’t have to be a rude jerk in proclaiming the truth, but no matter how politely you state your views about some topics, you’re still going to be hated and reviled. Jesus promised you that.
But over and over on these sites for former Christians, or the sites for people who have been hurt by churches, on the post- evangelical sites, the liberal Christian sites –
I see so much of this tendency to now accept -and even defend– things that were formerly agreed to be, and understood to be sin, and I also see premium value placed on people’s feelings, even at the expense of biblical truth.
I’m not comfortable with any of it.
And I’m quasi- agnostic these days.
How sad, ironic, and bizarre it is that someone who is having problems holding on to the faith but who is being more honest about the Bible and what it teaches, than some of those at these sites who claim to believe in Jesus and the Bible but who are obviously denying the Christ who bought them and denying the Bible itself or what it plainly says.
Then, of course, you have the ex Christians who now say they are atheists, who are equally dishonest on some matters.
There are some fine people on those sites, some very kind ones, but all of this also means I don’t quite fit in at most blogs and sites I visit – or even in most churches now.
I’m a bit critical of some conservative views or practices, but I will never be a liberal.
I have a hard time being sugary sweet about homosexuality, for example. I still believe the Bible teaches it is sinful, but it’s amazing the number of liberal or post evangelicals who go into denial about this.
I’ve found that many people who frequent the ex Christian, liberal Christian, or spiritual abuse blogs, like their secular counterparts, tar and feather and paint with a broad brush anyone who disagrees with homosexuality or homosexual marriage.
Such Christians regularly, mistakenly associate mere disagreement with homosexuality as being hatred of homosexuals themselves.
I don’t think that Christian bakers should be forced to bake wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, if they believe it violates their consciences. They should not be fined, run out of business, hounded, or sued over this.
Guess what? I’m in the minority on certain Christian forums and sites over this.
You’ll get the usual stereotypes that you are a bigot – though usually, depending on what site you are on, that word (and ones like it) may not be used since it is rather inflammatory, which differs from secular forums or full force liberal Christian forums, where you will be cussed at, chewed out, and get all sorts of vulgarities shouted at you.
Despite the kinder and gentler nature of opposition, there is most definitely a wide-spread acceptance by most at the spiritual abuse, ex Christian, post evangelical, and liberal Christian forums and blogs for homosexuality, and even though the Bible plainly condemns the behavior.
One will also see most of the Christians at such blogs gloss over hetero sins of the sexual variety, and they claim the Bible does not support celibacy or virginity for hetero people.
They completely deny or undermine what the Bible clearly teaches on some topics, particularly sexual sin by either hetero or homosexuals.
So, there is it, some of my experiences and observations as a half-Christian, half-agnostic person who sometimes visits blogs, groups, and forums for ex-Christans, liberal Christians, post evangelicals, atheists, ex Fundamentalists, and the spiritually abused.
As a last bit of information: it seems like many of the people who participate on those groups, blogs, and forums are, concerning politics (not just theology), very left wing.
Politically speaking, I am right wing.
Luckily, I don’t see too much conservative- or Republican- bashing too often, but it does rear its ugly head every once in awhile.
You’ll see the left wingers and Democrats on those sites supporting usual liberal views and talking points about racial privilege, support of global warming and ridicule of those who aren’t on board with that, and other things I do not agree with.
Some of the people on such sites are friendly and lovely people, but my gosh, do they ever have some incorrect views about the Bible, God, Jesus, how to love other people, homosexuality, sexual sin by heteros, and other topics.
– See Part 1, 2 –
(Link): Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)