Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CTS- Christians Are Hypocrites

Ok, so Charlotte opens up this article with an accusation that she has "yet to meet ONE who does not practice hypocrisy to the highest degree." She cites marriage laws, prayer in schools, and commonly ignored teachings as evidence of this hypocrisy. However, she forgets one of Christianity's principal doctrines: Our sinful nature. We are imperfect beings, being Christian doesn't change that. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, it your sin is no longer held against you. Then, the process of sanctification begins, where God begins to make us holy. This process is completed when we die. Along the way, mistakes are made. Expecting perfection in this lifetime is simply unreasonable. Because of this, keep in mind that there are times where I will agree with Charlotte, it's a shame that we can't be better examples of Christ. However, that doesn't mean the Bible is evil, far from it. It's the ideal standard, something to strive for throughout your life. With that in mind, I'll move on to her specific examples.

Marriage

Charlotte begins with the claim that Christians are not allowed to divorce, unless one spouse commits adultery. Let's start by looking at Deuteronomy 24:1-3. The situation offers no specific criteria for a divorce beyond finding "uncleanness". Matthew 19 is one of the verses evilbible.com cites for its argument here. Let us look at some word meanings in the verse, shall we? "Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate". Man used here is anthropos, meaning a human being. Separate means come between. This is a verse showing that no person has the right to come between a married couple in any way to mess with their marriage. Let's move on now to verse 8. Jesus says that divorce was permitted because of men's hearts. He reveals the true issue, man's failure to keep within God's intentions, especially regarding marriage. The entire problem of divorce is people making bad choice, and failing to find God's will for their relationships. Here's a great article about divorce: http://christiandivorce.1hwy.com/

Prayer in Schools

The issue of putting prayer in schools is a political one. It is not supported one way or another by the Bible. I'm of the opinion that prayer should be kept out of public schools because I believe involuntary religions actions cause contempt toward that religion. In short, it's more conducive to a saving faith in Christ to have other people share it with them then force them to pray. Now, Charlotte cites some verses with some misconceptions attached to them, so I'll clear that up now.

Matthew 6.5-6: This is Jesus correcting the Pharisees' motives. The Pharisees' were very proud of their "holier than thou" image. When people see them praying constantly, they will be looked at as more religious. They were praying so that people would accept them and look at them with awe, instead of to connect with their creator. It's not about where to pray.

1 Corinthians 11: This requires some historical context to understand correctly. In ancient Corinth, it was customary for women to wear veils and for men to leave them uncovered. Veils were a sign of submission. God calls women to submit to men because He 'programmed' men with the call and ability to lead. There were issues with women spurning the symbol of their submission, and leadership in churches were being upset. Also remember the common views of men and women in that day. The church would not have been taken seriously if women dominated it.

More Commonly Ignored Teachings

1) Essentially the same issue as the Corinthians passage above. Long hair for men can have various implications. The idea is to not confuse the roles and men and women, looking like a woman was always considered cross dressing by the Roman culture. God created men and women differently for a reason. 'Unisex' messes up that balance. It is no longer considered cross dressing in our culture, merely a different style. Because of this, long hair no longer threatens the balance of leadership. Jesus had long hair because of the religious significance of it in a completely different culture, the Hebrew one.

2) Keep this passage in context. Paul is writing a letter to the Corinthians, a relatively new church at the time, in an age where women were not looked at as leaders. To allow women to lead the church at such a time would give nonbelievers further reason to look away from it. Women simply were not accepted as leaders. Obviously, their role has changed significantly in recent history. I believe that men are primarily called to be leaders because of how we are 'wired', but the culture's view of women has changed so they are accepted as ministers.

3) Ok, Charlotte believes Christians are prevented from cross-dressing. The verse said that men were not to wear women's clothing, and vice-versa. Pretty straight forward, but Charlotte does not account for intent. God created us as men and women on purpose; attempting to look like the opposite sex is the equivalent of believing you know better than God who you truly are. Think of the rationalizations you hear from transsexuals, "I'm a woman trapped in a man's body". Your body should be God's, not yours. However, Charlotte claims hypocrisy by seeing women in pant suits. These garments are designed in order to look professional, not to look like a man. Many pant suits are designed for women now, making it not cross dressing.

4) The next argument is the repetition of words during prayer, such as "amen" or "yes, Lord". Charlotte has missed the second part of the verse, the intents of the repetitions. Jesus is condemning hypocrisy, or repeating "amen" in order to seem godly to the people around you. This is the same principle as the Pharisees praying in public places.

5) There is a misconception of the phrase "if any of you has a dispute with another" here. This verse is applicable when the dispute is between to Christians, not Christians disputing nonbelievers. When Christians take issues into court, it damages the unity of the church. Paul wrote this command to Corinth because this was a prevalent issue at the time. Now, when Christians take things like school prayer and abortion to court, the goal is to get the federal laws changed, something the church cannot do. That's a political dispute, not one that the church is called to step in the middle of, and doesn't hurt the church's unity.

6) This challenge has to do with the way women dress. They are commanded in 1 Timothy to dress modestly and discreetly, and Charlotte challenges that being followed today. Modesty is commanded so that men's eyes won't wander and they won't commit a lustful sin. On the other hand, they are commanded to dress discreetly so that there is not a tendency to use clothing to call attention to oneself. Immodesty is wrong, and you should point it out if a Christian is dressing immodestly. The purpose of being discreet has changed with the times, this is more of an intentions issue. So judge for yourself (not others).

7) Charlotte says this is "perhaps the mother of verses ignored". The infamous "judge not, lest ye be judged". This is also the mother of all verses taken out of context. When read correctly, the verse is saying that if you judge others, you must be held to that same standard. It's an anti-hypocritical verse. It doesn't mean we should avoid judging anyone at all costs. If your neighbor has been arrested for murder and charges were mysteriously dropped, it's probably a good idea to judge that you shouldn't allow him/her to babysit your kids.

8) Jesus frequently uses hyperbole in order to make a strong point to those listening to him. He doesn't ask people to literally hate every part of their lives, but they should make their number 1 priority God, not their personal comfort.

9) First of all, law enforcement is not a biblical issue. Law enforcement exists to protect the integrity of a nation, the New Testament is more concerned with peoples individual lives. Jesus was instructing the people not to retaliate against wrongdoing with wrongdoing because that helps no one.

10) The Catholic church uses the term "father" to recognize where the priests authority comes from. This is Jesus reminding people that God loves them and watches over them more than any regular man has a capacity to do. It's not a literal command.

11) This is correcting a mindset issue with believers. Look at verse 25 in Matthew 6, it says "do not worry". Excessive worrying in unnecessary because God is in control, that doesn't mean don't be prepared.

12) This is an objection that has been answered several times before. The Old Law is still in effect, but not for Christians. Accepting Jesus Christ releases us from the Old Law, so we will not be judged accordingly. Non-believers do not have Jesus Christ interceding on their behalf, so they will be judged according to the Law. Look to past posts for a full explanation.

13) I'd like to know where Charlotte got this stat. She lists no source. As far as I know, most Christians only consult 'mystics' who claim to be in touch with God. Either that, or they don't really understand mysticism. Other than that, Charlotte is correct, consulting mystics is a mistake.

14) This is one of the laws that was specific to the Israelites. This tithe helped them maintain the temple ceremonies that they performed. It's not applicable to society today. It's not a bad standard for giving to the church, most churches survive off of donations in order to fund ministries and missions. It's a charity thing, and its through God-given gifts that were are able to make money, so we should be willing to give back.

15) If you simply look at the beginning of the verse, you will see that the tattoos were given in order to honor the dead. Many other tattoos in this time period also pertained to other religions. This puts the command in a different light. Furthermore, the motives on getting the tattoo can determine whether or not its a good decision. These "Mexican Catholics" Charlotte mentioned seemed to be setting themselves apart as Christians, so what's wrong with that?

16) This was another command specifically for the Israelites during this time period. You have to look at the historical context and see if they are focused on principle or current culture. This was a political law, it establishes no spiritual principle.

17) Again, a cultural law. It made sense at the time because they didn't have the methods of cooking that we have now to kill all the bacteria in pork.

18) This takes some historical context to understand. One of the most important things to people during this time period was the family name. If the brother dies before he has children than there is no opportunity to continue the family line. This way his brother is doing him a favor and continuing his family for him. Seems weird to us now, but it made sense then. Also, this way the family had a provider.

19) This seems weird to us because of the culture norm regarding sex now. God created sex for only a husband and wife to have within a marriage relationship, in order to reproduce and connect with one another. Fornication is a perversion for that, so both perpetrators must deal with the consequences. Now further sex isn't a sin (barring adultery).

20) This is actually the same basic thing is #19. The word the NIV has translated as rape is shakab, meaning "to lie down". The word usually used to mean rape is taphas, meaning "to take hold of". So it makes more sense in context to simply mean intercourse, making it the same as number 19. This issue is more fully explained in the article "Rape In the Bible" (click here).

21) The insult to Jews will be ignored. As for the rest of Charlotte's objection, this is a cultural command again. There are a variety of thoughts on the purpose of this law. Cain and Abel's dispute involved a dispute over flax vs. wool. This mixture was a staple of Canaanite culture, and God frequently sets His people apart in this ways. Linen is water resistant while wool shrinks, so this could cause a variety of issues including hygiene. As for the beards, the rounded beard was a part of Egyptian and Arab culture. They would round off their beards in order to show worship to their gods.

22) Again, a cultural command. A bastard in the historical context is a child between and Israelite and a foreigner. God had commanded them not to intermarry with foreigners because of the influence of the false gods that they worshipped and various other customary issues. There was a consequence for disobedience.

Finally, a word on Charlotte's closing attack. I would advise any Christian faced with this situation to ignore the person questioning them. Charlotte is advocating a blatant attack on the Christian faith, a lack of tact, and a lack of respect for the beliefs of millions and millions of people. These type of people aren't going to accept that Christianity holds water no matter how much debating you do, so don't indulge them. Simply my two cents, judge for yourselves.

Shatnez (wool and linen) information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shatnez
Another point of view on this article (Note the 6 parts): http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2009/07/atheism-evilbiblecom-theists-suck-and.html

4 comments:

  1. Picking and choosing what one believes in the bible and yet taking others literally is just inconsistent. (A friend of mine call it Cafeteria Christianity) It's that inconsistency that brings about websites like evilbible.com. It's nice that you are providing your interpretation of scripture, but it's the interpretation by one person over that of another that creates ambivalence and even wars. The bible was written primarily by men trying to assert their power over other men and women. It has little to do with God and more to do with power struggles. If you look at it as a book of fairy tales, it loses its power altogether. The power only comes from the human being who reads it.

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  2. And yet you look at the prophecies that have been fulfilled hundreds of years later, and the historical evidence for both its authenticity and credibility, and it becomes much more than a book of fairy tales. Understand that the Bible is not one book, it's a collection of many books. The different genre's of the books create the guidelines for interpretation which people like Charlotte ignore. If you believe I've interpreted a passage wrongly, than please email me.

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  3. Are you prejudiced against Christians?

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