Crushing Another Meme

I never intended to crush silly memes as a theme for the past week, but that’s what ended up happening.  So when I saw this one, I thought I’d run with the unintended theme.

It’s titled “You should just, like, read the Bible!”  Which means, I suppose, that the Bible muddies things up by contradictions such as what we read on the right.

Well, is this a contradiction?  To answer that question, we need to go to the context of the verses.  I’m interested to see if each passage is making a different point to a different audience.  In that case, we’d have no contradiction at all.

In Matthew, the context is persecution by authorities.  Jesus is telling his disciples not to worry about the powers that be persecuting or killing them for the sake of the kingdom.  Don’t fear them, because they can only hurt the body.  Instead, fear the one who can destroy the soul — the real you.

Obey God, not men.

Continuing forward, we receive assurance that God takes care of his own.  Therefore, we (in reality) have nothing to fear and God will take care of us — especially if we acknowledge the Son before our tormentors.  Though we’re told to fear God, the remainder of the context shows that that isn’t necessary because he will, in fact, take care of us as he does all of  creation.

In 1 John, the context is God’s abiding love.  God loved us so perfectly, that he sent his Son to an atoning death for our sins.  There is no fear in God’s love because God’s perfect love is saving the believers from hell; therefore, we ought to love one another.  The perfect love drives out the fear because we are spared of the final judgement, and the fear comes from its punishment.  So we need not fear it.

Two passages: different contexts, different messages.  They are thematically related only in explaining why we should not fear final judgement — the perfect love of God abiding in us.

Not a contradiction.

And so, having crushed another meme, I shall enjoy a piece of Victory Gum…

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on August 28, 2012, in Apologetics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Cory,

    I find it funny that the word of god needs such explanations to excuse the contradictions found throughout the bible. 1,529 contradictions according to:
    http://www.bradyns-blog.com/2011/02/contradictions-in-bible.html

    But hey who’s counting?

    Further, apologist explanations are according to the Christian Sect or individual apologist making them as even they cannot agree with each other on what the Bible means or how to make heads or tails of its fallacies.

    Perhaps Christian Apologists should disclaimer their writings with:
    “BE ADVISED: The Apologist views expressed here are the opinions of the author and may not be the opinion of other Apologists, the major Christian religions, splinter sects, cults, or Bible scholars.”

    Cheers

    Joe Unseen

    • I will address two points from this morass of non-reply to my original reply.

      First, to this:

      I find it funny that the word of god needs such explanations to excuse the contradictions found throughout the bible.

      The Word of God requires NO explanations to excuse contradictions for two reasons.

      First reason: there are no contradictions to excuse. All 1,529 alleged contradictions represent people misunderstanding the meaning of the text — usually it is an utter failure to read things in context.

      When I say “context,” I am not only referring to the entire passage rather than the isolated verses. I’m referring to the historical and cultural contexts as well. In other words, “What situation is being addressed?” and “Who is the intended audience?”

      Second reason: no one had to explain to me what I just explained to you. I read the passages for what they said and relayed that back to you. Nothing more, nothing less.

      How did I do it? Without resorting to the supernatural (that I have the Holy Spirit and you do not), I have an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the passages. And I use the full block of text, not the isolated verses. That DID require some work — more difficult than the work involved with pulling random verses that appear to oppose each other out of the Bible and Photoshopping them over a cool picture. I’ll bet the clever caption was the only thing requiring original thought.

      Sorry if I’m coming off rude, but simply pointing out that not every apologist has the same take on what I stated isn’t a defeater to my reply. A defeater to my reply would involve showing me why, biblically, historically, culturally, and hermeneutically I am WRONG about what I said.

      And yes, that also requires more work than linking to a Bible contradiction site. And yes, that might means you might have to read a Bible reference book, a primer on Hellenistic literature and culture, or a simple Bible commentary.

      Second, to your claim that we apologists disagree to one another, I’ve already had that discussion with another atheist. He lost. Read it in the comments here.

      In sum, to prove that we apologists do NOT disagree as substantially as he thought on matters of interpretation, I pulled five random Bible commentaries off the Internet. The first five I found, no cheating. And, much to his chagrin, ALL AGREED WITH MY INTERPRETATION. Two points of interest: I consulted NONE of them while preparing my answer, and two of them were written by theological opponents (Calvin and Wesley).

      In other words, tread lightly on the “all Christians disagree with each other” claim. It never holds water.

      Now, if you care to forward an ACTUAL reply to anything I said here, I will entertain it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: