While browsing Facebook earlier today, June 17, I found a photo on a page by the name of I ? Religion. While the page claims to be questioning religion, the page is run by an atheist who apparently will take any shot he can get at religion without even questioning what he is posting. If my words seem angry, they better be, because this so-called open-minded intellectual does the one thing that will set me off more than any other, and that is take scripture out of context to use for his own purposes. For the sake of argument to anyone who tries to be clever and use scripture to lead people astray, you aren’t being original! Satan himself has used scripture to try and tempt Jesus; it’s something we as Christians are supposed to be prepared to defend against! As my title says, this post will be a response to a picture that I found on his page titled “You say… God Says...”. This picture very carefully selects scripture and tries to make the Bible look like a foolish work of literature. I would like to take some time and give my defense for the points raised in this picture.
1. Torture is Wrong/Violence Cleanses Evil/ Proverbs 20:30: While the plain meaning of this verse may give some cause for alarm. Take a minute and meditate on it. With physical maladies, sometimes your pain has to get much worse before it gets better, such as a chemo patient suffering for weeks or months before they are free of their cancer. If someone is suffering with a problem of evil, the road back to righteousness may not be an easy one, but it is necessary if one wishes to be right with God again.
2. Owning people and slavery is wrong/ Enslave your neighbors who worship other gods/ Leviticus 25:44-46: First off, from my version of scripture, it seems like there are words being put in the mouth of God here. My version states that the slaves were to come from other countries. I would also like to point out that slavery also existed as a form of repayment for a debt. One could be called a slave if that person was working for his master to pay off a debt. Also, with the negative connotation of the word slave in our culture, many people do not realize that slave owners were required by the same law to treat their slaves well. You were forbidden to beat or kill your slaves or you would face the same treatment.
3. The punishment should fit the crime/ Temporal crimes deserve eternal torture and punishment in hell/ Matthew 13:41-42: This is one that I have heard many times before, and I must give same answer that I always give. If we have broken the law of God, we have committed an offense against God, better known as sin. God, being a morally perfect being, cannot be in the presence of sin, so there is a wall between us and God. Unless we become right with God and receive His forgiveness, we will die with that wall there and be sent into Hell. The Jews believe that sacrifice was the way to earn redemption from their sins, and Christians believe that Jesus came down and died as the ultimate sacrifice for redemption from sin. So back to the punishment fitting the crime, it is stated clearly multiple times that the wages for un-repented sin is eternal death/banishment to hell, so I see no reason for people to be calling foul on God here
4. People shouldn’t be murdered for working on the Sabbath/ You should kill people who work on the Sabbath/Numbers 15:32-36: All right, a quick history lesson here. When Moses and the tribe of Israel were establishing the law of God, the keeping of the Sabbath was the most central of the decrees made to Israel “for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD sanctify you” (Ex. 31:12-13). The punishment for violating the Sabbath in that day and age was stated over and over and was known throughout Israel. “You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death…” (Ex. 31:14-16). The point of this was that everyone knew this. The response of putting the man to death is another sign that everyone knew that this was wrong. The gatherer would have been warned before it went this far. Furthermore, if one reads Ezekiel 20, one would know that God had already shown mercy on this problem before. The Sabbath was meant to be a gift from God to man so that man may rest for a day from their work. By going out and doing everyday work, this man was in open rebellion against God and faced the proper punishment for it.
5. Beating children is wrong/ If you do not beat your children, you hate them/ Proverbs 13:24: Once again, here is where context is important. The 13th chapter in the book of Proverbs is mostly about raising ones children. The rod is used as punishment for bad behavior. If you really want to see nothing but the children that you see in Walmart that are screaming their head off because the parents don’t know how to say no to their children every now and again, by all means please ignore this verse. A wise parent will discipline their child whenever a bad behavior appears. If they don’t the child will be destructive to themselves and others depending on the bad behavior. I am not advocating child violence, there are definitely better ways to discipline your children, but discipline definitely needs to happen when a child is behaving badly.
6. Killing children is wrong/ Children who curse their parents should be killed/ Exodus 21:15, 17: My translation for Exodus 21:15 says that “Anyone who attacks (kills) their father or mother is to be put to death.” This makes sense and would follow through with the punishment fitting the crime. Murderers should get their just rewards with their life being forfeit. In Exodus 21:17, cursing God and cursing your parents are the only two sins of the mouth that bear the immediate death penalty. God is the all-powerful Creator of the Universe and you parents are the ones who brought you into it. A natural respect is demanded from both. Now I am not one to comment on it but who am I to know every thought of God?
7. The earth moves around though space/ the earth is set on foundations/ Jeremiah 31:37: So here you are going to use a beautiful poetic statement about the love of God to make a literal statement that the earth is flat and fixed? Anyone who cannot immediately pick out a poetic statement in the Bible is probably looking for an excuse to not believe in the word of God.
8. It is wrong to sell your daughter/ You can sell your daughter. I even have rules on how you should go about it/ Exodus 21:7-8: The laws in this chapter are relating to the fifth and sixth commandments. Though these laws differ from our times and customs, nor are they binding to us; they do explain moral law, and the rules of natural justice. The servant is symbolic of being in bondage to the sinful nature of man, Satan, and the law. He is brought to this state by robbing God through the violation of God’s precepts. In being released from servitude, he becomes an emblem of freedom through which Christ makes him free from bondage.
9. Rape is not the fault of the victim/ Rape is a crime against the husband. Women who do not shout loud enough to be hear while being raped should be killed/ Deuteronomy 22:23-24: It can be assumed that if the woman did not cry out that she was consenting, therefore committing adultery if she were engaged to another man. Towns at the time are rather small so if she were being raped and did cry out, help would have come quickly. I believe women are still taken to court over being unfaithful to their husbands, so this could be considered a crime against the husband.
10. Women are equal members of society/ Women cannot teach or hold authority over men/ 1 Timothy 2:12: One theory about how this verse came to be because of false doctrine that was being spread at the time and this false doctrine was being spread through women. Another theory about this verse is that groups of women would start their gossip circles during worship services. This is significant because in the Jewish tradition women and men were separated during services, but the Christian church let men and women intermingle. This led to a competition of attention between the gossipers and the preacher. This was leading to disturbances during worship services and was drawing people’s attention away from God. Paul’s view on women learning was actually quite revolutionary at the time since at that time women were pretty well barred from education.
11. You are responsible for only your own actions/ Even innocent children inherit the sins of their ancestors/ Exodus 20:5-6: From the research that I have done on this topic, this can be taken in many ways. If this just refers to the parent’s actions having repercussions on their children and grandchildren and so on, this much is obvious, unless the child goes completely off the reservation, the behavior of the parents, good or bad, will span generations. This verse could also be discussing multiple generations of Israelites rebelling against God consecutively. When this happens, God puts the nation into captivity in order for them to come to repentance. God is punishing up to this point because He loves His people and wishes them well-being
12. Modern Medicine Explains Diseases/ A lack of faith causes diseases/ Matthew 9:12: It is common throughout Jesus’ ministry for him to speak in parable. Now if you are familiar with this passage or are reading along as we go, you will see this is not a parable, but it might as well be to this man for how far he stretched for this accusation. “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick.” Where on earth does this reference a lack of faith being a cause of physical illness? Jesus came as a doctor for the people’s spirit, he came to make the unclean clean and the unrighteous righteous in the eyes of God. If you look at Luke, he is referenced as the beloved physician, he was a physical doctor! Call me blind, but I don’t see the point being asserted by I ? Religion.
13. Give peace a chance/ Jesus came not to bring peace but to pit family members against each other in defense of faith/ Luke 12:51-53: Ok, here I have absolutely nothing to defend, families have fallen apart over the defense of faith. While this is true, allow me to make this point, families will fall apart over many issues that are not Christianity based. I have seen families fall apart over adultery, alcoholism, and other issues that had nothing to do with Christianity. I have also seen families mended by the dissenting member(s) come to know Christ. The abusive father coming to Christ and begging his family for forgiveness. The teenager out partying and doing drugs and the like repenting of his sins and rebuilding the broken relationships with their families.
14. Bats are mammals/ Wrong. Bats are birds/ Leviticus 11:13, 19: This is unfortunately a problem in translating from Hebrew to English. The Hebrew word that we translated into bird has a literal translation of “flying thing”. I think we can all agree that birds and bats fall into the category of flying thing. When God sorts out animals in the Bible, he typically is sorting them out by their forms of locomotion, rather than their specific attributes. Unfortunately, our English translations sometimes carry over their over specification with those words that could lead to potential problems like this.
15. Christianity is peaceful/ Wrong. Jesus did not bring peace/ Matthew 10:34: I would like to bring up several points here. Jesus did indeed say that he “did not intend to bring peace, but a sword”. This could definitely look like Jesus was going to come like a conquering war monger, but look at the story of the crucifixion. He did not resist, nor did he spew any threats or retorts at all, he was actually praying for the forgiveness of those who were beating and mocking him! Right before Jesus was arrested, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant in an attempt to get Jesus released. Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the servant’s ear! When Christians are told we are fighting a war, we must understand that it is not a physical war, but rather a spiritual one (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus came to start a war against the corruption and wickedness in this world we live in, but he is waging his war with love and forgiveness!
16. “That is in the Old Testament”/ Correct and it still applies according to Jesus/ Matthew 5:17-19: This is right and wrong at the same time. The Old Testament is definitely important, because it is the basis which we have used to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus also used Old Testament law and reinterpreted it, but he did keep some of the principles as they were, such as how he described adultery, murder, and divorce. What this and other scriptures show that is Jesus left certain aspects of the law of Moses up for interpretation under changing circumstances. Of course, the Old Testament is to be respected, but there are certain aspects of the law that Jesus himself fulfilled and released us from so that they are no longer binding, such as ceremonial sacrifices and the laws forbidding eating certain animals. Through all of this, the Old Testament still holds the spoken word of God that we use for teaching, correcting, and rebuking (2 Timothy 3:15-16). But if you focus on only the law, you miss the whole point of the ministry of Jesus, and that is redemption through grace. We all live with a sin debt, that demands that we die in the eyes of God. God sent his son, being fully divine and human at once, to die for us as an ultimate and final sacrifice to pay the debt for the sins of all men who would believe in Him.
I have reached the end of this particular response. I beg of you, do not think of me as having the final say on any of this, I am as fallible as anyone else. I hope that I have answered some questions that you have had over scripture. Feel free to add in any points from scripture that you think would make this essay better. God Bless and have a good rest of your day.
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