The Danger of Sound-Byte Arguments

                Recently, I have had a discussion with an atheist over a meme that he posted. He decided to use two verses from Genesis (30: 37-39) as an argument for how the bible allegedly describes how animals got their stripes versus the scientific explanation of the development of stripes over time. There is a problem with this interpretation. If one looks at this whole story, we see a wager that Jacob had with Laban, his father in law. Laban had cheated Jacob twice, and Jacob wanted to leave with his family so he asked for his wages in striped and speckled and colored goats and sheep. Laban sorted out the sheep and goats so that none of these were in Jacob’s flocks. Jacob tied strips of poplar to the trees where his herds were breeding. All of the offspring born were such that they satisfied the wager and Jacob could keep them. The glaring problem in the atheist argument here about the origin of striped animals is that they already existed and that Jacob and Laban were aware of them!
                I started this time with a story because this exchange is part of the origin of this idea of this post. If you know me personally I hate when I hear scripture quoted in part of out of context, even if it is for a good cause. For example, high school graduates love to quote Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” I even have this quote hanging on my wall. However, this was spoken through Jeremiah to the nation of Israel before they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. God was going to take care of them, but the Israelites were going to go through some stuff first. Even the paper that holds m quote is on a crumpled piece of backing paper, indicating that, even artistically, the paper was put under some stress. It does not lessen the message that God will take care of us, in fact I think it enhances the message in that God will be with us through thick and thin. In this writer’s opinion, we would not have much of a God if he was only with us in the good times.
                But we can’t stop there, there are believers among us that are spreading heresy and encouraging people to engage in sin. Jen and Brandon Hatmaker are a couple of professing believers that are spreading a lie that God doesn’t care that if we are in heterosexual or homosexual relationships as long as we are monogamous. Her husband has taken to facebook to denounce the verses that denounce homosexual acts because they had the context of non-consent or as acts of dominance in war. Even if I give Mr. and Mrs. Hatmaker these points, their argument still has problems. They have had to supposedly study for years to find these answers, and then they don’t cite any scholars for these answers that they “discovered”. But even then, when Jesus spoke of marriage, or when the rest of the Bible spoke of marriage, there was a clear or implied definition of a marriage between man and woman. No other definition has been defined as ordained by God! Now that is not to say that we should exclude the homosexual from the love of Christ that we offer, but I cannot say that homosexual marriage shares the holy position that heterosexual marriage does.

                So when it comes to our faith and how others perceive it, we must be willing to look at the full message and context of the scripture that we are studying. We cannot afford to cherry pick scripture to make ourselves or others feel good. We must be willing to present scripture as it is, not as we want it to be. We must know it well enough that we can rebuke those who try to twist it for their own selfish gain. I would pray that we learn to follow the full message that God has given us. I pray that your day has gone well. May God bless you and have good rest of your day. 


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