A number of years ago I had a woman come to my office for pastoral counseling. She was weeping. She was not a member of my church but was a member of an Assembly of God Church where the Bible is believed to be literally true and without error. Of course this is just another way of saying “believe the bible the way I do!” She had been told by her pastor that her son who had recently died was in hell because he did not accept Jesus as his personal savior. She told the pastor “then I want to be in hell too.”
I was touched by the profound depth of love this mother had for her son. I said to her “You have a profound depth of love for your son. From where do you think this love comes? Do you have more love than God.” She began to cry again and leaned over to hug me. She told me how her faith in God had been restored with this one simple comment.
I grieved for this woman who was being held hostage to a theology and doctrines of intolerance and hate.
I basically blurted out this thought without thinking. It was not of my own wisdom. I too had a sense that I was drawing from the cool waters of all wisdom; the sacred impulse whom this woman understood as God and the source of her love for her son.
Large portions of the Bible is filled with hate speech. I am not just referring to portions of the Old Testament. The New Testament is perhaps even worse.
There is a verse in Timothy that says that all Scripture is for our edification. This verse is the cited by those who despise critical thinking and is perhaps the most morally repugnant verse in the Bible. It is the foundation of the most fundamental principle of ”brain-washing”: belive this and we can make you believe anything.
In Timothy (3:16) we read; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The “all Scripture” here refers to the Old Testament. Portions of the the New Testament has not even been written at the time (i.e. the Gospels). How repugnant is this verse? Frank Schaeffer, son of the deceased famed Evangelical thinker Francis Schaeffer, whom I have met several times over the years, has suggested the we take every despicable verse reeking of bigotry and hate in the Bible and add the “All scripture is…” ending to it.
Saint. Paul offers the following “advice” to women: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12) Then add, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” End of discussion! Shut up ladies!
“This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'” (1 Samuel 15:3). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…”
“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” And by the way, that pro-slavery teaching is a New Testament verse to boot!
On the issue of rap:. “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). According to the Bible, the raped women are forced to marry the rapist and the only person restored is her father! “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…”
There is another choice besides rejecting religion outright is to embrace faith in God by thinking for themselves and openly reject the parts of one’s scriptures outright that fly in the face of fact, compassion and decency.
If one adopts the view of “All- the-Bible-is true” then it turns out that most people are a lot more loving and compassionate than their “God,” which begs the question: Where did that love come from? I believe that the source of that love comes from God who gives me the rational mind to challenge the Bible and to say that not all scripture is true or approved of God. I doubt that God believes the Bible, at least in the way the woman who came to my office was taught.