Whenever we try to justify our actions or rationalize a position on an issue by saying we “love” and are trying to obey “God’s Word,” our hypocrisy can become immediately apparent to anyone who has even a general knowledge of Biblical scripture. Those who claim that in order to be a ”true Christian,” we must follow and obey “God’s Word” are unwittingly making a claim that is virtually impossible. If it wasn’t impossible to perfectly adhere to what the Bible says word-for-word, then we would not have to ignore or cleverly explain away those scripture passages which are disturbing to us, obviously not true, or contradictory. If the Bible truly was ”inerrant” – that is, without fault or error, then it would not be so easy for us to use its words to justify our hatred of and/or injustice towards those who are different from some of us, such as Jews and homosexuals. Unfortunately, the “inerrant” Word of God makes it very easy do to this since it contains much scripture denigrating both homosexuals and Jews among others. It is hard to reconcile this denigration with the words of a so-called “just,” “holy,” and “loving” God.
When living only from a limited dualistic perspective, in which one “side” is believed to be ”separate” and “independent” from another “side,” as found in Judeo-Christian and Islamic theology, others must be “put down” so we can be “lifted up.” That is why we always need to have someone or some group of people to hate or at least dislike, in order to make ourselves feel “better” and “superior” to others. It does not matter whether these beings are real – like actual living people who have a different sexual orientation, religion, or racial background from ourselves, or imaginary, such as the “devil,” “demons,” and “evil forces” we invent to rationalize our false dualistic perspective of reality. Without someone or something to hate or fight against, dualism and all of its absurd self-contradictory illusions cease to exist. That is why in order to keep our dualistic, fragmented, and compartmentalized existence alive, we must always have someone or something to hate. All of this is an obvious game of egotistical self-justification in which we use some “Biblical reason” to defend that which validates our personal feelings – our egos, and to justify why it is “okay” to dislike or hate that which does not validate our egos. We all have our reasons why we like and dislike certain things, but let us at least be honest about why we feel this way instead of trying to rationalize our position in an artificially self-righteous way by saying we are trying to obey “God’s Word.”
There are many ways we ignore and/or disobey “God’s Word,” and truth be told unless we live naked on a dirt floor, and allow ourselves to be struck on the cheek a second time at the hands of our abusers, we are not living according to Christian scripture. There are many who would argue against this by saying God does not demand we be abused or poor, but anyone who has read the New Testament and is honest about what they read must admit the fact Jesus tells us time and time again we are to be poor and to “turn the other cheek” if we want to be amongst those in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not resisting violence is a good idea, but not the way Jesus would have us do so by “turning the other cheek.” Would it not be better to simply walk away so we no longer have to be abused or abuse others? Being advised to accept more abuse from others is a prescription for being a doormat – not exactly sound advice for truthful living when one has to continue to play the dualistic game in order to make “peace” the way Jesus recommends.
While modern Christians seem to mainly focus their “moral concerns” on sex and “sexual purity” with an almost obsessive compulsion, endlessly discussing ad nauseum such issues as homosexuality, gay marriage, pornography, abortion, and the oversexualization of women and men in the media, Christians often conveniently ignore Jesus’ words directed at our materialistic way of life. Let us look at Jesus’ instructions to a rich man from a story found in Mark 10:17-22.
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell to his knees before him, “Good teacher.” He asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good-except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
First of all, in this passage, Jesus himself asked the man why he called him “good,” and then continued on to say God alone is truly “good.” Therefore, Jesus is saying in this passage he is not God. If Jesus was God, he would not have corrected the man in calling him “good,” unless of course he was lying, or trying to hide his divinity in which case he would no longer be “without sin.” It fascinates me this fact which contradicts modern Christian theology is so often ignored completely or cleverly explained away, even by those quite knowledgeable of Biblical scripture such as pastors, theologians, and fundamentalist Christians who should know better if they are intellectually honest. Some would argue Jesus could not or would not reveal his divinity at that point in his ministry because “his time had not yet come.” Regardless of the reason, by not being honest about his divinity, Jesus was still giving false testimony – lying as we discovered before, which means he was breaking the ninth commandment, thus invalidating his “sinless” status. We cannot say Jesus was “sinless,” while reading in scripture he gave false testimony at the same time, breaking the ninth commandment, regardless of any excuses we make for why he did not reveal his divinity. We cannot have it both ways, which is why in this passage, either Jesus is…
1. Not divine
2. Is divine and is lying
3. Is not divine and lying, which means he is a fraud
Regardless of which point is true, in this passage Jesus was not who Christian theology says he was – sinless and “divine.” He could not have been both. From Jesus’ words in this passage, he was either one, none, or the other. This is just one of many examples of the endless contradictions found in so much of scripture, and the myriad problems we encounter by making excuses for God, which only expose yet more problematic contradictions, and so and so forth, as the clever justification merry-go-round spins round and round like an endless game. This is the trap for all who would try to defend the idea of “inerrant scripture,” which even from just the one passage we have looked at is clearly not true. Facts, as well as sound reasoning and logic easily prove this point.
The reason this passage about the rich man is so disturbing to many, and why it is quite often cleverly “re-interpreted” is because like the rich man, we also do not want to sell everything we have. So, we try to “work around” the problem of our cognitive dissonance between wanting to believe in the words of Jesus, and not wanting to sell everything we have, by “re-interpreting” the passage saying Jesus actually meant the man had to give up his attachment to his things, and not the things themselves. Had Jesus truly meant the man had to leave his attachment to his wealth behind, he would have said that instead of saying he had to sell everything he had. There is a vast difference between the two statements. One can have possessions and not be attached to them, and one can also no longer have their possessions and still be very attached to them. Jesus was clearly speaking literally, or the man would not have been so sad in thinking he had to sell everything he had. How many Christians live the kind of lifestyle of almost inconceivable wealth compared to those who live in third-world nations where many children die of starvation every day? Millions of people live a relatively wealthy lifestyle, especially in America, and millions of us who do live this way call ourselves “Christians.” Why? We are disobeying “God’s Word.” We are not selling everything we have, giving to the poor and leaving our materialistic life behind to follow Jesus as he instructs us to do in scripture. What we are actually doing is keeping our wealth very willingly, going to church on Sunday, and proclaiming with our words we are “following Jesus” to make us feel better and to rationalize why we disobey “God’s Word” through our actions. While some might argue Jesus was speaking metaphorically in this passage, that does not work when we look again at verse 22, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Again, Jesus is speaking literally or the man would not have been so sad in being told he had to sell everything he had.
There is another problem with Jesus’ idea to sell everything we have and give to the poor – if we did sell all our things and gave them to the poor, then we would be poor and the once poor would now be “rich,” and then they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This would make giving to the poor an act of cruelty. How can everyone get into Heaven when someone always has to be rich by Jesus’ own instruction? In other words God’s “standards” – for everyone to be poor, make it literally impossible for everyone to get into Heaven since as long as there must be some who are poor, there will never be a time when some will not be rich. A God who would make it impossible for some to get into Heaven, thus consigning them to the eternal fires of Hell is an unjust, unfair, cruel God. There is no escaping this logical matter of fact. Would it not make more sense for Jesus to instead instruct us to share equally with everyone so none are lacking the basic necessities of life, and all have equal opportunity – so none are rich and none are poor, instead of playing this dualistic game of having some be “poor” while others are “rich?” Again, it is in the golden mean – the middle ground of Oneness where truth actually lies – not in the extremes of the dualistic roller-coaster Jesus advocates.
Jesus goes on with this dualistic game by saying further in Mark 10:24.
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
According to Jesus, millions of people are not going to Heaven because many of us have relatively great wealth. Since we are relatively “rich,” then according to Jesus we are hoping against all hope a camel can indeed go through the eye of a needle. Some might object to this and respond by quoting scripture from Mark 10:26-27.
“Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
The problem with this statement “all things are possible,” is the very statement itself is a contradiction and is therefore false. If “all things” are truly possible, then the impossible is also possible, thus contradicting and rendering meaningless the statement, “all things are possible.” The fact of the matter is – not all things are possible, neither for man, woman, nor God. Our experience and obsevations of the universe, as well as the logical contradiction of the statement “all things are possible” prove this fact.
Jesus also says in Matthew 7:21,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
This passage, along with the Mark 10:17-22 passage we looked at before, make it hard to understand how and why people can claim salvation comes from “faith alone.” Based on Jesus’ words in these passages, he clearly states it is works that are necessary, not faith. Jesus states we must not only keep the commandments, but also sell everything we have and follow him. On top of that, he says not everyone who calls him ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of his father, which contradicts the idea that “faith alone” can bring us salvation. Jesus clearly states we must do the will of his father to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – in other words – works. It is amazing that the one thing Christians believe is necessary to inherit eternal life – to believe Jesus is the son of God, is never mentioned by Jesus in these passages. He tells the man to follow him, not believe he is the son of God. You would think if this was the sole condition for salvation as modern Christians believe, Jesus would have said so clearly. In contrast to these passages, it is interesting to note Jesus does not fail to mention this important condition to Nicodemus in the famous John 3:16 passage, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Why did he not mention this to the rich man if it was so important to his salvation? Again, either Jesus was lying – being misleading and dishonest by withholding information from the man, or telling the truth in which case it is works and not faith that are the way to salvation. Either way, the Christian has to juggle the contradictions of scripture and theology to decide if Jesus…
1. Is divine and is lying, and is therefore not without sin which directly contradicts the modern Christian theological conception of what is necessary for salvation.
2. Telling the truth that “works” get us into Heaven, and not faith, which also directly contradicts the modern Christian theological conception of what is necessary for salvation.
Either way, the modern Christian theological conception of what is necessary for salvation is impossible to accurately define because Biblical scripture contradicts itself on this matter time and time again as in the passages above. Despite these obvious conradictions however, somehow, some way, most Christians manage to simply ignore the contradictions in the Bible to suit their needs and desires and to rationalize how they can somehow still “believe in the Bible,” while also blatantly disobeying or ignoring portions of “God’s Word” at the same time. It is only doublethink that allows them to hold two contradictory positions simultaneously, rendering their position false since all contradictions and double-standards are always false.
Jesus’ ideas on wealth and its hindrance to us getting into Heaven are not the only things in the Bible we ignore. Let us now turn to the Old Testament, and look at Exodus 31:15.
“For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.”
The message in this passage from a “loving God’s” Word is very clear – kill all those who work on the Sabbath. That means in modern terms, kill everyone who works on a Sunday. Christians who claim to be following “God’s Word” should be asking themselves how they can go out to breakfast after church on a Sunday, and not murder everyone working in the restaurant, or why they do not kill their neighbor who mows their lawn on a Sunday, or why they do not put to death their employed and paid pastor or priest on Sunday when they are technically working at their job by preaching. These are obviously preposterous ideas, not to mention a blatant violation of the sixth commandment – “thou shall not kill,” but that is exactly what God’s “inerrant Word” is telling us to do. Between this Exodus passage and the sixth commandment, what Gods “Word” is actually telling us to do is to not kill except when God says it is “okay.” If we are to believe this passage from Exodus, if we do not murder everyone who works in their yard, at a store, a restaurant, an entertainment venue, or any other establishment we patronize on a Sunday, we are blatantly disobeying “God’s Word.” To argue this is an Old Testament passage which somehow “does not apply” after Jesus and the New Testament, is a contradiction of Jesus’ own words from Matthew 5:18,
“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Jesus even contradicts himself on this very point not too long after this passage in Matthew 5:38-39,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ (Exodus 21:24) But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
So how can Jesus and modern Christians say on the one hand the Old Testament “does not apply” by telling us to ignore Old Testament scripture, while on the other hand Jesus says “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished?” The two ideas contradict each other and are therefore invalid. Besides, even if we do accept Jesus’ words as true in Matthew 5:18, and ignore what he said about ”turning the other cheek” in contradiction to Old Testament scripture from Exodus 21:24 – “heaven,” (the sky) and earth have not disappeared, which in itself invalidates the idea the Old Testament “does not apply” today.
I once heard a preacher give a sermon in which he justified why he holds the position he does on homosexuality – that it is “morally wrong” to be a practicing homosexual and why gay marriage is not to be supported. He claimed he holds this position because he loves and is trying to obey “God’s Word.” The funny thing is, you will never hear him, nor any other preacher give a sermon justifying why they murder all those who work on a Sunday, or why they sell everything they have in love and obedience to “God’s Word.” If they were consistent and not hypocritical, they would do exactly that – follow “God’s Word” to the letter without cherry picking the passages they like to preach on, while ignoring completely or cleverly rationalizing other passages they do not like which make them uncomfortable – claiming they are “misinterpreted” and not to be taken literally. It is amazing the things we will do and say to rationalize our hatred and dislike of others, and how through our convenient “interpretations” of scripture we manage to justify our worldviews and lifestyles no matter what they may be.
The simple fact of the matter is, we are not going to sell everything we have, kill people who work on a Sunday, and adhere to every “Word of God” as Jesus instructs us to. Nobody is, because to actually do these things would be psychotic to any reasonable, rational, critical-thinking person. Our actions would land us in jail, or worse, get us killed. This is exactly why we ignore these ridiculous passages. But the fact some Christians and Jews ignore much of scripture while maintaining belief in its “inerrancy” at the same time is an obvious contradiction which destroys their credibility. The bottom line is, most Christians and other fundamentalists maintain endless contradictions, double-standards, and convenient compartmentalization of their religious beliefs to rationalize how and why what they want to believe is true, while completely ignoring and/or rationalizing scripture passages which tell them things which they know are obviously false, uncomfortable, or do not like, while preaching on and quoting scripture passages they do like. This cherry-picking of scripture is always dishonest, because true honesty is looking openly and honestly at both sides of the complete story, Biblical or otherwise, which most Christians are clearly unwilling to do. The reason they are unwilling to do this is because if they did, it would expose their beliefs for the self-contradictory, hypocritical, and therefore false notions they are… And by their fruits… we shall know.
Listen to the audio version of “God’s Word?”