Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is Biblical Faith Allowed In The Public Square of Ideas?

Those who know me well are familiar with my love of Christian Apologetics and my loathing (ok, strong word) rather extreme disdain for secular humanists or the "new village atheists".
What's so dangerous about these folks is that they now call themselves Christians yet they routinely marginalize the bible.

In his “Call to Renewal” keynote address to religious leaders, Barack Obama asks, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with
Deuteronomy which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith." What a gross mischaracterzation and marginalization of scripture!!! No, I am not saying that Barack is an athiest but what I am saying is that he is clearly an "anti-theist" because of these marginalizations. And guess what, the audience made up of religious leaders applauded!!! What!!!! How were they not offended? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, how are you not offended? Because indeed nowhere does the Bible suggest that slavery is okay. Nor does the Bible suggest stoning your child should he stray from the faith.

Let me break it down -- The bible does not promote slavery as Mr. Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg suggest rather the bible denounces slavery as sin and places slave traders in the same category as adulterers, perverts, and liars (1 Timothy 1:10). Slavery within the Old Testament context was sanctioned due to economic realities rather than racial or sexual
prejudices. Because bankruptcy laws did not exist, people would voluntarily sell themselves into slavery. A craftsman could thus use his skills in servitude to discharge a debt. Even a convicted thief could make restitution by serving as a slave (Exodus 22:3). The bible merely recognized the reality of slavery but it does not promote slavery and it's moronic to even suggest that it does. Truth be told it was the biblical principles that led to the abolition of slavery in both ancient Israel and the United States.

My "2 Chronicle 7:14" post was crossed-posted on another blog and I was chided for even having a biblical perspective as if biblical faith is neither relevent or rational. Ken Blackwell, a noted columnists and scholar writes "Influential English writer and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton once opined that Religious liberty is supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. But in practice, it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it. " He further states that "the term secular as a word invented by Christians to describe, at the same time a barrier against secular totalitarian governments and a barrier against church officials controlling government. The term in is rooted in, Give to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is Gods. This sort of separation in defense of religious liberty is quite different from modern secularists who seek to keep the public square religion-free" What my critics fail to acknowlege is that Christians have a right--no we have a duty to walk circumspectly through this world as ambassadors of Christ and our faith is supposed to inform every opinion, thought, word and deed. See, too many "anti-theists" dressed in Christian clothing seek the hand of God and not the face of God which is why they can't be so bothered to learn his Word and the essential doctrines of their faith. No, they just want to annoint the new car or house with oil and walk around it 7 times, catch the Holy Ghost, speak in tongues and get slain in the Spirit-- They want a "cosmic genie", a "cosmic Dr. Feel-good" They don't want a Lord.


Pamela said...

Some are doing whatever they can to end Biblical faith in the public square. If they cannot get Christians to shut up they will confuse people that do not know the Bible by redefining it or in other words making a God in their own image. This is nothing new. You can read 1 John. I look at this book as the Apostle John's last words, like Christians look at John 17 as some of Christ's last words before his death. Two things in 1 John are mentioned. We always hear about love. We rarely hear that much of this book along with 2 John and 3 John are dealing with false doctrine. False teachers redefining Christianity while claiming they know Christ is as old as the Bible. 1 John clearly says who really knows Christ and who doesn't.

If you really search out verses dealing with false doctrine you will find this is mentioned more than sin is. In Matthew 24 when His disciples asked what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the world, the first thing He exhorted them to do is take heed that no one deceive you for many will come in My name and deceive many.

I have felt this for many months now. Christians better get ready for persecution in the US. You have explained clearly the reasons why. Just because we may be attacked for what we say does not mean we are to keep quiet. We are the only ones that can help others to hear the gospel.

I know I'm fasting and praying a lot these days. I do not want to wimp out. Any tendency that I may have for self-preservation must be rooted out of my soul (mind, will, emotions).

Annie said...

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Brother OMi said...

I find that if religion is a central part of someone's life, they should discuss it with who they want. I just have an issue with people telling me I am going to hell as I eat lunch privately by myself.

However, the Bible does condone slavery... I don't know what Bible you have read... we must remember that abolitionists during the 17th and 18th century had a hard time arguing with slave owners because of the Bible (thank the maker for the Quakers...)

Exodus 21:1-4
Leviticus 25:44-46
here is another one that is shocking: Leviticus 19:20-22

and for those who say it's an OT thang:
Ephesians 6:5-9
1 Timothy 6:1-3

@pamela -- I highly, highly doubt it. Xians being persecuted freely and publicly, cough, I don't think so. I am willing to wager money on that one

Conservative Black Woman said...

Brother OMI~ Thank you for visiting the blog and sharing your thoughts. However, I did not nor do I ever say that anyone is going to hell because that is not my call. However I stand by my statement that the bible absolutely positively does not condone slavery and your scripture references do not prove that it does. As I stated originally the bible spoke to a condition which existed in the culture (and actually still does)and slavery in that day didn't necessary have anything to do with race. But if you are comfortable with your understanding then more power to you. I don't think that its even a matter or scriptural interpretation because you have to exam scripture in light of scripture and make a determination as to what the Lord is saying, and to whom and in what place. Time does not allow me to give you a detailed explanation of how to exegete the scriptures but as a reasonable and intelligent man I should think that you would learn how to do so before you start raddling off scriptures. But I must ask, how praytell, do you correlate 1 Timothy 6:1-3 to slavery in any context at all???

Brother OMi said...

@conservative blk wmn -- didn't say you are condemning me to hell. I should have elaborated... I enjoy public debate. I think public debate should be in schools. I think what happens is that most folks, whatever side of the spectrum they are, are very reactionary.

I think i can say that while living in Virginia, I was told I was going to hell at least once a week. What happens is that alot of people who go through that get reactionary and decide that discussions about religion should be completely out of the public forum. Sorry about that, I should have been a bit more clear. I take it in stride.

I am no Xian but I understand that most people in the country are Xian. So I have no qualms about religion in school. If someone's child doesn't want to pray, then just don't. i don't think there should be lawsuits for it.

about the timothy verse: "servants" were slaves back then. That term was used interchangeably. A slave like those during chattel slavery in the US could be a servant, stable boy, field hand, etc. But the verse is chilling because it tells slaves that they shouldn't despise their masters if they were Xians.
that condones slavery right there. It didn't ask the slaves to petition for their freedom since they are now "brothers in Christ."

Slavery is slavery no matter whether it is rooted in race, culture, or religion. Ask any asian girl who is a sex slave that.

I avoid trying to interpret scripture. One reason is because it is like you stated, it speaks to that culture and that time. So trying to apply it to our culture and our time is just dead wrong.

I don't think when i presented those scriptures for anyone to interpret. they speak for themselves. I am not trying to read between the lines. My point was to say that the idea that the Bible never condoned slavery is a false claim. I didn't say that Xians were a slave holding bunch.

Conservative Black Woman said...

Brother OMI~I apologize as this was a case of spiritual arrogance on my part because I didn't bother to read the 1 Timothy 6:1-3 before I responded to you but that being said this is evidence that it is necessary to interpret scripture in light of scripture because 1 Timothy 1:10 places slave holders in the same category with liar, perjurers, perverts and adulterers. Just because a word is mentioned in the Bible does not mean the Bible condones it.

I must also confess that I'm not sure what a Xian is, can you enlighten me? Are you using the word interchangebly with Christians (Zionists) and if so why?

Brother OMi said...

sorry about that... again, i apologize...

It's an anglicized version of the Greek letter "K" (it looks more like an X)... it means "Kristos" but again, its anglicized to X like in Xmas (that's where the concept comes from ). So when i say Xians, I mean Christians like Xmas.

about the slavery thing: that's the problem with teaching the Bible. It's taught as one book when in actuality it is several books written by different authors during different times for different people. Many scholars have proven that even within one book, there may have been more than one author (such as the Book of Isaiah and the several epistles of Paul) That is why there are so many contradictions in it. So in one chapter, one thing is condoned, and then the other chapter it is condemned.

Conservative Black Woman said...

Brother OMI~Thank you for clarifying Xians.

The thing that positively cements in my (once agnostic) mind that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is precisely the fact that it was written by forty different authors over a span of 1,600 years, on three continents, in three languages, on hundreds of subjects — yet, without contradiction — and with one central storyline, God’s redemption of mankind. Truly, it can be said without contradiction that the Bible must be divine, rather than human in origin.

The reason I say that there are no contradictions is because two statements are said to contradict if the truth of one of the statements negates the truth of the other. Take for example the statements, “I have read the Bible,” and “I have never read the Bible.” Obviously, if one statement is true the other statement would have to be false. Let’s apply this to the Bible. Only after you can demonstrate that the truth of one passage, rules out the truth of another passage, can you justify the claim that the Bible contradicts itself and that's just doesn't happen in the Scriptures. Sure, there are passages--Take for example the account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. In Acts 9:7 we read that during Paul’s encounter with Christ the men who were with him heard a voice. In Acts 22:9 we read that these men heard no voice. Well, what appears to be a hopeless contradiction is easily resolved by looking at the original Greek. Here we see a distinction between “hearing a sound as a noise” and “hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message.” Gleason Archer, an accomplished biblical scholar points out, that while Paul’s companions heard the Voice as a sound, Paul alone heard what was being said. (Kind of like the crowd who heard the sound of the Father talking to the Son in John 12:28, and thought they heard thunder.)

The point is that rather than taking a fearful attitude when faced with an alleged biblical contradiction, we should view these occasions as opportunities to search and explore the Scriptures. One thing I can guarantee is this: It will only serve to deepen your awe of the majesty of Scripture.

There are so many resourced available to Xians (see, I'm a quick study)and many Christian apologists such as RC Sproul, Hank Hannengraaf and Josh McDowell which helped me grow in my walk with Christ. I tell you, I was so "anti-christian" in college and what I presupposed was "Blind Faith" was repugnant to me. There was no way I would have accepted Christ (I'm not that virtuous) unless my questions could be answered and thanks to great christian apologists like the one I mentioned, I haven't had one question unanswered.

So I do respect skeptics and know that the assertions are reasonable, but there are answers.

columbia pike rider said...

Hi - It's good to hear someone else's view, but I sort of wonder if I'm missing your point or if you're missing ours. What is so wrong with secular humanism in your eyes? Many of us are not Christians in disguise or anything like that. We are people who believe that humanity can practice ethics, morality, and justice, without believing in a supernatural power. Humanity has the innate potential to do good without the influence of a higher power. We also believe that the separation of church and state is designed to allow people to live their lives as they see fit to the extent that it does not harm others or push their beliefs on others.
Also, by wanting separation of church and state, no one is persecuting Christians - some of us merely feel that faith resides within you and your personal sphere, not to influence others' lives.
I agree with Brother OMI and I am glad that you are willing to discuss his views.