Friday, September 14, 2012

How Can You Ignore What is Written?

So the other day, I was confronted about why I believe what I believe in regards to marriage equality. I was told that for believing this way, for not believing in a certain religious doctrine or creed, I'm endangering myself to enter heaven. There are several (very biblical) reasons why this method of thinking is incorrect, and I will be quoting directly from scripture to show this... this is not just my opinion, this is what the bible is trying to teach us in it's original, intended context. No cherry picking - feel free to read deeper into these passages and verify, I'm providing the most relevant sections. This is not based on another human being's opinion - this is based on my personal study of the Bible and my findings.

1. Do not use scripture to point fingers at others. Any form of judging another for sin (or your perception of their sin) is "judging hypocritically" because we all sin, we all fall short, and no sin is bigger than another. - Romans 2 (The Message Bible):

Those people (the people Paul told about in Chapter 1 who were worshiping idols and living in sin) are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.
3-4 You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

2. Religion doesn't save you -Still in Romans 2:

17-24 If you’re brought up Jewish, don’t assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, “It’s because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God,” shows it’s an old problem that isn’t going to go away.
25-29 Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.

3. The scriptures are addressed to us (the readers, the believers) in the first place - Romans 3 (this is down around vs 18-20)

This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.

4. Technically I am religious - I am a progressive Christian (progressive faith defined here). But even the non-religious, but whom have faith in God will enter the kingdom of heaven. Faith does not equal religion: Romans 4 (vs 8-9)

Do you think for a minute that this blessing is only pronounced over those of us who keep our religious ways and are circumcised? Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God? We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God?

10-11 Now think: Was that declaration made before or after he was marked by the covenant rite of circumcision? That’s right, before he was marked. That means that he underwent circumcision as evidence and confirmation of what God had done long before to bring him into this acceptable standing with himself, an act of God he had embraced with his whole life.

5. You can't quote the old law (I.E. Leviticus, the verse regarding "abomination" - which there are also linguistic issues with this verse that aren't really relevant) because when Jesus went to the cross he cancelled the old law code and brought forth a new covenant. Book of Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians. I'm not going to paste all of these, because well, it's A LOT - just go read these books. But here's one from Romans 7:

4-6 So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God. For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths. But now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God.

6. I was also warned about the "proper" way to interpret scripture... well I don't cherry pick scripture out of context - this is a fallacy. When I read the bible I read the entire passage/chapter/book as a whole, as it was written, in the context and lesson the writer intended... None of that "oh but this ONE line in the whole bible says so!" Well removing one line from an entire passage could easily change the meaning - and it is sad that so many believe this is the right way to "interpret" scripture. There's nothing to interpret - just read it. For example, Paul's letters - they are letters. So read the entire letter, not just one piece of it. I wouldn't write a letter with the intention for you to only read one line or section - especially if I elaborate further in the next section like Paul does. I don't tell an entire story for you to take one line from it and run with it. And the passages I've been reading to do not blanketly condemn homosexuality - and even if they did, well reread my first three points. I'd have to go clobber verse by clobber verse to show them all, which I am already doing under - this is not complete yet, but it will be. I've been reading and studying these passages closely, I just haven't been able to type up the posts yet. So stay tuned.

So the person's response was that they disagree with me (which means they are disagreeing with scripture, not just me - as I have thoroughly shown) because they've been around a day or two longer. Well just because you've been on this earth longer doesn't mean your beliefs are more right (or wrong) than mine. But when I'm using scripture in depth, in context, to back up my claim like you asked me to, because you believe that scripture holds all the answers in life, you might should consider it more. But by ignoring what I've shown, through scripture, and continuing to condemn a group of people based on your personal beliefs, you are just deceiving & contradicting yourself.

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