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Can The Bible Be Used To Justify Any Kind Of Opinion, Behaviour Or Attitude?

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posted on May, 3 2014 @ 11:42 AM
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I haven't been a member of ATS for long, and this is my first proper topic (so go easy). Having perused the forums (and this one in particular), it has occurred to me that there is a big focus from some on attitudes or ideas that they feel may or may not be justified by a cherry-picked passage or two from the Old or New Testament. It seems that many of these things are inherently negative, intolerant or even bigoted (or at least, used to justify preconceived bigoted opinions). Please note that I am not trying to 'attack' the Bible itself, or the message of Jesus; merely the way it is used by human beings in order to justify hateful or otherwise abhorrent viewpoints. It appears there is an awful lot of focus on a "don't do this, you can't do this, you can't be this way, you can't be that way" sort of attitude, rather than a can do approach. Homosexuality is obviously the hot-button big topic, but there are many other examples.

I feel this fundamentally goes against the overall message that Jesus was delivering; a message of acceptance, tolerance, kindness, love and truth. Yet, there are many that seem to miss this message in favour of condemning or judging people because they are one way or another, or miss this message in order to spread arrogant and vile opinions that they feel are justified by passages in the Bible. Isn't this completely missing the point?

But I digress, can the Bible be used to justify... well, anything? Don't we all have a moral compass of our own to be able to decide in the interests of kindness, tolerance and love that a particular outdated viewpoint is no longer acceptable in a civilised society? Do those who condemn homosexuality, for example, really think that they are holier than thou and that Jesus is on their side because they can cherry pick some mistranslated sentence from an ancient text?

For example, I can claim that it is right to own slaves and beat them regularly, because the Bible says so:

"If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property." Exodus 21:20

Or, that woman are subservient to men and should be silent until spoken to, because the Bible says so:

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Timothy 2:11

But, just because I could appear to justify these ridiculous viewpoints, that doesn't make them in any way valid; as we now as a people have evolved spiritually and intellectually to have enough of an understanding, moral and ethical outlook that these views and attitudes are abhorrent and should not be promoted. The one thing that most who attempt these cherry-picked justifications miss is that they do not understand the historical and cultural context of these verses and how they relate to the restrictions and laws of that particular time period. So, can we effectively justify anything with these texts? Is faith the need to follow the Bible absolutely to the letter, or do people's morals also become defined from other sources and play a role in how it is interpreted? Discuss.
edit on 3-5-2014 by 8BitOperator because: Accidentally posted topic before completion




posted on May, 3 2014 @ 12:12 PM
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You interpret things by your beliefs and knowledge. This is well known. Everyone sees things a little different and this alone is the reason for most conflicts. If you do not see things as the consensus of the time dictates, you are said not to be normal. Consensus of the time is dictated my certain people in society, much of this consensus is good for society but it also restricts the truth often. This is evident in all religions, sciences, governments, and throughout society. We have many different beliefs in the world. Even the bible was interpreted while it was translated, some of what was in it was changed to fit the personality of the societies. Ancient words did not translate perfectly to English, but they were somewhat similar. people translated these writings the best they could but there could be some improper interpretations. The whole language has evolved over the years.

Take for instance the definition for man. It may have came from the words Ma and Na combined, with a silent a at the end, that was done often. Ma roughly translates to provider/preparer/mix or blend. Na roughly translates to a few things like the calm spirit of water, spirit of nature, or sort of just means calm. I may have these a little off, there are many combinations. So manna was a substance that provided a calm spirit, basically something that made people sort of happy. Now man might be interpreted as a provider of spirit....or a person who provides good food to his family. Sunna or sana actually translates to the righteous path of man, so son of man is actually sunna man. this would be roughly translated as a person who provides the path of righteousness to the spirit of people. Like I say, my interpretations may be a little off but from researching things I think I may be actually interpreting things a little better than some that are experts that are taught to interpret things a certain way without questioning it.

We train the experts to tell us what we want to hear, not necessarily to look for the truth. This is a problem that I someday hope disappears. Everyone's interpretation of evidence or writings or even plain life will vary, that is something I have seen very often. People will remember or see things that fit their beliefs or knowledge and not desire to interpret it the way it was intended. Most times that is not a problem unless it causes conflict. People need to respect the beliefs of others if they harm noone else. It is when their beliefs negatively effect someone that they should be set straight by the judicial system. Trouble is that corruption can also be in the judicial system.
edit on 3-5-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 12:18 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

Can The Bible Be Used To Justify Any Kind Of Opinion, Behaviour Or Attitude?
It is itself an opinion, so if you agree with it, then you all of a sudden now have an opinion yourself.
I don't think that this necessarily now justifies that opinion because for one reason, you may be not even understanding the original argument in the first place, so your new opinion may not even match that of the writer, if you were somehow able to sit down with him and have a discussion on it.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 12:21 PM
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My apologies as I accidentally posted this topic before it was completed (so it was just a title and nothing else). The first post is now complete.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 12:35 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

Cherry-picked portions of the Bible are often used as arguments against Christianity by atheists. Failing to take things into context, as you mentioned.
We're all on our own journey(s) and I can relate to different views at different points of my life.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator




Do those who condemn homosexuality


Doesn't the problems arise not when any behavior is condemned, but when people are condemned?

So it should read those who condemn Homosexuals.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:08 PM
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originally posted by: Char-Lee
a reply to: 8BitOperator




Do those who condemn homosexuality


Doesn't the problems arise not when any behavior is condemned, but when people are condemned?

So it should read those who condemn Homosexuals.


I agree with you, and that is basically what I meant. I was just painting in broad brushstrokes and using the terminology purely as an example.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:22 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

The Bible give numerous examples of actions which could be considered sinning I guess. Now I don't know about the slave thing and it is speaking about another part of history in which this could of been a common practice, we don't know but what we do know is that slavery is a no-no in our modern world so this is not applicable to us. But then again, slavery is an issue in some places.

More focus should be put on the New Testament because it is very clear explaining what is OK and what isn't for the follower. There are some things in there which many people would not agree with either but there must be good reason for the actions to be there and one must reflect about why it's in there. You cannot just grab a verse and throw it in someone's face if you do not understand the reason behind the verse.

Many of the condemned acts also have many different meanings so you cannot just take one and condemn the bible for it. An example is Sorcery which is mentioned in Galatians. This one word covers a number of different actions including Witchcraft, Magic, Enchantment and any other form of Sorcery. Now why would this be an issue? And you could ask the question about all the other actions also.

The Bible isn't about slapping two line verses in front of someone to justify why it is wrong, the Bible is about searching the deepest parts of your conscience and drawings conclusions based off your assessment and judgement. The great thing also is if you disagree with it, you don't have to follow religion. Time will tell whether the Bible s correct or not.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:22 PM
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Freedom of religion says that we are allowed to. Practicing religion includes basing our opinions and values on those expressed in our sacred texts.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:24 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

I think that it is rather more complicated than that.

I personally believe that the Bible has, over the course of its existence, been edited by those who held power over the faith at times in history. The further back you go, the harder it is to identify possible balls ups and mortal tinkering in the Word. However, The Popes of the thrice damned Roman cult held sway over much in their day, and were sometimes degenerate, and often tyrannical. The possibility that they may have used their station to allow them to edit passages to make them ambiguous, or to add data not originally present in the text, is as far as I am concerned, not a possibility to be discounted out of hand, because the Bible, though meant to be a text which offered individuals a personal relationship with Christ, as well as all they needed to know in order to live according to Gods will, would, in the hands of a tyrant, have appeared to be a near irresistable tool of propeganda.

Think about it. In the times when Christianity was vastly popular throughout the territories to which it had expanded, the Popes held sway over vast amounts of land and money, and enormous numbers of men and women. They could mobilise people using not just the political power vested in them, but with the authority of God. Things were done in the name of God, that looking back at them, would probably offend the creator far more than someone altering the Word he laid down. I fail to believe that God valued his Word, more than the lives of people who were killed, and died in his name, lead astray by corrupt representatives on Earth.

And then you have the more subtle control exerted over people, by putting a spin on the Word of God. The "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" phrase, which is widely thought to have been a misinterpretation of "Suffer not the poisoner to live", is a great example. Any time a scape goat was required for something, be it the philandering of a local Lord, or the psychotic behavior of the son of a powerful house, a witch could be blamed, and because of the spin placed upon the Word by forces external to it, some poor woman would be tied to a stake and set on fire, or drowned, or stoned to death, or worse, despite the fact that the word "witch" which was used in the first King James Bible, was a mistranslation. The original Hebrew word that they were translating from was chasapah, which in latin equates to Veneficium. However, that word in Latin can refer to both a practitioner of witchcraft, and a poisoner.

Poisoning was actually a big problem in the period involved, so that is contextually important to this issue. The other interesting thing, is that the Latin language HAS a specific word for practitioners of witchcraft, as well as the more ambiguous term. This word is Maleficos (which by the way, is a non gender-specific term). Add to this the fact that when the Bible was once more translated, this time to German, before EVER reaching over to English, Martin Luther used the female specific term, and the whole idea becomes far too murky. Now, in this day and age, we can pour over much of this and understand the ambiguity with which such a passage should be treated, because of the terminological uncertainty that this filtering has created. But back when these translations were being made, they were being made by the few people who could read and write, which offered to these people great power. What use they made of it is uncertain now, but it is worth keeping in mind that the possibility exists.

The truth is that the Bible, scripture, is not iron clad. All scripture, was supposed to be utilised by believers IN TANDEM with their individual relationship with Christ, to aid them in navigating their lives. One was not ever supposed to observe a problem in ones life , read a passage from the Bible, and apply its lesson verbatim, to the situation at hand. Rather, one ought read the Bible, know its lessons, and ask for guidance on the issue from Jesus, and have faith that his response will be forthcoming and helpful. However, I am comming dangerously close to digressing somewhat...


...Whether by subtle nudging and emphasis, or deliberately taking a passage out of context, or actually editing the Bible, it is not just POSSIBLE to justify some very dodgy opinions, behaviours, and attitudes, but it has actually been done in the past, and in some places, is being done now! Examples are everywhere throughout the periods of history which were effected by the existence of the Bible, both ancient and modern, and so the modern believer has to rely on their personal relationship with their Saviour, if they are to make any sense of it, and are to avoid the pitfalls of absolute rigidity where following scripture is concerned.


edit on 3-5-2014 by TrueBrit because: Spelling error correction.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:32 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

This is truth... the bible can be used to justify just about anything...

This is why I tell people to read the gospels first and understand what he said before even bothering with the rest of the book...

At least that way one can understand what is correct and what is not




posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:36 PM
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As an Atheist (Agnostic flavored), I reserve the right to cherry pick from any holy book, book of wisdom, cookbooks, and others to make a more complete and fulfilling outlook on life



But in the end, I am responsible for my own behavior...because I have principles.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: SaturnFX

Of course, and that is your right as a human being! However, the OP by 8BitOperator poses an interesting question, with many routes of investigation, which delve into many interesting matters of history, and touch on sociological evolution, as well as the drier, scripture based researches one might choose to partake of during the seeking of an answer to his query.

How you roll is perfectly up to you, but explaining that, does not provide a reasoned answer to his question, although it is always good to know what someones thoughts are off the top of their head, which I appreciate.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: SaturnFX

Of course, and that is your right as a human being! However, the OP by 8BitOperator poses an interesting question, with many routes of investigation, which delve into many interesting matters of history, and touch on sociological evolution, as well as the drier, scripture based researches one might choose to partake of during the seeking of an answer to his query.

How you roll is perfectly up to you, but explaining that, does not provide a reasoned answer to his question, although it is always good to know what someones thoughts are off the top of their head, which I appreciate.

Simply put, the bible allows for any and everything if you use specific quotes for justification, also forbids pretty much everything.
The book (assuming we are discussing old and new) has only 1 rule. Accept Christ and all is forgiven, period...so yeah, if a tyrant murders almost all of mankind, but then truly does feel the weight of his sins and begs forgiveness, then its all good.
Most of the bickering now adays in religion is people using specific quotes verses the whole context of the book. A person preforming homosexual activity for instance, is the same as someone raping someone, a murderer, and someone eating bacon or working on the Sabbath...all equally damned. Cherry picking is a global religious pastime.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 09:05 PM
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No, and the trap that is set lays seige to people's awakening and progression. And in their life reviews, they'll have the real metaphoric 2 witnesses, not outer worldly fake things, but the only thing that is real in a simulated reality, Spirit, and we all are born with Love and Wisdom or Common Sense. We won't like reality when we realize that it was up to us and our discernment to not buy into hateful, smiting, unequal, uncaring, controlling things, just because its written (for if we believed that, then God becomes the opposite of Love and thats not a good thing, in fact, that is the trap they've laid), and we're not to believe a pope, or bishop, or priest, or minister, or Imam, or rabbi or guru, or put anything above our Love and Common Sense applications of Love. Nor any fake coded words in any book any where in any reality.

The tree bears fruit. Period!
edit on 3-5-2014 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 10:22 PM
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Of course it can, that's the exact reason it was created, to justify inhumane acts. It was used to justify the Inquisitions and Crusades so it can be used to justify anything.



posted on May, 3 2014 @ 11:05 PM
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a reply to: 8BitOperator

The answer is "Yes", and even Jesus would agree. The religious people of his day try to use the Bible (it was just the Old Testament, the Torah back then) against him. They claimed that he is evil and possessed by demons (John 8:48-49). They called Jesus a sinner for working (by healing people) on the Sabbath day when all work was forbidden(John 9:16).

Here is what one of the men had to say when questioned by the religious about Jesus being a sinner:


John 9:30-33
The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.



posted on May, 4 2014 @ 08:08 AM
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If the answer is Yes, and christians know this, are they just too brainwashed to care?



posted on May, 4 2014 @ 06:07 PM
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Can The Bible Be Used To Justify Any Kind Of Opinion, Behaviour Or Attitude? -

Yes….

Cherry picking is the perversion of the scriptures which is the interpretation to fit a religious agenda that forms the doctrines of men.The results of it's teaching of the doctrines of men should be the obvious evidence the old and new testimony scriptures are not a manual of morals and ethics to be followed as "teachings" .

The scriptures only purpose was a testimony to testify of Yahoshua which means Yahweh is salvation(deliverance) which functions is ….Yahoshua is the deliverer from the realm of death….Period…end of book.

That is the ONLY "message" in it and it's not even a message it's a statement of truth.Any doctrine formed from the teachings of the scriptures are extrapolations made into the doctrines of men and are vain foolishness.The evidence is scattered throughout history.ALL teachings of the bible are "cherry pickings" that have been made into traditions of religion.To try to pin the atrocities done through those false doctrines of religion on the creator God is a heinous indictment.

The fact is it is IMPOSSIBLE to know the creator God through "teachings in a book ... ANY books especially a "religious" method.Yahoshua never told the apostles to write anything down nor did he 'teach" them from the scriptures.He only proclaimed the Truth.Yahoshua…Yahweh is the deliver from the realm of death….. everything else is the religion of man and is false.


edit on 4-5-2014 by Rex282 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 4 2014 @ 06:44 PM
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a reply to: Prezbo369

Well, I am a Christian, in that I believe he is the Son of God, and that by following his example, of paying little heed to the prattle of members of the prevailing ideological establishment, mixing with all manner of folk, no matter their history or persuasion, treating people with compassion, and generally not being a horrendous phallus to everyone you meet, you can not only introduce people to a route through which they might enter heaven, but enter heaven yourself one day, and improve your quality of existence, and that of folk around you here on Earth.

That is not to say that the life of someone dedicated to a non-denominational worship of Christ is automatically EASIER than anyone else's. Very often it is the opposite. I get lambasted by local Church goers for not being present on a Sunday, but that is usually because I am breaking bread with people about whom I care a great deal, either my biological family, or my extended one. I have no desire to be part of a congregation which obsesses over matters of housekeeping their buildings and maintaining a unified political front on the issues of the day, or just blind ignorance of them, more than it does the meaning of the word and deed of Christ, which is the ONLY experience I have had of the organised faith, as opposed to the natural, and entirely freeing manner in which I have chosen to worship.

Couple dealing with the aggravation I get from that angle, and the bemused, or out right outraged response I get from militant atheist persons, just for having a belief of any kind, I have to say, life is not a bunch of roses very often lol!

However, I do not mind that much. See, having weighed the arguments for and against Christ, for and against having a belief, I feel that I am better off for having a personal relationship with Jesus. I know things have been done in his name with which I do not agree, but those things have been enacted by the will of man, despite the arguments of those men to the contrary. I feel also, that even if I wind up dead one day, and find nothing but cold oblivion awaiting me, if I live every day with the potential to love my fellow human being, which is the root of all Christs greatest works and teachings, then what harm has that done anyone? The answer is none. The flip side of that, is that if I ignore Jesus, then maybe there is no reason not to be a bastard to everyone all the time?

It certainly seems like people who have the potential for vast ugliness of spirit achieve an awful lot. They run cults, political parties, companies of massive proportion, criminal enterprises, terror networks, and crucially have vast amounts of money and power. Christ alone knows what kind of mess and money I could make, what horror I could sew if I was not held back by pesky old Jesus, and his sterling example of how not to be a raving douche canoe.

All I know is, that it works for me. I am neither blind to the failings of the Church, but nor am I likely to allow those faults to blind me to the benefits of living as best I can, according to Jesus example.



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