people out there who use the Bible to
justify horrific behavior and attitudes.
I also believe that somehow and in a way that is not consciously perceived, a person can
be addicted to the Bible in an extremely unhealthy way. A case can be made that for someone addicted to living entirely by
specific verses literally accepted and adopted into life choices places limitations on God and on their ability to commune
fully with God.
The "monstrous" assumption for me is the notion that God has said all the important stuff
once and for always - and that everything God would ever say to us He has said and it's in the Bible. I consider that assumption
monstrous because if I bought into that, I would have to voluntarily reduce and limit the experience of God I already possess.
Put in another way, I would be putting God inside a box that God could not get out of
because of my assumption - possibly based on mine or someone elses (if I bought into what someone else insisted was absolute)
FAITH - that all I need to know is in the book. If it's not stated in the book in a clear and simplistic way in which I can
justify whatever I'm trying to justify - a choice, a reaction, a conclusion - God must not want me to know it.
I realize that there are those who will say, it's there in the book, God has told you,
Arthur, but you - possibly through some sin or unworthiness - are not hearing what the holy spirit is saying. I've never viewed
nor used the Bible that way.
I have a binder in which I've copied and pasted only the sayings of Jesus but have included
sayings recorded in the Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic texts. This because I have not subscribed to the notion that the
only legitimate words of Jesus are in the books chosen and placed into the collection known as the New Testament by early
Catholic and Protestant fathers.
I use that binder from time to time as a means of quickly assembling a series of things
that Jesus said - letting each passage mentally stir around in my mind until something powerful distills. I learned to do
that earlier in life when asked to give a sermon on baptism. Using a concordance, I wrote a few verses down, and as I wrote
the 3rd or 4th verse out, I had an epiphany about baptism that would not have been revealed in one single staement by Jesus.
With God stuck inside the Bible and with me stuck in a life that is not black/white either/or
I feel that the temptation then to fall back on an assumption that the Bible is all there is is also a temptation to begin
living life obsessed on justification with the Bible as my only justifier.
I believe that addiction to the Bible and to Religion is real and more prevalent than
we realize. I see it quite often and I see god-talking bible-reading wife-beating child-abusing patriarchs and god-talking
bible-reading husband-baiting child-abusing matriarchs almost daily. Such behavior is so opposite to all the spiritual ideals
by which you and I have been enculturated (early or late in life) that our immediate reaction is the temptation to deny that
any Christian would be that way. The denial is based on an assumption that itself is monstrous.
Historically and currently people and cultures use God to justify questionable horrific
behavior and attitudes. And in history and contemporary affairs, there are people out there who use the Bible to justify horrific
behavior and attitudes.
Take, for example, the following quote from Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church:
If you got to castrate your miserable self with a piece of rusty barb wire, do it." "Hear the word of the LORD, America,
fag-enablers are worse than the fags themselves, and will be punished in the everlasting lake of fire!" "You telling these
miserable, Hell-bound, bath house-wallowing, anal-copulating fags that God loves them!? You have bats in the belfry!" "American
Veterans are to blame for the fag takeover of this nation. They have the power in their political lobby to influence the zeitgeist,
get the fags out of the military, and back in the closet where they belong!" "Not only is homosexuality a sin, but anyone
who supports fags is just as guilty as they are. You are both worthy of death."
Gary North - Institute for Christian Economics: "The long-term goal of Christians in
politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions
of God by submitting to His Church's public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship."
"This is God's world, not Satan's. Christians are the lawful heirs, not non-Christians."
Jay Grimstead - Coalition on Revival "We are to make Bible-obeying disciples of anybody
that gets in our way."
Jerry Falwell "We're fighting against humanism, we're fighting against liberalism...we
are fighting against all the systems of Satan that are destroying our nation today...our battle is with Satan himself." "AIDS
is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one
of Pharoah's chariotters." "The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error
in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc." "AIDS is not
just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." "If you're not
a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."
These quotes are the real HOGWASH!