Saturday, June 26, 2010

"You're Lying"

Not a diplomatic thing to say, right? I'd said a few other things prior to that, a bit more diplomatic, like "you're equivocating." Now if it was someone I didn't care about, and wanted to go away, what's to lose? But it's not, it's one of the closest friends I have, that I'm talking to.

The conversation with my old friend is over scripture. As usual, when it comes to controversial doctrines any of us don't wish to accept as true, the first human reaction (and it's mine too) is to run for a dishonest dodge and to hope our partner in argument/conversation doesn't notice, or isn't willing to push it.

It goes like this:

"My favorite subject," says I.

"I don't agree," says the friend.

"The Bible Says!" (says I) "And what the Bible says, is that women are 'saved in childbearing.' "

The retort at this point has always been, whenever the subject comes up, that the Bible was written by men, and on other occasions "men are fallible" is thrown in. To date my friend has always hidden behind those words while resorting to assurances that "scripture is the inspired Word of God" and I have always, let it drop.

Today I venture farther and say "that makes no sense at all, if God is in the mix, you would agree that God can draw a straight line with a bent stick, right?" Not new stuff, not even my words, but it's pretty much the refutation in a nutshell.

God is not a controlled variable in the experiment. In saying that on riding over a rough road, you'll feel the bumps, you can claim if Superman carries your car over the road, it will be smooth sailing. The only question is, will Superman carry you?

Since we do not know the mind of God, we do not know if he's going to smooth the road or not. We just know that he can, in being all powerful, and as believers, conservative believers, we assert that he has in fact, carried the car, smoothed the road or drawn a straight line with a bent stick.

This is not without it's challenges. For instance, one could find within the alleged Word of God such gross and inescapable contradiction, that it would be fairly safe to discard the "Word of God" as a fraud. But barring the discovery of gross contradiction, and instead only explainable apparent contradictions, you're left with a 50/50 proposition. If there is a God (which both of you agree there is), then did he or didn't he?

So we are stuck with the point that it doesn't matter how fallible men are, or even that it was men writing the Bible and that they could color it to favor men. God has all power, and he can pretty much get any result he wants. God is, stuffing the ballot box. The fix is in. God is in control, it only matters what God did.

This is the point at which all opponents who do not become allies in the discussion of men and women's roles on Earth and with one another, start to cheat. In this case, my friend became angry. Not just a little angry, a lot angry, and still, I forged ahead.

"You're LYING," I said. After a predictable loud dust up, I threw in "equivocation" and "lying" again several times for good measure, and resolutely held on to my position. "You're trying to color (spin) the argument," says I. "It does't matter one whit at all that men sin, or are sinners or make mistakes or couldn't put together a true statement if their lives depended on it. It doesn't matter that they're sexist, it's THE BIBLE. WE say WE believe it and it SAYS and that's it."

This took a while because there was loud shouting and an accusation that I was trying to be Bill Clinton, declaring what "is, is" and a variety of other desperate attempts to keep the discussion from going forward. It isn't even a discussion any more, my friend is running and I'm chasing after them. Pounding it in. Right or wrong I have reached an "enough is enough" point in our long discussion of this topic, and I'm not going to have another word said on the subject, without nailing down where the real point of tension is, even if I have to create it out of thin air.

Suddenly, there it is, just as it is in every discussion before with the most resolutely "Bible Believing" Christians. Figuratively, my friend picks up the Bible, and gives it the heave; "It's INSPIRED," they say, "NOT INFALLIBLE."

It has long been my contention in the discussion of Plural Marriage that couples theory, monogamous marriage, and egalitarianism is so ingrained, so pervasive in Christianity today, even in it's most conservative branches, that when it comes to what to let go, opponents of Plural Marriage will let go of anything, absolutely anything they have to, to hold on to that egalitarian ideal.

Where I forced the choice amidst the dust throwing and screaming of my friend, was "Scripture or YOUR vision of Marriage" and the answer came. "My vision of marriage."

"Fine," I said, "we now know what we're talking about. You don't believe the Bible. That's all I needed to know. Our problem has never been about Marriage, it has been about the Word of God, " and in essence I promised to keep the conversation there, and not on marriage. Perhaps not even there. We've barely exchanged any words since then.

I've presented the above as a narrative, with what appear to be direct quotes. The names have been changed (except for me) to protect the guilty. The quotes are largely paraphrased. I note my friend may have a different version of the story to tell.


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4 comments:

RINKEVICHJM said...

Have you read Free From All Error: Authorship, Inerrancy, Historicity of Scripture, Church Teaching, and Modern Scripture Scholars by Rev. William G. Most?

RINKEVICHJM said...

Have you read Free From All Error: Authorship, Inerrancy, Historicity of Scripture, Church Teaching, and Modern Scripture Scholars by Rev. William G. Most?

The Pharisee said...

Nope. I have complete confidence in the veracity of scripture. This comes from doubting, reading, investigating and settling it in my own mind, but mostly, I am sure, it is a work of God in my life.

The purpose of the article above, was to show essentially that "Men wrote the Bible!" is an irrelevant argument. If God took a role, any role at all in the writing of the scriptures, all bets are off. No proof offered about the errors in other works of men, or their character, or their points of view, matter.

If the LORD is in the mix, it's purely what he decides to accomplish, that will be done.

RINKEVICHJM said...

The link is to the online version of the book Fr. Most, of happy memory, wrote to explain how to interpret the Bible so that people could read it with the mind of the Church, which is truth's pillar and foundation, and which He founded and remains Lord of (if He isn't Lord of it, is He really Lord of all?). Using it you can often determine why the Church reads things as it does.