The Bible’s Clash with Today’s Reality

Among Republican presidential hopefuls, several such as Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Rick Perry have stressed their commitment to fundamentalist Christianity, which bases its approach to cultural issues on a literal reading of the Bible. But the Rev. Howard Bess notes that many of those ancient traditions are repugnant to modern society.

By the Rev. Howard Bess

The essential messages of the Bible are justice, peace, love, reconciliation and hope — messages that have the power to operate in every age and every culture. But the list of clashes between the Bible and modern culture is long.

For instance, the Bible reflects an absurd understanding of the structure of the universe; it shows little understanding of physical and mental illnesses; and it was and is on the wrong side of patriarchal authority, marriage, equality for women, homosexuality, slavery, and the rights of an older son.

That is because the Bible is a collection of writings by many authors who wrote in ever-changing circumstances in ancient times. Today’s Bible readers live in circumstances that could not have been imagined by the original writers.

Family, social, economic and government structures today are completely different from those of the authors of the original writings. The place of women in Bible settings is a prime example of this dilemma, since that status during early Judaism is defined in the property codes of Leviticus.

Women were property owned by men. They were bought and sold. The most famous example of this law is the story of Jacob and Laban.

Jacob was moving back to his family’s home territory east of Palestine when he arrived at a watering hole and inquired where he could find an uncle named Laban, who was Jacob’s mother’s brother.

As providence would have it, a daughter of Laban, Rachel, appeared at the watering hole with some sheep. Jacob’s first cousin was beautiful and Jacob decided that Rachel was the girl of his dreams. He wanted her as a wife.

The next step in the process was to make a deal with Uncle Laban for the purchase of Rachel. The price was seven years of work as his uncle’s slave. Jacob worked the seven years and thought that the beautiful Rachel was his.

However, Laban switched products. When Jacob woke up from his wedding night, he discovered that he had slept not with Rachel, but with an older sister named Leah. Laban calmly explained that he had no choice. By custom he could not sell off a younger daughter until after he had sold his oldest daughter.

Jacob and Uncle Laban made a new deal. Jacob would work another seven years to get the wife he wanted. He worked the seven years and got Rachel.

The deeply embedded cultural code reflected in this tale eventually became Leviticus law, following a pattern in which established social customs typically get codified into binding law.

The Bible standard of male ownership of women was still fully in force in First Century culture CE at the times of the New Testament writings. The place of a woman was determined by her ownership.

A very common misunderstanding about many of the women who became followers of Jesus is that many were prostitutes. They were, in fact, women who for some reason no longer had an owner and thus were completely vulnerable in the male-dominated society.

A woman such as Mary from Magdala is an example. She was not a “loose” woman but a victim of a cruel male-dominated society. Such women attached themselves to Jesus to escape their plight. They called Jesus “Lord,” and he gave them a new understanding of the value of their lives.

Even in modern times, the Biblical standard of male ownership of women has been difficult to overcome.

I grew up in a small Mid-western farm community where the largest and dominant religious group in the area called themselves Apostolic Christians. Among Apostolic Christians in the 1930s, a man got a wife through negotiation with a young lady’s father.

There were no dating procedures. Their wedding was a celebration of the transfer of ownership of a woman from her father to her husband. They carried on this practice because they made ancient cultural rules a part of their faith practice, seeing themselves as being faithful to Bible standards.

In today’s world, women have carved out very different roles for themselves than the roles assigned to them by the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Today’s women have made it clear they will never again submit to the cultural practices found in the Bible.

Christians have rightfully seen the necessity of translating the Bible from language to language to facilitate an understanding of the Bible messages. However, most Christians have not understood the necessity of translating the Bible messages from culture to culture.

To be effective the Christian message must be freed from the cultural shackles found in the Bible.

The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.  His email address is [email protected].

44 comments for “The Bible’s Clash with Today’s Reality

  1. Idunthunkaboutit
    August 17, 2011 at 13:53

    I believe the article’s message was stated in the second paragrapgh-to wit-
    “By the Rev. Howard Bess

    The essential messages of the Bible are justice, peace, love, reconciliation and hope — messages that have the power to operate in every age and every culture. But the list of clashes between the Bible and modern culture is long.”

    Everything else in the writing is simply a short list of evidence to support her hypothesis. You are all basically re-affirming.

  2. CrazyTexan
    August 15, 2011 at 01:34

    GOD isn’t in a book, GOD is in all of us.

    If you can comprehend the concept that all of us have the power to be Jesus, Buda, or what ever loving Deity you want, then you get it. All you have to do is choose it and create it. (think, speak and do)

    GOD gave you free will and religion has take it from you.
    GOD gave you intellect and religion has tried desperately to destroy it. (it’s winning by reading the comments on this post)
    GOD gave you un-conditional love and religion has brought you judgement and hell fire.
    GOD gave you a beautiful universe and look at what you’ve done with it.

    I believe in GOD. I don’t believe in Religion.

  3. Stephen
    August 12, 2011 at 01:42

    The average person today has no idea what a real fundamental Christian is. And quite frankly, even the ones who call themselves a Christian don’t care to know or be one either.

    Here is what a fundamentalist believes right from the Bible itself:

  4. August 11, 2011 at 18:40

    here is some more Holy Bible for ya. Remember , you can’t pick and choose!

    Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

    Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9) Have you ever done that?

    If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10). I wonder if Dr. Laura would like that one to be enforced?

    If a man sleeps with his father’s wife… both him and his father’s wife is to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:11)

    If a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death. (Leviticus 20:14)

    If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16). I guess you should kill the animal since they were willing participants. Are they crazy?

    If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18)

    Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)

    If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)

    People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-18)

    Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)

  5. William J. Tackaberry
    August 11, 2011 at 13:59

    Those who believe that the Bible is a made up story that must be adjusted to meet the changing culture will one day believe before the Judgement seat of Christ that the Bible is truley the Inspired Word Of God.
    This is the same thinking of those who believe that the founding fathers only wrote the Constitution of the United States was only valid for their time.
    With the love of Jesus:
    One who was saved by the Grace of God.
    Bill T.

  6. Gail Cohen
    August 11, 2011 at 01:18

    Is this man a pastor? If so he is a false teacher and does not know the Bible at all – perhaps he should read Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Gospels and the Letters of Paul and see if they are not relevant – just because society accepts certain actions does not make them right or healthy. We have rejected the Bible’s wisdom and have broken families, the government taking the place of God, STDs and many more emotional problems in the population — this person is willfully ignorant

  7. Sexyradiovoice
    August 10, 2011 at 22:01

    You heard it here first: “It’s all about those crazy eyes”.

    Personally, I believe in grandmothers. They don’t want to see everything they worked for go down the drain. Some weeks ago, I wrote a comment about Michelle Bachmann, and explained why she actually is clinically certifiable.

    The rationale for my argument depends on semantics and linguistics. I can’t remember if I put it on The Real News or Common Dreams. There is a linguistic algorithm for determining what kind of speech represents insane thinking: Dr. Alfred Korzybsky described it in 1933, the same year Paul Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler used the “Reichstag fire” to take control of Germany.

    I think I mentioned an interview conducted during the Kennedy-Nixon campaign, when one of the Fawning Corporate Media “presstitutes” actually had the guts to interview a real person, and put it on the air. They interviewed an elderly black woman, and asked her what she thought about Nixon. She said, “I just don’t like his eyes”.

    I think I also mentioned that Israel would fall apart, and shortly thereafter, the tents sprung up. I said that it would take Palestinian women to make a difference, and shortly thereafter, they stormed an “Israeli Only” beach and got away with it.

    I’m not real smart, but I had a grandmother that loved me. She made sure I never fell for the idea that things that sound good are always true. She helped me get an education, and most of the people who taught me to think were Jews. I can’t remember any Jew who would condone the injustice we see today. My grandmother would never have encouraged any of this.

    • molly
      August 11, 2011 at 23:20

      Wonderful. :) Bless all grandmothers, and keep their Social Security safe from greedy hands. Reverend Bess, I’m so glad your faith and knowledge are strong enough to keep you from being distressed by the fear and anger portrayed by so many. Peace be to all who pass through here. Remember God made us all, and you do God no justice by expressing hate to others just because they are not exactly like you. Remember the Good Samaritan? The Samaritans were despised by the Hebrews, yet the only person who stopped to help, at great risk to himself, was a despised Samaritan. Jesus wasn’t just saying be a good Samaritan, he was also saying, as he always said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, “Judge not lest ye be judged”, and “Love thy God with all thy heart and all thy mind and all thy soul”. Nowhere in there did Jesus ever say only love the ones that suit you. Jesus also said we are all God’s children. Would Jesus attack people just because they are different from him? If we are going to call ourselves Christians, then we have a command directive to emulate Christ, and not use his words to attack our fellow human beings. If someone looking or believing differently from you scares you so much that you believe you have to attack them, you have missed every thing Jesus taught. Look for what is the same or similar between us all, like the fact that we are all human beings, God made all of us, and we are all a little scared. Better to hold each other up than to cut each other down. To those that have made threatening remarks about how things will be if the Tea Party ‘takes over’, ask yourselves, “What would Jesus do?” You do not honor our Lord by violence. “By their works shall ye know them.” God Bless all of you.

  8. Dennis
    August 10, 2011 at 21:39

    This is exactly whats wrong with our society today.Trying to make the bible fit the world instead of the world fit GODS WORD.Rev Howard Bess and i use Rev very loosely has no understanding of GOD or his word.

  9. bobzz
    August 10, 2011 at 16:18

    Billy Martin was a second baseman and, later, manager for the New York Yankees. He had the reputation as a fighter. He once made a commercial in which the product had two outcomes and the consumer would ‘fight’ for one option over the other. Martin’s response was, “I feel strongly both ways.” In other words, he was going to fight either way. Both sides have a point here. First, a lot of stuff is written about Christianity that is just that, a lot of stuff. Much of it assertion with no evidence—a lot of sophistry. Second, however, Christianity is justly accused of trying to IMPOSE its views on others. The vast majority of Christians have little idea of what Scripture says but follow proof text religion. I shall just give one example: the attempt to unify church and state. We have done that since Constantine with disastrous results. When a Christian president lies us into Viet Nam, and a born-again president lies us into Iraq, and a self proclaimed Christian keeps us in Afghanistan, it is clear they may have/had a marginal acquaintance with Jesus, but no understanding of him. America has become the Israel Amos prophesied against for grinding the face of the poor and the Rome of the Apocalypse, proclaiming themselves peacemakers but conducting war—and that by so-called Christians. Yes, this is part of why people criticize the church and we need to face up to it. I hope to get my book written before I die, “The Great Separation: Church from Christ.” The closer the union with the state, the farther the separation from Christ.

    • Thomas Shoffield
      August 10, 2011 at 16:39

      Except for the Spanish treatment of native populations in the “New World” I’ve never heard of Christians “forcing Religion” on anyone. You cannot force religion without “force”. I know of no one converted to Christ at the point of a gun. You don’t understand the Constitution if you are referring to the US constitution. I disagree with your premise that the closer the union with the state, the further the separation with Christ. We have so many denominations because of the inability of Christians to obey the word of GOD. Also Christ never said that a nation could not protect it’s people. The reason most people attack the Christianity is that they want approval for their lifestyle, and Christ does not give that.

      • bobzz
        August 10, 2011 at 17:20

        The force comes through the use of legislation and the courts. The attempt to legislate morality is soft force any way one looks at it. I did not claim it was done at gunpoint. On the other hand you must be aware that some of our generals and the US Air Force academy inn particular believes we are fighting a holy war against Muslims. Jesus did not have to say that a nation could not protect its people; he ignored that issue. There will be wars and rumors of wars. What he did say was that his servants would fight if they were of this world. The early church was non-combatant until Constantine. When Christians take over school boards to impose their views of education on children, it is an imposition any way one looks at it. Just because we use ‘democratic procedures’ does not mean it is not force. That kind of force kept blacks at bay until the civil right act. There are a whole range of things where we use soft force.

      • John Partington
        August 12, 2011 at 18:15

        Thomas, Perhaps you should read “What Is America” (by Wright I believe), and then you might find out how how America abused the helpful native populations here. For further history on the matter try “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown. As for the Bible, it is not the word of God, it is a collection of handed down stories eventually written down by people who never knew Jesus, and was highly censored by political forces 400 years after the supposed time period. Believe what you want but I think we can all live with ‘Do unto others as you yourself would like to be treated.’ and benefit from the warm fuzzy feeling (spirituality inside us all) from helping others.

        • Thomas Shoffield
          August 13, 2011 at 19:28

          I know more about the history than you think. I have no shame to admit that I am an American. I have no guilt on what happened to American Indians. They were never converted at the point of a gun. The Bible has never been censored by anyone. If it had, none of the prophets would be included.
          I hope that you believe in carrying a gun because if you believe in “doing to others” there are a lot of people who will just do into you and don’t care what you want. I don’t really care if you believe in GOD or not but I’ll pray for you.

          • John Partington
            August 14, 2011 at 15:21

            So Thomas, you think Christians should walk about with a guns to solve problems discussion or perhaps God should handle?! With vacuous thinking like yours, it’s no wonder America is in trouble.
            And, it seems you can’t take reading about how your ancestors treated the indigenous peoples who helped the initial settlers survive the winters, how to grow corn and the like.
            You obviously know nothing of the Gnostic Gospels, attributed to Judas, Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Philip and others. Christian stories thought inappropriate by the powers that be who decided what would be included in your modern Bible. And that’s only a small piece of the story you obviously know nothing about.

      • Dennis Boyter
        August 15, 2011 at 10:42

        Really? Ever heard of Charlemange? Those Saxons that refused to convert paid with their lives. Maybe you failed to learn of King Philip of Spain and his relentless persecution of the Hugenots and other “dissenters.” Of course, that was Christian preying on Christian. The result, however, was failure to convert to Catholicism resulted in death. Maybe you’ve never heard of the Cathars in Southern France. They were called the Good Men – not good enough for the pope though. They were exterminated during the only crusade on European soil, the last four hundred or so burned in a mass conflagration in the early thirteenth century. Obviously you’ve “…never heard of Christians forcing religion on anyone.” You’ve never stepped outside of that narrowly defined ideology that simply removes unpleasant events from the narrative. Too late. There are more informed people about nowadays, and the venom you spew has lost its sheen.

  10. Thomas Shoffield
    August 10, 2011 at 13:50

    The author of this article shows a progressive view of the bible. I don’t understand how a pastor of the gospel could have these kinds of views. It seams that Mr. Bess is mostly concerned with women’s rights. I find it amusing that he makes these statements with regard to Christians but makes no mention of Islam that STILL keeps women as slaves. If you read the bible women were NOT treated as slaves in the old or new testaments. Israel was governed by a woman. Many cultures today foster arraigned marriages and bridal dowries. And as for slavery Christ demanded that masters respect their slaves and slaves the master. That does not mean that the Christian movement was pro slavery. Homosexuality was and is an abomination. That is not my opinion but GODS. In Mr. Bass’s discussion on Jacob, he was not a slave to Laban. This was part of the bride price agreed upon by both men. I see nothing wrong with Jacob rather it was the dealing by Laban toward Jacob
    that was wrong. Mr. Bess states that these traditions are the reason modern societies are put off by Christianity. Apparently this retired pastor is also put off by the word of GOD. You cannot accept some things in the bible and not accept others and call yourself a Christian. Mr. Bass further states that the Bible was written many centuries age and that many of the things in society are new. Again, there is nothing new under the sun concerning what we do today and what was done 4,000 years ago. If you don’t believe me read Leviticus.

    • rosemerry
      August 10, 2011 at 16:56

      This really is serious. Bess writes of Christianity, his expertise. You criticise Islam with the usual nonsense about women, and praise Israel, which spreads hate about evryone who is not a Jew. Homosexuality is not a choice, so is made by God,if (s)he exists. Where did you read that it is an abomination, and why? “Read Leviticus” shows how extremely retrograde is your social conscience

      • Thomas Shoffield
        August 11, 2011 at 19:33

        Hello Rosemary,
        My social conscience is clear. I believe in the word. Leviticus 18:22 is quite clear on that subject. Also Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for the sin of homosexuality. You may read this in Genesis 18 and 19. If you wish to see the things that ancient folks were doing then, as well as today, then read Leviticus….You apparently wish to criticize without looking for yourself.

        • Dennis Boyter
          August 15, 2011 at 10:32

          I’m curious. There is also a lengthy section in Leviticus that gives instructions for procedures regarding women during their “time of the month.” Do you sequester your wife for seven days, and avoid contact with any females during their “time of the month?” I assume you do not eat shrimp or oysters, and would never touch pork. Of course there is that troublesome part about disobedient children. Do you know of Christian children condemned to death because they were disrespectful to their parents? You fundamentalists are the prime reason to avoid religion at all costs. And, I do not believe the costs are anything like that predicted by the likes of you. A peaceful existence on earth is ample reward – and freedom from the likes of you.

    • August 11, 2011 at 18:32

      “You cannot accept some things in the bible and not accept others and call yourself a Christian.”

      Of course you can! Who said you couldn’t? That’s right, men told you so. And you believe them why?

      That’s okay, no one is perfect.

  11. Forester Jenkins
    August 10, 2011 at 13:34

    It’s apparent that The Rev. Howard Bess is a not only a retired American Baptist minister, he is also retired of being a Christian. This is just another case of Apostasy.

    • Marilyn
      August 10, 2011 at 17:39

      What strange translation of the Bible does this retired Rev. read anyway. Seems he rewrote the history of the Bible into something angled for his own agenda. Or maybe he never read the Bible.

  12. Bill
    August 10, 2011 at 13:11

    Those whoe refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Women were given the right to vote and immediately elected Herbert Hoover, the country has been in a downward spiral morally ever since. Unfortunately there seems to be more NOW’s than Palins or Bachmans.

  13. Chasm
    August 10, 2011 at 12:41

    Doesn’t Ecclesiates state that there is nothing new under the sun? I believe it also states that what is has already been?

  14. Patriot Diva
    August 10, 2011 at 12:38

    It’s very sad to see by some of these comments the distorted view of Christianity some people have. Just for the record, as a Christian, a member of the Tea Party, and a woman, neither Christianity nor the Tea Party condones slavery, or owning another human being as chattel. Unfortunately many of these practices existed in ancient times and still goes on today. Even today there are still evil people engaging in sex trafficking of women and children. Just because the bible mentions these things, does not mean it is condoned by Christians or by God. Some people are so afraid or paranoid about persons of faith I honestly believe they make up this stuff! Christianity, as a wise pastor I once had said, is where one beggar tells another beggar where to find food. He was speaking of spiritual food of course. Simply it’s this: God created humans with a free will, and wanted a relationship with them. They used their free will and sinned against Him. This is where sin entered the world. Because God is perfect, nothing imperfect can be in His presence. So God sent Jesus His son to come to earth with the one purpose being the perfect sacrifice for our sins. All we have to do is ask him into our lives and hearts. At the point one does this he or she becomes a Christian. Even at this point we are still sinners, still imperfect but covered in Jesus’ blood which is the atonement for our sins. Now when God sees us he sees only his perfect son Jesus. You can choose to believe it or not, but this is basically what Christianity is about. When we die, if we are covered in the blood of Jesus we are welcomed into heaven, God’s holy and perfect dwelling place. God offers salvation to anyone who would accept it. He excludes no one. It is His free gift to you out of His boundless love for mankind. (Yes that means women as well)While god did place the male in charge of the household as a leader, with that role came a great responsibility. He also said that a husband was love his wife as God loved the church (His people). Well God sent His ONLY son to die for them. There is no greater love than that. Unfortunately many men, perhaps most in those times chose to harshly dominate women. This was NOT God’s plan. When you love someone you treat them with kindness and respect. You listen to what they have to say and consider their feelings and opinions. It sounds as if most of you do not believe that there is even a God. When I look at the vastness of space, or the beauty of the earth (think the Grand Canyon or Hawaii), or the miracle of birth, I cannot help but think that there is a loving and merciful God out there. Sure there are bad things in life, but we were never promised everything would be just great here on earth. It’s all explained in the bible.

    • Kelly
      August 10, 2011 at 12:43

      Thank you! God bless and keep you always.

    • Ed
      August 10, 2011 at 19:10

      What does it mean, to you, to be a member of the Tea Party? As a Tea Party member, what do you want and belive in? How does being a Tea Party member accord with your being a Christian? I am sincere in wanting your responses to these questions for my own edification.

    • August 11, 2011 at 18:28

      Have you read the book of Philemon? Not saying Paul telling a slave it is a sin not to return to his master damn’s the whole canon, but please, let’s not be naive. There is a whole lot more than just passing reference to slavery.

  15. Morton Kurzweil
    August 10, 2011 at 10:59

    Every religious text is a can of worms. Religion reflects the religious-political expression of a social order that supports a tribal identity against all others. A common mythology and the universal belief process of the human species substitutes a virtual reality for reason. The process is promoted by repetition of accepted ideas with magical significance, a hierarchal leadership that requires absolute obedience to preserve itself, and promises to the faithful of present and eternal happiness, the natural effect of belief in certainty.
    The result has been continual xenophobic paranoia and genocidal warfare among religious sects and vengeance century after century for presumed slights to orthodoxy. These are symptoms of belief, the result of substituting religious identity for social identity. “They are not one of us” is the mantra of religious fanaticism.
    It is as true today in a heterogeneous democratic nation as it was among the ancient Hittites and Egyptians, when Man created Gods.

    • Mark Haines
      August 10, 2011 at 13:16

      Funny thing sir…when tragedy strikes or crushing times come or death comes to all human’s doorstep who do they cry out to? I fear you will do the same at some point and that is a true tragedy. Granted, various things done or said or exhibited ‘in the name of God’ are distortions of what is truth. With much knowledge comes responsibility and you seem to exhibit much ‘knowledge’. Funny thing though as I read your expert evaluation of religion and God and the Bible (as many other ‘experts’ on the invalidness of Christianity, God, and the Bible) you fail to mention the many truly great, good, and glorifying words and acts that Christianity and the Bible records…curious…

  16. Jym Allyn
    August 10, 2011 at 10:19

    It is one thing to admit that “there is NO Santa Clause.”

    It is entirely different to admit that much of the story of the life of Jesus was fabricated and (intentionally) misinterpreted.

    No Jewish father in the history of the religion would have believed his daughter if she said that she was pregnant and that “God did it.”

    Instead it is now very likely that the Greek text citing Jesus as the son of a “young woman” was mistranslated into the Latin term for “virgin.” It is also likely that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier named Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera. That is why Jesus is referred to in the traditional sense as the “son of Mary” to reflect his being a bastard.
    That illegitimacy also likely explains why Jesus became a social rebel trying to take on the corruption of the Roman controlled Jewish society.

    And it made a great plot for a Monty Python movie.

    “True Christians” are Fundamentalists and just as bad as any Islamist “terrorist.”

    Ask Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake as a heretic for claiming that the earth revolved around the sun.

    • Kelly
      August 10, 2011 at 12:38

      Someday I hope that you are truly sorry for what you have written here. Believe, you either do or you don’t. You do not understand anything about Jesus, it is apparent by your writing here.
      This is blasphemy
      1. impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.
      2. an act of cursing or reviling God.

      • rosemerry
        August 10, 2011 at 16:47

        Lighten up, Kelly. Don’t let your life be ruled by fear. treat people and the environment well, and enjoy life on earth.

      • Quanuck Ron
        August 10, 2011 at 22:43

        Amen Kelly. When we try to change the meaning of God’s word is when we submit ourselves to the devil. Regardless of time and age, the meaning of the New Testament is true to the Word of God and we must follow it to our graves. Accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and God is our path to Heaven. Only then will the Holly Ghost enter into our hearts.

        • August 11, 2011 at 12:57

          Your Bible tells that Jesus said to believe in him. He said nothing about unquestioning loyalty to every scrap expressed by his followers. When one rejects religious dogma they are not blaspheming against any god, but rather rejecting to arrogant assumptions of an institution. The fact that you conflate word’s written by men in funny hats with Truth, is to me a form of idolatry.

          That’s okay no one perfect.

      • August 14, 2011 at 08:42

        LOL. Religion is not of god. Religion is of men. God is not Jewish, Irish, Black, White, Latino – etc. God is not a Catholic, a Christian, a Muslim.. none of the above.

        And if God would punish one for questioning the very fabric of the paradigm we are in, then he is not God – and we need not worry.

        • bill
          August 19, 2011 at 05:34

          keep believing that john. i hope that spf 1,000,000 works for ya

      August 12, 2011 at 17:01


    • Tristan
      August 13, 2011 at 14:35

      To say such things reveals your absolute misunderstanding of the bible, Jesus, and the truth. You can’t lump “true christians” and “fundamentalists” into one big heap anymore than you can lump any group of people into one lump and judge them. How evil to call those who follow Christ “as bad as any Islamist terrorist.” Me, my husband and our children are working to bring love to people (whether or not they choose to follow Jesus), help those in need, take care of our environment, give and serve, etc, etc. Loving people and making the world a better place is not a terrorist act. What you have said here is much more destructive than anything Jesus ever taught. I’m not talking about religion, or religious people. Religion has hurt the world. But that is not Jesus. Even He spoke against religious leaders in His time because they kept people from understanding that they are loved. I’m talking about people who truly follow Jesus. I challenge you to actually spend time with people who love God and see if you still believe they are just like a terrorist. I challenge you to spend time with my children who are filled with love and hope for this world and still call them terrorists. Your logic reminds me of another time in history where a group of people believed ridiculous lies about the Jews…this is the kind of thinking that leads to destruction, not the teachings of Jesus. What are you doing to make things better in our country, and the world?

      • Tristan
        August 13, 2011 at 14:38

        This comment was in reply to Jym Allyn’s comment above.

  17. Bob Klingle
    August 10, 2011 at 07:13

    “Today’s women have made it clear they will never again submit to the cultural practices found in the Bible.”

    When the Tea Party takes over we will see; wont we?

  18. David Smith
    August 10, 2011 at 07:09

    The idea that, “the Christian message must be freed from the cultural shackles found in the Bible”, seems to be an impossible task.

    “Christianity” is based on Christ. The New Testament is the primary source of information on Christ. If Christians are honest they have to acknowledge that without the scriptures Christ disappears all together.

    Unless, of course, Christians are able to follow the Taoist approach. Admit your founder is a mythical figure and move on. Use the figure as a symbol of the best that exists within the tradition.

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