A Christian’s Take on Biblical Misconceptions

I’ve found that some of the most effective (and in some cases, harshest) critiques of Christianity actually come from other Christians (search YouTube for Frank Schaeffer and you’ll see what I mean), and this recent article by retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong is a perfect example of that.

Of course the most extreme conservative fundamentalists will just dismiss his arguments out of hand (they probably don’t consider Episcopalians to be “real” Christians anyway), but sometimes it takes being called-out by a member of the “in-group” to realize where one’s beliefs–like those held by fundamentalist evangelicals–have gone horribly awry.

Some excerpts:

“First, people assume the Bible accurately reflects history. That is absolutely not so, and every biblical scholar recognizes it.”

“Jesus of Nazareth, according to our best research, lived between the years 4 B.C. and A.D. 30. Yet all of the gospels were written between the years 70 to 100 A.D., or 40 to 70 years after his crucifixion, and they were written in Greek, a language that neither Jesus nor any of his disciples spoke or were able to write.”

“…miracles do not get attached to the memory of Jesus story until the eighth decade. The miraculous birth of Jesus is a ninth-decade addition; the story of Jesus ascending into heaven is a 10th-decade narrative. In the first gospel, Mark, the risen Christ appears physically to no one, but by the time we come to the last gospel, John, Thomas is invited to feel the nail prints in Christ’s hands and feet and the spear wound in his side.”

“The Bible exhorts slaves to be obedient to their masters and wives to be obedient to their husbands. Over the centuries, texts like these, taken from the Bible and interpreted literally, have been used as powerful and evil weapons to support killing prejudices and to justify the cruelest kind of inhumanity.”

The Three Biggest Biblical Misconceptions

BTW, Spong is also the most well known proponent (and perhaps the originator) of the idea that the Apostle Paul–the only writer of the New Testament to condemn homesexuality–may himself have been a repressed gay man.


One thought on “A Christian’s Take on Biblical Misconceptions

  1. Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. One would have to be living under a rock to be unaware that this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview.

    In light of your post above and since I speak and write on this topic, I thought you might find this blog of particular interest (link below). Feel free to surf the “Archives” page as well. If you like, tell me what you think.

    -Alex Haiken

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