I learned all the below via NewsWeek…
First of all, know the following:
- the Bible wasn’t written by God, just humans
- it has been translated from Greek to Latin to English, and often transcribed by illiterate folk
- some of the Bible was added in many centuries later without permission
- if you quote the Old Testament, you are basically being Jewish
The [original Biblical] manuscripts were originally written in Koiné, or “common” Greek, and not all of the amateur copyists spoke the language or were even fully literate. Some copied the script without understanding the words. And Koiné was written in what is known as scriptio continua—meaning no spaces between words and no punctuation… Sentences can have different meaning depending on where the spaces are placed. For example, godisnowhere could be “God is now here” or “God is nowhere.”
Take one of the most famous tales from the New Testament, which starts in John 7:53. A group of Pharisees and others bring a woman caught committing adultery to Jesus. Under Mosaic Law—the laws of Moses handed down in the Old Testament—she must be stoned to death. The Pharisees ask Jesus whether the woman should be released or killed, hoping to force him to choose between honoring Mosaic Law and his teachings of forgiveness. Jesus replies, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.’’ The group leaves, and Jesus tells the woman to sin no more.
Unfortunately, John didn’t write it. Scribes made it up sometime in the Middle Ages. It does not appear in any of the three other Gospels or in any of the early Greek versions of John. Even if the Gospel of John is an infallible telling of the history of Jesus’s ministry, the event simply never happened.
The whole concept of speaking in tongues – also made up and inserted at a later date…
Sunday is the day of rest because a Roman Emperor wanted it to be so. The true Biblical sabbath is Saturday, as the Jewish folk acknowledge.
Christmas is the birth of Christ because of the same Roman Emperor wanting to match it to local pagan traditions. The Bible says nothing about the date of the birth of Jesus.
The Bible does, perhaps, define homosexuality as a sin:
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Alongside many other sins, like lying. Now if you look at the Old Testament, it is pretty rough on gay folk:
Leviticus 20:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
But as NewsWeek points out, if you want to use this Biblical passage, then you need to adhere to other aspects of that book, like being circumcised and eating kosher food – basically being Jewish. You can’t cherry pick condemnation of homosexuality and ignore the other decrees in the Old Testament.
In other words, Orthodox Jews who follow Mosaic Law can use Leviticus to condemn homosexuality without being hypocrites. But fundamentalist Christians must choose: They can either follow Mosaic Law by keeping kosher, being circumcised, never wearing clothes made of two types of thread and the like. Or they can accept that finding salvation in the Resurrection of Christ means that Leviticus is off the table.
The Bible actually condemns preaching:
Specifically, as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke of those who made large public displays of their own religiosity. In fact, performance prayer events closely mimic the depictions in early Christian texts of prayer services held by the Pharisees and Sadducees, two of the largest religious movements in Judea during Jesus’s life. And throughout the Gospels, Jesus condemns these groups using heated language, with part of his anger targeted at their public prayer.
Jesus is quoted as saying “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
“Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.
Prayers should be a private thing:
Because God knows what someone needs without being asked, there is no reason for long, convoluted prayers. Therefore, Jesus says in both Matthew and Luke, people who wish to pray should only say the Lord’s Prayer.
Judgement of others is not allowed:
Jesus said, Don’t judge. He condemned those who pointed out the faults of others while ignoring their own. And he proclaimed, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
2 Corinthians 5:19, 21
We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.
- After loving God, loving your neighbor is the most important thing
- All sins are equal, and all will be forgiven
- Prayers are meant to be private – preaching is not acceptable