“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” – Jesus, “Prince of Peace” (Matthew 10:34)
Something odd that I find myself doing more often than I ever imagined is alerting Christians, whether fundamentalist, moderate, true, or modern, of what their universal “job description” as described in the Bible.
The most common argument is that once Jesus came, he annulled the Old Law (Old Testament, Old Covenant), and ushered in the New Law (New Testament, New Covenant). This belief is directly opposed to what Jesus taught (Matthew 5:17-19, Matthew 23:1-3). Also, many modern Christians argue that the Old Testament only applies to Judaism and Jews, and the New Testament is for Christians. This again, is a false claim as borne out in the words of the Bible in more than one example, including (2 Tim. 3:16-17), where followers are reminded that ALL scripture is inspired by the God of the Bible, even by Jesus Himself who swore to uphold the law.
In fact, in one of the most telling quotes I’ve read is in (Matthew 15:1-9): In verse 3, Jesus censured the Pharisees for breaking the commands of the God of the Bible. In verse 4, Jesus again reiterated the importance of the Law of the Old Testament, while re-explaining the punishment for disobedient children at the same time. Then, in verses 7-9, he quoted the Old Testament’s book of Isaiah to explain His anger, telling His followers that they “nullify the word of God” by not following His laws. Therefore, the only laws that count in Jesus’ eyes are the ones His Father put in place.
And this is perhaps exactly the reason why I get more exasperated with modern and moderate Christians far more than Fundamentalists; the Fundamentalists may be too ignorant to know any better, but I expect far more from moderate, modern, and “true” Christians. Who is more to blame; those who can’t see the truth, or those who see the truth and refuse to act? Many might argue that selective morality and extrapolation of what suits one in relation to the Bible is a crime far worse than sheer ignorance of the words of the Bible.
I am far from perfect, but once I realized the truth that had been hidden from me in relation to the religion I was raised with, I had no choice but to set out this small beacon in the form of a blog.
Either way, even if we ignore the atrocities, lawlessness, amorality, brutality, the raping, pillaging, and complete disregard for humans in general, taking only the laws to live by from the New Testament, the “job description” for any Christian is still quite clear, and quote unchanged. I offer my Top Ten in honor of the 10 Commandments:
1. FOLLOW ALL BIBLE LAWS (Matthew 5:18-19): As has been argued many times, the simple fact remains that a “true” Christian must adhere to ALL laws of the Bible, and not just the ones that one chooses to adhere to. This fact was spoken by the God of the Bible, reiterated by Jesus, and stated on several occasions by others. As a result, the argument that the Old Testament doesn’t speak for true Christianity is in direct violation to what Jesus himself preached. And we all know the punishment for not believing what Jesus preached.
2. FOLLOW DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: This is another one of the main arguments that many Christians (modern, moderate, true, or other) have used to justify their belief that they can eat whatever they wish. Although I could spend an entire article on refuting this widely-held belief, I will keep it as short as possible by pointing to the most commonly-quoted New Testament passages.
a) Let’s begin with (Matthew 15:11, NKJV) “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man,” and (Mark 7:19, NKJV) “because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”
These have been taken to mean that Jesus declared that “all foods are clean”, but unfortunately for Christians, this incorrect interpretation of Jesus words doesn’t exist in the only authoritative Greek New Testament text (Textus Receptus) until about a hundred years ago (when a scribe arbitrarily changed it). Also, the controversy in the above chapter isn’t over what foods are clean or unclean, it’s specifically in relation to whether food eaten with unwashed hands is clean. Quite a different meaning than most have been led to believe.
Almost more importantly, though is in (Matthew 15:1-9). If Jesus was actually declaring that all foods are clean, it would be going against a direct commandment of the God of the Bible, making Jesus a hypocrite or worse; just a fallible human unfamiliar with His own Scripture. The far more likely scenario is that modern interpretations are incorrect.
b) Then, in (Acts 10:9-16), Peter refused to eat unclean animals, despite God commanding him to do so three times. Since this event happened several years after the above passages, so if Peter was able to eat unclean meat, then why wouldn’t he have simply done so when it was presented to him unless the law had not changed?
c) In (1 Timothy 4:1-5, NKJV) we find, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
The critical phrase is “foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving”. The God of the Bible made it vividly clear WHICH foods He would receive with thanksgiving (Leviticus 11), so the forbidden foods of “every creature” would then be referring to the ones already commanded. Also, unless it’s food that is “sanctified by the word of God,” it’s not considered or included as food. In other words, if this passage truly included “every creature,” then cannibalism would be perfectly fine, as is eating poisonous animals such as jellyfish, scorpions, puffer fish and others that will bring harm or death to humans.
Quickly, if we put this in another context for analogy, refer to (1 Timothy 6:17) where God “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” If this truly meant all things and not only the things that the God of the Bible previously commanded as being acceptable, then everything from heroin to child pornography to marijuana and much more is not only completely acceptable, but sanctioned by the God of the Bible as well as Jesus Christ.
Again, this is a vivid example of the selective morality that any Christian is guilty of by default.
3. DIVORCE NOT PERMITTED (Romans 7:2-3, 1 Corinthians 7:39 , Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Luke 16:18, Mark 10:10-12): A true Christian cannot divorce or marry someone who was divorced unless the reason for divorce is adultery. Anyone who obtains a divorce and marries another is in adulterer (especially in a woman’s case). So, if we do some simple math, we find that 80% of the United States population is Christian, and the divorce rate is over 50%.
Anyone who has divorced for a reason other than adultery, cannot call themselves a moderate, modern, or true Christian since this single act alone would directly violate a New Testament law that we repeated and reiterated multiple times.
4. NO PUBLIC PRAYER (Matthew 6:5-6): The Bible makes it clear that prayer is a private matter (which we were reminded of repeatedly by the founders of this great nation in “The USA: Hijacked by Christians“). Schools are public places as are City Halls and courtrooms”¦there is no need to say more on this point, despite any rationalizations and “gentle” interpretations of this passage.
5. CHRISTIAN COURTS ONLY (1 Corinthians 6:1, Matt. 18:15-20): The Bible makes it clear that true Christians can only take their disputes to courts that are not ungodly, or to other Christians. Since there is a clear and distinct separation of church and state, every Christian who does anything regarding the courts is in direct violation of the teachings of the Bible. This includes lawsuits for divorce, school prayer, abortion, and countless other lawsuits that are brought forth by Christians, who, most certainly do not even use the court system as a last resort, but a first one in countless cases that cost lives and countless taxpayer dollars.
6. FEMALE SILENCE IN CHURCH (1 Corinthians 14:34): Women often get added restrictions placed on them in the Bible, which isn’t at all surprising since the God of the Bible condoned and provided instruction for selling one’s daughters into slavery (see my “Be a Good Christian: Kill Your Children?” for more), among countless other degradations involving women. So, in no uncertain terms, women are not allowed to speak in church, period. Since they cannot speak in church, than certainly no woman can then be made a preacher, deacon, priest, minister, or any other position that requires speaking in church.
7. NO LONG/VAIN PRAYERS (Matthew 6:5-8): “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Jesus broke this rule repeatedly as seen in (Matthew 26:44, Luke 6:12, and Matthew 26:36-44), once again making Him a hypocrite or just a fallible man who wasn’t familiar with His own Scripture. Also, not only would the rosary itself (invented LONG before Christianity in the form of a mala) be unacceptable in the context of this passage, nowhere in the Bible is there any reference to using a “tool” to pray.
8. PLAIN CLOTHES ONLY (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3 :3): “Let not yours be the outward adorning of braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing”. This rule is argued at length but also broken repeatedly by all types of Christians. Perhaps in a culture where external appearance is so idolized, this is an even more passionate discussion and point of debate, but regardless of the interpretation, the plain fact and essence of this passage still remains.
9. NO RETALIATION PERMITTED (Matthew 5:38-42): Jesus was clear that no retaliation with any enemy is permitted, yet in (Matthew 10:33) he says; “But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven,” and in (Revelation 2:22-23) Jesus threatens to kill a woman’s children. If it’s truly wrong to resist evil, then why did Jesus cast out devils, heal sickness and disease (created by the devil), denounce scribes and Pharisees as fools and hypocrites, and make angry threats?
Furthermore, the second coming will see the destruction of any who do not accept Jesus (Matthew 10:14-15, Luke 10:12, Matthew 24:37, 2 Peter 3:7-10). If that’s not enough, the God of the Bible promises further death and destruction (Revelation 6:8, Revelation 8:7-11, Revelations 9:13-18, and so on). If you still need more convincing, then perhaps eternal damnation in Hell as described in (Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 13:42, Matthew 25:41, Luke 3:17) would be enough to get one to realize that Jesus far less resembles an all-loving, all-compassionate being, and far more resembles the God of the Old Testament.
I can’t help asking where all the peace and love is?
10. KILL DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN (Matthew 15:1-9): In this passage, Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He then defended himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the God of the Bible’s commandment. In (Mark 7:9), Jesus reiterates this stance when He criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law.
No matter how one chooses to interpret this point or rationalize it away, or talk about it “symbolically”, the essence or “vibe” of what is being conveyed is the same, and which echo, rather than “nullify” the exact things that modern, moderate, and true Christians work so hard to falsely distance themselves from.
That being said, though, I don’t make any of these points to deny that there is much positive, moral, and ethical lessons to be learned from the Bible, especially in relation to the New Testament. I offer them to help in some small way, to liberate those who feel that they need to identify with Christianity in order to give meaning to one’s life.
By default, even if you claim to be a Christian, and claim to take only the “essence” of Jesus’ teachings, or the meaning before the New Testament was butchered throughout history, or whatever rationalization you employ to feel comfortable in your spiritual beliefs, the simple fact will always remain: Being a Christian, no matter the context, title, or rationalization, forces you, especially in today’s society, to be a harbinger of hypocrisy and contradiction.
In fact, I have repeatedly heard that Jesus taught only love, and was incapable of hate, but even that is easily disputed in (Revelation 2:22-23, NKJV) where Jesus said; “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”
Where’s the love?
To claim that Jesus taught only love requires, by definition, that there aren’t any examples of the kind of hate rampant with the God of Old Testament. So why not just let it go? Denying the Bible doesn’t mean you deny morality, nor does it lead to a less moral life (See “The Morality from Religion Myth” for details) . One does not have to deny god, a supreme consciousness, or spirituality in general if one denies the Bible. Many have been so deeply indoctrinated to beleive that without the Bible we will all be lost.
But if it’s truly the truth that will set us all free, seeing the Bible for what it truly is (A mostly-mythological account of a Godman that bears striking resemblance to many Godmen that came before, full of inaccuracies, contradictions, immoral behavior, and outdated rules because it was written by man), could be the most important step to living a freer and fuller life.
Point 9: skeptically.org/bible/id10.html