For Reasons That Fail Scrutiny

Using one’s narrow interpretation of the Bible to justify discrimination in modern society doesn’t pass the smell test.


Some of you may have read about this recently:

On Friday, Denver administrative law judge Robert Spencer told Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, that he discriminated against Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a legally married couple from Massachusetts, when he told them in 2012 he wouldn’t bake them a wedding cake, because doing so would violate his Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin.
The judge didn’t assign any damages, but told Phillips he cannot refuse gay couples in the future. Phillips has said he’d rather close his shop than bake cakes for gay marriages.
“I am a follower of Jesus Christ,” Phillips said in July. “So you could say it’s a religious belief. I believe the Bible teaches [same-sex marriage is] not an OK thing.”   SOURCE

I’m not going to argue the 1st amendment rights of the defendant here, Jack Phillips, who refused to ply his trade in violation of his religious beliefs.  As an entrepreneur however Mr. Phillips should have openly stated that he serves only special clientage.  That way those who also try to “follow Jesus” but don’t accept Mr. Phillip’s rendering of WWJD could eschew his business, or not.   His argument centers on what he believes and it is that belief that needs challenging.

If I still considered myself a Christian I would not want to patronize someone who uses their narrow interpretation of scripture to justify an unwarranted form of discrimination.  I left the faith years ago because too many people like Jack Phillips were allowed to distort the larger message of Jesus, a character that may or may not have been real and one that any biblically informed person would realize was not the “only begotten son of God”.

How can I make such a declaration?  By using the very bible Mr. Phillip’s uses to claim his right to discriminate against same-sex marriages.   In Genesis 6:1-2 it clearly states that there were multiple “sons of God”.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

There are numerous flaws with the Bible for anyone who has eyes can see but do not because it conflicts with their indoctrination as children. An indoctrination that was effected in part by a religious system that itself likely evolved out of plagiarism and where it’s alleged origins have now been affirmed as myths.

These statements may seem remarkable to people like Jack Phillips, yet not because they are unreliable but because Mr. Phillips and people like him have refused to accept anything that refutes that indoctrination they were raised with.  I can share their resistance to certain facts because I went through a transformation myself of being a “born-again Christian” to one who feels comfortable in the belief that the God of the Bible is a fantasy and that our salvation does not require us to accept Jesus Christ as our savior.

This didn’t happen over night.  It took years and many emotional battles between that part of me that had been inculcated from a very young age with church dogma and the other, adult side of me that looks outside the box and relies on evidence of the tangible kind to assert a degree of truth.

I have no qualms with people who have faith in things unseen.  It is my belief that this emotional response to events in our life is built into the human DNA to help us survive and explain our world at a time before rational thought that studied the physical world was developed.

What I do have qualms with are people like Mr. Phillips who use their faith and juxtapose it onto the world as if those aspects of it that they’ve cherry-picked are absolutes and ignore other views the bible mentions that essentially negates what they’ve cherry-picked.

An open mind that allows the possibility that the conventions they were raised with may be flawed or even false has a right to hold onto those elements of their faith that still hold value to them personally.  But to suggest as Mr. Phillips does that the entirety of the Christian faith allows him to demonize something like same-sex marriage in light of the facts that Christianity itself has flaws, is more a reflection of his own homophobia.  Not something that is scarcely mentioned in ancient texts written by a patriarchal society who believed the world was flat and that the sun revolved around it.

If I were to consider myself a “follower of Jesus” I would look more at what is actually attributed to him and less at that which clearly isn’t.  The attraction of millions to Jesus was not his contempt of certain people but his compassion for the powerless and the persecuted.  Mr. Phillips doesn’t serve the faith that attempts to draw people to it with his refusal to recognize the lifestyles he is offended by.  He closes the door for anyone to understand how he makes his faith-based decision in order for them to judge for themselves if the life they have chosen is right or wrong by one set of standards.

He essentially refuses the challenges to his faith for the very reason he shouldn’t.  To do so would be to discover that the claims it makes are not built on solid ground and the evidence stacked up against it would force the Jack Phillips of this world to face the possibility that they have lived a lie all of their religious lives.  What the exact truth is may never be determined to everyone’s satisfaction but  it is becoming clear to the Biblical hangers-on that the truth can no longer be found within the strict confines of an edited version of ancient scriptures and some people’s narrow interpretation of those texts.


Hate is not a Christian value

7 responses to “For Reasons That Fail Scrutiny

  1. What has always troubled me is that the atheists who would challenge the interpretation of fundamentalists also read the bible quite literally in their cherry picking of verses to say what they wish to say. A lot more exegesis by actual experts leads to a much better understanding of what the bible is or is not. Jesus, if we assume that much of what he preached was against the grain, and still written down, certainly is a good example of someone to follow. There is much controversy about whether Jesus thought himself the “only son of God”, and most would say he didn’t I think. In any case, people who use the bible to justify their own bigotry are not “following Jesus” at all are they? Jesus seemed by and large to be fairly non-judgmental of others, and certainly is not noted for inquiring into the personal particulars of individuals before he determined to minister to them. The examples are myriad.

    • “What has always troubled me is that the atheists who would challenge the interpretation of fundamentalists also read the bible quite literally in their cherry picking of verses to say what they wish to say.”

      I understand you have passionate views about your faith Sherry but like Martin Luther King who used the bible to illustrate to white racists the hypocrisy of their racism, atheists too will use the bible to illustrate that homophobes have no real defense if they insist that it is their religious views based on the bible that validates their opposition to same sex marriage. Atheist reject the entire claims of the bible unlike those Christians of Jack Phillips mold who depend upon it to validate their faith while simultaneously claiming it allows them to discriminate against certain people.

      The fact now that Jewish leaders have asserted that the events of the Pentateuch or likely myths leaves little ground for all Christians to use the bible as a basis to justify any claim that devalues the way others live. In fact, if Jesus references Moses and Abraham, people it appears never really existed, as he does in several passages, then it brings into question the New Testament’s claim that he is indeed who they say he is.

      John Zande has discussed this in great detail over at his blog The Superstitious Ape Yes he is an atheist but he backs his claims up with verifiable documentation from legitimate Jewish sources.

      None of this course means you can’t retain a sense of faith in some unseen supernatural being. But it does become quixotic in using the God of the Judeo-christian bible as that sources of faith.

      Best wishes Sherry and Merry Christmas

  2. I stop being a follower of Jesus quite some time ago. Didn’t like the bars he led me into. I still hate Disco bars for that very reason, though I must admit, that old Son of God could shake a mean bootie.

    and the baker in Denver? what? times are so good he turned away business? sheesh… and anyway, in the absolute remote possibility that I ever get married again…(ya, like, Cleveland will win a Super Bowl first) I would have Wedding cookies, or Wedding Pies, or Wedding Muffins…. bakery cakes suck….. they really do! Course, see, I will hedge my bets…. if Jesus said he would show up at my not-planned nuptials and bless the beer and make it multiple kegs, well, stuff, I would buy him a Ho-Ho, or a Ding-Dong or a Twinkie just to make him happy. b good.

    • “I stop being a follower of Jesus quite some time ago. Didn’t like the bars he led me into.”

      The bars weren’t so bad. A good evangelizer will use this place to proselytize to those who go in there to drown their problems. Hook them at their weakest moments and hope when they sober up that they feel too guilty to admit they fell for their spiel. 🙂

  3. You can justify just about anything via the Bible. I found your transformation from evangelical to a more relaxed version of faith interesting and similar to mine.
    Like my daddy always said, “Beware of folks that think they’ve been born twice”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s