Monday, September 8, 2014

Why the Bible should not be used to Support your Viewpoints

James 4:4 proclaims,
"Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

This clearly indicates that we need to completely isolate ourselves from the world, and have nothing to do with that which it includes. We can't be trying to get enjoyment out of that which the world produces. Hollywood is evil, Doctor Who is evil, and generally speaking, the Lord hates television!

This is further corroborated by I John 2:15 when it says,
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

So yes, all those people who would have the audacity to quote Doctor Who in their blog posts about God are great heathens and heretics, and you shouldn't listen to them at all.

Obviously, I'm using satire. As a guy who spent too much of his weekend catching up on Doctor Who, as opposed to planning his campaign for Freshman chaplain, I clearly do not believe that all television is evil and shouldn't be watched.

But how do I keep that opinion in light of these verses, which many have used to make similar arguments to the ones that start this post? The answer can be summed up in one word - context. This prior Friday, we examined the context of James 4:4, so you know that by world, it means our sinful nature. The same poetic language is indeed at work in I John 2:15, as evidence by examining its context in I John 2:15-17,
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

So how is it that educated individuals tend to use these verses in ways that disagree with their context? It is quite obviously incorrect to say that James and John were stating that the culture of the world is entirely inappropriate, so how is that mistake made?

In my opinion, it is because of a phenomena called "proof-texting." Now proof-texting does not just imply the use of a single verse out of its context for communication purposes. If the verse has the same meaning without its context as it does with it, then it is legitimate for you to save time in your communication by quoting only one of those verses (I certainly do from time to time). However, if you go out trying to prove an agenda, and you take a verse from a Google search that seems to prove your point without actually paying attention to the context, that's proof-texting.

That is what I am calling out today because it actually highlights a deeper problem. No one should be going to the Bible to support HIS ideas about life. The Bible is not a stockpile of evidence to be used to build our cases. The Bible should not be conformed to our mold of the world; our mold of the world should be conformed to the Bible.

Yet proof-texting doesn't seek to find what the Bible says about certain issues. It just seeks to find any Biblical evidence in which the argument the user has is supported. That's how we can get arguments such as the ones above.

It's also how we can get an even more heinous argument often used by pro-abortion Atheists.

Christians get so wrapped up about abortion and how we MUST protect life, but I wonder whether they even read the Bible they support so often! It says clearly in Psalm 137:9,
"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."

Well, yes, that would seem a bit problematic if this verse actually meant that people should be happy about themselves when dashing little ones against stones. Rather, we see simply a statement of fact that just punishment is being placed upon Babylon. Indeed, the evil of Babylon is being returned upon its own head, evidenced in the way that some other evil people will rejoice when they dash the little ones of Babylon against the stone. So you see, quite to the contrary of condoning this atrocity, the Bible is using this as an obvious example of a damnable act.

When you truly see how proof-texting can be used to support such unbiblical agendas, it should make you think twice about utilizing it as evidence for what you think are Biblical agendas. No matter how great your intentions, it is wrong to use the Bible for the purpose of just looking for support for your pre-established viewpoints.

When reading or hearing others opinions as well, you should be careful to know that the context actually supports what the scholar says it does, and that he is not guilty of proof-texting. Because sometimes, arguments can sound Biblical, and while not being denied by the Bible, not actually be supported by it either.

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