Methinks Chris Broussard WANTS to get fired

Chris Broussard

Chris Broussard

Methinks ESPN’s Chris Broussard WANTS to get fired. Following Chris Broussard’s declaration that newly-out gay NBA player Jason Collins is “not a Christian,” which I discussed yesterday, we have this interview where Broussard argues on the New York-based Power 105.1 “Breakfast Club” radio show, that gays can be saved if they ask for God’s forgiveness.

What startles me is the theological ignorance and the inconsistency and irrationality of his argument that immediately becomes apparent when he begins to elaborate his views on homosexuality, AND his misunderstanding of the relationship between the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) and the New Testament. Gone are thoughts of Jesus in Matt 5:17-19, where he says:

Matt. 5:17  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matt. 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Matt. 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Rather, we see a textbook example of the theological fallacy of Christian “Replacement Theology,” where Christians feel that the NT “trumps” the OT, but only in places they want it to. So while Broussard points out Peter’s vision of the “unclean” animals in Acts 10 is used to dismiss kosher regulations banning unclean foods, he uses the abolition of this one regulation to dismiss all other Old Testament laws…at least those he doesn’t consider to be “moral” laws.

If it sounds confusing, it’s because it IS confusing and makes no sense.

At one point, the hosts even say, “You sound like the white guy who says, ‘Hey, Im not racist. I got black friends’.”

Here are some transcripts I made from the interview:

Broussard:

“All of us fall and stumble, and I have fallen and stumbled many times since I’ve been a Christian, but I always, you know, repent and ask God for his forgiveness, and, you know, I’m movin’ forward from there. I think that’s the mark of a Christian. And I think if a person…that…

Stumbling and falling while you’re tryin’ to live for the Lord is different than goin’ out huntin’ for sin. You know, I’m goin’ out and gettin’ into it tonight. I’m gonna be mad if I don’t get into any sin. So… you know, I’m tryin’ to make you to accept my sin life. I don’t care what God said, I’m just livin’ like this. That’s different than a person who’s sincerely strivin’ to live the right way and stumbles, legitimately falls. Get back up. Get on your path. You’re forgiven. And let’s keep tryin’.”

Host: “What exactly does the Bible say about homosexuality?”

Broussard:

“It says it’s a sin. First Corinthians chapter six verse nine says fornicators, homosexuals, robbers, thieves, adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. It goes on to list a few other things. Romans chapter one says it’s unnatural. Obviously the Old Testament talks about it bein’ wrong…”

Host: “Well Chris, Deuteronomy 14:8 condemns the eating of pork, but I bet you love bacon.”

Broussard:

“I sure do, man, I sure do. But, you know, the Old Testament dietary laws don’t apply in the New Covenant. Acts chapter 10, Peter, you know, talks about that as the Lord revealed it to Peter, so all of the Old Testament laws, there’s 613 laws in the Old Testament that they had to follow under the old covenant. We’re under grace. We don’t have to follow all of those 613 laws to have peace with God. But the moral covenant, because it’s outlined in the New Covenant, the New Testament, as I said, First Corinthians six, Ephesians, Romans, Galatians chapter five, talk about the new covenant still following the moral code of the Old Testament. So the moral laws of the Old Testament that we were taught still apply, but not eatin’ shrimp, and wearin’ blended cloth and fabric and things like that.”

So wait, because ONE of the laws (dietary) are trumped in the NT, ALL of the OT laws are dismissed? And who distinguished the ‘moral’ laws from the…well, what do we even call the ‘non-moral’ laws of the Old Testament?

This is one of the most ignorant, uninformed understandings of the Hebrew Bible I’ve ever heard. (Actually, I’ve heard worse, but…) Note how Broussard says, “We’re under grace. We don’t have to follow all of those 613 laws to have peace with God.” Note he said we don’t have to follow all of them…just the ones he wants to continue to enforce, like condemning gays.

But it gets worse:

Broussard:

“I’m married seventeen years. Never cheated on my wife. But man, I’ve been tempted. You know what I’m sayin’? I mean, I cover the NBA. I see beautiful women all the time. I’ve had actresses throw me a little rhythm. But I gotta resist. I gotta fight against temptation. And that’s the life of a Christian. That you fight against the temptation. And if you stumble and fall, then you get back up, you repent, you ask God for forgiveness, and you move on. And I think that applies to homosexuals as well. If a person who’s a same-sex attracted, you know, is sincerely tryin’ to live for the Lord, and they fall, and they fall in the same-sex relationship or act, and they, they is really tryin’ to serve the Lord, they repent, and they ask for forgiveness, and they keep trying to serve God and they fall time and time again consistently, I believe that person is a Christian.

But that’s why I said yesterday it’s about unrepentant sin. There’s a difference. Am I repenting, or am I just saying, ‘Yo, this is how I am God, I don’t care what you say. I don’t care what your word – I’m not even askin’ for forgiveness. How you gonna be forgiven if you ain’t even askin’ for it?”

Then Broussard continues:

“The question is your heart. Add you know that. Are you really tryin’ not to fornicate, not to sleep with that girl over and over again. Because God…the Bible says God is not mocked. God ain’t no punk. You ain’t no punk. I ain’t no punk. None of y’all punks. If I come to you and I say, ‘Yo man, I wanna be in covenant with you, I wanna be your boy. We cool.’ But behind your back, I’m goin’ out time and time again and dissin’ you and doggin’ you on purpose, but when I see you in your face, I’m like, “Yo man, you know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry man,’ but I don’t really mean it, then, you ain’t gonna go for that once you find out the truth because you ain’t no punk. You ain’t mocked. And it’s the same thing with God. We created in his image. So if we ain’t punks and gonna fall for that, then he certainly ain’t gonna go for that. BUT, if I’m your boy and I sincerely mess up. I just happen to do something wrong against you and you know I’m really sorry, and I’m like, ‘Yo man, my bad. I ain’t gonna do it no more, dog. I’m sorry,’ then you’ll forgive me in many cases, and it’s the same with God.”

Again, this is an example of theological dilettantism.

So, in Broussard’s mind, it’s OK to sin again and again and again heterosexually, and if you ask for forgiveness, you’re OK, because “God knows your heart”, and you’re “his boy”. BUT, if your sin is homosexual and you sin again and again habitually, and you ask for forgiveness, then you’re “not God’s boy”, because “God ain’t no punk”. And since homosexuals are always “goin’ out huntin’ for sin,” they aren’t asking for forgiveness, so they aren’t Christian. Because “God ain’t no punk” and “God is not mocked”. But if you’re straight, and you “ain’t gonna do it no more, dog,” then God will forgive you (“in many cases”).

Now I’ll ask again the larger question:

  • What does ANY of this have to do with Jason Collins announcing he’s gay in the NBA?
  • How is a theological conversation and condemnation a topic for discussion for ESPN?
  • And why would ESPN want THIS conversation about the condemnation of homosexuality entering into the conversation about a professional policy of tolerance for different sexual preferences in the NBA?

Why won’t Chris Broussard shut up about this? Perhaps because he knows it’s coming. And if he’s getting fired, he wants to portray ESPN as firing him for his religious beliefs, and not for his lack of professional discernment between those personal religious issues of faith, and those professional issues of policy. He knows he’s about to get fired, so he’s positioning himself as a martyr. And that will play and gain some traction among the most conservative Evangelicals in the country, who are always looking for a Christian martyr they can point to and say, “See, there is religious intolerance toward Christians in America.”

Yes. Religious intolerance in America. Against Christians. Of course.

By the way, at one point in his rambling toward the end of the interview, Broussard even talks about people who aren’t Christian using “condoms and strap-ons”, which elicits a audible sigh (“Ah, yeah…OK”) from a female host in the studio. Don’t miss that one.

ESPN might tolerate a mistake, but I don’t think they’ll tolerate an evangelist talking down to NBA fans.

Even the show’s hosts, who did an excellent job demonstrating patience throughout the interview, and asked some smart questions, tried to cut him off at the end of the interview. ESPN will do the same soon.

Maury has “You are NOT the Father”, so Chris Broussard should have a segment on ESPN called, “You are NOT a Christian!”

Maury Povich has special episodes of his Maury Povich Show called, “You are NOT the Father,” where men learn via paternity tests whether or not they are the father of a child, usually with the humiliated mother sitting there in the studio.

This travesty of American television gave me an idea following Chris Broussard’s declaration that newly-out gay NBA player Jason Collins is “not a Christian,” saying,

“I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle…if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says, ‘you know them by their fruits’, it says that, you know, that’s a sin, and if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin…I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God, and to Jesus Christ, so I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian.

Chris Broussard sat there on television and said that someone who claimed to be a Christian, really isn’t a Christian, because he disagreed with him doctrinally.

So, if ESPN is comfortable with its basketball analysts passing judgment on the religious claims of professional athletes, then I think ESPN should give Chris Broussard a new segment called, “You are NOT a Christian,” where Chris Broussard gives his ‘personal opinion’ why or why not certain athletes ARE or ARE NOT really adherents of the faiths they claim to follow.

Chris Broussard - You are NOT a Christian!

An invitation to the “You are NOT a Christian” episode of the new “Chris Broussard” show. (A spin-off from the Maury Povich Show)

It would go like this:

  • Jason Collins: because you are gay…you are NOT a Christian.
  • Tiger Woods: because you cheated on your wife…you are NOT a Buddhist.
  • Ephraim Salaam: because you are ‘walking in open rebellion to God’…you are NOT a Muslim.
  • Tim Tebow: because I agree with you doctrinally, you ARE a Christian.
  • But Ray Lewis: because of that whole stabbing thing, sorry, it was a close call, but…you are NOT a Christian.

That way, I don’t need to tune into Pat Robertson’s 700 Club on CBN to learn who really is a Christian and who I should oppose; I just need to turn over to ESPN.

Seriously, is THAT really what ESPN wants its analysts doing on TV? Passing judgment on the eternal souls of professional athletes based upon the analysts’ understanding and interpretation of his personal beliefs?

Chris Broussard - NOT a Christian

As one who has had this happen to him, I can tell you it’s sure to be a hit.

The Biblical Dilemma of Denouncing Slavery, Yet Opposing Homosexuality (again)

In light of recent claims that one most “possess the Holy Spirit” in order to interpret the Bible “properly”, I’d like to ask someone who believes he/she DOES possess the Holy Spirit and who is therefore eligible to translate this passage “properly” to interpret the following passage for me? (I only have a PhD in this subject, and have addressed this issue before, but those are the “thoughts of men” and multiple of my graduate degrees are from a “secular, public” university, so that doesn’t count to many who claim to possess the Holy Spirit.)

Would someone possessing the Holy Spirit please read the following verses and answer the following questions for me:

Lev. 25:44 As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that YOU MAY ACQUIRE MALE AND FEMALE SLAVES.

Lev. 25:45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; AND THEY MAY BE YOUR PROPERTY.

Lev. 25:46 You may KEEP THEM AS A POSSESSION for your children after you, for them TO INHERIT AS PROPERTY. THESE YOU MAY TREAT AS SLAVES

Q1. Is this the “inspired, word of God”?
Q2. Is God the objective ethical foundation for all morality in the world?
Q3. Does God of the Bible – at ANY point – ever rescind this command regarding slavery?
Q4. Does the NT command slaves to continue to obey their masters?
Q5. Do you believe that foreign persons can be acquired as slaves, bought and sold, and passed on to subsequent generations as inherited property?
Q6. Have you written your local congressman, or donated money to, or supported a constitutional amendment banning the “redefinition” of slavery?
Q7. Have you stated publicly that regardless what our “godless, secular government” does, you’re going to still listen to a “higher authority” and condemn homosexuals and endorse slavery?

Morality: Slavery vs. Homosexuality: Guess which one the Bible's OK with?Leviticus 25:44-46 is just as much the “words of God” as any other biblical command regarding social institutions in the Bible. The Bible never rescinds this command(!!), and the NT only reinforces the institution of slavery by commanding slaves to obey their masters (Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 2:18; Eph. 6:5 – thus, you can’t dismiss it and say, “Well the Old Testament was nailed to the cross”.) It doesn’t matter how one “defines” slavery; it has been defined quite accurately in the verses above above: owning people as property, and passing them along as inherited property to children. And we FOUGHT A WAR against people who attempted to argue that the above biblical endorsement of slavery should still be valid in this country in this modern time.

(Seriously, I must ask: why do so many of those who oppose same-sex marriage hail from the former Confederacy? Is there some demographic connection? Has any research been done on this?)

If you’re not going to embrace and defend slavery, then WHY ON EARTH, would you continue to condemn homosexuals?
WHY ON EARTH, then, would ANYONE continue to deny gays the same privileges and rights enjoyed by heterosexual individuals?

The God of the Bible CLEARLY says it’s OK to own and pass on slaves as property. HOW DO YOU ARGUE AROUND THAT FACT? Seriously: Have you given ANY THOUGHT WHATSOEVER about how you theologically argue around God’s endorsement of slavery in the Bible? And if so, WHY can’t you do THE SAME THING with homosexuality??

If you’re going to appeal to the “inspired, revealed Word of God”, from which you cannot pick and choose the verses you want to follow and dismiss because, “culture isn’t the final arbiter of truth, revelation is,” then why aren’t you using THE SAME LOGIC (and same hermeneutic) toward gay people as you do toward slavery?

THIS IS WHAT I MEAN when I say, “YOU ARE THOSE PEOPLE“. That’s you. When you condemn homosexuals and when you argue that they shouldn’t have the same rights and privileges as we have, THAT’S YOU defending slavery. THAT’S YOU making the SAME argument. That’s you appealing to the Bible to condemn a victimless so-called “crime” against God.

The irony, of course, is that in SLAVERY, there IS a DEFINITE VICTIM – THE SLAVE! - and it is therefore a crime. BUT, in a HOMOSEXUAL relationship between two consenting adults, there IS NO VICTIM!!!!! Point to the victim. There is no victim! And if there is no victim, there is no crime!

Slavery is ENDORSED and AUTHORIZED by God, DESPITE the obvious hardships imposed on the victims/slaves. And yet, there is no victim in homosexuality, and yet THAT is the verse you choose to defend, and not slavery????

YOU ARE THOSE PEOPLE! Those who oppose slavery yet condemn homosexuals are UNABASHED HYPOCRITES, because they read the Bible one way to dismiss slavery, and the opposite way to condemn homosexuality.

YOU ARE AN ILLOGICAL, UNASHAMED HYPOCRITE if you condemn homosexuals and do NOT endorse slavery. You are unworthy of being called “righteous”, or “scholar”, or even “humane”.

It’s that simple: YOU ARE “THOSE PEOPLE”. You should walk around with a sandwich sign around your neck saying, “I’m a Christian hypocrite, because I think some explicit social commands of God can be ignored, but others must be maintained”, especially those commands that condemn victimless activities like picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36) and homosexuality.

Let me say this to those who oppose same-sex marriage – ESPECIALLY IN THE NAME OF GOD: You are deserving of all public shame, chastisement, loss of reputation, and abandonment of friends and colleagues (both secular and Christian) that accompanied those who freely chose to defend the divinely ordained institution of slavery. You deserve the loathing you receive, for you have chosen to suppress the rights and privileges of your fellow human because you think God told you to do so, but you don’t condemn evenhandedly. You deserve to be intellectually exposed and called out publicly, because you condemn in the name of a god who ENDORSED, LEGISLATED, and MAINTAINED SLAVERY!

YOU ARE “THOSE PEOPLE”.

that awkward moment (surreal actually) when Christians dismiss the scholarship of non-Christians

That awkward moment when you ask, "Hey, I wonder if there's been any more public discussion on whether or not I'm saved"...

So it turns out that there has been a discussion online regarding my personal religious views (or lack thereof). Ironically, the subject made its way into the public realm when my friend, Dr. Jim West, introduced the topic as a red herring distraction from a lengthy discussion we had been having about why he continues to support the denial of rights and privileges to same-sex couples when it comes to having their marriages legally recognized by various secular state governments. The discussion where I challenged Dr. West on his fallacious logic regarding what he insists must necessarily follow if same-sex marriage is legalized can be found in the comments here.

In response to our exchange, Dr. West posted this post, in which he introduces yet another logical fallacy (a red herring) which he has used in the past, namely, that only Christians can critique Christianity, and that critiques made by those who are not Christians can be dismissed because they have no vested interest in the preservation of the faith. Or, to use Dr. West’s words,

“…we have different perspectives PRECISELY because I see life through the lens of Christian faith and he does not. It is for this reason that our views on several issues differ…I simply recognize that, at the end of the day, we approach problems and issues from differing starting points.”

Of course, once anyone reads the original disagreement, one quickly notices the inherent logical fallacy is Dr. West’s line of reasoning: my critique was regarding Dr. West’s selective hermeneutic depending on the particular social issue he’s addressing. While discussing slavery, despite the fact that the Bible clearly establishes divinely ordained slavery (Lev. 25:44; Exod. 21:4-6; Deut. 15:16-17) and endorses this previously established slavery (Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18; Col. 3:22; Eph. 6:5), Dr. West opposes it. Similarly, despite the fact that the Bible clearly sees women as secondary in status to men, and that the New Testament commands women to remain silent (1 Cor. 14:34; Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22-23) and not to have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12), Dr. West does not preach the continued suppression of women’s rights in our secular government. And yet, when I asked him why he continues to support the suppression of the rights and privileges of same-sex couples, he responded with a different, more fundamentalist, literalistic hermeneutic, stating:

“…i’m a christian and we don’t have the luxury of dispensing with things just because our culture thinks we should. culture isn’t the final arbiter of truth. revelation is.”

Of course, the blatant hypocrisy and inconsistency of this highly selective hermeneutic is glaring. Are not the passages condoning slavery and the suppression of women also “revealed Scripture”? Why is it that when the biblical revelation orders women to remain silent, Dr. West uses one hermeneutic to work around the passage so as to allow some women to have authority over men in the secular state government, but when homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, all of a sudden this sacred revelation is binding for all time, even for our secular government?

The question I posed to Dr. West was why he inconsistently employed one hermeneutic to read passages he was OK with dismissing, and a different hermeneutic to retain prohibitions against things he didn’t like (like homosexuality). And yet, Dr. West’s response deflected from his own inconsistency, and he proceeded to attack the accreditation of the one pointing out the hypocrisy, namely, me. I wasn’t a Christian, so we simply have to agree to disagree. However, that wasn’t the point of contention! The issue was Dr. West’s inconsistency, not my accreditation.

I based my critique on logic and facts (what the text actually says), and because he had no answer to his inconsistency, he simply ignored the critique, and invoked a rhetorical red herring to deflect from the critique: I wasn’t a Christian, so we’re going to disagree on this.

The only problem is, ignoring a critique does not invalidate the critique. Or, to quote Aldous Huxley, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Or put another way, exposure of genuine logical fallacies and hermeneutical inconsistencies are valid regardless of who is pointing it out. The fact that one is not part of a particular group does not negate said person’s critiques of said group. To argue that one must first be a devout, believing Muslim in order to truly understand and therefore critique Islam is just as fallacious when it is applied to Christianity. (And qal w’homer, it is all the more fallacious when the one doing the critiquing has, in fact, been formally trained in both a graduate Christian seminary and at the doctoral level in one of the top state universities in the nation.) And, Dr. West would be among the first to affirm the notion that a person need not be properly accredited or affiliated in order to convey truth, be it an unaccredited college or an unaffiliated congregant. Dr. West knows that one’s lack of affiliation and accreditation does not limit one’s ability to speak truth.

And yet, rather than answer the question, Dr. West dismissed the critique arguing that since I was an agnostic, my point of view was not binding upon Christians (again, a non sequitur).

So, Dr. James McGrath called Dr. West on his dodge and non sequitur, describing Dr. West’s comments regarding same-sex marriage to be “so ridiculously illogical as to be bizarre”.

In response to this, Dr. West, rather than acknowledge that he had dodged the issue at hand, doubled down on my agnosticism, claiming,

“I didn’t say Bob wasn’t a Christian. BOB SAYS Bob isn’t a Christian. Bob calls himself an agnostic.”

And while the statement is true (although I would ask whether one can question the unprovable faith claims made by a group and still retain affiliation with said group), it continues to miss the point: Dr. West’s entire critique of whatever my personal religious beliefs may or may not be was a diversionary tactic designed to avoid addressing his inconsistent interpretation of passages, as well as his selective invoking of the “revelation” of the Bible. Dr. McGrath went so far as to remind Dr. West that the Israelite Exodus from Egypt is also “revealed” – (in fact, they named an entire book after it!) – and yet, Dr. West has elected to follow the interpretative conclusions of the so-called biblical “minimalists” and deny the biblical accounts of the Exodus as they are presented in the Bible. Dr. West has even written in defense of “minimalism”, and has argued that those who insist upon the historicity of the very “revealed” biblical accounts of the Exodus “are the true distorters of Scripture.”

Once again, Dr. West rejects slavery and the suppression of women, and rejects the historical biblical Exodus, but when it comes to marriage equality for same-sex couples before the law, he suddenly remembers that Scripture is “revelation” that must be codified into secular state law for all time. The selective inconsistency is obvious.

Joel Watts also chimed in with a thoughtful piece asking whether the religious preference of an individual actually matters in a scholarly discussion about the Bible. Mr. Watts rightly challenges Dr. West’s fallacy that “acceptable facts can only generate from acceptable quarters,” and rightly concludes:

“…who the hell cares what religion someone is if their statements are supported by the philosopher’s trinity — facts, logic, and reasoning? Further, the religion of the person, or the lack thereof, does not in anyway limit them from contributing to a discussion on said religion.”

But meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, an interesting thing began to occur on James McGrath’s blog; a conversation broke out regarding whether or not I was actually a Christian. I watched as different individuals chimed in with evidence for and against my religious affiliation. The conversation got so bogged down in claims and counterclaims that James suggested that someone take the time to just ask me. So one of the individuals making comments (named “pithom”) did just that: invited me to answer the question once and for all.

And so I did. Here’s the text of my response on Dr. McGrath’s blog:

“that’s not a bad idea. and thanx to pithom for the invitation.

so tell me: where in matthew 25, when the king is separating the sheep from the goats, does it list church attendance, proper position on same-sex marriage, or even belief in the existence of god in the list of reasons given by the king for admission into the kingdom.

where in this passage (matt 25:31-46) does it even mention doing these deeds in the name of jesus?

what is more important: proper action or proper belief?

i say action. lived life is superior to believed life, and i’m not even from missouri.

kind and just deeds are not means to an end; they are ends in themselves. we should not do kind things so we can get something in return (like a hypothetical star in a hypothetical crown in a hypothetical heaven). rather, we should do what is right because it is the right thing to do, understanding ‘right’ as that which builds up self and neighbor and community, and makes others’ lives a little brighter.

if we take care of each other, the afterlife will take care of itself. and if there is none, then we still lived a great life, and our children will speak highly of us at the city gates. and if there is, then all the better.

stop arguing about life after death and start living the one before it. live it well. be merciful. be fair. and love one another.

however you define that, that’s what i am.”

Of course, anyone who has ever read my “about me” page on this blog or my Wikipedia user page should be able to ascertain the answer. But still, my personal beliefs (or lack thereof) are not the point!

Rather, the points are twofold:

  1. One’s personal religious or nonreligious affiliation should not matter in a professional, scholarly debate about the subject matter. Unless one appeals to one’s own faith as evidence in support of an argument, one’s personal religious beliefs, or lack thereof, should be moot. As long as the argument is rooted in facts, evidence, logic, and reason, then it doesn’t matter if the scholar is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, capitalist, communist, or Martian: sound arguments are sound regardless of who makes them.
  2. The entire discussion over the fate of my eternal soul and my status as a Christian was, from the outset, a diversion from the issue at hand: Jim West’s inconsistent hermeneutic, and his selective appeal to the “revealed” status of Christian Scripture when the condemnation of homosexuality was under discussion. The entire discussion of my agnosticism is moot.

So, Joel Watts decided to have some fun with the situation, and after asking me if he could, posted an online poll asking whether or not I am “saved”. But the poll was designed to highlight the above two points: that in scholarship, one’s religious affiliation or non-affiliation is moot as long as the arguments are sound.

Interestingly, Joel informs me that at last count, with 29 votes cast, over half of those casting votes apparently understand the fallacy of Jim West’s diversionary tactic, and 55% have voted that my religious affiliation “doesn’t matter because facts are facts.” However, I was also intrigued to discover that 34% went ahead and voted “no”, that I’m not saved, and that only a paltry 10% (3 votes) voted that I am, in fact, “saved”.

Thus, from this data we can conclude two things:

  1. that I had better stock up on otherworldly fire retardant, and more importantly,
  2. we can see why fallacious appeals to an opponent’s lack of faith (like screaming “ATHEIST!”) are so effective: nearly half of those casting votes cast judgment on the fate of my soul rather than notice that the poll was designed to test whether voters could recognize the logical fallacy of appealing to my moot religious affiliation. (But I do offer my thanks to those three brave souls who consider me saved. ;-)

I want my friend to change his opinion on same-sex marriage. I want him to see the beam in his own eye – the inconsistency of his hermeneutic – that everyone else so clearly sees. I want him to see that using an appeal to the revelatory nature of the Bible to suppress the civil (not religious, but civil) rights and privileges of LGBTQ individuals is just as wrong as when it was done to slaves in the 1860s and to women in the early 1900s. I want him to stop posting embarrassing (and to many, offensive) comparisons between homosexuality and criminal activities like polygamy and pedophilia, and lumping them all together by arguing, “insofar as they are deviations, they are similar.” Such comments are not worthy of scholars and professionals, but are instead what we have come to expect from many fundamentalist preachers and politicians. I want my friend to change his scholarly opinion, and I want him to stop attacking the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of other scholars making valid points. Again, such sloppy rhetoric is not worthy of scholars.

Rather than make my personal beliefs the topic of conversation, I simply ask my friend to apply a consistent hermeneutic to his reading of the Bible, and to stop singling out gays for special condemnation.


for the back story:

Marriage Equality for All Americans

Even the Bible(s and dictionaries) support marriage equality for all Americans.

Hebrew Bibles and dictionaries form an equal sign in support of marriage equality for all Americans.

Hebrew Bibles and dictionaries form an equal sign in support of marriage equality for all Americans.

I AM ON RECORD for Marriage Equality for all Americans.

I AM ON RECORD for Marriage Equality for all Americans.

I AM ON RECORD in support of marriage equality for all Americans

I AM ON RECORD for Marriage Equality for all Americans.

I AM ON RECORD for Marriage Equality for all Americans.

Come on folks. It’s time to stand up and be heard on this issue. Marriage equality for same-sex couples is now before the Supreme Court.

Stand up and be counted.

PLEASE DO NOT stand idly by and hold the coats of those who would openly discriminate against the civil (not religious, civil) rights of other Americans!

 

I am ON RECORD as a professor of RELIGIOUS STUDIES at the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA in support of marriage equality for all Americans!


Read more (from most recent to oldest):

“Myth of a Christian Nation” Question of the Day

I have a question regarding the myth that the United States was founded as a

I have a question regarding the myth that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation”.

Following up on Piers Morgan’s debate with Rick Warren, here’s your “Myth of a Christian Nation” question of the day.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Thus, in the U.S., you can worship any god you want to worship, and this is legal, acceptable, and protected by the Constitution.

However, Deuteronomy 13:12-16 says the following:

Deut. 13:12 If you hear it said about one of the towns that the LORD your God is giving you to live in,
Deut. 13:13 that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” whom you have not known,
Deut. 13:14 then you shall inquire and make a thorough investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you,
Deut. 13:15 you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it—even putting its livestock to the sword.
Deut. 13:16 All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt.

Now, we have heard many Christians say that the laws of the Old Testament have been “nailed to the cross” and are no longer binding. For instance, despite the fact that Lev. 11:10-12 clearly states that the children of God cannot eat shellfish:

Lev. 11:10 But anything in the seas or the streams that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and among all the other living creatures that are in the waters—they are detestable to you
Lev. 11:11 and detestable they shall remain. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall regard as detestable.
Lev. 11:12 Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.

Christians will argue that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 “trumps” this law, allowing Christians to eat food previously deemed “unkosher”.

Acts 10:13 Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.”
Acts 10:14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.”
Acts 10:15 The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”

Likewise, despite the fact that Exodus 20:8-10 – one of the 10 Commandments no less – clearly states that one should not work on the Sabbath,

Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Ex. 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
Ex. 20:10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

the NT gospel of Mark 2:27-28 states:

Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath;
Mark 2:28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

and Christians use this text to argue that even though at one time God had people PUT TO DEATH for so much as picking up sticks on the Sabbath (cf. Num. 15:32-36:

Num. 15:32 When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day.
Num. 15:33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron, and to the whole congregation.
Num. 15:34 They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
Num. 15:35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him outside the camp.”
Num. 15:36 The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. )

despite this, Christians no longer have to keep the Sabbath.

So, because the NT “overrides” the OT, the laws in the OT don’t have to be kept anymore.

EXCEPT, of course, for those laws that are NOT overridden, or better yet, those that are REITERATED and RESTATED by none less than Jesus himself, well, THOSE laws (like condemning homosexuals in Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 AND in Rom. 1:26–27, 1 Cor. 6:9–10, and 1 Tim. 1:9–10) – these OT laws are to be KEPT and ENFORCED by Christians, because the condemnation was repeated in the NT.

Got all that?? So here’s my question:

Where in the NT does Jesus say it’s OK to worship other gods?

Where does Paul say it? Where does Peter say it? I mean, if we’re supposedly a “Christian nation”, and Deuteronomy 13:12-16 clearly states that anyone who worships another god must be put to death – THEY AND THEIR ENTIRE TOWN!! – because another god was worshiped somewhere in the land, and if not one, but three of the 10 Commandments clearly state:

Ex. 20:3 you shall have no other gods before me.
Ex. 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Ex. 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

then there must be someplace in the NT where Jesus or Paul or SOMEBODY says it’s OK to worship other gods (IF, that is, we’re a “Christian nation”.) Right? It must be there in the NT, because religious plurality would CLEARLY violate the commands of the eternal, omnipotent, infallible, inerrant God who clearly spells out in no uncertain terms that we’re NOT supposed to worship other gods, and yet our nation has legislated, nay, our nation was founded on the idea of religious plurality. That is, our nation is founded on a principle that is directly contradictory to one of the most fundamental biblical Christian principles: worship only God.

So it must be in there somewhere.

So where is it?

I can’t find it in Matt. 4:10:

Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

I don’t see it in Matt. 22:36-38:

Matt. 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
Matt. 22:37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
Matt. 22:38 This is the greatest and first commandment.

I don’t read it in 1 Cor. 10:14:

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

So WHERE IS IT EXACTLY that the NT authorizes our United States of America to protect those who worship other gods from the very punishments prescribed and authorized by the Bible against those who do so??

(And if the founding document of the U.S. is going legislate AGAINST the first 4 Commandments, then how again were we established as a “Christian Nation”?)

(Or, could it be that our nation was established with some laws that happen to be congruent with some Christian teaching (as well as with many other religions’ and philosophies’ teachings), but was NOT established as a “Christian nation”, especially given the fact that many of the founders were avowed Deists who believed in the existence of a god – a “grand architect of the universe” – but one who revealed himself through the strict physical laws of the universe – Deists who openly chastised Christians and Christianity for its reliance on miracles and mythology that contradicted the very fixed physical principles of nature they felt revealed the nature of God?)

But I digress. Let’s stick to the initial question: Where in the NT does it authorize our United States of America to protect those who worship other gods, when the OT clearly condemns it, IF we were founded as a “Christian nation”?


For more on this topic, read my earlier post: we were NOT founded as a christian nation: thoughts on article 11 of the u.s. treaty with tripoli

Also check out nonstampcollector’s (blog, YouTube) video, which makes a similar point:

Comments welcome.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,849 other followers

%d bloggers like this: