Slavery, Bacon, Gays and Jesus
One of the things that has always bothered me about the Bible is the flexibility of the social codes. So many Christians are willing to tout the infallibility of the text and yet claim some of the more unsavory aspects are no longer applicable.
Jesus didn’t have a problem with slavery. (More often than not, the Bible referred to them as “servants” but really, they were slaves.) He never condemned it. He never advocated that a person’s life is their own. In fact, he actually healed a man’s dying servant. He was willing to save the slave’s life but not give him freedom. The Bible is riddled with rules that delineate the relationship between master and slave.
There were many times during the days of American slavery where owners would use the Bible as justification for their owning slaves.
But today, we have a moral repulsion to slavery. It’s even an established right in America that you can’t own anyone.
Then there’s divorce. Jesus spoke about his feelings on the subject and was pretty clear about how He felt.
“Now I say this to you: anyone who divorces his wife — I am not speaking of an illicit marriage — and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’”
Sooooo, either there are a sea of adulterers out there (half of all marriages) or we’re not having a whole lot of proper marriages.
I’m willing to bet that a lot of divorced Christians don’t consider themselves adulterers. I can’t stop myself from typing out that a survey once showed Evangelicals have the highest divorce rate among Christians.
Many times I hear the arguments from Christians that Jesus preached during a different time in history, when slavery was allowed and divorce was frowned upon. They say that the times have changed since He walked the Earth.
This applies to the entire Bible of course. Polygamy, slavery, stonings— they were legal, encouraged even. Divorce, eating pork, women serving food while on their periods—they were forbidden. Yet so many Christians want to use the Bible to justify their positions to castigate homosexuality, hate Muslims, legislate morality among others.
Homosexuality is a personal favorite. Just like eating pork and divorce, it is condemned in the Bible. Why is it that views on divorce, premarital sex and ham have relaxed but not on being gay?
Bottom line: if values change from one era to another, then we can’t cherry pick elements out of the Bible that we want to apply and others that we don’t. Buffet-style morality based on the Bible isn’t based on the Bible at all.
When you do that, you’re selections aren’t Bible-based— they’re really the mores that WE want to see enforced. If you really believe in God or Jesus Christ, then you would already know that people don’t have the authority to play Solomon with the Good Book.
Let’s just admit that Christians are using the Bible and its text as a front for their own personal fears and hatred of things they don’t like. When they say that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, they’re really saying that THEY personally think homosexuality is wrong and that they have the authority to deem it so.
Well, we are not God or Jesus.
But we are divorcees, gays, bacon lovers, sinners and most importantly, free.
(originally appeared on sublimelife.org)