Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Bible on Trial

One of the headlines of the Sept. 9, 2009 edition of WorldNetDaily reads:

“'Gay' man sues Bible publisher for 'mental anguish'
$10 million sought for 'negative connotation' toward homosexuals”

Why “mental anguish?” The claimant says “the company published Bibles with a negative connotation toward homosexuals.” Were these Bibles different from others? No! They simply contained the standard verses against the practice of homosexuality.

I certainly can’t doubt the fact that the Bible has caused him anguish. (It has caused me some degree of anguish on occasion!) Nor do I want to be insensitive to the claimant’s struggle. However, I do think that it is unreasonable to try to silence every voice that might bring us some discomfort. After all, I would suspect that he is bringing some anguish with his suit against the Bible publisher. If not anguish, at least some discomfort over the expense of a protracted court battle.

In order to illustrate the absurdity of this type of claim, let’s look at a few examples. Should our Bibles also remove reference to the sins of adultery, theft, and bitterness because these denunciations might be causing someone some discomfort? Well, it seems like there is a place for a bit of discomfort, especially for those causing others pain.

But if the Bible is going to remove its uncomfortable references to homosexuality, how about its references to the various people-groups that fall into its scope? Frankly, the Bible doesn’t have much positive to say about any peoples—not the Jews, Egyptians, Babylonians, Canaanites, or anyone else. After all, it shouldn’t, since we are all sinners who need a Savior. That’s the Biblical message. So we shouldn’t expect the Bible to flatter our tender egos.

Let’s look at this another way. If we are to remove the offensive references from the Bible, shouldn’t we also remove them from our law books and our psychology texts. The criminal code books make us all look like criminals for not fully paying our taxes or putting quarters into our parking meters. The psych texts make us all out to be mentally ill. (Which one of us hasn’t seen himself represented in one or all of those hideous texts!) Should our books only contain pleasant references?

I don’t wish to dismiss anyone’s feelings, but it should be clear that there are more important things to consider. Occasionally, we need someone to hold up a mirror to our face to show us our faults. There is such a thing as constructive criticism. Going through the day without anyone getting into-our-face might be comfortable, but it might not be what we need. Occasionally, we need someone to speak truth to us in love, and I can think of no better source for this than the Bible.

Sadly, the young man who is bringing this suit is not alone in thinking that it’s not right for anyone or any book to bring him anguish. We have become a people who are convinced that we are entitled to feel good. Ironically, the very Book that they are assailing is the Book that provides the perfect antidote for their woes.

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