Wednesday, November 7, 2012

“If the Bible Promotes Immorality and Irrationality, it should be Rejected!”

Many atheists claim that Christians are hypocrites because we defend Biblical teachings, “knowing” that these teachings contradict our conscience, reason and the Bible itself (for example, it’s teachings regarding slavery!). To put it in another way, many atheists charge that the Bible promotes immorality and irrationality, and therefore, it should be discarded.

First of all, I have to admit that not everything that the Bible teaches accords with my moral sense or even my understanding. I consequently struggle to reconcile these areas of tension. I also must admit my bias – I am convinced that the Bible is actually the Word of God. Therefore, the reconciliation that I hope to achieve involves the tweaking of either my interpretation of Scripture or my own moral and intellectual inclinations.

Does admitting perplexity about the Bible’s teachings in one area, while strongly affirming its teachings in another area, make me a hypocrite? I don’t see why it should. Should I reject the Bible because it is not entirely amenable to my attempts to understand it? Certainly not! Perhaps we can answer this question with a parallel question:

  • Should we reject science and its findings because it is not entirely amenable to our understanding? Does it make hypocrites out of scientists if they continue to champion science even though it has yielded many counter-intuitive – even counter-science - conclusions?

The consensus view is that sub-atomic particles actually defy our understanding of science – the separation of investigator from what is investigated. In contrast to this, the consensus view is that investigation directly and necessarily impacts the reality (sub-atomic particles) of what is investigated. Does this paradox convert the scientist into a hypocrite? Does it invalidate the entire scientific enterprise? No one has ever leveled this charge against the scientist and for good reason.

Let’s just put aside sub-atomic particles. Science can’t even reconcile the basics, like the nature of light. Is it a wave or a particle? Besides this perplexity, we can’t fathom why it is that some waves kill (gamma waves), others give life, and while others cook (microwaves). And somehow, they all maintain their integrity in the mysterious ether of space as they cris-cross without end.

Science cannot even provide precise definitions for space, time or matter. Does this mean that we reject science? Certainly not! However, the atheist claims that we should reject the Bible for similar reasons – that the facts of the Bible sometimes transcend our understanding.

This is grossly unfair! If we remain in perplexity about the creation and the science that attempts to understand it, how much more should we be awed by its Creator!

Where’s the hypocrisy? Perhaps in the mind of the observer!

The atheist faces an even greater challenge when he claims that the teachings of the Bible contradict what is truly ethical. In order to make such a claim, they would need to have the absolute moral standard against which to measure the Biblical teachings in order to demonstrate that they are in error. However, the atheist has no basis for such standards.

Generally, when the atheist concludes that the Bible is in moral error, it is because he measures the Bible’s teachings against what has come to be generally accepted in today’s Western universities – hardly an objective standard! In other words, if the Bible fails to measure up to the politically correct, university understanding on abortion, this proves that the Bible is in error and should be discarded. It also makes everyone who upholds the Bible a hypocrite.

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