When Con Men Use the Bible to Sell Evil

Three_early_medicine_bottles

“Snake oil” medicine bottles. From Wikipedia.

It’s been interesting watching the presidential election unfold in the U.S. It is truly revealing the hearts and intentions of those who claim to follow Christ.

For example, I’ve seen articles and videos from so-called prophets and church leaders insisting that Christians should vote for a certain orange-tinted candidate. And not just insist, but actually shame those who have declared they cannot vote for such a person. A few days ago, I read an article by one gentleman who says Christians who dare oppose said candidate for moral reasons are Pharisees…just like the people who crucified Jesus.

Really?!

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How the Bible contradicts itself and why it’s not a problem.

The graph of biblical contradictions

Growing up under fundamentalism, I spent a lot of time defending the Bible. After all, I loved the Bible–Old and New Testament. Still do. It has been my life manual, my source of wisdom, and (most recently) a divine source of comfort. Nothing else quite sets my heart at peace like reading and meditating upon the scriptures.

Unfortunately, I was taught to read the scriptures only one way–according to the narrow doctrine of my church. In that view, the Bible had only one message, and that message was crystal clear to everyone who wasn’t blinded, in some way, by the world and its sinful liberalism. According to my church, the Bible contained absolutely nothing contradictory; it all lined up perfectly from beginning to end and could be explained in absolute terms.

So imagine my shock when people outside my faith tradition began pointing out ideas and messages in the Bible that actually were contradictory. Imagine further my surprise when I began discovering some of these conflicts on my own. For instance: Continue reading