This week the aptly named ShipofFools.com published a list of the "Worst Bible Verses" submitted by readers. Coming in at #1 on the charts was 1 Timothy 2:12:
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent."
This is a popular passage cited to oppose female priests. The complete Top 10 list is here:
Simon Jenkins, editor of shipoffools.com, said the idea behind the web poll was to make people think about the dangers of selectively quoting from the bible.
Really? That was the intent. I'm personally glad Mr. Jenkins clarified the "Mission Statement" from their website:
"That's why Ship of Fools is launching a poll to find the worst verse in the whole Bible. We want you to tell us: which sacred text makes you reach for the red pen? Which hallowed verse makes you laugh for all the wrong reasons? Which blessed passage leaves you groaning with embarrassment? Which piece of holy writ troubles you at night, but at least keeps you awake in sermons?" (http://shipoffools.com/features/2009/chapter_and_worse.html)
Laugh for the wrong reasons? Groaning with embarrassment?
A recent survey reviewed the progressive and conservative views on the Bible and their priorities. 50% of those conservatives polled take a literal view of scripture with only 3% of progressives sharing that ideal. Most progressives claim that the Bible 'contains' the word of God; it's not the literal word of God or the inspired word of God but simply contains the word of God.
Only half of conservative Christians believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture and 97% of "Progressive Christians" view the Bible as "inspired" at best.
When political ideology was incorporated, the conservative Christians listed abortion as the "most important" (83%), gay marriage (65%) and everything else fell no higher than about 25%.
Compare to the progressives: poverty (74%), Health care (67%), the environment (56%), jobs/economy (48%) and the Iraq War (45%) --link to complete survey below.
So we have Conservatives and Liberals aka Progressives and MOST Conservatives take a literal view of Scripture and Liberals dismiss it only as a "guide". I've been told and confirmed on Wikipedia: "Jesus Christ, some view him not as the only way to God, but one of many ways, continuing the Christian modernist paradigm."
I'm really venting now, but I find that cult nature of social justice (poverty, health care etc...) as a substitute for the directives of the Bible. For many, literal interpretation of the Bible requires "too much" from people so they venture into the land of a la carte Christianity.
The ShipofFools website pointed out something very telling: for some Christians, modern beliefs such as feminism and modern lifestyles aren't balanced against the words of God, they are an embarrassment, a joke -- making you "laugh for the wrong reasons"
See, we have the most amazing country on the planet that protects your right to practice how ever you choose. From Atheism to religious fanatics, America has it all. I don't believe you pluck out some feel good verses to feel like a Christian any more that you pluck out some verses to condemn others.
The Bible is a body of work, very complex but our guide to communication to God, fulfilling his purpose for us and walking in the blessing of salvation that Jesus Christ gave us.
Jesus Christ took it literally, quoted Old Testament reguarly believing in a literal translation. (see also Luke when Jesus rebukes Satan by quoting Deuteronomy)
The disciples took Jesus' commands literally, so why shouldn't we?
I'm certainly NOT embarrassed or laughing at the "word of God"(as Progressives descrbe it)
#1 Worst Verse was brought to us by Timothy, so only fitting to allow Timothy to retort:
2 Timothy 2:15:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
Public Religion Research survey: http://www.publicreligion.org/blog/2009/09/15/2009-religious-conservative-progressive-activist-surveys/