How often have you heard the following sentence from the faithful:
“That’s not what it says. You’re taking it out of context!”
I personally am the last guy, who would ever try to intentionally misrepresent my interlocutors position and I always try to give Christians the benefit of the doubt but as I found out, they more often than not, try to use the word context as their own personal “Get Out of Jail Free card” .
Just yesterday I had a talk with a Christian, where I brought up 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12 where God intentionally sends people a delusion, which seems to be in contrast with Hebrews 6: 18, where it says that God cannot lie. The excuse for this was, that God sends this delusion not directly but indirectly, as God did the same with the Pharao in Exodus where he hardened the Pharao’s heart. As he claimed, God did not directly harden his heart but the Pharao resisted the truth so the holy spirit was withdrawn by his won choice and so in essence the Pharao brought this upon himself.
As I read through Exodus I must admit that I did find passages where the Pharao did harden his heart himself (Exodus 8:15) but yet in other’s God hardened it (Exodus 9:12).To me it seemed like both God and the Pharao played a role in the Pharao’s refusal to free Yahweh’s chosen people. I found however no passage, which indicated, that a holy spirit was withdrawn from the Pharao and in 2 Thessalonians 2 it is not about hardened hearts at all, it is about a delusion sent from God with no indication that he did it indirectly through withdrawing any holy spirit.
When I brought this up my interlocutor he just said that “You must let the Bible interpret itself!” in other words: I should always give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, even in the event of the most obvious contradiction, I must infer what is not indicated anywhere in the Bible in order to save it from inconsistencies (if you find a passage that talks about God withdrawing the holy spirit in order to harden hearts and even better in order to send delusions please let me know; I will then correct or even retract my post) .
In general the mental gymnastics that Christians pull off are amazing. They come up with any excuse possible just so they don’t have to admit, that their God isn’t perfect.
Too often have I heard it said that “That’s the old testament! It doesn’t apply anymore.” They rarely answer my follow up question, whether they think the laws of the old testament are good or bad and when they do they either ask “Who are you to judge God?” completely ignoring that they judged him to be good or they say “It was a different time with a different culture” thereby conceding that morality isn’t universal and absolute.
The bottom line is this: They cannot critically evaluate the Bible and just read what it says, they have to add words to scripture and make stuff up that isn’t indicated anywhere, completely withdraw any moral judgement concerning scripture and ignore inconvenient passages altogether just to keep believing. There are no lengths that believers won’t go to even if it means defending rape, slavery and Genocide or rationalizing the words of the Bible with any excuses possible regardless of the fact, that they’re not indicated anywhere.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation