Hateful Bile of the Day Award Goes to…

…this person (cowardly anonymous commenter).  Who writes (and I quote):

You are by far the most ignorant person on the entire planet. I think you just wanted to use the word dillettante. I hope that if God does save the world you suffer the most horrible awful painful death anyone can every imagine. People like you are the reason that there are problems. You ridicule people or their beliefs because you are an arrogant peice of shit that has nothing better to do than put other people down. No matter how successful you may be, you are still a worthless pos in the worlds eyes. At least, anyone that truly matters. Your response may be something like, “how can you talk about ridiculing people’s beliefs when you are doing it yourself?” and you are right. I shouldn’t even bother with you because you are a waste of life. A waste of breath. You will burn in He’ll forever. You are the one who needs help because you cannot think outside of the box. You cannot think anything other than what you have learned which makes you weak in your mind. You are not intelligent at all. Smart, but not intelligent. You will never discover something to help people because all of your knowledge is just regergitated information. There’s nothing special about your thoughts whatsoever. You are a sinking ship. You will soon drown in sorrow as your life dips into a slow painful drop where you cease to feel any joy at all. Hope for your recovery is over you by good people. However, my thoughts, eat shit fucker.

Apparently it came to my blog searching for Bible passages that mention Osama bin Laden and came across my blog post calling such people dilettantes.  Need I say more?

Searching for Muses: Do Bible Verses Support Osama’s Death?

According to statistics today, a great deal of blog hits have come from people searching for Biblical support for Osama’s death.  I worry greatly about people who seek validation for modern affairs in a book, as a part of a corpus of other books, gathered hundreds of years ago, wherein the books within were written thousands of years ago, and for completely different reasons (albeit, the reasons were theological–not prophetic).

Here are some of the search queues:

  • bible verses osama
  • bible verses to support osama bin laden’s death
  • bible verse osama bin laden
  • acripture regarding bin ladens death (sic)
  • good bible verses relating to osama’s death
  • bible verses about osama bin laden death
  • christian verses on bin laden
  • bible verses on the death of osama
  • how to apply scripture to bin ladens death

I stress again what I have stressed countless times before.  It is dilettante-esque to believe one can (a) find passages to support murder in an ancient book, written for other reasons, hundreds of years ago and (b) find verses which mention or discuss current events (you have to not only be a dilettante, but you have to be completely stupid to think Osama is mentioned or discussed in the Bible–so if you were one of those people who were searching for Biblical references to Osama…don’t admit it to anyone and save yourself the embarrassment).

So what should you do if you want to find validation for the death of Osama?  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Seek council from other (currently living, that is to say, alive) human beings.  You can find them in your church, synagogue, mosque, community center, school, where ever.  But the Bible doesn’t have the answers because (*gasp*) the books of the Bible weren’t written for you.
  2. Consider why you are seeking reasons to happily justify death with more death (while I am as relieved as any other American that Osama is dead, I still recognize that killing is killing, regardless how you dress it up).
  3. If you are seeking evidence from the Bible that the death of Osama will usher in the end times, you might need serious medical or psychological evaluation.  Or you can join a cult and follow this loon.  He’s a dilettante as well, so you can have all sorts of deplorable and dilettantish conversations that distort and manipulate the Biblical texts. (But just to be sure you’re aware, since you are into these sorts of dilettante things, the world will not end this month either).

Whatever you choose to do, do something.  Because, trust me, if you got here by searching for these or similar terms, you’re doing it wrong.

Thoughts on the use of Scripture and Osama bin Laden’s Death

A lot of my colleagues and fellow Bibliobloggers are writing on the temperament of Christian reactions of the death of Osama bin Laden.  In particular, it seems the focus is on urging the reading the Matt 5.44, Luke 6.28, or Matt 5.39.  These are verses which prescribe tolerance and acceptance.  In a way, yes, I certainly agree, but all of this ‘turn the other cheek’ language is seems misplaced when we read Luke 19:27:

“‘But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

And I raise this point merely to support Jim West’s post, which quotes Pro 24:17-18.  We can continue to accept that Jesus would want peace, that he would never stand for the death of another individual, that killing is murder, regardless of how you dress it up and therefore Jesus would disapprove.  But when we exegete verses, wherein we pick and choose which words of Jesus to follow while ignoring others, like Luke 19:27, we are only supporting a narrowed view of scripture.  Which is why we need to remember that, when we attempt to bring verses from the Bible out to support a modern situation by giving them a modern interpretation, we only hurt the value of the text.

Jesus might have been portrayed as someone who encouraged his followers to turn the other cheek, to accept their fate, but he was also portrayed as someone who did not shy away from conflict and, more often than not, sought it out from those he saw as enemies of the kingdom.  Remember, he did not come to bring peace (Matt 10.24, cf. Lk 12.51, Rev 6.4).

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

So tolerate, and if you are a Christian, do so with the remembrance that your Christianity is not the same as Luke’s, Matthew’s, or Mark’s, not even John’s.  And what you practice today is a product of society.  When you use verses of the Bible and exegete them for the purpose of reinventing them for a modern world, you must also be sure to use a disclaimer.  Otherwise you risk becoming no different than the fundamentalists who distort the Bible for their own purposes.

For more information, read here.

Interesting Book: Scripting Jesus – L. Michael White

I received a notification from Harper this morning, and I thought I might pick one up for review.  This book appears to fall into line with my own research; I look forward to reading it and offering some perspectives about it shortly.

Here’s a blurb:

In Scripting Jesus, famed scholar of early Christianity L. Michael White challenges us to read the gospels as they were originally intended—as performed stories of faith rather than factual histories. White demonstrates that each of the four gospel writers had a specific audience in mind and a specific theological agenda to push, and consequently wrote and rewrote their lives of Jesus accordingly—in effect, scripting Jesus to get a particular point across and to achieve the desired audience reaction.

The gospel stories have shaped the beliefs of almost two and a half billion Christians. But the gospel writers were not reporters—rather, they were dramatists, and the stories they told publicly about Jesus were edited and reedited for the greatest effect. Understanding how these first-century Christians wanted to present Jesus offers us a way to make sense of the sometimes conflicting stories in the gospels.

One gospel’s version of events will be at odds with another.  For instance, in Jesus’s birth narrative, there is no mention of a stable in Matthew or Luke, but then there are no wise men in Luke and no shepherds in Matthew. Jesus has brothers in some gospel accounts, and sisters in others, and their naming is inconsistent. Depending on which gospel you are reading, the disciples shift from bumbling morons to heroes of faith. Miracles alter or disappear altogether, and whole scenes get moved around. Such changes from one gospel to the next reveal the shaping and reshaping of the basic story in the living world of the first followers of Jesus.

via Amazon.com: Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite 9780061228797: L. Michael White: Books.

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