Saturday, 10 May 2014

Smorgasbord morality

Christians on internet fora will often make a big deal about Christian morality, which is odd, when Christian morality is such a vague thing. Christian morality is a Smörgåsbord morality (apologies to any Swedish-speakers; this blog software does not seem to allow accented characters in titles) , it picks what it wants from the Bible, and ignores what is inconvenient.

Taken from the Bible

Okay, Christian morality says murder and stealing are wrong, but cultures have been saying that for thousands of years; there is nothing unique to Christianity there, and it is no surprise that Christians want these laws in place.

Taken despite the Bible

Christian morality says that child rape and slavery is wrong, but these are not prohibited in the Bible. Our society has decided that things things are wrong (in the case of slavery, despite what it says in the Bible), and Christianity has adopted them.

Ignored despite the Bible

There are a lot of rules in the Bible that Christians just ignore. The eating of shellfish is abominable to God, but that does not stop Christians eating prawns and lobsters. Wearing garments made of two different types of threads is prohibited, but how many Christians even know that?

Many Christians claim these do not apply, because Jesus fulfilled the law, but that is just a corruption of what Jesus meant. Others claim that those laws were only given to the Jews. But they are throwing the baby out with the bath water! If rules about eating shellfish apply only to Jews, so do the Ten Commandments - clearly also God's instructions to his chosen people.

It is interesting at this point to read Matthew 19. This can certainly be understood to be Jesus giving commands to everyone, not just Jews, as he is taking about how a person can get to heaven (though an argument can still be made he was only considering Jews).

17 And He said unto him, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God. But if thou wilt enter into Life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said unto Him, “Which?” Jesus said, “‘Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness;
19 honor thy father and thy mother; and, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’”
All well and good, and a great basis for Christian morality. Jesus, however, goes on:
20 The young man said unto Him, “All these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet?”
21 Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come and follow Me.”
Christians are strangely unwilling to adhere to this part.

So Christian morality is a Smörgåsbord morality. They take what they want from the Bible, and ignore the parts that are inconvenient, and in the end they have a capitalism morality, not a religious morality at all.

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