Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jesus Was A Hypocrite - Zack Hunt

A little while back I wrote a post asking “Are Bible Verses The Worst Thing Ever?
This past week or so as I’ve read Christian defenses of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s call to kill Muslims and heard Christian rallying cries for more guns in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting, I’ve wanted to answer that question once again with a resounding “yes.”
Sure, there are obviously things worse than the Bible being divided into chapters and verses – like nuclear war or genocide or cancer – but few things have the power to engender, condone, and sanctify evil like a biblical proof-text.
Case in point: Luke 22:36
He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one.
Taken in stripped down isolation, as I’ve seen done countless times in the past few weeks, it seems like the ultimate trump card for arguing that Christians should pack heat.
Of course, sequestered like that, Psalm 14:1b – “there is no God” – could be the ultimate trump card for atheism.
But the simple truth of the matter is there is nothing divine about the arrangement of the Bible into chapters and verses. In fact, they didn’t really even exist until the 13th century. But in trying to help the faithful more easily access and reference scripture, the inventors of the biblical chapters and verses unwittingly unleashed one of the most destructive forces in human history: the biblical proof-text; a weapon that needed only the effort to cite it to be effective and could be wielded at a moment’s notice to destroy any enemy and justify any action, no matter how heinous or unholy that action might be.
Sometimes though, and to the eternal consternation of the holy warrior, some of those proof-texts, when seen in their original context actually mean something quite different than we are led to believe.
As clear cut as it seems, the currently en vogue invocation of Luke 22:36 is a textbook example of a verse being used as a proof-text for something it can’t possibly mean.
Now, to be clear, Christians have been debunking this proof-text for quite a while. I am simply adding my voice to that choir because it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening. Perhaps, the louder the chorus becomes, the more likely it is that someone will eventually hear the truth.
So, here’s the thing about Luke 22:36.
If it’s true that counter to everything he said and did in his public ministry, in this private moment Jesus has declared that those closest to him should own swords (or in our case today, guns) for their own defense, then there is only one conclusion we can draw.
Jesus was a hypocrite.
And the rest of the gospel makes no sense.