There has long been a roiling debate about how to handle Bible thumpers. Should we engage them on what the Bible allegedly says about homosexuality? Or, should we tell them to get lost because we don’t care what the text of some ancient book says?
In a Huffington Post column, Kate Blanchard, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Alma College, says ignore the fundies:
A student recently asked me for some advice about how to defend same-sex marriage biblically to people who insist that the Bible is against it. My basic response to such questions is, “Don’t.”
First of all, there is no “the Bible.” It is a collection of texts spanning millennia, recounted orally for centuries in multiple languages, finally written down in Greek and Hebrew by countless anonymous authors over the span of several more centuries, then further collected and translated into hundreds more languages in hundreds of stylistic versions. What we think of as the Christian Bible thus encompasses different things for Catholics, the Orthodox and Protestants. And second, there was no such thing as a “homosexual” identity or same-sex marriage when the various parts of the Bible were written (despite what some English translations say), so they can offer no explicit direction about it.
Most Christians today disagree with and openly disobey the Bible every single day: We see slavery as a crime against humanity, lend and borrow money at interest, don’t force our raped daughters to marry their rapists, wear mixed fibers, don’t cover our heads, eat bacon and sometimes even mix it with cheese, and — perhaps most shockingly, given its high priority in the Big Ten — trample the holiness of the Sabbath with reckless abandon. (Fans of “The West Wing” will remember similar observations beautifully immortalized by Jed Bartlett.) A few authors have recently conducted high-profile experiments in living biblically and found it to be much more difficult than many “Bible-believing Christians” would have us believe.
I’d be curious to know how our readers think we should engage the fundies? Debate them or dump them?