My favorite biblical screw-up consists of two verses:
Luke 6:27 - But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you...
Luke 19:27 - But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
So ... we should love our enemies, but kill 'em anyway?!? Somehow, I Don't THINK So...
I suppose god is fickle and can't make up his mind. Kill them or love them?
Your favorite? It used to be one of my favorites as well... but I had to quit using it. You see, I hate to break it to you, but quoting Luke 19:27 without the surrounding text is incredibly misleading. Before anyone starts blasting me about this, I assure you that I've got the best intentions. I would rather a fellow Atheist point out my missteps rather than a Theist do so because the Theist will be less forgiving. On top of that, it makes us all look bad when our statements can be so easily countered. Trust me on this one, we ALL need to stop misquoting this particular scripture.
See for yourself the content of Luke 19:11-27
Sure it's true that Jesus said that, but it's just as true to say that you did as well. That quote is from a parable that Jesus is telling. It is therefore not Jesus who is saying it, but rather a character in a story that Jesus is telling. Within this story, two of the characters, including the man himself, admit to being severe, cruel, lazy and greedy. Also, when taken in the context of the whole of Luke 19, we find that the previous story was about a very generous tax collector who gave away half his wealth to the poor and also repaid all those he had defrauded fourfold, which Jesus praised him for. In this context, it is clear to me that Jesus wasn't too fond of the character in his parable who commanded for the slaughter of his enemies before him. So we can't even justifiably suggest that Jesus thought this was a cool dude worth emulating, and therefore the quote is still valid.
Then we need look no further than THE NEXT VERSE Luke 19:28-31 and you have Jesus commanding his disciples to steal a colt. So we don't have to even look that far to find a major transgression taking place and yet so many focus on a misleading selective quote because it sounds worse. Yeah, that's the sort of thing I tend to prefer to leave to the other team.
Thank you Nathaniel - those are horrible versus - i agree.
The overall parable could read as though Jesus were endorsing, indeed demanding that his followers practice capitalism and DAMNING those who decline that practice! Of course, it depends on how you wish to read the parable and (that magic word again) Interpret it.
I could also spin it to say that the "mina" of the story was Jesus' word, that one man spread to 10 and another to five, and the hapless last one did not spread it at all, and is thus condemned.
[sigh] I suppose this is one of the reasons why I'm a pragmatist - my Resnick & Halliday physics text has no such vagaries. Maybe that's why I like it better.
That's actually the thing I dislike most about the bible, and most religious texts for that matter. They're so open to interpretation that they can be twisted and spun every which way. It is said that even the devil can quote scripture to his own ends, and if that is true then the bible cannot be a tool for righteousness. It is a tool of justification. It is a book we look to when we want to say "SEE! SEE THIS! I'M RIGHT!"
Perhaps this "twistability" is exactly why the bible has remained influential for two millennia!
Of course it is ... because ANYONE can use it to their own ends. Or, put another way:
An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.
-- Salvor Hardin, Mayor of Terminus
Nathaniel and Loren you are right that the bible can be interpreted any way you chose and can be used to justify many horrible acts. Like slavery, oppression of women, etc.
exactly - "god" has mental problems
Theology is a load of crap.