I’ve mentioned before some interesting remarks my mom has made concerning religion, but recently she dropped this one while I was driving so it was extremely difficult to stay focused on the road afterwards.
All she does is find the passages that support what she thinks and repeats them. If it says that stuff in the Bible, I don’t believe it.
There’s so much in so few words there that I literally had to squirrel it away for later. Where do I begin? Christianity is all about cherry-picking (probably true of all religions which have so-called holy books, but Christianity is what I’m familiar with). Christians will defend that by calling it something like correct interpretation or even better, scholarship, but make no mistake, it’s cherry-picking. The Christian bible is full of nice little passages, and horrid passages, so horrid that they’d never make it onto tv unless it were HBO or something comparable. The Family Channel certainly wouldn’t touch it. Hell, repeating some of it is considered hate speech. So what do you do when your indulgence of choice has such bad elements? Why you simply jettison them, but of course you have to reconcile doing so with beliefs like that the book is the inerrant word of a god, so you have to be clever about it. That cleverness is formally known as apologetics. Informally, it’s “seeing the light” or “knowing in your heart what’s right”, or as we atheists refer to it, “cherry-picking”.
Another application of this is digging up the passages, no matter how obscure, which just happen to sound like they support whatever it is you want to do, or make others do. Well, I should say make others NOT do, since it seems that book gets mined more for prohibiting people from things than anything else, regardless of whether the passage mined conflicts with other passages or better, the excuses concocted to ignore the ones immediately before and after those passages. For instance, the OT can be ignored for various reasons, allowing for creature comforts like blended fabrics and shrimp cocktail, but gay sex? Oh, THAT can’t be. Anyway, cherry-picking has been used for everything from condoning slavery to, well, abolishing it. It’s all about finding the right passages, and of course those “correct” interpretations.
So Momma Chief has a problem with someone who likes quote mining the Christian bible to justify being bitchy and telling others what to do. On that, we’re on the same page, but naturally I don’t give that book any authority to justify any action, whereas my mother does, sorta. Essentially my mother cooks up her own beliefs, including what is and isn’t in her book, and that’s the end of it. I’m at a complete loss as to what she meant when she said if it was in her book, she wouldn’t believe it. Momma Chief has always been a pretty honest, straight talking person but the older she gets, the more things come out unfiltered. I think her response is the initial reaction of most Christians when they encounter some unsavory bit of their book and/or religion. From there, depending on one’s makeup, the process of justifying ignoring the unsavory begins. For some, it means finding other passages which appear to state the opposite, and naturally those passages have to be the correct ones and the other are the incorrect ones, because that’s “correct” interpretation, and of course you know that’s true because you can “feel it in your heart”. For others, it might mean turning to another authority, perhaps another church leader, book, or website, where pretty much that “correct” interpretting has already been done. For still others, like Momma Chief, it’s as simple as a wave of the hand and a “I don’t believe it.”