Up until very recently, very few people outside the United States had even heard of the state of Delaware. Then Christine O’Donnell came along and changed all that thanks to a seemingly endless stream of clips of her making statements that make Sarah Palin look like a reasoned intellectual. Now there have been a couple of doozies but arguably the most famous is the one of her arguing against masturbation, claiming that based on the Bible it was the same as committing adultery.
post on the Ten Commandments but this literal interpretation is a vital weapon in the evangelism arsenal of groups like Way of the Master. To recap, their method of evangelism typically goes as follows:
- Ask the target if he/she considers themselves to be a good person.
- When they answer “yes”, test them against the Ten Commandments (aka God’s rules for being good enough to make it into Heaven.)
- When they do well on this test (and they tend to since most people aren’t adulterous, thieving murderers), go “Oh Snap! But what about thought crime?”
- Then convince them that since God counts sinful thoughts the same as sinful deeds, they are horrible, evil people deserving of an eternity of torture.
Now this approach is surprisingly effective at making converts but it does have a rather severe flaw built in. See, while it can convert you, it cannot convert you to Christianity. This is because if the premise of this method – that God punishes thought crime – is true then Christianity is false. Don’t believe me? Let me show you how a literal interpretation of Matthew 5 utterly destroys the Christian religion in just a 3 easy steps:
- If you take Matt 5:28 to mean that lust in your heart is literally the same as adultery in the eyes of God then it follows that anger must literally be the same as murder to God, according to Matt 5:21-22.
- Now then the Bible records several instances of Jesus being angry (Mark 3:2-7; John 2.13-22; Matt 23:13-36). Therefore Jesus must have been guilty of several instances of murder in the eyes of God.
- Therefore His execution would have been just and He could not have been the sinless Lamb of God who bore our sins in our stead and impugned his perfect, sinless life to us.
See a popular way to trap a baboon is to anchor a pumpkin securely to the ground and to then make a hole in it just large enough for the baboon to squeeze his hand through. When a baboon then reaches inside and grabs a handful of tasty pumpkin flesh he can’t pull his stuffed fist back out of the hole and so becomes stuck. The thing is, the baboon can be free at any time, he just needs to let go of the stuff in his hand, yet they never think that far.
It’s exactly the same with many Evangelicals. There is a world of freedom out there but they cannot enter into it because they are stuck holding on to the notion that God will damn you for your emotions and thoughts. Even though it traps them in a religion that cannot – by their own rules – exist.