Sins of Scripture Summary

Notes on Sins of Scripture by Bishop John Shelby Spong

 

civil rights, equal rights, religious freedom, peace, evolution of thought

 

Preface

“Christian voices in our world continue to employ words that reveal nothing less than arrogance toward other religions, whose adherents they regard as fit subjects not for dialogue but for conversion. This attitude is regularly enforced with biblical claims that a particular religious tradition the certainty of the ultimate truth of God that is seen first as religious bigotry and later as religious persecution.”

 

Word of God

 

“The Bible is a subject of interpretation: there is no doctrine, no prophet, no priest, no power, which has not claimed biblical sanctions for itself.” – Paul Tillich

 

“In the history of the Western world, however, this Bible has also left a trail of pain, horror, blood, and death that is undeniable. Yet this fact is not often allowed to rise to consciousness. Biblical words have been used not only to kill, but even to justify that killing. … It might be difficult for some Christians to understand, but it is not difficult to document the terror enacted by believers in the name of the Bible.”

 

“I had to document the evil that Christians have so frequently rendered to others in the name of our religion, including the way we have justified violence with biblical quotations. … There is plenty of guilt to go around. It appears to be in the nature of religion itself to be prejudiced against those who are different in looks, language, habit, and religion. Violence is almost always the result of such prejudice.”

 

“I believe the Bible must be preserved, but not the Bible that people have used to enhance the pain and evil present in human history.”

 

 

A Claim That Cannot Endure

 

“Perhaps the strangest claim ever made for any written document in history is that its words are or somehow contain the “Word of God”.”

 

“By Sins of Scripture I mean those terrible texts that have been quoted throughout Christian history to justify behavior that is today universally recognized as evil.”

 

Beyond the biblical lists of immoral mandates… “It is quite easy to demonstrate that the Bible is simply wrong in some of its assumptions. It is hard to maintain the claim of inerrancy in the face of biblical statements that are obviously incorrect. The “Word of God” is not infrequently simply wrong.”

 

Moses did not write the Old Testament (Torah). He was dead for at least 300 years.

David did not write Psalms, again several years after the death of King David.

Jesus’s followers did not write the Gospels

Paul was fucked up

“Paul was many things, but divine was not one of them.”

 

Bible and Environment

 

“…let them have dominion over … (animals), and all the earth…” – Genesis 1:26

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” – Genesis 1:28

 

over-breeding is a real problem

environmental ignorance is a real problem

 

Climate Change Summary

As global warming occurs at the poles, ice melts. The Ocean water temperature rises, and coastal flooding is happening around the World. This causes more frequent and larger hurricanes and tidal waves that kill and displace thousands. Combined with droughts on the mainland, these disasters create more violent civil conflicts. – Drogo

 

Biblical Anti-Environmental Attitude Summary

The quest to dominate the Earth comes from pre-biblical, Old Testament times. Hebrews coming from Egypt, had a sky god named “YHVH” (I am that I am). They wanted their ancestral homeland back from the Canaanites, who worshiped an earth goddess Astarte, and her lord Baal (Master). Hebrews were shepherds who believed in animal sacrifices to their sky god, and Canaanites were agrarian farmers who preferred grain sacrifices to their gods. The Hebrews invaded and made holy war against the Canaanites. – Drogo

 

“Mother Earth is fighting back. Mother Earth is rebelling against the way she has been treated by a single species which acts as if the whole world exists to provide comfort and wealth for that species.”

 

“Bad theology creates bad ecology.”

 

Chapter 31

 

“To our knowledge Jesus left no written records. … Whatever else the gospels are, they are certainly not the writings of Jesus. It is equally clear that the gospels are not the result of Jesus’ dictation found in the written notes from his disciples.”

 

Literacy was very rare in the days of Jesus, and they wrote in Greek

Jesus died around 35 AD

Paul’s 50-65 AD (was not an actual apostle)

Mark’s 70 AD (earliest) (not an apostle, but disciple of Peter)

Matthew 85 AD

Luke’s 90 AD (not an apostle, but a friend of Paul)

John’s 100 AD (last) claims to be son of Zebedee but he would have been about 100

Revelation

 

What was it about Jesus the human, that caused people to say his miracles were true and that he was the Messiah?

“No, I do not believe that Jesus stilled the storm, walked on water, … But I do want to understand what the experience was with Jesus, that caused people to apply Hebrew scripture God language to him.”

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