deird1: a cross, on a rainbow flag (believe out loud)
[personal profile] deird1
Posting this purely so that it's not lost in a long-forgotten comment thread...

The discussion in question began with someone saying that Christians with tattoos are hypocrites, because they're not "following the Bible".

Let's see if I can explain this clearly.

1) I believe that a lot of flawed humans (because there isn't any other kind) wanted to understand God and his creation, and wrote a lot of discussion about it.

2) Some of them were responding to each other. Someone would say "I think God is like X," and someone else would say "no, God's more like Y". Hence there are occasionally contradictory ideas about God in the Bible.

3) These writers were, again, human and therefore flawed. Therefore there are quite a few factual errors in the Bible.

4) Nevertheless, there was a lot of good stuff in there too. Enough so that God went "yeah, guys, I really like this", and blessed it for use by his people.

5) Therefore, if something is in the Bible, it is worthy of my time and attention, and should be given serious consideration rather than dismissed out of hand.

6) However, since there are errors, it shouldn't be embraced with no thought, either. The standard tests for any part of the faith are: Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason. (i.e. What the Bible tells me, what the church tells me, what my life tells me, and what my mind tells me.) If one of these appears to be contradicting the others, I probably need to re-examine it.

7) As well as that, I tend to use what is called a "Christo-centric hermeneutic". This means that every part of scripture should be assessed by how it relates to Christ. If Jesus said something, and something else in the Bible disagreed, I think Jesus' opinion is the more important one. And if something is about Christ, it's more important than something which has little to do with Christ.

8) On the specific issue of tattoos:

a) It's from the Old Testament, in a set of rules given to the Israelites.

b) The New Testament has a passage that explicitly says these rules don't apply to Gentile Christians.

c) I don't see why the NT passage would be incorrect.

d) Scripture is divided on it (OT says no tattoos, NT says "meh"), Tradition says it's fine (the church hasn't been against it, as a rule), my Experience has been that tattooed Christians can be just as "fruitful" as non-tattooed ones ("does it bear fruit?" being a standard test given in the Bible), and my Reason can't come up with a reason why not. Therefore I reckon it's okay.

e) The rule in question is pretty far removed from anything Christ-related. Therefore, under a Christo-centric hermeneutic, it's not really a big deal.

9) The reason I would never say "following the Bible is important" is not because I think the Bible isn't important (it is), but because I really have no idea how to define "following the Bible", or what it would entail. As it is, I don't think it's a rulebook, so I don't think coming across a rule in the Bible means it's definitely something I should obey. I would instead examine the rule, see who it was given to, think about why it might have been given, and try to determine what God would like me to do about it.


Date: 2017-05-01 05:34 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
You're a good Christian.

...For whatever that's worth coming from someone who hasn't been a Christian for easily fifteen years XD

But if more self-identified Christians were like you? We'd have a lot less Christian-religiosity-motivated bullshit in this world. Which would be a marvelous thing!

Date: 2017-05-01 10:32 am (UTC)
tielan: (SGA)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Very clear!

I've never laid out how I think about "things the bible teaches" but if I had to, it would definitely be very close to this.

Date: 2017-05-02 05:09 am (UTC)
megpie71: Animated: "Are you going to come quietly/Or do I have to use earplugs?" (Come Quietly)
From: [personal profile] megpie71
My take on the folks who want (everyone else) to follow the rules set down in Exodus and Leviticus for a bunch of iron-age nomads is basically "you first". (If they can coherently explain, without reference to the deity or the book, why these particular rules are "good" while the often-identical rules contained in Saudi-style sharia law are "bad", even better).

Christ was rather explicit on the whole heart and soul of the Christian religion boiling down to a few key things: give your life over to god, feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked, and un-isolate the socially isolated (visiting the sick and imprisoned is part of this process). That's the heart and soul of what he was teaching - and his perspective was the laws and the ceremonies were starting to get in the way of the worship.


deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)

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