Is There A Coherent Cafeteria Christianity?

We’ve all heard Cafeteria Christians. It’s a term used to describe someone that believes themselves to be Christian, but does not believe that every bit of the Bible is necessarily true. While some passages within the Bible are held to be divinely inspired mandates, others are simply set aside. Since Christianity, to take it’s claims at face value, falls underneath the umbrella of a “revealed religion”, holding such an approach can be problematic. If one passage of the Bible can be accepted as not being true, thereby justifying not adhering to it, then how can any other passage of the Bile be accepted as being true without independent verification? And, even with independent verification, it would be the method of verification that would be given the authority of truth, not the Bible.

Many passages can be interpreted differently, of course. The books were written in different languages, they have many missing or damaged passages, there’s substantial variation from copy to copy, and they were written by a people ignorant (in a scientific sense) of the world around them. This confusion of exegesis isn’t what I’m talking about here, even though the lack of clarity in a text that is believed to be divinely inspired was one reason that I deemed Biblical authority to be a load of crap. No, it seems to me that textual interpretation doesn’t even factor into it. Rather, it seems that troubling passages in the Bible are just ignored altogether, rather than explained away. That’s why, even though they are easily dismissed as kooks, extreme fundamentalist sects, such as the Fred Phelps clan can be admired for having the courage of their convictions and taking the entire Bible at face value.

For those that do choose to pick and choose, though (the majority of Christians, it seems), I’ve never heard anyone give a systematic rational for doing this. For instance, yesterday I posted about how the Catholic Church still uses 1 Timothy 2:11-12 to stand behind their refusal to ordain women, even though it is known for quite some time that 1 Timothy is a second century pseudepigrapha. If all works that have been deemed to be forgeries were no longer taken into consideration, that would be a systematic approach. The church may, then, have to alter their practices, but any truly reasonable person should accept a bit of course correction when confronted with new insights. All science must adhere to this practice or our understanding of the world could not progress.

Rather, it seems that belief come first. Then, passages are sought out that appear to support it, while conflicting passages are ignored.

Explore posts in the same categories: Sketicism, Superstition in the Modern World

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