Friday 4 September 2009

When "The Bible tells us..." is legitimate

I have to admit that when a Christian evangelist begins a sentence with "The Bible tells us..." I tend to tune out, because inevitably the Bible is being quoted as a source of incontrovertible truth, and personally I've seen no compelling evidence for this belief.

Writers like to quote other writers. Someone once complained that they really didn't see what was so great about Shakespeare, because all he had done was take a stack of famous quotations and string them together. We quote other people when when we think they have a unique way of saying something, or when the quote seems particularly apt. So why reinvent the wheel?

The Bible is full of quotations - by which I mean it is oft quoted, but not necessarily as inerrant truth. One of my favourite put-downs comes from two different places in the Bible:
"And [Judas] went and hanged himself." (Matt 27:5)
"Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:37)