Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When you get "the bible" confused with "rules my parents had when I was 13"

Hand holding a bible. Image text: "What the Bible says about..." Image source.
Here's a bizarre article about evangelical Christians who sell and promote medical marijuana. Bizarre because the point is basically "yeah I know as Christians we're supposed to think marijuana is thoroughly and irredeemably evil, but, like... no, we don't believe that anymore because medical marijuana is so useful and here's a bible verse about how we should help the sick."

Here are a few quotes, to help you see what I mean:
As the successes mounted, Stanley said, “it was a transformation for me, and I was angry that I had been told marijuana was evil and of no medical benefit. At that point, it was very easy for me to reconcile marijuana with my Christian faith.”
And this:
Jackson, who said her Christian faith is everything to her (it’s “the pie, not a piece of pie,” she said), talked to her minister as she wrestled with the morality of marijuana. “I’m a byproduct of the 1980s and ‘Just Say No,’ so I grew up thinking this was evil,” she said.

Stacey Mobley, minister of the church of Christ of Colorado Springs, an independent, Bible-based congregation, said members support Jackson’s work.

“God made the plant, and said in Genesis 1:31 that everything he made was very good,” said Mobley, who opposes recreational marijuana. “We are firsthand witnesses of its benefits in the providential healing of Zaki, and I believe Heather is driven by obligation because she is a Christian to do good to all.”
First of all, I love how they both used the word "evil"- because it shows how the teaching they had received about marijuana was more about fear mongering than actual information. When those kinds of scare tactics are used to control kids' behavior, it leaves them with a vague sense that the thing in question is very very bad, but unable to explain exactly why- and too afraid to try. (I'm looking at you, abstinence-only education.)

It's so baffling to me that they're starting from a position of "I know as Christians we're supposed to think this is evil, but..." Like, why on earth would there be a connection between being a Christian and believing marijuana has absolutely no potential benefits? (Does the bible say that somewhere? Maybe in 2 Hesitations?) I mean, I see how you can make a biblical case that we shouldn't use drugs that are harmful to our health, but this is isn't about that. This is believing that any possible use of a marijuana plant is bad- like I said, scare tactics will do this. They were taught to feel a hazy and not-well-defined fear hovering around the concept of marijuana, so yes, that included both medical and recreational uses. But what on earth that has to do with being a Christian, I have no idea.

Looks like a case where "Christianity" was confused with "the rules you have to follow to be a good kid." Where "the bible" was confused with "American values." These are very much not the same thing. Their Christian parents and teachers said they had to believe and do certain things in order to be upstanding members of society, and they thought it meant they had to do those things to be good Christians.

And, now that I think about it, there are a lot of issues where American Christians believe they are supposed to hold a certain view, "the Christian view", but the bible says no such thing.

First of all: communism. Christians are supposed to believe communism is evil, right? And that God definitely likes capitalism. Wait, why? Does the bible say that? Nope.

R-rated movies. Christians aren't supposed to watch R-rated movies, that's immoral! Remember when "The Passion of the Christ" came out, and people were all like "well surely we can make an exception for this one, it's about Jesus."

How about taking care of the environment? Christians are supposed to be suspicious of any talk of environmentalism, right? Really? Does the bible say that? No.

Living with one's boyfriend or girlfriend. Oh, this is a horrible sin! Wait, where in the bible does it say that? Nowhere, you guys.

How about being transgender? Yeah, there's nothing in the bible that says there's anything wrong with being transgender. What's that you say? Genesis 1:27? Umm, I'm pretty sure it says "male and female he created them" not "everybody with a penis is a man." (You could use this verse to make an argument that everybody fits into the gender binary. I wouldn't agree with you, but at least it's possible to make a biblical argument for that.)

Christians are supposed to read the bible every day. Really? Where does that idea come from?

Life begins at conception. Or rather, Christians are supposed to believe that every embryo has just as much of a right to life as any other human. Umm? Does the bible say that? No.

Yeah, for all of these, I know there are bible verses people pull out to support their opinions. But none of those bible verses actually explicitly says the thing they're trying to make them say.

And it's so bizarre when somebody says "I'm a Christian, so I believe [thing that literally has no relevance to Christianity]."

Readers: Do you have any other examples?

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