Sunday, March 06, 2005

Child abuse, spouse abuse, elder abuse... Bible abuse?

No, I don't think there should be a law. But I admit I thought of it when I saw the title Group Uses Scripture to Push Abortion. Of course, you can't use Scripture to push abortion; you can only abuse Scripture to that end. (I show as much in The Bible and the Bull's-Eye on the Baby.)

Which calls to mind the popular statement, "You can get anything you want out of the Bible." This is true, too -- if one brings anything he wants to the Bible.

Of course, taken seriously, the original statement is self-defeating. If one really can legitimately make the Bible mean anything, then one can make anything mean anything. This would necessarily include the statement that "You can get anything you want out of the Bible." If anything means anything, then that statement could mean that we can't get anything we want out of the Bible. Or it could mean that hot fudge sundaes are delicious. Or it could mean that Bob Dylan is a terrible singer.

But of course, anyone who says that the Bible can mean anything always exempts himself from that statement. What he says can't mean anything, it can mean only one thing. He means everything he says to be taken seriously, according to the normal canons of interpretation. The Bible means whatever you want -- but he means what he means.

See? Self-defeating.

So no, the Bible cannot legitimately be made to favor abortion, because God means what He means. And what He means is discernible by what He has said. And there are good-sense guidelines for figuring out what He meant.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

What do you think about spousal abuse vs the Bible?
Do you think it's meant to be endured to the death, or do you think it's right, Biblically, to leave a dangerous relationship?