Buffet Style Religion – cherry picking

Literalist interpretations of sacred texts are a rarity in serious discourse in the United Kingdom. Bible bashing would be a sign of no serious argument as much as resorting to ad hominem ignoring what the discussion is about.

Video above from “The West Wing” a great bible rant about the need to cherry pick for a humanist religion

President Josiah Bartlett may have been in the back of the mind as Neal Donald Walsch’s article Buffet-Style Bible Believers about reactions to Boy Scouts of America decision on allowing membership to openly gay youths. He uses different bible quotes regarding killing rebellious offspring, killing brides that have no virginity, women avoiding the groin in a fight, the stoning of adulterers and homosexuals.

So with respect, I ask you to excuse me, Pastor Reed, if I am not totally convinced that humanity’s infallible answers will be found in the Bible. You may not agree with all of the above verses, either. But if we are going to be Buffet Bible Believers, rather than a Literal Word of God Believer, than might you please tell us which verses of the Bible we are advised to ignore, and which we should apply to the letter?

Thank you, sir. That would be very helpful. We would not want to be called hypocrites for citing some verses of God’s Word when they support our personal prejudices, and ignoring others when they do not, now would we?


In my post about Islam I mentioned concern with cherry picking verses in Koran and Hadiths – not because I and others may be misrepresenting the true nature of Islam as believers live their faith – but because extreme radical Islamic political ideologues use those same verses to legitimise their wanton acts of coercion either through the state or by means of terror.

That is a different thing to respond to. Spin those verses were for a particular context that do not exist today, that they were one off commandments not applicable now, other verses make clear not right thing to act on in the way they do.

Tied down by parchment, the need for revisionism and winning with your interpretation becomes the battleground of ideas. Over a millennium later it really is a matter of life and death how Iron Age texts are read. That private belief can be enforced on the populace to deny their own pursuit to happiness while living a good life.

Whether you believe in God or not, this is a rather sorry state of affairs for humanity to still find itself in.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78



Filed under atheism, Religion

2 responses to “Buffet Style Religion – cherry picking

  1. Mark

    Sometimes, I’m half in mind to join a Christian group, or church to ask and discover how and why they have discarded certain ‘instructions’, yet follow others. I don’t because the chances are the vicar is probably a nice bloke, as are the ‘flock'(!) The excuse of “reformation” doesn’t quite cut it for me. Rather, most ‘enlightenment’ has come from the non-religious and has grown to the extent that the church had to follow. Although it would be disingenuous to completely ignore reformers from within.
    It all comes to light when the Westboro Baptists say “God hates fags” and they are quite right, if the text is to be believed. The general “we don’t do that bit anymore,” is fine to an extent, but I’m convinced of two things. 1. The church’s stance against gay marriage is rooted in Leviticus, 2. Give the church back all the power it once had, and certain ‘instructions’ could easily be revived.

  2. Pingback: Not Beholden But Free To Think | Homo economicus' Weblog

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