Tag Archives: Canonization

You do WHAT in your Bible? How viscerally repulsive! Part II

Sarcastic Trigger Warning: Contains some sarcasm

Conformist Trigger Warning: Contains parts where I disagree with you and am not being sarcastic 

So here we are, not even through Section I, and I already had to stomp off and calm down.  It appears that in the Bible, interracial marriages may be frowned on (i.e. noble Teachers of the Law throw themselves around and cry until all the nasty ladies go away) and using war prisoners as sex slaves is ok.  It also turns out that Jack has a curious habit of avoiding facts like this, and has tried to portray them 1) as belonging to first century Judaism and 2)as some kind of bizarre aberration from otherwise normal healthy and courageous Biblical attitudes.

So far I find his treatment of this subject intellectually dishonest.  And morally abhorrent.

Clearly.  I must be nothing more than a product of my culture, that I take exception to him thus.

Oh wait.  Except the culture I’m from and surrounded by is the one that agrees with him.

I must… uh… I must…  be objecting…. because…


So. Onward.

B. For the person who has a need to conform culturally, nothing the Bible says could
possibly convince him of its sexual ethics and neither will its values resonate with him.

That conformists need to conform and that nothing will convince them otherwise is a given. It’s like the wing being the wing of a winged thing and the winged thing being winged by a wing. A necessary relationship.  Modern conformists will conform to Modernity, Catholic conformists will conform to Catholicism, Protestant conformists will conform to Protestantism.  Reformed conformists will conform to Reformed… ism.

There are, one would assume, also persons of each belief who take their beliefs seriously and hold them, not out of conformity, but out of honest intellectual agreement.

Granting the possibility that there are some non-conformist Reformists out there in the wild somewhere, I don’t understand why he’s bringing this up.  Shouldn’t he be talking about his sincere opponents?

Well, for some reason, Mr. Crabtree doesn’t feel that’s necessary.  Given the level of intellectual integrity he displayed with the Book of Tobit stunt, maybe he feels he’s talking to people like himself.

I shouldn’t be so cruel.  Maybe he was rushed prepping this lecture and in twenty plus years of Biblical studies just never heard of the book of Ezra.

And then there’s me.  Disagreeing with him!  I must be such a conformist to my culture! The culture he signs off on and helped create. I am probably the case in point, right here!

1. Biblical sexual ethics and modern cultural attitudes and beliefs about sexuality are
mutually incompatible.

Damn straight they are.  People who do shit like that go to prison.

C. The Bible is teaching a perspective on our sexuality that will only resonate with those
few courageous, fiercely independent individuals who want to honor their creator with
their lives and have no regard for the favor of the other people around them.

There’s Radical Submission for you.  Doesn’t matter if it destroys you, doesn’t matter that it’s a social menace- just do what I say God says.  Allah Ackbar!

1. Those interested in following biblical sexual ethics today must necessarily form 

an “under-culture.”

Also know as terrorist cells.

2. Not a “subculture.”

Thanks for the correction.  I was confused.

a) A subculture utilizes social and cultural pressure to effect conformity. The
follower of Jesus does so out of free, existential obedience. The Bible never
advocates cultural conformity for its own sake, where no free, existential
choice is involved.

You get inducted into the ‘underculture’ when the underculturists kill your family, take you prisoner, start using you for sex, and then call it marriage so that if you try to run away you can be prosecuted for unfaithfulness.

Girl, stop smarting off!  The Bible would NEVER-  oh wait.

It does.

I love the smell of existential choice in the mornings!

End of Section 1.   Thank Allah.

II. With regard to a moral judgment about sexual behavior (or any other behavior), the
Jesus-follower is interested in what the Bible teaches.

So… Mr Crabtree… isn’t a Jesus Follower, then? What are we supposed to take from this?

Oh, I know,  maybe Jesus Followers are interested in everything the Bible teaches, but primarily follow the teachings of Jesus.

Like when he says in  Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Actually Rabbi Hillel said that too. In the time of King Herod. The one who tried to kill baby Jesus.

“What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is mere commentary” (Shab. 31a)


First century Judaism was so much like the Taliban!

You see, if I was guilty of a crime against God that deserved death, I would totally want people to kill my innocent children.  Wouldn’t you? Or  for them to be used as plunder by a victorious army– hey- I am totally down with that!

That’s why we can say that the whole message of the Law can be summed up in the formula “treat others the way you want to be treated”

Otherwise there would be no explanation for things like this:

Deuteronomy 20:4 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

Or, if by some chance, no one would want these things to happen to their children when they were dead, even if they did worship Baal instead of Yahweh, we may be forced into another line of thought.

Since the Law, as it actually stands, CAN’T be summarized as ‘treat others the way you want to be treated”-

What if the Christian Bible, as it now stands, does not actually present a coherent vision of ethics?

A. The Jesus believer conforms his beliefs to what he is convinced, by sound reason, is
true, not by what “appears” to him to be true.

Perhaps this was more clear in the lecture.  The distinction between ‘appears to him to be true’ and ‘convinced by sound reason to be true’ doesn’t make much sense to me.  I myself would use those phrases interchangeably.

I am curious about his use of the word conform.  A conformist being someone who believes a thing out of a psychological need to be like everyone else- what business does anyone who is not a conformist have conforming their beliefs to something they are convinced of by sound reason?  Shouldn’t what they are convinced of by sound reason be their belief already without having to conform to anything to anything as a middle step?

Possibly just semantics. Onward. Furthur.

1. We “walk by belief (faith), and not by sight” = we live and think in accord with
what we know, by reason, to be true, not what appears true to us because of our
ill-considered and uncritical perception.

forgive my crummy greek transliteration here.

The choice to translate pistews (“faith”) in Corinthians 5:7 as ‘belief’ rather than ‘trust’ is an interesting choice, but possible.   The jump from ‘belief’ to ‘reason’ in the paraphrase, especially when contrasted with ‘íll-considered’ and ‘uncritical’ makes a switch not easily noticeable in English- moving pisteuo away from meaning an intellectual commitment, which it may legitimately do, and towards meaning  rationality and the process of reasoning- more in the direction of logos.  Which is illegitimate, according to the usage and rules of the Greek language as I understand them.

That, when compared to some  random passage from Tobit, makes this point sort of smell to high heaven, but, if he would leave out the Bible verse, it would be a pretty fair argument.  Act and think more reasonably, not less reasonably.

But it’s something almost anyone, of any religion would agree to. Mm. Except the old school Abrahamic religions. In those religions nothing counts unless God says- and then you just have to trust that it’s right.

Maybe that’s why he feels he has to mutilate a Bible verse into making this point. So that he can have access to it too.

Too bad it actually says ‘we live by trust, not by sight’.

a) Typically, our unreflective perception will be a reflection of the culture that
has shaped me.

Again this holds of anyone- of any culture. If there were a culture that had discovered the god-damned Well at the End of the World, and knew all things as unquestionably as Urd, a child raised in that culture would unreflectively parrot Ultimate Truth.

That a belief is cultural is not a criteria for the truth or falsehood of that belief.  Just the maturity or immaturity of its believer.

b) 2 Corinthians 5:7 

uh- what? Yes.  See above.

2. Coming to grasp a worldview or paradigm rationally can be likened to a rock
climber climbing the face of a sheer rock cliff. He makes his way up to one
foothold from which he can then ascend to the next.

a) All too often, we become rationally convinced of an intellectual or
philosophical foothold, only to return to the familiar lenses of our uncritical
prejudices and perceptions in order to resume thinking about the topic.
Accordingly, we make no progress toward a rational conclusion in which we
have confidence


But sometimes we perceive our cultural prejudices AS footholds.  And we climb on them to dazzling heights of falseness and bigotry, without ever noticing that we have done so. In fact, we believe that we HAVE reached a rational conclusion and that conclusion does have our full confidence.

Because a false step in intellectual rock-climbing doesn’t necessarily lead to the death of the climber.  It leads to the death of the Gays. Or the Jews. Or the Canaanites. Or whoever else you didn’t have the integrity to take into consideration.

B. The Jesus believer grants authority to the Bible above any other authority. The Bible is his primary source of instruction with regard to matters of morality, theology,
philosophy, and spirituality.

Such a short paragraph, to spawn so many questions.

Is a Jesus follower defined as a member of one of the many Christian religions? Or some one who follows the teachings of Jesus as the key to understanding the rest of Scripture?  Or someone who believes that Jesus’ death was a magical act that will force God not to destroy the Earth in the Apocalypse?  Someone who believes Jesus was a great teacher? Someone who believes Jesus was God? Someone who believes Jesus was Prometheus in disguise? What exactly is a Jesus Follower?

Like the term “biblical sexual ethics” we have gotten all the way to the end of Section II without  Mr. Crabtree saying  what he means by this phrase.

Pretty odd, for a teacher at a school where I was taught to define my terms in order to communicate.  He knows he should be doing this.  Why isn’t he?

Is he trying to communicate? Or is he trying to do something else?


So.  The Jesus follower is someone, at least, who: grants authority to the Bible above any other authority.   


We aren’t told.  It does rule out all forms of the Orthodox Church and the Catholics, since they do not adhere to Sola Scriptura and hold their traditions and bodies of approved writings as authoritative along with the Bible.

Not a bad plan when you consider the role of Canonization councils in the Bible’s formation.


No one is above the Word of God!   Except for every group of bickering theologians ever. And Martin Luther, too, if he could get away with it!

And now that Jack Crabtree has taken on himself the authority  to damn two of the three major branches of Christianity,  he tells us, of the Jesus Follower, that

The Bible is his primary source of instruction with regard to matters of morality, theology, philosophy, and spirituality.

The Jesus Follower is also a male, BTW.

And curiously enough, Mr. Crabtree wasn’t really being honest with us about the whole ‘Bible is highest authority’ thing.

In the list of subjects for which the Bible is the primary source of instruction, do you see what’s missing?

The STEM sciences. And Psychology.

For authority on those subjects, one must look elsewhere. Interestingly enough, these disciplines demand their hypotheses have testable feature that allow their veracity to be determined.  Psychology must produce accurate enough results that people will purchase therapy, and that the police agencies investing in Criminal Psychology Training  will have improved results and want more.

The disciplines of which the Bible is an authority?

No verification is required.

He doesn’t tell us why he’s let the STEMs and Pych off the hook. Perhaps that’s all we need to know.

1. The Jesus-follower is not impressed by what is or is not acceptable to his culture;
he is interested above all else in what the Bible actually teaches.

Nor am I.  And so am I.

Now, we drink. Me, from my glass, and you, from yours.





Section III, coming soon.