Not long ago my oldest daughter, Jennifer Toombs, sent me the following quote from Robert Kennedy, Jr.
"People are disillusioned with religion today. So many wicked things have been done in the name of religion - - in the name of the Bible. People can justify anything using the Bible. If all of the sudden the Bible becomes your God, rather than God being your God, it's the same thing as money being your god or whatever it is. It's gonna corrupt your spirituality. And it can be used by people to dominate other people."
You can hear the entire interview by going to:
Jennifer sees what lots of people are coming to realize.
Religion can be deadly.
And, ironically, the Bible can be complicit in the spread of the death.
So, how can you tell when the Bible is being misused in a potentially deadly manner?
This seems to me to be an important question for people who live and work in urban settings today.
Try this list as a beginning.
It could be that the Bible is being misused. . .
. . .when you hear it quoted to personally attack individuals or groups of people.
. . .when folks tell you how current events are in fact clear evidence of God's judgment.
. . .when various, unrelated passages are connected to predict coming events with certainty.
. . .when people are excluded or considered "second class."
. . .when we turn to it for the creation and promotion of single-issue social agendas.
. . .when. after reading it, I always feel right and judge others to be obviously a bit off center.
. . .when ancient, obscure, oblique texts are considered on a par with clear principles such as the Golden Rule.
. . .when my religion and religious tradition comes off as obviously better and more correct than yours.
. . .when hatred is justified.
. . .when I feel that I can forgo kindness.
. . .when I feel superior to anyone.
. . .when I can choose not to see, embrace or attempt to relieve the pain of another human being.
. . .when, after reading it for years, I do not understand the central importance of caring for the weak, the marginalized, the poor and the oppressed.
. . .when I cannot find a way to matter in this here-and-now world for all of my concern about the next life.
. . .when any part of it "trumps" the life,words and work Jesus.
Maybe you have your own list.
Let me hear from you.
December 8, 2013–second Sunday in Advent
14 hours ago