The Salad Bar Christian

The first few books of the Bible contains hundreds of laws said to be handed down to the Israelites by God.  These laws covered many issues pertaining to morality, domestic issues, property, health, how God was to be worshipped; you name it; everything that a person might deal with in their life.  There were also laws that dictated what punishment was to be rendered in the event that these laws were ever broken.  Depending on which law was broken, and by whom, the punishment could have been quite severe.  In some cases, the law required that a woman be punished more severely than a man. 

For example, a married man could have sex with another woman, provided she wasn't married.  In this case, the woman would just become another wife for the man.  It was very common for men to have many wives in the Old Testament.  However, a married woman could not have sex with another man, regardless of his marital status.  If a married woman had sex with another man, she was to be put to death.  The man was also to be put to death, because the woman was married.  Married women were considered property, this is why they were put to death for having sex with another man; they were owned by someone else.  When a man had sex with a married woman, he was to be put to death also; not for adultery, but for stealing another man's property. 

Christians often pick and choose which of God's laws they will continue to obey, and which they feel that they no longer need to follow.  This includes what punishment to bestow when a law is broken.  To Christians, the Bible is like a salad bar, and the laws within it is like many varieties of food you would find there.  Like getting food from a salad bar, Christians often select only those laws that appeal to them and leaving the rest behind.  The laws Christians usually gorge on are often, but not always, moral in nature.

Many laws in the Old Testament have become quite outdated, not only to Christians, but to non-Christians as well; theists and non-theists.  Of the three major Abrahamic religions, I think Islam is the only one that strictly follows the laws and punishments of the Old Testament.  Islam does not follow the Bible; it follows the Quran, but it has adopted many of the same laws found in the Old Testament; thus becoming Islamic Law.  Even in the 21st century, people can be put to death for breaking some laws of Islam; depending on where they live of course.

Christianity claims to have the most diverse denominations of any other religion in the world.  Islam and Judaism have different denominations, but Christianity has more than all those put together.  This is because Christians can't agree amongst themselves on how scripture is to be followed.  Paul says in Philippians 2, verses 1 & 2, "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind"; however, Christians don't seem to adhere to this request.  Christians don't agree with what is moral or immoral to God.  And because of such disagreements, Christians have broken off to form different denominations.  Look at the Episcopal Church...When the first openly gay bishop was approved by the church, the more conservative members felt that this was immoral.  The more liberal of the Episcopal Church thought it was OK.  Those who disagreed with the church, broke off, and a new denomination of Christianity was created; The Anglican Church of North America.

Christians have come up with many reasons on why they pick and choose on which of the scriptures they tend to follow and the ones they don't.  Some Christians claim that the laws of the Old Testament were written for the Hebrews, so they don't pertain to them.  However, they insist on quoting Old Testament commandments and laws when trying to push their morals on other people.  Other Christians say that because of the new covenant through Jesus Christ, those laws no longer apply; they don't count anymore.  They say that they only have to obey New Testament laws.  If Christians continue to insist that the Old Testament laws are no longer a concern, then there are many verses that can be used to show that all the laws and commandments of the Old Testament must be followed by Christians.

For those Christians who say that the commandments of the Old Testament were meant only for the Hebrews, the New Testament has these verses that say otherwise.

  • Matthew 19:17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

  • John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

  • John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

  • John 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:19  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

  • 1 John 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

  • 1 John 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

  • 1 John 3:22  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

  • 1 John 3:24  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

  • 1 John 5:2-3  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

For those Christians who say that the new covenant through Jesus negates the Old Testament laws, Jesus says...

  • Matthew 5:17-19  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

  • Luke 16:16-17  The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Adultery is one of the Ten Commandments that is strictly forbidden by God.  As stated  before, adultery is punishable by death according to God's law.  Jesus took this law one step further and said that if you remarry after a divorce, you are still considered an adulterer.

  • Matthew 5:31-32  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

  • Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

How many Christians have disobeyed this law?  Christians have the highest divorce rate in the United States; and by the way, atheists have the lowest.  Now, it's not against God's law to get a divorce...Well it's not against God's law for a man to divorce his wife.  A woman could not divorce her husband; remember, she was property.  However, it's the remarrying after a divorce that is illegal in God's eyes.

Can God change his mind and abolish all the old laws?  Jesus said that he hasn't changed his mind, and the Bible says that he won't change his mind.

  • Number 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

  • Malachi 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

  • Ezekiel 24:14  I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

  • James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Let's face it; Christians cherry pick which laws they are going to obey, because even they realize how stupid and ludicrous some of those old laws can be, especially some of the punishments that were required for breaking such laws.  People have become more civilized and recognize the incivility of most of these laws.  Any Christian in their right mind is not going to kill their child for disobedience.  Pork is delicious, in particular, BBQ'd pork, so of course it's OK to eat now.  Christianity needs symbols for it to be recognized, so there have to be graven images and idols to identify it.  And then there is Jesus.  Christians will continue to break the laws laid out in the Bible as long as they think they have a "get out of jail" free card.

2009 Derrick Miller

Back to "Problems with the Christian faith"