The Bible is Liberal not Conservative
Debate Rounds (3)
While the Old Testament shows a bit of what might seem to be socially conservative, the "conservative" parts are mostly aimed at "pointing to the holiness of God"--demonstrating that the Lord is different and special. Most of the values, especially "love your neighbour as yourself" go against conservatives, who are often rich individuals who do not give the poor what they would want if they were instead the poor ones.
In contrast to these individuals, who in my opinion should be laughed at and occasionally swore at, the Bible very much advocates treating other people the way you would like to be treated. (Of course, some other religions do the same thing). In the NT, religious believers are encouraged to eat and drink and enjoy sex, while also enjoying the goodness of God.
However, the key thing to remember is that most things are good as long as they don't hurt other people or cause them to do something that they believe is wrong. For example, one should not be quick to drink in the presence of someone who believes it is wrong to drink. Otherwise, they feel pressured to drink while still believing that it is wrong. When they drink, they are sinning because they are doing something that they THINK is wrong.
I am a strong liberal and I support all liberal policies except abortion and gay marriage. In fact, the reason I am a liberal is because I have read and carefully evaluated the things that the Bible says. Before doing that, I was conservative.
Thank you for reading--if you can argue that the Bible is conservative, then please take the con/against position.
As my opponent, Pro, never defined any of the words, s/he gives me the authority to do so.
Bible: the Christian scriptures, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
Liberal: open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
Conservative: holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.
Burden of Proof:
My opponent is the Proposition, and is affirming the positive so he holds the complete burden of proof. He must show, by logical argumentation, that the Bible in fact is "open to new beahviour or opinions and is willing to discard traditional views". If he cannot do so, he loses the debate.
As I am only Con I need not present any positive material, although there is plenty. I simply have to refute the arguments presented by the Proposition.
No Actual Quotations
Pro has not actually quoted anything from the canonical scripture supporting his views. He simply makes random assertions. He says that the only socially conservative parts of the Bible are pointing to the holiness of God. In fact the Bible gives a special position to holy men who believe, and even goes so far as to say in Deuteronomy 17:12 "Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God is to be put to death."
It seems weird that my opponent wants to spread love, but shows ill conduct in the debate. He states that all those who go against his belief (including his opponent, I) should be "laughed at and occasionally swore (sic) at".
My opponent claims that the New Testament endorses enjoying sex, and eating and drinking, but Jesus said thus: "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." (NRSV, Mark 7:20-23) So clearly one cannot enjoy sex at all times, and so the Bible places heavy restrictions. And Catholic priests are not even allowed to marry.
So again my opponent has really not given any arguments just bare assertions. He has not quoted the Bible or given any other argumentation to back up his claims.
I accept the definitions of my opponent. However, he should note that we are not talking about Catholicism. We are talking about independent interpretations of the Bible. This means that we are not necessarily discussing the interpretations of any particular denomination, including the "independent evangelical" nondenomination.
My opponent's counterargument with regard to sex is correct to an extent. Sex is confined to marriage, which is, naturally, a traditional association. However, the restrictions placed upon sex by different religious groups is irrelevant to our exegetical look into the Bible. These are social restrictions based on human feelings and misconceptions. They are not outworkings of the actual scripture, but natural human guilt with regard to sex. Because guilt and rejection are commonly associated with sex in the human psyche (it is awkward to cite psychology textbooks and journal articles in an online forum), the Bible has been interpreted according to these feelings. We need to overcome our natural tendencies to interpret these Scriptures.
A quotation within my opponent's rebuttal in fact partially confirms my assertion that the traditional rules within the Old Testament are intended to demonstrate the holiness of God, not to impose real moral law. He said, "Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God is to be put to death" (Deuteronomy 17:12). Notice that the subject of the passage is not the judge or the priest, but the fact that such a figure is ministering to the LORD. The significance of showing contempt for them is revealed in the New Testament, when Jesus becomes the "high priest" of the Christians, and all believers are said to be priests--not a mere rhetorical fantasy! To show contempt for Jesus, or to a person representing him, is said to be a rejection of God--much as my opponent may believe that contempt for the Prophet is a rejection of God, although I am making an assumption here which he may wish to clarify.
A good model for looking at the Old Testament and the New Testament is like a story. It goes through Genesis, the Flood, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the Exodus, the wilderness, the Promised Land, the judges, the prophets, and then finally it comes to Jesus where it says the gig is up, this is it, and all the earlier parts of the story were simply pointing to this one man who would arrive in the future. If you read the scripture with an awareness of Jesus, he will appear everywhere--not as some cherry-picking confirmation bias--but as what seems to be a reasonable confirmation of the theory of the New Testament.
My main argument focuses on the moral liberalism of Jesus, in that his stated value "do to others what you would want them to do to you" (Matt. 7:12) is the value which believers are really expected to follow. It is an overarching canvass of the entire moral scope of the Bible, except for the law of the flesh (Rom. 7:15) that held us captive during the times of the Old Testament. These laws refer to such things as ceremonal washings (Mark 7), rituals, festivals, and other things which, sadly, Christians still often follow today. It seems fulfilled that Jesus said that the gate to life is narrow, and there are few that enter through it.
Another liberal aspect of the Bible is the means of salvation. While all religions (including Christianity) on the planet emphasise good deeds as a means of salvation, the Bible emphasises that salvation is a free gift: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8 NIV). "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36). Many conservatives, including of course many Christians, cannot stand this concept for various reasons. One reason is of course the fact that it is a socially unacceptable belief due to it being so strange and fresh.
I am not, of course, cherry-picking verses to suit this theory. There are many verses pertaining to good deeds in the Bible, some of which require careful contextual analysis, and others which are simple. These verses emphasis that loving other people is the result of receiving the free gift, as not only does believing in Jesus bring salvation, but also the Holy Spirit who makes us want to do good.
Again, salvation is not caused by good deeds. A greater propensity towards good deeds is caused by salvation. This, I'm sure my opponent would agree, is liberating.
Should my opponent wish to confront my core belief of free-gift salvation, he would have to demonstrate that overall the Bible makes a causal link between good deeds and salvation, not just a correlation. This causation would have to go beyond good deeds maintaining one's faith, or achieving some goal, but would have to clearly dictate that the way by which one is saved depends on their moral ability.
He cannot draw upon the Psalms of David, whereby David attributes his own salvation to his moral ability. This is because David is a real life symbol of Jesus, as is most of the Old Testament. Jesus is according to the Bible the only man who has genuinely and absolutely achieved his own salvation. Even then, it was through the mercy and guidance of God.
My opponent would have to defend one of the main contentions of Islam, much of modern Judaism, and also popular culture--that God gave us the innate ability to be saved if we try hard enough. Hard enough remains, as ever, arbitrary.
Ajabi forfeited this round.
When Christ died, God deliberately caused his death by the hands of human beings (Is. 53:10). He was suffering the rejection of God for the whole world, even though he is a perfect and sinless man (1 Pt. 2:22). He died in our place to give us eternal life (Jn. 12:32).
Christ saved us when he rose again from the dead (Rom. 4:25). That means that we are free to enjoy all of God's blessings, including earthly wealth and power, when he returns. He saved everyone, especially those who believe (1 Tim. 4:10).
It may seem like a noble thing to earn our salvation by good deeds, but it is very arrogant to believe that we can do this. We need to accept that Jesus has given us this free gift. Otherwise, our moral efforts will be fruitless in achieving any sort of salvation. We need God's power and God's mercy.
Ajabi forfeited this round.
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