[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 18 03:38:00 UTC 2007

> pjmanney <pj at pj-manney.com> wrote:
> >
> > I had an epiphany the other night.
> <snip>
> > If I'm wrong, do you have a better explanation for what shall
> > hitherto be known as The Bible Belt Paradox?

Hmmm, bible belt paradox.

Thru this discussion I have not seen any mention that the bible is not a
particularly good guide to ethics.  There is some really horrifying stuff in
there, just awful.  Teaching by counterexample perhaps?  But even if we get
past that, the bible is very incomplete as a guide to ethical behavior.

We often associate strict religious observance with strict sexual abstinence
for instance.  But if you study the bible, in no place therein does it
specifically forbid an unmarried couple from carnal pleasures.  It really
doesn't.  The apostle Paul mentions that the gentile converts should be
urged to abstain from fornication, but nowhere does he actually define it.  

This apparent omission gave the protestant missionaries to some cultures
severe migraines.  They had to differentiate themselves from the catholic
missionaries via the principle of sola scriptura, which is to say rules of
ethics can only come from the bible, not from the pope or anything else.
The natural first question: where in your holy book does it forbid our
particular favorite form of entertainment?  Answer: well, actually it

The prophet David had hundreds of wives and even more concubines.  What is a
concubine?  Clearly old Dave was entertaining them in a cheerfully carnal
fashion, for the holy book does say he had children with them.  But they
were specifically differentiated from his wives, soooo...

The bible belt people even have a name for shacking up: living in sin.  What
sin?  Why couldn't the sin-living-in-er simply claim that this housemate* is
her concubine, and therefore she is at least as sinless as the prophet
David, whose supposed writings make up a large part of the old testament
including the Psalms and the Proverbs.  

That guy whose name escapes me at the moment (Hoerkheimer Christ's twin
brother, with all the songs written about him) casually mentioned slavery
several times.  Never did he suggest that owning another human just might be
a SIN or anything.

The old testament has plenty of examples of the children of god committing
mass murder, genocide actually, for the sin of unbelief.  It is written that
they were acting under orders from god.  Damn.  

Before I can refer to social ills in the south as the bible belt paradox, I
would need to see something that is actually paradoxical.


*What would he be called?  Perhaps the male counterpart to a concubine is a
concubino or something.  I propose a naming contest.


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