The Philosophy of Christianity! April 19, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
I grew up with the teaching that the Bible contains no contradictions. I remember picking up a book once that explained the alleged contradictions in the Bible and was surprise by its size. I was also disappointed by the number of hoops that the authors went through to discount these alleged contradictions.
I want to share one example that I discovered when reading a series of my favorite passages of scriptures.
Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Matthew 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Luke 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
In Mark’s account (Mark is believed to be the oldest gospel), the teacher of the law seems to be a seeker of truth. In Matthew and Luke’s account, he is combative. Luke’s account is also a variant of the other two.
One explanation is, of course, that these are different incidents. However, they do, on the surface, appear to be different views of the same story. It is also interesting to note that Matthew and Luke’s bias against the Pharisees (see this previous post for my thoughts on this issue) seem to come through.
The reality is there are contradictions like this throughout the Bible. As I mentioned before, a casual reading of Genesis 1 and 2 will give you two different creation timelines that cannot be easily reconciled. This leads one to believe that they were accounts written by 2 different authors that were later compiled into the book of Genesis.
I believe that as Christians, we sometimes focus on minors and forget the majors. To me the important thing is to grasp the concept being communicated in the above quoted verses instead of trying to write papers on how they do not contradict because we do not want to have to declare the Bible as being flawed.
My personal belief is that outside of all the dogma of Christianity, lies a philosophy of how we should live our lives that if we follow, leads us to a life of peace, contentment and living in harmony with our environment.