Nov 19, 2010

Osteen and the Immutability of Scriptures

Joel Osteen thinks that there are scriptures that he can't change.  So what? you might ask.  Isn't that just a retarded tautology?  You can't change passages from Shakespeare, either--not without their ceasing to be Shakespeare, at any rate.

Apparently, though, what he really meant by this was a defense of his stance that homosexuality is a sin.  'Aha!' we might imagine him thinking.  'This passage from the Bible indicates that homosexuality is sinful, so I should be against it!'

This of course is one of the most blatant and singularly irritating lies of the homophobes.  That is categorically NOT what happened.  What really happened is that he's against gays and has found a Bible passage with which to clothe his naked prejudice in priestly garb, draping the mantle of religious respectability around his otherwise abhorrent attitudes towards his fellow man.

How do we know this?

It's quite simple, really.  We look at what he believes and see how it lines up to what the Bible actually says.  If the Bible says things that he doesn't believe, then he's not actually basing his beliefs on the Bible, and if he's not actually basing his beliefs on the Bible anyway, then his refusal to change his opinion on homosexuality because of his inability to change certain Biblical passages is rank bullshit.

The Bible contains clear instructions on how to deal with mildew, instructions which no one follows!  If there is something that our society desperately needs to be told, it's God's will for dealing with mildew.  And yet ... silence.  Osteen can't change these verses any more than he can change the verses about the gays, but he's perfectly content to ignore God's Holy Word when it comes to mildew but not to buttsex.  Strange.  It's almost as if he's cherry-picking Bible passages to support his own bigotry rather than actually basing his views on Scripture.

But let's give him the benefit of the doubt.  After all, we know a lot more about mildew than ancient desert nomads, right?*  And besides, that was the Old Testament!  The Old Covenant which was superseded by the new!**  The New Testament, of course, says that "He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."  Whereas on Osteen's website we find that:
God delights in your prosperity! He wants to do something supernatural and new in your finances, even now! But it's up to each one of us to perceive it and know it. You do that with your faith! No one else can do that for you. Receive God's Word into your spirit by agreeing with God, and then you can expect God to move in your finances!
Or again:
Tithing is the key to financial blessings. ... If you don't give the first 10% of your income to the Lord, the Bible says that you are robbing God and yourself because if you have no seed, you have no harvest. But when you sow your tithe to the Lord, you can expect a harvest in your finances.
Uh, no.  There are a few verses that promise God's blessing on those who tithe, but as far as I can recall failing to do so is nowhere referred to as robbing God, much less yourself, and the Bible never--ever--calls tithing a seed which grows into a harvest.  So no, actually, the Bible does not say that ... unless ... unless ... oh my God, some parts of the Bible can change.

Just not the stuff about the homos.
*Of course, we also know a lot more about sexuality, but best not to think too much about such things.

**Of course, they keep quoting the Old Covenant's buttsex prohibition, but best not to think too much about that, either.

1 comment:

  1. Cherry-picking is a beloved tactic of fundamentalists to justify their less attractive beliefs. It's intellectually dishonest, but they refuse to acknowledge that.

    On a lighter note, that passage in Leviticus would make for a great parody. I can see it now -- an Onion article on the godless heathens who don't clean their showers often enough.