The man says “according to the Bible…”
And goes on to tell you what he believes it says,
Expecting you to snap to attention
And believe him because
Of where he told you he got it.
But he has no clue—and perhaps
You don’t, either—just how much
Of what he thinks it means
Is coming from places other
Than the text itself—
From hearsay and tradition
And from his own hasty conclusions—
From the unruly desires of his own heart
Influencing his reasoning as to what
It “clearly” must mean.
And having said the words, “according to the Bible”,
He is frustrated that you don’t seem
To surrender yourself immediately to his view.
But the fact of the matter is that
He has not surrendered himself very well
To the view of the author he is citing,
But figures that if he were wrong about this,
He would know it—
Even as he opines that you are wrong about it
And do not know it.
He is not really listening to the words
He himself lauds as being so important.
He has come to think, somehow,
That teaching what the Bible says
Is more the need of the hour
Than is listening to what it says—
And he teaches as if he had already
Satisfied any obligation to listen
Long ago—it now being your turn.
And the reason I know so much about this guy
Is that I have been him myself
And have done these very things,
Being so wrong in my conclusions
While being so adamant that
Everyone else’s conclusions were wrong.
And as it turns out,
The truth of the matter seems to be
That most of us are wrong about
Many things that we believe.
Not all of it, mind you, but much of it.
And while we certainly know generally
That not everything is what it seems,
We can’t seem to get it through our heads
That our interpretation of any given passage
Might just be another instance of that.
If we were to question our own beliefs
As readily as we question
The beliefs of others,
We would be much better off.
But for now, it seems we will never tire
Of saying “according to the Bible”.
Photo Notes: The photo at the top of this post caught my eye, but the story behind it (and the identity of the man pictured) is otherwise irrelevant to this post. You can read about it here.
Meanwhile, the meme just above is from my Reality-Based Thinking project. The website shown was attacked with a nasty malware attack from which we have not yet recovered, but you can find several hundred of these memes on the SRBT Facebook page.