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Sunday, February 12, 2012

According to Matthew...

So something happened the other day, and I figured I might as well make a blog post about it (albeit, tangentially), since that’s what all the cool kids are doing.  So cheers to current events!

Gay marriage is one of those hot-button issues in the world of religion.  Right up there with abortion, birth control, evolution, and women who decide to leave the kitchen.  It’s one of those hold-out topics that many American Christians just aren’t willing to re-evaluate.  They see one teensy little bible quote, something about not lying with a man as one lies with a woman, and they try to use it as a justification for bigotry and regressive thinking.    As far as I can tell, the only reason people in America are against homosexuality is because their special book says it’s wrong.

But what most people don’t seem to realize is that Atheists can quote bible verses too.  We don’t do it very often, because we realize that just because an old book says something, doesn’t mean it’s true.  But if these right-wingers want to play that game, then let’s show them just how much of a game it is.  Of course, none of these verses should be taken as arguments for whatever the verses detail.  Rather, this is a demonstration of why “The Bible says so,” just doesn’t cut it.

One final note, I am aware that many Christians respond to verses like these by saying that Jesus taught love and compassion, and that overrides the Old Testament.  So I decided I would restrict myself to using only New Testament verses.  Then I realized that the New Testament was really freaking long.  So I decided that for this post, I would limit myself only to the book of Matthew.  That’s right, all of these bible verses represent roughly one eighth of the New Testament.

(For those who like sources, I’m using a pocket-sized New Testament from Gideons International... it was free.)

Jesus did not come to overthrow the Old Testament
Matthew 5: 17-18 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

Calling someone a fool makes you deserving of eternal torment
Matthew 5: 22 “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment.  And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.  But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Jesus supports the concept of thoughtcrime
Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Divorce is only okay if your wife is sexually immoral, and any marriage after a divorce is adultery
Matthew 5: 31-32 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality, and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”

Don’t pray in public, do it in your room with the door closed (Extends to public schools and national days of payer?)
Matthew 6: 5-6 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.  For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Christians shouldn’t judge people (including homosexuals?)
Matthew 7: 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Most people are going to hell
Matthew 7: 13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Jesus ordered his disciples to engage in necromancy
Matthew 10: 8 “Heal the sick cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.

Those who reject Jesus’ message will get their comeuppance
Matthew 10: 14 “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.  Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

Jesus foretold of Christianity tearing families apart and inspiring hatred
Matthew 10: 21-22 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Don’t fear death, fear God
Matthew 10: 28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather, fear Him who is able to kill both soul and body in hell.

Jesus will advise against letting non-Christians into heaven
Matthew 10: 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father

Jesus did not come to bring peace
Matthew 10: 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Jesus wants you to love him more than your own family
Matthew 10: 35-37 “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Those who fail to repent (in this case, entire cities) will go to hell
Matthew 11: 20-22 “Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.”

Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable
Matthew 12: 31-32 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

God can explain things to you.  He just chooses not to.
Matthew 13: 10-11 And his disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

Jesus supports trickle-down economics
Matthew 13: 12 “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

People burn in hell and it isn’t pleasant
Matthew 13: 40-42 “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, And will cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

God demands capital punishment for those who curse their parents
Matthew 15: 4 “For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’”

The Gospel was only for the people of Israel, and the people of Canaan are not God’s children
Matthew 15: 22-24 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!  My Daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  But He answered her not a word.  And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”  But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
(To be fare though, Jesus did end up healing the woman’s daughter.  But this act is likened to the people of Canaan receiving crumbs from Jesus’ table.)

The second coming was supposed to occur within a generation
Matthew 16: 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Nothing is impossible if you have faith (This sounds like a job for science!)
Matthew 17: 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Only Christians get into heaven, and those who get Christians to sin will suffer a fate worse than being drowned
Matthew 18: 2-6 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, And said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Being in hell (which is in fact everlasting fire) is worse than having various body parts removed
Matthew 18: 9-10 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you.  It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.  It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

Don’t publicly accuse someone of a crime if you can’t bring at least one other witness (This would be quite troublesome for most rape victims).  Also, tax collectors are likened to heathens.
Matthew 18: 15-17 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

God will torture you if you don’t forgive people
Matthew 18: 35 (After Jesus tells a parable of a slave who is punished by torture) “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his trespasses.”

Divorce is still only okay if your wife is sexually immoral, and any marriage after a divorce is adultery
Matthew 19: 9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

Wealthy people are going to hell
Matthew 19: 23-24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

You should forsake your family and wealth for Jesus’ sake
Matthew 19: 29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”

Again, nothing is impossible if you have faith (This still sounds like a job for science!)
Matthew 21: 21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.” 

You can get anything you want through prayer (Care to test this?)
Matthew 21: 22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

When a childless woman’s husband dies, she should marry her brother-in-law
Matthew 22: 23-24 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, Saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.”
(While this is not Jesus speaking, Jesus does not correct these men on how to handle widows.)

There is no marriage in heaven (So much for the “sanctity of marriage.”)
Matthew 22: 29-30 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”

Loving God comes before loving your fellow man
Matthew 22: 35-39 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus is going to hell?
Matthew 23: 17 “Fools and blind!  For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
(This is Jesus talking here.  Yet in Matthew 5: 22 Jesus says “…whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Jesus is still going to hell?
Matthew 23: 19 “Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?”

God hates mothers.  If you happen to be pregnant or nursing on doomsday, you probably won’t make it to heaven (presumably because you won’t be able to flee into the mountains)
Matthew 24: 16-19 (Speaking of the end times) “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.  And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!”

The apocalypse was supposed to have occurred within a generation of Jesus’ life
Matthew 24: 34 “Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”

The apocalypse will destroy heaven too
Matthew 24: 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Jesus still supports trickle-down economics
Matthew 25: 29 “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

Heaven and hell are forever
Matthew 25: 46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Jesus’ ointment is not to be sold to help the poor, and this should always be taught alongside the gospels!
Matthew 26: 7-13 A woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.  But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?  For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”  But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman?  For she has done a good work for Me.  For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.  For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.  Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.

A good deal of time seems to have passed between the crucifixion and the writing of Matthew
Matthew 27: 7-8 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.  Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day

Like the rights of homosexuals, Jesus was executed by popular vote
Matthew 27: 21-23 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”  They said, “Barabbas!”  Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”  Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has he done?”  but they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified.”

The Jews who called for Jesus’ crucifixion were okay with their kids being persecuted for it
Matthew 27: 24-25 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “Iam innocent of the blood of this just Person.  You see to it.”  And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Why don’t other historical documents contain this remarkable account?  Also, resurrection seems to be a little less special than most Christians would have you believe.
Matthew 27: 45-54 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sbachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!”  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.  The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice; and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Yet again, a good deal of time seems to have passed between the crucifixion and the writing of Matthew
Matthew 28: 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day

Some of Jesus’ disciples were skeptics
Matthew 28: 16-17 Then the eleven disciples went away into Gililee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.  When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted.

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