Lying Literalists

“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I do not delight in your solemn assemblies!” The words of some godless communist? A disaffected liberal? An angry atheist? No. These stark words come from Amos, the prophet. Each year when I teach my course on the Hebrew Prophets I am struck by how strident their words are. For Fundamentalists and others who take the Bible literally the words belong to none other than the Big Guy. The Primal Y. G-d. God hates the worship conducted in a land where injustice reigns.

Although the basic principles sound correct, it is clear that America cannot really be considered a just society. There are a few too many families without enough to eat, a few too many homeless on the street-corners of our cities, a few too many unemployed. And a few too few filthy rich. There is plenty to go around, and one might naively think prosperity might trickle down. It doesn’t. I’ve always been amazed to see the girth of many prosperity gospelers who inveigh against the unrighteous. A sturdy measuring tape might tell us all we really need to know about righteousness.

Bible believers do not believe in the Bible. They accept the message they wish to hear, that God loves those who are rewarded with wealth, but the message of Amos they have little time for. They miss the part where the prophet calls them cows of Bashan that are fat for sacrifice. Yet when they flip out their iconic Bibles the theologically illiterate follow them to the polls. The more they pound their Bibles the more they are beating innocent victims. Be careful before becoming a Bible believer – it is not always a comfortable place to be!

6 thoughts on “Lying Literalists

  1. Jim

    Bible believers do not believe in the Bible. – so to be fair to all persons who assert the validity of scripture, you’ve interviewed each and every one of them and therefore feel justified in and comfortable with your claim that NONE of them are sincere?

    That’s quite a feat.


    • Steve Wiggins

      Ah, Jim — good point. What I meant to write was: “Bible Believers” do not believe in the Bible. “Bible Believers” know who they are — they are the people who fired me from my long-term teaching post, they are the people who are often called Fundamentalists. The irony is that they call themselves “Bible Believers” yet they ignore large sections of Holy Writ. No offense intended for thinking people who read the Bible!


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  3. Since the Bible has many authors with many different theologies, it is not surprising to be able to pull lots out of it. There is no ONE Bible to believe. That is a huge myth.

    Even Jesus is reported saying, “You will always have your poor. [so buy beautiful perfume to adore me.]” (or is that bad exegesis?) 🙂


    • Steve Wiggins

      Thanks, Sabio! You’ve got Jesus right on! And there is no ONE Bible (for those willing to believe). The proof of the poor being with us always is sometimes a little too close to home!


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