"God said it. I believe it. That settles it."
I would often see this proclamation on bumper stickers when I lived in the Southeast, and, quite frankly, it irritated me. Still does. Despite its obstinacy, which is already sufficiently annoying, it's actually somewhat defeatist in nature. And it's way too simplistic. Is anything actually ever that black-and-white? I'm going to say no, and here's why.
"God said it." Whatever it is, are we sure God really said it? How could we possibly know? In terms of what God may or may not have said, our main reference source is the Holy Bible, which, in all honesty, was transcribed by humans. There's a lot of "it" in there, a great deal of which, if you stop and think about it, is pretty absurd.
"I believe it." Fundamentalist Christians claim to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible as God's word. This would involve a great deal of blind trust, as well as a considerable amount of leniency, to the point of almost complete abandonment, when it comes to biblical discernment. But, I get it. To them, it's sacred text. However, I'm pretty sure even Fundamentalist Christians take away from the Bible only those portions that suit their agenda. For instance, Leviticus is a crucial book of the Bible, in that it contains perhaps the most compelling verses employed by Christians to justify their seemingly limitless disdain for homosexuals. Leviticus 18:22 reads, "You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination." Further along, Leviticus 20:13 states, "If a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and they shall surely be put to death." While there are varying opinions among Biblical scholars with regards to accuracy of translation and the true meaning of these passages, conservative Christians wield these verses like a queer-fighting weapon of condemnation. They rarely ever mention some of the other profundities found in Leviticus, such as verse 11:1-12, which lists the "unclean" animals that are forbidden as food, including rabbits, pigs and shellfish (oysters, lobster, clams, shrimp, scallops). Leviticus 19:19 forbids wearing a garment made from two kinds of material woven together. So much for those smart poly-cotton blends Fundamentalist Christians seem to enjoy. And, Leviticus 19:27 basically prohibits men from grooming their hair and beards. Perhaps most importantly, they regularly seem to ignore Leviticus 19:18, which includes the passage, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Some Christians appear to want a Bible that allows them to hate freely without also requiring them to actually be good Christians.
"That settles it." Not for me, so much. I think the Bible should be subjected to the same scrutiny as the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution, which I happen to consider a sacred document, is easier to read and makes infinitely more sense than the Bible. It was written in 1787. The Bible is estimated to have been collectively written during the period of time from 1445 B.C. to 90 A.D. Over the past 224 years, the Constitution has been amended 27 times. The Bible, not once. In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery. The Bible still says that slavery is a-okay, even though we all know it's wrong. And that, gentle reader, is just the tip of that massive iceberg. Isn't it time for Christians to either amend the Bible or admit that 95 percent of its content is bullshit?
Seriously, none of us really knows what, if anything, God has ever said. Apparently, once the Bible was completed, God thought it best to zip it. Of course, some people claim that God still speaks directly to them. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain all claim to have been instructed by God to run for president. Why would God be so namby-pamby? He's all-powerful. I mean, pick a candidate and make sure he or she wins, for Christ's sake (no pun intended). Maybe God's just toying with them. Maybe He's toying with all of us. He has a history of doing that sort of thing, you know. Just read the story of Abraham. It's in the Bible.