Imagine with me for a moment: the year is 4012. The earth remains in existence and still thrives with the in-habitation of humankind. The world as it was known during what we knew to be “modernity” is facing new horizons and new challenges. The United States of America, as most of the world localities, no longer exist as they did during the 3rd millennium. The earth’s geography has shifted. Climates have evolved. Economic centers have relocated. Race and prejudice manifests much differently than it did during the 20th century when the likes of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the fight for civil rights for African-Americans. Two-thousand years later, with the distancing of time, people no longer “feel” the realities of a world of segregation and slavery that was an indelible and crucial era in the US. No longer can they fully perceive what it means to be beaten, spit on, denied access, refused service, or lynched solely based upon skin color while the government publicly approved of and/or chose not to object to the injustices imposed. Women and men now operate on a leveled playing field in their personal and professional lives, socially and even within religion. Somewhere, a small group of non-privileged individuals are introduced to the writings and speeches of Dr. King and have received very little education or information on the context in which Dr. King lived and wrote. As a result, they have formed skewed, deformed, or straight-up wrong ideologies about Dr. King’s message and intended objective. Due to the undeniable power and strength that King displayed, they take his message and run with it because of its empowering qualities. But instead of seeing the very simplistic decree of equality and respect for all of mankind, they build hierarchies and power structures of their own that in turn isolate, dehumanize and reject those who do not believe exactly as they (think)they do. Dr. King’s writings have now become the basis of conflict, wars and condemnation and all in the name of the (uninformed and ill-informed) doctrines of Dr. Martin Luther King who now is held as having been sent of God.
Approximately two thousand some-odd years ago, a Jewish Pharisee had an encounter with God via a resurrected Jesus that changed his life. He would go on to defend, spread and even further the message of a man who spoke out against injustice and inequality, who spoke of the importance of respect and taking care of one another, who said that the most important thing was that we remained humble by seeing our brothers and sisters in the bond of humanity as equally significant to ourselves. This devout Jewish man, raised under the rule of a foreign Emperor, would begin to install this new way of thinking throughout the land and he would write about it. But like anyone still human, his writings would reflect the world he lived in as well as his personal views (as affected by the world he lived in). Many years later (and I do mean many), these letters have been included among a compilation of letters that would later be called the New Testament. These ancient letters would become the justification for mass killings via the crusades, civil wars, genocide, holocaust, slavery, segregation and lynching. They would be the source for justification of the subjugation of women and the condemnation of gays. Thousands of years after these writings originated, we have conjectured dogma and doctrines and opinions and arguments and denominations and eschatology’s and theories, based on (especially nowadays) limited information and knowledge.
After you imagined with me the future of Dr. King’s writings, you may have thought to yourself, “well what idiot would do that and go that far” with this (albeit heroic) man’s perspectives? Those idiots would be us. As wonderful as the Bible can be and is, we must remember, we consider nothing fashioned by human hands nor conceived in the human mind infallible nor inerrant. We are quick to remind ourselves that “I/he/she/we are only human; which is our way of giving room for the limitations we inevitably face as human beings. That the only thing we believe to be perfect is God and God’s love. Not even Adam (also fashioned by God) was ultimately and actually perfect but yet we, in our arrogance, want to demand that the Bible is perfect to the letter (or word for word). But when we study from other sources in world history that are provided us as well, we will see that the views, opinions and thoughts expressed in the bible are not as cut and dry as we have been led to believe. Here’s a thought: In order to be a certified physician, attorney, teacher, elected official, a dentist, an archaeologists or even a cosmetologists (emphasis on “certified” and therefore presumed professionally taught and approved), one must pursue a formal course of studies that provides them with the necessary range of information that would assist in moving from theory into practice. The absence of this information could be devastating in each and all of the professions I mentioned (imagine it for a sec…you’re at a nail shop and Ming didn’t know how important sanitizing was or at your doctor’s office and he or she doesn’t know the human anatomy). Yet most of our preachers and pastors have a HIGHLY limited, if any at all, biblical education? And these are the same people who have helped, and continued to help to shape our opinions, prejudices, ideologies, and strategies for life which in turn shape society.
Now let’s be clear; I’m not saying that all of our religious "teachers" should be charged with malpractice (well...) because I have personally been blessed by some very intelligent and compassionate ministers, preachers and teachers from the Christian church. However, what I am saying is, the disservice is the fad that using Bible as an authority has become. Case in point, you cannot become a legitimate doctor, school teacher, dentist, or lawyer by going on the internet and paying for a certificate, but you can become a "minister" that way. Granted most view the notion as sketchy but there is something to be said about the mere fact that it is possible.
So I leave you with this; Hosea chapter 4, verses 4 through 6, with an emphasis on 6 which says that "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being priest to me." With all of the hate and un-brotherly attitudes that permeate throughout the world, including our faith communities, maybe it's time that we begin to revisit our bible and read it with a better informed point of view... You tell me?