People should be extremely careful before using “but the Bible says” as a way to defend their own behaviors or condemn those of others. Here are some hilarious questions that taking the Bible literally could raise.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine says that applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 31:14 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police do it?
5. Lev. 21:20 says that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
6. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
7. I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
8. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary to go through all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev 24: 10-16)? Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev 20:14)?
This, by the way, applies as much to atheists as it does to Christians. Many atheists have a terrible habit of trying to use the Bible to disprove or invalidate the beliefs of Christians. This is like trying to tell the resident of a certain city what the vibe of that city is, even though you don’t live there. The resident may or may not agree with you, but as a non-resident, you are hardly qualified to make that judgment.
“But the Bible says,” rarely furthers conversation in a productive way and people on both sides of the debate should avoid it.