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Education Matters: The Bible as interpretive literature

October 15, 2010|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

I'm hooked on this paper's Saturday religious section. Of the good folks who weigh in each week, the Rev. Bryan Griem seems to have garnered the most attention for his resolute stands on a number of controversial issues.

I find him interesting because he seems to have all the answers and very few questions. In matters of religion, I am just the opposite.

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And so I shall defer to the good reverend for having made more progress than I in unraveling life's deepest mysteries. His assurance in knowing The Truth comes from the Bible, which he quotes as an end point to all discussion and a final arbiter in any and all questions of theology.

I must say that my faith does not take me to that point. I believe that the Bible is a good book, but it was written by men whom we all know to be imperfect. If that is an acceptable premise, I have a question for Griem.

Why do fundamentalist interpreters of the Bible quote from Leviticus in revealing God's abomination of homosexuality, but when said fundamentalists are confronted with other outrageous passages from the same book (like it's OK to kill your wife if she is not a virgin) want to put them into "historical perspective"? I take that response to mean, "disregard them."

Why then, to reiterate, should I not disregard the words in Leviticus that condemns to death men who "lie with each other"? Why is that oft-quoted passage seen as God's will, while another passage that sanctions the sale of one's daughter into slavery (Exodus 21) is glossed over by putting it into "context"?

I would ask the reverend about Seth Walsh, the 13-year-old boy who committed suicide recently after having suffered years of torment by classmates for being gay. He, like so many other human beings on this planet, knew there was something different about himself from a very young age. By accepting that difference, is he truly an abomination in the eyes of the Lord for having "made that choice"?

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