Leave it to Newsweek's Lisa Miller to run a piece featuring "scholars" who believe the Bible is actually totally fine with premarital sex and homosexuality. Perhaps we should consider it a sign of success that those on the left have decided to spend a little less time suggesting the Bible is irrelevant and a little more time trying to rewrite its meaning. After all, their efforts to revise the Bible to match their own personal views are indicative of the fact that they recognize the Bible's unmatched influence.
Anyway, Miller turned to a couple left-wing professors to help us understand that the "Biblical View of Sex" is not what those radical Christians would have you believe. As it turns out, these geniuses have revealed that God is pretty okay with sexual depravity after all:
Jennifer Wright Knust and Michael Coogan mine the Bible for its earthiest and most inexplicable tales about sex?Jephthah, who sacrifices his virgin daughter to God; Naomi and Ruth, who vow to love one another until death?to show that the Bible's teachings on sex are not as coherent as the religious right would have people believe...
With their books, they hope to steal the conversation about sex and the Bible back from the religious right. "The Bible doesn't have to be an invader, conquering bodies and wills with its pronouncements and demands," Knust writes. "It can also be a partner in the complicated dance of figuring out what it means to live in bodies that are filled with longing."
At least they don't attempt to hide their efforts to "steal" the traditional, historical understanding of the Biblical text to meet their new age, sexual anarchist proclivities. As evidence of their claims that sexual depravity is really a cool thing, Miller highlights that in the Old Testament:
Husbands, in essence, owned their wives, and fathers owned their daughters, too. A girl's virginity was her father's to protect?and to relinquish at any whim. Thus Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the angry mob that surrounds his house in Sodom.
And here's where it all falls apart. The tragic flaw in Miller's reasoning (as well as her two "scholars") is that she uses Biblical accounts of depravity as evidence of God condoning that depravity. There's a monumental gap between the two. There are plenty of accounts of murder in Scripture...but only a wacko would claim that homicide is Biblically condoned.
And speaking of wacko readings of Scripture, more from Miller:
The Bible is stern and judgmental on sex. It forbids prostitution, adultery, premarital sex for women, and homosexuality. But exceptions exist in every case, Knust points out. Tamar, a widow without children, poses as a whore and solicits her own father-in-law?so that he could "come into" her. Her desire to ameliorate her childlessness trumps the prohibition against prostitution.
For crying out loud. If Miller thinks that finding unconventional sexual behavior in Scripture is proof that such behavior is God-ordained, she needs to lay down the laptop and check into a clinic.
Remember, Miller and her cohorts' purpose was to redefine our understanding of what kind of sexuality the Bible approves of, yet all they give is a mere sampling of some of the more bizarre sexual accounts provided therein. That falls woefully short of their original intent.
Many of the examples cited by Miller and her dynamic duo of Scripture wizards are actually cautionary tales given to warn us of the dangers of sexual depravity. But by ripping them from context, Miller hopes to convince the Biblically illiterate that those stories are actually championed and heralded by God as worthy of imitation.
This is nothing more than a feeble attempt to discredit the Biblical position of Godly sexual behavior. It fails at doing so, but succeeds at demonstrating the embarrassing depths to which so-called academics will sink, and the shoddy journalism they are willing to produce in the hopes of diminishing the Word of God.