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"The Truth," a religion



Pick and choose

Which parts of the Bible are perfect?


Many Christians believe that the Bible is the wholly-true Word of God and that one must adhere to it entirely.

American Protestants call selective belief "picking and choosing." In Ireland, it's called "a la carte" Christianity. Both terms of course are dismissive of half-hearted worship. In reality, though — of course — this is really only an attempt at discernment. But Christians consider this to be morally weak. (Protestants, anyhow — neither Catholics nor the Eastern Orthodox are as obsessed with the Bible.)

The Bible, in the hardline Christian view, is the Word of God, inerrant, perfect. Thus, you do not have the option of deciding which parts of the text you believe, nor which to follow. You are responsible for every word.

But everybody knows that the Bible is a mess, and many of its prescriptions are unsuitable outside of a specific culture. In these cases, it is acceptable to think of these requirements as inapplicable. Believers do not seem to consider this a contradiction.

It's true that Christians believe that Jesus' love supercedes the Old Testament laws of specific instruction. But there is no concensus about which parts of the Old Testament are no longer applicable.

So in practice, a believer must discern.

In other words, one must "pick and choose." This is acceptable if a group does so — but it is not acceptable by individual discretion. At least, that's the convention.


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