Quoting Scripture and the Laziest Rhetorical Device Ever

I wrote an article a couple years ago about “Crucifixion Porn.”  I don’t want to rehash it, so follow the link if you’d like to read it, but for some reason, this now-old article still generates occasional comments from Christians who often respond with the duel strategy of disavowing “religion” while at the same time quoting scripture to me to make me see the error of my ways.

It’s such a silly strategy that I can’t believe how often I still see it used by Christians who seem to think they invented the thing.

First, let’s tackle scripture with this observation: I am an official bibliophile, a worshipper of the written word.  I have favorite books that are often replaced with new favorite books.  First Vonnegut and then Hitchens and then Hosseini, I can never stick with one for long.  The point of all my book loving is to say there is no such thing as one book with all the answers. 

I’ve studied the Bible as a Christian and as an atheist, and there are things to observe from it perhaps even lift from it.  But if you claim the Bible as the sum total of all human wisdom, you are not a serious thinker.  There are too many great pieces of literature to boil down all human existence to just one book, so Christians who hope to convert me, for the love of god, stop quoting scripture at me.

The second part of this too-common apologetics is the breathless declaration that: “I’m not religious either!  I just love Jesus!”

This is a bullshit attempt to distance “Christianity” from the oft-maligned word “religion.” I’m sorry to insist that Christianity is indeed a religion, but here’s the definition:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

Words matter.  A Christian can talk about the power of faith, a personal relationship with god, or loving Jesus, but no matter how you crucify it, it’s still religion.  To claim otherwise is utter rubbish, a simple rhetorical device and a lazy one at that.

So please save me the “love Christ but hate religion” business.  It’s embarrassing.  Also, please stop quoting scripture.  I’ve heard it for years and could likely quote it back to you, and it has no effect on me.  Perhaps if we can put a few tired arguments out of play, someday we can better understand one another.

About Edwin Lyngar

Edwin Lyngar is a writer and author living in Reno, Nevada. He graduated from Antioch University in 2010 with his MFA in creative writing and also holds an MA in Writing from the University of Nevada Reno. He is published often in boating trade publications, and he blogs about religion, politics, circumcision, drug reform and just about anything else that might piss off your mom. He is married to Joy Lyngar, and has five children from ages 3 to 18. He is in the process of finding a home for his first book, a memoir, titled Guy Parts.
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One Response to Quoting Scripture and the Laziest Rhetorical Device Ever

  1. Cash says:

    I run into this more often now. “I’m not religious, I just follow Jesus.” Love your take and your answer. “Words Matter”.

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