Shit You Thought Was in the Bible [But Isn’t]
There is much useful and poetic wisdom in the world’s most popular book, much morality too — but have we got our references right? Let’s address a few:
“God helps those who help themselves”
I’ve always kind of laughed inside when hearing this claim. It’s uncertain whether people who say this really mean it — but if they do, I have no clue where anything vaguely resembling such a statement might be written. In fact, it flies in the face of such notions as submission and humility that heavily colour the New Testament.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
Intention is a significant aspect of morality. Consider the phrase “She meant well,” or, “I didn’t mean to!”
I once enjoyed Ethics: Theory and Practice, 10th ed., but was left wondering why intention was never mentioned. I contacted the author, who responded that a certain Kantian notion of “duty” might have hinted at intent. Intent seems such a rudimentary concept of morality; it is a wonder why it isn’t given enough attention — even in the Bible.
“Judge not, lest ye be judged”
This is actually found in the Bible (Matthew 7:1) — but it is sorely taken out of context. Sometimes it is couched in the phrase, “Don’t judge me!” Taken to the extreme, this is used to avoid all condemnation. Yet who would shirk from condemning cheating, theft, murder? Who would not praise self-sacrifice, charity, a soft smile? These are value judgements. We all do it.
A quick glance at the very next sentence in the Matthew passage would reveal, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Therefore the Bible does not prohibit judgement; it actually encourages judgement so long as the judge is willing to be judged by the same standards — no law degree required.
“Money is the root of all evil”
1 Timothy 6:10, “For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
“Kinds” is absent in certain versions, such as the King James, and appears to have been added to newer ones such as the New King James version. Regardless, let us assume for a moment that all means all. We then see that the love of money begets all types of evil — not just money in of itself (or merely having it, for that matter).
Furthermore, this notion that the love of money begets all kind of evil can be easily dispelled by showing that it is unreasonable to blame the love of money for causing a jealous rage in someone catching their lover in another’s embrace.
This is not meant to disparage Christianity — merely the misuse of phrases with such social significance. Please comment below with any biblical clarifications to statements made above — I welcome disagreement, as such can only sharpen our minds on the path towards truth.