George Carlin and Biblical legalism – May 12, 2011
Comedians are funniest when they make you say ‘I never thought of that but it is so true’. George Carlin said this comedic profundity, ‘Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?’ It’s a truism of human nature that we judge the world by our own preferences. We evangelicals do the same thing when we interpret the Bible except it’s ‘Anyone who interprets the Bible more strictly than me is a legalist and anyone who interprets it less strictly is a liberal’.
We Christians long ago gave up greeting each other with a holy kiss as both Peter and Paul admonish us to do. That’s just culture: We shake hands now. We only recently, in historical terms, allowed woman to dress like men (wear pants) and not cover their heads in church. These also can be seen as the result of a shift in culture. What about sexual relations out side of marriage? Now that we have the ability to prevent unwanted pregnancy we don’t have to worry about children growing up unloved. Maybe that was the original purpose of the prohibition – Or maybe not. Where will it end? How do we decide what can be safely ignored and what is the will of God for all times and places?
Obviously I don’t have an answer but I have advice. Humility is the key to everything – including Bible interpretation.