Just a brief note on the canard I’ve heard a lot this week that “there are just so many different interpretations of Scripture” (and therefore it can’t be held up as authoritative, even in discussions amongst Christians).
- What is it about the existence of a plurality of interpretations for a text that rules out the existence of one correct interpretation? Or even one that is discernible by human minds?
- By way of analogy, if my wife writes me a note to tell me that “we need milk from the store,” and I interpret that to mean I should pick up eggs instead (regardless of how I come to this interpretation of what are clear words on the page), does that render the original meaning lost or void?
- If not, how many additional, varying interpretations would I need to get on the note before I would be able to come home to my wife empty-handed and reasonably explain that her note was indecipherable? Five? Fifty? Fifty-thousand? What is the magic number? Can I get out of the doghouse by pleading that her note was not that clear – after all, so many people disagreed on what it meant?
I was told that “You can’t base faith on scripture alone, relationship is key and we have to be open to learning from others and what it means to them or we will never truly understand what love was meant to be.”
- If, as is alleged, everyone has a different interpretation of Scripture, and this means that Scripture lacks the ability to have an authoritative voice, why is it that the shifting opinions of the masses on what relationship and love are has more weight? Is this not just as, if not more subjective?
- Or is it that, far from being opposed, subjectivity is the sanctuary of the liberal Christian, as it gives shelter to any departures from orthodoxy by granting a sanctified and unassailable higher ground status to whatever are the current trends in cultural thought?
- And if so, then the attack on the authority of Scripture is not that it is unclear (as they will say), but that it is too clear. It cuts against the cultural grain, and must be watered down to the point where its voice is no more authoritative than whoever is interpreting it at any given time. In this way, its voice becomes synonymous with that of the cultural cacophony, and the democratic tyranny of the masses takes its place as what we should harken to and align our minds with.
- Though the refrain is heard loudly that Scripture should be abandoned in favor of “following Jesus,” it must be pointed out that this Jesus said that His words will never pass away. Apparently that promise only applies to the words themselves, not their understanding.
- And if we cannot treat Scripture as authoritative due to (ostensibly) everyone having their own interpretation of the texts, then it certainly isn’t an authoritative source on Jesus either. Ergo, their “just follow Jesus” mantra really means “just follow my interpretation of Jesus,” which is distinct from Chuck’s interpretation, and Bob’s interpretation, and Pete’s interpretation, and so on ad nauseam. What makes their interpretation authoritative all of a sudden?
Postmodernism. It sucks, folks.