I’m usually very hesitant to share Matt Walsh’s posts because he tends to express his thoughts in a way that isn’t always the kindest (and can be divisive). Recently, however, he wrote an article that caught my eye. It discussed immigration and if Christians are supposed to be opposed. While I don’t agree with his stance, he raised an interesting point that had also caught my attention on social media: suddenly, the Bible is being appealed to as a moral authority by people who normally dismiss it. I want to make it clear that my intent here is not to address Mr. Walsh’s discussion regarding immigration, nor am I commenting on the validity of the use of Scripture in some of the contexts it has been used; instead, I’d like to explore his discussion on the inconsistencies related to Biblical authority from its critics.
Matt Walsh identifies the following inconsistencies:
- If the Bible is as “backward, bigoted, [and] primitive” as critics claim, shouldn’t we disregard all the moral teachings?
- The Bible exhorts its followers “to help the poor and the sick and the orphaned.” This was a “revolutionary” concept at the time; Christians were displaying “compassion unknown to man up until that point.” Doesn’t that compel one to at least take a secondary look at the other moral teachings (like how marriage is defined)? Doesn’t the fact that they were able to look beyond their times with these matters warrant consideration that perhaps the other moral teachings in the Bible weren’t just products of the society but instead are timeless truths that lead to the ultimate good for humanity?
- “no matter if the Bible is a fountain of moral and spiritual truth, or a backwards, bigoted, primitive relic, or some utterly inexplicable mix of the two, you must decide whether it can be used as an argument for public policy or not. You must choose one argument or the other. If “because the Bible says so” is anywhere on your list of reasons for supporting open borders and uncontrolled refugee admission from Syria, then you have admitted that “because the Bible says so” is a fundamentally legitimate defense of public policy. If it is, I guess we can say goodbye to abortion and gay marriage.” Mr. Walsh points out that some Christians don’t even need to cite Scripture when it comes to moral issues because these are “truths ingrained in our human nature. I say that the government should govern according to that — Natural Law…”
As I was reading his points, I found myself nodding in agreement and thinking “FINALLY, someone gets it!” It had been interesting to see my friends who just a few weeks earlier were so quick to criticize the Bible as a moral authority now quoting Scripture. Honestly, I got a little annoyed, and reading Mr. Walsh’s points about these “logical inconsistencies” articulated my frustration, and my initial reaction to share his points in a borderline rant on Facebook. However, I decided to wait a few days because I wanted to be able to have a good discussion and didn’t want to post something out of anger and a prideful “look at how silly you guys are being” attitude. As I waited and thought about what he said, I realized that we as Christians actually have an amazing opportunity.
If people respect certain aspects of the Bible, even enough to just expect Christians to follow those aspects, that is an opening for a conversation. Understanding these inconsistencies, we can lovingly reveal them to people who aren’t fully invested in Christ’s teachings.
My recommendation for going about this is to ask questions. As Catholic apologist Trent Horn says “When we rely on statements in conversations, they may unintentionally turn into speeches. Like food shoved down someone’s throat, the knowledge we impart to people in lengthy statements is rarely retained. Instead, asking questions lets us steer the conversations toward the truth without having to “preach” the truth to anyone.” He recommends four general questions we can ask.
While it can be frustrating to see people apply Scripture haphazardly to our daily lives (and I totally understand the temptation to call people out on it), we must embrace this opportunity to guide people to the Truth. That is how we will change hearts; that is how we will see a change in our culture respecting Natural Law written by God.