“If I can accept that the Bible is trying to lift up those who are unlike me, then perhaps I can read the Bible right.”
I think Christian writer Brian Zahnd nails it. In other words, he is saying that the Bible is a tool for inviting non-Christians into dialog, not drive them away with condemnation.
I’m not a Christian, but I’m still interested in the way the Bible impacts my country, or at the very least my family who still follow the faith.
Recently Romans 1:28 was cited in a discussion that included me. The verse essentially states God condemns those that reject him by giving them over to a depraved mind. There is a litany of subjective exegesis one can go into, but let’s keep it simple: it’s a “proof-text condemning others,” not something that endears God to non-believers like myself!
I respect that within a purely Christian circle of discussion this would take on different tones of relevance than, say, a discussion that includes me who isn’t a follower of the faith. Such things will always remain subjective. I myself can only take it under grave consideration since it was introduced after I joined the discussion.
In the discussion I expressed it was sad to see such a position (as Romans 1:28) being taken.
It was then I came across Brian Zahnd’s post nearly at the same time via another friend. I would encourage more American Christians to consider this rather radical, and frankly more endearing perspective:
“If I read the Bible with the appropriate perspective and humility I don’t use the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus as a proof-text to condemn others to hell.”