The Bible As Projective Test

The Bible says to love your brother,
Respect your father and your mother,
Do what’s right for one another…
The good we’re meant to do

It says whom you may keep as slaves,
To stone the child who misbehaves,
And wicked is the man who shaves…
It’s evil, through and through

And everyone who simply looks
At what it bans and what it brooks
Will find they’re reading different books
And not a simple whole

Sometimes I think the path is best
To treat it as a Rorschach Test—
Inside, you find your views confessed
A mirror to your soul

Over at NPR, Barbara Bradley Hagerty has a piece– Same Bible, Different Verdict on Gay Marriage. It’s a nice piece, but disturbing at times, when the bible is used as a tool–more as a weapon, really–for political reasons.

Although both sides say they are finding the truth in the bible, it seems to me that the biggest factor is who happens to be reading it at the time.


  1. The Lorax says

    A single-sourced morality is always bound to fail
    ‘Cause when you have a hammer, all the world’s a nail.

  2. Linda Grilli Calhoun says

    In all my years as a shrink, the most horrible cases I dealt with, aside from psychotics, all involved rigid people who experienced situations where two of their cherished precepts ran headlong into each other.

    One example was a mother from a church that believed in the sanctity of the family, no divorce, etc., and at the same time believed that she must protect her children from harm. Her husband was abusing the kids, in life-threatening ways. She had first turned to her church for help, and of course they blamed her rather than offering any real solutions or even any help at all.

    Another example was a Catholic woman who was told by her doctor that another pregnancy would kill her. She wanted to get her tubes tied, but, of course her husband and the church wouldn’t let her (the bad old days; things have changed a little since then). She came to me freaking out because she believed she also had a responsibility to her children to see them through to adulthood, and not stupidly risk her life to that end.

    If one lives one’s life according to a pre-determined, rigid set of instructions, sooner or later two of those instructions are going to conflict, and if people don’t have some flexibility and imagination, they’re going to be in real trouble. L

  3. Randomfactor says

    The evils of religion come from using it as a telescope to see others, rather than a mirror to see and improve yourself.

    I don’t give a damn (no pun intended) how strict your religion wants to make its rules, as long as they apply only to yourself and to fully-consenting adults.

    Of course, what religion would grow with THAT kind of stricture?

  4. says

    Wait the bible is not clear on something? It can be used to support both sides of an argument? The Pope and other Fundies might be abusing the bible?…The entire book is a work of fiction, and should be treated as such. End of story. As soon as someone I am speaking with mentions the bible, I immediately demand some other justification for their belief. When they cannot provide it…things usually end with me being damned to hell. Looks like I will have good company there!

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    … A mirror to your soul

    When I read the Bible, I find it a dangerous mess.

    And when I look in the mirror…


  6. says

    I listened to that NPR report, too, and then went and read the article version, and in the end I was frustrated and more than a little ticked off.

    Yes, it’s an interesting discussion – how do various Christian sects, and individal Christans, interpret the bible? But what they were discussing specifically was this: how do these sects and individuals interpret what the bible says about homosexuality and marriage. The implication was, how do these interpretations affect voting?

    This article was aired immediately following a report on a Pew study of how attitudes toward marriage equality will affect the fall election, thus making the political context inescapable.

    Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s article simply reinforced the absurd notion that the bible, and people’s interpretations of it, can or should influence laws that affect us all.

  7. Mimmoth says

    When I was twelve I tried to read the bible. I thought it was going to be some kind of special, extra good book.

    I got to the story of Hagar, and when the angel–the ANGEL! The GOOD Guy!–sent her back to the people who had raped her to get her pregnant and then abused her till she ran away, I threw the book across the room.

    Perhaps all I saw in it was my own ugly soul. But I won’t be looking again.

  8. says

    I’m technically some kind of “Christian” and I actually really endorse the line about the Rorschach test. I’ve thought that myself at times. Interesting, that two people on opposite ends of the spectrum would arrive at such a similar thought.

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