Randal Rauser: Four Steps to Help You Make Sense of Biblical Violence

I was recently asked on Twitter how I deal with the problem of biblical violence, that is, the problem of God appearing to command and commend violent actions that appear to be evil. I responded with four points. I have expanded on those points in this brief article.

The first point is to follow Augustine’s principle that Scripture must always be read so as to increase one’s love of God and neighbor. As a result, if a particular reading leads a person to dehumanize members of the human population, that’s a good reason to reconsider your reading.

Second, make sure that your hermeneutical lodestar is the Christ revealed in the Gospels, the one who declared, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father,” the one who called us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Third, recognize that your most deep-seated moral intuitions are an important guide in exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological reflection. Are those intuitions fallible? Yes, of course. But then, all of our reasoning is fallible: we are human, after all. The fact remains, however, that our moral intuitions provide important guides as we weigh the viability of particular readings. Thus, the visceral recoil from some hermeneutical and ethical proposals provides us, at the very least, with a prima facie reason to reconsider those proposals.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Randal Rauser