Love thy neighbor, may he who is without sin cast the first stone, do not judge lest ye be judged yourself - the Bible certainly has some great advice for Christians and anyone trying to be their best self. There are, however, some verses that make you say "whaaaa?" What are the most controversial and contentious verses in the Bible?
Without context, many Bible verses seem to condone awful practices. Rape? Slavery? Killing a woman for speaking out of turn? These horrific acts are allowed?
This list of startling and confusing Bible verses is meant to give guidance on what these controversial Bible passages mean and how they've been interpreted over the years. Also, like with anything, context is important, and this list includes historical context for what was going on at the time the Bible was written.With that said, some of these passages are still pretty messed up. Vote up the Bible verses and quotes you think are the most controversial. Thank God not everything in life is meant to be taken literally. Then, thank God, literally, because if there's one thing the Bible is very clear about is that God deserves all the thanks in the world.
1 Timothy 2:12Photo: flickr / CC0
Historical Context: This passage is usually used in opposition to women becoming clergy members.
A Conservative Reading: Men and woman have equal but separate roles in society. A woman's role is to tend to the family.A Liberal Reading: The passage was meant for a different socio-cultural time. Now that the time has passed a new interpretation is in order.436186Should this be higher or lower?
Exodus 21:20-21Photo: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License
A Historical Perspective: This defined treatment of slaves. This clarified where the line was when it came to forceful punishment.
A Conservative Reading: The bible does not condone violence. It doesn't say people should beat their slaves, and in many other passages it even condemns it.A Liberal Reading: This is a metaphor. If one were to do harm against another that doesn't do permanent damage we should find it in our hearts to forgive and more forward together.282106Should this be higher or lower?
Deuteronomy 22:28-29Photo: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License
Historical Context: Rape in this case does not mean what it means today. In this context it's referring to having sex with a virgin. It says that once pre-martial sex is committed the two people ought to get married, and the family should be compensated for not having a say in the matter.
A Conservative Reading: As a metaphor, this means those who engage in premarital sex should get married. Furthermore, one should not think about having premarital sex if they aren't willing to face the consequences.A Liberal Reading: The translation should be changed. This does not mean rape. Sex should happen in a safe, loving environment.311129Should this be higher or lower?
Leviticus 20:13Photo: flickr / CC0
Historical Context: Pagan Canaanites indulged in homosexual sex. The Canaanites were the Hebrew's enemies, and as a result many Canaanite practices were deemed contemptible.
A Conservative Reading: God intended men to sleep with women. For a man to sleep with a man is against what God created and God doesn't make mistakes.A Liberal Reading: There are no Canaanites, society has changed, and now that homosexuality is understood to be biological, this should be thrown out like many other outdated bible verses.454219Should this be higher or lower?