“Because I said so!” How many of us heard that one growing up? And how about this one? “If I tell you to jump, you better ask how high, and then ask if you can come down!”
As a high school math teacher, and currently in my role as an adjunct math instructor, I try to be ready with good answers for any possible math question that arose. As I get to know my students, it gives me more ‘hooks’ to explain something back to them in a way they will relate to from their perspective and experiences. Never, have I told a student (at least to my memory) to just do a math problem without understanding it ‘because I said so!’ That is TTF! (Total Teacher Failure) If I don’t know the answer to a question, I tell my students that I don’t know but I will find out. And I do! Happily, this has been a pretty rare occurrence 🙂
I don’t resort to the old ‘Because I said so!’ line. That’s absolutely horrible in classroom situation where a student is genuinely asking why!
A very similar thing happens in Baptist Fundamentalism. “God said it, I believe it, that settles it!” Well, this is just a mind numbing beat down. It is brain vomit for the unthinking!
First off, this ridiculous phrase seems to presume that the fundy view equals what God actually said. (2. It presumes that the Bible is God’s word to us. (3. It presumes that we have the correct, accurate meaning. When someone says this, they usually say it in the context of ‘this is the CORRECT VIEW that you should believe exactly like I do or you are WRONG!’ Can you tell that I rather detest this saying? It would be more honest if a person would say, ‘just shut up, don’t think, don’t question, and believe what I want you to believe!’
I heard a LOT about the AUTHORITY of God’s Word! Our pastor’s had AUTHORITY because they were preaching God’s Holy Word to us. But wait. . .
In past blog posts, I’ve written that the Bible is really not inspired directly from God to the writers to us. Those writers were writing about specific things within the scope and concerns of their own times. For example, Paul had no intention of writing Biblical principles to us in I and II Corinthians, he was directly addressing specific problems in that church! The Bible is not God’s love letter to us. Sadly, it is easily shown that God did not preserve His Words to a 100% accuracy for us, and in fact no original manuscripts even exist! Hello – how could this happen? He’s God for crying out loud! Couldn’t God have managed to preserve His original words (every jot and tittle) to us if they were that important? Didn’t happen.
So, given these pesky historical facts, where’s the ‘AUTHORITY’ coming from?
Pastors actually have no authority given to them specially by God except as they claim. They are not ‘anointed ones’ in the same sense that the Old Testament priests were anointed to their position. In fact, if a pastor today makes the claim that he is anointed by God, I would challenge him to show Scripture to back that up. If he claims to believe in dispensational theology, as most fundamentalists do, then he cannot have it both ways by claiming we live in the dispensation of Grace, while claiming to be anointed by God as were the ancient Israelite priests under the dispensation of the Law. (That last there was a run-on sentence, sorry about that!)
So, what happens when you start questioning ‘orthodox’ theology? If the pastor doesn’t have the answers, instead of being honest, admitting he doesn’t know, then getting back to you, his ego kicks in, and he resorts to ‘Are you questioning the Authority of God’s Word?’
“Well, no. . .I was rather questioning the lack of logical, historical consistency in a particular belief set. And if you cannot answer my question without trying to use an appeal to pseudo-authority, then at that point, sir, I have lost a fair amount of respect for your lack of intellectual integrity.”
Ignorance combined with an egotistical disingenuous pastor leads to a deluded perception of reality.