Sunday, June 12, 2005

That Unclear Bible

Bill Tammeus has an article today in The Kansas City Star on how people on both sides of the controversy over embryonic stem cell research cite the Bible in support of their position. As occurs so often, the issue is portrayed as difficult to settle, and the Bible is portrayed as unclear, just because two opposing sides on an issue claim to have Biblical support and both sides are popular.

Yet, when you read the arguments of the side favoring embryonic stem cell research, you have to wonder why any honest and thinking person would consider those arguments convincing:

"By contrast, Reed, co-founder of People of Faith for Stem Cell Research, says he finds justification for his support of early stem-cell research in biblical accounts of 'Jesus' keen interest in healing' because of the potential that stem cells have to heal diseases and injuries."

Yes, and I'm sure Jesus would have supported experimenting on people in concentration camps during World War II for the same reason. Predictably, Reed is quoted in the next paragraph saying that "quoting Bible passages out of context is pretty silly", which apparently means that he doesn't think scripture has much to say on this issue, yet he's willing to quote it in support of his position anyway.

The Biblical passages cited in this article by the people opposing embryonic stem cell research aren't the best passages that could be cited. (To see some better examples, go to my post here.) But at least they made a more reasonable attempt than Reed did.

This sort of thing happens many times on many issues. The media will quote two sides on an issue that professing Christians disagree about, and the impression will be given that the Bible must be unclear on the subject under dispute. What's often neglected is the fact that one side has motives to be much less careful and honest with scripture, and that has nothing to do with the Bible being unclear.