Pearlstein’s statement begins,
Family values” is a catch phrase often used by some religious
groups, usually in a political setting. They imply that the Bible
advocates strength-of-family. Apparently they don’t actually read
the book, as it would be more accurate to say that, on balance,
the Bible is ANTI-family.
“On balance, the Bible is ANTI-family.” That is a rather bold statement to make considering he backs this up with a couple dozen scriptures (out of hundreds of pro family scriptures) that are horribly taken out of context.
Genesis 3:16 – “In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children.” Words he calls, “not encouraging…for a young religious couple about to start a family.” He says that children should be thought of as a blessing rather than a curse. I agree with the second statement. Ironically that statement is more in line with biblical teaching on family than his interpretation of Genesis 3:16 is. In Genesis 3, God is confronting all three parties involved in the first sin. To the serpent he says, “cursed are you…” (3:14). But to the woman and the man he does not call them cursed. “Cursed is the ground because of you…” (Gen 3:17). Why not say, “Cursed are you…”? They receive consequences, not curses. This passage does not even come close to saying that children are to be a curse to parents. Additionally, the KJV is not the best translation for this verse. It literally reads, “in pain you will bring forth children.”
Abraham and Isaac
Next Pearlstein mentions the story of Abraham and Isaac. I can understand his misunderstanding of this scripture. The point of Genesis 22:1-12 is that Abraham was devoted to God above even his own family. God knew he would keep Abraham from doing this act. The questions were, “Does Abraham have that much faith in God?” and “Will Abraham be obedient to God?” Hebrews 11:19 says that Abraham did not believe God would allow his son to remain dead should he kill him as an act of obedience. He reasoned God would raise him from the dead. This is one of the hardest scriptures to get your mind around if you are a non-Christian. Several of the difficult passages we will deal with hinge on the fact that God wants us to put him above everything else, even family. Pearlstein thinks it even stranger that James 2:21 would call Abraham righteous for such a thing. What was righteous? James points to his faith and works acting together. Abraham was putting God’s wishes above his own. Had God been ANTI-family, surely he would have let Abraham kill his own son.
These two passages certainly don’t show that on balance the Bible in ANTI-family. If anything it shows just the opposite. God is pro-family. The reason Isaac didn’t die is because God promised that as a family they would multiply and have an inheritance and be God’s own people.
To be continued…
So who is this Pearlstein? Is he one of the new evangelistic atheists trying their best to convince the world that religion (and in particular biblical Christianity) is bad for us?
I mentioned in the previous post that when you google – “What does the Bible say about family values” the very first hit is outlandish. I am going to take a couple of posts to work through some of the points made there in an effort to put out some information on the Bible and family values. The article that is quoted on that webpage was written in 1989 so I am not sure about Pearlstein. Have a look here for the original article.
I meant to say, I am not sure about who Pearlstein is, etc. All I know is what is in the article he wrote back in 1989. Hopefully if people google anything about family values, they can be referred to some of these articles instead of that misinformation.