As mentioned previously, this article boldly states that the Bible is actually ANTI-family. The last point Pearlstein makes is based on the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. He cites passages like Luke 14:25-27, “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
He also cites Matthew 10:35-36, “For I have come to turn
” ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household”
Why the NIV structures those verses as poetry, I have no idea! That really doesn’t make for a very good song. He doesn’t cite the next verses because in them are the key to understanding what Jesus is saying, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The Bible is counterintuitive and its teachings often paradoxical. Why would Jesus turn a family against itself? Not because God wants to disrupt family life and because God hates family. It happens because the nature of the Gospel as an identity changing agent will prove disruptive to some families as one member turns to Christ while another decides not to. Their culture was very collective rather than like our individualistic culture. They found their identity in their family. To have faith in Christ when the rest of your family did not meant to take on an identity different than your patriarchs. That would have been socially unacceptable in their culture yet the call of Christ demands a response. For those whose families do not agree they would have certainly experienced a disruption in family life. Some still find this today but it is not as prevalent because we don’t view life the same as they did.
If the Bible is ANTI-family, none of the passages he cites serve as any kind of proof of such an outlandish claim. Can the Bible prove difficult for some families to be unified on? Certainly. Does that make it’s message ANTI-family? Of course not.