I might have to visit here more often, myself. I like reasoned discussion about religion, and that can be hard to find!
I think one thing a lot of people tend to forget when looking at the meanings and reasoning of scripture is the context of a) the rest of the Bible and b) the culture the Bible “grew up” in. The Bible wasn’t passed down or written in a vacuum.
There is much that is timeless, don’t get me wrong. There is much that was culturally specific that we can draw application from. But there is also the need to look at these hotly debated subjects and wonder what the danger was at the time of writing that made these passages important. (For instance, tattoos: Does God just hate skin art, or was there some pagan or cultural reason that God wanted people not to mark themselves permanently for someone or something that was not within the bounds of morality? Or was it a dangerous practice, before sanitation became more sophisticated? Before we invoke God’s everlasting condemnation of an action, we might be able to wield forgiveness and acceptance for something that might be harmless, relatively safe, and even used to proclaim God’s greatness in our culture.)
It blows my mind that people completely ignore that aspect of Biblical, even historical, truth to force their beliefs on others (or get others to reject their beliefs, which may be accurate but unpopular). I am not talking about anyone in this thread, but the attitude of Bible-thumping that @RoadRunner mentioned, or cherry-picking to “disprove” either a Christian or non-Christian argument.
For instance, I grew up in a church that didn’t allow women leadership in the services, because of one or two verses in the New Testament, addressing two different cultures, taken out of context to be God’s New Law for time and eternity. I struggled for YEARS (I still do, since old habits die hard, and my parents still attend that church and believe I’m wrong), until I was able to leave and find something more in line with my understanding of scripture. I now go to a church that is allowing me to speak on Romans 16 this Sunday. I’ve preached there several times now, but this is like icing on that cake.
Being able to crush centuries-held beliefs on 1 Tim 2:12 under the weight of cultural context would be the cherry on top. Someday…
I have written (and need to write more) in a blog on the topic of women leadership and the roles of women in the Church at large. I want to branch out into other topics, but this one keeps being so relevant. I’ve linked to it in the Literacy group, but I can link to it here, too: Seeking Aleithia