When you read bible does it function as a window or a mirror? For many people the Bible serves as a mirror that reflects back to them what they already believe. It is a powerful mirror, for it provides divine sanction for their beliefs, values and behavior. But unfortunately that’s all it does.
For others however the bible functions as a window by which they get to look into another world, into the worlds of people living in other times,cultures and places. They get to see things from the perspective of these other worlds and explore how faith was shaped. This allows them tocritique their own world and in the process to be transformed at a deep level.
Dr Laura is an America radio personality who hosts a talkback style program. It is said that she once condemned homosexuality as an abomination to God, quoting Leviticus 18.22, and claimed that this verse settled the matter. The letter found below was written in response and has been circulating on the internet. Regardless of one’s stance on homosexuality it highlights the problem of selectively quoting the bible without attention to broader issues of how we should interpret and apply those same Scriptures.
Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s law. I have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?
I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.