Why oh why do fundamentalist Christians use the absence of something in the Bible as grounds to condemn it?

How many times have I seen this on Yahoo Answers now? Some church practice, however inconsequential, even something like wearing robes or lighting candles, is attacked as "unbiblical".

Unless the Bible is specifically talking about an issue, you can't logically use the fact that it's NOT MENTIONED to condemn it. It makes no sense.

Another example: some use this to condemn infant baptism on the grounds that it's not mentioned. Guess what? Specific mention of baptising the elderly isn't mentioned either. Baptism is discussed as a general practice; there is no need to break people down by age.

Update:

Plato-girl: I wanted to send you a PM inquiring how I'm a "chief offender" in this regard, but you don't accept email. So let me just use this moment to ask you what on earth you're talking about.

Update 2:

h'ayim tovim Y'all: Is that how you got to Level 6 - by mindlessly insulting people and not answering their questions?

Update 3:

C. Chanteuse: I see what you are saying, but don't think infant baptism works as an example, because Catholics for example believe baptism removes the stain of ORIGINAL sin, which is why they include infants. To them there is nothing contrary to scripture about that.

Update 4:

batgirl2good: I am always very careful not to generalize. I don't mean all fundamentalist Christians do this. But the ones who DO do it all tend to be.

Update 5:

bible-reviews: I never said fundamentalists condemned the Bible...anywhere.

27 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    they have great difficulty thinking outside the box, and some of them can't do it at all

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1) Why oh why do fundamentalist Christians use the absence of something in the Bible as grounds to condemn it?

    Really? Fundamentalist Christians condemn the bible? I can't recall having ever done so since becoming a Fundamentalist Christian....

    2) Some church practice, however inconsequential, even something like wearing robes or lighting candles, is attacked as "unbiblical".

    Well, because some of my fellow Protestants (not just Fundamentalists) have not bothered to consider the difference between "unbiblical" and "contrary to Scripture". Where in the bible, for example, does it instruct us to build edifices to be used for the sole purpose of worship? Where does it tell us to pray with palms together, or with arms outstretched, or with fingers interlaced? All of these things - and many, many more common Christian practices - are "unbiblical".

    3) Unless the Bible is specifically talking about an issue, you can't logically use the fact that it's NOT MENTIONED to condemn it. It makes no sense.

    Agreed - though, along the same lines, we can't logically condemn such a belief (that only what it in the bible is valid Christian religious practice). If someone wants to believe that only doctrines and religious practices described in the bible are appropriate, that's fine - as long as they don't condemn other Christians for following beliefs not contrary to Scripture. Paul addresses this specifically. In his example, he speaks of Christian vegetarianism. His command: to eat as Christian vegetarians do when dining with them so as not to offend their "unbiblical" but acceptable Christian beliefs.

    4) Another example: some use this to condemn infant baptism on the grounds that it's not mentioned. Guess what? Specific mention of baptising the elderly isn't mentioned either. Baptism is discussed as a general practice; there is no need to break people down by age.

    Agreed. It's interesting that in the same passage that my fellow Protestants use to justify adult-only baptism, Peter is speaking to a crowd of men! Are women, then, also forbidden to be baptized because Peter did not address them specifically?

    Jim, http://www.christianwebprogramming.com/br/

  • Tea
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Yes, I've noticed this...especially in the fact that the Bible never mentions Jesus having any female apostles, which many Christian churches use as an excuse for adopting Paul's misogynistic doctrines against women being clergy.

    However, it can be turned back around. For instance, the Bible never specifically says that masturbation is a sin nor does it ever specifically say that suicide is a sin, nor does Jesus ever specifically say that he is God, nor are the words/phrases "original sin," "rapture" or "trinity" ever mentioned in the Bible. Nor does Jesus ever preach against homosexuality.

    Nowhere in the New Testament are people told to tithe to a church; it is a specifically Old Testament concept that doesn't fit Jesus' "Where two or three are gathered together in my name" concept of what a church is.

    Jesus never specifically said that the way to get to heaven was to believe that he died for their sins...however, he did specifically say the way to get to Heaven was to follow the commandments and to sell EVERYTHING they have and give the money to the poor. Don't you find it interesting that most Christian churches don't follow nor teach that very specific instruction to their congregations? After all, it's pretty hard to have a physical "church" if you actually follow the teachings of Jesus.

  • 1 decade ago

    It appears to be an omnidirectional accusation.

    When countered with the observation that the "altar call" (as one example) isn't in the Bible, nor is the presence of ushers at a worship service, nor for that matter is a state-of-the-art audiovisual system, the response is invariably "that's not the same thing".

    It is precisely the same thing, however.

    To take it out of the realm of traditions in worship: Someone recently posted a diatribe against "Earth Day" which began "where is 'earth day' in the Bible?" and then tangented off into calling it idolatry.

    I would just like to know, from anyone whose favorite line is "where is X in the Bible?" to point to where the Bible itself says that it is the sole (meaning only) rule of all things faith-related ... and that absence of something from the Bible means "don't do it". Chapter and verse would do nicely.

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  • Well, anybody who says that while typing on the internet is obviously a moron. As for candles, incense, etc., they've been shown, psychologically, to put people in a spiritual state of mind. Besides, what do people think frankincense is? I suppose the people who say this don't celebrate Christmas, Easter, etc. Only JW's don't so the rest had just better shut up about "unbiblical" things being used in church!

    It's just an excuse to play holier than thou. Hopefully that's a game humanity will outgrow.

    Source(s): Agnostic Wiccan's opinion
  • 1 decade ago

    Seems to me that Plato Girl's Cardinal Newman quote backs up your argument Kevin, though I don't know what she means by her first sentence.

    Not being a Biblical scholar I'm only hazarding a guess that there's nothing about observing Lent in the Bible and yet most denominations do. There's nothing about contraception either, and yet many condemn it. Similarly drinking alcohol, despite Jesus turning water to wine.

    Perhaps all human beings are inclined to conveniently interpret things to suit their own agenda. The only problem I see is when they then go on to accuse others of the very same thing. That is kinda hypocritical.

    .

  • 1 decade ago

    U believe you're right whether it is to criticize religion or not. Yes, I believe when you go outside your doctrine to accept or criticize another you are opening yourself to outside due criticism.

    Though the scriptures do not address many subjects, in some instances it is open to the individuals to accept. Every unaddressed subject is open to concern on the proper way to address ist an presently a lot of them remain open to interpretation.

    But as you point out baptism is addressed, the differences of baptism are not, though they become a division of doctrines, maybe they should be accepted or not accepted as to each denomination would. But not to be judged having no spiritual guidance thereof

    Source(s): the Spirit within
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Candles, robes, etc... not a problem. We are told quite a bit about baptism though. We are told to believe and be baptized, and all those being baptized in the NT are already believing. In other words: The bible says that belief comes first and there is not biblical precedence for infant baptism.

  • 1 decade ago

    The fundamentalists' "It's not in the Bible" argument always cracks me up. They're very selective about what they condemn as not being Biblical -- computers, OK, Rosary, not OK. Hymnals, fine: candles, bad news.

    As far as I can tell, their reasoning is something like this: if it's not in the Bible but they agree with it, it's all right. But if it's not in the Bible and they *don't* like it, then it's wrong and evil and sinful. Fundie logic: funniest thing since Red Skelton.

    (Oops, I forgot -- Freddie the Freeloader wasn't in the Bible, either.)

  • I agree with you, just because it isn't mentioned doesn't make it wrong.

    I will disagree with you on the infant baptism. It doesn't mention not baptizing children, but what did Jesus do when he saw little children. He did not command them to get baptized, he embraced them and gave them blessings. Baptism is a personal choice and promise we make to God that our parents can't make for us.

    I gotta say that I am as fundamental as it gets. We don't decide that, "oh this is wrong because we don't like it". People say that "fundies" are illogical when people make no effort to look at our logic, and in most cases people just ignore things that are mentioned many times in the Bible. Things that are in the Bible are taken for what they are in their context. When something isn't mentioned, that its up to our best judgment to decide if something is wrong or not.

  • 1 decade ago

    They fail to understand that the Bible is NOT the only source for theological and moral doctrine and enlightenment.

    Is the word "Bible" in the Bible?

    I don't think so. Fundies, wouldn't that leave you with no choice but to condemn your only higher power?

    Source(s): Catholic Christian
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