Has Anyone Read the Bible? A Series of Thoughts About Saints and Taboo Subjects by Parker J. Cole

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In my post last month, I discussed and fielded responses to critics of my work who say my books were pseudo-Christian. From that came an idea to share my opinions on saints and how un-Christ-like they may be when it comes to ‘taboo’ subjects.

Let’s get some definitions going before I expound on this. Taboo – ‘Off-limits’, ‘Distasteful’ , ‘Forbidden’, ‘Banned’ , ‘Unmentionable’

Saints – Those who follow the teachings of historical, biblical Christ and His example on Earth

On Saints and Violence

What prompted this series of thoughts has been my experience in a couple of online Christian book review groups, which I shall leave unnamed, and how these groups view what makes a book Christian. A fellow writer submitted a request for a non-fiction book which dealt with Church history. Said writer made a statement it had violence in the book (which makes sense because you’re dealing with Church history, quite known for acts of violence) and was summarily rejected because of the violence. Definition of violence: viciousness, fierceness, aggression, fighting, brutality, bloodshed, carnage, savagery.

Has Anyone Read the Bible? Perhaps I should take this time to call the attention of the scriptures and see if there are any recorded acts of violence we should be aware of.

Genesis 4:8 “…and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” An act of violence that ended with the first murder. Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Not necessarily a violent act but this is certainly a breeding ground for violence.

Genesis 19:5 “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” Intention to force sexual acts on the angels

There are many more acts but I chose to select only three for the sake of illustration. If we were to continue through the Bible, we’d see there are many acts of violence within its pages.

My Thoughts

Critics of God and God’s word would often point out these things in a negative light. What I find relevant is that God did not allow these acts to be whitewashed and purified. They are there to show us the depravity of human nature, the residual effects of the Fall (when sin entered the world), and how much we need Him to save us from ourselves.

Due to our sinful nature, we are prone to violence. Yes, we can be taught as children not to harm each other but one doesn’t have to be very old when we punch our siblings in the face or get into a fist fight with someone at school. Multiply this by billions of people who all have a sin nature and are prone to violence. Guess what? You’ve got a problem on your hands. The violence in the Bible shows us the root of violence is disobedience to God. Sin. In the well-known Ten Commandments, God tells what we SHOULD not do. But yet, we do these things every day. Why the conundrum? The commandments were not used as legalistic, absolute of how to behave but to show us that we can’t even keep the Ten Commandments without His help. Sin cripples us to the point where even though we know we shouldn’t do a thing we do. Violence against each other is one of them. My central point is this: if God didn’t remove the violence from His holy word, why should we not allow it in our literature?

Let me clarify: There are instances every day of meaningless, senseless violence. Our culture is saturated with it in books, TV, and movies. Some argue, that’s why a Christian book shouldn’t have ANY violence of any kind in it. How can we be an example to others if we depict violence in our literature? To that point I say this: God knew when He created us, this world would be filled with atrocious acts. Our sinful nature is simply a prelude to the horrific things we do to each other all the time. And guess what? It didn’t stop Him from creating us when we know for a fact that God should have aborted us after Adam took the first bite of the fruit. However, God loves us and instead of starting over with a new batch He sent His Son to save us. At our hands, He suffered the most extreme violence as we beat Him, pierced Him, laughed at Him, and hung Him on a tree.

When Christ rose from grave He gave us victory over sin. While we are here in this world sin is a part of our make-up so it doesn’t have to have reign in us. The glorious part is one day we will not be prone to violence any longer. He will get rid of all sin and the effects of it.

Conclusion

Does this mean all Christian literature should include violence? Not by any means! Violence when utilized in an appropriate context can be used to impart a message. One of the message may be it’s in our make-up until Christ returns. It’s a part of life we face every moment. A constant struggle we face. Instead of trying to do away with it in Christian books, thinking it’s the ‘Christ-like’ thing to do, here’s my take on it:

In a non-fictional way— recorded acts of violence show us the mistakes of the past. To give us the knowledge of what caused it and what steps can we make so that it doesn’t happen again. A good example is war. Most of us don’t want a war yet there have been times when war has been necessary. In a fictional way – it should add to the story in such a way to keep it moving, not to just gloat over how descriptive we can be with our words. I’m not talking about endless pages of hurt and harm for the sake of having it in there. If a story calls for it, make sure it’s necessary for the plot.

Violence is real. Acting as if it’s nonexistent does not make a book more Christian. Having violence in a book doesn’t make it less Christian.

Feel free to disagree with me as long as brotherly love continues.

About the Author:

Parker J. Cole

Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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