Enough with the Eisegesis

Eisegesis- the process of interpreting (1)

Gentle Reader,

I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night. Chris was snoring. Like a freight train. I kicked him. Nudged him. Smacked him.

Nothing.

I finally got out of bed at 1:30 a.m. and moved to the guest room, but by then I was just awake. I knew there was no way that I’d be drifting off soon. So I did some perusing. Checked out a few sites I hit from time to time. Sites whose authors I don’t agree with. I like to see what they’re talking about. There’s value in examining other perspectives.

I found a few places quite covered in dust from a recent controversy stirred by this piece at Focus on the Family. Many are upset because Dr. Hinton’s answer wasn’t “balanced.” He hasn’t “researched” the issue. He doesn’t “know” what he’s talking about. Apparently Focus on the Family is not allowing comments on the entry, and that’s really got people fired up. More than a few negative reviews have appeared on Focus on the Family’s Facebook page due to this.

I don’t know why the organization isn’t allowing comments, but I’m guessing it’s because they want to avoid a senseless internet battle. Some of those who are angry are calling for Focus on the Family to make their position on vaccines clear. They did. You can read it here.

None of this surprised or bothered me. I’ve read more than enough articles, posts and comments in recent months to know that there’s a significant minority out there who believe you obviously can’t be a true Christian or a good doctor if you are on the side of vaccine effectiveness and safety. That I can shrug off.

What did bother me was a comment I saw in which the author attempted to use Mark 2:17 as evidence for Jesus being against vaccines. It was quoted without context and the author failed to use the whole verse. The part that was used:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (NKJV)

One can’t actually derive some stance on vaccines through those words alone. It gets worse when the entire verse is considered:

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (NKJV)

Worse yet when the context is considered:

Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” – Mark 2:13-17 (NKJV)

Nothing, nothing, nothing, NOTHING  to do with vaccines. Or medicine, for that matter.

This is just one example. People are using Scripture right and left to prop up what they already think and believe.

I’m so tired of eisegesis. I’m sick of people reading into the text. I’m ready to tear my hair out over the rampant misuse of Scripture. I want to scream as I watch people bludgeon others with incorrect interpretations, faulty applications and cherry-picking.

We are to let the words of God as activated by the Spirit of God shape us. We do not shape them. We do not bend them to our wills.

It’s wrong.

Enough already.

My journey to faith. (15)

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Bonus Monday Post: Flirting with Nonsense, Part 2 (or, Call Me a Shill, Call Me a Sheeple)

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Gentle Reader,

Go here for the first part.

I have now reached my limit with the alternative health movement, and I’m not going to qualify anything in this post. You can read my initial thoughts in the above referenced link to know that I’m not some crazed, hypochondriac, pop-a-pill-for-everything, doctors-are-gods-among-men type person.

This here isn’t about qualifications, apologies or beating around the bush.

I read an article over the weekend that presented the hypothesis that breast cancer is really just a fungus. I won’t provide a link because you have fingers and can Google and I don’t want to drive up the hits on that particular piece of pseudo-scientific glory.

You can prevent breast cancer through “emotional healing,” “energy balancing” and baking soda concoctions, among other things.

Here’s the thought extended to its natural conclusion: Breast cancer (cancer of any kind, really) is no big deal.

The arrogance, the ignorance and the insensitivity…. I honestly can’t even make it compute.

I had a tumor. No, it wasn’t in my breast tissue and yes, it was benign, but trust me. IT WAS A BIG DEAL. AND IT WASN’T A FUNGUS. Here’s what tumors and cancer actually are:

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. One important difference is that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells. That is, whereas normal cells mature into very distinct cell types with specific functions, cancer cells do not. This is one reason that, unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to divide without stopping.

In addition, cancer cells are able to ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing or that begin a process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis, which the body uses to get rid of unneeded cells.

Cancer cells may be able to influence the normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround and feed a tumor—an area known as the microenvironment. For instance, cancer cells can induce nearby normal cells to form blood vessels that supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients, which they need to grow. These blood vessels also remove waste products from tumors.

Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that protects the body from infections and other conditions. Although the immune system normally removes damaged or abnormal cells from the body, some cancer cells are able to “hide” from the immune system.

Tumors can also use the immune system to stay alive and grow. For example, with the help of certain immune system cells that normally prevent a runaway immune response, cancer cells can actually keep the immune system from killing cancer cells. – What is Cancer?

But, you know, don’t trust that link because government equals lies, all lies. And the Lizard Lords of the Illuminati control the pharmaceutical shills who work for the National Cancer Institute. And cancer never existed before vaccines. And if we just ate paleo and brushed our teeth with clay we’d be great.

If only I had had my chakras feng shui’d.

I’m furious about this because the alternative health movement preys on my people, the chronically ill, much more aggressively than modern medicine ever has. That’s right, I said it. These bloggers with too much time on their hands, these “practitioners” with “degrees” from diploma mills, these “healing crystal” and bone-broth hawkers INSIST if you would just eat the left hoof of a three-year-old sheep ground into fine powder mixed with mung wort and drink dung beetle tea and give yourself a coffee (or even better, bleach) enema, you will be fine! If it doesn’t work, then you should try rubbing sixteen essential oils on your belly button while levitating above a bath heated to precisely 145.236 degrees. If that doesn’t work, then you’re just a moron who can’t do anything right and you should probably just die anyway because natural selection and that’s how it is.

Satire and sarcasm, people. Satire and sarcasm.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come across a site or article promising me healing for only three easy payments of $59.99. Just as bad as the “preachers” who ask, tears in their eyes, for your “financial seed of faith.” And oh, their cries against doctors! “They don’t care! They don’t know anything! They work for Big Pharma (whatever that means)! Buy my book! Call me for a consult and pay me an astronomical fee! Purchase this (food/water/rock/pillow)!”

Meanwhile, eight months passed between the time imaging showed I had a problem with my liver and the actual removal of the tumor. My doctors who didn’t care about me and wanted to make me sick and were getting paid big bucks to keep me “down” were incredibly cautious. They helped me come off of my medications – and didn’t give me new ones. They suggested dietary changes. Over and over I was told that they needed more information. More understanding of what was going on. When I finally did make it to the cancer surgeon, he was none-too keen on rushing into the operating room. He wanted to make sure that was absolutely the best option and even the last resort.

Hmmmmmm. Methinks something is off here.

What’s most especially awesome about these harbingers of health, these dispensers of wisdom to the poor deluded masses is that they often refuse to publish respectful dissenting comments. Or they go the other route and challenge someone to prove them wrong, and something like this happens:

A German biologist who offered €100,000 (£71,350; $106,300) to anyone who could prove that measles is a virus has been ordered by a court to pay up.

Stefan Lanka, who believes the illness is psychosomatic, made the pledge four years ago on his website.

The reward was later claimed by German doctor David Barden, who gathered evidence from various medical studies. Mr Lanka dismissed the findings.

But the court in the town of Ravensburg ruled that the proof was sufficient.

Reacting to the verdict by the court in the southern town, Mr Lanka said he would appeal.

“It is a psychosomatic illness,” he told regional paper Suedkurier. “People become ill after traumatic separations.” – Germany Court Orders Measles Skeptic to Pay 100,000 Euros

Measles is a psychosomatic illness?

What.

So you’ll have to forgive me if I pay ZERO attention to the claims of alternative health from here on out. You’ll have to forgive me if I roll my eyes. Call me a shill, call me a sheeple. Tell me I’m willfully blind. I DON’T CARE. 

Finally, if you’d like to do some starter reading regarding alternative medicine and how it should be approached with extreme caution, please see:

Alternative Medicine in the Church by Janice Lyons at Watchman Fellowship

Alternative Medicine: a Christian Perspective by George Smith, taken from Triple Helix, a publication of the Christian Medical Fellowship

My journey to faith. (15)