I'm striving to get away from arguing with people who do not understand my points so my point here is not to argue. I'm just answering a question because it's a reasonable question with a reasonable answer. Stan at the blog, Winging It, recently asked a question about those who'd say that conservative types sometimes appear to be speaking for God, presuming that their opinions are one in the same as God's Word.
He says he doesn't understand those who object to this. Here is my answer to his question. First, a bit of context. Stan wrote...
Oddly enough, it appears that those who are complaining that a straightforward reading of Scripture -- reading it like it is written and taking it as it appears to mean -- is not a reasonable means of knowing what God thinks are pretty sure that they know what He thinks ... at least enough to know you're wrong.
I'm trying to figure out what's being said here. When they complain that we read and feed back what the Bible says as true and call it "speaking for God", what are they saying?
What we are saying is clear and I call as my first and only witness, Stan Smith:
We are saying that YOU, STAN SMITH, DO NOT THINK THAT WE CAN KNOW WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS.
This is a simple, demonstrable fact. When I or folk like me read the Bible, strive to take it seriously, seeking to follow God and conclude that...
Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;
That the Bible does not "define" marriage anywhere;
That the Bible clearly does not teach sola scriptura, that this is a human theory contrary to biblical teaching (or at least beyond biblical teaching);
That clearly Jesus teaches us that Christians killing people in wartime is contrary to his teachings;
That clearly we are to live simple lives;
That clearly Jesus would support gay folk loving and marrying;
etc... that when we conclude these as overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings, YOU DO NOT THINK we are reading the Bible correctly. We are telling you what we think the Bible "obviously" or "clearly" is teaching and you disagree with our hunches. So, the obvious fact of the matter then is that you, Stan Smith (and people like you) do not believe that all those who read the Bible understand it correctly.
The obvious follow up question then is, "Well, Stan, if you do not think we all read the Bible correctly, on what reasonable and consistent basis do you conclude that you and those who agree with you are the ones that are correct?"
The answer to THIS necessary question is that you have nothing. You have nothing other than your opinion. The one and only answer you have is, "Well, because I think it is clear that they are mistaken..." Which is to say, you have your opinion.
As a point of fact, your opinion is not provable (if you could prove it, you would do so. You can't.) It IS your opinion. And there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you don't conflate your hunches and opinions with God's Word or fact.
As a further reasonable conclusion then, we can safely determine that you (nor I) have a definitive way of knowing that your opinion is the correct one.
What are we left with then?
That Stan Smith definitively does not rationally believe that we can "know" what the Bible is teaching and say with authority that he (or we) have the authoritative answer.
The defense rests. Thank you Stan for your testimony. (And if I have misstated something or made a mistake about your opinion, by all means, correct me. I don't believe I have.)