It is sad to note that churches have resorted to desperate means to attract members to the church. “Light of the Nation Church” in Pretoria put up a billboard to woe members to their church. The billboard had words associated with various habits and personal problems including drugs, pornography, depression and lies. Alongside those was homosexuality. Christians have resorted to discrimination of homosexuals as their business case. We must remember that the bible was written by men who were human. The bible is a collection of stories beginning with all creation, including Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden and continuing through the birth and death of Jesus, onto the revelation and termination of everything as we know it today. I do appreciate the fact that the authors of the Bible were inspired by God but didn’t actually write the Bible himself. Now when you have human beings given such status and power they are bound to push they own agendas. The Bible is a contradictory book and therein lies the problem. The first problem I have with the Bible is that certain scriptures are to be taken literally and some figuratively. Now, how will Sipho from Soweto ever know which verses to take figuratively and which to take literally? Take for example, "Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says." (1 Corinthians 14:34). This verse says that women can't speak in church. Period. It has completely ignored that today we see woman taking part in church and some being ministers our churches. Applying this verse to the modern day church would be ancient, absurd and nonsensical. "If any man takes a wife, and goes in on her, and detests her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, 'I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin..." (Deuteronomy 22:13,14) "But if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..." (Deuteronomy 22:20,21) If a man discovers that a woman is not a virgin on her wedding night, all the men in town can murder her by flinging stones at her young female body as she screams in pain. Is this the word of God? I have serious reservations about that. Who approved for this to be in Bible which advocates for violence and abuse against women? The command to stone to death a young girl who is not proven to be a virgin on her wedding night is simply an ugly man-made rule of murder that found its way into the Biblical text. Do you think that such verses like the one listed above are simply not the Word of God? How mature is one's faith if one cannot even admit that a verse which commands that young girls be stoned to death isn't the Word of God? The same principle could be applied to a verse like this in Leviticus 18:22, the bible states, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." "One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 23:2) If you were born to an unwed mother, the Bible says that you shouldn't be allowed in church. Most people were born out of wedlock in today’s society meaning that they should not be going to church if we were to follow what the Bible says. Do "Bible-believing" conservative Christian follow this rule? Nope. They acknowledge that this verse was meant for a different time. Why are most conservative Christian selective in certain scriptures? They would tell you that those scriptures were only meant to be applied to the particular time and place in which they were written. When it comes to those scripture verses which seem to speak against homosexuality, however, they suddenly and indignantly demand that every word be followed to the letter and applied to our modern day! The idea of refusing membership in the church to a child born to an unwed mother is seen as being unreasonable today, even though the scripture instructs it. The idea of quoting scripture to abuse people who are gay and lesbian is just as unreasonable and antiquated. 'Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly (Leviticus 25:44-46). Here the Bible is advocating for cruelty to other human beings. When a single book contains such blatant permissiveness of slavery, it should not constitute or claim any moral superiority over any matters. Everyone KNOWS slavery is immoral. Yet Christians often assault people with numerous anti-homosexual verses straight from the same book which endorses slavery. The Bible is littered with such absurd verses: "Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ." (Ephesians 6:5) "Slaves, obey your human masters in everything; don't work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord." (Colossians 3:22) "Slaves are to be submissive to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back." (Titus 2:9) "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. " (1 Peter 2:18) Slaves should obey their masters? Slavery was one of the most offensive institutions to ever befall humanity. Sadly, the scriptures condoned it, and, as you can see from the above verses, demanded that slaves obey their masters...even cruel ones. Are those verses the "Word of God?" Of course not clearly someone had agenda when they wrote these scriptures. They are merely reflective of cultural biases which found their way into the Biblical text. When it comes to the scriptural verses which seem to be against homosexuality, conservative Christians boldly declare their belief in the "infallible, inerrant Word of God", demanding that every single word be taken literally, without exception. To them homosexuality is a sin and all gays are going to hell. But when it comes to the awkward verses listed above it is a different story. If tomorrow I decide to marry a woman and discover that she is not a virgin am I entitled to stone and kill her? The Bible says I can do it so therefore it should be right then...... The very same Bible says it is a sin to kill another person. Now who decides which Bible verse is more important than the other? In today’s society we have: Terrorist attacks, mass murder and genocide which was advocated by the bible: When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you may nations...then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy." Deuteronomy 7:1-2. NIV "...do not leave alive anything that breaths. Completely destroy them...as the Lord your God has commanded you..." Deuteronomy 20:16. NIV Racism which was motivated by the bible: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9, ESV Racism is the idea that certain groups are genetically superior to others. The former Apartheid regime used this verse to oppress black people in South Africa as they believed that they are a chosen race. This raises more questions than answers. In today’s society there is a lot of hatred, violence and abuse and I can say that most of it stems from the Bible as it is advocated by the “Word of God.” The writers of the Bible made it clear that slavery, genocide, mass murder, and the oppression of women are acceptable. Now does it make it right today to practice all these things as they are in the Bible? What gives Bible writers the authority to rule over lives and declare that homosexuality is a sin when they advocate for far more heinous crimes against humanity and wreck havoc in today’s society?