Christina (over at WWJTD) gives a transcript:
The Bible, we’ll just talk about the Bible for a second ah. People often point out that they can’t help it – they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong.
We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people. [applause]
The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. [applause] We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it. The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn’t say “Christians don’t own people.” Paul talks about how Christians own people.
We ignore what the Bible says about slavery, because the Bible got slavery wrong. Tim — ah, Sam Harris, in A Letter To A Christian Nation, points out that the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong. Slavery! What’re the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100% percent.
The Bible says that if your daughter’s not a virgin on her wedding night – if a woman isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, she shall be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death. Callista Gingrich lives. [applause] And there is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding night if they’re not virgins. At least not yet. We don’t know where the GOP is going these days. [audience laughs]
People are dying because people can’t clear this one last hurdle. They can’t get past this one last thing in the Bible about homosexuality, um.
One other thing I wanna talk about is — [chuckles] — so, you can tell the Bible guys in the hall that they can come back now, because I’m done beating up the Bible. [applause]
It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back. [applause]
I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have a right to defend myself. And to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible, and insisting we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.
So... yeah... I don't see too many Christians choosing to follow most (let alone all) of the laws in the Bible. When was the last time when you saw the daughters of preachers being stoned to death for "being a whore" (which means any woman who has sex with someone not her husband - even if she doesn't prostitute herself - which means that it can include adultery, incest, or rape, and it can also be socially expanded to mean any woman not with her husband - since one doesn't know what she might be doing with her lady parts). If you take this definition and add to it the a gender-neutral reading of Matthew 5:28, then any woman who thinks about having sex with a man who is not her husband (even if he will become her husband) is a whore. Not so nice... Still, Leviticus 21:9 requires the stoning of priests' daughters who are whores. A priest's son that sleeps around? Not such a big problem...
Did your local priest get married to a woman who had premarital sex or a woman who had been divorced? Ooops! That's against Leviticus 21:7, which says, "Priests may not marry a woman defiled by prostitution, and they may not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband, for the priests are set apart as holy to their God.")
We also don't see a whole lot of the "don't wear clothes made from more than one fabric" law being followed (and I don't hear of much news of picketing and boycotts of Red Lobster or Long John Silvers over their sale of shellfish to God-fearing Christians). I also don't see a lot of priests staying away from the dead body at a funeral, which they are supposed to do (Leviticus 21:11): "He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother." And the presence (and persistence) of barbers and hair salons is in complete violation (or willful ignorance) of Leviticus 19:27's command of, "Never shave the hair on your foreheads, and never cut the edges of your beard."
Ergo, we understand as true Savage's comment of "The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things."
But is the Bible a pro-slavery document? I mean, that's a pretty harsh statement to make. There are even apologists who say that the whole letter from Paul about slavery - which Savage cites - wasn't actually about holding people in bondage, but a metaphor about how we should act in the face of God. Or just utter denial that it had anything to do with justifying the American practice of slavery. Yeah... they're just wrong.
So we also know the following statement to be true: "The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave. And Paul doesn’t say “Christians don’t own people.” Paul talks about how Christians own people. We ignore what the Bible says about slavery, because the Bible got slavery wrong."
The rest of Savage's argument flows rather logically (although not in mincing steps) from the premises that he laid out:
- There are many laws in the Bible, and we don't follow most of them, and that's okay.
- The Bible was wrong about slavery, even though it is in the Bible in many places.
- If the Bible was so grossly wrong about slavery, the chances that it is right about homosexuality - or that we should follow that specific one rule out of all the ones we choose to ignore - is vanishingly small.
- [Implied conclusion] Don't justify your hatred of homosexuality with the Bible.
- Don't get your knickers in a bunch on having your bullshit called out for what it is.
Transcript of 10:00 to the end:
It’s when we stake our egos, hopes, or identities on specific claims that we create needless problems, because anything that then threatens the claim also threatens us. The burden of proof becomes threatening, because having to justify the claim risks discovering that we can’t do so. In this way, our ability to assess the claim becomes fatally undermined by a personal need for it to be true whether or not it has valid support. If, on the other hand, we commit ourselves, not to specific claims, but to refining knowledge, we can watch claims gather support or collapse, without the burden of proof posing any personal threat. Meeting a burden of proof isn’t always easy, but without this mechanism, without people volunteering, “Here’s my new idea and the evidence to support it,” our education would be at a standstill. Fortunately, a long history of genuine contributors to education haven’t been so unforthcoming. Supernatural claim-makers who think they are somehow exempt from the standards that are applied to other claim-makers are mistaken and, in an increasingly educated world, their special pleading will only see them being left behind in the darkness of past ignorance, where many of their claims originated. Extraordinary claims have an inescapable burden of proof. When those who make extraordinary claims don’t – for whatever reason – take their burden of proof seriously, they relieve us of the burden of taking their claim seriously.It is with the understanding that religious claims of truth are often tightly tied with identity that the closing statement by Andrew Sullivan about the reaction to Savage's video - Using logic - as Dan also did - always wins in civil rights struggles. In the end. - might not actually turn out to be true. At least not until the interpretation of religious belief to similarly ignore scripture (or to change the inherent meaning in the words) comes about.