I hate hashtags. I’m pretty sure that they are little, digital pieces of lunacy that the devil sprinkled into the Ethernet when no one was looking. Originally used to tag messages and pictures to make them easy to find when searching for a specific topic, they quickly evolved into a way to express humor, disapproval, or sarcasm without actually articulating one’s thoughts. Then they became socio-political statements. They have become used and abused to such an absurd extent, that they have become functionally useless to thinking people, although they remain the weapon of choice for generating outrage by SJWs. I didn’t think anyone actually searched for anything anymore using hashtags, but my wife informed me that I was incorrect.
What was designed to be a user-friendly data identification device has evolved into a mental crutch that is used as an unbeatable argument ender. No rationale required. No dialogue desired. No haters tolerated. Many folks in our society find it perfectly acceptable to make statements that have no justification yet are calculated to prevent objections from being raised by making objectors seem so obviously awful.
An unfortunate religious parallel is when Christians use bible verses like SJWs use hashtags. This practice is quite possibly the proximate cause of Christian disunity.
A few months ago, I came across this video over at Cerulean Sanctum. In the video, Glenn Paauw discusses the detrimental effects that verse segmentation has had on our reading and understanding of the bible. He lays out the case quite clearly, and I recommend watching the video. I’d like to elaborate on a facet of the problem that I see over and over. Christians generally agree that verses need to be understood in their proper context and that proof-texting (using a verse or two or three in isolation) to justify a particular belief or practice is not an honest way to utilize scripture. Nevertheless, I continually run into or read Christians that espouse these principles and then slap down a bible verse as an incontrovertible argument ender. “See here, in Paul’s letter to whomever, God says XYZ. Boom.” #TheBibleSays, #ItSaysInGodsHolyWord, #ButWhatAboutTheVerseThatSays, #GodSaidItIBelieveItThatSettlesIt, #YouLose, #GetYourHeartRight
Thus endeth the discussion, and heaven forbid you should disagree lest thou be found to fight against God.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I will sometimes quote snippets of bible passages. I try to keep from distorting the meaning, and I endeavor to use them as illustrations where the quoted segment typifies the belief or teaching of the author (or quoted individual) and where the context is generally known or is being discussed. I try not to use snippets of bible passages as foundations for doctrine, belief, or practice. To do so would be disingenuous; and if you catch me doing so, please advise me, and I’ll reevaluate my position.
My understanding is that verses (and maybe chapters) were added to the bible for the convenience of printers when printing methods were invented. They were not found in the original manuscripts but were added in printed editions in order to facilitate archaic printing processes. These artificial divisions were retained after modern printing presses were built because people had gotten used to seeing them. Verses were used as memory aids and as addresses for finding particular passages. I agree with Paauw that retaining the verse structure is incredibly detrimental to our reading and understanding of the bible. Verse divisions allow context to be easily (sometimes inadvertently) stripped away from any given passage. Many who believe in inerrancy/divine verbal inspiration of the bible frequently (but selectively) treat disparate verses as if they had equal weight—being written by God and all. This is how divisive doctrines are formed.
Bible verses are last century’s version of religious Twitter: theology exposited in one hundred forty-two characters or less. It makes for great quotations, but it’s a really poor foundation for theological understanding. Let’s make a concerted effort to look past artificial, textual divisions when reading the bible. The religious hashtags are killing our ability to reason and understand. You need to be quiet and listen to what I’m saying. God commands it in Job 33:33.