A few times here I've said either that I'm not going to debate scripture or that I want people's arguments to be about more than scripture. Here's why: too often, scripture is used by us church folk as short hand for an idea rather than allowing the idea itself to stand alone.
We hide behind scripture to cover our ass. And since I believe we should all be moving targets, let's at least try for some ideological integrity.
For instance, when I wrote about gay rights a year ago, a reader immediately gave me a whole chapter from the new testament rather than try and explain how denying life insurance benefits for a domestic partner is a christian act.
Whole quotes from scripture don't tell me anything except you sure do know how to quote from the Bible. I want to know about your ideas. Ideas are the foundation for conversation and I can't keep having one-sided conversations. It gets boring. And whole passages of the Bible as a response to a question make me think that someone's not thinking as sharply as one might.
And besides, this isn't seminary debate team!!
When I used to teach I would say to students that if they had ideas about Shakespeare, they couldn't just say 'Hamlet is about incest' and then just pull a quote about Hamlet and Gertrude and stick it in the paper. They had to argue for it - build a thesis.
I already know what Jesus says. I want to know what you think.