The Common Good

Questioning the Bible: What I Would Have Said to Bill Maher

Date: July 30, 2013

Sojourners president Jim Wallis was recently a guest on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. In the course of the show Maher confronted Wallis on the Bible, asking him some very pointed questions about some of its more troubling texts.

Maher asks, "How do you reconcile this idea that it all comes from the Bible, but the Bible is so flawed... I mean, it's just so full of either nonsense or viciousness." In response, Wallis steered the conversation back to the topic of social justice and compassion, often overlooked Biblical mandates. Maher objected several times "You're not answering the question," accusing Wallis of "cherry-picking the good parts" of the Bible while ignoring the bad parts.

Now, I'm a big fan of Jim Wallis (heck, I blog for Sojourners!), and I appreciate that he moved the conversation away from Maher's attempted divisiveness and back to caring for the poor and immigration reform in this country. He's totally right that caring for the marginalized should be the priority of us Christians, and I can sympathize that he wanted to stay focused on that.