It is cultural consensus–not books–that defines the thrust and focus of religions.

It is not the bible that defines the thrust and focus of Christianity, not the Qur’an that defines the thrust and focus of Islam, and not even the Torah that defines the thrust of Judaism, even when the proponents of these religions claim that they are.

If the vast majority of Muslims are not Jihadists and don’t follow the Qur’an to the letter, then Islam is not the Qur’an.

If the vast majority of Jews are not Zionists, then Judaism is not the Torah.

American Christianity–especially evangelical Christianity–is the prime example of this. The bible has throughout history been used to great effect to defend slavery and racism, to condemn miscegenation and women’s suffrage, not because the bible’s focus is on defending slavery and racism or condemning miscegenation and women’s suffrage, but because the consensus of Christian subculture at those times was one of white supremacy and patriarchy. The words in the Bible once used to condemn or defend these things are still there, unchanged, but the cultural consensus has evolved to embrace different views.

The bible is currently being used to defend war, hatred against Muslims, and discrimination against gays, not because the bible’s focus is on any of those things, but because the consensus of Christian subculture loves war, hates Muslims, and likes to discriminate against gays.

Jesus spoke volumes about welcoming the immigrant and the refugee, showing love to prisoners, widows, and orphans, even to the point of saying that those who do not do these things would be cursed into the everlasting fire (see Matthew 25:34-46).

In 2016, an estimated 80% of Christian evangelicals rejected these commands by voting for Donald Trump. If the bible were the focus and thrust of evangelical Christianity, pastors would be warning their parishioners of the coming eternal punishment for those who follow the path that Trump recommends. It’s written quite plainly, yet blithely ignored.

Jesus himself never made direct mention of homosexuality. Not once. He referred to the institution of marriage when asked for his opinions on divorce, and his answer somewhat implied that marriage was to be between a man and a woman.

I can grant that perhaps a person who wants to make the bible the entire focus of their religion must condemn homosexuality, but they also cannot ignore its message about social justice, even if (heaven forbid) it makes them appear somehow “liberal”.

Yes, I’ve said it. Being a Christian in the biblical sense and being a Trump supporter are 100% mutually exclusive. You cannot be both. According to the bible–to Jesus himself–people who carry out the Trump agenda are going to hell.

But, again, the bible in evangelical circles is not the fount of evangelical doctrine, nor is it in effect viewed as infallible, nor are all of its commands given equal weight. Instead, it is used opportunistically, as a tool to bolster and enforce the current cultural consensus of evangelicals. The parts that don’t fit with this agenda are downplayed, or contrived and convoluted justifications are made up on the spot in order to change their meaning to fit.

Just because you have ten-dollar words and a theology degree from Bob Jones University doesn’t mean you can change the very plain and simple meaning of plain and simple words to suit your agenda. This is not sola scriptura (scripture alone). This is solam haeresim (heresy alone).