God says honor parents, Jesus says hate them (so says an atheist))

I want to tackle another supposed contradiction in the Bible. An atheist uses this argument to say that the Bible contradicts Itself.

God says honor parents, Jesus says hate them.

Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and your mother …

Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.

Is this a contradiction? Does Jesus really want us to hate anything other than sin itself? Let’s take a close look at the passage in Luke 14. As with any text in the Bible (or literature in general) there is an immediate context that helps explain the text. Any person with an ounce of intellectual integrity will pay close attention to the context of any text or spoken phrase. Those who have an agenda and do not care much for the truth,  they will avoid the context at all cost and just latch on to a few words or phrases, take them out of context, and spin the intended meaning to fit their own agenda. Since we as born again believers are taught to test everything and examine well (not blind faith like some say) we will examine the context of Luke 14.

I. The crowd is the key to understanding this message. The chapter opens with people who are very religious, but their religion was very superficial. They placed their pride above their relationship with God. In fact, they placed many things ahead of their relationship with God.

  • position
  • recognition
  • money
  • power
  • etc.
II. Jesus tells them in the parable of the guests that they must humble themselves.
III. They must come to God on His conditions and not their own.
IV. After this, there were large crowds that began to follow Jesus so He puts them to the test to see if they understood His teachings.
25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14)
In order to understand this passage, you have to know some rules of literature. Many times, especially in the Eastern mindset and language, the writers and speakers use figures of speech when writing and speaking. A type of a figure of speech is hyperbole. This is not the first place that hyperbole is used by Jesus or in the New Testament. There are many others but this is a classic example. Jesus does not want us to hate anyone. He wants us to hate sin as God does but not people. His intent here is that our love for Him and our devotion to Him must make the love that we have for our parents, siblings, spouses, children, even our own life look like hatred when compared to our love and devotion to Him. For those who do not take the time to see the context and who do not care about figures of speech, this seems like a contradiction. The people who heard His message understood exactly what He meant. He adds an explanation just in case there are those who are looking to spin what He said.
28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise , when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand ? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. (Luke 14)
The point of the message is are you ready to give it all up to follow Jesus. What is it that could come between you and your relationship with Christ? (a spouse, your parents, your siblings, your children, your own life)? Which of these noble things could become an idol in your life and hurt your relationship with Christ? Are you ready to die to yourself and follow Jesus Christ every day of your life? If not, then you are not worthy of Him. You need to weigh the options before making a decision, are you ready to deny yourself and follow Jesus every day for the rest of your life? If you are not, then you cannot be His disciple, or in other words, a Christian.
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4 comments on “God says honor parents, Jesus says hate them (so says an atheist))

  1. Pingback: 20 Things Jesus did before Sending Out His Disciples « Jesus Carries Me

  2. Pingback: Did Jesus contradict the Bible by not stoning the woman caught in adultery? « Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  3. You said, ‘He wants us to hate sin as God does but not people.’ If that is true, he should’ve just said “hate sin” instead of hate your parents, siblings, self, etc. and then around and say love your neighbor as YOURSELF. So, hate yourself or love yourself? Just admit that bible writers or Jesus or whoever it is can’t speak clearly and concisely. Just like ‘they will raise the dead’…millions are in a casket in a church every year and when’s the last time you saw one raised by a simple mention of their name? Drink poison and not die? Jonestown murders! Lay hands on and heal? Faith Tabernacle Church had a pneumonia rate 1000x higher than the surrounding public because they trusted faith healing above vaccines. The faith doesn’t align with the facts. If you are not a fact seeker, you are not a truth seeker…the very definition of truth entails the facts.

    • This scripture is one that I have had to work through also and I love Jesus who through the Holy Spirit has taken me through many difficult times. The thing is, Jesus knows us. He knows what our hearts are feeling and what our minds will or will not accept. In Matthew 15: 4-9 Jesus says,”4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

      8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far from me.
      9 They worship me in vain;
      their teachings are merely human rules.’ ”

      This sounds opposite of what he is saying about hating your family. So, how is this not a contradiction? Check out this website: https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/did-jesus-teach-his-disciples-to-hate-their-parents/ .
      The writer expresses the difference in the word “hate” now and the word “hate” in the original text. It was better translated “less preferred”. This makes sense if you consider that following Jesus means to give of yourself to others as He did in the ultimate sacrifice. Your parents and family are others and so therefore to follow Jesus you take care of others.
      Now your point was that Jesus should have been more clear. I understand your feeling. I am a teacher and try to be as clear as I can to my students. But there are times that I make a statement on purpose that causes my students to have to work to figure it out. It makes them stronger to ponder and work out supposed contradictions.
      It all boils down to if we really want to know Him. If we do, we will not stop when something seems difficult to understand and merely scoff. (That would be a bit lazy, don’t you think?) And before you think that I am being critical of your view, I want to let you know that I have been on the “scoffing” side many a time. But when I soften my heart and delve into His word, then things start to make sense and I enjoy His peace.
      Jesus is love. The more we get to know Him, the more the fruits of love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, gentleness and peace grow in us and out from us.
      The cults that you mentioned took part of what Jesus said and then left his teachings to follow leaders who rearranged his words to suit their twisted purposes. So how do we make sure that we don’t fall into such belief systems blindly?
      We study His word. We delve in deeply and don’t give up when something is hard to understand or accept. It is our heart that Jesus desires and He knows what we need in order to offer this to Him. You sound as if you are an intelligent person who desires proof. Great. He knows this and designed you exactly the way you are for a purpose. Use that gift of intellect that He gave you and study, study, study. You won’t be sorry. Your relationship with Him is worth the time. Just as you were worth his time.

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