Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Christopher O. Tollefsen

Second Reader

Jennifer A. Frey


This project further elucidates the ability that the Biblical text has of being used as a justification for immoral actions. By using a textualist approach, we find that analyzing the effects that the literal text could have if used to justify action, allows us to see what Scriptural-based morality is subject to at all times. We approach this matter by classifying Scriptural interpretations under a spectrum that varies by degree. This is useful to see that the lowest bar for an action to be theologically justifiable, is whether it is in accordance with a literal reading of the Biblical text. On this thesis, we investigate three categories of what we contend to be immoral actions that, according to a textualist approach, the Bible deems either permissible, commanded by God, or not condemned in the Biblical text.

Our approach comes as a tentative to show what the aggregate of Christian believers can be and are subjected to because of the entailments of Christianity and the Bible being marketed as the sacred word of God. We do not aim to constrain this discussion merely to the standpoint of scholars, academics, and theologians. Rather, our exegetical approach is useful for engaging into a discussion of what the lay person or believer can plausibly derive from the Scriptural text. The standpoint we are concerned with is the standpoint of the masses, as this is the standpoint of the overwhelming aggregate of Christian believers and/or biblical theists.

By highlighting the Biblical prescriptions on slavery and racism, women’s status and sexual immorality, and categorical harm, we hope to show the most glaring instances in which the Biblical text can, undeniably, be coherent theological defenses for one’s engagement in certain immoral actions. Via the described means, we wish to expose that Biblical-based morality can be dangerous, and coherently so. With this, our goal is to underscore that it should not be permissible for Scripture to be advertised as an acceptable moral guide for society.

First Page


Last Page