Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 9th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Does the bible really say left handedness is a sin?

I’ve seen this meme several times, or at least some incarnation of it, suggesting that everything can now change because in Scripture, left handedness was once considered a sin. But, in looking through Scripture, there is not a mention of the sin of left handedness. It is a cultural slight to use the left hand because most people were right handed. Therefore it took on a status in metaphor. Scripture, written in this cultural, exists in the social sciences of the world around it. Doesn’t mean that using the metaphor is calling it a sin.

There is no doubt that the “left” has a near universal symbolic connection with weakness, and in many places, wickedness. However, not once in Scripture is it considered a sin.

In at least 3 verses, a left-handed person was lauded (Judges 3.15-16; Judges 20.16-17; 1 Chronicles 12.2-3)

Come now. If we are going to speak honestly about things, and base our arguments on sound logic, then why turn to what amounts to a lie?

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


10 Responses to “Does the bible really say left handedness is a sin?”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    If one understands that the issue of left-handedness is a product of Bronze Age understanding, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, the same also applies to the concept of God.

    • Are, maybe, it is an observation thing. You may want to read some anthropology on this. We do it today.

      • Know More Than I Should says

        We don’t all to it today. Some are just slower to catch up than are others.

        • we all make assumptions based on our cultural context. This is human. For instance, you make the assumption that all religion is bronze age based and thus is somehow discounted.

          • Know More Than I Should says

            While all religion is most certainly not based on Bronze Age assumptions, Judeo-Christianity seems to want self-date from that period. However, if you wish to think of Judaism as an Early Iron Age religion, and Christianity as its Middle Iron Age spinoff, that’s okay with me. In fact, I don’t much care if you choose some other timeframe.

            I don’t discount Christianity because of it origins. Rather much of its history and far too many of its practitioners leave something to be desired. These believers have yet to look in the mirror and see the real enemy of their faith.

  2. 16 Among all these were seven hundred picked men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair, and not miss.

    Wait a minute. Shouldn’t that be hare?

    • But then again….
      Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

      This seems to be a full conspiracy against the left hand, to leave it in the dark. Left hands have always been discriminated against. Luckily, the weak, the meek, and the left-handers will inherit the earth. And blessed be the cheese makers.

      • Gary Gary Gary….

        • Although this is all in fun, I think it points out an interesting characteristic of human history. It seems like many times, people equate “sin” with “different”. Is left-handed a choice, or a genetic determination? Or, as in “The Life of Brian”, was “Big Nose” born that way, or was he self-created, by picking? 🙂

          Just tell me to zip it…it’s all too deep for me.

          • Know More Than I Should says

            It all goes back to the old tribal instinct. Those inclined to behave, look, or think differently are perceived as threats.

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