1. "Turn the other cheek."
This is both easy and hard for me to talk about, because the statement itself is actually in the bible. The problem I have is not with the statement but with its misuse. The way most people I've interacted with use "turn the other cheek" means something along the lines of "when someone says or does something you don't like, just turn around and walk away." Let's see what the bible has to say...
Luke 6:27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.Now, is that saying to just ignore those who offend you? No. It's saying that if someone punches you in one cheek, you turn the other cheek for them, point at it and say: "You missed a spot." The heart of what's being said here is not to evade conflict. Rather, by non-discretely responding to evil by showing evil that it is evil without repaying evil with evil, you allow holiness to be set aside as holy, and wickedness to be set aside as wicked (that was a fun sentence). I think the heart of what Jesus is saying here can be found in Proverbs 25:
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;2. "God does not give you more than you can handle."
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
I guess Christians say this either to comfort oneanother in times of suffering, or to alleviate the urge to blame God for suffering. It's not founded in the bible, though, nor is it consistent with the realities of the world. The world is place in which people struggle to survive, and along the way are emotionally and physically abused, scathed with illness, burdened with dysfunctional families, and then to top it off, they die (most often in a manner that is either slow and drawn out or utterly brutal). And the bible thoroughly recognises this. And this is incompatible with the belief that God does not give you more than you can handle: you might be able to handle persecution and illness and the loss of loved ones and having your family divided, but you certainly can't handle being dead. That's one burden you can't lift. To top it off, the bible actively gives us accounts of suffering beyond what the authors could handle.
2 Corinthians 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.On the cross, Jesus himself cried out a chilling reference to Psalm 22:
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Now, the Psalm is not all doom and gloom, and ultimately points to God's deliverance. But that's just it: God is the one who delivers, not us. Look back at the passage from 2 Corinthians: they suffered to the point that death seemed more appealing than life, "but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
Does God give us more than we can handle? Yes. Absolutely. But whatever adversity He allows us to suffer, even death itself, is something He can conquer for us. I can't remember who said it, but I recently became familiar with this concept, which I find helpful: Superheros come in to save the day before evil wins. With God, it doesn't matter if evil wins, because God wins even more. Evil's greatest victory is death, and yet God is victorious over death.
3. "The bible is just a moral guidebook."
This is mostly an objection to the significance of the bible, in a way that dismisses the bible without giving a volatile resistance to it. It typically goes something like this: "All religions are just about being a good person, and that includes the bible. The bible is just a moral guidebook. But I know right from wrong, therefore I don't need to pay attention to the bible." Now, if those premises were true (1: that religion just tells you what to do to be good, and 2: that you know right from wrong [presumably without relying on the bible to have that knowledge]), then the outcome would logically follow. This is problematic on multiple levels.
The most fundamental level at which this is a problem is that we are not the main characters of the bible, God is. The primary goal of the bible is to display God's identity. This includes what He deems moral and good with regards to humans, but that's certainly not the full extent of God's identity. In the same vein, there are certain roles which are for God and God alone, and the bible keeps going back to that. For example, while mercy and grace are values espoused in the bible for Christians, only God can forgive the sin of sinners. And while humans can make babies and re/arrange elements of our world in creative ways (in the same way that I'm arranging these digital signals in creative ways to produce this text), only God can create something from nothing (tangentially, it's my understanding that there's a special word in the bible used to mean "create" which is only ever used when God is doing it).
Now, all human morality in the bible stems from the following core beliefs:
1. God is the uncreated creator of everything that has been created (as an aside, this point demonstrates why it's nonsensical for people to object to Christianity by saying: "If God created everything, then who created God?" This is basic theology).
Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
2. As God is the uncreated creator of everything that has been created, everything that is not God depends on God, therefore God is literally the most important thing in all existence. Therefore we are called to love God above all else.
Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
3. God created humans in His likeness, therefore, where a role is not set aside for God alone, we are most human when our hearts and our actions are in line with God's character.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
4. As God's creations who have been made in His likeness, we have inherent value to God. Therefore, a chief act of love towards God is love oneanother, as doing so means that we place value in the same things God places value in.
Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.Because of this, where morality is focused on in the bible, it is secondary to a deeper theology -- biblical morality is the natural consequence of God's character and of knowing God; practical moral instruction simply clarifies that. If you're not a Christian, I can almost guarantee that the bible makes moral assertions that don't sit comfortably with you. I can be confident int his because as a Christian I seriously struggle with some of the moral issues of the bible. For those that don't accept the bible as having God's authority behind it, I would be genuinely surprised if the bible didn't take some of the things you call moral and call them immoral, or take some of the things you call immoral and call them moral.
So, between the Christian and the non-Christian is a fundamentally different approach to morality. The basis for morality is different and the spiritual implications of morality are different, therefore the practical outcome of morality is going to be different. That's not at all to say that non-Christians cannot have morals, or that Christians and non-Christians cannot share certain morals. However, there won't be a perfect overlap between my morality and your morality, nor will there be succinct overlap on the assumptions upon which we base our varying moral positions. Because of this, treating the bible as irrelevant on account of you already having firm moral positions is missing the point.