Posts Tagged ‘Christian

07
Oct
12

The Heresy of ‘Pro-Life’ Christians

Our scripture readings in ELCA Sunday service often provoke my thoughts. My thoughts are never aligned with the Pastor’s sermon, for sermons are typically generalized and oriented toward a certain orthodoxy. The last Pastor who made sermons a challenge to our lives was the late, great Bill Christman (a Presbyterian).

Today’s First Reading, Genesis 2:18-24, included:

Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Today’s Gospel, Mark 10:2-16, included:

Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’

Those who identify as Pro-Life assert that a fertilized ovum – the zygote – is a person, fully equivalent*. Their justifications for tying this assertion to a “right” to life are invariably shallow, effectively being ‘It just is, that’s all’. I have never seen or heard of a Pro-Lifer using Genesis 2 and Mark 10 as an authority for this assertion. It seems obviously applicable: in what way does a couple literally “become one flesh”, except via conception? If God demands that the couple not be separated, surely He intends that the very “one flesh” also not be separated.

*Except when it isn’t – some Pro-Life advocates defer personhood until implantation of the zygote.
And even those notable Conservative Protestants, the Southern Baptists, have previously sanctioned some abortions.

This Mark 10 justification of the Pro-life agenda would better adhere to scripture than the typical citations. Will Pro-Lifers embrace this justification? It is unlikely that any will ever notice my comments in a tiny blog. If they independently make this association, they will risk an accusation of hypocrisy, or worse, for the scriptures do not instruct us of an isolated facet of our relationship with the Almighty.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, Son of God, brought a New Covenant between God and man. Jesus was overt in his violations of many Jewish laws. He affirmed a fairly small portion of the Old Covenant, for while He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17, that left a large body of legalities to be voided. His statements in Mark 10 were remarkable for specifically citing Law that was to remain unaltered, without allowance for obliquely fulfilling the spirit of the Law. Jesus established finally, as explicitly as we ever see in scripture, a linkage between conception and marriage.

There are Christian denominations which ban divorce, such as the Catholic Church, the LDS-Mormon Church, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and Conservative Protestant such as Southern Baptists. Every one includes exceptions.

Exceptions are something which Jesus did not often offer. He certainly did not instruct us that conversion to Islam, or adultery, or other exceptions apply to divorce. Yet such exceptions are normative in even the most conservative denominations.

Is this why Pro-Lifers do not cite Jesus’ authority from Mark 10? Do they attempt to conceal their hypocrisy which is already well-known?

If they are sincere in claiming that their attitudes about reproduction are guided by Sacred Text, let them permit themselves to be guided by the only words of Jesus regarding the “one flesh”. Let them embrace the same hatred and violence at the most-closely related offense to the Law of God – divorce - that they exhibit toward those who make, and even to those who merely advocate, reproductive choices.

16
Mar
10

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Creation Truth

Our buddy, Johnny Kaje, got us going yesterday with ‘Day One-ish of the Big Silly Jesus Circus: Lies About Dinosaurs‘. This is a perceptive article by someone whose viewpoint is ‘reality-based’. Start there, and then come back here (ya gotta promise to come back!).

Dr. G. Thomas Sharp, founder of the Creation Truth Foundation, does presentations regarding what he considers to be the greatest threat to Christian families: secular thinking, especially “Darwinian evolutionism” (sic). Today, I attended a session ‘Mount St. Helens’ of his 3-day seminar.

Be Sharp, DoctorSharp {it is difficult for me to repeatedly use the appellation of “Dr.” for a title bestowed by a Bible College – yes, I know of some fine institutions – but I’d have to see some bona fides first} is not the sort of Intelligent Design Luddite that we usually encounter. He offers a sort of Creationist antithesis to I.D.. He makes no attempt to establish scientific validity for his beliefs: “If this were a scientific issue, it would already be solved … but, it’s religious” and “Creation and Evolution are 100% biases”. He asserts that his viewpoint and that of science are both exclusively religious.

His homogeneous tactic, spread like smooth peanut butter to the very edges of a world-view sandwich, is to show that science is defective, even stupid (a word which he never used, offering instead the equivalents of condescension and derision). The logic sequence which he re-iterates is: Since ‘science’and religion are really both religious, and since science is defective, then, ipso facto, his religious view is correct. He made zero effort to establish any credibility for (his) religion. Such an effort would probably have been superfluous for most of the audience.

It is difficult in this space to analyse the deficiencies paraded before us in an hour. Smart’s comment at 50 minutes is exemplary: he said that since the talk was to be about Mount St. Helens (not yet discussed), he had “10 minutes to talk about the good stuff”. It felt like I had been confronted by a burglar who, instead of taking my valuables, devoted much time to sticking me with a knife before saying “oh, yeah – I came here to get valuables”.

How does a person receive a Ph.D. (with an ‘emphasis’ in the philosophy of religion and science) and yet exhibit such an utter lack of organization? Also, his intellectual rigor was, at best, mortised. This is why I do not grant Bible Colleges the same assumed respect that I apply to my hometown state university.

There were many (many, many) other deficiencies in simple content. Try these:Engineering is like a Triceratops Butt

“Mount St. Helens was the smallest known volcano in the history of record keeping.”

But it formed the “biggest land debris slide in the history of record keeping.” {He insisted upon repeating the strange phrase “land debris slide” subsequently.}

“Fossils are not made by dying.” But this “probably includes dying.” {I think that this might have been an example of profundity.}

“The Heavens are where the birds fly.” {His Biblical exegesis is as poor as his science.}

Regarding a geological process: “how long it would take based on observable reality.” {“Observable reality” being incorrect, in his view.}

We “can’t put creation / evolution predictions in a test tube and test them.” {Which would be pointless, regardless – “observable reality” being bogus.}

“Geological uniformitarianism is the result of the lusts of men.” {I heard of another guy who says that rape is the result of the lusts of women. These statements leave the stork as the best explanation for pregnancy.}

I’m not a scientist.” {This one is ok by him, by the majority of his audience, and by me.}

28
Jan
10

All Up Mount Wilson – All Down in the Family

For a young man, leading an independent life and enjoying a glorious southern California summer, the Voice of Experience speaks softly. Pain and Abasement choose to use less-subtle expressions.

My bicycle, a Raleigh Supercourse, had been a happy companion for months. I found that it had such superb traction that I could corner a narrow, smooth, concrete sidewalk so well that I could drag a foot pedal if I weren’t careful. Free rides downhill, purchased with large denominations of worthless Jim-sweat, blasted me with eye-wincing winds and the zinging clicks of the coaster gear. It was the perfect time for a new and bigger adventure.

The Caltech Christian Fellowship provided a few graduate-student friends, fellows whom a mere undergrad might otherwise only know by way of envy. Ray (was that his name? the years know – I no longer do) was a smaller, but well-conditioned guy. He suggested that we go on one of the more popular bike excursions – a trip to the top of Mount Wilson.

→ Hey! It isn’t all bike riding, d.a.r.n. it




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Basic Understanding

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow

Intellectual Property Notice

All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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