J. Brad Hicks (bradhicks) wrote,
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Christians in the Hand of an Angry God (part 4)

Now, where were we before I had my "little" job-related problem? Oh, yes. We'd established that the true gospel of Jesus Christ, as actually taught in the Bible, is completely incompatible with Republican party values. We've established that the false gospel replaced the true gospel when, a generation ago, the leaders of the evangelical Christian movements and the leaders of the Catholic church simultaneously agreed to substitute a false gospel, one compatible with Republican values, for the true gospel, for fear that only the Republicans could save the church from extinction under a global communist regime. And as my first vivid example, I contrasted what the gospel has to say about homosexuality (and what a trivial issue it is in context of the message of Jesus Christ that human beings are no longer permitted to enforce the Old Testament "holiness code" on God's behalf) with the obsessive attention the ministers of the false gospel give to their anti-Biblical preaching and politicking on the subject -- all to make the Republicans look good by teaching a reactionary culture made uncomfortable by the prominence of gays in post-Stonewall AIDS-aware America that God endorsed their disgust. (See "Christians in the Hand of an Angry God" parts 1, 2, and 3.) So let's hit another example where the contrast between what the Bible says and what the ministers of the false gospel preach is such an unbridgeable gap: abortion.

So what does the Bible say about the intentional termination of a pregnancy? Nothing. That's right, nothing. It never comes up. Even in the holiness code, which takes time out to preach about the evils of mildew, there isn't a single thing about the intentional termination of a pregnancy. Lest you think this is because abortion didn't exist back then, suffice it to say that there's at least some evidence that human beings have known which plants were abortificants since, well, since before there were human beings. Cultures much older than the post-captivity Jews knew how to induce an abortion at will; one must assume that there were Jews who used that knowledge. And yet somehow the Bible never gets around to saying even word one against the practice.

So when the ministers of the false gospel set out to find some way to preach against abortion, they had to go digging. Now, one of the basic fundamental rules of legitimate Biblical exigesis that they teach you in seminary (or even competent pre-seminary religion classes) is that you should be very, very wary of the classic errors of exigesis, traps that Satan will use to lead you astray. Beware of quoting a passage out of context; beware of quoting a passage as saying something other than what it actually says, and don't go looking for tiny little passages that "prove" your point when there are much longer, clearer passages that contradict what you're trying to prove. But the leaders of the fundamentalist and Catholic seminaries threw these principles over the side of the boat so that they could prove the following malformed syllogism: (1) The Bible firmly opposes murder of human beings. (2) The fetus is a human being. Therefore (3) the Bible firmly opposes the murder of a fetus. May I assume that for the moment we all agree, subject to fine tuning and nagging caveats, that point 1 is a given? Fine.

So what slender thread of evidence do they use to prove their point that the fetus in the womb is a human being with a soul? Typically, they quote Psalms 22:9-10, Isaiah 46:3-4, and Jeremiah 1:4-5 in which God says to David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah (in that order) that He knew them while they were still in their mother's womb. Now, let me invite you to take a minute to read those three chapters, and let me ask you two questions about them. First of all, who are we talking about in those chapters: God, or the author? Is the point of the passage how old the author of the chapter is, when his life began, or is God talking about His fore-knowledge? And that leads to the second question: if God is all knowing, was there ever a time from the creation of the world to the present when the Bible says that God didn't know you? And since God knew you from the beginning of all time, why pick the moment when sperm and egg to unite to say when life begins? Maybe the old cynical joke about what Baptists believe is true, if your interpretation is the one to trust; maybe life does begin when the woman's bra is unhooked.

But if you're going to make that argument, you're going to have to explain how it's compatible with what the Bible does say, albeit in the holiness code that Jesus set aside human enforcement of in John 8:1-11. The only time the Bible actually explicitly talks about the termination of a pregnancy is as a complication in a criminal assault case. "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine." (Exodus 21:22) In plain English (and equally plain Hebrew, I'm told), the Bible says that even in cases where the pregnancy is terminated against the woman's will in a criminal assault, it's treated as a property crime, with the penalty being nothing more than a monetary fine negotated between the assailants and the woman's husband. Compare and contrast that with the penalty for murder (death), and then tell me that the Bible would treat the death of even, to use an unspeakably tired current example, "Connor" Peterson as a murder. If God thinks that killing a fetus is murder, why make the penalty so light and trivial?

Answer: because the Bible says when human life begins, when a person first obtains a soul, when that person has rights that must be respected. It doesn't say this out-right, but the implication is pretty plain, and it's the only interpretation that's compatible with the rest of the Biblical legal code. Consider the creation of mankind in Genesis chapter 2, and let me specifically call your attention to Genesis chapter 2, verse 7: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Pay attention to the sequence there. When God made Adam from the dust of the ground, Adam was no six-week fetus. He wasn't even a newborn. Adam was a full-grown adult human being, and yet he had no soul until he drew his first breath. And that is why, until abortion became a political issue again around a hundred years ago and people went digging in the scriptures to try to find a reason to hate it, it was an assumed fact of religious law that the soul enters the body at birth. Indeed, it was long assumed on this same Biblical basis that the "death rattle," the rattling sound in the throat of many dying people as they exhale for the last time, was the sound of the soul leaving the body, and it was for this very reason that many Christian theologians were deeply disturbed when mouth-to-mouth rescusitation was invented.

So when the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade confered some limited rights on the fetus six months before birth, and grants it almost any right other than the right to kill the mother starting at approximately earliest possible viability outside the womb around three months before birth, Roe v Wade grants the fetus more rights and more recognition as a person than the Bible does.

So if that's the case, why would the ministers of the false gospel lie about it? Because the abortion debate was never about the fetus. It's about sex. In particular, it's about a school of thought that says that illicit sex must have horrifying consequences if it is to be prevented. As the famous limmerick says:
A modest young maiden called Wilde
Sought to keep herself undefiled
   By thinking of Jesus
   Contagious diseases,
And the bother of having a child.

And that's why the abortion debate was a matter of argument long, long before abortion was legalized. You see ... or perhaps some of you don't see, so let me explain ... Roe v Wade doesn't exist in a Constitutional vaccuum. Roe rests on the foundation of Griswold v Connecticut. Roe can't be overturned without overturning Griswold. And nothing would make the Pharisees, the false ministers who chose to teach the Satanic gospel of the Republican party over the simple words of Christ, happier than to see Griswold overturned. What's Griswold? It's the Supreme Court case that legalized contraceptive use by married people, overturning the Comstock Act. From 1873 to 1965 it was not only illegal in America to manufacture or sell contraceptives, but even to talk or write about them in print, and not only legally "obscene" to discuss them, but a crime for even married people to use them during sex.

Why? Well, for a significant percentage of the population, sex is supposed to be scary, supposed to involve risk of unwanted consequences; that's how they want to scare people into as having as little of it as possible, so they channel their energy into more "productive" activities, like economics or militarism. (Think I'm making this up? For more on the link between militarist dictatorship and sexual repression even within marriage, see Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism and if you don't want to trust Reich then the single most famous expert on fascist movements in history, Eric Hoffer, in his book The True Believer.)

But Comstockery became the law when fascism wasn't even a glimmer in anybody's eye. No, as much as anything Comstockery was just another Republican "return to normalcy" campaign. To a significant percentage of the American population in the 1870s, this rush to the cities to work in the (Republicans') factories was a terrible threat to the social controls implicit in small-town village life, a threat of immanent rampaging immorality on the order of what happened in Bohemian Paris. (Seigel's book is very good. Bruce Sterling's classic review of it is even better.) And the before they even thought to subvert organized Christianity, the Republicans were portraying anything that made sex less scary as a threat to public order. Democrats, being comfortable in the cities and knowing full well that Americans who live in cities are no scarier than Americans who live anywhere else, never bought into this. So when the ministers of the false gospel went looking for a way to make it seem that Jesus was endorsing their evil anti-Christian masters in the anti-communist crusade, they eagerly turned to demonically false exigesis to find anything they could to make contraception, birth control, abortion, public health campaigns against sexually transmitted diseases, or any other thing that might make romantic sex safer or healthier, seem to be antithetical to God's word, even though they clearly aren't.

They clearly all need to be reminded of the very passage in the Christian Bible, this from Revelations 22, verses 11-21 (emphasis added):

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
So I ask you, if you claim to believe the Bible and yet you support the political party that lays heavy burdens on the poor and lifts not a finger to help them (Matt 23:1-4), what if you're right and the Bible is not just any book but the word of actual God? When the Son of Man comes in His glory, how shall you escape His judgement for the sin of adding to the words of the Bible, for the sin of creating obstacles to Christ for those who don't meet your personal un-Biblical moral code, for the gravest of sins of lying about what the gospel actually says about how the saved shall be divided from the damned? If you're right (and I, as a non-Christian, am wrong), how shall you escape being cast into the fiery pit of Hell, where the flame burns forever and quenches not?

(Next, the conclusion: if I don't believe these things, why am I personally so angry about the lie?)
Tags: religion
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