Thursday, January 10, 2008

The 'Hand' of God

Please also read: Another Perspective on Religion.

Today, in Kootenai, Idaho, a mid-twenties man followed a belief common within America's heartland - that the Bible is the literal Word of God.

So when he felt he was being drawn into sin, he did what any Christian fundamentalist would do and turned to The Good Book™.

Gospel of Matthew 5:30

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Cut off his hand? Well, if the Bible says that's what he has to do, who is a God-fearing Christian to argue? So wrapping a makeshift tourniquet around his arm, this solider of Christ proceeded to lop his hand off with a circular saw.

You can read the story here.

It's a shocking turn of events - and very sad.

I think this heartbreaking story raises some very important points - especially about faith. While people like presidential candidate Mike Huckabee claim to believe that the Bible is the infallible, literal word of God, they're surely not advocating home-amputations for those being led into temptation.

Or are they?

One Australian Christian says just that. This was written a long time before the poor young man in Idaho decided to lop his paw off - but reading it in the context of that is rather creepy.

"If you or I cut a hand off, wouldn't we be committed to a mental hospital?" He writes. "But what if the hand choppers aren't all crazy? A chopped off hand might be just what we need to get things back into correct perspective!"

He continues: "Matthew is often quoted as proof that Jesus never meant for us to take him literally... ...so maybe he didn't mean for us to take anything else he said [in the Bible] literally either. No way! We cannot accept that line of reasoning. If Jesus is really the Son of God, then trying to make him conform to our finite wisdom is blasphemy!"

"Try this experiment. Get a very sharp pocket knife and put it in your pocket or purse for one day, with the understanding that you will cut your hand off before you will let it lead you into sin. Just do it for one day."

So whip out the circle-saws, apparently!

A bunch of hokum

Fortunately, people like our Australian friend are not representative of Christians in general. He is representative of the Christian fundamentalists, however, who are a growing group within America's Christian heartland.

These are people who advocate the complete, absolute literal infallibility of the Bible and object to 'higher criticism' from historians, anthropologists and the like (who might commit 'blasphemy' and actually put the book's history and contents into context.)

Christian fundamentalism is a cult - born from people like Dwight L. Moody and Arthur Tappen Pierson, who lived around the same time as fellow cultist Joseph Smith Junior - the father of Mormanism.

Although it's much more credible than Smith's Church of the Latter Day Saints (there's no third testament or North American 'City of Zion'), fundamentalism is just as ridiculous and hokey as any other Victorian cult. For example, fundamentalists and evangelicals believe in the complete accuracy of Scripture, including the historical and scientific parts.

It's a cult of blind faith and delirious ignorance, completely devoid of any of the rationality of the Catholic church (who, arguably, know the most about Christianity since they were the first ones to market it worldwide. [Don't you mean 'spread' - Editorial Bear.]

The sad thing is, as long as evangelical and fundamentalist ministries keep driving home the literal 'truth' of the Bible, more and more mentally ill people like our friend in Idaho will fall afoul of their rigid ideology of ignorance.

I can only imagine Matthew, if he were alive today, slapping his forehead and crying: "He read my book and he did WHAT? Was he INSANE? What kind of lunatic thought I was actually suggesting they cut their own hand off! Oh my God... Some people..."

If you want a REAL understand of the Bible, I suggest you go to this website as well, which doesn't sugar-coat any of the lessons.

The Brick Testament

1 comment:

ck said...

There are stupid people of faith, and stupid people outside of faith.

The Bible teaches in parables... that was a parable... not meant to be taken literally. Can't help it if somebody can't connect some obvious dots.... just look at the ACLU ;-)