Monday, February 4, 2013

Undercover Agnostic (Update 4) Musical Irony and Political Activism

Some moments come along that just make me laugh at the irony (or should I say absurdity of my life).

This past week, it was another Sunday morning driving to go to church (which is absurd that I still doing this), as I'm driving there, the song "Animals" comes on by the Texas alternative rock band Toadies.

To set the scene for you here's the song:



If you can't play video for some reason, the lyrics should give you a good idea why I was laughing, not at the song, but at the craziness of all of this. 

Here I am, a closeted agnostic, who is trying hard not to blow his cover, driving to a fundamentalist church, to listen to sermon that he can't stand to listen to, and doesn't agree with, all the while, listening to a song like this on the drive there. Get it now?

Sometimes you just have to laugh at life, otherwise it will drive you insane. 

Speaking of the sermon I knew I wouldn't agree with, the interim pastor felt he should rant about abortion, after giving an announcement that a church van would be taking anyone interested to a anti-gay rights rally later this month in Illinois' state capital, Springfield. 

Fundamentalist groups are annoyed that Illinois existing civil unions law may be upgraded to full gay marriage rights soon, if the legislature can fit it in this legislative session. The anti-gay rights crowd doesn't have much hope of stopping it, this is Illinois after all, unless the legislature delays it for some reason, and pushes the vote to the next session. 

The anti-abortion sermon was about what I expected it to be, I can quote all the arguments almost verbatim, hell (no pun intended), I used to use all of them in debates with people. 

What I found rather ridiculous was the minister's claim that a fetus is a separate life of it's own, separate from the mother. (Really? So why is it that it can't survive outside of the mother's body until around 6 months into the pregnancy?)

He also, in trying to make a case against it from the Bible, trying to reject more moderate/liberal Christian positions on the issue, quoted two Bible verse that "pro life" people often quote as their basis for thinking that god views a fetus as a life, and equal to a new born baby. 

"13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Another one that anti-abortion Christians love to quote, this is from the book of Jeremiah, were god is supposed to be calling him to be his prophet:

Jeremiah 1:4-5

 "The word of the Lord came to me, saying,"
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

They see both passages as showing that god knows us, and has plans for us even before we are born, they see this as proof that god looks at a fetus as a child about to enter the world. On the other hand, though the Bible is quite contradictory about this, as it is about most other things.

In the Old Testament law, murder was to always be punished with a death sentence, (death by stoning), but one odd rule of the Old Testament law is that if an assault on a pregnant women caused her to have a miscarriage, then only financial compensation to the family was required.

Exodus 21 (King James Version):
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.
Interesting, so even though the word "child" is used, only financial compensation is required for causing the miscarriage. The Old Testament law, the Bible says, was given to the Jewish people by god.

You would think that if god supposedly considered a fetus equal to a newborn (and that the life of a child was considered a precious thing to be protected), that the same punishment and rules for murder would apply here, but apparently they do not.

Furthermore, if god supposedly considered a fetus equal to the life of a child, that might explain a few things, however. Jesus had a rather high view of children:

(Matthew 19:14)
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Luke 17:1-2
1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 
However, apparently god himself didn't have a high view of the lives of children.

In the story of King David and his affair with Bathsheba, god killed their infant son as punishment for what they did, both the affair, and David's successful plot to have Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, one of his top soldiers killed.

The story begins in 2nd Samuel 11, and continues through chapter 12. In chapter 12, verses 13 and 14, a prophet, Nathan says that his son will die because of David's affair and the murder of Uriah:

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
Apparently god didn't have a high view of that newborn's life if he killed him for his father's wrongdoing.

Also, let's look at the actions that warranted the death penalty for sons and daughters in the Old Testament (and there is no age ranges or restrictions on who was eligible for the death penalty under these laws, it's entirely possible that teens and rather young children could have been put to death)

Exodus 21 again:

(Verse 15) "Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death."

(The text does not say how severe the "attack" must be to qualify for the death penalty)

(Verse 17): "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death."

Just general "rebelliousness" was punishable by death as well (Deuteronomy 21):


21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.


The Old Testament is also full of battles and massacres where all of the people of a tribe or city were ordered to be killed by his people (the armies of the Jewish people under various leaders like Joshua).

So the god of Christianity is "pro life"?

I don't think so....


8 comments:

  1. When I was an undergraduate a buddy of mine webt under cover at a mosque for a class he was taking about Islam. I went in there with him one time and checked out the scene. Of course the women were seated at the back of the room, and were hidden behind a screen.

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    1. That would be an experience right there....

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  2. Let's not forget that Numbers 5:11-31 commands that a woman suspected of adultery drink a substances that induces abortion. Somehow, anti-abortion people forget that passage. I agree -- the Bible is NOT anti-abortion by any means.

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    1. I read that again. It calls it bitter water, but doesn't state exactly what is in it.

      Was it supposed to be some sort of magical curse from god?

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    2. I assumed that the bitter water contained an unnamed substance that induced miscarriage, like an herb or something.

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    3. It sounds like an herbal concoction, yes.

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  3. I recall once reading that when Roe v. Wade was fresh from the Supreme Court the Evangelical leadership largely ignored it. That is, they were not in the least upset with the decision. It was only after one or two of them pointed out to the others how they could benefit from opposing the decision that the leaders started to raise a hue can cry over it.

    I cannot now recall the source of that story, but I do recall that it was from a former Evangelical who had been prominent in the movement.

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    1. The good old marriage of religion and government power. Screwing the world over since the beginning of civilization. ;)

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