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Why Does God Hate Amputees?
From a Metafilter link, great piece by Marshall Brain of How Stuff Works, using simple logic to disprove the existence of The Big Guy In The Sky -- with individual disproving snack packs for Muslims, Christians and Jews! Start here, with Santa and move on down to your particular religion, if any. Then move on to the amputees!

...Create a prayer circle like the one created for Jeanna Giese. The job of this prayer circle is simple: pray to God to restore the amputated legs of this deserving Christian. I do not mean to pray for a team of renowned surgeons to somehow graft the legs of a cadaver onto the soldier, nor for a team of renowned scientists to craft mechanical legs for him. Pray that God spontaneously and miraculously restores the soldier's legs overnight, in the same way that God spontaneously and miraculously cured Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey's mother.

If possible, get millions of human beings all over the planet to join the prayer circle and pray their most fervent prayers. Get millions of people praying in unison for a single miracle for this one deserving Christian amputee. Then stand back and watch.

What is going to happen? Jesus clearly says that if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. He does not say it once -- he says it many times in many ways in the Bible.

And yet, even with millions of people praying, nothing will happen.

No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can read all the medical journals ever written -- there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day.

Isn't that odd? Christian inspirational literature is full of thousands of stories like Jeanna's and Marilyn Hickey's. But God does not restore the legs of amputees. Whether you are a Christian or not, the situation here appears to be most peculiar.

The situation becomes even more peculiar when you look at who God is. According to the Standard Model of God:

* God is all-powerful. Therefore, God can do anything, and regenerating a leg is trivial.

* God is perfect, and he created the Bible, which is his perfect book. In the Bible, Jesus makes very specific statements about the power of prayer. Since Jesus is God, and God and the Bible are perfect, those statements should be true and accurate.

* God is all-knowing and all-loving. He certainly knows about the plight of the amputee, and he loves this amputee very much.

* God answers prayers. If he is answering millions of other prayers like Jeanna's every day, God should be answering the prayers of amputees too.

* God has no reason to discriminate against amputees.

* God is ready and willing to answer your prayers no matter how big or small. All that you have to do is believe. He says it in multiple places in the Bible. Surely, with millions of people in the prayer circle, at least one of them will believe and the prayer will be answered.

Billions of people believe in the power of prayer and pray their own prayers. Not only do they pray, but they personally witness God answering their prayers every single day. They believe that their prayers are answered all the time. According to Christian believers, God is interacting with our world and answering millions of prayers. In addition, the entire industry of Christian inspirational literature is built around God's ability and willingness to have a personal relationship with us and answer our prayers. Any Sunday morning we can find thousands of ministers and priests preaching about God's grace, God's love, God's blessings and God's desire to hear and answer our prayers.

Nonetheless, the amputated legs of our devout and deserving Christian are not going to regenerate.

What are we seeing here? Simply stop for a moment and let the peculiarity of this situation sink in. It certainly is perplexing. It is not that God sometimes answers the prayers of amputees, and sometimes does not. Instead, in this situation there is a very clear line. God never answers the prayers of amputees. It would appear, to an unbiased observer, that God hates amputees.

I know that God is love and therefore he cannot hate, but it does appear that something akin to hatred might be happening in this situation. How can it be that God is spreading his love and blessings by answering the prayers of millions of Christians every day, while at the same time he is cursing amputees by completely ignoring their prayers? The word "curse" is too strong, but you know what I mean. It does appear that God is trying to send some sort of a message to amputees through his actions here on earth. Either God is sending a message, or there is some other explanation for this very odd situation.

If this is the first time you have thought about the situation faced by amputees seriously, you have a set of stock answers to this paradox running through your head right now. Let's examine the stock answers one by one. (Stock answers follow at the amputee link above.)

Don't miss the bit on how god is way cool with slavery, and even with separating slaves from their families! (Three cheers for "Compassionate Conservativism, The Early Years"!)

So now we have opened the Bible and looked at it, and inside the Bible -- God's word -- we have found ten extremely clear and outrageous passages about slavery. What these passages indicate, without any question, is that the Bible supports slavery. The Bible thinks that slavery is great. According to the Bible you are free to buy slaves and you are free to beat your slaves. There is no denying that, in the Bible, slavery is perfectly acceptable.

If you are a Christian, you automatically and unquestioningly believe in Jesus, the Ten Commandments, heaven and hell. Why? Because you believe that the Bible came from God.

The problem is that if you support the Ten Commandments and believe in Jesus, you must also support slavery. The same God and the same Bible that tells us about the Ten Commandments and Jesus is also telling us about slavery.

Take a moment right now to ask yourself this simple question: Do you believe in slavery? Having read how God feels about slavery in the Bible, do you now believe that in America and around the world we should repeal all anti-slavery laws and re-open the slave trade? If you are Christian, what choice do you have? God fully advocates slavery in the Bible, and you believe the word of God.

If you are going to believe that the Ten Commandments came from God because they are in God's Bible, then you must also believe that all of these slavery passages came from God. You, Justice Scalia and everyone else who believes that God wrote the Bible should be perfectly comfortable with the slave trade.

An all-or-nothing book

If you are going to believe that the Ten Commandments came from God because they are in God's Bible, then you must also believe that all of these slavery passages came from God as well. Therefore you, Justice Scalia and everyone else who believes that God wrote the Bible should be perfectly comfortable with the slave trade. Christians must believe that all the laws that forbid slavery in the United States defy God's word, and we should be actively working to repeal them.

If you do not believe that God wrote the slavery passages in the Bible, then the obvious question to ask yourself is this: How can you possibly know which parts came from God and which parts were inserted by primitive men? How can you pick and choose like that? You have absolutely no way to know whether the slavery passages came from God or primitive men.

It is when you start thinking about the Bible in this way that you understand something very important about the Bible. Either the entire Bible really is God's Word. The entire Bible is the infallible, inspired and inerrant word of God. [ref] Or the entire Bible was written by primitive men with absolutely no input from God. There are two reasons for this very strong dividing line:

1. An all-powerful God would not allow false teachings (like slavery) to get inserted into and pollute his holy message to mankind. Why would an all-powerful God take the time to write a book, and then allow ungodly material to pollute it?

2. If part of the Bible came from God and part came from primitive men, how can you possibly know which is which? How do you know if Jesus really is resurrected, or if that's just a make-believe story inserted by primitive men? How do you know if God wrote the Ten Commandments or not? If any part of the Bible has been polluted by primitive men, you have to reject the whole thing. There is no way to know who wrote what, so the entire book is invalid.

There really is no middle ground. The Bible has to be an all-or-nothing book. Either the entire Bible came from God, or none of it did.

Come on, people, let's get some rigorous thinking going! Are we really going to base our lives on a bunch of inconsistent but consistently unbelievable fairy tales, many of which suggest some pretty evil, inhumane shit?

Posted by aalkon at October 30, 2005 8:53 AM

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"Either the entire Bible really is God's Word. The entire Bible is the infallible, inspired and inerrant word of God. [ref] Or the entire Bible was written by primitive men with absolutely no input from God."

The former, is, I think, an example of immature theology, which is unfortunately a very common kind here in this country. The latter nonetheless still depends on believing that the immature view of God is the only possible view.

How about this:

The Bible was written by human beings aspiring to higher purpose, inspired by their perception of the transcendent. A lot of the Old Testament laws make a great deal of sense when applied to a nomadic culture struggling to survive and propagate in the desert, but aren't entirely timeless or universal. Many of the stories are metaphorical in nature, and the fact that Jesus actually speaks in metaphorical tales may be the key point to clue one in on that score. Most of what is written in it is designed to inspire people to be better human beings, but as none of the writers could see the far future it isn't all timeless.


That's pretty much my interpretation, anyway. I think there is a great deal woirthwhile in there, but it does indeed require rigorous thinking and not blind acceptance.

Posted by: LYT at October 30, 2005 12:49 AM

LYT-

Your description seems to me to fit pretty much with option 2: the entire Bible was written by primitive men with absolutely no input from God. What they thought they were doing is neither here nor there.

Posted by: Norman at October 30, 2005 6:41 AM

I'm with Norm on the option 2 thing, but I do agree that there are things of value written in the Bible that don't require believing in the unbelievable -- just as there are in Shakespeare, Joan Didion, and Dr. Seuss. Then again, nobody's on their knees worshipping Dr. Seuss.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 6:59 AM

Excellent piece.
The truth of course is that no prayer in the history of the world has been or could have been answered, the amputee simply illustrates it in black and white. The truth is people are insane and have the ability to twist and delude themsleves into believeing anything. Delusional weak snivleing idiots without an ounce of courage.
The bible is a, beginning to end, piece of junk, you can get better philosophy from that guy in dreadlocks blowing the saxophone down in Venice. It would'nt be so bad if any of the main characters had actually existed. No adam, eve, serpent-i did like him, david, goliath=I'm a bit of a goliath myself, abraham moses noah, or ta da ta da, the big boy himself Jesus. Pure fiction plucked from previous myhologies. Merit there? Take every religious text from the east and west, dump them into a fire let them burn to cinders, ah smell the aroma-sweet. Now go read books on science meidicine, philosophy, read the greats Nietzsche, Goethe, Dante, Einstein, me. This is where your much needed and long overdue higher education will come.

Posted by: everybody wants to stone chris at October 30, 2005 9:58 AM

For the most part Christians have a live and let live attitude. Despite the amount of religiosity in America you must admit you have more freedom here than in any secular state you care to name. Why antagonize them in this way? Islam presents a real threat to secular humanism yet you give them a pass.

Posted by: nash at October 30, 2005 12:31 PM

On the contrary, religiosity pervades our lives, in prohibitions against gay marriage, laws for one, nutwads trying to put the Ten Commandments in front of public buildings, trying to keep god in the Pledge of Allegiance, in Sunday blue laws, in prohibitions against abortion, and in countless other ways. Religion promotes divisiveness and hate, and there's nothing quite so fun as being a six-year-old called "dirty Jew" because the rest of the neighborhood kids are taught you're going to burn in hell because you don't believe in some guy out of a big book of unbelievable stories. Living without reason is a very dangerous and ugly thing.

And while I know you mean welll, I wish you wouldn't tell me "god bless you" when I sneeze, because I'm pretty sure only a spray of snot is leaving my body (sorry for being vulgar); I'm not losing my soul (as if such a thing even exists). Seems petty, yes. But it's part of the primitive, unthinking whole.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 1:25 PM

Anybody, in any religion, who is a mental puppet of the religious teachings has my disdain. This goes triple and then some for those whose religiosity leads them to violence, with Muslims picking up where the Christians left off in the Crusades, in that department. Barbarians, all of them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 1:29 PM

> I wish you wouldn't tell me "god bless you" when I sneeze, because I'm pretty sure only a spray of snot is leaving my body (sorry for being vulgar); I'm not losing my soul (as if such a thing even exists).

People say "God bless you" when you sneeze because sneezing is a symptom of illness. In modern times, it's anachronistic because most sneeze-type illnesses are non-fatal. In times gone by -- and really not all that long ago -- people used to die of the common cold, flu was regularly fatal, and sneezing was one of the many symptons of bubonic plague. Wishing people well when they sneeze is sensible, rational, and generous. I've never heard of this idea that peopel used to think that a sneeze is your soul leaving your body, and strongly suspect that it's an urban myth. Our ancestors weren't that stupid. How many souls do you think they thought we had?


> On the contrary, religiosity pervades our lives

Why "on the contrary"? That doesn't contradict what Nash said at all:

> Despite the amount of religiosity in America you must admit you have more freedom here than in any secular state you care to name.

Entirely true. Religiosity pervades your lives because you are surrounded by religious people in one of the world's most democratic countries. If you were surrounded by atheists in one of the world's most democratic countries, you'd find atheism pervading your lives. In most of the world's "secular" states, the opinions of the people don't matter one bit: your life is pervaded by the ideals of the government. I find it hard to sympathise with people who live under the grinding iron boot of hearing people say "under God" or seeing signs on government-owned land when we're about to have our DNA, iris scans, and web-browsing records put onto a police database and have government satellite location systems forced into our cars. It's sad that so may Americans don't appreciate their freedom.


Anyway, the fact that The Bible is so self-contradictory has ensured that some of the world's cleverest people have spent the last two thousand years arguing with each other about which bits are more important than which other bits, which has ensured that Christian morality is based not on the unconsidered dogmatic following of ancient rules but on the results of centuries of argument between extremely intelligent people. I fail to see that that's a flaw.

I live in one of the world's more Christian areas, and I've yet to meet anyone who thinks The Bible is the unedited word of God. Mainstream Christianity, as far as I know, has never made that claim: traditional Catholic teaching was that priests were required to interpret God's intentions from The Bible, as ordinary peasants couldn't possibly understand it themselves. That's pretty much the opposite of saying that it's God's word, isn't it?

Posted by: Squander Two at October 30, 2005 2:35 PM

Hey Amy,
I was also pretty skeptical until my grandmother and my mom told me that when my mom was a little baby in France, she was so sick that all the doctors in the region had told my grandma that she was going to die. My granma went to pray for my mom's baby soul at the church. When she came back, my mom was miraculously back to full health. I don't know what it was, and there's perhaps a scientific explanation to this sudden recovery, but there are still quite a few things that are inexplicable. And I like that.

Other thing that has nothing to do with your post: my emails to you keep boucing back! sent from emmanuelle.net or my gmail address. Have you received anything? xoxoxo
e

Posted by: Emmanuelle at October 30, 2005 4:07 PM

Your description seems to me to fit pretty much with option 2: the entire Bible was written by primitive men with absolutely no input from God. What they thought they were doing is neither here nor there.

To say that is to assume that God could only possibly be some individualized, theistic being that would dictate notes directly into somebody's head.

What if the term "God" simply refers to, say, the potential for good in all of us, conceived in collective terms? What if it actually refers to the higher percentage of the brain that we don't use? The forces of nature? Some kind of collective consciousness? Something so abstract and beyond current comprehension that no definition applies? If any or even part of that is true, then yes, God did have a hand in it, and everything else. But such concepts do not automatically assume a God that sat down and chose specific human words to be written exactly as conceived, or feels any particular emotion that such words are misinterpreted.

I disagree with C.S. Lewis that you MUST believe Jesus was either the Messiah or a madman. I similarly disagree with those on the other side who look only at the black and white poles of the issue. Writing off the Bible as utter nonsense strikes me as a strategic and intellectual mistake, just as blindly accepting it as literal truth does.

Posted by: LYT at October 30, 2005 4:49 PM

I understand that there's a tendency to explain the inexplicable with god, but I find it very interesting that people see god when it turns out well, not when it turns out like this:

http://www.kcentv.com/news/c-article.php?cid=1&nid=8374

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 8:49 PM

LYT writes: What if the term "God" simply refers to, say followed by a number of alternative meanings. What if "God" refers to the pencil they used? Then the Bible was indeed written by God. What if the "Bible" refers to a plate of spaghetti? What if the number 5 was really 7?


If you want to redefine your words then you can have it any way you like, but you're on your own. The God in question here is Yahweh: the terrible and glorious, all-powerfull, all-knowing, creator of all, eternal. Not "some higher percentage of the brain that we don't use."


LYT writes Writing off the Bible as utter nonsense ... I haven't said or implied that, just that it was written by people, and God had nothing to do with it. Some of it is nonsense, some is as boring as tax returns, some is inspriring, some looks like the writer was stoned out his head. I've said elsewhere that it's just as if you collected all the written material in your house into one book: all your books, letters, receipes, telephone books, appliance manuals, bills, shopping lists, bank statements, etc. There's lots of interesting stuff there but it's not easy to interpret and most of it is completely irrelevant to everyone except you. Now imagine 2 billion people using it as their guide to life and you see where I'm coming from.

Posted by: Norman at October 31, 2005 1:42 AM

What Norman said.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 31, 2005 5:12 AM

Everybody etc Chris,
We may be heading for a horrible parting of the ways, dearheart, unless you amend your blanket Bible hatred.
I can't be intellectually indifferent to a text that informs Dante (and Shakespeare), can I?
Can't we save a few copies from your purifying bonfire?
Otherwise, doesn't it all get a bit..?(recalls Godwin's law and leaves sentence unfinished...)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at October 31, 2005 7:46 AM

Marshall Brain uses simple (human) logic to disprove the existance of the Infinite! Amazing...

Posted by: Joe at October 31, 2005 8:06 AM

Actually, all he did was throw doubt on the veracity of the bible. I certainly wouldn't argue with that.

Posted by: Joe at October 31, 2005 8:13 AM

Oh Jody...dearest
Alas you got to me too late. Last night I went out onto my lawneth and page by page actually did burneth my bible, on my charcoal grill. for some reason i was hungry, I found a little dog running around, like Amy's, tore out it's liver and had my own foie gras. The dog whimpered for awhile, but it was for the greater good, mine, so what the hell.

by the way, the flavor of that liver was unsurpassed. The pages of that bible added a wonderful flavor to the food. It was magical. I've bought another 10 bibles for future parties.
Then I took the ashes of the bible and tried, this morning, to scatter them to the wind, but the wind refused. It didn't want to get involved with such putrid garbage. I spilled some of the ashes on the lawn and right in that very spot, the lawn went dead. CAn somebody help me...I'm stuck with all this toxic material and I don't know what to do. I guess calling hazmat is my only option.

Posted by: everybody wants to squeeze his nuts in a workshop bench vise chris at October 31, 2005 8:57 AM

I agree with LYT. No quibbles or yes-buts whatsoever. Just wanted to say so.

Posted by: Crid at October 31, 2005 9:29 AM

Jody, obviously we can and should make a distinction between Bible as literature and component of Western cultural history for a couple millenia, and Bible as "word of god." I send my child to a private prep school where the 7th graders study Genesis in their English class for the literature and creation myth aspects. That's quite a far distance from the fundies who want kids to learn "intelligent design" in science class.

Posted by: Melissa at October 31, 2005 2:40 PM

There was a post floating around a few years back that was used in a "West Wing" scene where the president takes on a Dr. Laura type who justifies her gay bashing with the Bible. Martin Sheen (and the post) uses the martial arts manuever of quoting the Bible (literally chapter and verse) to demonstrate that she is only following the passages that suit her bigotry, while ignoring huge swaths of the Old Testament. E.g., "My brother ignores the Sabbath - must I stone him to death myself, or can I get the police to do it? The bible says that I can sell my youngest daughter into slavery - she's a sophomore at Georgetown who gets good grades, and always does the dishes when it is her turn - what do you think is a fair price to ask?"

Live by Leviticus, die by Leviticus - and you know that none of these Christian clowns even keep kosher, let alone make sure their garments do not combine different fabrics.

Posted by: Melissa at October 31, 2005 2:56 PM

I pretty much agree with Luke, too. And have a follow-up to Emmanuelle's comment that is also in response to the amputee question: if you look at prayer literally, as in, we'll pray and the limb with grow back, yes, that's silly. Will not happen. But if you have several people praying, and then more people, they become a sort of network, and one of the people in the prayer network tells her coworker, who prays, and also starts an email dialogue with the amputee, and they fall in love. He does not have a leg, but he has a wife. Voila, power of prayer. I am being entirely serious here. It's an exchange of information/energy/intent/warmth, whatever you want to call it. I know this is not what fundamentalists believe, or what people who have zero tolerance for religion believe, but I think there's a lot to it. Look at Cathy's site; people keep saying they are parying for her, but they are not just praying, they are feeling, and talking, and transferring information. They call it prayer but that's really just a launching pad.
Also, more echoing of Emmanuelle: I don't want to know everything. I don't want to break down every particle. I want there to be some mystery. As I wrote here recently, I do not believe in religion (though understand why people do), but I do believe in... what I cannot see.

Posted by: nancy at October 31, 2005 10:34 PM

I think that "community" is very important, but I do think it can come out in other ways than prayer and still be helpful -- people expressing their concern in a group way.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 31, 2005 10:48 PM

If you want to redefine your words then you can have it any way you like, but you're on your own. The God in question here is Yahweh: the terrible and glorious, all-powerfull, all-knowing, creator of all, eternal. Not "some higher percentage of the brain that we don't use."

Simple rule, Norman: If you don't believe in God, you don't get to define what the word means. Just like if I don't believe pencils exist, I'm not qualified to decide whether or not they have erasers at the end.

I'm agnostic, but I acknowledge a wider interpretation of God than the literalistic, theistic one (which I don't happen to accept either).

I agree with LYT. No quibbles or yes-buts whatsoever. Just wanted to say so.

I suitably cherish the moment, with no sarcasm.

Posted by: LYT at November 1, 2005 12:45 AM

> If you don't believe in God, you don't get to define what the word means.

Hang on. We're not allowed to say what it is we don't believe in? That's ridiculous.


> Live by Leviticus, die by Leviticus

So your position is that these unquestioning dogmatic bigots have chosen to follow some parts of The Bible but to disregard others, and that that is wrong. Well, they may well be bigots, but surely, in their selective interpretation of their holy book, they are neither unquestioning nor dogmatic. An unquestioning dogmatist would, as you say, keep kosher and refuse to wear clothes of more than one fabric. You may not like some of the conclusions these people have reached -- I don't either -- but they have reached them as the result of a two-thousand-year-long debate, not through unthinkingness. And, since that debate has led to all sorts of good things in Christianity -- the dismantling of the priesthood's power, the opposition to slavery, etc -- I think it counts as one of Christianity's advantages, not its flaws. Who here, Christian or Jew or atheist, would like to live in a world in which every one of The Bible's followers did obey the entire book literally? Any takers?

Posted by: Squander Two at November 1, 2005 1:55 AM

To LYT: Who's defining God? I'm using the definition in the Bible. OK, I reworded it for effect, but that's the one I mean. Seems to me that you are the one redefining God to suit your own requirements. I don't object to that; I just would like to be clear about it and to point out that when you say "God inspired the Bible" you perhaps mean "some higher percentage of the brain that we don't use" inspired the Bible. As I say, I don't have a problem with this except that I can't accept your logic or conclusions because you are not using words with the same meanings as I am.


I am also rather puzzled when you say that because I am an atheist (a fair guess on your part, though I never said so - I could believe in any of a thousand gods besides Yahweh) I don't get to define "god"; but you don't accept the "literalistic, theistic" definition, and you _do_ get to define "god" by "acknowledging a wider interpretation"? Seems a bit unfair *pout*.


It also leaves me completely in the dark as to what you do believe in, not that it's any of my business. What is the "literalistic, theistic" definition anyway? The one in the Bible? Or one in some other book?

Posted by: Norman at November 1, 2005 3:54 AM

I posted this on the forum over at God Hates Amputees.com., and thought I'd share it here...

So far, I haven't seen much here that goes beyond the discussion of certain beliefs that some people hold about God and religion (I'm referring to the main text; I have not read the forums). For me, pointing out that the Christian bible cannot be the literal word of God, since it is a book that was produced by imperfect humans and refects the particular worldview and agenda of those people (which I agree with), is not the same as disproving the existence of God/All That Is/Spirit. That's baby stuff afaic. Also, the existence of paradoxes is a well-known spiritual and scientific reality due to differing perspectives, so an acknowledgement of that also does not prove anything. As for prayer, my personal feeling is that it works "in mysterious ways". If I pray at all, it's usually in somewhat generic form, for example, "Let that come which is best for all." Given my ultimately provincial POV, how could I possibly know what's best, long term, for me or anyone else? It may sometimes seem obvious, but that's not always the case. Sometimes, suffering can be grace (of course I would never judge another if they didn't see it that way). The veil in this world is very thick. Free will is the wild card.

Face it: most people are not spiritually attuned or adventurous. They don't take the time to clear the clutter out of the lives and minds in order to see the world with fresh eyes and open hearts. Few make the effort to cultivate the intuitive, heart-centered part of themselves, in conjunction with the logical, head-centered aspect - if they even do that much. This applies equally to the religious and the non-religious. I'd also like to point out that there's a huge distinction between the "spiritual" and the "religious". The former is a personally meaningful inward experience, the latter, an imposition from without.

Is it all crazy talk? Maybe. I think my objection to someone who says, "God(Spirit) does not exist - period", is pretty nearly identical to the one who says, "God can only be found through this religion (or that)". They are two sides to the same coin. For myself, I'll try to walk the middle path, remaining open to new information, experiences, and grace. My walk will never be perfect, but at least I hope to make it honest and joyful. Thanks for listening.

Joe

Posted by: Joe at November 1, 2005 11:23 AM

So your position is that these unquestioning dogmatic bigots have chosen to follow some parts of The Bible but to disregard others, and that that is wrong. Well, they may well be bigots, but surely, in their selective interpretation of their holy book, they are neither unquestioning nor dogmatic. An unquestioning dogmatist would, as you say, keep kosher and refuse to wear clothes of more than one fabric. You may not like some of the conclusions these people have reached -- I don't either -- but they have reached them as the result of a two-thousand-year-long debate, not through unthinkingness.

I'm the person who wrote "live by Leviticus, die by Leviticus," but I didn't use the terms unquestioning or dogmatic.

But to address that straw man argument anyway, I don't believe the fundies are picking passages to follow by doing a close textual analysis, or by questioning whether all Old Testament passages are equally valid. Most don't even realize they are usually reading a bad translation of a bad translation, or what that might imply to their "literalist" approach. (As Woody Allen put it, maybe Leviticus was really just suggesting you avoid pork and shellfish at certain restaurants.)

Nor do I think the current crop of Bible-thumping gay bashers are following in the footsteps of others who have had a debate along these lines (although I acknowledge that there are some Christians and some Christian denominations that have formed their theology in this manner).

The fundies that use the Bible to justify their condemnation of gays are for the most part Biblical literalists who say that they believe 100% of the Bible is "god's word" and therefore must be followed - but at the same time, they ignore huge chunks of it. This isn't because they are questioning or undogmatic - they're just using whatever parts of the Bible support their prejudices and bigotry.

Posted by: Melissa at November 2, 2005 5:47 PM

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