Thursday, May 05, 2005

Divine Revelation?

Sometimes folks tell me their position on some ethical issue is based on scripture. If I ask them if they have considered if that bit of scripture really applies to the ethical dilemmas we face today, the response is usually some rendition of, "You can't pick and choose your scriptures!" When I hear this, I wonder if these folks have ever read the bible.

For instance, consider this story from the 2nd chapter of 2 Kings;

(Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!" 24When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.
Some children tease the prophet, and for this evil deed, they are mauled by bears. What a lovely story. If we must consider all scripture as God-breathed; all scripture as divine revelation, what can we discern from this passage?

Maybe that story is a bit unclear. The blame could be put on Elisha for this atrocity, I suppose. So let's consider a few more examples of divine revelation regarding the nature of God;

Hosea 13:7 - "So I will become like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and will tear open the covering of their heart; there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild animal would mangle them."

Hosea 13:16 - "Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open."

Leviticus 26:27 - "But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters."

1 Samuel 15:3 - "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."

There's plenty more, but I think you get the point. This God is a monster. To not reject such passages as the primitive stories of a primitive people makes those of us who serve this God monsters as well.

What is even more frightening to me is the idea that maybe these folks have indeed read the bible. Maybe this is why they can so easily accept the bombing of innocent civilians. Maybe they really believe that God praises our slaughter. The theocrats certainly believe this.

So, please, don't tell me you don't pick and choose which bible verses are divine revelation. Because, if you don't, I must assume you need to be locked up, to protect the rest of us from your primitive, bloodthirsty ways.


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