Friday, February 23, 2007

A Just Connection

We habitually suspend common sense in favor of fantasy and self justifying wish fulfillment

It’s appropriate when people are re-working old arguments to dismantle them with that most uncommon of human faculties: common sense.

I recently came across some writing and then comments in favour of the position that basically assesses homosexuals as 'wrong/unnatural' etc.

Are we clear on what scourge means? It’s been used in the context of homosexuality, and I think we ought be completely clear on what is being suggested. It’s associated with suffering, and flogging (and flogging is punishment). In this case we’re referring to a section of people – homosexuals – as the source of suffering. Often the word ‘scourge’ refers to a thing, for example: the scourge of crime, or malaria, or AIDS. So it’s interesting that Christians (on this website) use frankly inflammatory words to describe a class of people. It’s implied that these people are a direct affliction on the others, and well, aren’t they?

Many Christians triumphantly and loudly claim the Bible to be the absolute and infallible authority on every issue, so let’s have a look at how to deal with the ‘gay scourge’ using the Bible as our absolute and ‘God inspired’ authority.

Luke 19:27: ‘Those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ – Jesus
Christians may complain that I am quoting these words out of context, but I’ve been to church. Plenty of preachers finger point those verses that substantiate their particular brand of doctrine. May I not do the same?

Well, never mind, let me quote in context then: ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They must be put to death.’ – Leviticus 18:22. I can hear some Christians formulating their argument: ‘but that’s from the Old Testament.’ Give me a moment, and I’ll provide another New Testament verse (beyond the Luke scripture already provided).

Plenty of fundamentalist Christians equate homosexuality with other sins, like murder, and they’ll tell you that sin is absolute. Murder doesn’t rank more more or less abominable than being gay. Well, if you believe Christianity is right, then you ought to subscribe fully and fundamentally to the above views, and Christians ought to hunt down homosexuals and hang them where they find them. Read Romans 1: 26-29 for a more detailed background on God’s associations with homosexuality. Being gay is described as shameful and evil, and the association between homosexuals and murderers is very clearly made here.

So Christians could feel entirely justified in calling homosexuals a scourge, an evil plague dragging humanity down. Some do, as we see, but then they run out of steam as they realize where that roads ends, which is the Dark Ages, and the Inquisition. People eventually burned witches willy nilly, and any other intolerables, merely on the suspicion of being evil. Evidence was useful, but not absolutely necessary (as the famous Jeanne d’Arc case demonstrates). And of course, this obsessional targeting of fellow human beings as ‘evil’ provided a great excuse to exact personal revenges and pursue personal and political ambitions (and still does) facilitating a rise to power and fortune, based on claiming (looting) the possessions and properties of someone else cleverly entrapped, accused and executed. There’s the modern war in Iraq described in figurative language.

People seem to be particularly susceptible to figurative language, as though the common sense meaning were temporarily suspended in favor of wish fulfillment.
We can spend a lot of time describing, say, Saddam Hussein as evil, but you know, I found a poll on the internet where the majority of people did not feel that he deserved to be executed. I believe the US also lost momentum in their baying for blood when it came right down to it. Saddam was executed between Christmas Day and New year, and very few of the people who made living room speeches were even aware that it was happening, or cared. In the end he was allowed to be executed by the US controlled state of Iraq simply because of the brou ha ha leading up to his capture. Probably he might have made a half decent prison inmate who could have been used as a consultant on how to restart the state.

What people discovered when he was captured, and when he was killed, was that Saddam Hussein was just a person, a temperamental and haggard fellow who actually ran an exceptionally tight ship (compared to the current disorderly mess) but by employing some very nasty tactics. Most people in the world, Iraqi’s included, would – I’m guessing – probably choose him over the current carnage and unending bloodshed. Perhaps they wouldn’t, but the point is, common sense is the last thing people consider when presidents loudly shout the words ‘evil’ and ‘murderer’ over a microphone.

Christianity stripped of its figurative poetry really boils down to this: God killed his son, and put man eternally in his debt for this great sacrifice. We focus on the sacrifice, and the guilt, but forget the underlying psychology. Any parent today who killed their own child would be treated with utter scorn and severely punished by everyone, including the state and close family members, no matter what the claim to sacrifice was. The exception is if the parent happened to be an Eskimo, where killing of babies has been routine in the wild, when supplies were insufficient. In that case, the grisly deed was meant to insure survival of the tribe, but I doubt whether each child was elevated to the status of deity. There are more urgent and practical things to pursue in the icy wastes of the world, like finding food and staying alive.

It’s also interesting that much of the time the focus is on a man lying with a man (with little or no mention of lesbians). This obvious male bias in the Bible clearly demonstrates a male God which in itself ought to demonstrate where the Bible finds its apparently ‘holy’ inspiration.

Christians should be pretty clear (given the information provided here) that they have to make a choice between what the Bible demands of them, and how they conduct their affairs on a daily basis anyway. It’s very rare that gay bashing escalates to anything more than tongue wagging and finger pointing. We can refer to this as a sort of moderate Christianity. Brian Fleming, in his DVD ‘The God Who Wasn’t There (which I have used to base many of the arguments on in this article), makes the following point: ‘If this book [the Bible] is wrong, what the hell is moderate Christianity? Jesus was only sort’ve the son of God? He only somewhat rose from the dead? Your eternal soul is at stake but you shouldn’t make a big deal out of it? Moderate Christianity makes no sense. Is it any wonder that the majority of Christians choose Christian leaders [like president Bush and worse] who have the courage of their convictions?’

The scourge that is plaguing our world is chronic Disconnectedness, and our Disconnectedness springs from Perpetual Delusion. We refuse to face reality. We slavishly indulge what we wish were true, despite overt pledges to the contrary. We refuse to face the most urgent and obvious crises afflicting the world, even those of just our nearby fellow human beings. We spend our time focusing on petty entertainments and self justifying our judgments and positions. We need to rediscover our common humanity, instead of perpetuating a crazy cycle of inhumanity to our fellow human beings. This can only be achieved through becoming conscious of our connectedness to each other, consciously knowing our part and sharing ourselves with the mountains and forests, with the birds in the sky and the fish in the fathomless oceans of this world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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