Monday, December 08, 2008

When Liberals "Do" Religion

Mark Hemingway over at the Corner posts a link to a Newsweek article by "Newsweek's Religion Reporter Lisa Miller", on the supposed "Religious Case for Gay Marriage". Just from that alone, one could probably expect great things, but oh, it gets better. From the aforementioned Newsweek piece:
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Mr. Hemingway does an excellent job of destroying the little blurb about Jesus in there, and you should click on the first link if you're curious (long story short: how can marriage between a man and a woman be meaningless, Biblically speaking, if the ultimate metaphor for the Christian church is as the Bride of Christ?).

But it's the references to the patriarchs and kings that really chap my hide. This is frequently a tactic of liberals who have no understanding of Scripture whatsoever, or even really religion in general: that they point to something in the Bible that paints our religious forebears in a negative light, and use this to discredit Christianity as a whole. And the target is always Christianity. Somehow the black marks don't impugn their Jewish friends; and never will you see a quote done up by some MSM "Religion Expert" from, say, the Koran, painting Mohamed (Propeller Beanies Upon Him) as the violent pedophile that he was.

My particularly favorite example of this tactic comes not from some MSM source, but from a book of historic quotations that we were expected to use in my highschool freshman English course for a writing assignment. Apropos of nothing, it provides the following quote in a section with the heading "happiness": "Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock! -- The Bible". That's right. Didn't even provide chapter and verse. Just "The Bible." Wow! The Bible says we should all go out and smash our children against rocks! This must be religious justification for abortion, right? (Aside: even the most jaded abortion proponent would never use this approach, as it gives up the lie that abortion is, indeed, murder, which would just give rise to all sorts of uncomfortable comparisons between heroic abortionists and craven babykilling military personnel). Never mind that this quote, from Psalm 137, is a scathing indictment of the people of Babylon (about whom the Psalmist believes the verse applies).

Perhaps the example I've cited is an extreme one, meant only to malign the reputation of Scripture, and subsequently its adherents. But the tactic is the same in the article I've linked. The Bible, indeed, records that Abraham slept with his servant when his wife seemed infertile. And his action was immediately rebuked by God, and spawned millennia of trouble for his descendants. Solomon's relationship with his hundreds of wives was presented in a negative light. David's biggest sin involved his relations with women, in particular Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, for which David was mightily chastised, not even being permitted to build the temple for his God as a result.

Indeed, Scripture makes it clear that God's ideal is one man and one woman, united for life. Deviations from that ideal, which Scripture records in great plenitude, always result in suffering and punishment in one way or another. But this is indicative of what happens when, as my title indicates, liberals try to "do" religion -- they invariably get it wrong, often in innocuous ways, but more frequently in ways that conveniently support some absurd position that is in actuality antithetical to the very message of the Bible.

From the Social Gospel to Black Liberation Theology (which is a very short distance indeed), from bizarre contortions of scripture to justify everything under the sun from abortion to euthanasia, from gun control to gay marriage, liberals who have no grasp on actual meaning make themselves look foolish (except of course to other liberals, who routinely mistake the foolishness for wisdom) whenever they do this. What appear to me like simple and straightforward narratives of disobedience to God followed by stern reproof are taken by these fools as license to all sorts of absurd and immoral behavior. And thus, I am able to understand passages like this one in perhaps even a broader context than originally intended:
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.'

That's from Matthew 13:15, quoting Isaiah 6:10, with regard to Isaiah's predictions of the Messiah, and Israel's subsequent rejection of Him. But somehow, I think it applies here as well -- people have, either through conscious decision or lifestyle choice, closed their eyes and ears to obvious truths, and instead gain precisely the opposite conclusion than that which was intended from God's Word.

Silly liberals. Please, just stop trying to "do" religion. You're only making it worse for yourselves.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

Close to my Catholic home is my Church's trouble with dissident Catholics. I can understand being persistent in liberalization regarding certain CHurch teachings, i.e. women priests, married priests. I don't agree with such stances, but to my mind (and I believe also with regard to Church teaching), those who persist in trying to change the Church's position on these subjects, though in error, are not against the core beliefs of the Church. But there are certain liberals who go against not only these, but church teachings on homosexuality and even abortion. People in the latter category really need to get a new Church. Who are they even trying to fool? I put them almost in the same category as those "Christians" who deny the divinity of Jesus. In fact, in some ways, they're worse, since CHristian ethics regarding abortion pre-date Christianity. They are part of the longer Judeo-Christian heritage.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I know liberals who have combined religious celebrations; Christmas, Hanukah, whatever. So all the guests are happy. Don't want to offend anyone, after all. In the processit just waters down each belief.

I guess it's OK for a Christian to celebrate a Jewish temple that was rededicated before the birth of Christ, but for non-Christians to also celebrate the birth of Christ? Seems like tolerance is the only thing being celebrated.

I say either have a secular party (and leave all religion out of it) or be proud of what you believe.

7:17 PM  

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