Picture this: Dad is playing ball with his son, or flying a kite, or going on a trip; many of you mothers took videos. And we who are dads treasure these memories: those special times when we were bonding and maybe even teaching him things he didn’t know. Sons are very special to dads; it’s a lot more than just carrying on our family name.
No sane dad would ever hurt his son—for any reason. For example, nothing could make me deliberately cause pain to my son, not even if it helped me financially or emotionally or intellectually—or in any way whatsoever. If somebody owed me a trillion dollars and said: “I’ll pay you back if you let me shoot your son,” I’d say: “Keep it!” and so would every sane father I have ever known.
God the Father, according to several different “Christian” theories, deliberately ordered the execution of his only son as “pay back” for the sins of mankind. According to one theory all of us were being held ransom by the devil—so the pay-back was really made by God to the Devil! Another is the Scapegoat theory: God the Father demanded a Scapegoat sacrifice like the Old Testament sacrifices, and since our sins were so great only the son of God could be the Scapegoat. A third theory is Substitution. Since the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) somebody had to die, and, once again, that job fell to the only son of God.
Tell me, what sane father would ever do this?
Stephen N. Johnson has a compelling chapter on this in his inspiring book, “The Deep Reach of Amazing Grace.” He says on pg. 38: “Punishing an innocent person for the transgressions of another is blatantly immoral and unjust.” And God the Father is neither immoral nor unjust. Steve makes a clear and surely “Christian explanation” of why Jesus was executed by the Romans; he loved too much.
Eating with criminals infuriated the police; healing the sick on the Sabbath was against the Law; and publically talking to a half-breed Samaritan woman was enough to get him banished. We know the Pharisees stoned people to death for blasphemy, and what Jesus was saying about helping an injured traveler (and a hated Samaritan, at that) on the Sabbath was getting close. But when he told public sinners that their sins were forgiven, that was surely blasphemy and it deserved crucifixion!
And get this: their sins were forgiven, Jesus said, not because they confessed them to a priest, or because they attended a week-long revival, or even because Christ would die on the Cross. None of these things. Sins are forgiven, Jesus said, because God loves us. That’s all. (Good thing Jesus isn’t walking around today looking for a Christian church to pastor!)
Steve Johnson quotes the famous “Atonement texts” in the Pauline epistles: (Romans and Ephesians) with words like “Christ died for the ungodly” and “he gave himself up for us, etc.” and Steve claims they’re not really “atonement” texts at all, but rather texts that show Christ died because he insisted on loving all these people around him, not to pay off a debt to his father.
Now I know we have a few “bible-thumpers” who will jump all over this interpretation of the Scriptures. (I can hear them screaming!) They have known for years exactly what these words mean; they mean that God the Father demanded the execution of his only son to make amends to him for all the sins of mankind. In essence, God the Father killed his Son. If this is truly what the authors of these Scripture texts meant, then I say they were wrong—because that would surely be blasphemy.
I would much rather accept the interpretation of Steve Johnson and the many Scripture Scholars who agree with him, like Tony Jones in “Did God Kill Jesus?”
In his epilogue, Steve quotes the Danish theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, who said: “The most dreadful sort of blasphemy is that of which Christendom is guilty: transforming the God of Spirit into …ludicrous twaddle.
I agree. Do you?
Two recent movies have my blood boiling: “Spotlight,” the story of the Catholic Leadership cover-up of priestly pedophilia in Boston, and “13 Hours,” the story of the Obama administration cover-up of the Benghazi murders.
The CIA chief at the time of the Benghazi attack has stated there was no “stand-down order” that could have saved our four Americans, but former Special Officer Kris Paronto, one the CIA men who actually fought that night but couldn’t move in as quickly as he wanted, has said: “We were told to ‘stand down;’ those words were used verbatim.”
Which one do you believe?
It was the same in Boston in the 1990’s. Hundreds of small school children were being sexually abused by the very priests who taught them religion. The children told their parents, and the parents told their pastors and the pastors told the Cardinal, but our Ecclesiastical Spin-Masters made sure nothing was done. Just like Benghazi.
Think of the Americans who made it into Benghazi that night with the mortars flying over their heads and the organized Libyan troops bombarding them on every side, and then hearing their States-side wives on the phone saying that Mrs. Clinton says it was only a “small demonstration based on a Video,” and when challenged by Congress she blurted out: “What difference does it make?”
That’s the way it was in Boston in the 1990’s. Almost 1400 priests worked in the parishes and the schools throughout the city and were loved by all. The vast majority of Bostonians were Catholics and the City had its own Cardinal, a man named Bernard Law. All the priests suffered (and still do) under the burden of enforced celibacy but nearly half of them had loving sexual partners (in secret, of course). Actually, only a small percentage were mentally ill and became sexual abusers of small children, or pedophiles; so –what difference does it make?
A small percentage: 5%, but a big number: 70. Seventy men who were treated like princes by the townspeople until they were caught abusing their children. But then these “men of god” were protected and hidden by the Catholic policemen and the Cardinal himself. All the court records were sealed, and these perverts continued to function as the Cardinal moved them from one parish to the next.
I think of the hundreds of small boys and girls who were victims of these crimes and I want to cry. And then I think of their parents, many of whom were paid large sums of money by the Church to remain quiet, and I’m embarrassed. And then I think of the Boston Globe, the Macon Telegraph of Boston. which kept this story quiet for 10 years because they feared losing their Catholic readers, and I want to throw rocks.
And finally, I think of Cardinal Bernard Law, who is the same age I am. He attended the same kind of seminary, studied the same authors, recited the same prayers, and was ordained into the same Catholic priesthood. For ten years, as the Head of the Catholic Church in Boston, he listened to his canon lawyers (who were sworn to secrecy) tell him about the growing cesspool in his front yard but he continued to cover it up. He waited as hundreds of boys and girls grew up totally confused and mentally threatened and spiritually ruined, and he did nothing! And I want to strangle him! Yes, I’m angry. I’m angry that “people in power” in both the Church and in the Government can spin the truth to embellish their hidden agenda, and then—get away with it!
When the Boston Globe finally hired a Jewish Editor in the year 2002 and exposed this horrendous Catholic scandal, Cardinal Law resigned. Well, he resigned as the head of the Church in Boston, but then he moved to a beautiful Italian palace called Palazzo della Cancelleria, not too far from the Roman Pantheon, where he lives today.
Even though the Benghazi scandal has been exposed by soldiers who were actually there, nobody has resigned and the “Political Spin” continues to this day. I can now relate to the movie “Network” where people all over the country opened their apartment windows on that epiphany-like night and shouted: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
I’m mad as hell, too. How about you?
I have found over 46 Biblical quotes like these:
Old Testament Proverbs
New Testament Advice
The epistle to the Ephesians, written, I believe, by a follower of Paul’s, tries to make a wife’s “obedience” more palatable by saying that her husband must love her like Jesus loved the Church. Okay, but what if he doesn’t? The epistle never deals with that issue.
Why is Scripture so silent about the bully-husband? Where can we find the verses that talk about him? We can’t. Forty-six verses about the nagging wife and not one about the bully-husband. We read several times about the jealous husband, “whose wrath shows no mercy” (Proverbs. 6:34), and then a long justification for his wrath with this reason: his wife has been unfaithful (Num. 5:14), but we never see the guilty husband. When it comes to marriage, it’s the wife who’s guilty of nagging; what’s the husband guilty of? Nothing?
Now “men” are roundly chastised in Scripture; no doubt about it. In fact, all 50 of the Parables of Jesus are directed toward the men; not one proscribes what women are to do. And it’s the same in the Old Testament: the 10 Commandments are given to men. It doesn’t talk to wives and say: “Do not covet your neighbor’s husband.”
But when the discussion is about a husband-wife problem, it is the wife who gets the brunt of the blame. It’s the wife who has ceased to be subservient and has begun to nag, and it’s her nagging that must be punished.
Why is this? Well, we (men) can always say “because the Bible says so!” We can resort to the belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God and therefore wives are the problem because that’s what it says. And there’s no doubt about that. However, we all know that God used men to write the Scriptures – not women. In fact, not one of the 66 books of the Bible was written by a woman. Not one. Have you ever thought what some of these books might have said had a feminine touch been felt? Just imagine that famous book of Proverbs. Instead of: “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David,” it could read: “The proverbs of Miriam, sister of Moses.” And the first lines would be:
We don’t find verses like these--not because our Biblical God would object to them--but because men would not allow women to read or write, and if by chance, one of them did learn -her writings would never have been called Scripture by the men who determined “the canon” in the year 419 at the Council of Carthage.
Nagging still exists but it is not the exclusive sin of the wife any more. Women have been liberated from the submissive role outlined in Ephesians, and are free to enter into a marriage of partners. Christianity has evolved and so has Judaism.
And finally: it is my opinion that Holy Scripture—like every piece of literature—must be understood according to the times in which it was written.