First post of the year and it is turning ugly already! Happy New Year!
I have already alluded here to my queasyness with all things religious and more particularly with proselites. With the tsunami happening on Christmas Day, I was expecting to hear some religious nutter claiming that this was a punishment from god inflicted on some perverts or others (what with one of the places destroyed being called Phuket (which just happen to be a popular gay resort it seems)? I did not have to wait for long...
Check this out.
Yesterday, I came across this blog; this nice young (but my canonic standards) gay man has been in contact by email with the infamous Phelps gang. Those people are hell bent (pun intended) on making the life of the family of Matthew Shepard... well... hell. Here and here are the posts relating to those emails. Who these people think they are to take the high moral ground so; I don't know. They must be perfect indeed! What makes them so important that they can feel justified to speak in god's name; to claim to know his will? Where is the humility advocated by Jesus? What about those requests made by Jesus to be charitable to each other and to love one another? Their actions and words contradict the very teachings they claim to be defending.
As some sort of response to this, because we can't let such blind stupidity pass without some sort of reaction, I have decided to post an old farourite of mine. The now famous email to Dr Laura (more about her and her oeuvres here). I have added a couple of bits myself and, as usual for the sake of impartiality *cough*, I attach a response (not always that convincing I must say) from some home grown (Scotland, I think) bible-wielders (check out their website, it is a hoot!):
"Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.
a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
k)A reading of 2 Chronicles, 4:2 makes clear that mathematicians have for many years been under a misconception that the number pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) was a transcendental number which is approximately 3.1415. The true value of pi, as the Bible makes clear in this passage, is actually 3. Am I personally obliged to burn all maths textbooks, put to the sword as blasphemers all who propagate the false value of pi and forbid all false images of the true circle?
l) We all agree that marriage is for procreation only. Therefore don't you think that in addition to homosexuals, infertile persons, men with vasectomies, and others should be barred from marrying?
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.
Those "Dr Laura" Questions Answered.
By Stephen Green. October 2004
Dr Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. A few years back, she said, rightly, that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. An open letter to Dr. Laura was penned in 2000, and posted on the Internet. It has since done the rounds:
"Dear Dr. Laura,
"Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them.
"I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
"Your devoted fan."
The idea of the questions is that the requirements of God's law through Moses look silly and that therefore that looking to the Bible for any questions of morality is silly. The questions fall down by making no distinction between the judicial and moral laws of God, which in their general equity are still in force, and ceremonial matters of ritual holiness and the priesthood, which has all passed with the sacrifice of Jesus. But I am going too fast already.
Dr Laura Schlessinger herself became a convert to Judaism in 1998. A Jew shouldn't have a probem with these questions any more than a Christian, as Jews are used to living under the law of the land, and as for the observations of ritual cleanliness, for Jews you do them if you are a Jew, and you don't if you are a Gentile. Easy.
Dr Laura is now thought to be leaning towards Christianity, inspired by the loving and supportive letters she has had from Christians over the last few years. Christianity is after all the logical outworking of Judaism, as Yeshua Maschiach (that's Jesus Christ in Hebrew) fulfilled all the Biblical (ie Old Testament) Messianic prophecies. Through Him, Christians have a more personal relationship with God than is possible under Judaism. Dr Laura said recently: "I have envied my Christian friends who really, universally, deeply feel loved by God."
Well, on sending out copies of our glossy booklet "Homosexuality and the police" to the press last year, I received "the questions" in a letter from Paul Borny, "Group Senior Writer" at Capital Radio Group, which, apparently, is an equal opportunities employer, and takes exception to "hateful, offensive, homophobic material." I can't think how that applies to "Homosexuality and the police", but there we are.
From a brief web-look, I can't see that anyone has attempted to answer the Dr Laura questions before. No matter, I am brash enough to have a go, by the grace of God. Here follow the famous questions to Dr Laura Schlessinger, and my replies to them more or less as I sent them to dear Mr Borny. Oddly enough, he never replied. Perhaps he had a sense of humour failure:
Q. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
A. No. You need a Israelite priest to offer the sacrifice for you in the Temple in Jerusalem ; you can't just do it yourself in your back garden. You have a problem! The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. But stop believing in the pleasing odour of animal sacrifices anyway, for it is written that the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin (Heb 10:4). You need to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross takes away all your sin, now and forever. As to offering violence against your neighbours, that will have you hauled up in front of the magistrates for a breach of the peace and actual bodily harm at a minimum under any system of law, ancient or modern.
Q. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of uncleanliness (Leviticus 15:19-24). How do I tell? I have tried asking but most women take offence.
A. This is to do with purity of worship in the Temple . Not just sexual intercourse (we would all be agreed on that) but even touching a menstruating woman made the one who touched her unclean. It has passed. When the Temple in Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD, as Jesus prophesied, it was already 40 years past its use-by date. The sacrifice of Jesus in AD 30 (+/- a year or two) had rendered the doings of the Temple obsolete. Even the veil of the Temple (which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of Temple ) was torn in two (Matt 27:51) at His death. Believe in His death and you will be forgiven. Believe in His resurrection and you will live. If the matter you raise still troubles you, I should avoid all contact with women other than your own wife. And if you don't know when she is in what you describe as her period of uncleanliness, then heaven help you.
Q. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to the French but not to the Scots. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Scottish people?
A. It doesn't actually say slaves, it says 'bondmen and bondmaids'. People who were poor bonded themselves or their children to someone wealthy. It was a form of social security. It is also written (Exod 21:16) that anyone who steals a man to sell him shall be put to death. So those Muslim slavers who took and sold black slaves to the white man were flat out of order and worthy of death. Don't forget that the man who had slavery outlawed in Britain was William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian. Atheists were quite happy with slavery.
Q. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
A. It actually says 'maidservant' not slave. I should have thought you were doing well enough at Capital not to have to sell your daughter as a bonded servant. What a rotten Dad you are, to want to get rid of her even though you can afford to keep her. Daughters are precious. So are sons, come to that. You'ld have to be in pretty dire straights 3,000 years ago to sell your children as servants, but I guess they would at least get fed and housed then. Anyway, back to your daughter. I think you would do better to send her to college and then see if she can't get a job. Mind you, most jobs today are just wage-slavery, aren't they? We spend 45% of our time working for the tax-man. Who can be totally free? Only those who trust in Jesus and know the truth will be free, as it is written, 'The truth shall make you free.' (John 8:32)
Q. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obliged to kill him myself or may I arrange for our vicar to do it?
A. Neither. You need to remember that the ancient principle of 'due process' still persists in our law today, despite a succession of Home Secretaries, including dear David Blunkett, wanting to get rid of it as a bit of an impediment to the Government just locking up whoever they want. So you can't go around putting people to death yourself, that is what we Christians call murder. OK, if someone killed your son or raped your daughter, you might call it vengeance, but you have no personal interest in what your neighbour is doing, it just gets up your nose a bit. Report your neighbour to the police, support your allegation with two witnesses, and see if the police can find a law against what your neighbour is doing. They won't. This country doesn't do a day of rest in any form any more.
Q. Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
A. This applies to the High Priest of ancient Israel , who entered into the Holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. I suppose God has a right to say who was going to approach Him in the Holy of holies. But even if you are a cohen, (a) you won't find the Temple still standing today and (b) all that Temple ritual is past. Jesus has been and has offered Himself for the sins of all who will believe in Him. Job done. Finished.
Q. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?
A. God did not want His people looking like the pagan priests of the nations round about with dodgy haircuts and peculiar beards. Getting your hair cut as such isn't wrong in the eyes of God. Exekiel the prophet (Ezek 44:20) says that the rule for the priest is to have his hair cut neatly, not shave his head nor grow his hair stupidly long like what the pagans do. Can't see this was a capital offence, though, even then.
Q. I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
A. Clean and unclean animals are done away with by Peter's vision in Acts 10:11-15. My advice if this really worries you is to play as a forward or a back, and not as a midfielder, as they do most throwing in and place-kicking, and certainly don't play in goal. And don't handball either, as that is against the laws of the game.
Q. A friend of mine feels that though eating shellfish is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10) it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
A. They are different words in Hebrew, so your friend is right. But in any case, the clean and unclean animals distinction has gone with Peter's vision. So the New Testament abolishes the Old Testament food laws. But the New Testament confirms that homosexual activity is an abomination. Shellfish don't agree with me, but that's another matter. You tuck in to that prawn curry.
Q. My friend tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone him as commanded in Leviticus 24:10-16 ?
A. Yes, because it is all a matter of due process. You are a bit for taking the law into your own hands, aren't you? Does your friend actually curse the Name of God like the man in Leviticus did? Anyway, next you must find a judge and jury who will convict him. Unless his blasphemy really is scurrilous, abusive or offensive to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible, and tends to vilify the Christian religion, you are unlikely to see a conviction in our land today. Best let your friend know how offended you are and if he persists, get another friend. He sounds a bad sort, anyway.
Q. My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).
A. Doesn't sound much of a farmer. How is he going to harvest it? Mind you, he could put a fence down the middle, then he would have two fields, and he could sow one crop on one side and the other on the other side, I suppose. As long as his wife does not wear a mixture of wool and linen, she should be OK to go and take part in ancient Israelite society. Back to the future!
Q. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Leviticus 20:14)?
A. You don't half have a vicious streak. Once again, in God's design for mankind, the State has the responsibility for the judicial death penalty, not the family. God's law does not allow people to put members of their own family to death. You are thinking of Islam and Hinduism. Oh, and Britain today. When our Parliament passed the Homicide Act 1965 and the Abortion Act 1967, they took away the death penalty from the guilty, by the State, where it belongs, and placed it on the innocent, within the family, where it does not. Macabre or what?
P.S. Another silly question was added later:
Q. A reading of 2 Chronicles, 4:2 makes clear that mathematicians have for many years been under a misconception that the number pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) was a transcendental number which is approximately 3.1415. The true value of pi, as the Bible makes clear in this passage, is actually 3. Am I personally obliged to burn all maths textbooks, put to the sword as blasphemers all who propagate the false value of pi and forbid all false images of the true circle?
A. Do you really think the ancients didn't know the value of pi? What we have here is something us engineers call 'rounding'. You really must deal with your bloodthirsty nature, though. All this taking the law (or what you think it is) into your own hands just will not do. And nit-picking over a couple of Biblical decimal points is not blasphemy. My, isn't there some God-hating ignorance out there!
© Copyright 2004 Christian Voice"