February 04, 2017

One will be taken and the other left

For people not familiar with the Christian scriptures, whether some atheists, or some Xns both liberal and fundamentalist or conservative evangelical, that's Matthew 24:40 I'm referencing. And, whether riffing directly off Pauline material or not, the "Great Apocalypse" of the synoptic gospels at least arguably supports Rapture-type ideas, contra, oh, an L.D. Burnett at S-USIH, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, who claims the Rapture is un-Christian.

Baptism for the dead, of Mormon doctrine, is also Christian, L.D. and others. Deal with it.

But let's get back to why that header I have us up there.

In the fairly small town to which I recently moved, a lady announced earlier this week that she had officially been pronounced cancer-free by her doctor after a fairly severe cancer with arduous treatment process.

She took this all as a gift from Jesus, etc. She also went so far as to say, even for comment to the newspaper, that she was using this as a tool to try to convert her atheist doctor.

Erm, not so fast, ma'am.

The very next day, a decade-younger emergency services worker, or former such worker due to extensive radiation-induced heart damage due to an infancy neuroblastoma cancer, died.

And, where was god then, when in an existential Rapture-like sense, one was taken and one was left.

Was it better for the firefighter to die as gain than live for Christ?

Well, the conservative Christian apologists will offer up the tender mercies of god, the inscrutability of god, silver linings that we can't see, etc.

Then, when the likes of me counter with Ye Olde Problem of Evil?

Some of them will counter with "original sin." (And, yes, like Ken Ham, some Xns actually will attribute the cause of anything wrong in our world to original sin.)

Do not go there, unless you really want your biblical literalism to be that repugnant.

Beyond that, what if someone from the firefighter's family gets mad at the lady's family? Is the lady's family really going to go there? Or what if the lady, and/or family, stop by the firefighter's funeral and offer the inscrutability statement?

Growing up in a conservative Protestant denomination, but one in the mainline tradition, not the US version of "evangelical" Christianity, people didn't try to attribute everything to the will of god. Perhaps one way in which the Midwest is still a bit different than the South.

But, seriously, would someone try that?

Or, to get back to the bible, how many people from either family would pray, in the next week, or offer words to the other, out of the mouth of Job: "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord"?

And, as for the claim of original sin as the ultimate cover up for the theodicy of a seemingly cruel god, I can quote Jesus healing the blind man in John: "Neither this man sinned, nor his parents but this happened so that the works of god would be displayed in him."

Of course, if there's an unhealed blind man, or an unhealed, now-dead firefighter, without either an actual sin, or a bloodline-like soulline of original since, we're back on the theodicy of an unjust god.


As for the likes of Burnett? Usually such people are more liberal Christians. And they usually know enough about Christianity, in my opinion, to know in their mind of minds, and even more, deep inside their heart of hearts, that "doctrine X" really IS Christian, and they're humiliated. Perhaps even appalled.

And, even ignoring the Old Testament, and the Priestly Code prohibitions on blending fabrics in clothes, prohibitions on tattoos, etc., I can find other things that many Christians would like to call un-Christian.

I've already refudiated both liberal Christians and some sympathetic atheists as to whether the New Testament is anti-gay or not. Paul is by active discourse and Jesus is by silence.

Tertullian's idea of saints in heaven gloating over sinners in hell is arguably backed up by Revelation, especially when joined with the Lucan parable of Lazarus and Dives. And, I'm sure I can think of more.

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