Sunday, January 9, 2011


This comment on the post "Spare the Rod" was received from a person troubled by the content of the article. My first impulse was to simply delete the comment as inappropriate. But, after much prayer and contemplation, I felt it was better to respond to this comment point by point since it appears that the writer is searching for something. I believe that she may be searching for the Lord, but does not know how to find Him. This post is made to reach out in Christian love to my fellow sister in Christ.

“The bible was written in a time of self mutilating, murder and incest. It is a book of laws to instill fear so we can basically behave.”

The Bible was indeed written long ago by uneducated men. In the first book of the Bible, Cain murders his brother Abel. Lot’s daughters had children by their father. The Bible contains the Ten Commandments and many other laws pertaining to the Israelites. So some of the assumptions above are valid. But, we are free to disobey God’s law, without consequence in this life, and to live our lives as we choose. God came to us as human being, took the burden of our sins to the cross, suffered horribly and died in our place, so that we may live. We rightly deserved that punishment, but God took that punishment upon Himself and forgave us all our sins. And all we have to do is believe and He offers us salvation, eternal life with Him in Heaven. When one accepts the truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we obey God’s law because we love God and truly want to please Him.

“The law of nature is that we evolve as a society and since such is so, the bible's meaning must also be evaluated and adjusted to fit today's life.”

Many of the laws of today's society mirror those handed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, so many years ago. Many of the laws that society consistently ridicules from the early books of the Old Testament were given to the Israelites to protect them from pestilence and disease. As modern society looks upon the Bible as archaic and tries to amend God’s word we fall further away from the Truth. Much of the great works of art and literature are hundreds of years old and are still considered masterpieces. The Bible is no different. Pattern your life along the path that Jesus walked and you will find much joy in this life.

“Organized religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children. The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals and it is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail. It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion—to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources—is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity.”

It is true that many wars were fought in the name of religion. We are affected to this day by Muslim extremists that use religion as a justification to murder innocents. It is indeed unfortunate that it is man, yes man, that twists God’s word and lashes out against his fellow man in the name of religion. Those that hold fast to the truth that is Jesus Christ have no need for the evil ways of this world. Man is inherently evil. That is our nature. Without the morals and values instilled in us through God’s word, we would be uncultured human mammals. With God’s word to guide us, we can have a society that can coexist. Unfortunately, the evil in this world is not caused by God, it is caused by man. Man, when left to his own devices will inevitably turn the world upside down. If we would choose follow God’s word and obey His law, the world would live in harmony. It is when we choose to not believe and consider ourselves too enlightened to believe a book written thousands of years ago, that we will fall into sin and cannot free ourselves. So if anyone is to blame for societies ills, we need look no further than the mirror. We have met the enemy, and it is us, not the God who created everything that is good.

“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”

Without the laws given to us by our Lord, we would become the uncultured human mammals described by the commenter. Love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry and thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe those in need, visit those who are sick or in prison. If someone slaps you, do not strike them, turn the other cheek. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. These are not society’s laws, these are the commands of Jesus Christ. It is when we choose to disregard our Lord's commands that cause us trials and tribulations.

“Beat your children and you only teach them to beat their children. Please read your post again maybe then you will see that your form of "equal" punishment is not only barbaric but steeped in ignorance.”

The posting “Spare the Rod” was not intended to advocate that parents beat their children. Children that receive no guidance or boundaries from their parents typically do not grow to become responsible adults. Without structure and discipline a child will have difficulty determining the proper way to behave in society. As parents we want the best for our children, so we try to teach them the proper values and behaviors that will help them be successful as they grow into adults. So, yes, it is imperative that our children are taught the proper behaviors and sometimes we need to punish inappropriate behavior so that the child will not repeat those actions.  But, these actions of discipline are not done out of anger, they are done out of our love for our children.  Our Lord also taught us to reach out to others in Christian love. Many of the questions raised above are answered much more eloquently in the writings and insights into Scripture by Timothy Keller. I would recommend his book “The Reason for God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism” to anyone searching. I would also request prayer for this person that she does find the Lord and with that find the peace that she is searching for.

1 comment:

  1. On a very minor issue: the writer of the comment railed against a number of things, including "bride price". I am not sure what the writer meant by "bride price", but here is my experience with the issue.

    My wife is from the Chagga tribe in Tanzania. Among Tanzanians there is still the custom of the groom's family paying a bride price (called mahari in Swahili) to the bride's family. The custom varies from tribe to tribe, and many Tanzanians have discarded it. For one thing, negotiations for the size of the price could be lengthy and involve many distant relatives. Many young men cannot afford the price, and so refuse to pay.

    I was a missionary in Tanzania, which is where I met my wife. In our case, I paid a traditional bride price. I chose to follow the traditional route because of the bad reputation many European and American men have gotten by sneering at local customs and simply shacking up with a Tanzanian woman. First, the mshenga (or marriage broker) approached my future wife's family about my intentions to marry her. After securing the consent of her family, a traditional bride price was arranged. I wound up giving my wife's family a goat and a cow (by Chagga tradition both were female), two blankets, six kitenge cloth, and several of kanga (a type of all-purpose clothing for women).

    At a send-off ceremony the bride price was handed over to the bride's family. At this point my wife-to-be was delivered to the house of the wadhamini (this is a married couple whose job it is to function as best man and bridesmaid, and to guide the new married couple after the wedding). Our wedding took place a week later, and my bride stayed with the wadhamini until the wedding day.

    Bride price has a negative connotation to Westerners, yet in other cultures it is viewed very differently. During my time in Tanzania I never met a single young woman who felt degraded by the custom of bride price (that's not to say that every woman likes the idea, only that I never met one who didn't). While I had heard of cases of Tanzanian women being "sold" so that a family could collect the loot, bride price is not the unalloyed evil that Western culture holds it to be.

    If you can stand a picture, here is one of my wife and I on our wedding day: