Differing From Falwell
Only By Degree
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson got into big trouble with their accusations that sinful Americans brought the Sept 11, attack on America. And both lied in their half hearted excuses for apologies. Real upstanding moral leaders, there.
But they are not alone. I sent you a copy of a dispatch from Chuck Baldwin, saying that they had nothing to apologize for, and, in effect, complimenting them for their keen observation. Take a minute to read it. In the past, I have read some of Chuck's writings, just to keep up with the far out folks, but this was more than I could tolerate. My note to Chuck to unsubscribe from his rantings was quite colorful.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Gary Poore"
Subject: Re: Falwell's Fiasco
Date: September 22, 2001 6:58 AM
This thinking is very popular in Evangelical circles because the Bible teaches guilt and animism and totem loyalties and the punishing of sins unto the third and fourth generation of those who are not found guiltless by the volcano god.
Everything -- literally everything had some spirit behind it and was alive and watching what we did, and we dared not to offend anything that moved (and anything that didn't move, for that matter). The Hebrew Law was based upon the most primitive and barbaric totem superstitions you could imagine. They've been whitewashed through interpretation today, being used to justify a long series of elaborate dos and don'ts, but initially they were all superstitious taboos involving sundry forms of bewitching and magickal curses and ritual pollutions of various sorts.
What's funny about this is that there's only one biblical angle that would prevent me from agreeing with Falwell -- if (and only if) I were coming from an Evangelical Christian perspective, of course!
Consider the deity of both the New Testament and the Hebrew Scripture: What is this deity but an Oriental Despot, Only Bigger, And Invisible? Of all the "theodicies" (attempts to rescue God's reputation in the face of tragedy) that I've heard, all either admitted, "I don't know" or were more benign variations of what Falwell said. The theodicies that I heard all suggested that we need to get right with God if they said anything at all (and most just shrugged and admitted agnosticism). Falwell simply went way overboard in the colorful language he used -- and, of course, forgot that whenever he points his finger in accusation, three others from the same hand are pointing straight back at him.
In my piece, "The Gospel Spin Doctors," I show how those who try to distance themselves from Rev. Trosch (who advocates the murder of abortion providers) and those who try to distance themselves from Rev. Phelps (the "God Hates Fags" preacher) are still doing and saying the same things, but are being much more subtle about it. In their attempts to become accepted by the mainstream, they are fudging with the facts a bit, not giving the public full disclosure as to their actual positions. Falwell holds the same relationship to those who distance themselves from him: He is spelling it out and not mincing words, whereas they're being sly about it, cloaking their words in emotionally charged guilt-tripping and, of course, they're not naming any names.
Now, I mentioned that only one thing would prevent me from agreeing with Falwell were I an Evangelical. Why? Because the Bible deity doesn't work that way, that's why! The Bible God would never level two skyscrapers or "withhold his hand of protection" as a warning to a nation -- not even to His people! How do I know this? (I'm playing a biblical fundamentalist, remember?) In Genesis, Chapter 18, God tells Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. (This is a passage with which we'd think Falwell would be most familiar, don't you think?) Abraham objects:
Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
And God agrees! Abraham works his way down by increments: forty and five; forty; thirty; twenty; ten. God says that he wouldn't destroy the cities if He could find ten righteous people living within their walls.
So, if the Bible god were the clumsy oaf that Falwell says He is ("a cosmic imbecile," says Robert Anton Wilson), willing to wipe out thousands with earthquakes and pole shifts just to "get" one or two guilty people, we might expect Him to send us a "message" of this sort by leveling the pride of New York City with perhaps ten thousand people inside plus over 500 rescue workers scrambling up the lower levels in a futile effort to save them.
But the Bible god, if He exists, does not act this way at all! (Well -- He doesn't act this way because He does not exist, but I'm trying to make a point, here.) But, this idea is very popular among Evangelicals who try to influence the politics of the citizens of Earth (seeing as how Evangelicals admit that they're just sojourners and that their citizenship is in Heaven). In it's most radical extreme, Falwell expressed it just fine: it's those homasectules and abortionists and that gall-durn Supreme Court that did it! Ga-LOW-ree! But in its more subtle forms, from the more respected among us, it's a cosmic "wake-up call."
How many times last week did you hear that this was a wake-up call? that we need to get right with God? You tell me how those messages differ from that of Falwell except in degree! It's the same thing: God is telling us something by "allowing" this to happen. Falwell differed from the others only in that he pointed the finger and that he didn't point the finger at himself (a major boo-boo in the guilt-ridden Christian scheme of thinking).
Now this commentator, Chuck Baldwin, of whose likes I've never heard until today, follows the same line of theology as Falwell and his more subtle comrades. They all agree with one another, they just don't agree with the Bible, that's all (they seem to be making this stuff up as they go along).
It makes sense to me: Christian dogma is based entirely upon guilt, so anything that goes wrong has got to be our fault. The Bible was written when animism was the religion of the masses: everything had a conscious, aware "spirit" behind it, from the idol which marks the property line to the tree in the corner of the field. You don't want to offend them. Blood spilled on the ground was a major taboo -- to the point where the murder laws were enacted because of the blood pollution, not because somebody just lost their life! To "covet" was to cast a spell with the "evil eye." Not one of the Ten Commandments originally had anything whatsoever to do with morality: that interpretation all came much later. Each of the Ten Commandments have their roots in the animistic thinking of tribal totem loyalism, and the ones who say this is a "wake-up call" are the same ones who insist that this totem of the Ten Commandments plaque be posted on the wall of each classroom to protect our youngsters from harm. (What else could it be? They know better than to think that young children are going to understand the implications of "Thou shalt not commit adultery"!)
I didn't mention that the man conducting this war -- and most of his closest advisors -- (as well as the men against whom he has waged war) believe much of this stuff to one degree or another. I'd mention these things but I want you to be able to get some sleep tonight.
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