Are right-wing Christians the problem? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Today we have a guest post on Deeper Waters. I was quite surprised to find last night that my wife took to doing a few hours of online research and such to deal with an article she found online. Now I don’t agree with everything she has here. There are parts I don’t agree with and there are parts I do agree with, but I’m pleased of how she did for a first major endeavor into the field. I wanted to share it. So without further ado, here’s Allie:
I just finished reading this article and being that I have a lot of Atheist friends, I thought I’d try to address some of the issues this article addresses and clear up the misconceptions. I’ll be doing more than one note on this because there are so many misconceptions I’m doing each note on each section to get into enough details to explain it all. For a link to the article, here is the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0
1. Opposing protections and rights for children is evil.
There’s a link you can click on from this section on what they considered were wrong in the Bible for opposing protections and rights for children. (http://awaypoint.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/why-bible-believers-have-such-a-hard-time-getting-child-protection-right/) Let’s go through those first:
Abraham, the verse they quote is Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you. (Genesis 22:1-12 nasv) This is very deceptive of the author of the article to just use this verse without using it in its full context. Isaac was the child God promised to give to Abraham. Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:2-5 NLT) If Isaac was the promised son to Abraham, and through Isaac, Abraham would have as many descendants as there are stars, why in the world would God ask Abraham to kill Isaac? This was a test. This was a test to see how much faith Abraham had in God and how obedient he would be to God. Abraham knew God had promised him Isaac and many descendants through Isaac, so as much as this may have confused him that God would make such a request of him, he must’ve had so much trust in God that he believed, “God is going to keep his promise to me. Either he will stop me, or he’s going to bring my kid back from the dead.” So Abraham and Isaac go up the Mountain for the sacrifice and Isaac asks his father, “Where’s the ram?” Abraham tells him, “Son, you’re the sacrifice.” Isaac must be terrified at this point. His name means “he laughs,” he probably wasn’t doing much laughing at that point. So Isaac is tied up to the altar they’ve made and he’s laying there, probably scared out of his wits. Abraham pulls out his knife and is probably thinking, “God, I’m trusting you here, don’t fail me now.” Then we come to this part: At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied, “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:11-12 NLT) Basically, Abraham was willing to give God everything, even his own son. This does not mean God wants us to sacrifice children. In fact, there are many passages in the Bible where people are sacrificing children and this angers God. They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. (Ezekiel 23:37 NLT) Is an example. Another example: “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the TEMPLE that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Tpheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deedl it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” (Jeremiah 7:30-31 NLT)
The story of Lot giving up his daughters to be raped. They quote the verse “Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Gen 19:8 nrsv) Again, this has been taken out of context. You need to read the whole story. The angels came to Lot’s house to warn Lot and his family that they were going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (the city Lot and his family lived in). Then a bunch of men came to Lot’s door, They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!” (Genesis 19:5 NLT) Yea, it literally says that, those guys wanted to rape the angels! Lot goes outside and is probably so scared he’s about to pee his robe or whatever he’s wearing because there’s an over-sexed mob wanting to rape these angels in his house! So Lot’s like, “Please guys, you really don’t want to do that! That could end REALLY bad for you! But I’ll tell you what, if it’ll get you out of here, I’ll give you my daughters – they’re virgins and if they can satisfy your lustful hunger please leave my guests alone.” Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not good he was offering his daughters up like this. It’s true women back then were not usually thought of very highly. But the mob outside his door are getting even more upset, “Dude you need to get out of here and give us those guys that are in your pad! You’re just as much of an outsider as they are so if you don’t get out of the way, we’ll treat you far worse than what we’re going to do to them!” Then they lung at Lot and try to break the door! But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside. (Geneses 19:10-11 NLT) So what does this mean? God didn’t let Lot give up his daughters. God kept his daughters safe. But it doesn’t end there. After the angels warned Lot about the destruction that was about to happen in his city and that he and his family needed to flee, Lot tried to tell his daughter’s fiance’s, but they laughed and thought Lot was joking! So Lot, his wife, and his two daughters leave the city as it’s being destroyed. Lot’s wife dies in the process by turning into a pillar of salt because they were warned to not look back at the city, but she looked back. So it was just Lot and his two daughters. So you really think Lot’s daughters were so innocent? Well get this, Lot and his daughters went to live in a cave up in the mountains. One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, “I had sex with our father last night. Let’s get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. (Genesis 19:30-36 NLT) So essentially, the two daughters rape their father. Who’s the wicked one now?
The Love triangle between Jacob, Leah, and Rachel: the verses they use are: After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.” Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than anyone else. Stay and work with me.” So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong, that it seemed to him but a few days. Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. But that night it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. (Laban had Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.) But when Jacob woke up in the morning – it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. “But wait until the bridal week is over, then we’ll give you Rachel too – provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) So Jacob slept with Rachel too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. (Genesis 29:14-30 NLT) At least they haven’t forgotten any verses around it this time, but it’s partly taken out of context still. The article states this is just a deal between men, “You can have one if you do such and such for me.” Jacob and Rachel loved each other. Jacob was willing to work for her. It’s not that Leah was unattractive, but he didn’t see that same “sparkle” in her eye as he saw Rachel have. Leah didn’t make his heart race so fast that it felt like it was going to jump out of his throat! Rachel though, Rachel was the most beautiful person he had ever seen before. He loved her so much, that when he worked for her father for seven years, it only felt like a few days to him! So after seven years are up, Jacob says to Laban, “I’ve done what I promised, now I’m here to marry Rachel.” Laban’s like, “Sure, you kept your promise, I’ll keep my promise. Besides, I wouldn’t want her to be with anyone except for you!” So Jacob goes to bed after the wedding that night and sleeps with his bride. It’s dark, so he can’t see. He wakes up the next morning, and it’s not the love of his life he sees, but it’s his lovers sister! Now, think about if you were in his shoes. You worked seven years so you could marry the love of your life, and when you wake-up the next morning you find out the person you actually married and had sex with is not the person you love, but their sister/brother! You’d be pretty ticked off wouldn’t you? Well he was too! He goes up to his now father-in-law and is like, “Pops, why have you cheated me? You gave me the wrong daughter!” Laban is like, “Oh, sorry, I forgot to tell ya, here we marry off our older daughters first before the younger ones. But I’ll tell you what kid, if you still want her, work for me for another seven years and I’ll give her to you too!” Jacob says, “Fine, I’ll work another seven years, but you have to give me Rachel first.” So he gets Rachel a week after the bridal week and works for another seven years. But he doesn’t get rid of Leah. Even though he doesn’t love Leah and only loves Rachel, he still took care of Leah.
The foolish vow: verse quoted is a long one – At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephithah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manasseh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and from there he led an army against the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory, He crushed the Ammonites, devastating about twenty towns from Aroer to an area near Minnith and as far away as Abel-keramim. In this way Israel defeated the Ammonites. When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tamborine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “Oh, my daughter!” he cried out. “You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the LORD, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he sent her away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept the vow he had made, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. (Judges 11:29-40 NLT) I’ll admit, I struggled a little bit with this one. I mean, if God isn’t for child sacrifices, why wouldn’t he have stopped this from happening? I looked at the notes for this passage in my Bible for a little help and here’s what it says “Jephthah’s recovery and leadership were guided by the Holy Spirit, but he still made a foolish mistake. His vow, which was an attempt to “cut a deal” with God to ensure military victory, is a classic example of what it means to “stifle the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Jephthah lived to regret the vow he made in the heat of the crisis. Often we do the same thing. We beg for God to fulfill some shortsighted goal, and in obtaining it, we miss God’s best. (This note comes from The Life Recovery Bible NLT) 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) I looked at this and thought, “What does stifle even mean?” So I looked it up:
1) make (someone) unable to breathe properly; suffocate.
2) restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion).
The prize to the victor, verse quoted – Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriathsepher. Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife. (Judges 1:12-13 NLT) To understand this verse, you have to understand the culture. I had to ask my husband about this one because he does more study about this than me, and he said it was an honor thing. It was also security for the daughter. I mean think about it, if the guy can bring victory for an army, you think he can protect a woman? Our culture today thinks very negatively on the idea of arranged marriages. But back then, arranged marriages weren’t as bad as we imagine them to be. They were common, but their way was in a way better than our way. Today, our culture has so much divorce. There are so many different statistics on the percentages of divorce, I never know which one is right, but to me, all the percentages are too high. We fall in love and get married, then a lot of times, we later fall out of love and get divorced. But back then, they didn’t get married necessarily because they were in love (though that’s not to say there were times where they were in love), but after they married, they loved each other. I would say this is a better system than the one we have now if you think of it that way! There were very few divorces because divorce was frowned upon, while today divorce is a casual thing. The whole thing with giving a daughter as a wife as a prize has gone on for a very long time, not just during Biblical times. I mean think about today, when a guy wants to marry a girl, he often times wants to impress her parents right? Why? Because they are the ones who are giving their daughter away in marriage. It’s of course different today than it was back then, but essentially, some things haven’t changed so much either.
Death sentence for the firstborn, they quoted Exodus 11 (NLT) – Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me ‘Please leave!’ they will beg ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh. Now the LORD had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even mightier miracles in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. Okay, so God gave Pharaoh many warnings. He caused plagues such as swarms of locusts, the Nile River turning into blood, invasion of frogs, boils, darkness, and even more plagues. He even caused Moses’ staff to turn into a snake and it ate the other snakes Pharaoh’s magicians called out! But Pharaoh still would not listen! So God gave him one final warning. If Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people be free from their slavery, the angel of death would kill every firstborn son in Pharaoh’s kingdom. The angel of death knew which houses were the Israelites because they celebrated Passover by using the blood of a lamb and putting it on their doors so the angel of death would pass over them. But the homes that didn’t have the blood of the lamb on the doors, they were the Egyptians who didn’t take God’s warning seriously. For a while, this got Pharaoh’s attention when he found his son dead. He realized the Israelites God was serious business and things are just going to get worse if he doesn’t let them go. So he lets them go. But when he realizes he let them ALL go and has no more slaves, he practically forgets what happened! He’s like, “Soldiers, get the chariots ready, we’re going after them! We’re getting them back!” So the Israelites see the Egyptians coming after them and they’re blocked off by the Red Sea. The Israelites turn on Moses and are like, “Dude! We were better off in Egypt! Now they’re going to kill us! Look what you’ve done to us! We should’ve stayed back there!” Moses isn’t going to have any of it! So he tells the people to stay calm because God is going to rescue them. God tells Moses to pick up his staff and raise his right hand over the sea. God divides the water and the people walk across to the other side. When they get to the other side and the Egyptians are rushing after them, God closes the waters the Egyptian army is wiped away in the ocean.
The faithful servant, verses they quote are Job 1 and Job 42:12-13. This is pretty long, but the reason I’m typing out all of the verses is because some of you may not actually look up the verses, so I thought I might as well provide them for you. So let’s start with Job 1 (NLT) – There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless – a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended – sometimes after several days – Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, patrolling everything that’s going on.” Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless – a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God. Next verse is Job 42:12-13 (NLT) – So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. So Job is a really good guy right? He stays away from evil, and he’s even really faithful to God; so God wouldn’t ever let anything bad happen to Job right? That was Satan’s case too. God’s braggin’ on Job, “Have you seen this awesome guy on earth named Job? He’s a pretty cool dude, he stays away from evil and is faithful to me.” Satan’s like, “Yea I’ve seen him, but you know WHY he’s so faithful to you? It’s because you spoil him! You give him more than he needs! Have you seen his house for instance? Anyone with a house like his would be worshiping you without hesitating! He might as well have a jet ski! If you took everything he had away from him though, there’s no way he’d serve you. In fact, I bet he’d even curse you and spit in your face!” God knows if he does this, this is going to be really difficult on Job. But God also believes in Job. God believes Job will remain faithful to him. So God says, “Fine, you can take away what he has, BUT, you can’t hurt him physically.” So Satan does that. He takes away Job’s cattle, servants, and children. Job is so distraught that he tears his clothes and is completely naked. He shaves his head and what does he do? Does he curse God? No. Does he spit in God’s face? No. He WORSHIPS God! How many people would actually do that? We usually worship God only when the times are good or when it’s convenient. But we should worship God even when times are tough, even when it seems unbearable. It certainly seemed unbearable for Job, and throughout the story of Job, things kept getting worse, but he continued to be faithful to God. Because of his faithfulness to God, God blessed him even more than before!
10th Commandment blues, the quote is – You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me. (Exodus 20:5) I’ll keep this short with two verses in response to this. First, Deuteronomy 24:16 (NLT) – Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes. Next verse is Ezekiel 18:20 – The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. In summary, whoever makes the sin will be punished for their own sin. The kids are not going to be punished for their parents sin, nor are the parents going to be punished for the kids sin. I hope that clears things up.
Another misinterpretation, quoted verse – O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock! (Psalm 137:9) When you listen/read to song lyrics or poems, there’s a lot of emotion in them aren’t there? Well that’s what the book of Psalms consists of. Songs and poems (mainly songs). If you’re battling a country that’s bashing your babies into rocks and other awful stuff, you may be thinking, “I hope the same thing happens to you!” You’re thinking of revenge! Babylon had been oppressing the Israelites severely and doing awful stuff to them. They wanted revenge and were just saying, “What you’re doing to us, it’s coming right back at you!”
The truth about Jesus, quoted verse John 3:16 (NLT) – “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” They forgot to add verses 17-21: “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. But anyone who does not believe in him already has been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” So here’s the deal, people/humans are evil. They’re filled with darkness. Look around you, there is evil all around the world. Who causes the evil? People. Do you see evil animals? No. Do you see evil plants? No. Now, you may say natural disasters are evil. Natural disasters themselves are not evil, but the devastations they cause are evil. But in general, where do we see evil come from? We see evil come from people! You might say “There are a lot of good people too!” Yes, there are good people, but in what sense are they good? To your standard? To the standard of the law of the government? To your neighbor’s standard? To my standard? You’ve got people in the middle east yelling Jihad (holy war) strapping bombs onto themselves to blow up as many infidels as they can. According to their standards, they’re good people. Adolf Hitler when trying to make a superior race of people and getting rid of the Jewish people according to his standards was a good person. But according to our standards, these are all evil people! So when evaluating who are good people, by whose standards are you evaluating them? According to the Bible, we were originally created “good” (Genesis 1:31 NLT – Then God looked over all he had made, and saw that it was very good!) But then Adam and Eve sinned by listening to Satan’s lies and we inherited their curse. We kept becoming more and more evil. We were separated from God. We originally were created to be with God, but our sin became a barrier between us and God. So we offered sacrifices to God. But we kept on sinning, and the sacrifices just weren’t enough. Animal blood wasn’t enough to pay the price for the evil we didn’t just commit, but the darkness in our hearts as well. God didn’t want us to be separated from him, he longed for us, and while many turned away from him, there were those who longed for him too. A price had to be paid. Here’s the thing about God and his Son, as confusing as this sounds, they are ONE. Even Jesus said they are one. John 10:30 (NLT) – “The Father and I are one.” It wasn’t just God saying, “Okay kid, you’ve gotta go die to save the world!” God himself was going to sacrifice himself, because the Father is God, and the Son is God (not Gods, but singular – the Trinity is three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, I know it’s confusing but that’s for another discussion)! So the Son comes to earth as a baby, not like Hercules baby falling from the sky, but from a miracle! God made a virgin woman get pregnant! This virgin woman (Mary) gave birth to God (the Son) and his name was Jesus (or Yeshua which means “Salvation”). Jesus was fully God, but also fully human. He had to eat like a person. He had to sleep like a person. I’m sure if he didn’t bathe he probably smelled bad like a person. It’s funny actually, sometimes I ask my husband the most random questions like, “Do you think Jesus ever went swimming? Do you think Jesus was hairy? Do you think Jesus had long hair or short hair? Do you think Jesus ever had to go to the bathroom?” Answers for those my husband gave me were probably, yes, most likely short because long hair was dishonorable at that time for men, and yes. Anyway, before I get way off track, he was God and human. He taught people about the Kingdom of Heaven, he healed people from illnesses and injuries, he raised people from the dead, he fed people, of all people to consider good by anyone standards, look at his life and I think most of us would say, “He was a pretty good guy.” But he was tough. He was honest, and I mean brutally honest. He said things the way they were. He was gentle, but when the hard truth needed to be said, he said it. He didn’t hold back. He called people hypocrites. There were instances where he grabbed ropes and held them like whips and started pushing over tables because people were cheating other people in the Temple by selling flawed animals for sacrifices for high amounts of money! People tend to imagine Jesus as this guy who was always meek and mild, happy-go-lucky, always laughing kind of guy. No doubt, he had a lot of joy, but he was a man of great sorrow too, and he had anger. But he never sinned. He never did anything wrong. You may say “Well, he was God!” Yea, but he was as human as you and I too. He was as much flesh as you and I are. He was tempted in every way we are, yet he never gave in. As he waited in the garden and prayed, he knew one of his best friends was betraying him to the people who were going to put him to death. When Jesus prayed, he asked his Father to let this cup pass from him if possible. Now, this is just my speculation, I’ll admit, I could be wrong here, but here’s what I personally think here. I think Jesus might’ve been a little afraid of what was going to happen – hear me out before totally counting me wrong! He knew he was going to have to endure excruciating physical pain, and no one likes that, but I don’t even think that was what he was scared of. He was going to die a painful and humiliating way of death, but even that I don’t think was what he was afraid of. He was going to take on the sins of the world and be separated from his Father – that, I think was what he was afraid of. He was in so much distress he sweat blood! This is a rare occurrence, but it does actually happen (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810702/) But Jesus said “If it’s possible” which means “If it’s possible for a different way to save the people, can we do that way instead?” But then Jesus said, “But let your will be done, not mine.” This is really powerful and I think we need to learn this for our own lives as well. If we let God’s will control our lives more instead of our own will, I think we’d be in less trouble than we get ourselves in. So Jesus is arrested, tried, tortured, and put to death. I saw this picture once on DeviantArt someone did with Jesus carrying his cross and angels are ready to come in and save him, but he holds his hand out to stop them. Can’t you imagine it? The angels must’ve been ready to go down from Heaven and save Jesus if he even so much as gave them a look. They must’ve been anxiously waiting, ready to slaughter all the people who were doing awful things to him. But he never gave the angels any look. He continued going. He gets nailed to the cross and he’s hanging there, naked, and people walk by hurling insults at him. I mean he’s soaked in blood. He’s all sliced up, he’s probably got some bones sticking out. Roman flogging was extremely severe, and it says that he even got that severely, which means it had to have been REALLY bad. Splinters in the cross was probably the least of the worries. It would’ve been really hard to breathe because in order to be able to get breathes of air, they’d have to push up on their feet, which were nailed to the cross. And as soon as they’d fall back down after pushing themselves up, they’d feel it in their feet and probably their hands too, which were also nailed. If you’re crucified on a roman cross, my guess is you’re hoping you die quickly because it’s so horrible. So while people are hurling insults at him, I can imagine Satan in that last moment curling up to his ear whispering, “This isn’t worth it! Look! They don’t feel a bit sorry for what they’ve done to you! These pathetic humans aren’t worth you dieing! If you come down the cross now, surely they’ll believe you’re their Messiah! After all, who’s going to worship a dead God?” People are pretty much repeating the same thing, “If you are the Savior, come down from cross and we’ll believe you!” Even if he did come down, they wouldn’t believe him. They accused him before of being a demon when he was casting out demons! Who’s to say they wouldn’t just accuse him of that again? As soon as he’d get down, they’d just nail him right back on there. Even if they did believe, a price still needed to be paid that only God could pay. As the people cursed Jesus, he never said a bad thing back to them, instead, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Even at that moment, he still loved them! He still wanted to redeem them! Some time passes, and he feels really alone. He’s separated from his Father. He’s never been away from his Father before, and this is devastating to him. He cries out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Don’t you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Well, Jesus felt that way too. Then he said, “It’s finished” and bowed his head and died. What was finished? The power evil had was finished! The barrier between us and God was finished! Three days later Jesus came out of the grave alive! He defeated death itself! Now when we truly believe Jesus is Lord and that he sacrificed his life for you and me to set us free from our bondage, our chains of our addictions, our pain, our anxieties, our problems, our mistakes, our sins, and he came back to life and rescued us, then that barrier between God and us is gone! We can finally be with God!
Next note will be: 2. Denying young people accurate information about their bodies is evil.