Monday, July 15, 2013

Corrupt and without conscience

In my Sunday paper this week, someone wrote Billy Graham with a serious question. One that wasn't religious and was probably better directed to another party. While part of Graham's reply is good, the irony of the religious implications he also includes are obviously lost to him...
Those without a conscience victimize the helpless

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: We’ve just discovered that my mother (who is in her late 80s) has been the victim of a scam that’s taken almost all her money. We’ve alerted the police, but why would anyone be mean enough to hurt someone like this? — A.J.
DEAR A.J.: All crime is evil — but surely crimes against those who are helpless and vulnerable are among the worst. Only someone with no conscience could commit something like your mother experienced. The Bible labels as evil all those “who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. … They are experts in greed — an accursed brood!” (2 Peter 2:10,14).

You’ve done the right thing by reporting this to the police. Even if they aren’t successful in recovering what these scam artists stole, your report will help them be on the lookout for similar crimes in your area. They also can notify agencies in your community that have contact with elderly people. They in turn can alert the media, encouraging people to be on guard against scam artists. Remember the old saying: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In addition, if your mother is no longer able to take care of her finances, you will need to step in and help her. (An attorney specializing in elder law can assist you.) She may be reluctant at first — but this situation indicates you may need to be more active in her affairs. The Bible says, “Defend the cause of the weak” (Psalm 82:3).
Urge your mother to be more cautious in the future. Don’t condemn her, however, for what happened or keep bringing it up. Instead, pray for her and let her know you love her. Most of all, remind her of God’s love for her, and of the hope we have of eternal life because of Christ. 
 While Billy is correct in commending AJ reporting this happening to the authorities, and suggesting they become more involved in their mother's finances, there is a problem with his quoting of Peter. This quote is of course referring to those despising God's authority. But is that really an accurate statement?

Let's move first to the Catholic sex abuse scandal. Personally, I would class the little boys that were victimized by these priests as helpless and vulnerable. In Graham's own words 'these crimes are among the worst, and those committing them are without conscience'. So far I'd agree with him. But then he claims that these very same people 'despise God's authority' when he references Peter. Sorry, but selling God's authority is pretty much these people's job. In fact, it was their trust and faithfulness in God and his authority that actually made many think they wouldn't be punished.

But then the sex scandal didn't just stop at the priests no did it? The previous Pope tried to sweep it all under the rug in hopes that this dark secret would never get out. And when it did get out, what did he do? He wanted to let the law allow the church to handle the problem internally. Their solution, simply move known offenders to a different parish with no concern for if they'd offend again. In short, the Pope protected and defended child rapists! I'd say that counts as someone without conscience. But I certainly can't class him as one who despises authority.

As the Pope, he lives, breaths and shits authority. Catholics the world over look to him, and followed his every word. Furthermore, as the Pope he's supposed to have God on speed-dial, not to mention being directly chosen by God. Are you seriously suggesting that the man hand-picked by God to lead over a billion Catholics, become a head of state and live in a gold encrusted palace with all the servants one could ever want somehow hates God?

What about Kent Hovind? The very well known evangelist that is currently serving time for tax evasion. While the victim this time was the federal government, like AJ's question, it was a financial crime. He purposely tried to avoid paying the taxes he was due to pay. He tried to scam the
government, just as AJ's mother was scammed. But does he hate God's authority? Hardly! He got rich off of preaching God's authority and the truth of the Bible.

And what of the ultimate con? If there be a God, and he is as the Bible states, he'd surely fit the bill! First he creates people that he knows do not poses the knowledge of good and evil. Then he gives them an order that requires the knowledge of good and evil. Then when they inevitably break that one rule (which ironically gives them knowledge of good and evil), God decides to curse them and everyone who follows for all eternity. Being the all powerful creator of everything, he could be whatever he wanted. He could have just punished Adam and Eve, he could have just forgiven them (since it was all his fault after-all), but instead he decides to curse every single person until the end of time.

Oh, but then he gives you a way out! Oh, but it's nowhere near free... No, he decides to send himself to Earth as his own son so that he can be tortured and sacrificed to himself, so he can forgive the sin he cursed everyone with in the first place. No, wait... You also have to accept this sacrifice and worship him eternally in Heaven once you've passed. Hardly a good system. Why even require a sacrifice in order to forgive something he put in place in the first place? Surely, if he wants to forgive he can just, well... forgive.

But lets look at this a moment. First he convinces you that there is this sickness within you (original sin) that you were unaware of prior. Then he just so happens to be the only one offering a cure. But this cure surely comes with a cost. When someone is selling both the problem and the solution in the real world, we're often justified in assuming them to be con-men. AJ's mother may have been convinced by this person that there was this special insurance that she needs to protect her assets for her and her family. But none of the big companies will offer it because they are just out to make money. Luckily he just so happens to be the only one with the answer she needs. Just like God with
sin and salvation. An imagined cure for an imagined ailment.

I would agree with Graham's criteria that this would class God as a being void of conscience. Just read the Old Testament if you still have any doubts as to his morality or lack thereof. Despises authority? According to Christianity, he is the ultimate authority. So unless God has some some serious self esteem problems and despises himself, your argument fails there. Then again, the all powerful creator of the universe does have the odd traits of demanding worship and punishing those don't. So either he sounds more vainly arrogant, then someone desperate for affection.

-Brain Hulk

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