Aug 25, 2013

The Inconsistent Abdication


Related:  John Piper recently talked about same-sex marriage, saying:
Living in a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex is forbidden in Scripture with terrifying clarity. “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).
This means putting a child in the personal care of a same-sex couple would put the child’s soul at jeopardy along with the couple’s souls. The couple would be endorsed by the adoption, and thus their hell-bound pattern of life would be endorsed, implying that we don’t care if they go to hell, which would be unloving. And the child would be taught that a damning behavior is normal and acceptable.
That is the main reason. But there is also the common sense and biblical wisdom (as well as contemporary studies) that show a child needs a mother and a father for their fullest flourishing.
Let me say in passing that there are two types of people who make the 'deserve a mommy and a daddy' argument: adoptive parents, and unreconstructed shit-heads.

But let's think about this.  John Piper believes that a being made the universe, the light from whose most distant galaxies reaches us after 13 billion years, fainter than a firefly on the moon.  The universe, whose observable portion contains almost 200 billion galaxies by the Hubble Extreme Deep Field estimation, an estimation that is probably low (the article linked estimates by as much as a factor of five) as it excludes infrared observations.  These galaxies each contain hundreds of billions of stars, thermonuclear furnaces, around many of which orbit planets, worlds heretofore only guessed at and just starting to be directly observed.  One of them, Terra, spun happily along in its orbit, suffering catastrophes (such as the massive impact out of whose debris its moon coalesced, or the strike which killed the dinosaurs) and long periods of slow evolution in between, before the most recent such period produced sapient life a few hundred thousand years ago.  These creatures lived in much they state in which they had evolved for most of those few hundred thousand years, discovering agriculture less than ten thousand years ago, discovering the microorganisms which cause disease only a few hundred years ago, discovering the Big Bang less than a hundred years ago, and still trying to work out genetics, cognition, physics and a thousand other branches of knowledge critical to their survival, wellbeing, and understanding of the universe.

In Piper's story, this same Being that made the universe 13 billion some-odd years ago took a special interest in those creatures about 3 thousand some-odd years ago, and started writing a book.  Like many a procrastinating novelist, this Being then took another thousand years to finish.  In said book he revealed fuck-all of the wonder, intricacy, and danger of his creation that human beings were later to work out on their own (often over the strenuous objection of the fans of his book!) in favor of extensive pronouncements about where to stick it, and how badly he was going to fuck up anyone who ignored these pronouncements.  Piper claims to believe that god thought these rules were more important than germ theory, more important than relativity, orbital mechanics, green energy, quantum electrodynamics, genetics, plate tectonics, chemistry, democracy, computers, mathematics, antibiotics, evolution, optics, anesthesia, and a hundred others.

On this basis, Piper claims a certain helplessness before the plain meaning of the text.  It's not that I'm a bigot, he seems to say, the Baby Jesus thought it was super duper important that we do this.

The gaping hole in this "logic" is that the book he invokes contains lots and lots of lots of admonitions, and Piper does not follow them.  The mind reels at the thought, but there it is: does Piper accept slavery?  No?  God's word is clear: Leviticus 25:44 "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves."  Piper believes that a perfect and eternal god found this advice more pertinent than germ theory.  Is Piper a snake-handler, tongue-speaker, or faith-healer?  Mark 16:17-18 says he's not a real believer: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."  Mr. Piper: The Supreme Being, He Who Fashioned the Laws of Physics, considered that pronouncement more pressing, more useful, and more worthy of inclusion in his great message to humanity than relativity, or even the time and location of every fatal natural disaster.  How dare you ignore it?

But ignore it he does, wheresoever it suits him.  Unfortunately, it suits him to ignore it when it comes to his own safety (despite divine assurances that he will come through unharmed!) and not when it comes to the happiness and legal rights of millions of his fellow human beings.  Seriously, John: put your money where your mouth is and try drinking some poison rather than just spewing it out.

Either that, or stop fobbing off responsibility for your bigotry onto the "terrifying clarity" of a book you ignore whenever convenient.

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