Life of Christ 116
Note: This is the seventh in an eight part mini-series on the errors of the Pharisees.
The sixth error with which Christ reproaches the Pharisees is murder. 'Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation' (Luke 11.47-51).
|Facebook page advocating beheading anyone who|
insults Islam, June 28, 2013
I have little doubt that any Christian reading along would agree with this. Thus, I am more concerned to address to you what produces this, to discover the underlying causes which produce, years down the line, a system which murders people in order to perpetuate itself. If we can realistically spot such causes we can identify, beforehand, which systems are already rotten.
A religion that is bold enough to kill in the name of its god is one which is dogmatically convinced that it alone is right. But it has to be more than that surely. The leaders of that religion have to be convinced that only their interpretation of the divine is accurate. Such a rigidness produces a black and white world, not ethnically but morally, in which there are no shades of gray. I do not mean about the big issues. I mean about all issues. Thus it is that a difference of opinion about any matter, ever so slight though it may be, becomes interpreted as an attack on the authority and veracity of that human leader, and thus of the very religion itself. Ergo, it becomes my sacred religious duty to my god to exterminate any heretical belief by assassinating the proponent of said belief.
For instance, take the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility, for instance. Such a position holds that not only is the Roman church the only correct church, but that its human leader is right about absolutely everything he formally says and does in relation to the Church. It is true that this doctrine was not officially established until the First Vatican Council in 1870, but you can find specific historical support for it all the way back in 1087. Thus it was that the Roman church had the supposed authority to slaughter thousands of religious nonconformists during the Dark Ages.
But let us back up even further, for again, I do not believe that any of the Christians who would read my blog would believe in the infallibility of any of their religious leaders. What is it that brings men to believe they are right about everything? Well, the answer to that is pride, of course, indisputably. What reveals that condition, a pride caused internal infallibility, to the outside world? I think it is this – a refusal to be questioned.
If you're still following me then let me say it plainly: a religious system that is led by a person who refuses to be questioned has already within it the seeds of its own rotten destruction. Now with that statement I think I've finally backed this error of the Pharisees up to the place where we can see hints of it in our own religious world, and I do not think I have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel to do so.
Have you ever known a preacher who refused to be questioned? Have you ever known a preacher who believed he was right about everything? Have you ever known a preacher who believed that the only possible correct interpretation of Scripture was his own? You're thinking of somebody right now, aren't you? And it didn't end well, did it? No, of course not, because such an arrogant attitude is not only unscriptural, but additionally carries within itself the seeds of its own systemic destruction.
Although there was vigorous debate within the pharisaic structure it was a veritable monolith when compared with the differences Jesus Christ had with it. And it refused to admit its error about anything. No matter what Jesus brought up the Pharisees insisted their interpretation was right and Jesus' was wrong. There was in them not a hint, not an iota, of humility and grace. The proof of this, and the ultimate proof of the rottenness of their system, was the blood of Christ running in rivulets down the old rugged cross.
Beloved, let us hold the truth firmly, but let us do so in charity. Let us argue the rightness of our positions unashamedly, but let us do so with grace. We are not right about everything. Let us view no mortal man as infallible, or as an oracle of God. Let us not shrink from questions but rather let us welcome them. After all, if we have the truth, it can stand a vigorous examination in the full light of day. And if we don't, well, then we need to know that too.