Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Yea, hath God said" and the preferences of Satan

I'm sure you've often seen during a debate with a very "Traditionally" conservative Christian.  A person will question if The Bible was actually making such a broad and absolute condemnation as we assume, and the "conservative" will point out that "Yea, hath God said" are the first words The Serpent utters in Genesis 3:1, as proof that questioning how strict God is is somehow obviously Satan's favorite tactic.

This is textbook out of context quoting.  Regardless of the inquisitive form of that phrase, the Serpent absolutely did want Eve to believe God didn't want her doing what he was trying to convince her to do.

You see what the Serpent says after that, the statement he attributes to God, is in fact something God did not say.

Let's go back to Genesis 2:16-17 where the actual command from God the Serpent wants Eve to break is said to Adam, let's quote God's exact words from The KJV.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Now in Chapter 3 the Serpent says to the Woman.
"Yea, hath God said, "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?""
See the difference?  Thing is you could argue he gave a technically accurate representation of what the command was, but the tone is changed. God emphasized there was plenty Adam could eat, just one singular isolated tree he was not to eat.  The Serpent wants to make God seem less permissive, to make his restrictions seem broader then they actually are.

The Woman's response also played into The Serpent's hands.
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.""
 See that? God's Word was added to.  Was it because Adam taught her incorrectly (The Woman was created after the command was given) or was she herself making it stricter for fear of breaking it.  Or was it a little of both?  We don't know for certain, a view that Adam taught her wrong is perhaps backed up by how NT references back to this blame Adam alone for what happened.  But it's ultimately conjecture.

Point is, once again the misquoting of God makes God seem more restrictive not less.  And I've seen Bible teachers point out the significance of the "neither shall ye touch it" not being what God said, yet when on a different part of Scripture, they'll encourage the same attitude, saying the commands against drunkenness mean don't even walk into a bar, and so on.

In that movie about Johnny Cash called Walk The Line, there is a scene where one of Johnny's Christian friends judging him is actually referencing Genesis 2-3 and doing exactly what Eve did, completely oblivious.  I found it really funny and I'm not even certain the writers knew what they did there.

Satan was deceiving Eve, but the deception was about the reason it's a Sin not about making her think something is not a Sin.
And the serpent said unto the woman, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
By making God's command seem more restrictive, he made it seem unreasonable, which in turn made God seem afraid of something, which in turn made him seem like an @$$hole.

Once in a fallen world a lot more things are forbidden to us.  But the Torah also makes clear sinning in ignorance of The Law is not nearly as bad as sinning knowingly, still bad, but not as bad, because Sins made in ignorance can be paid for by the Sin Offering, while knowing Sins require more.  So Satan prefers to get people to do the worse option.

His Temptation of Jesus was not I believe typical of his usual strategy, he needed to do anything to make Jesus no longer a Spotless Lamb.  But even there only one of the three temptations (the first) seems to be based on trying to trick him into doing something unlawful by playing with technicalities.  The second is seemingly a dare to prove Who He Is and the third had no false pretense at all.

Jesus spent his ministry condemning the Scribes and Pharisees for their overly strict interpretations of Laws like the Sabbath, and adding none Biblical Laws called Traditions.  Only on Divorce does he object to them allowing something he felt they shouldn't allow.

In Matthew 23 He says of them "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.".  This is in contrast to Himself in Chapter 11:28-30.  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

So when I get told that I'm the one trying to pervert Christianity into what Satan wants it to be by promoting more "permissive" interpretations of Moral Law on issues like Sexuality.  I mostly just laugh and wonder what Bible they read.

Paul said "all things are permissible to me but not all things are beneficial" in 1 Corinthians 6.  The Law is now written on our Hearts not in Stone.

There are false belief systems out there built around saying people should do (Biblically) indisputably sinful things.  But they are mostly, (especially the ones that are successful enough to make me suspect Satan is putting particular effort into them) predicated on Rebellion against The Judeo-Christian God.  They have no desire to deny The Bible condemns those things, and it suits them in-fact to claim the Bible condemns things it doesn't.  Mostly these are different forms of Satanism.

The major heretical Judeo-Christian religions, whatever their heresies on Theology and Soterology are, all have in common on Morality wanting to increase not decrease what is Sinfull.  The Catholic Church doesn't want Priests marrying and many other rules, JWs want people paranoid about Blood Transfusions.  Mormons put Coffee in the same category as Alcohol and hard Drugs.  Rabbinic Judaism makes the command to "not boil a kid in it's mother milk" a condemnation of Cheese Burgers.  And you know I even consider Islam with it's over the top prudishness and legalism a form of heretical Christianity.  They see Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, their denial of his Divinity is not unlike the Ebonites and other early Jewish-Christian heretics.  All this shows me Satan wants the God of Abraham to seem strict.

The Christian sects that do take an anything goes approach (to the left of even my morality) are very small fringe groups without a lot of mainstream influence.  I actually don't think every false religion has Satan's personal endorsement, the fallen human mind can come up with bad ideas perfectly fine on our own.

Even major false religions and philosophical systems that have no claim of Biblical roots can also tend toward Legalism.  A recent example would be the Atheistic Straight Edge movement affiliated with pro-wrestler CM Punk (in his Face persona he's like most people in the movement, a perfectly like-able human being, but as a Heel he is a demonstration of how judgmental they can become).   The end result is the same, if people think living a Moral life is really difficult they will give up on trying to.

We've been conditioned to think Pagan=Anything goes especially on Sex.  Neo-Pagan sub-cultures in the West where the mainstream default religion is nominally Christian, tend towards being socially Liberal because they attract people who in some way want to rebel against society.  But even most of these have more Morality then people give them credit for.

I've already spoken of how Rome was contrary to popular imagination a very Socially Conservative culture.  I will talk in the Future about Greek Philosophy.  Japan is also a Pagan culture that is pretty Socially Conservative in it's own way.

On a few select issues Christianity has been tricked by Satan into being OK with things we should have condemned.  Like Slavery/Segregation, Anti-Semitism, Rape victim blaming, imperialism/neo-con foreign policy.  All these serve the same purpose as much of the Legalism however, alienating people from the Gospel and those who know it.  And tend to be tied to something those same Christians do condemn (rightly or wrongly).

Today I feel homophobia and Capital Punishment are at the top of the list of things serving that purpose.  To a Homosexual or Bisexual person their Gayness is part of who they are, not just something they do.  So my fellow Evangelicals even if you insist on still viewing those things as Sins at least avoid the topic while evangelizing.

A lot of False Religions are trying to appeal to LGBT individuals.  I've seen websites for Satanic groups bragging about the Gay Marriages they perform.  And even the Catholic Church looks like it may be trying to appeal to them under Pope Francis.  (Thanks to the Catholic Church accepting Evolution, Evangelicals are inclined to see them doing anything as proof it's wrong).  And there are plenty other Neo-Pagan examples.

However for all the reaching out to Homsexuals in some Occult circles, the Neo-Pagan/Wiccan movement has it's own Homophobia.

I think Christians need to stop simply thinking "if the world is promoting it, it must be wrong" and realize that Satan wants to reach out to exactly those who feel alienated by The Church.

When Blacks were enslaved by professing Christians he created Vodoo to appeal to them, fortunately many didn't fall for that and identified with the Exodus narrative.  During Segregation he created the Nation of Islam and the Five Percenters.  To appeal to women who feel alienated by the Patriarchal norms of traditional Christianity he has feminist and matriarchal themed religions like Wicca, as well as the Aristasia sub-culture, which is another example of a very socially conservative Pagan belief system.

Today he's doing the same thing to reach out to LGBT people.  And we play into his hands when we push them away.

The Democratic Party and other institutions of the political left want to use the LGBT community as political pawns same as they do blacks and other minorities and feminists.  And the same as the Republican party uses Christians and Gun owners.  None of that I see as real true authentic support.