Birds of a Fundy Feather

There is a scientific principle called Like Aggregation. It states that objects of similar size and weight will aggregate towards one another or join together, this being due to ocean currents and winds, the response of the objects to magnetic fields, and other factors. This effect is something we take for granted, but we see it every time we observe a wad of cat hair or a clump of dirt lying around.

It is very interesting to see a spiritual side to this principle at work in the lives of people, as well as inanimate objects. As human beings, we find that those who think like us, act like us, are comfortable and willing to associate with us, and will side with us in arguments, tend to gravitate toward us. This is why street thugs, choirboys, and presidents aren’t seen hanging out together at shopping malls!

In 1997, during my last year at preaching school, I saw this principle at work like I never had before. On the way home from a lectureship in Denton, Texas, we students were making reference to the powerful preaching we heard while at the lectureship when the subject of abortion came up. This led to the subject of Eric Rudolph, the famous abortion clinic bomber and domestic terrorist. He was first becoming recognized back then, and we soon found ourselves talking about his crimes, when out of the blue, one very vocal preaching student said, “I honestly can’t condemn him for what he did!” It was like someone dropped a pistol! There was the usual stunned moment of silence as the students began to look around at each other and then back at the speaker to clarify the shocking statement just made. “Honestly, murderers need to die. Abortionists are murderers. I can’t condemn this guy at all for what he did.”

I was unprepared to see one of my own brethren defend the likes of this monster. I said to him again, this time with a partial grin on my face as though I knew he was about to cop to pulling my leg. “Seriously…” With not the slightest of hesitation or anything but a serious, almost angry expression on his face because I didn’t believe him, he said, “Does it look like I’m kidding?” I realized then that he wasn’t, and at this point, just waited for some of the other guys to jump in and tell him what a nut he had become. No one did. Looking to see why, I glanced over the bus seats and got a load of the facial expressions of others. To my amazement, I beheld what appeared to be nods of approval, maybe a few disturbed looks, but not one horrified expression in the bunch.

I seemed to be alone. No one else saw this as a terrible sign of a dangerous dogma. I can remember thinking to myself, “I am riding with potential terrorists! These people are not that far removed from Subway-bombing Jihadists!” Of course, I quickly put the thought behind me, assuming perhaps they were speaking out of anger and not serious reflection. This didn’t seem likely though, since even when I described the agony of having to undergo multiple painful skin-graphs and reconstructive surgeries, loss of hearing, loss of sight, chronic pain, missing limbs, and any number of other injuries that come from incendiary devices like explosives, I got no reactions from them. They seemed unphased, able only to think about the heavily influential anti-abortion materials they had been fed. This was probably the first red flag that went up in my head, showing me just how dangerous any religiously motivated ideal can be.

Even being consumed in the very same radical dogma they were, I still found this disturbing. I was apparently the only one who was truly appalled. My brethren would never have had the courage or the desire to do what Rudolph did, but they couldn’t fault him for it either. What was so sad was that they didn’t realize how they had stooped to the level of the desert-roaming radical groups they claimed to oppose. They became Christian terrorist sympathizers who entertained the idea that maybe God was using Rudolph to extend the arm of divine justice on those “ godless baby-murderers” who worked in abortion clinics. “Thus saith the Lord, my servant Eric Rudolph shall bring justice…” Scary indeed to think about! The Bible doesn’t say this, but it might as well have in the minds of these believers. It is the cauterizing lesson of humanity—if no one is around for us to hate and oppose, we eventually become what we once hated and opposed the most!

In my first home church, I was asked to march in several anti-abortion rallies but never did. The whole idea seemed a bit radical to me, but as a young Christian man, I found that the proponents of abortion rallies argued their case well, “Joe, why won’t you march? If we can intimidate just one young girl into staying away from the slaughterhouse so that her child lives, we’ve saved a life. God wants you to do that!” I once thought to respond, “Well, we could handcuff ourselves to the doors and that would stop people too!” They quit trying to convince me to join them after a while, but listening to their boasting from pulpits on how they had such huge turnouts at the rallies was still disgusting. You never saw the eyes of believers light up with hatred as when standing outside a Planned Parenthood facility!

As I look back on these events, I remember how grandma’s old saying went, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Life dictates that you won’t have to wait long for someone to show their true colors. People’s convictions make them act like they do. The things they say, the rash statements they make, those with whom they side in arguments…all signs of their indubitable selves. And the fruits of that nature can be clearly seen; Rudolph’s deeds are right in line with the beliefs of many Christians, one of those being that God wants abortionists to pay for their sins in blood (Genesis 9:6). A lot of believers might disagree on how to go about shedding this blood, but that is a minor detail in comparison to the big picture. Be it government or vigilante justice (whichever happens to come through quickest for the believer’s holy cause), they want action here and now! God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17), even though, ironically, when all the hype is cleared away, the Bible itself is found to be a pro-abortion book (see Genesis 38:24; Exodus 21:22-23).

The Christian fundamentalist mindset is dangerous. It devalues life and appreciates one that exists only in fantasy. It enslaves the rational mind, empowering an otherwise conscionable individual to do inhumane things with feelings of integral justification, or at the very least, creates support and sympathy for those who so act.
(JH)

13 comments:

HeIsSailing said...

I was just thinking the same thing last night, however with regard to the Phelps crowd protesting the Amish funeral a few months back. I think the same thing applies here as with the abortion clinic bombers. This is the ultimate conclusion of thought to someone who believes that God uses his faithful as instruments of judgement and witness. When I complain to Christians regarding the genocidal slaughter of Canaanites by Joshua, and as ordered by God, most Christians will retort that the Canaanites deserved it because they were evil and dispossessing the land. Most Fundamentalists will go so far as to say that they deserved it because they sacrificed children to their gods.

That is about one step removed from murdering an abortion clinic worker.

Wow - scary stuff.

Heather said...

**When I complain to Christians regarding the genocidal slaughter of Canaanites by Joshua, and as ordered by God, most Christians will retort that the Canaanites deserved it because they were evil and dispossessing the land.**

I think it was Karen Armstrong who said that historically, Canaanites were no better and no worse than their neighbors. And aren't they descended from Noah's grandson? The same person Noah cursed because his son saw him naked and didn't cover him [Noah] up?

The issue I have with anti-abortionists are their reasons, which does tie into this. In one of Lee Strobel's books, he asks why God ordering the Israelistes to kill people (especially the children) wasn't evil. The answer was that God knew that the children would be cast into hell if allowed to be raised in that culture, and thus was saving them. Okay, but that reasoning completely justifies abortion -- babies are completely innocent, so aborting them actually does them a favor and ensures that they end up in heaven. If following that logic, you have done the best thing possible: saved a person from hell.

Joe E. Holman said...

Heather said: "In one of Lee Strobel's books, he asks why God ordering the Israelistes to kill people (especially the children) wasn't evil. The answer was that God knew that the children would be cast into hell if allowed to be raised in that culture, and thus was saving them. Okay, but that reasoning completely justifies abortion -- babies are completely innocent, so aborting them actually does them a favor and ensures that they end up in heaven. If following that logic, you have done the best thing possible: saved a person from hell."


Right, and going even further, why didn't God go ahead and kill ALL infidel nations who were raising hellbound people? And why didn't he provide for a way to kill all the others (grown men and women in pagan nations) before they became mature, and therefore, accountable? If its non-accountability God wanted, a much more efficient way existed to achieve it: don't allow ANY non-covenant children (non-Jews) to be born. This way, only those who had the proper raising and chance for heaven would live.

Quippy little comments like these we are leaving don't even begin to do this subject justice, as so many other logical flaws present themselves in the apologists reasoning.

(JH)

Heather said...

**Right, and going even further, why didn't God go ahead and kill ALL infidel nations who were raising hellbound people? ** I know the typical response to this is who am I to question God or He works in mysterious ways, or a combination of those two answers. It still doesn't explain away the fact that under this doctrine, if we aborted every single baby there is, we'd be doing a good thing. We'd be sending an entire future generation to heaven.

The other problem with 'God doing them a favor' is I thought free will was the most important thing to him -- but those kids didn't get a choice.

But seriously -- we're *appalled* when we see Old Testament behavior in any other circumstance. Yet it's excusable here because God commanded it? If God imparted my sense of morality and those morals tell me that the Old Testament behavior is wrong and it makes me sick to read some of the things God ordered, I'm left with my morals. Otherwise, I could too easily fall into the 'I was just following orders' trap, and history has shown where that's lead.

HeIsSailing said...

Yes Heather and Joe, I have considered those conundrums also. Although I can find no 'age of accountability' in the Bible, most Christians seem comfortable with that idea. I once asked my pastor if abortion was not actually doing the children a favor since they would go to heaven. Pastor said that is certainly true, but God demands that each individual be allowed to opportunity to make their own decision. I know that does not make much sense, but there you go straight from my Pastor's mouth.

HeIsSailing said...

One more thought - didn't Andrea Yates kill her children because, among other things, she was afraid of them being raised improperly and going to hell? I know she is not your typical Christian, but some can be driven to that ultimate conclusion

Heather said...

HelsSailing,

Have you ever read anything by Barbara Brown Taylor? She's Christian, but finds it more important to practice 'holy ignorance' rather than 'religious certainty.' YOu might like her. She was able to keep her faith and question/doubt.

**God demands that each individual be allowed to opportunity to make their own decision.** That does lead back to the Canannite children not having free will. Plus, did Paul have free will in choosing? Jesus kind of blatently showed up and took Paul's sight, almost overwhelming.

Ultimately, ask enough questions on Christianity and one's head explodes. :) Which is where faith comes in.

And I do believe that's why Andrea Yates killed her children -- or that's the reason she gave.

Anonymous said...

I am an athiest...sins don't confront me ...I can see for myself what is wrong with a mother killing their child......


If only people would choose to use an effective birth control,

They wouldn't have to make another choice........

http://www.sexual-health-resource.org/hormonal_birth_control.htm

Bluey Zarsoff

Anonymous said...

Must reads:

http://shrinkwrapped.blogs.com/blog/2007/02/abortion_on_dem_3.html

http://sigcarlfred.blogspot.com/2007/02/psychological-consequences-of-abortion.html

Bluey Zarsoff

SocietyVs said...

That abortion rhetoric amongst Christian people-group's I adamantly oppose - if anyone as so much wants to defend a single abortion doctor sniper or fire bomber - with me they have to show me where they got this from. In the end I have found that they have very little to go by when trying to defend what is outright murder or arson (destruction of property)...from within biblical limits.

No where does a supposed 'Christian' have the right to take a 'life for a life ' or a 'life' in general - it's just not there in their teachings. Too bad most of them don't bother to read - again the 'flock' mentality (which sucks in these cases).

But I think it is also irresponsible not to say something when these 'nut-jobs' go off on a rant like this - it needs to be opposed by people that share their same faith (which was quite lacking as told in the story)...and opposed as in 'over my dead body first pal or you kill them and you mine was will kill me too'. Some people are stupid and sometimes all they understand is action (or something they can tangibly see).

Really weird thing is I don't support abortion either.

Kyle said...

As a Christian who thinks abortion is murder I oppose the unjustified killing of Abortionists. The civil authorities instituted by God, who must answer to God for their actions, have the power to bear the sword (Rom. 13) not individuals. Whether Abortion should be treated as a capital crime is a separate issue. Individuals who usurp the proper governmental authority to punish criminals become criminals themselves and violate the Biblical mandate to submit to authorities. The only people who are liable to criticism according to the reasoning offered thus far, are disobedient (or possibly ignorant) Christians. Jesus condemns those who murder or support murderers be they abortionists or murderers of abortionists.

Kyle said...

Since in the U.S. abortion is legal I believe that Christians ought to try to make it illegal. The people who support abortion will be held responsible by God for approving of murder. It is not a good thing to kill a helpless baby in utero in hopes of saving it from hell. God is just and no one who goes to hell will be innocent, so I trust that he will not do wrong by my own children or anyone else's. I pray for my kids' salvation and I don't think I should kill my 4 year old because that would give her a ticket to heaven. God forbid such foolish thinking when it comes to babies in the womb.

Shygetz said...

I don't want to get into it here, but I have always found the fundamentalist stance on abortion to be anti-Biblical. I hope there is an abortion thread here sometime.