Friday, November 19, 2010

Lunatics from Birth

I well remember the very first email I got from a Christian lunatic, back when I was writing for the Bookshelf in 1996. I didn’t keep a copy – who would have guessed I’d want it? But it came from a guy who said basically this:

The Genesis command to “be fruitful and multiply” could be rendered, essentially, as a command to men to “MAKE MONEY and MAKE BABIES”. (Yes – it was in screaming CAPS, I do remember that, very well.)

Women were intended, on this basis, to be perpetually pregnant, such that leaving any egg unfertilized was a sin.

Uh HUH.

When I told Mrs H about this, she remarked that that would be pretty harsh, since women have all their eggs in them as a fetus. I checked further on this just now, and one source says that every woman is born with over half a million immature eggs in their ovaries.

Sounds like you ladies will have a lot of penance ahead of you.

After asking this guy point blank if I was understanding him correctly – he said I was – I cut off correspondence. (Very early version of my “no more stupid people” policy, there.) Before I did, though, I couldn’t help but notice something about his email heading. It wasn’t just his name, but also, apparently, the name of his wife and daughter. The wife’s name indicated an Asian heritage, while his was a standard American name. To this day I wonder if this lunatic had imposed his reckless theology on some unfortunate “mail-order bride”. I don’t know for sure. But I had to wonder.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I got an email from another pseudo-Christian lunatic. I won’t say who he is, but his argument was one made in favor of abortion (of which, he claimed, he has never found a counterargument):

Jesus said to be eligible for salvation, you must be “born again”.

The unborn have not yet been born once.

Therefore, the unborn are not human, and do not have a spirit.

Yes, it was that stupid.

Of course, there are many problems with this argument, though the poor twit didn’t want to talk about it when I brought them up. For one thing, it is clear that “born again” is a metaphor – the person isn’t really “born” a second time, so you can’t formulate an anthropology based on the “first” birth. Then there’d be the question of whether someone who, say, in the future, is created by in vitro fertilization, and is allowed to mature in some sort of artificial womb, can be classed as human.

Despite the difference in these two lunatics, though, they have one thing in common: Both read texts in a highly fundamentalist manner with little or no concern for defining contexts and no potential exceptions brooked.

I always said Ecclesiastes had something there with that bit about nothing new under the sun.

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