Posts Tagged “binding of isaac”

Sacrifice of Isaac-Caravaggio (Uffizi)The co-called “Binding of Isaac” (which I think ought to be called “the near-murder of Isaac,” since that more clearly describes the event) is one of those pivotal Bible passages that carries a lot more meaning and significance than one would think a mere 18 or 19 verses would seem to. This story, which comprises the majority of Genesis 22, tells how Abraham nearly killed his own son Isaac because his deity, YHWH, had demanded he do so. Just as Abraham was about to plunge a knife into Isaac, YHWH — satisfied his minion had demonstrate a willingness to kill his own son for him — provided a ram as an alternative sacrifice, saving the boy at the very last minute.

This story exemplifies the sociopathy of the Old Testament deity and the murderous demands he made of his earthly followers … which would, later, go far beyond merely asking for one boy to be killed, extending to genocide orders (such as instructing King Saul to exterminate the Amalekites).

Most followers of the Abrahamic religions don’t consider this a serious problem. Their apologists have surmised — even though nothing to this effect can be found anywhere in Genesis — that Abraham knew, in advance, that YHWH would either intervene before he had a chance to kill Isaac, or that YHWH would resurrect Isaac afterward, had Abraham actually executed him. (This latter supposition, for instance, is mentioned in Hebrews 11:17-19.)

Judeo-Christian-Islamic thinkers have pontificated endlessly over how wonderful it was that Abraham had so much faith in his deity that he was willing to kill his son on his orders (appearing not to realize that praising Abraham for this degree of faith contradicts the idea just mentioned that he’d merely been “going through the motions” of showing he was willing to kill his son, knowing the whole thing wasn’t serious). They seriously wonder if they ought to have that much faith themselves, and try to put themselves in Abraham’s shoes — and, one assumes, would do the same if they’d been asked.

Sadly, WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, FL reports that one devout Christian woman decided to take this “test of faith” herself (WebCite cached article). She appears to have passed it, at the expense of two children:

Right now police are investigating whether a bible verse drove a woman to allegedly kill her ex-partner’s 2-year-old daughter and attempt to kill the girl’s 10-year-old brother.…

A local pastor is nearly speechless Tuesday night as Kymberley Dawn Lucas, a member of her congregation, is spending her first night inside the Palm Beach county jail.

Lucas is accused of killing her ex-partner’s 2-year-old daughter Elliana and attempting to kill the girl’s brother 10-year-old Ethan.

According to a newly released police report, inside the Jupiter home, police found a computer left on with a message for whoever found it.

WPEC has a copy of this note on their Web site, if you can stomach reading it.

Perhaps the worst part about this, though, is the reaction of this murderously-religious woman’s friends and fellow congregants. The minister whose sermon on “the binding of Isaac” apparently triggered it, doesn’t seem to have a grasp of what happened, and is unapologetic:

The pastor at Metropolitan Community church stands with the heartbroken family, and she stands by that sermon talking about biblical sacrifice.

Pastor Dr. Lea Brown, “It’s what I was called to do, there’s no way anyone could have predicted this.”

For thousands of years, the Abrahamic God’s followers have raved fanatically about how magnificent it was of Abraham to have had so much faith in their deity that he’d nearly slaughtered his own son on the deity’s orders … yet now, they pretend not to know why one of their own wanted to try the same stunt, herself?

Seriously!? This surprises them? How and why would it? What surprises me is that this hasn’t happened more often. Instead of feigning befuddlement, maybe it’s time for Christians … both within Palm Beach’s Metropolitan Community Church and elsewhere … to rethink just how sanctified and virtuous they think the near-sacrifice of Isaac was.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hat tip: Raw Story.

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