Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Parable and a Question for Parents

And it came to pass that upon the death of his father, Antiochus became king and ruled over the land of his people. At the beginning of his reign, Antiochus decreed an end to color blindness in the kingdom. His initial decree declared that those who were found to be color blind would not be permitted to hold any form of public employment or serve in sensitive occupations such as physicians, teachers, or lawyers. But as time went by and citizens of the kingdom continued to be found to be color blind, the punishment was increased. Those found to be color blind were imprisoned for life. And each day, a jailer would enter the cell of such prisoners and poke needles into the prisoner’s eyes. This was done to remind them continually of the evil color blindness that had caused them to be imprisoned.

Into this kingdom a child was born. Mindful of the King’s decrees, the child’s parents began training him from birth to distinguish colors. As the child grew, he professed to be able to see the colors. At first it was easy and the child actually believed he could see the difference because he was only shown colors in a specific order. For example, he knew the top light on the traffic signals was red and the bottom light green. When asked what color the light was he, could say with confidence the color based on its position. But as he grew, he began to encounter colors in other contexts in which he struggled to determine the color. By then he knew the King’s decrees and the punishment for failing to be able to distinguish colors. So he struggled mightily to convince himself and everyone around him that he could see the colors. In the evenings he would hold forth on the beauty of the colors in the sunset, repeating what he had heard others say. But deep inside he knew he could not actually see that beauty. He declared the righteousness of the King’s decrees and denounced those evil souls who dared to defy the King by saying openly that they could not see the colors. They deserved the punishment they received.

But then the day came when the child, now a man, could fool himself no longer. He admitted to himself and some close friends that he could not see colors. Eventually, this came to the attention of the King and the man found himself in the King’s court, called to answer for his crime of color blindness. He made his plea:

"Your majesty, I have meant no rebellion against you or your laws. For many years I tried mightily to see the colors that others tell me are so magnificent. I went to physicians and sought all manner of help I could find to make me able to see colors. But in the end, I simple was unable to see them. I did not choose to be unable to see color, I simply am unable to and have chosen to be honest about it rather than continue lying to myself and to others about what I can see and what I cannot see. It is not just to subject me to a lifetime of imprisonment and torture for such an ‘offense.’"

The King looked out into the gallery and inquired as to whether anyone else had anything to say before judgment was entered. The man looked to the front row where his parents sat. He hoped that his father would stand and tell the King that punishing a man so severally for being honest about something he could not control was unjust and entreat the King to set his son free. The father stood. But he did not address the King. Instead, he turned to his son and said:
"My son, you must not persist in your evil. You must bow before this our King and repent of your evil and beg him to forgive you of your refusal to see colors. He is a just and merciful King. He does not wish to imprison you or to have your eyes poked with needles daily. But he, being just, has no choice if you insist on saying that you cannot see color."

Then the father turned to King and said:

"O king, you are a just and wonderful King. Your laws and your judgments are just and righteous. And I know that my son has brought this upon himself by refusing to see color as you have commanded. But please, O King, give him one more chance to renounce his refusal to see color."

The King turned to the man in the dock. "Your father’s defense has earned you one more chance. Will you bow before me and ask my forgiveness for failing to see color as I have decreed?"

"Your majesty, I could say what you want me to say but it would not be truth. The truth is I cannot see color."

The King then pronounced the man guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment and daily eye poking. The father, though wearing a sad affect, declared that the King’s judgement was just and right. As the son was led off by the guards, the King and the father retired to the grand ballroom of the palace to celebrate the King’s rule. As the son screamed in agony as needles were driven into his eyes, the father dined with the King and joined in praising the King for being so wonderful and loving and just.

Can some christian parent out there explain to me how you can even contemplate going to heaven and praising your god after he sentences your children to eternal punishment for the sole sin of being unable to believe?

Hello Blogshpere

For 45 years I was inside a fundigelical cult known as The Church of the Nazarene. I am embarrassed to say that it took me that long to realize that it was all built on an intellectual vacuum and emotional manipulation -- especially fear. Fear is a funny thing. It morphs. If it always manifested itself as recognizable fear, it might be easier to see and deal with more efficiently. But it disguises itself as many other things. Worse, it can protects itself by taking control of the intellect and cranking out what seem like logical, intellectual reasons to behave as the fear dictates. The power of instilling fear of a mind reading, rage-aholic sky pixie and the threat of an eternity in hell for pissing him off over the slightest thing is stupendous and breaking free from it is very hard.

But I made it! I am finally free. I no longer feel even the slightest pangs of fear of the monstrous totalitarian sky pixie and his fiery dungeon.

I intend to use this blog to discuss religion -- particularly christianity and the bible -- and current events related to religion and the separation of church and state. Sometimes seriously. Sometimes ranting. Sometimes sarcastically and with ridicule.