Today's blog is an extended and amended comment which I made in a discussion on another blog site. Bit lazy? Maybe but it is all part of my 'campaign' for peace and tolerance [and boy! do people get angry with me when I talk about peace...]
The thread on the other blog arose from a newspaper story earlier this week about a hospital midwife who refused to wear scrub trousers to work, as she said it was at variance to the teachings in her particular form of Christianity.
To me the whole essence of the story boiled down to whether or not the employer had made it clear at the original employment interview that there was an enforcable rule about what needed to be worn where in the hospital. Granted in the Daily Fail article the words 'Muslims are allowed to wear...' appeared, but this is par for the course, and again it was not entirely clear where in the hospital this was allowed.
Anyway, the original matter has been resolved, one hopes with satisfaction on both sides. But the blog discussion continues and what really bothers me were some of the vitrolic and quite spiteful remarks that kept recurring on the comments thread - both for and against the midwife's views. Pleas for tolerance and mitigation were brushed aside and quite 'off topic' obvious 'hobby horse' rants introduced.
One commentator equated Christians with Right wing activists. He obviously hasn't read my blog lately! The midwife had quoted Deuteronomy 22:5 to support her refusal to wear trousers, and another commentator asked why we/she were not therefore supporting Deuteronomy 22:20-22: to stone unchaste damsels and adulterers as the Islamacists [sic] want to? [And ended a sentence with a preposition!!!!]
My reply went something like this:
We could all go on throwing Biblical quotes and references to each other to prove/disprove whatever we wanted. The above reference only proves that in this quote it was thought a father should feel himself/be made to feel himself responsible for the actions of his daughter before she is stoned to death for her promiscuity.
A few of my thoughts on this [and these are my personal thoughts although I happen to be a Christian so please don't attack the whole history of religion, Christianity or otherwise, just because you may disagree with me]:
1. I am really glad I didn't live in these times, because when this was written it was obviously a reflection of the contemporary times of the writer.
2. Other cultures do still regard promiscuity/adultery in women as a very serious crime. Again I am very glad I live in the UK in the 21st century - not for me, I am too old [!] but for my sisterhood!
3. As has been the subject of many comments on here, whatever version of the Bible one reads, there are many translations so we can never be sure that what we are reading is what the writer intended - whether we agree with what we are reading or not.
4. No one person wrote the Bible. It is rather like a newspaper today - we may like one article by one journo but not one by another. In fact the word 'gospel' means 'good news' [is that what our newspapers supply today?!] - and were written after the events described by four different 'authors'. Therefore Matthew's view of the Beatitudes, say, might and do differ from Luke's account.
Please allow that others may have a different view of religion to you and don't trash their views. I can accept other views [obviously I think I am right - otherwise I wouldn't be thinking this way!] but we can all live peacefully together if we are all tolerant. Sadly too many of any persuasion [religious or otherwise] feel that force is the only way to win an argument. So my favourite Beatitude is:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
and if you don't want to admit the existance of God replace it with 'Man', or 'Earth' or 'Nature' or whatever.
And as my final, final, words on this thread I will quote someone much wiser than me, H.G. Wells a fervent atheist, in a note to G.K. Chesterton a fervant Roman Catholic:
"..... when H.G. Wells was seriously ill, he wrote Chesterton and said, "If after all my Atheology turns out wrong and your Theology right I feel I shall always be able to pass into Heaven (if I want to) as a friend of G.K.C.'s. Bless you."
To this Chesterton replied, "If I turn out to be right, you will triumph, not by being a friend of mine, but by being a friend of Man, by having done a thousand things for men like me in every way from imagination to criticism......"
[with thanks to http://www.tentmaker.org/biographies/chesterton.htm for this quote]
And as a final piece of mischief the photograph above is of H.G.Wells, the fervent atheist who never changed his mind - well not on this side of life anyway!