Thursday, July 22, 2004

Recycle Bin: A letter to Dr. Laura

In lieu of posting something original today, I'm posting a letter that has been circulating on the internet for awhile and is a favorite of mine (There's also a humorous college application I've seen that I love, but I'll save that for another day when I'm brain dead).

Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

i. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan, Anonymous

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such Bible verses, particularly the rougher spots in the Mosaic Law, are hard to come to grips with. The best explanation is referred to as 'gradual revelation'. The ancient Israelites and their neighbors were little more than stone-throwing cavemen, both technologically and morally. God started out with basic rules and laws that will seem crude and even cruel in our day, but were revolutionary in theirs. God eventually laid out more laws and moral movements within mankind in order to grow us, not only as individuals, but as a species. Similarly, a parent's goals for his toddler are to keep him from pooping himself, not hit the dog, and eat all of one's vegetables. Moral concepts such as charity, respect for property rights, and civic virtue are reserved for later years in the child's development. Over time, we grow to be a functional human being, living and working in society without going to prison. Over time, God grows the human race to be a morally evolved species. History bears witness to this process: we revere our Founding Fathers as moral men, but would regard their embrace of slavery as unbelievably barbaric. We accept that man was more primitive two hundred years ago, and has grown since then.

The consequence for Christians is that we cannot make moral condemnations exclusively on Mosaic Law. We cannot stone homosexuals while at the same time permitting menstruating women to sit on chairs. Mosaic Law must be taken entirely, or taken with skepticism. God has (thankfully) moved us past killing gays and enslaving fellow human beings.