The Curmudgeon


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 5 xxvii-xxviii

Jesus proclaims that anyone who thinks adulterous thoughts has committed adultery in their heart. Since interior corruption counts for as much if not more than mere physical actions, it follows that adulterous thoughts are the same if not worse than actual adultery; which means, of course, that the thinkers of adulterous thoughts are worthy of being stoned to death by anyone thinking themselves to be without sin.

For the most part, the laws of Moses seek to control actions; their concerns range from keeping the social order stable, through the care and upkeep of priests and ritual propitiation of the divine tyrant, to compulsory genocide of the peoples of Canaan. There is also a warning against adultery at Proverbs 6 xxxii-xxxv, on the admirably pragmatic grounds that jealous husbands are dangerous. By contrast, Jesus extends the logic of the commandment at Exodus 20 xvii: He not only orders us to control our inmost thoughts and desires, He proclaims sinful desires equivalent to sinful actions. According to the Saviour's code, someone who has an evil thought and refrains from acting upon it is not an iota less sinful than someone who indulges physically in every vice under the sun. The substance of the Saviour's light yoke and easy burden is to intensify the inhuman commands of the dictator into the impossible demands of the inquisitor.

For His own part, Jesus recommended outer darkness with wailing and gnashing of teeth for anyone He considered unworthy; He called down worse than the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah on the heads of any men, women and children who did not hear His message; and He gleefully predicted the ultimate division of all human beings into a minority of saved sheep and a majority of combustible goats. Hence, assuming His words came from the heart, regardless of His actions Jesus was an even greater génocidaire than Joshua; and given His lack of interest in Lebensraum (Matthew 8 xix-xxii) had even less excuse.


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